Battle of Custoza (1848)

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For the second battle fought at this location, see Battle of Custoza (1866).
Battle of Custoza
Part of the First Italian War of Independence
Date July 23–26, 1848
Location Custoza, Lombardy-Venetia
Result Austrian victory
Flag of the Habsburg Monarchy.svg Austrian Empire Flag of Sardinia Kingdom (1848 - 1851).gif Kingdom of Sardinia
Commanders and leaders
Flag of the Habsburg Monarchy.svg Joseph Radetzky
Flag of the Habsburg Monarchy.svg Eugen Wratislaw
Flag of Sardinia Kingdom (1848 - 1851).gif Charles Albert
Flag of Sardinia Kingdom (1848 - 1851).gif Eusebio Bava
33,000 22,000
Casualties and losses
23–26 July:[1]
289 killed, including 19 officers
1,144 wounded
2,380 taken prisoner

(26–27 July at Volta):[1]
77 killed, including 2 officers
175 wounded
202 taken prisoner
23–26 July:[2]
254 killed
790 wounded
463 taken prisoner

(26–27 July at Volta):[2]
67 killed
263 wounded
352 taken prisoner

The Battle of Custoza was fought on July 24 and 25, 1848 during the First Italian War of Independence between the armies of the Austrian Empire, commanded by Field Marshal Radetzky, and the Kingdom of Sardinia, led by King Charles Albert of Sardinia-Piedmont.


In March 1848, the city of Milan launched an uprising against Austrian occupation. Charles Albert supported the Milanese revolt and declared war on Austria. Venice also declared its independence from Austria. The Austrian Field Marshal Radetzky withdrew his forces from Milan to the defensive positions based on the four fortresses known as the Quadrilateral: Verona, Mantua, Peschiera, and Legnago. The Piedmontese took Peschiera after a short siege, but Radetzky received substantial reinforcements.

The battle[edit]

In July, Charles Albert led an army across the Mincio River in order to occupy the strategic hill-top town of Custoza. Radetzky responded with a decisive counterattack. In a two-day battle, he inflicted a painful defeat on the Piedmontese, with the Austrians taking Custoza after a furious hand-to-hand struggle. Both sides suffered major casualties, each army having lost more than half of its troops during the fight.

The aftermath[edit]

Radetzky's victory drove the Piedmontese out of Lombardy and forced them to sign a six-month armistice with the Austrians. When the war resumed in March 1849, Radetzky was again victorious at Novara, resulting in Charles Albert's abdication in favor of his son, Victor Emmanuel. By August, Radetzky restored the Austrian authority throughout its Italian provinces.


  1. ^ a b Aus der Kaiserlich Königlichen Hof- und Staatsdruckerei (1848). Der Feldzug der österreichischen Armee in Italien im Jahre 1848 III.Abschnitt. Mailand. pp. 119, 122 and 129. 
  2. ^ a b Berkeley, George Fitz-Hardinge (1940). Italy in the Making Vol.III. Cambridge University Press. p. 383. 
  • Battle of Custoza (1848), Encyclopædia Britannica

Coordinates: 45°22′44″N 10°47′45″E / 45.37889°N 10.79583°E / 45.37889; 10.79583