Italico Valore - A more successful 1848 revolution in Italy - a TL

1. CARLO ALBERTO
Long time lurker and AH fan, I've finally decided to write my own TL. Enjoy!

1. CARLO ALBERTO

Novara 20 March 1848

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Charles Albert of Savoy, king of Sardinia Piedmont
Charles Albert of Savoy was seated in his chair, in the royal command tent at the center of Sardinian Army camp. It was early afternoon and while the men practiced, cleaned their weapons and checked their equipment, the king was reading a novel by Gioberti "Of the moral and civil primacy of the Italians" fascinated by the Neoguelfe ideas of the Piedmontese writer, especially those concerning an Italy independent of foreign domination and united.

This idea played in favor of the mantra of the house of Savoy from the end of the War of Spanish Succession: to expand its domains along the Po valley, to build a strong kingdom in northern Italy wedged between Austria and France and be able to expand its influence to the rest of the peninsula in a Confederal structure such as that proposed by Gioberti, with the other states too weak or backward to resist the military and economic power of the North.

While his majesty was reading, a few tens of kilometers from the camp the city of Milan was inflamed by a patriotic anti-Austrian revolt, which had been raging for two days now.. Piedmontese spies and patriots in favor of the house of Savoy in the Italian unification had reported to him in a timely, albeit sporadic way, the events in the Lombard-Venetian capital: the most recent news claimed that Marshal Radetzky had repaired his troops in the Castello Sforzesco while the insurgents were rampaging through the city.

With the Austrians hidden and the patriots now in possession of the city, the situation in northern Italy was changing rapidly. The Grand Duke of Tuscany Leopoldo and the King of Naples, together with the Pope, had expressed varying degrees of support for the nationalist insurrection that was spreading in the Lombardy-Veneto region, but were still hesitating on what to do. The nationalist uprising in Hungary and the liberal one in Vienna had stunned the old empire which seemed to falter under the blows of its minorities and entered a momentary crisis. The Italian states only needed to follow the example of someone brave enough to put themselves at the head of the army that would free the north, but at the same time that someone had to be ambitious (or foolish) enough to challenge a European Great Power such Austria. That someone could have been him, Carlo Alberto, and laid the foundations of the Confederation foreseen by Gioberti years earlier.

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Milanese patriots battle against Austrian soldiers
The war council of Milan, made up of rebel leaders such as the podestà, Casati and Carlo Cattaneo, had been in meeting since the 18th by now and had already begun to make weak contact with the Piedmontese authorities in view of their potential intervention in the revolution and, with Piedemontese great surprise, Count Martini, a Milanese patriot and personal friend of the king, arrived at the army camp bringing the news of the Austrian retreat and the stabilization of the situation. The king and Martini had long discussed the possibility of an armed intervention in support of the insurgents who, according to the count, would have been able to drive the Austrians out of the city but would not have been able to keep it when they would inevitably return and that only an intervention by a regular army could have reversed the situation. The two nobles also agreed that the Casati faction, with Mazzinian and anti-Piedmontese sympathies, was by far the strongest and most active in the insurrection and that if he had had a free hand for much longer he could have forced a change at the top revolutionaries and replace the monarchist Casati, endangering the union of Lombardy and Piedmont. The king had dismissed Martini after the interview, telling him that he would take a few hours to think about what to do.

The solution was clear, obvious. But Carlo Alberto was still hesitating, he was undecided, he didn't know what to do: leading the army against foreigners would have elevated him to the rank of leader of Italian unification but in case of defeat there would have been very little to do besides abdicating and being humiliated . If he had not intervened he would have wasted a unique opportunity and his population would have turned against him for not having at least tried to unite the North. The king was undecided, but every minute that passed convinced him more and more of the need to intervene. At four in the afternoon the king got up from his armchair, put the book between his tomes on the desk and sent for Count Martini and generals Bava and De Sonnaz. The army would have waded through Ticino and would have marched to Lombardy in aid of the insurgents for the Italian cause.
 
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Very interesting! There is so much potential in 1848. Curious to see where this goes...(although the title already promises good stuff) Keep it up!
 
2. THE FIVE DAYS OF MILAN
2. THE FIVE DAYS OF MILAN

During the Piedemontese War Council on March 20 the king and his commanders quickly agreed on an action plan: the rapid advance proposed by Carlo Alberto to catch the Austrians off guard and occupy as much Lombardy as possible to establish a clear position of dominance between the Italian states interested in the insurrection was opposed by Bava's more cautious strategy, which preferred to wait for the outcome of the clashes in Milan and then intervene but in the end the king prevailed, supported by Martini and De Sonnaz. The Piedmontese army would have left at the first light of dawn on the 21st in order to reach Milan in the day and complete the encirclement of the city. Meanwhile, messengers on horseback would be sent before dusk to the Emilian duchies, Tuscany, the two Sicilies and the Papacy, to warn them of the Savoy intentions and to invite them to join the newborn "Italian Army" while the vanguards would have crossed the border and prepared the ground for the arrival of the main contingent

The following day, the 21st, the king ordered his foreign minister to deliver the declaration of war to the Austrian ambassador in Turin, citing as casus belli the need to intervene in favor of the Italian peoples who claimed their self-determination. At the first light of dawn the army crossed the Ticino, the border line between the Kingdom of Sardinia and Austria, with the feared Piedmontese cavalry at the forefront and began to march towards Milan.

