Saturday, June 16, 2012

Fridericus Redivivus: 2nd Knights

A fair bit more vibrant and colourful than the last couple of entries, a second unit of knights enters the field of glory.

In contrast to the first unit, these knights have formed a vaguely wedge-shaped formation. I'm aware that this depiction is quite debatable, to say the least. There are a few references of attacking knights forming a "keil" (in German) or "cuneus" (in Latin) which would indicate some pointed formation. To name a prominent example, the Teutonic knights at Lake Peipus in 1242 are said to having adopted the "wedge". However, it failed them miserably for the knights were easily outflanked and cut down man by man. Thus it's rather doubtful if the "keil" refers to an actual approved battle tactic.

On the contrary, it is more likely that Medieval army commanders aimed for their knights attacking in broad lines. The Templars, for example, were admired for their ability to ride "knee to knee" and to even manoeuvre freely in such a densely packed formation. The impact of lines was certainly much more devastating than concentrating force in a single point - especially when battling other mounted warriors. Thus, the "keil" would be rather the outcome of knights untrained to act in such a coordinated fashion, attacking in waves, some dashing forward, others trying to keep up. That said, the increasing deployment of infantry during the later Middle Ages may have have given rise to tactics which would enable knights to pierce into deeper and more steadfast blocks.

In the battle of Tagliacozzo Konradin's army supposedly attacked in three waves. The second was made up of Italian knights with some Germans thrown in as well. They were led by Galvano Lancia, distantly related to the late emperor Frederick II and an important supporter of Manfred of Sicily. However, Lancia got captured during battle and was executed afterwards by the French victors. Probably most knights in his division were mercenaries sent by Ghibelline financiers or just soldiers of fortune - a running theme of Konradin's army which I wanted to emphasise with this unit.

Thence, once again, I went for variety over historical accuracy. The heraldry is drawn from a number of pictorial sources not necessarily linked to the actual campaign. For example, I chose Konrad von Hohenburg as unit leader only for his nickname, "der Püller". It sounds a bit odd for modern Germans (not going into detail!), but it was probably derived from a visit to Apulia or "Pülle" in Medieval German. A more reliable relation to Konradin's cause bears, on the one hand, Count Gottfried von Neiffen, a traditional Hohenstaufen supporter, shown here with three silver horns on a blue shield. On the other hand the black and white shield as well as the one with a golden lion on it are taken from a depiction of Ghibelline knights at the battle of Montaperti in 1260 by Giovanni Villani.

With only one unit of knights left, next time there will be more foot troops I assume.

Miniatures by Legio Heroica.


Dalauppror said...

Splendid Knight unit Tillman !!!

Realy good vork, love the heraldy and your background story.

Looking forward to the next unit in line:)

Best regards Michael

Maxamillian Walker said...

Not only a painter, but a source of historical information! Thumbs up!!!

Ray Rousell said...

Great info and awesome painting!!!

Cyrus said...

Fantastic painting - it's hard to believe they're only 15mm!

El Senyor Verd said...

What a great looking base of figures.



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