Armée d'Italie

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Napoléon Bonaparte , General en chef of the Armée d'Italie , on the bridge at Arcole .

The Armée d'Italie was an army of the First French Republic , which was formed on November 1, 1792, when the Armée des Alpes formed from the Armée du Midi was divided into the Armée de Savoie and the Armée d'Italie has been.

The operational area was initially limited to the coast and the area of ​​the Alpes-Maritimes until Napoleon Bonaparte took command and led them in two remarkable campaigns to Italy .

Positioning and development

  • On November 1, 1792, by order of the “Conseil exécutif provisoire”, parts of the right wing of the “ Armée des Alpes ” commanded by Général Anne-Pierre de Montesquiou-Fézensac (occasionally also “Armée du Var”) ) called, set up. Général Jacques Bernard d'Anselme was entrusted with the high command . However, this decree, which made d'Anselme a de facto independent troop commander, did not come into force until November 7th.
  • On September 4, 1793, the army had to supply units to the "Armée devant Toulon", which had been set up for the siege of the city of Toulon , which was occupied by the royalists and the English . After the city was captured, the "Armée devant Toulon" was dissolved again with the decrees of December 25 and 28, 1793 (5 et 8 nivôse an II of the revolutionary calendar ), and the ceded troops came back to the "Armée d'Italie".
  • In September 1795 it was reinforced by four divisions with a total of 16,000 soldiers who had been withdrawn from the "Armée des Pyrénées Orientales". The army now consisted largely of volunteer battalions from the Midi .
  • By order of February 3, 1798 (15 pluviose to VI), parts of the "Armée de Rome" were given up.
  • By order of July 5, 1799 (17 messidors to VII) - to be carried out on July 21, 1799 - parts of the army were handed over to the establishment of the "Armée des Alpes".
  • By order of August 29, 1799 (12 fructidor to VII) - to be carried out on September 1, 1799 - the "Armée des Alpes" was dissolved and the personnel and equipment returned to the "Armée d'Italie"
  • By order of June 23, 1800 (4 messidors to VIII), the "Armées de Réserve" (reserve armies) were incorporated into the "Armée d'Italie".

Dissolution and first re-use

  • By order of June 1, 1801 (12 prairial an IX), to be carried out on June 20, 1801, the "Armée d'Italie" was dissolved. After a reorganization, it took over the name "Corps de troupes françaises dans la Cisalpine" (French troops in Cisalpine ).
  • On February 14, 1802, the name was changed to "Troupes françaises dans la République italienne " (French troops in the Italian Republic)
  • By order of February 27, 1802 (8 ventôse an X), to be carried out on March 22, 1802, the army was placed in the peacetime state and reduced to 25,000 men.


Campaigns and battles

Campaign in Italy (1796–1797)

see Italian campaign

Campaign in Italy (1799-1800)

see Second Coalition War

Général Bonaparte takes over the army

Before Napoleon Bonaparte took over the command, the army was poorly fed, barely paid and could only survive by marauding . There were hardly any uniforms or shoes. When Napoleon arrived (March 27, 1796), the troops consisted of an indisciplined bunch. Royalist songs were sung and a “Compagnie du Dauphin” (Crown Prince's company) was set up. The first thing he did was improve the food supply and restore discipline as much as possible.

He punished the officers who had undermined discipline by shouting “Vive le roi” (“Long live the King”), and released the “13 e régiment de hussars” (13th hussar regiment) , which was only set up on January 31, 1795, for lack of discipline and another regiment that mutinied at the end of March. The first victories, the improvement in the food situation and the resumption of wages increased the willingness to fight considerably. With the help of the "contributions de guerre" ( war contributions ) that were imposed on the conquered parts of the country and cities, money was returned to the war chest.

There are only private records from letters and diaries about the high failures up to 1797, as these were officially hushed up.


  • C. Clerget: Tableaux des armées françaises pendant les guerres de la Révolution (Librairie militaire 1905)

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