- For the battle between Romans and Gauls, see Battle of Cremona (200 BC). For the battle during the Year of the Four Emperors, see Battle of Bedriacum.
Battle of Cremona Part of the War of the Spanish Succession Date 1 February 1702 Location Cremona (present-day Italy) Result Indecisive Belligerents Habsburg Monarchy Kingdom of France Commanders and leaders Eugene of Savoy Duc de Villeroi Casualties and losses About 500 1,000 dead
The Battle of Cremona was a battle of the War of the Spanish Succession that took place on 1 February 1702 between France and Austria.
Five months after repulsing the French at the Battle of Chieri (Chiari) in Lombardy, Prince Eugene of Savoy retook the offensive, moving westward with the Austrian army of Leopold I, Holy Roman Emperor to Cremona on the Po. On 1 February 1702, Eugene conducted a night attack that caught the French garrison, under Marshal François de Neufville, Duc de Velleroi, completely by surprise.
The plan was an infiltration in a commando-style attack under Eugene of Savoy himself, and a larger force under Charles Thomas de Lorraine-Vaudemont, who would take the Po gate.
Eugene of Savoy stormed the city, capturing the Duc de Villeroi.
The wits of the army made at his expense the famous rhyme:
"Par la faveur de Bellone,
et par un bonheur sans égal,
Nous avons conservé Crémone
--et perdu notre général."
"By the favour of Bellone, and a happiness without equal, We preserved Crémone --and lost our general."
The Austrians also captured other high-ranking French officers. and 1,000 French soldiers were killed in the attack, many of them in their sleep.
However the plan didn't succeed completely as the force under Vaudemont was held up by the difficult terrain and arrived later than planned. They were too late to surprise the citadel of Cremona, and an important bridge was blown up by the defenders. Then the citadel held out, thanks to the valiant defence of the Po gate by the Irish Brigade. A relieving French army approached Cremona, and Eugene was forced to withdraw.
Villeroi was succeeded by Vendôme.
- 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica, 11th Edition, New York 1910, Vol.X, p.460: "The oriflamme and the Chape de St Martin were succeeded at the end of the 16th century, when Henry III., the last of the house of Valois, came to the throne, by the white standard powdered with fleurs-de-lis. This in turn gave place to the famous tricolour."George Ripley, Charles Anderson Dana, The American Cyclopaedia, New York, 1874, p. 250, "...the standard of France was white, sprinkled with golden fleur de lis...". * The original Banner of France was strewn with fleurs-de-lis.
Eggenberger, David. A Dictionary of Battles (New York: Thomas Y. Crowell, 1967), p. 110
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