Ruthenians at Grunwald (Dubroŭna) in 1410

Henadź Sahanovich

The Poles used to attribute the victory over the Teutonic Knights to themselves only. However, since the 19th century Lithuanian and Belarusian national historiographies have competed for its glory, too. Their contest entailed some propaganda tricks, which simplified the matter, overestimated the number of troops involved in the battle and the number of their ‘national’ regiments in particular, underestimating the others’ contribution, etc. The data on the Polish Kingdom’s and the Grand Duchy’s demographic and economic potential shows that in 1410 Vitaŭt and Jahajla could have assembled many times more warriors than the Teutonic Knights. The latter no longer represented a mortal peril. So Vitaŭt and Jahaila actually mobilised for their onslaught on Prussia only a part of their forces, 10,000 and 20,000 respectively. Rather big forces remained in the Grand Duchy. Judging from the description of Vitaŭt’s regiments by the Polish chronicler Jan Długosz (although the source is not completely reliable), it can be estimated that Ruthenians accounted for over a half of the Grand Duchy’s army. Alongside the Ukrainian regiments of the Polish kingdom Ruthenians were the second largest force (after the Poles) in the allies’ army. For this reason, it would be unfair to underestimate their contribution to the victory at Grunwald.