Battle of Rivoli


January 23, 2022

Battle of Rivoli - an armed clash during the First Coalition War, which took place on January 14-15, 1797 between the French republican army led by Napoleon Bonaparte and the Austrian imperial army under the command of Joseph Alvinczy. The decisive victory of Bonaparte for the Italian campaign enabled the French to completely seize northern Italy.


For French operations on the Northern Italian front, the capture and conquest of Mantua, still occupied by the Austrians, was of decisive strategic importance. The siege of this fortress with the strong corps of imperial general Beaulieu enclosed in it was undertaken in the summer of 1796 by the forces of the division (8,500 soldiers) of General Sérurier. The maintenance of the mighty fortress in the Po plain, dominating the strategically important valleys of Mincio and Adige, was also of great importance to the imperial troops, but several previous attempts at relief and photos of the siege had failed. According to Bonaparte's plan, effective cover for the siege forces was provided by: General Lannes' division (2800 soldiers) in Ferrara and General Masséna (9000) at Verona, General Augereau's corps (10500) in Legnago and Joubert (10300) at La Corona together with the General's unit Rey (4300) at Salo. In total, there were 45,400 soldiers at Bonaparte's disposal. The attempt to rescue and displace the French from the Po Plain by Artillery General Alvinczy was the fourth one in a row.


The Austrians advanced south in three columns, with General Alvinczy commanding the strongest, 35,000, heading for Joubert at La Corona. It was supported by two other, less numerous columns: the left one (10,000), headed for Verona and commanded by General Provera, and the right (5,000), headed for Legnago under the command of General Bajalic. Before the main forces clashed, on January 12, Masséna defeated Bajalić at Verona. However, on January 13, Joubert's forces were successfully attacked, which forced the French to withdraw from their position. Notified of this, Bonaparte by two divisions (Berthiera and Massény) hastily assisted Joubert, who thus detained the Austrians at Rivoli. Taking advantage of the tactical advantage of the position in the hills, the French decided there to make a decisive clash with the Austrians.


On January 14, Alvinczy attacked the French positions in the Trambalore hills - General Gvozdanovic's soldiers were to bypass the right wing of the French, while General Lusignan and 4,000 foot soldiers were to attack the French left wing: in this way, Napoleon's troops were to be surrounded and defeated. Around On the 11th, the situation was very unfavorable for Bonaparte when the Austrians attacked from two sides, pushing the French from the east. He then ordered to regroup some of the soldiers from the center to the eastern flank to counter the attack by Gvozdanović. French artillery opened fire, breaking the formation of the Austrian dragoons and making the French gain the upper hand. Leclerc and de Lasalle commanders of the cavalry then made a daring driving attack, pushing the Austrians to their starting positions. Napoleon immediately capitalized on this success by sending Joubert's troops to the hills to counter Alvinczy's attack. At that time General Rey arrived on the battlefield with Claude Perrin's brigade; together with the division of General Massény, he defeated part of the Lusignan army, capturing 3,000 Austrians. In retreat to the north, Alvinczy tried to resist La Corona on January 15, but beaten again, he finally withdrew. General Provera, who arrived at Mantua, was surrounded there and capitulated on January 16.


14,000 Austrians and around 5,000 were killed in the battle. French. The defeat caused the retreat of the Austrian forces, make it possible

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