Battle of Cassano (1799)

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Battle of Cassano d'Adda
Part of French Revolutionary Wars
Suvorovs Battle By Adda.jpg
Date27 April 1799
Location Cassano d'Adda, Lombardy, Cisalpine Republic, present-day Italy
Result Austrian/Russian victory
Belligerents
Flag of France (1794-1815).svg France Flag of Russia (1696-1917).svg Russia
Banner of the Holy Roman Emperor (after 1400).svg Austria
Commanders and leaders
Flag of France (1794-1815).svg Jean Moreau Flag of Russia (1696-1917).svg Alexander Suvorov
Strength
28,000 [1] 24,500
Casualties and losses
7,500, 27 guns, 3 colours 2,000

The Battle of Cassano d'Adda was fought on 27 April 1799 near Cassano d'Adda, about 28 km (17 mi) ENE of Milan. It resulted in a victory for the Austrians and Russians under Alexander Suvorov over Jean Moreau's French army. The action took place during the War of the Second Coalition during the larger conflict known as the French Revolutionary Wars.

Cassano dAdda Comune in Lombardy, Italy

Cassano d'Adda is a town and comune in the Metropolitan City of Milan, Lombardy, Italy, located on the right side of the Adda River. It is on the border of the Metropolitan City of Milan and the province of Bergamo. It is served by Cassano d'Adda railway station.

Milan Italian city

Milan is a city in northern Italy, capital of Lombardy, and the second-most populous city in Italy after Rome, with the city proper having a population of 1,372,810 while its metropolitan area has a population of 3,244,365. Its continuously built-up urban area has a population estimated to be about 5,270,000 over 1,891 square kilometres. The wider Milan metropolitan area, known as Greater Milan, is a polycentric metropolitan region that extends over central Lombardy and eastern Piedmont and which counts an estimated total population of 7.5 million, making it by far the largest metropolitan area in Italy and the 54th largest in the world. Milan served as capital of the Western Roman Empire from 286 to 402 and the Duchy of Milan during the medieval period and early modern age.

Habsburg Monarchy former Central European empire (1526–1804)

The Habsburg Monarchy – also Habsburg Empire, Austrian Monarchy or Danube Monarchy – is an unofficial umbrella term among historians for the countries and provinces that were ruled by the junior Austrian branch of the House of Habsburg between 1526 and 1780 and then by the successor branch of Habsburg-Lorraine until 1918. The Monarchy was a typical composite state composed of territories within and outside the Holy Roman Empire, united only in the person of the monarch. The dynastic capital was Vienna, except from 1583 to 1611, when it was moved to Prague. From 1804 to 1867 the Habsburg Monarchy was formally unified as the Austrian Empire, and from 1867 to 1918 as the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

Contents

Background

While General Napoleon Bonaparte campaigned in Egypt, the Second Coalition launched an invasion of French-occupied Italy. General of Division (MG) Barthélemy Schérer fought inconclusive actions the Austrians at Pastrengo, Verona, and Legnago on 26 March 1799. Feldmarschal-Leutnant (FML) Pál Kray and his Austrians then defeated Schérer at the Battle of Magnano on April 4. This defeat forced the French army into a long retreat. Attempts by Schérer to hold the lines of the Mincio and Oglio rivers failed when an Austrian force led by FML Josef Vukassovich turned his northern flank. Schérer, completely out of his depth, handed over army command to the more capable MG Moreau. Austria's Russian allies, led by Suvorov, soon began appearing at the front.

Egypt Country spanning North Africa and Southwest Asia

Egypt, officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, is a country spanning the northeast corner of Africa and southwest corner of Asia by a land bridge formed by the Sinai Peninsula. Egypt is a Mediterranean country bordered by the Gaza Strip and Israel to the northeast, the Gulf of Aqaba and the Red Sea to the east, Sudan to the south, and Libya to the west. Across the Gulf of Aqaba lies Jordan, across the Red Sea lies Saudi Arabia, and across the Mediterranean lie Greece, Turkey and Cyprus, although none share a land border with Egypt.

Barthélemy Louis Joseph Schérer French general

Barthélemy Louis Joseph Schérer, born in Delle, near Belfort, became a French general during the French Revolutionary Wars and on three occasions led armies in battle.

Pastrengo Comune in Veneto, Italy

Pastrengo is a comune (municipality) in the Province of Verona in the Italian region Veneto, located about 120 kilometres (75 mi) west of Venice and about 15 kilometres (9 mi) northwest of Verona. As of 31 December 2004, it had a population of 2,486 and an area of 9.0 square kilometres (3.5 sq mi).

When Field Marshal Suvorov joined the allied army, he took over the top command from Kray, though the latter had just been promoted to Feldzeugmeister. The arrival of General of Cavalry Michael von Melas displaced Kray the top Austrian field command. Therefore, Kray was assigned to capture the fortress of Mantua, while Melas and Suvorov pursued the French. The Siege of Mantua lasted from April until the garrison surrendered on 28 July.

Michael von Melas Austrian general

Michael Friedrich Benedikt Baron von Melas was a Transylvanian-born field marshal of Saxon descent for the Austrian Empire during the Napoleonic Wars.

Mantua Comune in Lombardy, Italy

Mantua is a city and comune in Lombardy, Italy, and capital of the province of the same name.

The Siege of Mantua (1799) was a four-month effort by the Austrian army to regain a presence in northern Italy after being excluded from that region by Napoleon Bonaparte through the successful French Siege of Mantua in 1797. In April 1799, the Austrians placed a military blockade around Mantua as part of the War of the Second Coalition with the intent of withering the French by attrition. While the diminishing food supplies and losses weakened the French army, the Austrians received reinforcements and attacked on 4 July 1799. By the end of the month, the French agreed to surrender.

