5 August 1796

To break the siege of the important fortress of Mantua, Austria sent three armies to stop it falling into French hands.

General Quasdanovich's 18,000 men was to meet with General Dagobert Wurmser's 24,000 troops and a third force of 5000 to relieve the garrison.

In the way was General Napoleon Bonaparte with a smaller army of exhausted Frenchmen.

In a brave piece of generalship, Bonaparte abandoned the siege, losing more than 100 cannons in the process, and dispatched General Massena to fend off Quasdanovich while General Augereau battled great odds to stop Wurmser from joining his colleague.

Massena's victory allowed Bonaparte to concentrate on Wurmser and he planned to draw the Austrian from strong defensive positions, counterattack and then hit them with a surprise flank attack.

As organised the French frontal assault retreated on orders and the defenders followed them. Unfortunately, for Bonaparte's plan, the flank assault was launched early and allowed Wurmser the chance to redeploy his reserves and keep it at bay.

The French eventually broke the Austrian front, but the defenders had been given the opportunity to avoid the trap and took it.

Bonaparte lost 1500 men and Wurmser twice that.




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