The battle begins

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21. September 1217 time 12:00

The battle began around midday, on September 21. Estonians used similar strategy to that in the Battle of Ümera, 7 years ago: their army attacked the crusader from the forest, at a carefully selected location. The surprise moment however was not as overwhelming as at Ümera, because the Germans had been alert for several days and were moving about carefully.
The crusaders arranged themselves swiftly; the first blows landed on the Germans and Latgalians. Because the armies were standing quite close to each other, bows and crossbows could not be used.

Estonians dealt a swift and heavy blow on the Germans, but after a ferocious battle, Estonian attack line was broken and they had to flee. At the same time, Saccalians were busy fighting the Latvians, perhaps few Saccalians were among enemy ranks. As the middle part of the Estonian line was broken, Germans turned against the Saccalians and attacked them from sides. Latter could only retreat.

In the third section of the battle field, Harriens and the rest were successful at first, thanks to throwing spears, which initially drove Livonians back. But instead of fleeing, they retreated to the Germans and began to pursue the Estonians. Estonians who had moved in to fight the Livonians met the Germans who had come to their help, and ultimately had to flee.

Source: Sulev Vahtre. Muinasaja loojang Eestis: vabadusvõitlus 1208-1227. Tallinn: Olion. 1990

Evald Tõnisson, Jüri Selirand ja Artur Vassar. Kui Lembitu kutsus... Tallinn: Eesti Raamat, 1968                            

Image source: A. Mäesalu, T. Lukas, M. Laur, T. Tanneberg Eesti ajalugu I, Avita 1997, lk 49 

 


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