War of the Third Coalition

Battle of Caldiero
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1805 Oct 30

Battle of Caldiero

Caldiero, Italy
News that Emperor Napoleon I demolished the main Austrian army in the Ulm Campaign finally reached Masséna on 28 October and he issued orders for an immediate offensive against the Austrian army in northern Italy. Crossing the Adige river with the divisions of Duhesme, Gardanne, and Gabriel Jean Joseph Molitor and leaving behind Jean Mathieu Seras' division to cover Verona, Masséna planned to move forward into Austrian-controlled territory. Archduke Charles of Austria-Teschen, himself acutely aware of the dire consequences of the fall of Ulm, was planning to move towards Vienna, in order to reinforce the remains of the Austrian army and link up with the Russians. However, in order to avoid having Masséna's men on his heels, he decided to suddenly turn and face the French, hoping that by defeating them he would ensure the success of his march towards inner Austria. The battle was thus a significant strategical victory for the French because it allowed them to closely follow the Austrian army and to harassing it continually in a number of skirmishes, as it fell back towards inner Austria. Masséna thus delayed Charles and prevent him from joining the army of the Danube, which would greatly influence the outcome of the war. Historians disagree on whether Caldiero was a French tactical victory, an Austrian tactical victory or a draw.
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