1737 was the year of the famous Battle of Banja Luka, which was the crucial battle in the Austro-Turkish War (1737 – 1739). Accordingly, on July 15th of the same year the governor of Vojna Krajina (Austrian province), General Joseph Friedrich von Hildburghausen crossed the Sava near Berbir (today Gradiska) and marched towards Banja Luka with 20000 soldiers. By 27th July, after severe fights followed with suffering of the civilians and destruction, the Austrian Army managed to occupy the whole town except the Fortress which had been reconstructed and improved with a water-filled moat about 20 years earlier. Having ordered a construction of a pontoonbridge so that the army could be positioned on the right bank of the Vrbas, Hildburghausen began the siege of the Fortress, which was defended by Mehmed Catic together with a couple of hundreds of garrison soldiers (Tur. Nefer soldiers) and a heavy artillery. About 1800 shells were daily fired from Laus at the Fortress, but its commander Catic was returning in kind, refusing to surrender. He was hoping that Ali Pasha Hekimoglu, the governor of Bosnia, was going to send help. And so it was: the Turks received help in the last moment. Ali Pasha went downstream the Vrbas with 15 000 soldiers, crossed on the right bank and on Sunday, August 4th 1737 suddenly attacked the Austrians, who were expecting people in the Fortress to surrender, from behind, forcing them to cross the rapid stream. So, they joined the battle where, according to some sources, 600 Turkish and around 1300 – 1400 Christian soldiers were killed, out of which 1000 drowned in the Vrbas. According to other sources, the total Turkish loss was far greater, devastation so harsh that it caused famine all over the country, and Ali Pashas punishment ensued.

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