Pyliavtsi, Battle of. A major battle of the Cossack-Polish War. It took place on 21–24 September 1648 near the Podilian village of Pyliavtsi, now Pyliava, in Stara Syniava raion, Khmelnytskyi oblast. The battle pitted the 100,000-strong Cossack-peasant army led by Hetman Bohdan Khmelnytsky and colonels such as Ivan Bohun and Maksym Kryvonis and a force of 3,000 to 4,000 Budzhak Tatars against a Polish levy en masse of 32,000 nobles, over 100,000 servitors, and 8,000 German mercenaries led by the magnates Władysław Dominik Zasławski, M. Ostroróg, and A. Koniecpolski. Khmelnytsky split the Polish army by sending a large force directly into its midst. Tatar cavalry forays created confusion, and Khmelnytsky’s remaining troops surrounded the Poles and attacked them with musket fire. The Polish army was routed and fled in disarray, leaving behind its artillery, ammunition, and supplies. After the victory Khmelnytsky’s army gained control of Podilia and Volhynia and moved on to Lviv and Zamość. News of the Polish defeat was a catalyst for the spread of anti-Polish insurgency in Galicia. The battle is described in detail in a monograph by I. Storozhenko (1996) dealing with Khmelnytsky’s military campaigns.
[This article was updated in 2001.]
Encyclopedia of Ukraine