List of battles of the Italian Wars

Italian War of 1494–98


Italian War of 1499–1504


War of the League of Cambrai


The Sack of Brescia took place on February 18, 1512 during the War of the League of Cambrai. The city of Brescia had revolted against French control, garrisoning itself with Venetian troops. Gaston de Foix, recently arrived to command the French armies in Italy, ordered the city to surrender; when it refused, he attacked it with around 12,000 men. The French attack took place in a pouring rain, through a field of mud; Foix ordered his men to remove their shoes for better traction.[1] The defenders inflicted heavy casualties on the French, but were eventually overrun, suffering 8,000 – 15,000 casualties.[2] The Gascon infantry and landsknechts then proceeded to thoroughly sack the city, massacring thousands of civilians over the next five days. Following this, the city of Bergamo paid some 60,000 ducats to the French to avoid a similar fate.

Flodden Field

The kingdoms of France and Scotland had traditionally enjoyed a close diplomatic relationship, reflected in a defensive treaty signed between the two kingdoms in 1512. When Henry crossed the English Channel to campaign in France, the King of France activated the treaty, sending arms, money and military advisers to James IV of Scotland to encourage him to fulfil his obligations, in the hope that this would draw English resources away from the invasion of France. James crossed the border with a force of some 35,000 men, including 5,000 French advisers.[3] He was opposed by an English force under the Earl of Surrey. The two sides met on September 9, 1513, near the village of Flodden. The Scottish army was heavily defeated, losing some 9,000 men and many nobles, including King James, the King's illegitimate son, and twelve earls.[4]

La Motta

The Battle of La Motta, also known as the Battle of Schio, Battle of Vicenza or Battle of Creazzo, which took place on October 7, 1513 between the Republic of Venice and a combined Spanish and Imperial army, was a significant battle of the War of the League of Cambrai. A Venetian army under Bartolomeo d'Alviano attempted to prevent the Spanish and Imperials under Ramón de Cardona from withdrawing from the Veneto, but was defeated and scattered.


Italian War of 1521–26


The Battle of Pampeluna (also spelled Pamplona) occurred on May 20, 1521, between French-backed Navarrese and Spanish troops, during the Spanish conquest of Iberian Navarre and in the context of the Italian War of 1521–26. Most Navarrese towns rose at once against the Spanish, who had invaded Navarre in 1512. The Spanish resisted the siege sheltered inside the city castle, but they eventually surrendered and the Navarrese took control of the town and the castle of Pamplona.

It was at this battle that Inigo Lopez de Loyola, better known as St. Ignatius of Loyola, suffered severe injuries, a Navarrese cannonball shattering his leg. It is said that after the battle the Navarrese so admired his bravery that they carried him all the way back to his home in Loyola. His meditations during his long recovery set him on the road of a conversion of life from soldier to priest. He would eventually found the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits), and create the Spiritual Exercises, which is the basis for the idea of "retreats" as an experience of prayer as practiced in the Roman Catholic Church.


The Battle of Noain-Esquiroz was fought near Pamplona on June 30, 1521, during the Italian War of 1521–26. A makeshift Spanish army consisting mostly of Castilian troops defeated the Navarrese and French forces sent by Henry d'Albret and commanded by Lesparre, driving them out of Iberian Navarre.


The Siege of Mézières (1521) took place during the Italian War of 1521–26. An Imperial army besieged the city (now part of Charleville-Mézières), which was defended by French troops under the command of the Chevalier de Bayard and Anne de Montmorency; the siege was unsuccessful, and the determined French resistance gave Francis I time to concentrate his forces against Charles V.


The Siege of Tournai (1521) took place during the Italian War of 1521–26. An Imperial army besieged the city of Tournai, capturing it from the French in late November; it would remain a Habsburg possession until the French conquest of the Austrian Netherlands in 1795.


The Siege of Genoa (May 20, 1522 – May 30, 1522) was conducted by an army of the Holy Roman Empire under the command of the Italian/Spanish General Fernando d'Avalos and Italian condottiero Prospero Colonna against the French forces defending the Italian city. Since Genoa had refused to surrender, the Imperial troops were permitted to loot the city once it had fallen.


