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Battle Name : Marengo

Date(s) : 14 June 1800

Part of : The French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars , French Revolutionary War ,

Outcome : A victory for French Forces [Army of Reserve] over Austrian Forces

Type of battle : Land


The main battle between the Austrian and French forces in Italy during the Second Coalition.
The Austrians under Melas almost destroyed Napoleon, but the arrival of Gen. Desaix by late afternoon turned the tide and the victory, although costly, was French.


The plain of Marengo, 3 miles south-east of Alessandria, south of the Bormida river, Northern Italy. (Italy)

More details

Napoleon aimed to preven the Austrians under Melas from invading France by cutting their line of retreat through northern Italy. The French positioned on the Plain of Marengo were attacked in early morning by the whole Austrian army who had concentrated on Alessandria and surprised them. Heavy fighting drove back Napoleons outnumbered forces despite valiant action by Victor giving time for the rest of the army to organise.

By mid afternoon the French were in retreat and Melas thought the field was his, but General Zach mishandled the pursuit, giving time for General Desaix's divisions to come to Napoleons support. The French then counter-attacked that evening with Kellermann's cavalry hitting the Austrians in the flank.

Aggressive French action drove the Austrian from the field, although the cost was high.

Casualty figures

French Forces [Army of Reserve]

Number engaged :

Casualties :
5,600 (19.91%)

Austrian Forces

Number engaged :

Casualties :
9,640 (33.13%)