Raman Sanhushka (Roman Sanguszko)
(1537 - 1571) 

Military and state figure of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. Had a family Crest of "Pahonya" as a descendent of Grand Duke of GDL Al'herd. By XVI century the family of Sanhushka lost many of its feudal rights, but stayed a powerful magnate family - a major player in The GDL. They also preserved their Orthodox Christian belief, despite of all the privileges given out in GDL to Catholics in XVc and Protestants in XVIc. .

At the age of 17, after a tragic death of his older brother, Raman Snhushka becomes a head of the family and also a commander of family military division - - Pochat". In 1557 King Of Poland and the GDL Zhyhimont August assigns him to become a major ("vayavoda") of the town of Zhitomir (at the time part of the GDL, today's Ukraine). He immediately develops a plan of fortification of the town to defend it against Crimean Tartars. His first military action was as part of forces led by Gryhory Hadkevich (vayavoida of Kieu). In several battles they fought off Crimean Tartars and took back "yasyr" - Ukrainian youth taken as prisoners, to sell into slavery. Sanhushka was a commander of 200-strong cavalry squadron during the famous Battle near Uly (near Chashniki), in which 10,000 of Belarusian-Lithuanian forces has defeated 30,000 Russian army of duke Peter Shujski. Shujski himself was killed in the battle. Only 5,000 of Russians escaped back to occupied by Russian Tsar Ivan the Terrible Belarusian town of Polacak. In 1566 Sanhushka was put in charge of Braclau Vayavodstva (joining the lands of today's Wloclaw and Vinnitsa) for his bravery in military battles. Here's what King Zhyhimont Auhust wrote in a granted to Sanhushka privilege (grant): "Being many times in great battles courageously fought against our enemies, didn't spare health and his own blood spill, did that, which a true and honest knight and duke's family was honorable to do". In the beginning of 1566 Grygory Hadkevich (father in law of Ryhor Sanhushka) was assigned Superior Commander ("Hetman Najvyshejshy:). He assigned Sanhushka to head all Belarusian-Lithuanian military forces (1350 of cavalry and 550 of  infantry men) in Vicebsk area - to hold off assaults of Russians of Tsar Ivan the Terrible. Sanhushka made his head quarters in Chashniki. Russians after taking Polacak were tryi8ng to cross Wester Dzvina river and build a fortress in the South. In July of 1657 joint troops of Russian Dukes Abalenski-Serebrianyj and Takmakov as well as Tartar Prince Amurat crossed Western River and under protection of the troops started to build a fortress of Susha on the island of Susha lake. After a thorough  reconnaissance court hetman Sanhushka has attacked the 8,000-men strong Russian-Tartar camp with his army of 2,000 men on the dawn of July 21, 1657. First a Sanhushka's light cavalry attacked and killed 100 Cossacks in a fore post. Then they have broke  through the fence and attacked the camp. Entire Russian Army was defeated, many taken as prisoners, many enslaved Belarusians were taken back. Duke Takmakov staid at the island building the wooden fortress. Sanhushka did not had artillery, so he staged a siege of Russians on the island. Another Muscovy army was sent from Polacak to Susha in September 1657. A 6,000 strong Russian army was lead by Dukes Osip Scherbatyj and Yurij Borotinskij. They were joined by 3,000 Tartar Army of Seit-Murza. They were also carrying a 1.300 horse carriages of provisions for besieged Russians on Susha island. Again using exact reconnaissance Hetman Sanhushka unexpectedly attacked 9,000-strong Rusiian-Tartar army with his now 3,000-strong troops and defeated them fully. Dukes Osip Scherbatyj and Yurij Borotinskij were taken prisoners and captured all provisions. 

On September 21 1568 Hetman Sanhushka has successfully took the fortress of Uly on Western Dzvina, when his recoinassance told him that all Russians in the fortress are having a party and are all drunk.

Sanhushka supported Lublin Union (Unia) of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and the Kingdom of Poland in 1569. He saw bigger threat in rising power of Muscovy in the East. In approving a transfer of part of GDL lands (Padlasse - Braclau Vayavodstva) to the Kingdom of Poland from the GDL he had alienated many of the GDL nobility ("shlyahta"). When it came to discussion of signing peace treaty with Muscovy Sanhushka was against it. He was advocating attacking Russia at this time when it was weakened by it war with Sweden and Denmark, as well as attacks by Crimean Tartars.

Sanhushka returned to Polacak area in December of 1569 and on December 25 he took with his troops a castle of Cetchy on the road linking Turoulia and Polacak - both taken by Russians.  He died from fever on May 10, 1971 and was buried in St. Nicholas church in Meltsy (near Valyn') according the family tradition.

The biggest military science contribution of Raman Sanhushka was developing the tactics of irregular war, where an enemy is surprised by attack by a small light cavalry force after good reconnaissance.

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Other Relevant Pages of the Virtual Guide to Belarus

Belarusian Castles and Knighthood
Historic Belarusian Battles
Belarusian Statehood 
History of Belarus

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