The Battle of the Sesia (April 30, 1524) was a battle in the Italian War of 1521–26 fought near the Sesia River that saw the Spanish-Imperial forces under Charles de Lannoy inflict a decisive defeat on the French under Admiral Bonnivet and the Francis de Bourbon, Comte de St. Pol, forcing the latter to withdraw from Lombardy.


The Siege of Marseille (August–September 1524) was conducted by an Imperial army under Charles de Bourbon (who had recently betrayed Francis I) and Fernando de Avalos against the French defenders of Marseille. Although Avalos heavily looted the surrounding countryside, he was unsuccessful in seizing the city; and, faced with the arrival of French reinforcements, called off the siege in September.


War of the League of Cognac


Italian War of 1542–46


The Siege of Nice took place in August 1543, during the Italian War of 1542–46, when a combined Franco-Ottoman force attacked and captured the Imperial city of Nice.[5]

St. Dizier

The Siege of St. Dizier took place in the summer of 1544, during the Italian War of 1542–46, when the Imperial army of Charles V attacked the French city of St. Dizier at the beginning of its advance into Champagne. The siege was already underway when Charles V himself arrived with an army of 14,100 (including 1600 sappers) on July 13. The next day an imperial commander, René of Châlon, Prince of Orange, was struck by a shot from the defenders, and died the next day with the Emperor by his bed (his title and lands going to his famous cousin, William the Silent). On July 23 French outposts near the besieged town were overrun, but a French army under the command of the Dauphin Henry maintained an observing position at Jalons. On August 17 the town surrendered. Charles elected not to attack the Dauphin's army and instead pressed on to Soissons.

Beachy Head

Italian War of 1551–59



  1. ^ Baumgartner, Louis XII, 220.
  2. ^ Baumgartner, Louis XII, 220; Norwich, History of Venice, 421. Baumgartner gives 8,000 as a minimal estimate, while Norwich gives 15,000.
  3. ^ Guest, Ken, and Denise Guest, British Battles, p. 80
  4. ^ Guest, Ken, and Denise Guest, British Battles, p. 85
  5. ^ Arnold, Renaissance at War, 180; Blockmans, Emperor Charles V, 72–73; Oman, Art of War, 213.


  • Arnold, Thomas F. The Renaissance at War. Smithsonian History of Warfare, edited by John Keegan. New York: Smithsonian Books / Collins, 2006. ISBN 978-0-06-089195-4.
  • Baumgartner, Frederic J. Louis XII. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1994. ISBN 0-312-12072-9.
  • Blockmans, Wim. Emperor Charles V, 1500–1558. Translated by Isola van den Hoven-Vardon. New York: Oxford University Press, 2002. ISBN 0-340-73110-9.
  • Hackett, Francis. Francis the First. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, Doran & Co., 1937.
  • Guicciardini, Francesco. The History of Italy. Translated by Sydney Alexander. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1984. ISBN 0-691-00800-0.
  • Norwich, John Julius. A History of Venice. New York: Vintage Books, 1989. ISBN 0-679-72197-5.
  • Oman, Charles. A History of the Art of War in the Sixteenth Century. London: Methuen & Co., 1937.
  • Phillips, Charles and Alan Axelrod. Encyclopedia of Wars. Volume 2. New York: Facts on File, 2005. ISBN 978-0-8160-2851-1.
  • Taylor, Frederick Lewis. The Art of War in Italy, 1494–1529. Westport: Greenwood Press, 1973. ISBN 0-8371-5025-6.
Battle of La Motta (1513)

The Battle of La Motta, also known as the Battle of Schio, Battle of Vicenza or Battle of Creazzo, took place at Schio, in the Italian region of Veneto, Republic of Venice, on 7 October 1513, between the forces of the Republic of Venice and a combined force of Spain and the Holy Roman Empire, and was a significant battle of the War of the League of Cambrai. A Venetian army under Bartolomeo d'Alviano was decisively defeated by the Spanish/Imperial army commanded by Ramón de Cardona and Fernando d'Ávalos.

