Battle of Grunwald/Tannenberg 1410

On 15th day of July 2010 the 600-Anniversary of the great Battle of Grunwald was celebrated. The Battle of Grunwald/Tannenberg is considered as one of the largest battles of the Middle Ages and greatest clash of European chivalry in times when glorious cathedrals were raised, famous universities were established and when ones fought against the others in the name of God.

On 15th July 1410, 50 Polish units (banners) and 40 Lithuanian fought 51 units of the Order of the Teutonic Knights of St. Mary's Hospital in Jerusalem supported by European chivalry, mostly from German principalities. It took place on the green fields located between the villages of Grunwald and Tannenberg (Stębark). The Battle like the other Medieval battles was a kind of God's Judgement. Using a paraphrase of the famous words written to the Pope in 1683 after the great Vienna Victory, the knights who took part in the struggle on the fields of Grunwald, had come there, fought, but the God has won.

Battle of Grunwald by Jan Matejko

About 20 000 Polish knights, 10 000 Lithuanian warriors and 20 000 Teutonic knights who fought near Grunwald were the flower of European chivalry. All of them were convinced that they fought for the right case. They fought in fierce battle since high noon until the evening. The climax of the Battle had come when Grand Master Ulrich von Jungingen duelled a Polish knight Mszczuj of Skrzynno of the ŁabędŸ coat-of-arms. Grand Master was killed in this confrontation, Mszczuj gained the spoils of war. Thus the glory of the Order had passed. Besides Mszczuj of Skrzynno, many of other famous knights had fought on the Polish side, among them Zawisza the Black of Garbowo of the Sulima coat-of-arms, Florian of Korytnica of the Jelita coat-of-arms, Domarat of Kobylany of the Grzymała coat-of-arms, Jakub Skarbek of Góra of the Abdank coat-of-arms, Paweł the Evil of Biskupice of the Niesobia coat-of-arms, Jaksa the Dreadful of Targowisko of the Lis coat-of-arms and Jan Warszowski of the Nałęcz coat-of-arms. Other distinguished members of the Clan of Nałęcz also took part in the Battle aside Jan Warszowski, among them Sędziwój of Ostroróg was a member of War Council and Dobrogost of Szamotuły was a commander of 41st Banner. Many other members of the Clan of Nałęcz fought and shed blood during the course of the battle that took place on the fields of Grunwald. Also a number of famous knights had fought on the Order's side, besides the Grand Master, they were Friedrich von Wallenrode, Kuno von Lichtenstein, Thomas von Merheim and Albrecht von Schwarzburg. All of them fell on the battlefield. The defeat of the Order was resounding and the Teutonic Order has never recovered as a military power.

The Battle of Grunwald had caused a profound impact on the course of Middle and East European history, similar to the impact caused by the results of the Battle of Hastings which significantly shaped the history of England and the British Isles. The power of Teutonic Order has been crushed on the fields of Grunwald and as a result Poland and Lithuania emerged as key political players in the Eastern part of Europe for a period lasting at least for three centuries.

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