Battle of Castagnaro, 11 March 1387 (Italy)

Battle in a conflict between Padua on one side and Venice and Verona on the other. Francesco de Carrara, lord of Padua, hired a large mercenary army, and put the English condottier, John Hawkwood, in charge. His force may have been close to seven thousand strong, while his opponents mustered over eleven thousand men. Hawkwood had been besieging Verona, and was forced to withdraw by a combination of hunger and the relieving army. Hawkwood only pulled back far enough to reach his supplies, then formed up in a position defended by an irrigation ditch in front, a canal on his right, and marshes on his left, with damp ground in front. Hawkwood formed up his troops in three lines - the first two of dismounted men at arms and the third including his own troop. The Veronese army found him in place on the morning of the 11th, but took till noon to form up, having expected Hawkwood to retreat further. The Veronese army, under Giovanni dei Ordelaffi, formed up into two lines. The first Veronese line attacked the Paduans defending the ditch, but were unable to cross over. Ordelaffi fed his second line in piecemeal until his entire army was engaged, at which point Hawkwood made his move. He took his own troop of English mercenaries, and crossed the ditch at its extreme right, before outflanking the enemy left so totally he was able to charge it from the rear. The Veronese left was shattered by this attack, at which point the Paduan troops attacked the front of the Veronese army, which very quickly shattered. Hawkswood's victory was complete. Close to five thousand prisoners were taken, including Ordelaffi himself, along with the entire Veronese artillery and their camp.
How to cite this article: Rickard, J. (9 October 2000), Castagnaro, battle of, 11 March 1387 (Italy), http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/battles_castagnaro.html

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