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Charles Albert and the Piedemontese army wade the Ticino river
The night before, a messenger from Count Martini had ridden to the city to report the king's decision and his plans to the War Council (which had now turned into a real provisional government). The Casati faction was enthusiastic, the Cattaneo faction a little less, being convinced of the need to overcome the insurrection on their own in order to be able to deal on equal grounds with the Piedmontese but by now it was done: it no longer made sense to oppose the inevitable therefore it was necessary collaborate with the Savoys to free Lombardy. The situation in Milan was stalled, with the Austrians under siege and the insurgents with numbers but not the weapons to force Radetzky's hand. Therefore the general had sent an armistice request to the provisional government which, knowing of the imminent arrival of Carlo Alberto, decided to postpone the answer until late afternoon, just before the Piedmontese avant-garde arrived at the gates of the city.

Meanwhile, the situation in Austria was worsening: the empire was overwhelmed by a revolutionary spiral of a nationalist mold that was putting a strain on traditional German domination in the territories of the Empire, with the Hungarian revolution erupted three days before the Milanese and Vienna in the hands of liberal insurgents who demanded the constitution and political rights already claimed in the Frankfurt conference of 1847 Ferdinand I had to leave the city by going to Linz, leaving the task of restoring order to the army and loyalist forces. It was not a civil war or at least it did not seem so to observers of the time, but it was a symptom of the malaise of the empire, originating from the Germanic power, the oppression of other nationalities and their awareness of the heritage of Napoleon's campaigns more than 40 years ago. Some minorities, such as the Czechs and Slovaks, only requested more autonomy with the more radical pro-secession groups being a fringe group, while in Hungary and Italy these extremists made up the majority of the rioters. Despite everything, however, Austria was not yet finished: it had a strong army and numerous resources that would have been used to crush the rebellions and restore the order of the Congress of Vienna, as it was up to a great power like Austria.

At dawn on March 22 Milan was surrounded by Piedmontese soldiers from the 1st Corps, led by Bava while the 2nd Corps commanded by De Sonnaz proceeded towards Brescia to occupy Lombardy as quickly as possible. The region was practically devoid of Austrian soldiers: the sudden and rapid attack of the Piedmontese had managed to isolate the bulk of the enemy army in Milan, leaving out of town some gaunt garrisons that they could not do against the 50,000 men who were advancing against them, except giving up or running away. De Sonnaz proceeded cautiously but quickly, not wanting to get caught up in a pitched battle but not wanting to advance like a snail.

Radetzky feared the arrival of the Piedmontese army before he could subdue the rebels or retire to the quadrilateral where he could resist until the situation in Austria improved and he could receive reinforcements. Cut off from their own lines of communication and refueling, waiting in Milan was not feasible: supplies would soon run out and they should have given up. The Piedmontese had arrived a few hours ago and had surrounded the city, but they had not yet established siege or defense positions, they were still in mobile order and the creation of defenses would have taken time. So it was that the general decided to attempt a sortie from Porta Tosa, which according to his scouts was the least defended.

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The battle at Porta Tosa was the final moment of the Five Days
The 20,000 Austrians present in Milan began a slow but organized retreat, led by the shock troops who would force the door and allow the imperials to retreat to the Quadrilatero fortresses from where they could resist. The first contact between the two sides occurred before sunset, with the Austrians attempting to charge the Piedmontese lines out of town. The clash immediately turned into a violent melee but General Bava was immediately informed of the situation by order carriers and ordered the bulk of the army to converge on Porta Tosa, foiling Radetzky's plan. Meanwhile the Milanese insurgents continued to pick on the Austrian rear and maintain pressure on it. The Austrians were between the Piedmontese anvil and the Milanese hammer and if they had not been able to force the lines by evening they would have been crushed. After three charges (and as many Piedmontese counter-charges) the area around Porta Tosa was full of bodies and torn by cannonballs, but it was now clear that the Austrian plan had failed with heavy losses. Not wanting to risk complete annihilation, Radetzky sent a messenger to Bava proposing the Austrian surrender, which the Savoy general accepted immediately. Milan was free from the Austrian yoke.
 
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Maybe it was count Martini with the news from Milan, maybe it was Gioberti's text that he was reading or maybe he just realised that he would never get an opportunity as good as this to expand his dominions.

We'll likely never know.
 
