The Siege of Capua was the last major military action of the War of the Polish Succession in the Kingdom of Naples. Austrian forces of the Habsburg Monarchy, under the command of the Austrian Marshal Otto Ferdinand von Abensberg und Traun, withstood for seven months a blockade begun in April 1734 by Spanish and French forces under Count Marsillac. General Traun surrendered the fortress of Capua in November 1734 with full honors of war, primarily because of exhausted provisions and ammunition, but also because it was clear no relief was coming to the isolated garrison.
The War of the Polish Succession (1733–35) was a major European war sparked by a Polish civil war over the succession to Augustus II, which the other European powers widened in pursuit of their own national interests. France and Spain, the two Bourbon powers, attempted to check the power of the Austrian Habsburgs in western Europe, as did the Kingdom of Prussia, whilst Saxony and Russia mobilized to support the eventual Polish victor. The slight amount of fighting in Poland resulted in the accession of Augustus III, who in addition to Russia and Saxony, was politically supported by the Habsburgs.
The Kingdom of Naples comprised that part of the Italian Peninsula south of the Papal States between 1282 and 1816. It was created as a result of the War of the Sicilian Vespers (1282–1302), when the island of Sicily revolted and was conquered by the Crown of Aragon, becoming a separate Kingdom of Sicily. Naples continued to be officially known as the Kingdom of Sicily, the name of the formerly unified kingdom. For much of its existence, the realm was contested between French and Spanish dynasties. In 1816, it was reunified with the island kingdom of Sicily once again to form the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies.
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.
Following the outbreak of the War of the Polish Succession in the fall of 1733, and news that Bourbon allies France and Spain were planning operations against the kingdoms of Naples and Sicily, Habsburg military and political leaders began planning the defense of Naples against the expected invasion. Hampered by a lack of resources, Marshal Otto Ferdinand von Abensberg und Traun and the Count of Caraffa disagreed on how to best defend Naples. Caraffa wanted to minimally garrison the country's fortresses and concentrate Austrian forces into a single army that could either avoid or force confrontation with the Spanish, while Traun, whose opinion prevailed, wanted to strongly garrison the fortresses and force the Spanish to besiege them.
The House of Bourbon is a European royal house of French origin, a branch of the Capetian dynasty. Bourbon kings first ruled France and Navarre in the 16th century. By the 18th century, members of the Spanish Bourbon dynasty held thrones in Spain, Naples, Sicily, and Parma. Spain and Luxembourg currently have monarchs of the House of Bourbon.
France, officially the French Republic, is a country whose territory consists of metropolitan France in Western Europe and several overseas regions and territories. The metropolitan area of France extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel and the North Sea, and from the Rhine to the Atlantic Ocean. It is bordered by Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany to the northeast, Switzerland and Italy to the east, and Andorra and Spain to the south. The overseas territories include French Guiana in South America and several islands in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans. The country's 18 integral regions span a combined area of 643,801 square kilometres (248,573 sq mi) and a total population of 67.3 million. France, a sovereign state, is a unitary semi-presidential republic with its capital in Paris, the country's largest city and main cultural and commercial centre. Other major urban areas include Lyon, Marseille, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Lille and Nice.
Spain, officially the Kingdom of Spain, is a country mostly located on the Iberian Peninsula in Europe. Its territory also includes two archipelagoes: the Canary Islands off the coast of Africa, and the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean Sea. The African enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla make Spain the only European country to have a physical border with an African country (Morocco). Several small islands in the Alboran Sea are also part of Spanish territory. The country's mainland is bordered to the south and east by the Mediterranean Sea except for a small land boundary with Gibraltar; to the north and northeast by France, Andorra, and the Bay of Biscay; and to the west and northwest by Portugal and the Atlantic Ocean.
Major garrisons were placed at Pescara and Gaeta, and Traun himself took command of 3,500 men and occupied the fortress at Capua, near the northwestern border between the kingdom and the Papal States.Caraffa was responsible for the defense of the city of Naples and the safety of the Austrian viceroy.
