ISSN 0024-5089
Copyright © 2010 LITUANUS Foundation, Inc.

Volume 56, No.2 - Summer 2010
Editor of this issue: Violeta Kelertas

The Turning Point in the Battle of Tannenberg (Grunwald/Žalgiris) in 1410

Sven Ekdahl

SVEN EKDAHL is Assistant Professor of History at Gothenburg University and Professor of Medieval History at the Polish-Scandinavian Research Institute in Copenhagen. He has published extensively on the history of the Teutonic Order in Prussia as well as treated Polish, Baltic, and Scandinavian themes.


This article acquaints the reader with a crucial letter from the Middle Ages, one that has changed the interpretation of the history of Lithuania on an essential point. It refers to the famous battle of Žalgiris in 1410 and the role of the Lithuanian army under the command of Grand Duke Vytautas. In the following, I will use the term “Tannenberg” for that battle because it is the most common one in English usage, and not the Lithuanian “Žalgiris” or the Polish term “Grunwald.”

This article acquaints the reader with a crucial letter from the Middle Ages, one that has changed the interpretation of the history of Lithuania on an essential point. It refers to the famous battle of Žalgiris in 1410, and the role of the Lithuanian army under the command of Grand Duke Vytautas. In the following, I will use the term “Tannenberg” for that battle because it is the most common one in English usage, and not the Lithuanian “Žalgiris” or the Polish term “Grunwald.”1 


Battle of Grunwald
from the Lucerne Chronicle (1513)
by Diebold Schilling the Younger

In July 2005, a renowned German publishing house offered a new book on the history of the Teutonic Order, written by a German professor of Medieval History.2 The author is well known for his accuracy and scholarly approach to the various issues concerning the Teutonic Order, not only in Prussia and Livonia, but also in the bailiwicks of the Holy Roman Empire and the Mediterranean region. In the chapter dealing with the Battle of Tannenberg, fought on 15 July 1410, and the serious consequences that ensued from the disastrous defeat of the Teutonic Order, the turning point in that battle is described in the following way: 

In this situation, the commanders of the Order made another blunder, which was decisive for the further course of the battle. They did not realize that the Lithuanian troops, among which also Russians and Tartars were also fighting, had made a tactical retreat. When the knight-brothers pursued their seemingly fleeing enemies, they ripped a gap in their own battle array into which Polish units penetrated and overran the left wing of the Order’s troops.3 

This presentation in a solid and serious book gives evidence of the acceptance of the new view of what happened during the Battle of Tannenberg, asserting that the Lithuanian forces under the command of Grand Duke Vytautas did not flee in cowardly fashion from the battlefield, as told in old Polish chronicles, but used the tactics of a feigned retreat to bring disorder in the enemies’ ranks, and thus decisively contribute to the defeat of the Teutonic Order’s army. 

This assertion is not new. In fact, it is a publicly-recognized supposition dating back a hundred years, which finally received solid scholarly proof from this author in 1963.4 However, we all know that it often takes a long time before faulty opinions, sometimes centuries old, can be revealed and then replaced by the results of modern historical research. 

Colleagues in Lithuania have responded much more quickly and willingly to these new results than historians in some other countries. I therefore hesitated somewhat before I chose this theme for an article in Lituanus. Some readers may already know the main lines of my thesis, since it has been published and quoted in Lithuania and other countries several times in recent decades,5 and thus may regard a “new” presentation as superfluous. However, considering the fact that the sixth centenary of that famous battle will be celebrated this year, I think it is most pertinent to explain to a wider audience how the history of Lithuania has been rewritten on a small, but nevertheless vital, historical point. 

Długosz’s Impact on Research 

In his famous chronicle, Annales, the great Polish historian Jan Długosz (1415-1480) gives a long and lively description of the engagement of the Lithuanian troops at Tannenberg, which, according to him, was not very honorable.6 Of the Lithuanian army, only Grand Duke Vytautas and three banners of Russian soldiers from Smolensk deserved praise for bravery, he says. After one hour of fighting, the Lithuanians fled from the battlefield and could not be stopped even by the shouts and sword strokes of Vytautas himself. Most of them fled back to their own country, where they spread the false news about the defeat of the Polish-Lithuanian army and the death of Vytautas and Jogaila (Jagiełło), the king of Poland. Those who did not flee were either killed or taken prisoner. Some hours later, the pursuing knight-brothers returned, flushed with victory and loaded with booty and many prisoners. However, their renewed engagement in the battle could not prevent the Poles from obtaining a glorious victory.7 

How reliable is this vivid description of the flight of the Lithuanian army? Experience has shown that the reliability of Długosz as a historian is not to be taken for granted, in spite of his great authority and his reputation as “the pride and honour of Polish historical writing in the Middle Ages.”8 He cannot be regarded in the same light as a modern impartial scholar, because he had his own preferences in regard to heroes and scoundrels. Many examples of this abound. In consequence, one has to be especially careful when Długosz describes events of a political and ideological nature, above all, those that relate to the dignity of his own nation and his chosen heroes. We also know that neither he nor his patron, Zbigniew Oleśnicki, were friends of the Lithuanians.9 It is noteworthy that Długosz began writing his chronicle in 1455, at a time when another great war between Poland and Prussia raged, and thus at a time filled with great emotional tension. One may legitimately assume that the refusal of the Lithuanians to side with the Poles in that war was one reason why Długosz inserted his contemptuous description of the Lithuanian “cowards” during the battle of Tannenberg.10 

