Siege of Madu, 1499

The siege of Madu (1499) was a minor victory for Babur in the civil war that followed his return to power in Fergana in 1499. After re-entering his capital of Andijan in June 1499 Babur had alienated his Mongol mercenaries, and they had deserted him in favour of his chief rival Sultan Ahmad Tambal.

Tambal had taken advantage of this sudden increase in his strength by advancing on Andijan from his base at Auzkint, further to the east. He had then defeated part of Babur's army at the Ailaish River, and briefly besieged Andijan, but after a month outside the city Tambal decided to retreat. His first move was south-east, towards Aush (modern Osh), but this place was too strongly held and so he moved north, but not before leaving a garrison of 200-300 men in the fortress of Madu (now Mady, on the road from Osh to Kashgar) under the command of his younger brother Khalil.

Babur described the fort of Madu as being very strong. It was positioned high above a river. The fort's water apparently came from a protected water channel in some way linked to the river. The rising ground on the side facing away from the water was protected by a ditch. The defenders took advantage of the river to gather large boulders, which they dropped onto the heads of the besiegers.

Despite the strength of its position the fort fell very quickly. Babur doesn't say how long he was outside the fort before ordering an assault. This attack started at dawn, and by mid-morning the fort's water supply had been seized. The fighting continued on for the rest of the day, although without any recorded successes. The next morning, with their water supply cut, the defenders asked for terms. Between 60 and 80 prisoners were taken, apparently to be used in prisoner exchanges.

Just before Babur attacked Madu, Tambal had launched a raid on Andijan. After this was repulsed he moved east, and camped at a village named as Ab-i-khan by Babur. Babur's army moved to Unju-tupa, a second village about five miles away, and for the next month the two armies faced each other at this close distance. The deadlock was broken when Tambal slipped around Babur's left wing and advanced towards Andijan. Babur followed, and the two armies finally clashed at Khuban, Babur's first battle as a commander. 

How to cite this article: Rickard, J (21 April 2010), Siege of Madu, 1499 ,

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