Pescara is the capital city of the Province of Pescara, in the Abruzzo region of Italy. It is the most populated city in Abruzzo, with 125,717 (2017) residents. Located on the Adriatic coast at the mouth of the Aterno-Pescara River, the present-day municipality was formed in 1927 joining the municipalities of Pescara, the part of the city to the south of the river, and Castellamare Adriatico, the part of the city to the north of the river. The surrounding area was formed into the province of Pescara.
Gaeta is a city and comune in the province of Latina, in Lazio, central Italy. Set on a promontory stretching towards the Gulf of Gaeta, it is 120 kilometres from Rome and 80 km (50 mi) from Naples.
Capua is a city and comune in the province of Caserta, in the region of Campania, southern Italy, situated 25 km (16 mi) north of Naples, on the northeastern edge of the Campanian plain.
The army of Charles of Parma, numbering about 21,000, marched south from Tuscany where it had been assembled, and reached the northern border of Naples on March 28, 1734.Traun had taken most of the Capua garrison, and constructed a fortified line at Mignano, at which he expected conflict with the Spanish forces. However, on March 30, the Spanish, aided by sympathetic locals, sent 4,000 troops through narrow mountain passes, threatening to flank Traun's position. When Traun learned of this, he ordered a precipitous retreat to Capua, abandoning armaments and camp equipment along the way. The Spanish then proceeded southward toward Naples, bypassing Capua, and entered the city on May 10 after securing the surrender of its fortresses. About 6,000 troops were stationed to blockade Capua cutting off its communications and access to the land for provisions.
Charles III was King of Spain (1759–1788), after ruling Naples as Charles VII and Sicily as Charles V (1734–1759). He was the fifth son of Philip V of Spain, and the eldest son of Philip's second wife, Elisabeth Farnese. A proponent of enlightened absolutism, he succeeded to the Spanish throne on 10 August 1759, upon the death of his half-brother Ferdinand VI, who left no heirs.
Tuscany is a region in central Italy with an area of about 23,000 square kilometres and a population of about 3.8 million inhabitants (2013). The regional capital is Florence (Firenze).
While Charles' army was marching south, a Spanish fleet had landed forces on the islands of Ischia and Procida in the Bay of Naples.Austrian garrisons from these islands had been brought to the mainland, where the joined the garrison at Capua (before it was blockaded), raising the size of Traun's garrison to about 6,000. The Austrians were hoping to be relieved by the forces of Florimund Mercy in northern Italy, but these were occupied with the Franco-Sardinian army.
Ischia is a volcanic island in the Tyrrhenian Sea. It lies at the northern end of the Gulf of Naples, about 30 kilometres from the city of Naples. It is the largest of the Phlegrean Islands. Roughly trapezoidal, it measures approximately 10 km east to west and 7 km north to south and has about 34 km of coastline and a surface area of 46.3 square kilometres (17.9 sq mi). It is almost entirely mountainous; the highest peak is Mount Epomeo, at 788 metres. The island is very densely populated, with 60,000 residents.
Procida is one of the Flegrean Islands off the coast of Naples in southern Italy. The island is between Cape Miseno and the island of Ischia. With its tiny satellite island of Vivara, it is a comune of the Metropolitan City of Naples, in the region of Campania.
Following the destruction of the Austrian army at Bitonto in May, Spanish forces turned to besiege the three remaining Austrian outposts: Pescara, Gaeta, and Capua. Pescara was the first to surrender, on July 29, with Gaeta surrendering in August.Charles was then able to detach troops for the conquest of Sicily, and focus the remaining troops on Capua.
The Battle of Bitonto was a Spanish victory over Austrian forces near Bitonto in the Kingdom of Naples in the War of Polish Succession. The battle ended organized Austrian resistance outside a small number of fortresses in the kingdom.
Sicily is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea and one of the 20 regions of Italy. It is one of the five Italian autonomous regions, in Southern Italy along with surrounding minor islands, officially referred to as Regione Siciliana.
The fortress of Capua was a substantial construction, although it had not been maintained well in the years immediately preceding this conflict. It had numerous weaknesses, the principle of which were:
The garrison, under the command of Marshal Traun, consisted of 6,000 men, including 10 battalions of infantry from the regiments of Heister, Göldlin, O'Nelly, Carl Lothringen, and Schmettau, 6 grenadier companies, and companies of horseless cuirassiers from the regiments of Pignatelli and Kokoržowa.
