Alternate History

Battle of the Kalka River (Kievan Victory)

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Battle of the Kalka River
Part of Mongol invasions
Mongol cavalry
Date 31 May 1223
Location Kalka River, Ukraine
Result Decisive Kievan victory
Alex K Kyiv Michael 2 Kievan Rus Mongol Empire
Commanders and leaders
Alex K Kyiv Michael 2 Mstislav III of Kiev
Alex K Kyiv Michael 2 Mstislav the Bold
80,000 20,000
Casualties and losses
12,000 killed 14,000 killed

The Battle of the Kalka River (Russian: Битва на реке Калке, Ukrainian: Битва на ріці Калка) took place on May 31, 1223, between the Mongol Empire (led by Jebe and Subutai) and Kiev, Galich, and several other Rus' principalities and the Cumans, under the command of Matislav the Bold and Mstislav III. The battle was fought on the banks of the Kalka River (in present-day Donetsk Oblast, Ukraine) and ended in a Kievan victory.

Following the Mongol invasion of Central Asia and the subsequent collapse of the Khwarezmian Empire, a Mongol force under the command of generals Jebe and Subutai advanced into Iraq-i Ajam. Jebe requested permission from the Mongolian Emperor, Genghis Khan, to continue his conquests for a few years before returning to the main army via the Caucasus. While waiting for Genghis Khan's reply, the duo set out on a raid in which they attacked Georgia and killed its king. Genghis Khan granted the duo permission to undertake their expedition, and after making their way through the Caucasus, they defeated a coalition of Caucasian tribes before defeating the Cumans. The Cuman Khan fled to the court of his son-in-law, Prince Mstislav the Bold of Galich, whom he convinced to help fight the Mongols. Mstislav the Bold formed an alliance of the Rus' princes including Mstislav III of Kiev.

The combined Rus' army, at first, defeated the Mongol rearguard. For several days, the Rus' pursued the Mongols but became spread out over a large distance. The Mongols stopped and assumed battle formation on the banks of the Kalka River. Mstislav the Bold, with his Cuman allies, stopped and did not attack the Mongols without the rest of the Rus' army. They attacked together, and in the ensuing combat, they overran Mongol positions, killing more than half of the invaders. The Mongols retreated and did not attempt to attack the Rus' lands again after that.

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