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Encyclopedia > Battle of Plowce

The Battle of Plowce took place on 27 September 1331 between an army of Poland and the Teutonic Order.

A third of the Knights' force were leaving Plowce on September 27 1331. Ladislaus the Elbow High and his son Casimir both led the Polish army against them. Reportedly, just as the battle was beginning, Prince Casimir fled the field in terror. Despite this, in three hours, the Knights had been defeated and their leader was captured.

However, another third of the Teutonic Knight forces arrived. The battle resumed and went until dark. No side scored a clear victory; it was a long and bloody battle with high casualties on both sides. After Plowce, the Knights returned to Torun.

Despite the inconclusive outcome, it was an important battle in that Poland, just regaining their stature as a country on the international scene, had held their own against the powerful military might.

Plowce 1331 (During the first Polish-Teutonic Order War)

An army of Germans, from the Teutonic Order, 7,000 strong. Poles had 5,000 men. The aim of the Order was to take Brzesc Kujawski with a lightning attack. When the Germans under Dietrich von Altenburg arrived near the blockaded peasant town of Plowce the Poles immediately attacked in a frontal assault. A few seconds later, Polish detachments hiding to the left of the city in a forest attacked themselves. The Poles were victorious in this phase of the battle taking into captivity 56 brotherly knights and freeing many Polish captives. The second battle was even more bloody with rear elements of the German formations alarmed on hearing the generals sounds of battle from Plowce. The battle was exceedingly bloody, both armies not giving up an inch. Reuss von Plauen, commander of the army and 40 knights were taking into captivity by the Poles. An estimated 4,000 men (combined) were said to have fallen on the field of the battle. 73 of these were brotherly knights of the Teutonic Order. About 1/2 of the dead were Poles. The Germans had to retreat back to Torun, their losses climbing to 1/3rd dead of all their knights taking part in the whole war. The Polish armies, seriously bloodied as well didn't follow the retreating Germans. Actually because of the casualties the battle is treated as a draw, but is important as it was the first defeat of the Teutonic Order in battle by any central / northern European army of that time. The Order was considered to have the most powerful armies in all of Europe during this time.



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