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The Battle of Liegnitz/Legnica

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  Quote EvilNed Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: The Battle of Liegnitz/Legnica
    Posted: 30-Mar-2005 at 19:09

I was always under the impression that the Polish were completly and utterly destroyed at the battle of Liegnitz and that they offered little resistance towards the Mongols. However, I came upon two sites offering completly different stories from the battle. Both of them claim that the polish actually fared pretty well (we all know they did better than the Hungarians), but one of them seems to suggest that the poles even did an extraordinary work at Liegnitz. Now, this site is mostly just filled with historical inaccuracies (it even claims that Duke Henry made it out of the battle alive) but, is there anyone here that can tell me what resistance the poles DID offer at Liegnitz? Were they utterly beaten or did they actually put up a tough resistance towards the mongols/tatars?

Site #1: (Seems to be the more accurate site)

http://www.simaqianstudio.com/forum/lofiversion/index.php/t2 152.html

Site #2: (Seems to be pieced together by a student, or so)

http://www.juniorgeneral.org/liegnitz/liegnitz.html

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  Quote Sarmata Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31-Mar-2005 at 00:28
I acctually read in one source that the Poles were doing very well but then the mongols used some kinda of gas, and I think one soldier thought he heard Henryk yell for retreat which confused the Poles and messed them all up...disorganizing them and making them easy targets for mongols
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  Quote TJK Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31-Mar-2005 at 02:55

EvilNed,

You can find the same (as in SimaqianStudio)  description of Legnitz on our  site in the subforum Military History ( link ). Juniorgeneral is wargaming site and optional scenerios presented there (battle 1, battle2) have nothing to do with real historical battle which are shortly described in historical background chapter..

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  Quote EvilNed Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15-Apr-2005 at 16:20
Well, thanks for your help. That gas thing sounds kinda wierd.
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  Quote Balain d Ibelin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27-Jun-2007 at 08:00

Well, the Poles, or more accurately the Silesian, under King Henry V the pious resisted the Mongol Carnage not very well at the Battle of Liegnitz (also Liegnieca). However,they ARE helped by the German HRE Teutonic Grand Master to resist the Mongols, however, the Mongol Carnage-Ambush were hard to resist, and... They failed.

(The Silesian weren't crushed or just resisted highly, but they're slightly "Massacred")

 

I think so...

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  Quote Roberts Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27-Jun-2007 at 14:21
Originally posted by Balian d'Ibelin

Well, the Poles, or more accurately the Silesian, under King Henry V the pious resisted the Mongol Carnage not very well at the Battle of Liegnitz (also Liegnieca). However,they ARE helped by the German HRE Teutonic Grand Master to resist the Mongols, however, the Mongol Carnage-Ambush were hard to resist, and... They failed.

(The Silesian weren't crushed or just resisted highly, but they're slightly "Massacred")

 

I think so...



Teutonic Order didn't fight at the Leignitz, it is just a  popular myth.
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  Quote cavalry4ever Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17-May-2008 at 04:08
Originally posted by Balain d Ibelin

Well, the Poles, or more accurately the Silesian, under King Henry V the pious resisted the Mongol Carnage not very well at the Battle of Liegnitz (also Liegnieca). However,they ARE helped by the German HRE Teutonic Grand Master to resist the Mongols, however, the Mongol Carnage-Ambush were hard to resist, and... They failed.


(The Silesian weren't crushed or just resisted highly, but they're slightly "Massacred")


 


I think so...



This battle is an European battle. It was a Mongol diversion from Hungarian campaign. As an envoy wrote to French King " Sir there is no army between here and Paris to stop Mongols".
Problem with european armies of this time is they are inadequate, undisciplined, with dimm-witted leaders and just get massacred at will by Mongol generals such as Subutai.
If it was not for the succession (after the death of Ogadei Khan) gathering, Mongols had Europe wide open and could do anything they wanted to. What was funny is that feint retreat worked so well against Europeans in both Poland and Hungary.

