|Battle of Arbedo|
Illustration of the battle from the Tschachtlanchronik of 1470.
|Commanders and leaders|
|Francesco Bussone|| Ulrich Welker|
Roth von Uri †
Kälin von Zug †
Zelger von Obwalden †
(including 5,000 cavalry)
|Casualties and losses|
|1,000 Dead|| 500 Dead |
The Battle of Arbedo was fought on June 30, 1422, between the Duchy of Milan and the Swiss Confederation.
In 1419, Uri and Unterwalden bought the Bellinzona stronghold from the Sacco barons, but were unable to defend it adequately. When, in 1422, they rejected the Milanese proposal to buy back the fortified town, their troops stationed in Bellinzona were put to rout by the Visconti army under the command of Francesco Bussone, Count of Carmagnola. An attempt to reconquer the fortified area with the support of other confederates led to the battle at Arbedo, a village 3 km (1.9 mi) north of Bellinzona. The Count of Carmagnola led the forces of the Duchy of Milan against the Swiss and was victorious.
The Swiss were mainly equipped with halberds and had an initial success against the cavalry charge. Then Carmagnola brought his crossbowmen forward, while dismounting his cavalry. The dismounted men-at-arms used pikes which outreached the halberds. The Swiss were further under pressure by the crossbow fire on the flanks.
The Milanese force began to push back the Swiss, who were only saved from total disaster by the appearance of a band of foragers, whom the Milanese were convinced represented a major new force. When the Milanese force pulled back to reform, the Swiss fled the battlefield, having taken heavy casualties.
In a historiographical tradition of Zug, the bearer of the cantonal banner, Peter Kälin, was slain, and the banner was taken up by his son, who was slain in his turn. The banner was saved by one Hans Landwing, and was later lost against the French.
The victory secured Bellinzona and the Leventina to the Duchy. In addition the Duchy gained the Val d'Ossola, thus the Swiss lost all the territorial gains they had made. The defeat discouraged the Swiss expansionist intentions towards Lake Maggiore for a long time. It was the defeat at Arbedo that made the Swiss increase the number of pikemen.
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