Thursday 9 August 2018

923 AD, the Battle of Firenzuola

During the early part of the tenth century, Berengar I was not only the Holy Roman Emperor but also the King of Italy. As King of Italy, he faced a growing disaffection among his subjects causing many of the noble houses to support one of two factions. This divisive situation brought him at odds with the Italian supported kingdom of Spoleto and Ivrea, caused primarily through his poor handling of the Magyar incursions; preferring to bribe them than seeking a direct confrontation with the invaders. The incursions escalated forcing the church to seek another for the crown of Italy. The most likely candidate was Rudolph II of Burgundy, a choice that was also supported by the grandson of Berengar I, Berengar of Ivrea. During this critical period, the Magyar chose to again invade northern Italy leaving an indecisive Berengar I to watch the invaders pillage the countryside. 

The situation had reached a boiling point leaving Rudolph II to gather an army and confront Berengar I. On the 29th of July the armies made contact near Firenzuola 75km south of Bologna.

The Battlefield.
Firenzuola is situated in a valley between the Apennines Mountains connecting Florence with Bologna and coursing its way through the valley is the Santerno River, which may have served as protection for both armies. We can only speculate on the location of the battle site as no details or terrain features are mentioned in the accounts. Tuscany is renowned for its wine, so we can imagine the hillsides partially covered with vineyards.

Surveying terrain maps of the area we have an idea the terrain should be hilly with a minimal presence of farming area. The game board should contain a minimum of two difficult hills, a small BUA (hamlet) and river. The river should be placed as close to a board edge offering a protected flank for both armies and two difficult hills should be placed in the two quadrants opposite to the river. The placement of the hamlet is done by die roll and this should rest on the board edge leaving sufficient room for both armies to deploy. Players may wish to consider replacing the small BUA for two small sized fields (plough) and considering that the battle was fought on the 29th of July, these should be considered rough ground.

The Armies.
The army of Rudolph II is taken from the East Frankish list (III/53) and has an allied contingent representing Adalbert I of Ivrea (Italian Lombard III/21b).

The Army of Berengar I are taken from the Italian Lombard list (III/21b). It is debatable if Magyars were present at this battle as Berengar I did employ them in the campaign directly preceding Firenzuola. In their place, Berengar may have East Frankish allies (III/53) representing a German faction.

The Setup.
The Army of Berengar I are defending and therefore deploy first with the eastern side as their board edge, the River Santerno on their left and the difficult hills to their right.  

The Army of Rudolph II and allies are positioned second with the Santerno River appearing on their right and the hills to their left.   


  1. Looking forward to the battle report!

  2. Christopher,
    The battle report should appear next week Tuesday.