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
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.