Edited by cavalry4ever - 04-Jun-2008 at 02:54
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  Quote ataman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17-May-2008 at 07:50
There was a long debate about the battle of Legnica and participation of Polish army in that one. Look at this
and next pages
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  Quote Kevin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17-May-2008 at 08:01
The Mongols used poison gas?
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  Quote ataman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17-May-2008 at 08:23
Originally posted by Kevin

The Mongols used poison gas?
 
It was Długosz, who wrote about it 2 centuries after the battle. But reliability of this source is controversial very much.


Edited by ataman - 17-May-2008 at 08:27
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  Quote pikeshot1600 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18-May-2008 at 01:13
Originally posted by Kevin

The Mongols used poison gas?
 
If they did it must have been flatulence...animal or human.  I don't think they had that kind of technology.
 
 
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  Quote ataman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18-May-2008 at 06:01
Originally posted by pikeshot1600

 I don't think they had that kind of technology. 
 
Well, the Chineses already knew a poison gas at least in 11th c. (it is described in 'Wujiang zongyao' from 11th c.). The Chineses also knew a powder, which was unknown in Europe in that time. During the siege of Kaifeng 1232, the Chineses used bombs against the Mongols.
Having contact with this technology (a powder, a poison gas), the Mongols could copy it (or could use Chinese experts).
 
More about Chinese poison gas in:
J. Needham 'Science and Civilisation in China' vol. 3, 'Chemistry and Chemical Technology', part 7, 'Military Technology the Gunpowder Epic', Cambridge 1986, p. 123.


Edited by ataman - 18-May-2008 at 06:16
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  Quote cavalry4ever Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29-May-2008 at 02:49
Originally posted by Kevin

The Mongols used poison gas?

They used discipline and composite bone and sinew bows against army that looked pretty overmatched. Leignitz battle was just diversion. Slaughter in Hungary of European army was on a greater scale.
To be frank it is amazing to see Europe surviving the medieval period.
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  Quote Władysław Warnencz Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28-Jun-2008 at 12:53
I doubt that we did such great stand and fought very well.I think the truth is we were totally beaten by the mongols,who were a lot more experianced and fierce warriors than us back than......unfortunately.
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  Quote wrath Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21-Jul-2008 at 14:58
I don't know about poison gas.  The Mongols did use a smokescreen to separate the European cavalry from the infantry.  The cavalry was lured into pursuing a Mongol detachment which had executed a false retreat. The infantry was smashed.
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  Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21-Jul-2008 at 18:38
Greetings,

Legnica was a decisive Mongol victory over what was mostly Polish forces but which also included Teutonic Knights, Knights Templar, and other European (Christian) volunteers. The battle was doubly disastrous for Poland because the leader of the Polish forces, Henryk II of Silesia, was seen by some as the man who would re-unite Poland after the country had splintered in 1138 with the death of Bolesław III 'Krzywousty'. Henryk finished the battle with his head on a Mongol pike. Poland would have to wait until 1300 for the kingdom to be re-united, under Władysław I 'Łokietek'. As someone mentioned, the Polish campaign was for the Mongols only a diversion from their main target, Hungary. Some believe that the Mongols' knowledge of Poland reflects their superior intelligence-gathering abilities. After Legnica, Mongol forces turned southward and cut through Bohemia -- only half-heartedly giving chase to Václav I of Bohemia -- before moving on to Hungary.

