THE BATTLE OF PAGASTIN - 1271
Battle of Pagastin was a medieval battle fought between the Teutonic
Knights and Prussians in 1271 during the Great Prussian Uprising (1260-1274). 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,
but the Knights received reinforcements from Western Europe and were gaining upper hand in the conflict.
The Prussians launched raids against
the Chełmno Land, where the Knights first established themselves in late 1220s. Apparent aim of these raids were to force
the Knights to devote as many troops in defense of Chełmno as possible so that they could not organize raids deep into
Prussian territory. As other clans became preoccupied fending off Teutonic attacks from their forts, only Diwanus and his
Bartians were able to continue the war in the west. They made several minor expeditions to Chełmno Land each year.
The major Prussian offensive was organized
in 1271 together with Linka, leader of the Pogesanians. The Bartian infantry and Pogesanians besieged a border castle, but
were fended off by the Knights from Christburg. The Prussians who managed to escape joined their cavalry while the Knights
set up a camp on the opposite bank of the Dzierzgoń River, blocking the route home. When Christians retired for the night,
one half of the Prussian army crossed the river in a distance, in order to attack the Knights from the rear, while the other
half charged straight across the river. The Knights were encircled. The Battle of Paganstin saw twelve knights and 500 men
killed. The Prussians immediately assaulted Christburg and almost captured it. The Prussians were still looting the surrounding
area when cavalry from Elbing arrived. Many of the Prussian infantry perished while cavalry escaped. Despite these losses,
Diwanus was soon back and blocked roads leading to Christburg hoping to starve the castle.