Traun may also have benefited from a long-standing friendship with Count Marsillac, the commander of the besieging forces. The two had fought together in previous campaigns, and even shared the same tent on occasion.
While the Austrians had intended to provision the fort sufficient to keep a garrison of 5,000 for five months, the supplies present in April were only sufficient to keep the garrison for two months. Traun organized a corps of volunteers that engaged in foraging operations during the months of the blockade. Their forays were successful enough that in mid-July the Austrians still had one month's supplies.His prospects for relief, however, were dampened by news that Marshal Mercy had died in the Austrian defeat at Parma and that the Austrians had retreated afterwards.
On August 10 Traun launched an elaborate sortie against the Spanish blockade, which had grown to over 15,000 men. In addition to raiding Spanish supplies, he targeted a boat bridge the Spanish had set up across the Volturno River. Sending several battalions out the Naples and Rome gates in the middle of the night, they spent several hours attempting to reach and destroy the bridge. The Spanish were able to fend off the attacks, but they were only cover for the true operation, in which a picked company of 500 successfully raided the countryside. Around dawn, this force returned with 150 cows, 90 water buffalo, 1,000 sheep. The attempt on the bridge had cost the Austrians over 300 casualties, although they killed more than 350 Spanish and took 52 prisoners (who Traun promptly released).
The siege continued into November, and conditions in the blockaded city became progressively more severe. On November 20 Traun and the Spanish command reached an agreement that Traun would capitulate if relief had not arrived by November 30. On that day, the Austrian garrison, reduced to about 5,000 men, marched out with the full honors of war, including two field pieces, and boarded Spanish ships to be transported to Triest and Fiume. The only term of the surrender that the Spanish denied was permission for the troops to assist in the northern Italian campaign.
Prince Eugene of Savoy was a general of the Imperial Army and statesman of the Holy Roman Empire and the Archduchy of Austria and one of the most successful military commanders in modern European history, rising to the highest offices of state at the Imperial court in Vienna.
Otto Ferdinand Graf von Abensperg und Traun, was an Austrian Generalfeldmarschall. The current spelling of the name, and the spelling used in his time, is mostly Abensperg.
Maria Sophie Amalie, Duchess in Bavaria was the last Queen consort of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies. She was one of the ten children of Maximilian Joseph, Duke in Bavaria and Princess Ludovika of Bavaria. She was born as Duchess Maria Sophia in Bavaria. She was the younger sister of the better-known Elisabeth of Bavaria ("Sisi") who married Emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria.
The Siege of Gaeta was the concluding event of the war between the Kingdom of Sardinia and the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, part of the unification of Italy. It started on November 5, 1860 and ended February 13, 1861, and took place in Gaeta, in today's Southern Lazio (Italy).
The Siege of Gaeta was a siege during the War of Polish Succession fought at Gaeta, Italy. The Habsburgs at Gaeta withstood four months of siege from the Bourbon armies under the Duke of Parma.
Mignano Monte Lungo is a comune (municipality) in the Province of Caserta in the Italian region Campania, located about 70 kilometres (43 mi) northwest of Naples and about 45 kilometres (28 mi) northwest of Caserta.
The Battle of Goito was fought between the Piedmontese and the Austrian army on 30 May 1848, in the course of the First Italian War of Independence. The Piedmontese army won the battle, as the Austrians were unable to break through to relieve the siege of Peschiera and prevent its surrender which happened on the day before the battle.
The Battle of Volturnus or Volturno refers to a series of military clashes between Giuseppe Garibaldi's volunteers known as the Matese Legion and the troops of the Kingdom of Two Sicilies occurring around the river Volturno, between the cities of Capua and Caserta in northern Campania, in September and October 1860. The main battle took place on the 1 October 1860 between 30,000 Garibaldines and 25,000 Bourbon troops (Neapolitans).
The Battle of Guastalla or Battle of Luzzara was a battle fought on 19 September 1734 between Franco-Sardinian and Austrian (Habsburg) troops as part of the War of the Polish Succession.
