|Battle of Novara|
|Part of the War of the League of Cambrai|
Illustration of the Battle of Novara in the chronicle of Johannes Stumpf, 1548
Duchy of Milan|
Old Swiss Confederacy
|Commanders and leaders|
|Louis de la Trémoille||Maximilian Sforza|
600 Light horse
20,000 infantry (6,000 Landsknechte)
|11,000–20,000 Swiss pikemen|
|Casualties and losses|
|5,000+ casualties||1,500 dead|
The Battle of Novara (also known as the battle of Ariotta) was a battle of the War of the League of Cambrai fought on 6 June 1513, near Novara, in Northern Italy. A French attacking force was routed by allied Milanese–Swiss troops. As a consequence, France was forced to withdraw entirely from Italy.
Following the French removal from Milan, Swiss mercenaries installed Maximilian Sforza as Duke of Milan on 29 December 1512.
By June 1513, most of the western part of the duchy of Milan had been occupied by the French. After marching to Novara the night before, the French were surprised at dawn by a Swiss relief army of some 12,000 troops. The German Landsknechte, pike-armed like the Swiss, were able to form up into heavy squares and offered stiff resistance to the Swiss attack, while the French were able to deploy some of their artillery. Despite this, the Swiss onslaught, sweeping in from multiple directions due to forced marches which achieved encirclement of the French camp, took the French guns, pushed back the Landsknecht infantry regiments, and destroyed the Landsknecht squares. Caught off guard, the French heavy cavalry was unable to properly deploy, fled the field, and left the baggage train to the Swiss.
The battle was particularly bloody, with at least 5,000 casualties on the French side, and 1,500 for the Swiss pikemen, mostly suffered from the French artillery as the Swiss forces moved into the attack.[a] Additionally, after the battle, the Swiss executed the hundreds of German Landsknecht mercenaries they had captured who had fought for the French. Having routed the French army, the Swiss were unable to launch a close pursuit because of their lack of cavalry, several contingents of Swiss mercenaries did follow the French withdrawal all the way to Dijon before the French paid them off to leave France. The Swiss captured 22 French guns.
The French defeat forced Louis XII to withdraw from Milan and Italy.
- Seven hundred men were killed in three minutes by heavy artillery fire.
- Delbrück, Hans (1990). The Dawn of Modern Warfare. University of Nebraska Press. p. 78. ISBN 0803265867.
- Gagné, John (2021). Milan Undone: Contested Sovereignties in the Italian Wars. Harvard University Press.
- Mallett, Michael; Shaw, Christine (2012). The Italian Wars, 1494–1559. Pearson Education Limited.
- Nolan, Cathal J., ed. (2006). "Battle of Novara". The Age of Wars of Religion, 1000–1650: An Encyclopedia of Global Warfare and Civilization. Vol. 2. Greenwood Press.
- O'Connell, Robert L. (1989). Of Arms and Men: A History of War, Weapons, and Aggression. Oxford University Press.
- Taylor, Frederick Lewis (1921). The Art of War in Italy 1494–1529. Cambridge University Press.
- Tucker, Spencer C., ed. (2010). A Global Chronology of Conflict: From the Ancient World to the Modern Middle East. Vol. II. ABC-CLIO.
- (in Italian) Complete list of captains present in the battle