Even so, it was the version originating with Długosz that exerted enormous influence on subsequent conceptions of the battle for hundreds of years after the fact, even until our own time. Due to the great authority the author enjoyed, the stigma he branded the Lithuanian army with was passed along from century to century without being seriously questioned. Inevitably, it has left deep marks not only upon history, but also upon politics, art, and literature in successive generations. For instance, the Poles reproached the Lithuanians at the sejm in Warsaw in 1564 for fleeing their shared battlefield in 1410.11 From the fifteenth century onward, the Lithuanian nation has repeatedly been confronted with this “dark stain” on its history. 

Critical Voices. "Cronica conflictus" 

Some objections, however, against such a one-sided view have been raised in the course of time by critical scholars. As early as 1724, the French historian Jacques Lenfant observed  that the description of the battle in the chronicle of the monk of Saint-Denis differed considerably from that of Długosz in the Annales.12 At the end of the nineteenth and the beginning of the twentieth century, further critical questions were raised by the German historian Jacob Caro13 and the Polish priest and historian Stanisław Kujot.14 The latter noted that the Lithuanians participated in the siege of Marienburg, and that half the Lithuanian army was able to return home, in spite of losses at Tannenberg or from disease in camp during the siege of the Order’s main castle. He thus rejected half of Długosz’s account as incredible, and insisted the Lithuanians had fled, but later returned to the battlefield. Similar opinions were held by Karol Szajnocha.15 Half a century later, Stefan M. Kuczyński, in his monograph on the “Great War (Wielka Wojna) of 1409-1411,” also stressed that one should be suspicious and careful when using Długosz’s chronicle as a historical source.16 

In consequence, the influence of Długosz diminished somewhat during the course of the twentieth century. On the other hand, a new generation of historians has now become more aware of the importance of another description of the battle, one given in the Cronica conflictus.17 That chronicle was probably written at the end of 1410, less than six months after the battle, by the royal secretary Zbigniew Oleśnicki. As a matter of fact, there is no doubt that this is a very important source for the analysis of the battle.18 

The Cronica conflictus describes the turning point at Tannenberg in a different light than Długosz. It tells us that the Lithuanians, after only one hour of fighting, had been forced to retreat, and were pursued by men of the Teutonic Order’s army, who thought they had obtained victory and, therefore, left their banners. However, the pursuers themselves were then put to flight by those they had initially forced to retreat. When they tried to return to their banners, they were cut off by Polish forces and either killed or taken prisoner.19 

This is in fact a starkly different description of what happened than the one offered by Długosz. In the end, it was not the Lithuanians who were pursued, killed and made prisoner; but rather it was the undisciplined forces of the Teutonic Order who failed. Thus the question arises: which one of these sources is more reliable? Was it a real victory for the left wing of the Order’s army over the Lithuanians, as asserted by Długosz, or was it a victory for the Lithuanians, who repulsed the pursuers and returned to the battlefield? 

By 1910, Stanisław Kujot had already given an answer to this question in favor of the men of Grand Duke Vytautas: 

Obviously, their flight was something like Tartar cunning. The light Lithuanian cavalry, which could not withstand the banners of the enemy, dispersed in small groups to avoid being defeated – a method often used by them – and to mislead their pursuers. There is no doubt that the groups soon began to gather again and returned to the battlefield shortly after the pretended victors, where they probably fought next to the banners of Smolensk. It was a Lithuanian method, which was well known by Vytautas.20 

Thus, according to Kujot, the whole Lithuanian army fled from the battlefield, but in an intentional and controlled “flight,” followed by a regrouping and a return to the fight. 

A similar opinion was offered by Adam Korta in an article published in a Polish army review in 1949. He also regarded the flight of the Lithuanians as a tactical manoeuvre and not a retreat.21 

A few years later, in 1955, the historian Stefan M. Kuczyński, in the first edition of his extensive monograph, Wielka Wojna, polemized against his countrymen’s thesis of the feigned retreat. He called it “tempting,” but without confirmation in the sources. Such tactics could only be performed by Tartar units and not by a whole army, a common levy, he argued. 22 In later editions of his book he varied this view a little, but his basic line remained.23 In spite of his own warnings to be careful when using information given by Długosz, he was himself dependent on the famous chronicler. For the Lithuanian exile historian Kostas (Constantine) Jurgėla, this return to the interpretation based on Długosz seemed a step backward, and in 1961 he reactivated the thesis of Kujot, which was based on the Cronica conflictus

