Osprey's World Tour sees us delving into our extensive backlist of books as we explore the globe through military history.

In today's instalment of Osprey's World Tour we are travelling to Poland, with a stunning illustration showing the First Battle of Tannenberg, with Polish-Lithuanian forces taking on the Teutonic Order. The artwork comes from Campaign 122: Tannenberg 1410.

The death of the Grand Master, approximately 2.00pm, 15 July 1410

Extract from Campaign 122: Tannenberg 1410 by Stephen Turnbull

Shortly before midday Grand Master Ulrich von Jungingen led 16 Banners of armoured knights into battle sweeping to the left past Tannenberg and then turning south to strike the Polish right flank. The Teutonic Knights swept down into the melee already being fought out in the shallow valley just forward of King Wladislaw Jagiello’s command post. One group of Knights seemed to be heading straight for the Polish king, who called for troops to come to his aid. The Poles rallied after bitter fighting and the hunter in turn became the hunted, as the white-clad Knights were surrounded by Polish horsemen.

Grand Master Ulrich von Jungingen now became a prime target. The Grand Master, already under attack, wears the characteristic long white mantle with black cross over his armour. The caparison of his horse bears his personal arms, an elaboration of the usual black cross on white of the Order, which was repeated on his personal shield. The standard bearer holding the Great Banner of the Grand Master hurries to his aid. Grand Master Von Jungingen tried desperately to cut his way out of the melee but was wounded in the face and the chest before meeting his death from a lance driven through his neck.The Polish knight delivering the fatal lance-thrust is Dobieslaw of Olesnica, identified by his arms of a white cross on a red field with a white ‘w’ device.

The backdrop to their duel is the black cross on white that was the banner of the Teutonic order. Other Polish knights, identifiable from their banners, engage in the melee behind. Marcin of Slawsko held the title of Assistant Master of the Pantry for Poznan and his standard bearer carries the boat device of the clan of Lozdzia. The yellow banner with a wreathed maiden of Krystyn of Ostrow is also visible. Duke Konrad VII ‘the White’ of Schweidnitz (Olesnica) was a Polish nobleman who fought for the Teutonic Order at Tannenberg; his standard bearer is fleeing from the Poles. The knight in the foreground carries the dramatic red and white banner of the city of Kulm (Chelmno). The knights of the Lizard League of Kulm would later be accused of betraying the Order in its hour of need. Alongside the Kulm standard-bearer rides a sergeant of the Order identified by the black ‘T’ on his grey mantle.


Further Reading

If you would like to explore Polish military history in a little more detail then take a look at these books:

Campaign 205: Warsaw 1944
Men-at-Arms 485: Polish Armies of the Partitions 1770–94
New Vanguard 224: Polish Armor of the Blitzkrieg
Warrior 94: Polish Winged Hussar 1576–1775
Aircraft of the Aces 127: Polish Spitfire Aces

Anything you think we are missing? Let us know in the comments below!