Konradin's Italian Campaign (1267 to 1268)

Konradin Who?
Konradin's story is one about shortness, shortcomings as well, about youth and prematureness. He started too early, loosing his father in 1254 at the age of two, inheriting a lot of legal claims along with a lot of sworn enemies. And he ended too soon, becoming a mere puppet to political ambitions of both friend and foe, finally put to the sword in 1268 at the age of 16. So, actually, there is no story about Konradin. It's rather a story about his time, about politics and culture, about ideas and ideals and the change of these things in the 13th century.

Alas, a theme…
That's what got me hooked in the first place. The theme oozes with period flavour, or at least it lends itself to a lot of chlichés: There's chivalry and treachery, there's the quest for glory or wealth, in essence, there's triumph and tragedy. Add to that my fondness for the general "look" of the time, both in arts and literature as well as clothing and armour (actually, I had my share of period reenactment), and it's easily understandable why I wanted to collect an army for this bit of history. I wrote up a Praeludium for this project which gives some further insights.

Scaling down
In 2011 I pondered on going down in scale with miniatures, caused by a serious lack of both space and funds. One of the first 'test shots' for 15mm was an order from Legio Heroica. I'd seen their models on the web in several disguises, and I got convinced these figs were probably the top of what's available for gaming the High Medieval period (that's 1100 to 1300 AD for non-Continentals ;-) ). I wasn't disappointed at all. Admittedly, the variety of poses is a bit limited. But then again, a simple change of colours can have a much bigger visual impact here than in 28mm.

To rule them all
Talking of visual impact, the rule set of choice was once again Impetus. Big bases, big fun, or so they say. Unfortunately, my gaming experience with the actual rules is still pretty limited. But I hope to put things right here with an army that can be finished at a reduced cost of time and money. (Indeed, that plagued my first venture in this direction.) My intention is to start with a complete army for the basic version, then see where to go from there. Probably I won't transfer to the full rules until a second army will be ready. Though, really, that's a long way off. Konradin's army is covered by a dedicated army list, at least for Basic Impetus - check it out here to see what lays ahead.

The assembly
Last update 21.09.12

PLEASE NOTE: Clicking onto the pictures will forward you to the respective blog entries.

German Knights
Many German followers joined Konradin on behalf of his guardian, Count Meinhard II of Tyrol. Others were supporters of the Hohenstaufen family by tradition. They saw a chance to win the German crown for Konradin, at least following the reconquest of his rightful power base in the South. At Tagliacozzo they made up the third line, accompanying Konradin himself. In game terms these count as Heavy Cavalry (CP).

Mercenary Knights
Konradin's campaign attracted a lot mercenaries. Most of them were hired, some were just expecting to make a fortune. Mainly they were of (Ghibelline) Italian origin, but quite a few German knights, stranded there earlier, joined Konradin on his way south. In general, they were experienced troops yet difficult to lead unitedly. Again, these are Heavy Cavalry (CP) as well.

Italo-Spanish Knights
When Konradin arrived in the city of Rome he was joined by Henry of Castile, a royal adventurer from Spain. Once he had fought for Charles d'Anjou but changed sides as soon as he saw a chance to further his career. About 300 Spanish knights bolstered the third line of Ghibelline Italians at Tagliacozzo under the overall command of Henry himself. Consequently, these make up the general's element of Heavy Cavalry (CP).

Italian Infantry
Quite a few of Italy's Northern city states supported Konradin by funding troops. Hiring mercenaries became common practice during the 13th century, and it eventually gave rise to the (in)famous condottieri. These "contractors" often seized political power by military strength, taking over their former employer's position. This unit is labelled as Heavy Infantry (FP).

Siculo-German Mercenaries
When in 1266 the southern Hohenstaufen dominions were overtaken by Charles d'Anjou, the surviving "loyalists", many of German origin, were exiled or fled the country. Some accosted the legitimate heir to those territories, Konradin, with a plea for help. And when he eventually took up the challenge, they swelled his ranks considerably. Here they make up a unit of Heavy Infantry (FP).

Umbrian Crossbowmen
Medieval Italy was famous for its well-trained crossbowmen. Many cities equipped large parts of their militia with crossbows, since these were cheap in production, easy to handle and useful in siege and open battle. Whole companies of crossbowmen were hired as mercenaries, both at home and abroad. Arguably their most famous employment was the Battle of Crécy in 1346. The unit is listed, unsurprisingly, as Shooters (T).

Light cavalry were employed by most armies throughout the Middle Ages, predominantly to cope with their counterparts. Hence, their use concentrated in areas where there were a lot of enemy light horsemen around, e.g. Muslim Spain or the Slavic Balkans. Konradin acquired some of them while moving south, presumably a lot of the famous Spanish jinetes among them, given as an optional Light Cavalry (FL) element in the list.

Infantry was mainly just recruited if required. The "ban" (or "Heerbann" in German) was kind of an emergency home defense system, and so the men called in were averagely rather untrained. However, some people, due to their daily work, had skills useful in battle as well. Thus, foresters could be employed as archers. This is the only skirmishing element (S) available in Konradin's army.


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