This description of the knights of the Order’s elite forces succumbing to an illusion of victory and “‘blundering” into disrupting their battle formations to give chase to fleeing Lithuanian light horsemen, only to be separated from their lines by the “king’s men,” to suffer an encirclement and death, – contains all the ingredients and earmarks, every element of perfectly executed “Tartar tactics.” Rather than strike in battle formation against the Polish flank exposed by the Lithuanian retreat, the best forces of the knights – predominantly “pilgrims” from the West ignorant of “heathen tactics” – broke their battle ranks in a wild chase and were permanently eliminated from playing a serious part in the battle that was just beginning in the center and farther south.24 

Jurgėla was not the only Lithuanian participant in this discussion. Before him other historians, such as Antanas Kučinskas, in a book published in 1930 on Vytautas the Great,25 and Juozas Jakštas, in a book on the history of Lithuania edited by Adolfas Šapoka (1936),26 had also given their opinions. The first edition of Mečislovas Jučas’s Žalgirio Mūšis was published in 1959, the last in English translation in 2009.27 In 1962, Jakštas wrote a long article about the battle in the journal Lituanus.28 He and other scholars stressed the contradictions between the Annales and the Cronica conflictus

A third important source that scholars have long studied is the contemporary chronicle of the Continuator of John of Posilge, who wrote in favor of the Teutonic Knights.29 In the few lines about the battle, we find the information that “the heathen” – a term that, in the language of the Teutonic Order, is synonymous with the Lithuanians30 – were at once forced to withdraw – they were vor fuse weg geslagin. The Poles then came to their assistance and a great battle began. Finally, the  mercenaries and “guests” of the Poles coming on from one side and the “heathen” coming from the other, participated in the crushing of the Third Army of the Order, which was under the command of Grand Master Ulrich of Jungingen.31 

It is not my intention here to undertake a thorough analysis of that decisive battle, taking all sources into consideration. Instead, I maintain that one specific chronicle in particular should be considered, the so-called Bychovca Chronicle from the beginning of the sixteenth century, which obviously depends on old information from the Lithuanian side.32 It states that Vytautas asked Jogaila to assist the Lithuanians with Polish troops in this crucial phase of the battle, thus indicating that a tactical agreement had been made between them. 

The Breakthrough in Research in 1963 

In 1963, a breakthrough in research occurred, namely a new source published by this author in the premier German journal specializing in Eastern Europe, the Zeitschrift für Ostforschung. 33 In the autumn of 196I, I had left Sweden with my new MA degree from the University of Gothenburg to study history at the University of Göttingen in Germany, and at the same time to work in the Staatliches Archivlager Göttingen, where the archives of the Teutonic Order in Prussia were kept at that time. Towards the end of the Second World War, the archives of the Order had been brought from Königsberg to a salt mine at Grasleben near Helmstedt, then to the old imperial palace in Goslar, and some years later from there to Göttingen.34 I was aware of this transfer and thus spent much time in the Staatliches Archivlager, reading the correspondence of the Order. One of my intentions was to study and write about the military organization of the Teutonic Knights.35 

One day in the summer of 1962, I held a letter in my hands that made reference to “the Great Battle” – als ouch geschach in dem grossen streythe. It was written in German and addressed to the Grand Master of the Teutonic Order. There was no date or place of issue, and the name of the sender was not mentioned. However, it was quite clear to me that it dealt with the engagement of the Lithuanian army in the battle of 1410, which is called “the Great Battle” in contemporary sources. The letter was listed in the records of the Staatliches Archivlager as “Advice in case of a pitched battle”: Ratschläge im Fall einer Feldschlacht.36 

This was, in fact, an extraordinary discovery. As soon as I ascertained that the letter had been unknown until then, I published a short article about it in the daily newspaper Göttinger Tageblatt. I spent the next few weeks collecting and studying the sources and literature and writing my first scholarly article. The manuscript was sent to the editor of the Zeitschrift für Ostforschung in Marburg and promptly published in the first issue of 1963. The article contained not only an analysis of the engagement of the Lithuanian army at Tannenberg, but also an edition of the letter in its original language plus a photographic copy of the same. 

Before giving a description of the contents of this new source, I will describe its physical appearance. 

Fully unfolded, as originally written, the letter is 30 cm wide and 12 cm high, but in its subsequently folded state, it was only 11.5 cm wide by 5.5 cm high. The document has no watermarks or seal, and there is no text on the reverse side. This, together with the interesting fact that the paper is clean on both sides, is circumstantial evidence that it had been sent to the Grand Master in an envelope attached to another letter containing the information we are currently missing. The upright text is written by a skilled hand in black or dark-brown ink. The letters ‘s’ and ‘f’ are distinctive . The letter ‘g’ is especially characteristic and of an unusual shape. Abridgements and irregularities are rare. Although there is no date and the sender is unknown, the letter is not a copy, as can be seen from the long initial letters and the fine overall impression of the document. 

