The Battle of Pontedera, 1482 AD

Extract from a letter from Girolamo Riario, the Papal Gonfalonier, to Pope Sixtus IV, his uncle, dated July 20, 1482.

...and at last the Ventian advance has been stemmed by the Florentines. While it befits us well to see our neighbours bloodied, and their ambitions checked, there can be too much of a good thing, as they say. I profess not to know the full extant of your Grace's counsels, but it seems plain to me that to have Venice in command of both sides of the land would be inviting calamity upon us...


This was the thirteenth battle fought in the campaign, and was the last fought before the run up to the 1999 Nationals over Easter. Having secured a comprehensive victory over the Florentines at the battle of San Martino, Berterelli (played by Mark Otley), the Venetian captain-general was able to secure the province of Este, and burnt the nearly-completed Florentine galleys on their stocks at Rimini, thus causing Waldo Macaroni, Secretary of the Florentine senate (played by Ion Dowman) to quote his famous line: 'give him a (ship)yard, and he'll take the whole damn Adriatic'.

The Doge of Venice (played by Nicholas Grant) having enjoyed the successes thus gained by his army, was determined to strike the rival Republic of Florence a fatal blow. He ordered his forces over the Apennines seeking to capture Pisa, and thus gain a foothold on the peninsula's west coast, and thereby cutting off the south of Italy from the north. It was a bold move, but it meant his forces would have difficulties finding supplies at such a far remove from home.

However concerned Berterelli was about his supply situtaion, he was assured bu the Doge that the Florentine forces were on their last legs. Their losses over the previous seasons had been steadily mounting, forcing them to rely more and more and hastily-summoned militia, and their treasury must be virtually depleted, meaning they were in no position to hire any great number of mercenaries to fill their depleted ranks.

Berterelli was was less sure of having an overwhelming advantage than his master, knowing that the Florentine footmen would be more useful in the defensive engagement they were sure to fight than the Doge gave them credit for; still he was confident given his undoubted advanteg in horse, both in armoured elmetti and especially in light cavalry. The last advantage would diminish in the future, for reports from Dalmatia were filtering in that Florentine agents were recruiting Turkish horse archers to counter he Albanian Stradiots serving under the Lion of St. Mark.

Taking the offensive therefore before any such help could arrive to succour the Florentines, Berterelli led his army over the Apennines and down the river Arno, striking out for the rich prize of Pisa...

And that's as far as I got folks, since then the Nationals got in the way, and the campaign was never restarted, and I lost my notes on the battle! The course of the battle can be somewhat deduced from the map below however I made before my notes went missing:

Deployment Map

I recall that the Venetian flank-march was unexpecetedly beaten back by the inferior Florentine mounted opposition there, and broke in rout, while the rest of the Venetians were held by the the superior numbers of Floentine infantry. The final indignity for the Ventians came when some of their supplies were seen burning to their rear, and being so far from home, the men panicked in attempting to rescue them (the Venetians forgot to bring on their flank-marching baggage with their second PiP dcore of 6, and lost it, which was enough to break their army!). A crazy enough ending to a battles as I've ever seen, I think.


This page last modified: January 16, 2000

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