Monday, September 30, 2013

Defeat is Victory for Carlo Emanuele III

It was on this day in 1744 that the battle of Madonna dell'Olmo was fought between the forces of King Carlo Emanuele III and the combined armies of France and Spain. Although he was outnumbered, suffered more losses and was forced to concede the battlefield, it was King Carlo Emanuele III who was really victorious in the end. He lost the battle but it proved to be unimportant because, thanks to his strategic thinking and foresight, it was his goals that were accomplished rather than those of his enemies. The clever Savoy king had set up a situation that brilliantly ensured that he would be successful no matter who won the battle of Madonna dell'Olmo. The real key was Cuneo, which the Franco-Spanish forces had besieged as the last obstacle before penetrating deep into Piemontese territory. King Carlo Emanuele III called out the national militia to harass their supply lines and sent out his army to fight the enemy away from the city, distracting them and delaying them. The situation was arranged with such skill that the outcome of the battle did not matter at all. Simply be delaying the French and Spanish with a fight elsewhere, the King was able to evacuate the sick and wounded from Cuneo, send them relief supplies and by the time the enemy returned to focus on the siege, winter weather would have forced them to call off the operation and retreat anyway. There are few other examples in which a battle could be lost and yet the overall situation be arranged so brilliantly to the effect that the loser ended up being the real winner. The French and Spanish had to re-cross the Alps to avoid being snowed in and Piedmont was safe. Even with a lost battle, thanks to his skillful strategy, King Carlo Emanuele III had saved his country from invasion.

No comments:

Post a Comment