The battle at Legnica happened because of Václav; the Mongols were be-sieging Wrocław/Vratislav/Breslau and were aware that Henryk was collecting forces at Legnica, but the Mongols also knew how far Václav I -- Henryk's brother-in-law -- was from them (he was marching north to Legnica to join Henryk) so when he got within two days distance the Mongols broke off their siege of Wrocław/Vratislav/Breslau and attacked Henryk at Legnica, who (according to tradition) foolishly left the safety of the fortifications in typical European early feudal combat to face his foes directly. Tradition also holds that the Mongols fought several skirmishes in the battle to draw out the knights from the cover of their archers and support infantry, and, succeeding, pulled the old Steppe tactic of feigned retreat only to suddenly turn in coordinated fashion and ambush their pursuers. This apparently proved fatal to the Christian cause, and the rest of the battle was Mongols hunting down Christians fleeing the battlefield.

There was a legend in Poland for centuries of a Christian defeat at Legnica but one which was so costly to the Mongols that they gave up any Central European invasion plans and headed south to join forces with Batu in Hungary, but most historians today believe the entire Polish campaign to have been planned in detail by the Mongols, and essentially went off for them without a hitch. In modern Poland, on the Thursday after Boże Ciało/Corpus Christi, there is the Lajkonik festival in Kraków in which an actor dressed comically like a mounted Mongol warrior jumps around and "jousts" with crowds; to get "lanced" by a Lajkonik is considered good luck. The whole procession eventually makes its way to the Rynek Głowny/main square and lots of speeches are made with the city mayor, and of course all this happens as with any Polish celebration with lots of food and drink. I assume everyone knows about the legend of the bugler in the church spire of Bazilika Mariacka/St. Mary's Basilica, which plays every day at noon but stops abruptly in mid-song in deference to a myth of a bugler trying to warn Kraków's population during the Mongol attack but being silenced by a Mongol arrow to his throat; local fire-fighters provide this service nowadays and you can hear it every day on the radio. 
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  Quote cavalry4ever Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21-Jul-2008 at 19:10
Gallus Anonymous - Leignitz battle was a diversion from the main Mongol trust through Hungary. The losses on Mongol side were most likely minor as the whole battle was one sided. Mongols probably thought it was a fun exercise. The Polish account of this battle is a myth that has nothing to do with reality. The reality was that Europe was wide open after European losses in Hungary and Poland. Mongols withdrew because leaders needed to go home for electing the successor of Ogadei which died in 1241.
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  Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22-Jul-2008 at 02:22
I pretty much say all that in my post. I had meant to add something about Jan Dlugosz's account and the fact that most Polish historians regard it as unreliable, but I thought I fairly clearly distinguished between fact and myth.

Edited by Gallus Anonymus - 22-Jul-2008 at 02:30
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  Quote Sarmat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22-Jul-2008 at 07:21
Originally posted by ataman

 
Well, the Chineses already knew a poison gas at least in 11th c. (it is described in 'Wujiang zongyao' from 11th c.). The Chineses also knew a powder, which was unknown in Europe in that time. During the siege of Kaifeng 1232, the Chineses used bombs against the Mongols.
Having contact with this technology (a powder, a poison gas), the Mongols could copy it (or could use Chinese experts).
 
More about Chinese poison gas in:
J. Needham 'Science and Civilisation in China' vol. 3, 'Chemistry and Chemical Technology', part 7, 'Military Technology the Gunpowder Epic', Cambridge 1986, p. 123.
 
Not only Mongols had all these technologies, but actually actively used them. They have the whole army of Chinese military engineers in their disposal who constantly provided them with the ammunition siege machines of every kind. In fact, Mongol army even included several Chinese generals.


Edited by Sarmat12 - 22-Jul-2008 at 07:21
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  Quote Sarmat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22-Jul-2008 at 07:24
Originally posted by Gallus Anonymus

Tradition also holds that the Mongols fought several skirmishes in the battle to draw out the knights from the cover of their archers and support infantry, and, succeeding, pulled the old Steppe tactic of feigned retreat only to suddenly turn in coordinated fashion and ambush their pursuers. This apparently proved fatal to the Christian cause, and the rest of the battle was Mongols hunting down Christians fleeing the battlefield. 
 
The ironic thing is that actually many Mongol warriors were Nestorian Christians.
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