Combat of Borghetto, 2 May 1800

The combat of Borghetto (2 May 1800) was an Austrian victory that saw them force Suchet and the left wing of the Army of Italy to retreat further away from contact with the rest of the army at Genoa. In early April the Austrians had broken through the French lines and reached the coast west of Genoa. Suchet's left wing of the Army of Italy was cut off from the main army, which was still at Genoa. In an attempt to further increase the gap between the two wings of the French army the Austrian commander, Baron Melas, send General Elsnitz west to attack Suchet. He fought off a French counterattack (combat of Bormida), and prepared to attack the new French line.

The French attempted to defend a line six leagues long with only 10,000 men. Clausel's division occupied the main line, which ran from Borghetto west to Castel Bianco, and an advanced line of outposts that ran from Laone, just up the coast from Borghetto, west to Rocca Barbena and then north to the heights of Bardineto. Pouget's division then held the line west from Castel Bianco to Ponte di Nava in the upper Tanaro valley. Adjutant general Blondeau commanded the reserve, of two demi-brigades. Suchet's general headquarters were at Albenga, down the coast from Borghetto.

Melas arrived at Savone on 29 April to take command in person. He then marched his troops to Melongo, six miles inland from Loano. On the coast General Latterman forced the French advance guards out of Loano on 1 May.

Melas ordered a general assault on 2 May. Three brigades under Morzin attacks towards Monte-Calvo (possibly around the far left of the French line). Two brigades under Elsnitz attacked across Monte-Lingo (just to the north of Rocco Barbena). Gorupp attacked around Monte-Galera, west of Castelbianco, to threaten the French left.

Elsnitz and Morzin overwhelmed Serras's brigade, forcing him to retreat to Sambucco (somewhere near Albenga). British frigates bombarded Borghetto to support Lattermann's attack, forcing the French to retreat. With two holes in his line Suchet was forced to retreat, and that night pulled back to a new line at Oneglia. This too was soon broken (combat of Oneglia, 7 May 1800), and Suchet was forced back behind the Var River.

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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (14 January 2010), Combat of Borghetto, 2 May 1800 , http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/combat_borghetto.html

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