By Stephen Turnbull
By means of 1400 the lengthy working clash among the Order of Teutonic Knights and Poland and Lithuania used to be coming to a head, in part end result of the Order’s meddling within the inner politics of its neighbours. In June 1410 King Wladislaw Jagiello of Poland invaded the Order’s territory with a strong allied military together with the entire enemies of the Teutonic Knights – Poles, Lithuanians, Russians, Bohemians, Hungarians, Tartars and Cossacks. This e-book recounts how, whilst the armies clashed at the wooded, rolling hills close to the small village of Tannenberg, the Teutonic Knights suffered a disastrous defeat from which their Order by no means recovered.
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Additional resources for Tannenberg 1410: Disaster for the Teutonic Knights
However, several higher places, including those occupied by the rival commanders, allowed much better observation. The battlefield was also a great deal wetter than it is today, with numerous small ponds and marshes that have long since disappeared. To the northwest between Grunwald and Tannenberg was an area of boggy ground, and it is significant that the area just on the Polish side of the modern Stebark–Lodwigowo road is known in Polish as ‘the valley of the great stream’ along which a brook ran in a northerly direction before emptying into the Marozka river near Lake Lubien.
On 14 June there came a report that the Lithuanian army was on the march and was going to attack Ragnit (Nieman). Yet on the same day a conflicting report stated that they were gathering in the east along the Narew River and were probably going to attack Osterode (Ostroda). At the same time Polish troops were noted around Bromberg (Bydgoscz) just across the border from western Prussia. The confusion that these apparently conflicting reports caused the Teutonic Order’s senior officers was precisely the effect the allies had hoped for.
The three Smolensk Banners formed a distinct contingent within Vytautas’s wing of the 52 army and were commanded by Prince Simeon Lingwen, a brother of King Wladislaw Jagiello, fighting under a flag displaying the Archangel Gabriel (3). The figure of Pogon (4), an armed man on a horse, appeared on the flags of 30 of the Lithuanian Banners with different coloured fields. The strange white iconic device displayed on a red field (5) is ‘the columns of Gedymin’, which may be derived from a representation of the oak sacred to pagan Lithuanians.
Tannenberg 1410: Disaster for the Teutonic Knights by Stephen Turnbull