The author of the letter did not seek anonymity because he called for the help of a writer from the Teutonic Order. This is the same writer who – at least in the years 1416 and 1417 – worked in the castle of Schlochau in Pomerellia. This is proven by some other letters in the Order’s archives in the same hand.37 

The salutation “Dear Master” – Liber her meister – leads to the conclusion that the sender was not a member of the Teutonic Order or a subordinate of the Grand Master, but rather a person of similar high status, probably a sovereign or an important mercenary commander. The expression “your enemies” – euwir vinde – also seems to prove that he did not come from Prussia; otherwise he would have written “our enemies” – unsir vinde. The instructions and somewhat reserved tone of the letter also underscore this point. This interpretation is strengthened by the circumstance that the castle of Schlochau was the main assembly point for crusaders and mercenaries arriving in Prussia.38 One may thus assume that the Teutonic Order’s commander at Schlochau told his writer to write a letter for a foreign friend of the Order. It was then sent to the Grand Master as an attachment to another letter, probably written by the Order’s commander. That would explain the folding, the clean paper and the omission of an official seal, the place and date of issue, as well as the name of the sender. We do not know if the author of the letter was an eyewitness to the Battle of Tannenberg, but he might well have been. In any case, he was a very competent man with a consuming interest in and deep knowledge of the art of war. 

The original text of his letter reads: 

Liber her meister, ab is got ffugete, das ir mit euwirn vinden tzu hoffe qwemet, unde ir sult euwir ding bestellen unde schigken ken euwirn vinden, so were unsir ratd, das ir die geste, die ir bey euch hat, die ir dirkennet dortzu tochtig seyn, das ir die dotzu nemet, unde bestellet mit euwirn gebitigern, das die gehorsam seyn wie sie geschigk werden, das sie do bleyben in der schigkunge. Is muchte geschen, das euwir vinde den uffsatz vorsich nehmen, unde lissen eyne banirh addir tzwu weychin addir fluchtig werden: das were eyn uffsatz do mete sie meynten euwir schigkunge tzubrechen, noch deme als die luthe phlegen gerne noch tzu yagen, als ouch geschach in dem grossen streythe. Das bestellet, ab das alzo tzu gynge, so ir aller hertiste kunnet, das yo die euwirn in erer schigkunge bliben: wann wenne eyn huffe addir eyne schigkunge tzutrauth wirt, so sintd die lwthe nicht so rischlichen weddir umbe tzubrengen, wann denne eyn ydirman will yagen, unde waenth, das spil sey gewunnen unde wissen nicht, das is halp mag seyn vorloren. Unde dorumbe so rothe wir euch, so wir getrwlichste kunnen, das ir die euwirn, so ir hogeste kunnet, mit eren schigkungen tzu haeffe haldet unde mit nichte von enandir losset, so lange bys das ir seet, wie sich euwir vinde huffe hindir dem fluchtigen an lesset. Unde dorumbe so bestellet das fleisseclichen mit euwirn gebitigern, das is veste gehalden werde, wann is kumpth wol das tzu angesichte in sotanem gescheffte, do XX addir dreysig yagen, das die machin, das undirwilen vil schigkunge gebrochin werden, do man wenth undirwilen ffromen tzu schaffen unde kumpth tzu grossem schaden. 

A translation into understandable modern English reads as follows: 

Dear Master, if divine Providence should arrange that you come together with your enemies to fight, and you line up and arrange your forces against your enemies, our advice would be that you take the war guests and mercenaries, which you have with you, that you take those of them, which you regard as able, and settle with your commanders that they be obedient when they are lined up for fighting, so that they stay in formation. It might happen that your enemies intentionally let one or two banners withdraw or flee: this would be on purpose, for they hope they might break your battle formation that way, because the people usually like to take up pursuit, as seen in the Great Battle. Thus make sure, if this should happen, as strictly as you can, and insist, that your men stay in their arrays: because when a group of soldiers or an array becomes too sure of victory, it is not so easy to bring the people back, because everybody wants to take up pursuit, and thinks that the victory has been won, and they do not know that it may be half lost. And for this reason we advise you in the most forcible manner, that you hold your men together in their battle formations as severely as you can, and never let them leave the others, until you have seen how the enemy formations behave behind those who flee. And thus arrange this carefully with your commanders, so that it will be firmly kept, because it can be seen in such an undertaking, when 20 or 30 soldiers take up pursuit, that they sometimes cause many battle formations to be broken, for they sometimes hope to get profit, but instead suffer great harm. 

The letter poses a distinct warning and offers solicitous advice. It refers to the “guests” and mercenaries who had come to Prussia and who were not acquainted with the tactics of a feigned retreat. Most of all, these foreigners must be kept together in battle formation, so that what happened during the Battle of Tannenberg might not happen again. To underline the most important sentence: “It might happen that your enemies intentionally let one or two banners withdraw or flee: this would be on purpose, for they hope they might break your battle formation that way, because the people usually like to take up pursuit, as seen in the Great Battle.” 

It must be stressed that this matter-of-fact and impartial assessment by a competent man of high status in a virtually contemporary letter to the Grand Master of the Teutonic Order must be regarded with utmost seriousness. After all, it reminds the Grand Master of the fact that the Lithuanians had used these very same tactics at Tannenberg. It also indicates that only one part of the Lithuanian army had been involved in the feigned retreat. It was perhaps only one or two banners, because this number is mentioned in the warning. 

