|War of the Sardinian Succession|
Sardinian Cavalry charging an Austrian Infantry regiment at the Battle of Alessandria, c.1749
|Kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia||Kingdom of the Swiss|
|Commanders and leaders|
|Ishmael I||King Alexander I|
| Sardinian Royal Army
| Swiss Royal Army
|Casualties and losses|
|109,280 dead||61,130 dead|
"Good morning. Good morning. In less than an hour, every people from here will join others from around the world, and you will be launching the largest battle in the history of mankind. Mankind, that word should have new meaning for all of us today. We can't be consumed by our petty differences anymore. We will be united in our common interest. Perhaps it's fate that today is the June 21st, and you will once again be fighting for our freedom. Not from tyranny, oppression, or persecution, but from annihilation. We're fighting for our right to live, to exist, and should we win the day, the Kingdom of Sardinia will no longer be known as an Kingdom, but as the day when the country declared in one voice, 'We will not go quietly into the night! We will not vanish without a fight! We're going to live on, we're going to survive. Today we celebrate our Independence day!' ."
- Direct quote from King Ishmael Emmanuel III
War is DeclaredEdit
Soon after Ishmael Emmanuel III declared himself Emperor of Italy, the regional powers realized this problem could not be ignored. In the North, Sardinian troops take a string of towns in Lombardy; Pavia, Parma, and Piacenza. They soon threaten Milan, Austria's regional capital. Meanwhile, King Ishmael Emmanuel marches South with his main force of over 40,000, intent on taking the Papal capital of Rome. With the shared goal of protecting their dominions in Italy, a coalition against the upstart King is formed. Consisting of Switzerland, Austria, Spain, France, and Poland.
In these first few weeks it seemed like Sardinia had taken the initiative, making advances into Austrian and Papal territory. It would take time to mobilize most of the Coaliltion forces. However the allied nations knew they had to act immediately. Upon learning of the threats to Milan and Rome, Empress Maria Theresa sent and Austrian army west from Vienna to defend Milan, under the command of her English grandfather, the Duke of Edinburgh . By July he reached the city, and fortified his positions. Sardinian forces would retreat from Lombardy. Piedmont was now threated with an invasion by the Austrians. A Swiss army under the Duke of Zurich also crossed the border into Sardinian territory on July 14th, and occupied the Aosta Valley.
The Conflict EscalatesEdit
The First EngagementEdit
Upon learning of these dangerous new threats, King Ishmael gives up on his march to take Rome, and quickly turns back to defend Piedmont. By this time however, it was too late. The Austrians had marched across the Lombardy-Sardinian border unopposed on July 16th, and had already captured the cities of Sale and Tortona. They soon turned their sights towards the city of Alessandria. Desperate to stop the invading armies, the King of Sardinia raced north to intercept the Austrians. By the time he reached his own lands, his men were already exhausted. Nevertheless, he pushed on and engaged the Austrians on July 19th at the Battle of Alessandria , the first major engagement of the war. It would be a decisive defeat for the Sardinians. They would lose over 32,000 of their best soldiers, compared to 18,000 casualties for the Austrians.
Fight for TurinEdit
After his defeat at the hands of the Austrians, the King of Sardinia and what remained of his army retreated back to Turin to reinforce the garrison there. They weren't given much time to rest, as only days later the city was besieged by Swiss forces. The Sardinians would be defeated again at the first Siege of Turin. This victory would be shortlasted, as the city would fall again only days later at the Second Siege of Turin. After this battle, the main Swiss commander and Duke of Zürich, Jozef Kohleschmied, would be captured. Command of the Invasion of Piedmont was then given to Sir Giovanni de'Medici.
Though the Swiss had been kicked out of Turin, it seemed to be more of a pyrrhic victory. The Sardinian army had been severly weakened by the fight, taking over 50,000 casualties after combining the numbers from both sieges. The situation would not improve, Sardinians scouts soon spotted the Austrian army, which had been marching day and night since hearing of their allys defeat. However, when they arrived on July 29th they found that the city had been abandoned. They learned that King Ishmael and his army had left the night before, retreating to the coastal city of Nice. Many Swiss prisoners were freed, including Jozef Kohleschmied. Although he would spend the rest of the war recovering from injuries.
The Final BattleEdit
Despite the recent disaster at Turin, the Swiss Army was eager to avenge the defeat. This opportunity would come at the Battle of Nice, where the Swiss under Sir Giovanni de'Medici hoped to crush the rest of the Sardinian Army, captured the King, and end the war. They would achieve victory in battle but King Ishmael was allowed to escape, fleeing to the island of Sardinia. Depsite this, the battle would still be remembered as the last major engagement of the war.
Although he had been completely pushed out of mainland Europe, King Ishmael Emmanuel still refused to capitulate. A combined Austro-Swiss invasion forced landed on the island on September 2nd, and moved towards Cagliari. They encountered a few skirmishes along the way, but the islands capital fell without conflict. Lord Ivan Decksteel and his garrison surrendered. The Sardinian general would later be executed for war crimes. King Ishmael Emmanuel III was never found, rumoured to have fled to Tunisia. September 13th marked the end of the fighting, with the surrender of Cagliari. The Treaty of Turin was signed months later, in March 1750. The Kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia was no more, split between the Habsburg Empire and the Kingdom of Switzerland.