23.03.

1849: Field Marshal Count Radetzky Wins the Battle of Novara

1849: Field Marshal Count Radetzky Wins the Battle of Novara
Photo Credit To Wikipedia Commons

Story Highlights

  • Historical event:
  • 23 March 1849
  • Field Marshal Count Joseph Radetzky won a decisive victory over the army of the Kingdom of Sardinia near the Italian city of Novara. The famous Radetzky March, composed by Johann Strauss Sr., was named precisely after the mentioned Count Radetzky.

On this day in 1849, the Austrian Army achieved one of its most famous victories in the 19th century.

Namely, it defeated the army of the Kingdom of Sardinia in the Battle of Novara, which was attempting to expand its area of influence to the parts of Italy under Austrian control.

The Austrian field marshal who won the battle was the well-known Field Marshal Count Joseph Radetzky. The famous Radetzky March, composed by Johann Strauss Sr., was named precisely after the mentioned Count Radetzky.

The city of Novara, near which the battle took place, is located between Milan and Turin. Turin was the capital of the Kingdom of Sardinia, while Milan was the capital of Lombardy, which was under Austrian control at that time (Emperor Francis Joseph I was also the King of Lombardy and Venice).

Georg Decker: Johann Josef Wenzel Graf Radetzky around 1850
Georg Decker: Johann Josef Wenzel Graf Radetzky around 1850

More than 100,000 soldiers participated in the Battle of Novara. Austrian forces achieved a decisive victory, which brought a temporary end to Italian attempts to free Lombardy from Austrian rule. Austrian troops were in that sense the representatives of the conservative system, similarly to when they crushed a revolution in Hungary, which took place at roughly the same time.

Julius Jacob von Haynau became one of the most infamous Austrian generals both in Italy and in Hungary. He used extreme cruelty in putting down the Italian uprising in Brescia, which earned him the nickname “Hyena of Brescia”. In Hungary he organized the cruel hanging of ten rebel generals, known as the Martyrs of Arad. It is interesting to note that General von Haynau was the great-grandson of British king George II through an illegitimate line. Of course, this also made him a relative of British queen Victoria, who ruled at the time of the Battle of Novara.

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