It is of considerable interest that the French chronicles of the Monk of Saint-Denis39 and the nobleman Enguerran de Monstrelet40 both mention this phase of fighting as the decisive turning point in the battle that led to the defeat of the Order. As I have shown in my extensive presentation of the sources about the battle published in 1982, both chronicles use early contemporary accounts emanating from the Teutonic Knights themselves. 41 Historians, however, have not paid much attention to this because those accounts also contain blunders concerning the number of participants and the length of battle. Those mistakes in these accounts are regrettable, but understandable, given the confusion that always follows such massive conflicts. If the modern reader disregards these insubstantial inconsistencies, he will nevertheless focus on one central point: It was the Teutonic Order itself that regarded precisely this phase of the battle as the true beginning of its decisive defeat. 


We have seen that the letter to the Grand Master gives quite a clear and highly reliable explanation of what happened at Tannenberg, and that other sources – Cronica conflictus, the chronicle of the Continuer of John of Posilge, and the two French chronicles by the Monk of Saint-Denis and Enguerran de Monstrelet – support the assertion given there. The story told by Jan Długosz in his Annales has proved to be demonstratively false and deceitful, debasing the Lithuanians. Now – six hundred years later – a special letter to the Grand Master has made it possible to reverse that old version and shed new light upon what happened in 1410. 

It may be of interest for readers to know that the archives of the Teutonic Order in Prussia were taken from the Staatliches Archivlager Göttingen after its closure to the Geheimes Staatsarchiv Preußischer Kulturbesitz in Berlin in 1978/79. Today, the letter is kept under Nr. 2024 in the Ordensbriefarchiv (OBA) in the XX. Hauptabteilung Staatsarchiv Königsberg in the Geheimes Staatsarchiv

In short: Like the Normans at Hastings in 1066,42 the Lithuanians used the tactics of a feigned retreat at Tannenberg, and thus induced inexperienced “guests” and mercenaries in the Order’s ranks to leave their formations and take up a vain pursuit. In essence, the pursuers became the pursued, that is, they were ultimately forced to flee by those they had been hunting down. At the moment they tried to return to their own banners, they were cut off by Polish units and either killed or taken prisoner. The Poles then penetrated into the dispersed and vulnerable right flank of the Order’s army and heavy fighting ensued, a battle within a battle in which the Lithuanians also took an active part. The army of Vytautas as well as the “guests” and mercenaries of the Poles later helped to crush the third army of the Knights, which was under the command of Grand Master Ulrich of Jungingen. 

The Bychovca Chronicle indicates that there might have been an agreement between Vytautas and Jogaila, and the simple fact that the feigned retreat was so successful may speak for such an arrangement. The flight took place on the left wing of the Lithuanian army, which was nearest to the Poles. 

It is obvious that the Lithuanians played a central part in the Battle of Tannenberg and laid the basis for the defeat of the Teutonic Order. The forces of Vytautas had to carry the heaviest burden in the battle and suffered heavy losses, whereas the casualties among the core Polish troops (with the exception of their auxiliaries, “guests” and mercenaries) remained low. According to letters that King Jogaila sent from his camp on the battlefield in the days immediately following the battle, only a very few of the common men and none of the distinguished were killed (paucis valde communibus, nullis notabilibus interfectis).43 This astonishing statement was only slightly corrected in later Polish sources of importance, of which I choose to mention the speech of a Polish envoy to the Pope in the autumn of 1411,44 the Annals of the Cloister Miechów,45 and the Calendar of Kraków.46 Even Długosz says that only twelve distinguished knights were killed in the army of the king.47 Cronica conflictus informs us that some Polish units did not participate in the battle at all.48 

These facts reveal a logical result: Jogaila spared the genuine Polish troops as much as possible at the cost of the Lithuanians, the different foreign auxiliaries, the “guests” and the mercenaries. Such tactical warfare is quite logical, because every good commander wants to achieve victory without heavy losses among his own troops. Jogaila is no exception in this respect. He deserves to be praised for that by his Polish fellow countrymen even today. 

As can be seen in present-day scholarly investigations regarding the history of the Teutonic Order and the Battle of Tannenberg, the view of the feigned retreat is now not only widely accepted by Lithuanian scholars, but by serious historians in numerous other countries as well. I offered just one example from Germany at the beginning of this article; yet more sources could easily be added. Colleagues in Poland also are now increasingly willing to concede that the information in the letter to the Grand Master must be accepted over Długosz’s skewed version in his Annales. Even so, there remain some who refuse to accept the results of critical scholarly research. Misguided attempts at defending “national honour” sometimes seem to trump detached scholarly conclusions. This does not alter the current reality: Długosz’s assertions no longer remain mainstream conclusions among legitimate historians.49

In point of fact, the scholarly discussion in this particular case should be regarded as long concluded. Everyone who knows the basic principles of historical source criticism must concede that a contemporary and impartial historical document is of greater reliability and value than a later and biased chronicle.