The Treaty of Casalanza, which ended the Neapolitan War, was signed on 20 May 1815 between the pro-Napoleon Kingdom of the Two Sicilies on the one hand and the Austrian Empire, as well as the United Kingdom, on the other. The signature occurred in a patrician villa, owned by the Lanza family, in what is now the commune of Pastorano, Campania, southern Italy
The Siege of Gaeta saw the fortress city of Gaeta and its Neapolitan garrison under Louis of Hesse-Philippsthal besieged by an Imperial French corps led by André Masséna. After a prolonged defense in which Hesse was badly wounded, Gaeta surrendered and its garrison was granted generous terms by Masséna.
On 1 March 1815 Napoleon Bonaparte escaped from his imprisonment on the isle of Elba, and launched a bid to recover his empire. A confederation of European powers pledged to stop him. During the period known as the Hundred Days Napoleon chose to confront the armies of Prince Blücher and the Duke of Wellington in what has become known as the Waterloo Campaign. He was decisively defeated by the two allied armies at the Battle of Waterloo, which then marched on Paris forcing Napoleon to abdicate for the second time. However Russia, Austria and some of the minor German states also fielded armies against him and all of them also invaded France. Of these other armies the ones engaged in the largest campaigns and saw the most fighting were two Austrian armies: The Army of the Upper Rhine and the Army of Italy.
The Army of Naples was a French Army unit which took this name following its capture of Naples in 1799. It was related to the Army of Italy.
The Siege of Philippsburg was conducted by French forces against forces in the fortress of Philippsburg in the Rhine River valley during the War of the Polish Succession. The Duke of Berwick led 100,000 men up the Rhine Valley in opposition to Austrian forces, of which 60,000 were detached to invest the fortress at Philippsburg, beginning on 1 June 1734. A relief column of 35,000 under the aging Prince Eugene of Savoy was unsuccessful in actually relieving the siege. On 12 June Berwick was killed by a cannonball while inspecting the trenches, and command of the besiegers fell to Marshals d'Asfeld and Noailles. The fortress surrendered one month later, and the garrison withdrew to the fortress of Mainz with the honours of war.
In the Siege of Hamelin or Siege of Hameln, First French Empire forces captured the fortress of Hamelin from its garrison composed of troops from the Kingdom of Prussia. The siege was begun by the VIII Corps under French Marshal Édouard Adolphe Casimir Joseph Mortier. The marshal initially left General of Division Jean-Baptiste Dumonceau in charge of operations. General of Division Anne Jean Marie René Savary soon arrived to conduct negotiations with the Prussian commander General Karl Ludwig von Lecoq, who was quickly persuaded to surrender. Technically, the operation from the War of the Fourth Coalition was a blockade because a formal siege never took place. Hamelin is located 36 kilometers southwest of Hanover.
In the Siege of Pamplona a Spanish force led by Captain General Henry O'Donnell and later Major General Carlos de España blockaded an Imperial French garrison under the command of General of Brigade Louis Pierre Jean Cassan. At first, troops under Arthur Wellesley, Marquess Wellington surrounded the city, but they were soon replaced by Spanish units. In late July 1813, Marshal Nicolas Soult attempted to relieve the city but his operation failed in the Battle of the Pyrenees. Cassan capitulated to the Spanish after the French troops in the city were reduced to starvation. The surrender negotiations were marred by French bluffs to blow up the fortifications and Spanish threats to massacre the garrison, neither of which occurred. Pamplona is located on the Arga River in the province of Navarre in northern Spain. The siege occurred during the Peninsular War, part of the Napoleonic Wars.
The Invasion of Naples in January 1806 saw a French army led by Marshal André Masséna march from northern Italy into the Kingdom of Naples which was ruled by King Ferdinand IV. The Neapolitan army was vanquished at Campo Tenese and rapidly disintegrated. The invasion was eventually successful despite some setbacks, including the prolonged Siege of Gaeta, the British victory at Maida, and a stubborn guerrilla war by the peasantry against the French. Total success eluded the French because Ferdinand withdrew to his domain in Sicily where he was protected by the Royal Navy and a British Army garrison. In 1806 Emperor Napoleon appointed his brother Joseph Bonaparte to rule over southern Italy as king.