The Teutonic Knights were a military order committed to spreading Christendom eastwards into the non-Christian realms of the Baltic and Russia. They progressively extended their control across the various feuding tribes of the Baltic until they confronted the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, a relatively well-organized and cohesive state. Fully illustrated, this book investigates the fighting men on both sides, assessing their origins, tactics, armament and combat effectiveness in three clashes of the Lithuanian Crusade.
The battle of Voplaukis (1311), triggered by a major Lithuanian invasion of newly Christianized lands, saw the Teutonic Knights defeat the numerous but relatively poorly equipped Lithuanian raiders once they had brought them to battle. As a result, the Lithuanians would begin to prepare for full-scale warfare, and the siege of Kaunas (1362) was the month-long investment of the first brick-built castle the Lithuanians constructed. In the battle of Grunwald (1410), the forces of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth - fielding knights by now almost comparable to those of the Order - broke the armies of the Teutonic Knights, a defeat from which the Order would never really recover. This lively study lifts the veil on these formidable medieval warriors and three battles that shaped the Baltic world.