10 May 1796

Battlefield Guides for Northern Italy

It was at the battle of Lodi that Napoleon Bonaparte proved himself to his men and won the nickname The Little Corporal.

The French were trying to trap General Beaulieu's Austrians but tardiness allowed the enemy to escape across the Adda River to safety.

Beaulieu left behind a 10,000-strong force at Lodi to delay any French pursuit and when Bonaparte's men arrived they found the defenders in a strong position and the vital bridge swept by cannon and musket fire.

Bonaparte himself sighted the French artillery pieces - usually the job for an artillery corporal - and pinned down the Austrians with accurate fire while an assault was organised.

A determined and costly charge by General Massena, combined with flanking crossings further along the river, forced the Austrian rearguard to retreat towards the fortress at Mantua.

Both sides lost about 2000 men at Lodi.




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