Battle

Moreau deployed the divisions of MGs Paul Grenier, Claude Victor, Jean Sérurier, and Pierre de Laboissière to defend the line of the Adda River. The Austrians still made up the bulk of the allied army, since only three formations of Cossacks were present. The Austrian division commanders were FML Peter Ott, FML Johann Zoph, General-Major Franz de Lusignan (acting commander for FML Michael Fröhlich), and FML Konrad Valentin von Kaim. [2] Even before the battle, a Russian force under Petr Bagration outflanked the French position by seizing a bridge over the Adda at Lecco on 26 April. This put Sérurier's division in an awkward position. On 27 April, General of Cavalry Michael von Melas with the divisions of Fröhlich and Kaim stormed the French positions at Cassano, while Ott and Zoph attacked 6 km farther north at Vaprio d'Adda. [3] Suvorov's assault forced Moreau to retreat.

Paul Grenier French general

Paul Grenier joined the French royal army and rapidly rose to general officer rank during the French Revolutionary Wars. He led a division in the 1796-1797 campaign in southern Germany. During the 1800 campaign in the Electorate of Bavaria he was a wing commander. Beginning in 1809, in the Napoleonic Wars, Emperor Napoleon I entrusted him with corps commands in the Italian theater. A skilled tactician, he was one of the veteran generals who made the Napoleonic armies such a formidable foe to the other European powers. After the Bourbon Restoration he retired from the army and later went into politics. Grenier is one of the Names inscribed under the Arc de Triomphe.

Jean-Mathieu-Philibert Sérurier French soldier and political figure who rose to the rank of Marshal of France

Jean-Mathieu-Philibert Sérurier, 1st Comte Sérurier led a division in the War of the First Coalition and became a Marshal of France under Emperor Napoleon. He was born into the minor nobility and in 1755 joined the Laon militia which was soon sent to fight in the Seven Years' War. After transferring into the regular army as an ensign, he was wounded at Warburg in 1760. He fought in the Spanish-Portuguese War in 1762. He married in 1779 after a promotion to captain. A newly minted major in 1789, the French Revolution sped up promotion so that he was colonel of the regiment in 1792. After leading Army of Italy troops in a number of actions, he became a general of brigade in 1793 and a general of division the following year.

Franz Joseph, Marquis de Lusignan Austrian general

Franz Joseph, Marquis de Lusignan, a Spaniard, joined the Austrian army and fought against Prussian soldiers and Belgian rebels. During the French Revolutionary Wars, he played a significant role at the Battle of Rivoli in 1797 and became a general officer. He led brigade- and division-sized forces during the Italian campaign of 1799. In the Napoleonic Wars, he twice commanded a division and was so badly wounded in 1809 that he was forced to retire from the army. From 1806 until his death he was proprietor of the Lusignan Infantry Regiment.

Results

The French suffered 2,500 killed and wounded, plus 5,000 soldiers, 27 cannon, and 3 colors captured. The Austro-Russians lost 2,000 killed and wounded. Moreau retreated, leaving a 2,400-man garrison in Milan's citadel. On 28 April, Vukassovich trapped Serurier's division at Verderio and the French lost another 300 killed and wounded, plus 2,700 captured. Grenier's division withdrew to Novara while Victor and Laboissière pulled back to Valenza. [4] Another authority gives allied losses as 6,000 and French prisoners as 7,000, without listing French killed and wounded. [5] Kaim pressed on to capture Turin on 20 June. [6] Milan's citadel capitulated on 24 May. [7] The next major action was the Battle of Trebbia (1799) on 17–20 June.

Verderio Superiore was a comune (municipality) in the Province of Lecco in the Italian region Lombardy. In 2014 it was merged with Verderio Inferiore, forming the new comune of Verderio.

Novara Comune in Piedmont, Italy

Novara is the capital city of the province of Novara in the Piedmont region in northwest Italy, to the west of Milan. With 104 284 inhabitants (1-1-2017), it is the second most populous city in Piedmont after Turin. It is an important crossroads for commercial traffic along the routes from Milan to Turin and from Genoa to Switzerland. Novara lies between the rivers Agogna and Terdoppio in northeastern Piedmont, 50 kilometres (31 mi) from Milan and 95 kilometres (59 mi) from Turin.

Valenza Comune in Piedmont, Italy

Valenza is a comune (municipality) in the Province of Alessandria in the Italian region Piedmont, located about 80 kilometres (50 mi) east of Turin and about 11 kilometres (7 mi) north of Alessandria.

However, the bottom line of this battle was that the 1792-1804 1st Republic of France created 1797-1802 Cisalpine Republic was now back in the hands of the 1526-1804 Habsburg Monarchy.

Cisalpine Republic French client republic in Northern Italy (1797-1802)

The Cisalpine Republic was a sister republic of France in Northern Italy that lasted from 1797 to 1802.

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References

Books

Footnotes

  1. Smith, p 152-153. Smith gives all strengths and losses. Eggenberger's losses differ markedly.
  2. Smith, p 152-153
  3. Smith, p 153
  4. Smith, p 153
  5. Eggenberger, p 80. Perhaps the author includes the losses at Verderio in his total.
  6. Smith, p 159
  7. Smith, p 156

Coordinates: 45°32′00″N9°31′00″E / 45.5333°N 9.5167°E / 45.5333; 9.5167