Battle of Novara (1500)

The Battle of Novara was fought on 8 April 1500 between the forces of King Louis XII of France and the forces of Ludovico Sforza, the Duke of Milan.

On 24 March 1500, La Trémoille joined the main French army at Mortara with a corps of about 6,000 men, supported by a numerous and powerful artillery. He was quickly followed by the 10,000 Swiss raised by the Baillie of Dijon. On 5 April, all the King’s army was united and marched to engage the Milanese forces before Novara.

As we have seen, there was a large number of mercenary soldiers in the ranks of each of the two armies. The Helvetic cantons, in accepting their contracts, had it placed in the contracts that they would not be forced to fight against other Swiss. These troops were very close and, even though serving under different flags, would even drink together.

As a result of this, when on the 8th, the action began at Novara, Sforza’s Swiss refused to act against those of La Trémoille. It was a veritable defection, which produced, after a simple cannonade, the retreat of the Duke’s army, even though it was superior in numbers to the French army. Sforza and his army were obliged to go into the fortress of Novara, which was besieged by the French a few days later. La Trémoille, to cut his road to Milan, fortified himself between Novara and Tessin.

From the night of the 9th, the Swiss, in the service of Sforza, mutinied and negotiated a capitulation with the French. The German Landsknechts quickly did the same. By this capitulation, which was executed on 10 April 1500, the Swiss and Landsknechts were allowed to return to their homes with their baggage, after having laid down their arms. As for the Lombards and the stradiotes [Albanian and Greek light cavalry], who were their companions in arms, they were heartlessly abandoned to the mercy of the French. These unfortunates, thus sacrificed, came out of Novara and attempted to cut their way down the road to Tessin. They were charged and piteously torn to pieces by the French forces. During this butchery, the Swiss passed by pairs or threes before the French, where they were examined as the French searched for Sforza, who was thought to be concealed in their midst. He was cowardly surrendered by two of his companions, taken to France and locked up in the Loches Château, where he was held in a cage that was six feet wide and eight feet long. He was refused books for his amusement. By one of these providential reprisals such as history offers us so many examples, he who had held his unfortunate nephew captive for so many years, perished in his own turn in a captivity that lasted eight years; it was softened a little only on its end. The only consolation for Sforza that he had a château as a prison.

Battle of Serravalle (1544)

The Battle of Serravalle took place on June 2–4, 1544, at Serravalle Scrivia, in the Apennine Mountains, between the Imperial-Spanish army commanded by Don Alfonso d'Avalos, Marquis del Vasto, and a force of freshly raised Italian mercenaries in French service, led by Pietro Strozzi, member of the rich and famous Florentine family of the Strozzi, and Giovan Francesco Orsini, Count of Pitigliano, during the Italian War of 1542–1546.

Battle of the Sesia (1524)

The Battle of the Sesia or Battle of the Sesia River, took place near the Sesia River (Latin: Sesites or Sessite), situated in north-western Italy, Lombardy, on 30 April 1524, where the Imperial–Spanish forces commanded by Don Carlos de Lannoy, inflicted a decisive defeat to the French forces under the Admiral Guillaume Gouffier, Lord of Bonnivet and Francis de Bourbon, Comte de St. Pol, during the Italian War of 1521–1526.

Siege of Mirandola (1510)

The Siege of Mirandola took place at Mirandola, then the capital of a small state in the Italian region of Emilia, in 1510, and was carried on by Pope Julius II during the War of the League of Cambrai.The siege was part of an offensive launched by Pope Julius II as part of his alliance with the Republic of Venice against France. In October 1510, he had moved with his court to Bologna, but here he found himself with little troops to counter the advance of French general Charles II d'Amboise, he started negotiations for a truce. However, once joined by a sized army, he stopped any diplomatic activity and moved against Sassuolo, while the French retreated to Rubiera. Sassuolo fell in two days; next was the fortified citadel of Mirandola, which he besieged from 19 December 1510.

The pope took personal command of the papal army after his nephew and commander-in-chief, Francesco Maria I Della Rovere, had showed a suspicious negligence. The papal forces stormed the citadel taking advantage of the iced ditches on 20 January 1511.

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.