Michael Melas

Austrian General

Michael MelasMichael Melas became a soldier in Austria's armies at the age of 17.

Born in Transylvania, he fought in the Seven Years' War (1756-1763) but was a solid, rather than exceptional, soldier and advanced slowly up the ladder.

In 1799, he rose to command the army in the Italy campaign and began it well with victories at Cassovo, Novi and a successful siege that forced General Massena to surrender Genoa.

Meeting Napoleon Bonaparte on the field of Marengo, Melas seemed to be on his way to another victory when he turned command over to a subordinate.

That, and the arrival of reinforcements under General Louis Desaix, swung the fight in France's favour and Melas' army disintegrated and the remnants withdrew from North Italy.

Melas retired in 1803.




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