IT WAS NOT LONG BEFORE CHARLES of Anjou realized how precarious his position had become. Correctly fearing communication with the Angevin-dominated northern Regno could be compromised by Aragonese amphibious actions, he quickly sought to bolster his diminished forces in Reggio, beginning with the easiest element to reinforce – the ground component. Following the departure of feudal forces that had satisfied their military service obligations, Bartolomeo Neocastro calculated that only 7,000 knights and 10,000 foot soldiers remained of the great army Anjou had massed for the siege of Messina. Saba Malaspina suggested an additional 3,000 salaried crossbowmen plus perhaps a few hundred Saracens from Lucera also stayed. Giovanni Amatuccio speculates that, all told, no more than 5,000 horse and 15,000 infantry withstood the dissolution of the invasion force subsequent to its evacuation from Sicily – and those numbers were dwindling by the day.
So, in early November 1282, Anjou petitioned his brother's heir, King Philip III, for a loan of 5,000 ounces of gold in order to raise 200 mounted men and 3,000 infantry in Provence under Raymond Amiel of Marseilles. In the same timeframe, he summoned from the heart of Capetian France two contingents of mounted men: the first consisting of 600 ‘armed men’ under his son, Charles the Lame; and the second composed of 1,000 knights led by his nephews, Robert II of Artois and Peter I of Alençon. Additionally, Pope Martin IV, who had formally excommunicated Peter of Aragon in mid-November, dispatched to Anjou's aid 500 French knights, contracted for a period of six months with coin from the coffers of the papal Curia.
Augmentation of his eroded naval forces was more problematic and protracted. First of all, he ordered Gazo Chinard, son of Philippe Chinard (King Manfred's admiral of the fleet), to take command of the surviving ships of Apulia and the Abruzzi. He then recalled Narjot de Toucy (son of deceased Admiral Philippe de Toucy) from the Principality of Achaea, where he was serving as bailiff, so that he could reassume his old position as admiral of the Angevin fleet. Concurrently, Charles tasked regnicoli aristocrats, Riccardo Riso and Luigi de Monti, to oversee the repair of old galleys and the construction of new ones in the arsenals of the Principato of Salerno, the Terra di Lavoro (‘Land of Work’ – southern Lazio and northern Campania), the Abruzzi and Apulia.