FALL 1758.

In September Frederick withdrew the main Prussian army from a devastated Saxony where it was proving difficult to sustain his troops even before the onset of winter, and concentrated at Magdeburg.
Once news of this reached Browne in Mecklenburg, he immediately shelved plans for a follow up drive in that direction, and instead chose to pursue Keith into Pomerania. The Scottish general, once again eyeing the odds, fell back south to Berlin, allowing Browne to lay siege to Straslund. The city fell on the 26th and Browne left a token garrison of Saxons there, before falling back with the rest of his army to safer Winter quarters in Mecklenburg.
Daun, with the other major Austrian field army added Zinnsburger's veterans newly returned from Italy to his command early in September. This allowed him to dispatch his Bavarian contingent to Bohemia to keep an eye on the Prussian border, before finally marching to restore Maria Theresa's authority in Hungary. Over the duration of the Fall this was achieved, but at some considerable cost in lives including that of Daun himself, felled during a skirmish with Hungarian rebels.
Daun was not to be the only high-ranking casualty of the season. Further afield, Lt. General Wolfe led a reinforced army back into the Pays d'Haut from Fort George, determined to finally complete the British governments project of securing control of all of North America (minus Florida) east of the Mississippi. Wolfe's provincial regiments, having suffered severely in the previous such attempt deserted en masse, but the British regulars, eager to avenge the humiliation of Eagle Mountain fought off repeated native ambushes throughout the Fall, forcing the tribes to sue for peace. Alas, for Wolfe he did not live to see the successful conclusion of the campaign, and the restoration of his reputation, as he was killed in one such skirmish.
A conflict that had started out in 1756 with the merging of disputes among the colonial powers, with the ongoing feud between Austria and Prussia had evolved dramatically in the three years of fighting that had followed.
The end of 1756 had seen Austria, France, and Spain arrayed against Britain, Holland, Prussia, and Russia.
Less than two years later, Britain was at peace with all the other European powers. Spain's campaign against Austria in Italy had come to an end after Austria had withdrawn from the peninsular, and Russia had stepped into the void left behind. The Russians had then also made peace with the Austrians.
The European autumn of 1758 commenced with France and Spain still at war with Holland, Prussia, and Russia, and Prussia, in addition, still locked in her struggle with Austria. Throughout the courts of Europe, at least those not named Saint Petersburg, there was a disquieting sense that the Empress Elizabeth (already being referred to in Russia with her father's sobriquet "The Great") had elevated her Empire to a strength that was threatening the balance of power.
The problem, was that only Spain was in any position to do very much about it before the campaigning season drew to a close. Spain's conquest of Piedmont had given Louis XV's armies a direct land route into Italy, but the French forces were all too far away at the start of September 1758, to appear on the plains of Lombardy before the onset of Winter. This left Gallardo's victorious army in Turin, and another slightly smaller, force recently shipped over from Spain and gathered at the port of Livorno in Tuscany. Combined, these were barely superior to Apraxin's army even without accounting for the strength of the fortresses in the Lombard "Quadrilateral" that helped shield the Russian army from any offensive from the West.
In September though, alarming reports reached Prince Aparaxin in Milan of a planned Franco-Spanish landing on the Venetian coast. The origin of these rumors remain a subject of debate. It is widely believed that they originated with the Prussian ambassador to Saint Petersburg, but regardless they were sufficient for Apraxin to send the bulk of his army back into Venetia to defend his base of supply and communication. The bulk of the Russian fleet in the Western Mediterranean had recently dispersed back to home waters, and the remnant still based of Venice would have likely been inadequate to contest such a landing, but the rumors proved false.
The damage had been done though. On September 25th, Panos' Army crossed the Mincio River from Piedmont, and two days later, united with the army from Tuscany under Sullastres near Voghera. On September 30th the combined Spanish army crossed over to the left bank of the Po, and on October 4th, before Apraxin had had time to recall the troops sent to defend Venice, descended on the remaining Russian forces just east of Bavagnolio.

THE BATTLE OF BAVAGNOLIO - 4th OCTOBER 1758.

