Combat of Zutalovka, 25 May 1809

The combat of Zutalovka (25 May 1809) was a clash between a retreating Austrian army from Croatia and the pursuing French Army of Dalmatia. After an early stalemate on the border between Dalmatia and Croatia the French, under S, had won a key victory around Mt. Kita (16 May 1809), and despite drawn battles at Gracac (17 May) and Gospic (21-22 May) the Austrians had repeatedly been forced to withdraw.

Marmont moved into Gospic on 23 May, the day after the Austrians evacuated towards Ottacac. On 24 May the French moved north in pursuit, clashing with the Austrian rearguard to the south of Ottacac.

On 25 May Marmont led Delzons' brigade past the Austrian rearguard, and caught up with the Austrians, under Oberst Matthias Freiherr Rebrovic von Razboj, close to Zutalovka. The Austrians were in a very dangerous position. Their rearguard was some way to the south-east, while another battalion was potentially isolated at Zengg (Senj), seven miles away to the west.

A determined French attack might have resulted in the destruction of the Austrian army, but Marmont was let down by General Montrichard, whose sluggish performance, combined with a determined Austrian rearguard action, allowed Rebrovic to escape north across the pass to Brinje. By the time Montrichard arrived it was too late.

Although Marmont had failed to destroy the Austrian army, he had achieved his main purpose, which was to clear his route to the coast and a rendezvous with the French Army of Italy. While the Austrians retreated to the north-east, Marmont marched west, reaching the coast at Zengg on 26 May, and Fiume on 28 May. From there he was soon able to join up with the Army of Italy, before finally reaching Napoleon's main army on 6 July, the second day of the battle of Wagram.

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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (2 July 2010), Combat of Zutalovka, 25 May 1809 , http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/combat_zutalovka.html

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