4 June to 31 July 1796,
24 August 1796 to 2 February 1797
Guides for Northern Italy
Austrian fortress at Mantua was of vital strategic importance
to both sides during the 1796-1797 campaigns in Northern
defend Mantua the Austrians had some 9000 men and 500 cannons
within its walls when the French first began laying siege
to it on 4 June 1796.
columns were sent by Vienna and the imminent arrival of
General Dagobert Wurmser forced
Napoleon Bonaparte to
abandon the operation - and in the process spike his artillery
- and move to deal with the threat.
battles of Lonato and Castiglione
followed and while the Austrians were sent reeling from
the defeats, they were able to get supplies and 6000 reinforcements
returned to besieging the fortress, but again Wurmser appeared
in the vicinity to threaten his forces.
French general defeated his enemies at Caliano
and Bassano and forced
Wurmser to have his men fight their way to the supposed
safety of Mantua.
the extra mouths to feed would drain the citadel's supplies
and mindful of the danger Wurmser quickly tried to break
out again, but was forced back having lost some 4000 troops
in the attempt.
Austrian relief attempts ended in failure at Caldiero,
Arcola and Rivoli
and on 2 February 1797, Wurmser was forced to surrender.
than 18,000 Austrians died defending Mantua compared with
7000 French troops.
the dangers posed by the fortress to his lines of communication
removed, Bonaparte could now carry the campaign to the Austrians.