Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The Battle of Mortara: Death knell of the Austrians 1859

After the fall of Milan to the Italians a few days ago and the crushing defeat of Zobel by the Italian commander Camerana, the Austrian morale was non-existant.  Zobel's retreating army passed through Benedek's army in Mortara causing more friction with stories of their defeat.
Hot on the heals of Zobel's retreating army Camerana blundered into Benedek's army.
No one on the Austrian staff under Benedek could figure out if Benedek's orders were bold or pure lunacy.  ATTACK!

Benedek's commanders arranged their small force against the heavy hills.  It was an unfair fight, 13 units against 23, with only one unit of cavalry and one battery of artillery, the Austrians lurched forward.

Overview of the battle field with the Italians on the right using the hills to their artilleries advantage.


The Italian Artillery opened up on the advancing Austrian infantry.

Over the hill they came.

The Austrians hoping to get to the little town of Mortara before the Italians.



Endless rows of Italians wait for the enemy.


The one Austrian cavalry unit pushes forward and pays the price as accurate artillery and rifle fire devastates them. 



The Italian cavalry tries to turn the flank of the Austrians.







Heavy rifle fire from both sides pushes the Italians back with heavy causalities.  A bright light begins to shine on the Austrians. 

Seeing the Austrian artillery unlimber, the Italian cavalry charged!

The artillerists were killed to the man.

Seeing their comrades slaughtered the Italian cavalry paid the price with heavy losses due to rifle fire and routed away.



More glimmers of hope for the Austrians as another Italian unit routs away.


A bold local Italian commander caught the Austrians in the flank causing them to rout away.

The hills provide some relief but the slaughter was too great under the heavy Italian fire and weight of numbers for the Austrians.  Their morale broke with large losses.
This loss caused the Austrian government to sue for peace with the Italians, which pulled the Austrian troops back to the Quadrilateral.  The Unification of Italy was nearly complete. 

2 comments:

  1. This has been a great ToW series, Victor!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Looking very nice, a great table!
    Phil.

    ReplyDelete