Georg von Frundsberg

Georg von Frundsberg was born on 24 September 1473, in the castle Mindelheim near Memmingen, into an old line of southern Tyrolean knights that had settled in Oberschwaben.

In 1492, at the age of nineteen, Frundsberg actively participated in his first conflict. In the best interests of the Reich, Frundsberg fought to suppress regional egotism that forced Duke Albrecht of Bavaria to relinquish the city of Regensburg.

In 1504, Frundsberg was again fighting on behalf of the Reich against the Pfalz-Counts Philipp and Ruprecht. He distinguished himself during the Battle of Regensburg to such a degree that shortly thereafter, King Maximilian I, personally bestowed him with knighthood.

One year later Frundsberg became the commander of the Landsknechts (mercenaries) in the lower countries. Subsequently, his life was an uninterrupted chain of war campaigning for the King and Reich. In 1509, Frundsberg became the "Highest Field Captain" of the Landsknecht Regiment (occupation force) and defended the city of Verona against numerous attacks.

In 1513, during the fighting against the Republic of Venice, Frundsberg's calm and collected demeanor carried his forces to victory during the Battle of Vicenz, despite the enemy's numerical superiority that had encircled the Reich's Army.

In 1521, when the German King Karl V was fighting Franz I of France, Frundsberg was among those who led the Army into Picardie. When Franz I appeared on the battlefield and pitted a force of approximately 40,000 men against the King's Army, only the clever withdrawal could save the Army's existence. Frundsberg considered the withdrawal on Valenciennes as "the greatest luck and most appropriate measure during war."

By 1522, even after the French campaign had ended and Frundsberg had resigned from his fellow Landesknechts, Frundsberg was at the front again, among 12 Fähnlein, leading the march on upper Italy. Within a short period, 6000 men followed the beat of his campaign drum and the magic in his name. Difficult alpine crossings through deep snow led to the Battle of Biccocca near Mailand. Swiss nationals on foot fought along side Frundsberg who led and fought at the front line, together with the Swiss Arnold Winkelried. The Kaiser's victory at Biccocca allowed for the return of the old Kingdom's Parlimentary-Cabinet Lands (Reichskammerländer) of Genua and Mailand.

In 1525, after a brief stop in Mindelheim as the "Highest Field Captain" (Oberster Feldhauptmann) of the entire German Nation on foot (consisting of 12,000 men and 29 Fähnlein), Frundsberg was again moving towards upper Italy to relieve Pavias and to save the Reich's Duchy of Mailand. Despite an additional 6000 men (some of which were Spanish) that were in battle against an enemy that was twice as strong, Frundsberg won his most famous victory at Pavia and crowned for the capture of the French King.

Only one year later, in 1526, Frundsberg received a call for help from the Kaiser's Army in Lombardei, to help decide the teetering war. Thirty-six thousand Taler (German currency) were provided to organize the new Fähnlein but they did not suffice. During his occupation of Mindelheim he borrowed money in Augsburg, sold-off his silver table-settings and his wife's jewelry in order to acquire the needed 38,000 Gulden to raise the Army. In less than 3 weeks, Frundsberg organized over 12,000 men (35 Fähnlein) and crossed the Alps in the middle of November.

In 1527, after months of campaigning with his Army in Italy and as the decisive battle had yet to be fought (a combined effort of various commanders), payment for Frundsberg's Landsknechts remained overdue. In the end, even Frundsberg was not in a position to rally the Landsknechts and restore order. The situation of his "beloved sons" physically shook the old field commander to such an extent that he suffered a stroke and did not regain his speech until 4 days later. The physical strength of the strongest warlord could not be recovered as Frundsberg was moved to Germany after a long struggle in Italian hospitals. Frundsberg was tormented by great anxiety that he experienced over the situation of the Reich and the loss of his personal estate. Following his return to Germany and the death of one of his sons, Frundsberg died soon thereafter on 20 August 1528, in his castle in Mindelheim.

Copyright 2003 Stenger Historica