Battle of Magnano

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Battle of Magnano
Part of the French Revolutionary War
Date5 April 1799
Location
near Buttapietra, present-day Italy
Result Austrian victory
Belligerents
Flag of France (1794-1815).svg French Republic Banner of the Holy Roman Emperor (after 1400).svg Habsburg Monarchy
Commanders and leaders
Barthélemy Schérer Pál Kray
Strength
41,000 [1] 46,000
Casualties and losses
8,000 6,000

In the Battle of Magnano on 5 April 1799, an Austrian army commanded by Pál Kray defeated a French army led by Barthélemy Schérer. In subsequent battles, the Austrians and their Russian allies drove the French out of nearly all of Italy. This action was fought during the War of the Second Coalition, part of the French Revolutionary Wars.

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.

War of the Second Coalition Attempt to contain or eliminate Revolutionary France

The War of the Second Coalition (1798–1802) was the second war on revolutionary France by the European monarchies, led by Britain, Austria and Russia, and including the Ottoman Empire, Portugal, Naples, various German monarchies and Sweden. Their goal was to contain the expansion of the French Republic and to restore the monarchy in France. They failed to overthrow the revolutionary regime and French territorial gains since 1793 were confirmed. In the Treaty of Lunéville in 1801, France held all of its previous gains and obtained new lands in Tuscany, Italy, while Austria was granted Venetia and the Dalmatian coast. Britain and France signed the Treaty of Amiens in March 1802, bringing an interval of peace in Europe that lasted for 14 months. By May 1803 Britain and France were again at war and in 1805 Britain assembled the Third Coalition to resume the war against France.

French Revolutionary Wars series of conflicts fought between the French Republic and several European monarchies from 1792 to 1802

The French Revolutionary Wars were a series of sweeping military conflicts lasting from 1792 until 1802 and resulting from the French Revolution. They pitted France against Great Britain, Austria, Prussia, Russia and several other monarchies. They are divided in two periods: the War of the First Coalition (1792–97) and the War of the Second Coalition (1798–1802). Initially confined to Europe, the fighting gradually assumed a global dimension. After a decade of constant warfare and aggressive diplomacy, France had conquered a wide array of territories, from the Italian Peninsula and the Low Countries in Europe to the Louisiana Territory in North America. French success in these conflicts ensured the spread of revolutionary principles over much of Europe.

Contents

Background

After the Treaty of Campo Formio, only Great Britain remained at war with the First French Republic. However, a heavy-handed and acquisitive French foreign policy soon provoked Austria and Russia, and led to the formation of the Second Coalition. [2]

Treaty of Campo Formio 1797 treaty between Napoleonic France and Habsburg Austria

The Treaty of Campo Formio was signed on 18 October 1797 by Napoleon Bonaparte and Count Philipp von Cobenzl as representatives of the French Republic and the Austrian monarchy, respectively. The treaty followed the armistice of Leoben, which had been forced on the Habsburgs by Napoleon's victorious campaign in Italy. It ended the War of the First Coalition and left Great Britain fighting alone against revolutionary France.

Great Britain island in the North Atlantic off the north-west coast of continental Europe

Great Britain is an island in the North Atlantic Ocean off the northwest coast of continental Europe. With an area of 209,331 km2 (80,823 sq mi), it is the largest of the British Isles, the largest European island, and the ninth-largest island in the world. In 2011, Great Britain had a population of about 61 million people, making it the world's third-most populous island after Java in Indonesia and Honshu in Japan. The island of Ireland is situated to the west of Great Britain, and together these islands, along with over 1,000 smaller surrounding islands, form the British Isles archipelago.

In Switzerland, hostilities between France and Austria began in early March 1799. In Germany, the Austrians won the Battle of Stockach on 25 March. [3] The next day, fighting occurred along the Adige River between the opposing forces of General of Division Schérer and Feldmarschall-Leutnant Kray. In the Battle of Verona, the French scored a success at Pastrengo and fought a drawn battle near Austrian-held Verona, but the Austrians managed to get across the Adige at Legnago. [4] To defend Verona, Kray concentrated his army in its vicinity. Schérer's army faced north toward Verona, with the French-held fortress of Mantua to his southwest. The French general considered crossing the Adige below Verona to flank Kray out of Verona, but heavy rains thwarted his plan. By 5 April, the two armies confronted each other on a rain-sodden field near the hamlet of Magnano, south of Verona.

Switzerland federal republic in Central Europe

Switzerland, officially the Swiss Confederation, is a sovereign state situated in the confluence of western, central, and southern Europe. It is a federal republic composed of 26 cantons, with federal authorities seated in Bern. Switzerland is a landlocked country bordered by Italy to the south, France to the west, Germany to the north, and Austria and Liechtenstein to the east. It is geographically divided between the Alps, the Swiss Plateau and the Jura, spanning a total area of 41,285 km2 (15,940 sq mi), and land area of 39,997 km2 (15,443 sq mi). While the Alps occupy the greater part of the territory, the Swiss population of approximately 8.5 million is concentrated mostly on the plateau, where the largest cities are located, among them the two global cities and economic centres of Zürich and Geneva.

Battle of Stockach (1799) battle between French and Austrian armies

The [First] Battle of Stockach occurred on 25 March 1799, when French and Austrian armies fought for control of the geographically strategic Hegau region in present-day Baden-Württemberg. In the broader military context, this battle constitutes a keystone in the first campaign in southwestern Germany during the Wars of the Second Coalition, part of the French Revolutionary Wars.

