Battle of Tolentino

Infobox Military Conflict


caption="The Battle of Tolentino" by Vincenzo Milizia
conflict=Battle of Tolentino
partof=the Neapolitan War
date=2 – 3 May, 1815
place=Tolentino, Macerata, present-day Italy
result= Decisive Austrian victory
combatant1=flag|Austrian Empire
combatant2=flagicon|Two Sicilies|1811 Kingdom of Naples
commander1=flagicon|Austrian Empire Frederick Bianchi
commander2=flagicon|Two Sicilies|1811 Joachim Murat
strength1=11,938 men
1,452 horses
28 guns
strength2=25,588 men
4,790 horses
58 guns
casualties1=800 total:
700 killed
100 wounded
casualties2=4,120 total:
1,120 killed
600 wounded
2,400 captured

The Battle of Tolentino was the decisive battle in the Neapolitan War, fought by the King of Naples Joachim Murat to keep the throne after the Congress of Vienna. The battle itself shares many parallels with the Battle of Waterloo. Both occurred during the Hundred Days following Napoleon's return from exile and resulted in a decisive victory for the Seventh Coalition leading to the restoration of a Bourbon king.

Background

By the end of April 1815, Murat had lost all the early gains he made at the start of the war as two advancing Austrian corps under the command of Generals Bianchi and Neipperg forced the Neapolitans south east to a base in Ancona. However, the two Austrians corps had become separated on either side of the Apennine Mountains, and Murat hoped to defeat Bianchi to the west before quickly turning on Neipperg who had been pursuing his retreat from the north. His plan was similar to Napoleon's plan to defeat the British before turning on the Prussians during the Waterloo Campaign.

Murat planned to face Bianchi near the town of Tolentino. Dispatching a small force under General Carascosa to delay Neipperg, Murat moved his main force to meet Bianchi. However, on the 29 April, a small advance party of Hungarian hussars succeeded in routing the small Neapolitan garrison stationed in Tolentino. With the Austrian vanguard already established in Tolentino, Murat's army camped to the north east in Macerata. Bianchi, however, realised Murat's plan and decided to delay Murat for as long as possible. The Austrians established a defensive line centered around the Tower of San Catervo, with further troops being positioned at the key locations of Rancia Castle, the church of Maestà and at Saint Joseph. Murat had to force the issue and march on Bianchi. The two armies finally met on 2 May.

Battle

The battle opened at dawn with an artillery bombardment from both sides on the valley leading north to Sforzacosta. Although the Austrians were already established around Tolentino, Murat still managed to catch them completely by surprise. In the opening engagements, Neapolitan troops managed to surround and capture General Bianchi near Sforzacosta. However, the general was almost immediately released by a regiment of Hungarian hussars. By mid morning, the Neapolitan army had concentrated near Pollenza, with fierce fighting erupting around the area. During the day, the main action occurred around the Austrian outpost at Rancia Castle, which changed hands many times during the course of the battle. By the end of the first day, although the Neapolitan army had the upper hand and had made slight gains, including Monte Milone, the Austrians were still in an excellent defensive position.

On the second day, fog delayed the start of battle until 7 o'clock. The day started well for Murat as the Neapolitan army managed to finally take Rancia Castle as well as the hills of Cantagallo. From here, the Neapolitans staged a further attack on the Austrian positions. Two Neapolitan infantry divisions, including his Guard division, descended from Monte Milone against the Austrian left flank. However, the Neapolitans made the mistake of forming squares expecting a swift cavalry counter attack, which never happened. The Austrian infantry delivered a series of volleys, supported by devastating artillery fire. Meanwhile, General Mohr had also repulsed an attack on the Austrian right and the entire Neapolitan line fell back to Pollenza. With the result of the battle still undecided, Murat received word Neipperg had defeated Carascosa at the Battle of Scapezzano and was approaching. To make matters worse, he received false rumours that a British fleet had just unloaded a Sicilian army in the south of Italy, threatening his line of retreat. Unbeknownst to Murat, the British fleet were in fact sailing to blockade Naples and Ancona. Sensing the inevitable, Murat sounded the retreat, and the fighting ended. Murat fell back to Naples, but with the Austrians approaching by land and the British by sea, he had no choice but to flee to Corsica disguised as a Danish sailor. The battle proved decisive and on 20 May 1815, Austria and Naples conclude the Treaty of Casalanza, restoring Ferdinand IV to the throne.