1 The article is based on a lecture the author gave before the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences in Vilnius in 2005, having then been invested as a Foreign Member of the Academy. The text is only slightly revised. Footnotes have been added.
2 Militzer, Die Geschichte des Deutschen Ordens.
3 Ibid., 144. 
4 Ekdahl, ”Die Flucht der Litauer” and numerous other venues. Militzer also uses Ekdahl’s research results.
5 See, for instance, Urban, Tannenberg and After, 152-156; Ekdahl, “Tannenberg, Battle of (1410).”
6 Długosz, Annales.
7 Ibid., 106-107. Heading: “Lithuani terga vertentes in Lithuaniam usque aufugiunt.”
8 See the analysis of his chronicle by Ekdahl, Die Schlacht bei Tannenberg 1410, 260-273.
9 Ekdahl, “The Battle of Grunwald/Tannenberg and its Political and Symbolic Interpretations in Poland and Germany through the Centuries.”
10 Ibid.
11 Nikžentaitis, “Bitwa pod Grunwaldem.”
12 Lenfant, Histoire du Concile de Pise, 19: «Cependent le Moine de S. Denys produit une Lettre des Chevaliers de l’Ordre Teutonique qui raconte la chose tout autrement.» See Ekdahl, Die Schlacht, 183-185.
13 Caro, Geschichte Polens, 323.
14 Kujot, ”Rok 1410. Wojna,” 154-155.
15 Szajnocha, Jadwiga i Jagiełło, 93.
16 Kuczyński, Wielka wojna z Zakonem Krzyżackim w latach 1409-1411. As for the research about the battle throughout the ages, see Ekdahl, Die Schlacht, 37-64.
17 There are two editions of that chronicle: Celichowski’s 1911 edition and Strehlke from 1866 (reprinted in 1965) In the following, I quote the edition by Zelichowski, 434-439.
18 Analysis of the chronicle by Ekdahl, Die Schlacht, 139-149 (also see the chapter „Die Entwicklung der ältesten polnischen Propaganda,“ ibid. 156-181). 
19 ’... Alia autem pars hostium ex eisdem electis cruciferorum hominibus cum maximo impetu et clamore cum gente ducis Vytoldi congressa et fere per horam preliantes mutuo inter se plurimi ex utraque parte ceciderunt, ita quod gens Vytoldi ducis cogitur retrocedere. Et ita ipsos insequentes existimabant iam obtinuisse victoriam, dispersique hostes ab ipsorum banariis in ordinacione suarum acierum erraverunt et illos, quos retrocedere coegerant, fugere inceperunt. Postmodum autem reverti volentes, a suis hominibus et banariis per homines regis, qui directe banaria ipsorum per latera diviserunt, seclusi aut capti et gladio perempti perierunt. Illi autem, qui de parte leva illorum, qui divisi fuerunt, remanserant superstites, ad suos homines exercitus hostiles reversi, iterum uniti ad invicem cum banario magno castellani Cracoviensis, palatini Sadomiriensis, terrae Vyelyunensis, terrae Haliciensis et aliis multis banariis convenerunt. In quorum congressu bellum gerebatur asperrimum et multi hinc inde ceciderunt mortui. (Cronica conflictus, ed. Celichowski, 26.)
20 Kujot, “Wojna,” 155.
21 Korta, “Strategia,” 50.
22 Kuczyński, Wielka wojna, 294.
23 Also see his article “Taktyka walki skrzydła.”
24 Jurgėla, Tannenberg, 48-49.
25 Kučinskas, “Žalgirio Mūšis,” 69-90.
26 Šapoka, Lietuvos istorija. Ibid. about the battle of Tannenberg, 126- 129.
27 Jučas, The Battle of Grünwald.
28 Jakštas, “Dlugosz About the Battle of Tannenberg.”
29 Strehlke, Johann’s von Posilge.
30 Sven Ekdahl, „Krikštijimas, apgyvendinimas, lietuvių reisai.“
31 Strehlke, Johann’s von Posilge, 316-317.
32 See Ekdahl, Die Schlacht, 351-353 (German translation of the description of the battle in the chronicle).
33 See Footnote 4.
34 Ekdahl, Die Schlacht, 77-85.
35 Cf. bibliography at
36 Joachim and Hubatsch, eds., Regesta Historico-Diplomatica.
37 Ibid., nos. 2301 (7 February 1416) and 2490 (10 March 1417).
38 Ekdahl, “The Teutonic Order’s Mercenaries,” 345-361. Also see the famous Payment Book of the Teutonic Order: Das Soldbuch des Deutschen Ordens, 1-2.
39 Bellaguet, Chronique du religieux de Saint-Denys, 16, 334, 336. French translation ibid., 335, 337. Also see Strehlke, Scriptores rerum Prussicarum, 453. More about the description of the battle in this chronicle: Ekdahl, Die Schlacht, 183-185, 197, 205.
40 Monstrelet, La Chronique en deux livres, 75-77. Also see Strehlke Scriptores rerum Prussicarum, 3, 455. More about the description of the battle in this chronicle: Ekdahl, Die Schlacht, 185-187, 197.
41 Ekdahl, Die Schlacht, 183-186.
42 Bachrach, “The feigned retreat at Hastings,” 344-347. The U.S. Army considers the “staged” or ‘feigned’ retreat as a legitimate operational maneuver even to this day (James F. Tent).
43 Letters to Archbishop Nicolaus Kurowski and Bishop Albert of Poznań (Wojciech Jastrzębiec). For more information about the editions etc., see Ekdahl, Die Schlacht, 129-131.
44 Ibid., 178, 304: ’sine sua et suorum notabili offensa.’
45 Ibid., 154: ‘sed de gente domini regis ad XX numero fuerunt interfecti.’
46 Ibid., 238: ’sic quod vix de eadem gente Polonorum quatuor viri vere notabiles in eodem exercitu perierunt’.
47 Długosz, Annales XI, 121: ‘Supputacione autem facta compertum duodecim tantummodo notabiles milites de exercitu regio cecidisse.’
48 Cronica conflictus, ed. Celichowski, 28: ‘Et cum jam ad stationes venissent [i.e., the fleeing soldiers of the Order], videntes, quod regis aduc multae fuerant acies, quae proelium non intraverant, viso etiam, quod dux eorum cecidit interemptus, in fugam realem conversi sparsim fugere coeperunt.’
49 For those readers who want to inform themselves about new research concerning the battle of 1410, I mention four recent articles of mine, „Aufmarsch und Aufstellung der Heere bei Tannenberg/ Grunwald“; „Die Söldnerwerbungen des Deutschen Ordens für einen geplanten Angriff auf Polen“; “Politics, Diplomacy and the Recruitment of Mercenaries before the Battle of Tannenberg- Grunwald-Žalgiris”; and „Diplomatie und Söldnerwebung vor der Schlacht bei Žalgiris.“


