elcoming the Teutonic Order formed by the Holy Roman Empire and Austrian Empire as the most feared is actually an understatement of how chivalry they have known to be however still extremely gruesome against their enemies. It is imperative to mention that in the Feudal or Medieval era politics were based on religious views and even if the Teutonic Order was born for the intent of crusaders the origin of these knights goes further back in time.
Ritterbruder is what the knights of the Teutonic order were called in the Holy Roman Empire which does not have a straight translation from the German language, however, “Ritter” would-be knight, and “Bruder” is brother so I believe that a good translation would be the brotherhood of knights. The need for a more powerful unit made to deal with the crusades made the Holy Roman Empire create the Teutonic Order in 1099.
The Teutonic Order was summoned once again in 1240 in order to eradicate Europe of the Mongols which have started their first invasion of Europe around 1220 however, they were able to only affect the mass majority of East Europe as the Polish Knights gave them quite a hard time. After the eradication of Mongols from Europe, The Teutonic Order merged with the Russian Empire in which they allied with most European countries.
Even if the Order was seen as very Christian, do not be fooled as on the battlefield, this unit takes a totally different approach as they did not have a very orthodox approach to combat, however, I do not know if we can call medieval warfare orthodox. Their only approach was the merciless massacre of even wounded soldiers and the unnecessary slaughter of fleeing enemies. Just to make it clear, they have never taken prisoners. This would only happen if the Holy Roman Empire ordered them.
The order was made of the most elite knights from the Holy Roman Empire and other allied nations of the Holy Roman Empire of Catholic Christian descent. In order to become a Ritterbruder Knight, you had to be a veteran of at least 5 years and take at least 50 lives in combat in order to prove you were worthy of the tasks ahead. A principal as to why these units were so feared is that they were outnumbered most of the time and still won every fight.
Once you joined the Teutonic Order, that was only the beginning of the harsh training that knights had to undergo in order to become the best. A tactic that they used, and the one we are discussing at hand, was fear. This sort of discipline was created around the 1200s when approached their 3rd crusader. They wanted other religions to fear Christianity as if not followed or practiced they would bring the wrath down in all seriosity.
The helmets are not intended to make them look like devils or evil, however. They are trying to represent archangels which, in philosophy they are known to be the most feared. A complex ranking system was used where the more experienced you became as a knight the more decorated and menacing your helmet would look. Their high combat skills combined with formidable armor and weaponry would make them able to face off any enemy.
One huge advantage they used in the Baltic crusades was the weather conditions, freezing conditions that would incapacitate entire armies, however, these feared knights were very well prepared for such conditions, in fact, any condition as it was not only their experience but also training that prepared them for such.
Another feared form of combat was their defensive capabilities, Interestingly enough these knights have proven to be so much more efficient as dismounted knights. this is also caused by the way that they have been trained to fight every fight as it was their last so they would always commence in a ‘last stand’ mode. The Teutonic Knights would build fortresses and citadels in the newly conquered region to make sure that they can face any counter-attack brought by the enemies.
These fortifications were built with stone and were strategically placed near the enemy in order to make a strong statement. The Teutonic Order is the kingdom that implemented the use of citadels in the Feudal era, as a citadel would have 3 levels of fortification imposed on a fortress which would only have 2. By the 1300s the whole world knew about the Teutonic Order and feared them for the brutality they would bring to the battlefields as well as the low rate of losses.
This would prove once again a terrorizing factor that has made them look more like archangels as they would take their vows very serious. I would like to point out that the bond of this brotherhood between knights was best represented by the Teutonic Order which made them so much more efficient in combat. As every soldier was highly skilled they knew that they could put their trust in one another no matter the power of the foe that they were facing.
The main emphasis on the terror this order was bringing is the highly experienced units that were trained in such a way to make every blow and strike fatal to the enemy. This does not mean that they would launch heads on into every battle without using some strategies. They were actually a very strategic Kingdom and this is why they were winning most of the time even if they were outnumbered.
Many historians argue that this is the way in which they actually liked to fight as they were always in the lookout for a challenge in order to prove themselves to their superiors and be ranked up. This aspect is what made them want to become unstoppable and, most importantly, to be seen as unstoppable. Always rise above all and run after those who fear the Teutonic Order.