References

*Capt. Batty, [http://www.napoleonic-literature.com/Book_29/002-Events.htm "An Historical Sketch of the Campaign of 1815"] , London (1820)
*Colletta, Pietro (translated by Horner, Susan). "History of the Kingdom of Naples: 1734-1825", Hamilton, Adams, and Co. (1858)
*Cust, Edward. "Annals of the wars of the nineteenth century" (1863)

External links

* [http://www.tolentino815.it/paginaeng.aspx?id=2943 Tolentino 815] , the web site of the society which re-enacts and studies the battle.
* [http://www.napoleonguide.com/battle_tolentino.htm Battle of Tolentino] at Napoleon Guide.


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Battle of San Germano — Infobox Military Conflict caption= conflict=Battle of San Germano partof=the Neapolitan War date=15 May – 17 May 1815 place=Cassino, present day Italy result=Austrian victory combatant1=flag|Austrian Empire combatant2=flagicon|Two Sicilies|1811… …   Wikipedia

  • Battle of Scapezzano — Infobox Military Conflict caption= conflict=Battle of Scapezzano partof=the Neapolitan War date=1 May 1815 place=West of Senigallia, present day Italy result=Austrian victory combatant1=flag|Austrian Empire combatant2=flagicon|Two Sicilies|1811… …   Wikipedia

  • Battle of Castel di Sangro — Infobox Military Conflict caption= conflict=Battle of Castel di Sangro partof=the Neapolitan War date=13 May 1815 place=Castel di Sangro, present day Italy result=Austrian victory combatant1=flag|Austrian Empire combatant2=flagicon|Two… …   Wikipedia

  • Battle of San Romano — Infobox Military Conflict conflict= Battle of San Romano partof= Wars in Lombardy caption= Niccolò da Tolentino leading the Florentine cavalry date= June 1 1432 place= San Romano, Italy result= Florentine victory (disputed) combatant1= Republic… …   Wikipedia

  • Battle of San Romano — (1432)    A battle in which the Florentines, led by Niccoló da Tolentino, were victorious against the Sienese army of Bernardino della Ciarda. The event was commemorated in three panels painted by Paolo Uccello, now respectively in the National… …   Dictionary of Renaissance art

  • The Battle of San Romano — is a set of three paintings by the painter Paolo Uccello depicting events that took place at the battle of San Romano in 1432. The three paintings are: * Niccolò Mauruzi da Tolentino at the Battle of San Romano (probably about 1438 1440), egg… …   Wikipedia

  • Tolentino — Infobox CityIT img coa = Tolentino Stemma.png official name = Comune di Tolentino region = Marche province = Macerata (MC) elevation m = 256 area total km2 = 94.86 population as of = 2004 population total = 19772 population density km2 = 198… …   Wikipedia

  • Tolentino order of battle — This is an order of battle for the Battle of Tolentino that was fought on 2 May – 3 May 1815. = Austrian Army = Commander in chief: Lieutenant Field Marshal Baron BianchiTotal strength: 11,938 men – 1452 horses – 28 guns I Corps Commander:… …   Wikipedia

  • Tolentino, Niccolô da — (c. 1350 1435)    Lombard condottiere in the service of Pandolofo Malatesta, Lord of Fano and Cesena, who rewarded Niccoló for his services by appointing him Count of Stacciola, a title Pope Eugenius IV confirmed in 1431. Niccoló also served the… …   Dictionary of Renaissance art

  • List of battles (alphabetical) — Alphabetical list of historical battles (see also Military history, List of battles): NOTE: Where a year has been used to disambiguate battles it is the year when the battle started. In some cases these may still have gone on for several years.… …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”