The Second Coalition
1798 to 1801
22 June 1799, Britain became the last nation to join the
Second Coalition against France. Before her signature were
those of Austria, Russia, Turkey, the Vatican, Portugal
first success for the new anti-French league was the capture
of Rome by a Neopolitan army, led by Austria's General
Karl Mack, but the high point was short-lived as French
troops threw them out two weeks later.
Napoleon Bonaparte on
his Egyptian Campaign,
the military leadership of France fell upon Lazare
Carnot who decided the best form of defence was to attack
all his enemies at once.
called for three operations - against Austria and Russia
in Italy, Austria in Germany and Russia and England in the
were some big-name commanders against them, with Russia's
General Alexander Suvarov
leading the Italian forces, Archduke
Charles the forces in Germany and the Duke of York in
Jean-Baptiste Jourdan initially took the offensive in
Germany, but was pushed back at Ostrach and then beaten
four days later at Stockach.
Andre Massena performed well in Switzerland and, when
Jourdan resigned, he took over the German forces as well.
He was pushed back at Zurich,
but did the same to the Austrians at Dottingen.
a mutiny in the army of Naples, Mack threw himself on the
mercy of the French and his loss meant the disorganised
Neopolitans were brushed aside by the rampant forces of
General Etienne Championnet.
victory in southern Italy did nothing for the French cause,
however, as defeat after defeat set its armies reeling back
and the Allies recovered almost of of the ground lost to
Bonaparte's brilliant 1796 Campaign.
by General Paul Kray, the Austrians defeated a French army
at Magnano, then a combined Russo-Austrians army under General
Alexander Suvarov routed the new French commander General
Jean Moreau at Cassano.
lost the major cities of Turin and Milan, the situation
was dangerous for France, but when General
Macdonald lost at Trebbia, Moreau was dismissed and
his replacement General Joubert defeated and killed at Novi,
things looked hopeless.
then took a hand in the war, with the Allies deciding to
switch Charles to the Netherlands and Suvarov to Germany.
This gave General Massena the opening he needed.