LA BATTAGLIA di CORTENUOVA 1237
The Battle of Cortenuova was fought on 27 November 1237 in the course of the Guelphs and Ghibellines Wars: in it, Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II defeated the Second Lombard League.
The imperial vanguard included Saracens and horsemen, which were the first units to attack the Lombard units, followed by the infantry. Taken by surprise, the Milanese and Piacentines were unable to form a defense line, and fled to Cortenuova. When Frederick and his main force reached the battlefield, it was scattered with knights, slain or wounded and his passage blocked by riderless horses.
At Cortenuova, other Milanese and troops from Alessandria had amassed around their Carroccio, where the Lombards fought valiantly under the Saracen arrows and the Teutonic charges. A column of men from Milanese noble families, despite the arrival of other Bergamo troops, was able to protect the rest of the army's retreat to Cortenuova till night.
To keep the army's morale as high as possible, Frederick ordered his troop to sleep with their armors on, and to attack at the first lights of dawn. On the other side, the podesta of Milan, recognizing that the troops could not withstand another battle, ordered to abandon the town together with the Carroccio and the rest of the baggage.
On the dawn of 28 November the imperial attacked the hastily retreating Lombards, who fell without nearly no resistance. Many drowned in the Oglio, which was in spate. At the end, some 5,000 Lombards were captured, casualties amounting to some other thousands killed. The Milanese alone lost 2,500 soldiers.
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