Battle of Verona (1799) 1799

Battle of Verona on 26 March 1799 saw a Habsburg Austrian army under Pál Kray fight a First French Republic army led by Barthélemy Louis Joseph Schérer. The battle encompassed three separate combats on the same day. At Verona, the two sides battled to a bloody draw. At Pastrengo to the west of Verona, French forces prevailed over their Austrian opponents. At Legnago to the southeast of Verona, the Austrians defeated their French adversaries. The battle was fought during the War of the Second Coalition, part of the French Revolutionary Wars. Verona is a city on the Adige River in northern Italy.

Battle

Schérer deployed 41,000 soldiers in the divisions of Generals of Division Joseph Hélie Désiré Perruquet de Montrichard, Claude Perrin Victor, Jacques Maurice Hatry, Antoine Guillaume Delmas de la Coste, Jean-Mathieu-Philibert Sérurier, and Paul Grenier. The French total included 6,800 cavalry attached to the divisions. Kray's 46,000-man army included his own division and the divisions of Feldmarschall-Leutnants Karl Mercandin, Michael Fröhlich, Konrad Valentin von Kaim, and Johann Zoph. [5]

Joseph Hélie Désiré Perruquet de Montrichard was a French general of the French Revolutionary Wars and Napoleonic Wars. His name is inscribed on the north side of the Arc de Triomphe.

Jacques Maurice Hatry French general

Jacques Maurice Hatry was a French general.

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.

Schérer sent the divisions of Victor and Grenier to attack on the right flank. Jean Victor Marie Moreau led the divisions of Hatry and Montrichard to attack in the center. Serurier's division on the left flank struck northwest to Villafranca to protect Moreau's flank. Delmas, with the reserve, marched forward to fill the gap that opened between the French right flank and Moreau as the latter moved north.

Jean Victor Marie Moreau Marshal of France

Jean Victor Marie Moreau was a French general who helped Napoleon Bonaparte to power, but later became a rival and was banished to the United States.

Because Kray advanced at the same time as the French, Magnano is a meeting engagement. The Austrian commander appointed Mercandin to lead the left column, Kaim to direct the center column, and Zoph to command his right column. General-major Prince Friedrich Franz Xaver of Hohenzollern-Hechingen led a reserve division on the right, while Kray held back a second reserve division under General-major Franz Joseph, Marquis de Lusignan.

In warfare, a meeting engagement, or encounter battle, is a combat action that occurs when a moving force, incompletely deployed for battle, engages an enemy at an unexpected time and place.

Prince Friedrich Franz Xaver of Hohenzollern-Hechingen Austrian general

Friedrich Franz Xaver Prince of Hohenzollern-Hechingen was an Austrian general. He joined the Austrian military and fought against the Kingdom of Prussia, Ottoman Turkey, and the First French Republic. He was promoted to the rank of general officer during the French Revolutionary Wars. During the Napoleonic Wars, he led a division in 1805 and an army corps in 1809. He was Proprietor (Inhaber) of an Austrian cavalry regiment from 1802 to 1844.

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.

On the east flank, Victor and Grenier defeated the outnumbered Mercandin, who was killed. They pressed north toward Verona. Kray committed Hohenzollern's reserve to assist Zoph's right flank division. Serurier engaged in a back-and-forth struggle all day but he finally seized his objective. Moreau pushed back the Austrians in his front, but did not score a notable success. Delmas was late, but he engaged Kaim and drove him back.

One historian writes, "Schérer went into this battle without forming a reserve and was thus unable to react to crisis and opportunities effectively." [6] By this point in the action, Schérer's divergent attacks had spread his troops across a wide front. Kray launched Lusignan's reserve at the so-far victorious French right wing. This attack sent Victor and Grenier reeling back to the south and opened a large gap in the French battle line. Kray sent troops against the exposed right flank of Delmas and drove him back also. During the disorderly retreat, the Austrians managed to cut off and capture one of Victor's demi-brigades.

Result

The French lost 3,500 killed and wounded, including General of Brigade Jean Joseph Magdeleine Pijon, who was mortally wounded. In addition, the Austrians captured 4,500 soldiers, 18 guns, 40 vehicles, and seven colors. The Austrians suffered 4,000 killed and wounded, plus 2,000 captured. Mercandin and General-major Johann Kovacsevich were killed. [7] After the French defeat, Schérer retreated to the Adda River, abandoning several defensible river lines. The city of Brescia fell on 21 April. In late April, the discredited Schérer relinquished army command to Moreau. [8] The victor, Kray, was quickly promoted to Feldzeugmeister. The next major action was the Battle of Cassano on 27 April.

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References

Footnotes

  1. Rothenberg, p 248. All strengths and casualties are from Rothenberg.
  2. Chandler, p 255
  3. Eggenberger, p 419
  4. Smith, p 149-150
  5. Smith, p 151
  6. Smith, p 151
  7. Smith, p 151. Smith matched Rothenberg's numbers, with the added details of guns, vehicles, and flags.
  8. Eggenberger, p 257

See also

Coordinates: 45°29′00″N8°05′00″E / 45.4833°N 8.0833°E / 45.4833; 8.0833