Bachrach, Bernard S. “The feigned retreat at Hastings,” Medieval Studies, 33 (1971). 

Bellaguet, Louis. Chronique du religieux de Saint-Denys: contenant lé règne de Charles VI., de 1380 à 1422 4. Paris: Crapelet, 1842. 

Caro, Jacob. Geschichte Polens, vol. 3, Geschichte der europäischen Staaten 16. Gotha: 1869.

Celichowski, Z. wyd. Cronica conflictus Wladislai regis Poloniae cum cruciferis. Anno Christi 1410.

Zrękopisu Biblioteki Kórnickiej, Poznań: 1911. 

Długosz, Jan. Joannis Dlugossii Annales seu Cronicae incliti regni Poloniae, Liber decimus et liber undecimus, 1406-1412, ed. Marian Plezia. Varsaviae: Wydawnictwo Naukowe PWN, 1997.

Ekdahl, Sven. “Politics, Diplomacy and the Recruitment of Mercenaries before the Battle of Tannenberg-Grunwald-Žalgiris in 1410,“ The Military Orders, vol. 5: Politics & Power, ed. Peter Edbury. Ashgate: Aldershot. 

________. „Diplomatie und Söldnerwebung vor der Schlacht bei Žalgiris,“ Lietuvos istorijos studijos, 25, ed. Sigitas Jegelevičius. Vilnius: Vilnius University Publishing House. 

________. “The Battle of Grunwald/Tannenberg and its Political and Symbolic Interpretations in Poland and Germany through the Centuries,” The Battle of Grunwald: a New Look, ed. Katarzyna Murawska-Muthesius. Warszawa: National Museum, 2010. 

________. „Die Söldnerwerbungen des Deutschen Ordens für einen geplanten Angriff auf Polen am 1. Juni 1410. Ein Beitrag zur Vorgeschichte der Schlacht bei Tannenberg,“ Militärgeschichte des Preußenlandes, ed. Bernhart Jähnig, Tagungsberichte der Historischen Kommission für ost- und westpreußische Landesforschung 25. Marburg: Elwert, 2010. 

________. „Aufmarsch und Aufstellung der Heere bei Tannenberg/ Grunwald (1410). Eine kritische Analyse,“ Krajobraz grunwaldzki w dziejach polsko-krzyżackich i polsko-niemieckich na przestrzeni wieków. Wokół mitów i rzeczywistości, ed. Jan Gancewski, Biblioteka “Mrągowskich Studiów Humanistycznych.”. Historia, nr 1. Olsztyn: Pracownia Wydawnicza „ElSet,“ 2009, 31-103. 

________. “The Teutonic Order’s Mercenaries during the ‘Great War’ with Poland-Lithuania (1409-1411),” Mercenaries and Paid Men. The Mercenary Identity in the Middle Ages. John France, ed. Leiden, Boston: Brill, 2008, History of Warfare, 47, 345-361. 

________. “Tannenberg, Battle of (1410),” The Crusades. An Encyclopedia, ed. Alan V. Murray, vol. IV (Q-Z). Santa Barbara, Denver, Oxford: ABC-CLIO, 2006, 1145-1146. 