ORDERS OF BATTLE: BAVAGNOLIO, OCTOBER 4th, 1758

RUSSIAN ARMY OF LOMBARDY (PRINCE APRAXIN) - 34,400

Vanguard (Kiskonen)
2 Brigades Hussars

1st Column  (Kozhnikov)
3 Brigades Musketeers
2 Brigades Grenadiers

2nd Column (Ziyastinov)
4 Brigades Musketeers
1 Brigade Grenadiers 

Cavalry Reserve (Morozov)
4 Brigades Cuirassiers
1 Brigade Dragoons

SPANISH ARMY OF ITALY (DUC DE GALLARDO) - 54,600 + 48 heavy guns

Vanguard Infantry (Caldentey)
3 Brigades Voluntarios

Vanguard Cavalry (Casado)
1 Brigade Heavy Cavalry
2 Brigades Dragoons

3rd Column (Corredera)
1 Brigade Guard Infantry
3 Brigades Grenadiers

4th Column (Paredes)
4 Brigades Spanish Infantry
1 Brigade Voluntarios
24 Heavy Guns

5th Column (Serrat)
4 Brigades Spanish Infantry
1 Brigade Voluntarios
24 Heavy Guns

6th Column (Sullastres)
4 Brigades Foreign Infantry

Cavalry Reserve (Latorre)
1 Brigade Guard Cavalry
3 Brigades Heavy Cavalry

The Battlefield of Bavagnolio

Apraxin drew up his two infantry divisions in a line angling back from the village Cordenona, Kozhnikov on the right, Ziyastinov on the left. The Hussars of Kiskonen's vanguard were beyond the Cordenona stream on the far right of the line. Morozov's heavy cavalry were advanced on the left, threatening the flank of any assault against the infantry line.
Russian hussars and Spanish voluntarios about to dispute control of Astolfo.

Gallardo's plan of attack was for Caldentey's light infantry to infiltrate up through the woods and vineyards to the north of Cordenona, and harass the Russian right. Paredes and Serrat were to advance, their right flank protected by the cavalry, use the proven Spanish heavy artillery to batter the Russians and then engage them frontally. When the whole Russian line was engaged Sullastres would lead four foreign infantry brigades in the storming of Cordenona and roll up the Russian line  just as Corredera's elite brigades of guards and grenadiers came out of reserve to attack frontally.
It was a complicated plan that didn't get underway until late morning, and it began falling apart almost immediately.
The Spanish right, arrayed on the banks of the River Po.

Caldentey's light infantry occupied Astolfo without resistance, but when they pressed further forward towards Cordenona, they were sent reeling back by Kiskonen's hussars. The Spanish voluntarios hastily fell back into Astolfo, and the woods lining the nearby stream where the Russian horsemen were powerless to evict them. Kiskonen reformed his squadrons in front of Astolfo, and after a pause, in a decision that was to prove decisive, simply bypassed the village, crossed the stream, and in true hussar fashion began probing into the rear of the enemy army.

Stalled in front of Astolfo, Russian hussars prepare to bypass the village.

The main Spanish advance had barely begun, when Latorre, the Spanish commander who had enjoyed the most success during his country's recent endeavors in Italy, over-confidently rode out to engage Morozov's heavies. This soon started to go badly for the Spanish, and by noon Casado had been sent over to help. This was to no avail, and by two, as the Spanish artillery came into range of the Russian infantry and began plowing bloody lanes through it, the Spanish cavalry had been driven from the field.
The Spanish artillery comes into action.

The attack now stalled, as Gallardo was forced to realign the advance to take into account the weary, but victorious Russian cavalry now unopposed to his right. The Spanish used the lull to send more round-shot into the Russian ranks, and for Sullastres to mount a series of assaults on Cordenona. Around four-thirty the second of these succeeded, and Apraxin began gathering grenadier brigades to retake the village.
Sullastres' assault on Cordenona gets underway.

It was at this, critical, moment that the Spanish guns that had been doing so much destruction suddenly fell silent. Kiskonen's hussars had charged them from behind and overrun them. Morozov saw this as the moment to bring his heavy cavalry back into action, and they too charged in support. Gallardo's army promptly collapsed. The Spanish poured off the field, suffering greatly from the pursuit of the triumphant, and largely fresh Russian hussars.
Losses at Bavagnolio are hard to calculate. Russian casualties were likely in the region of 5,000. Spanish losses were probably double that on the field with maybe another 5,000 lost in the pursuit that followed their precipitous departure from it.
Spain's opportunity to dominate Italy had come to an abrupt end in the course of an afternoon. After Bavagnolio Madrid, instead of seeking to eject the Russians from Italy, became resigned to negotiating with them to retain at least a foothold on the peninsular.

THE FINAL ACT:
In September, sensing that peace negotiations might soon begin, and seeking to start them from the strongest position possible, the Dutch launched a combined Dutch and Danish expedition from their new possessions in West Africa, across the Atlantic, aimed at seizing the wealthy Leeward Islands from France. On November 8th, off Guadeloupe, the invasion fleet was intercepted by La Galissionnere with nine ships of the line. The Dutch and Danish vessels, packed with troops and unable to function as warships, had no option but to surrender.
Bloodlessly, France had gained a strong, and much-needed bargaining chip at the peace conference that all the European government now felt were inevitable.


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