1706-09-08 – Battle of Castiglione

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Hierarchical Path: War of the Spanish Succession (Main Page) >> Battles and Encounters >> 1706-09-08 – Battle of Castiglione

Franco-Spanish tactical victory

Introduction

On 7 August, the Duc d’Orléans was informed of the arrival of part of the Hessian Contingent in the region of Verona. He immediately sent 9 bns from his camp at Guastalla to reinforce the corps of the Comte de Medavi posted on the Mincio, which was still conducting operations in Lombardy.

On 9 August, M. de Medavi abandoned the Mincio and retired to San Martino dall'Argine. Meanwhile, the rest of the 9 Hessian bns arrived at San Michele near Verona.

On 11 August, the Duc d’Orléans sent a reinforcement of 2 cavalry brigades to M. de Medavi. The latter was now at the head of 7,000 men which he deployed in three groups: one at Bozzolo, the other at Marcaria and the third at Ostiano.

General Wetzel, who commanded the Imperialist corps on the left bank of the Po was still waiting for the arrival of the Hessian cavalry (2 dragoon rgts, 4 cavalry rgts). He would then be at the head of approx. 11,000 men.

On 19 August in the evening, Medavi informed the Duc d’Orléans that Goito was under attack. The duke sent the Maréchal de Marsin with 14 cavalry sqns to join M. de Medavi.

By August 20, Medeavi was at the head of 17 bns and 30 sqns.

On 20 August, after the capture of Goito, Wetzel’s entire corps crossed the Mincio River at Volta. The Prince of Hesse-Kassel, who assumed command was now at the head of 22 bns (13 Hessian bns and 9 Imperial bns) and 3,500 horse (2,400 Hessian horse, 1,100 Imperial horse).

On 2 September, M. de Medavi was informed that the Prince of Hesse had marched to Castiglione delle Stiviere where he was awaiting the arrival of some heavy artillery pieces sent from Torbole. Medavi intended to seize this opportunity to recapture Goito before relieving Castiglione. In this view, he had prepared six 24-pdr pieces at Mantua which were already on their way to join him. Medavi then changed his mind and decided to advance directly against the forces of the Prince of Hesse.

On 8 September, M. de Medavi marched to Cerlongo where he was joined by troops taken from the various garrisons. He was now at the head of 25 bns and 35 sqns.

Map

To do

Description of Events

Upon reaching the plain, Medavi deployed his army in order of battle with its right towards Solferino and its left on Medole. M. de Saint-Pater commanded the right; M. Dillon, the left; and M. de Toralba, the centre.

Medavi had barely completed his deployment when the army of the Prince of Hesse arrived on the plain.

Around 2:00 p.m., Medavi launched an attack against the Imperialist positions.

Medavi’s first attacks were repulsed.

M. Dillon then led a cavalry charge against the left wing of the Imperialists which soon broke.

Medavi then advanced against the Imperialist troops that had been left before Castiglione and captured a large number of prisoners.

Outcome

The Imperialists lost 1,000 men killed or wounded and 2,500 men taken prisoners. The French lost 100 men killed.

The French captured 33 colours and standards, 6 heavy cannon, 8 field cannon, all the ammunition and baggage.

Nevertheless, this victory could not compensate for the decisive defeat of the Duc d’Orléans in the Battle of Turin in Piedmont on the previous day, and the Franco-Spanish army would eventually have to evacuate the entire Italian peninsula.

Order of Battle

Franco-Spanish Order of Battle

Commander-in-chief: Comte de Medavi

Summary: 25 bns and 35 sqns for a total of approx. 12,000 men (8,000 foot, 4,000 horse)

First Line Second Line
Right Wing
General Dillon
  • unidentified cavalry units (7 sqns) with grenadier coys interspersed between the sqns
  • unidentified cavalry units (6 sqns)
Centre
General Toralba
  • unidentified Spanish infantry units (3 bns)
  • unidentified French infantry units (17 bns)
  • artillery (12 guns)
General de Courtade probably
  • unidentified infantry units (8 bns)
Left Wing
General Saint-Pater
  • unidentified cavalry units (7 sqns) with grenadier coys interspersed between the sqns
  • unidentified cavalry units (7 sqns)

Quincy specifically mentions the following regiments in his relation of the battle:

  • Forbin Cavalerie (2 sqns)
  • Gramont Cavalerie Regiment (2 sqns)
  • Chartres Cavalerie Regiment (3 sqns)

Imperialist Order of Battle

Commander-in-chief: Prince Frederick I of Hesse-Kassel

Summary: 22 bns and 3,500 horse but part of the army was before Castiglione

Infantry (22 bns: 13 Hessian bns and 9 Imperial bns)

Cavalry (2,400 Hessian horse, 1,100 Imperial horse)

References

This article incorporates texts from the following books which are now in the public domain:

  • Pelet and François Eugène de Vault: Mémoires militaires relatifs à la Succession d'Espagne sous Louis XIV, Vol. 6, 1845 pp. 239, 244-245, 254-255, 299-300
  • Quincy, Charles Sevin de: Histoire Militaire Du Règne De Louis Le Grand, Vol. 5, Paris 1726 (1706-1708)
  • Abtheilung für Kriegsgeschichte des k. k. Kriegs-Archives: Feldzüge des Prinzen Eugen von Savoyen, Vol. 8 - 1706, Vienna 1876, pp. 279, 286

Other sources

Nafziger Online Collection – [1]

Wikipedia – Battle of Castiglione (1706)

Acknowledgement

Jörg Meier for the orders of battle