THE SIEGE OF KONIGSBERG - 1262
Siege of Königsberg was a siege laid upon the city
of Königsberg (now Kaliningrad, Russia), one of the main strongholds of the Teutonic Knights, by the Prussians during
the Great Prussian Uprising in 1262. Pagan Prussians
rose against their conquerors, who tried to convert them to Christianity, after Lithuanians and Samogitians soundly defeated
the joint forces of the Teutonic Knights and the Livonian Order in the Battle of Durbe in 1260. The first years of the uprising
were successful to Prussians, who defeated the Knights in the open battles and besieged Teutonic castles. However, Prussians
faced great difficulties attacking and capturing the castles.
Prussians had built small forts
around the city so that they could block any contact with the outside. The Grand Master of the Knights was working to provide
relief to the starving garrison in Königsberg. In January 1262 reinforcement arrived from Rhineland, led by Count Wilhelm
of Jülich. His army arrived in the afternoon and desired to attack the pagans right away, but decided to wait for the
next morning. During the nighttime, the Prussians abandoned their forts and hid in nearby forest. Thinking that the Prussians
had gone home to Sambia, the soldiers rode towards the city and were ambushed. Heavy fighting ensured and Prussians were driven
into a village. When enforcement arrived from Königsberg, the battle was won. The Knights counted some dead 3,000 bodies
of their enemy. Soon Rhinelanders returned home, and Sambians renewed the siege.
This time crusaders had enough
food and supply to last until summer when they expected some relief delivered via the Pregel River. However, Prussians were
prepared for this and transformed a few of their ships to war vessels. They were successful in destroying few supplies ships
that tried to reach Königsberg. Then they built a bridge of boats and a wooden fort to protect it. The Knights, against
the odds, succeeded in burning down both the bridge and fort.
Reinforcement to Sambians came
from Herkus Monte of Natangians. The Knights decided to fight in an open battle and succeeded in wounding Herkus. The Natangians
retreated. Sambians also withdrew because they could neither stop supplies and reinforcement reaching the castle nor capture
it. The siege proved the weakness of the Prussians and the strength of the Knights. The reliance upon fortified castles allowed
the Knights to regroup and eventually subdue the uprising.