________. „Krikštijimas, apgyvendinimas, lietuvių reisai. Lietuvos krikštas kaip Vokiečių ordino dilema,“ Lietuvos krikščionėjimas Vidurio Europos kontekste, Sudarė Vydas Dolinskas, vertė Klaus Berthel, Irma Daugvilaitė, Irena Tumavičiūtė. Vilnius: Lietuvos dailės muziejus, 2005, 173-188. Also in a German version (189- 205). 

________. Das Soldbuch des Deutschen Ordens 1410/1411. Die Abrechnungen für die Soldtruppen. I: Köln, Wien: Böhlau Verl, 1988. II: 2010. Veröffentlichungen aus den Archiven Preußischer Kulturbesitz 23, 1-2. 71

________. Die Schlacht bei Tannenberg 1410. Quellenkritische Untersuchungen, I: Einführung und Quellenlage, Berliner Historische Studien 8. Berlin: Duncker and Humblot, 1982. (A Polish translation of this book is in print; there is yet no second volume.) 

________. ”Die Flucht der Litauer in der Schlacht bei Tannenberg,” Zeitschrift für Ostforschung, No. 12, 1963; on the Internet: ); in Lithuanian: ’”Lietuvių pabėgimas’ Žalgirio mūšyje’; in idem: Žalgiris. Šiandienos žvilgsnis. Trys paskaitos Vilniuje. Sudarė Vydas Dolinskas […]. Vilnius: Baltos Lankos, 1999. 

Jakštas, Juozas. “Dlugosz About the Battle of Tannenberg. Vytautas and the Lithuanians Through the Eyes of a Chronicler,” Lituanus, Vol. 8, No. 3. Lithuanian Student Association, 1962, 71-81. 

Joachim, Erich and Hubatsch, Walther, eds., Regesta Historico-Diplomatica Ordinis S. Mariae Theutonicorum 1198-1525. Pars I, vol. I: 1198-1454, Göttingen 1948, no. 2024. 

Jučas, Mečislovas. The Battle of Grünwald, trans. Albina Strunga, ed. J. Everatt, M. Šapoka. Vilnius: National Museum – Palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania; Lithuanian Art Museum, 2009. 

Jurgėla, Constantine R. Tannenberg (Eglija – Grunwald). 15 July 1410. New York: Lithuanian Veterans Association Ramovė, 1961. 

Korta, Adam. “Strategia i taktyka bitwy grunwaldzkiej,” Nasza Myśl, Miesięcznik oficerski, Nos. 7-9, Liepiec-Sierpień: 1949. 

Kučinskas, Antanas. “Žalgirio Mūšis,” in: Vytautas Didysis. 1350-1430. ed P. Šležas. Kaunas: 1930 (reprint, Vilnius: 1988). 

Kuczyński, Stefan M. “Taktyka walki skrzydła litewsko-ruskiego w bitwie pod Grunwaldem,” Studia i Materiały do Historii Wojskowości, X, 2. Warszawa: 1964. 

________. Wielka wojna z Zakonem Krzyżackim w latach 1409-1411. Warszawa: Wydawnictwo Ministerstwa Obrny Narodowej, 1955. 

Kujot, Stanisław. “Rok 1410. Wojna,” Roczniki Towarzystwa Naukowego w Toruniu, 17. Toruń: Nakładem Towarzystwa Naukowego, 1910. 

Lenfant, Jaques. Histoire du Concile de Pise, vol. II, Amsterdam: 1724. 

Militzer, Klaus. Die Geschichte des Deutschen Ordens. Stuttgart: Kohlhammer, 2005. 

Monstrelet, Enguerrand, and Louis Claude Douët-D’Arcq. La chronique d’Enguerrand de Monstrelet: en deux livres avec pièces justificatives 1400 - 1444. Paris: Renouard, 1857. 

Nikžentaitis, Alvydas. “Bitwa pod Grunwaldem w ocenie społeczeństwa litewskiego XV-XVI stulecia,” Studia Grunwaldzkie, III. Olsztyn: Ośrodek Badań Naukowych im. W. Kętrzyńskiego, 1994. Rozsprawy i Materiały Ośrodka Badań Naukowych im. Wojciecha Kętrzyńskiego w Olsztynie, no. 136, 12. 

Šapoka, Adolfas, ed. Lietuvos istorija, Kaunas: 1936 (reprint Vilnius: 1990). 

Strehlke, Ernst, ed. Johann’s von Posilge, Officials von Pomesanien, Chronik des Landes Preußen, (von 1360 an, fortgesetzt bis 1419), Scriptores rerum Prussicarum, vol. 3. Leipzig: 1866 (reprint Frankfurt am Main: Minerva, 1965), 79-388. 

_______. “Cronica conflictus Wladislai regis Polonie cum cruciferis anno Christi 1410,” Scriptores rerum Prussicarum, vol. 3, Leipzig, 1866 (reprint Frankfurt am Main: Minerva, 1965). 

Szajnocha, Karol. Jadwiga i Jagiełło. Dzieła Karola Szajnochy, vol. 8. Warszawa: 1877. 

Urban, William. Tannenberg and After: Lithuania, Poland, and the Teutonic Order in Search of Immortality. Rev. ed. Chicago: Lithuanian Research and Studies Center, 2003.