3. MARCHING THROUGH LOMBARDY
3. MARCHING THROUGH LOMBARDY

After liberating Milan, Carlo Alberto granted a day of rest to the 1st Corps and then further divided it into three divisions that would have had to march to Pavia, Como and Cremona to secure the rest of the Lombard territory and demonstrate strength towards the Emilian duchies, to push them to fully embrace the Italian cause. The king would have stayed a few days in Milan with the provisional government to reach an agreement on the statute of Lombardy after the war, leaving the conduct of the war to generals Bava and De Sonnaz.

The Battle of Porta Tosa and the "Five Days of Milan" had been a great boost in morale for the Italian patriots, but they had also been expensive in manpower: the clashes around the Lombard capital had cost more than 3000 Piedmontese and about 5,000 Austrians, several thousand of Milanese civilians killed during the clashes. The Piedmontese army was well trained and equipped, but the numbers were in Austria's favour having at least 8 times the population of the Kingdom of Sardinia. To remedy the lack of personnel, the war council and the Savoy staff had agreed to establish a 3rd Corps of 30 / 40,000 units to be added to the army, consisting of Lombard soldiers and officers. Many of these were inexperienced young patriots while others were former imperial soldiers of Italian origin who had abandoned the empire for their homeland and who would have formed the officer core. The training camp was established in Melegnano and the first division was equipped with weapons stolen from the Austrians while the Milanese workshops began to concentrate their production on war material. Although enthusiastic, the volunteers would have required at least two months of training before being ready, forcing the Piedmontese to rely on their reserve population and not to waste too many lives in combat, as it was not easy to replace them unlike the Austrians.

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The 1848 revolutions struck hard the reactionary Austrian Empire, as the citizens of Vienna erect barricades

News of the defeat of Radetzky arrived quickly in Linz, passing through Venice (which was already in revolt) where when learning of the blow suffered by the Germans the local population had risen and emptied the prisons, driving out the Austrian garrison and proclaiming the republic of San Marco. The situation in Italy was worsening rapidly and Ferdinand I was starting to feel the weight of the responsibilities of the crown, fatiguing and annoying him. At this time of the emperor's absence, government posts fell to Prince Schwarzenberg, who took charge of restoring peace in the Austrian empire. The Hungarians had already recalled their units from the army, but these had been disarmed and interned by loyal troops before they could return to their land to help the insurgents. Loyal troops from the Sudetenland, Bohemia and Galicia were converging on Vienna to take it back from the liberal insurgents. In Italy, between Veneto, Istria and Trentino there were about 30,000 soldiers, too few to clash with the Piedmontese but enough to slow them down waiting for reinforcements. In command of these troops Schwarzenberg appointed general Von Westmeath, who was promised reinforcements from Croatia and Austria itself once Vienna was safe. The empire was currently fighting on three fronts and it was necessary to prioritize resources and, although Italy and Hungary were important, the loss of Vienna was a serious blow to the prestige of the house of Habsburg and its recovery would have shown that the empire was not yet ready to leave.

De Sonnaz's II Corps entered Brescia on March 26th. He learned that Veneto was in revolt but the Austrians still controlled large parts of the region, including the Alpine passages to Austria itself, ensuring the continuity of supplies. The Austrians were still in shock from the events taking place in the spring of 1848 but still remained a great power with great military capabilities, especially compared to the kingdom of Sardinia. De Sonnaz knew that it was necessary to move the front line as far east as possible, in order to place as much territory as possible between the Austrians and Piedmont but that it was also imperative to help the Venetians, giving them time to organize.

The other Italian nations, although galvanized by the rapid advance through Lombardy and the annihilation of Radetzky's units, were still undecided whether to join to Piedmont or remain neutral, waiting for Austria to recover and descend again on the peninsula. At the same time, the great European powers were still paralyzed by the uprisings in France and Germany, leaving the Italians alone in their struggle for independence.

On the 27th Carlo Alberto received two communications in his headquarters in Milan: One came from De Sonnaz, in command of 40,000 men encamped in Brescia, in which the general suggested repeating the rapid advance of the previous week in Veneto, engulfed in a revolt no different from the Lombard one, establishing a front line close to the Alps and placing the Alpine passes under siege. This theory was also supported by Bava, also surprised by the ease with which the Piedmontese had crossed Lombardy after having annihilated the Austrians in Milan, but the general was naturally cautious and expected that sooner or later the Austrians would react once they had recovered from the initial shock. The second letter was signed by Daniele Manin, president of the Republic of San Marco asking for the intervention of the Piedemontese army to defend the republic, in the name of the unity of the Italian peoples. The situation was becoming complicated for Carlo Alberto: The rapid successes of the previous weeks had galvanized him, leading him to believe that after the defeat of Radetzky the Austrians would have cut the losses and left Lombardy to repress the Hungarians, but Prince Schwarzenberg was interested in maintaining the unity of the Empire at all costs. Complicating matters was the Venetian revolution which needed Piedmont to be successful. Ignoring the request would have caused a great loss of legitimacy of the Italian cause, which would have turned into the Savoy cause but accepting to intervene meant extremely irritating the Austrian empire, which Carlo Alberto was still reluctant to do as he still believed he could negotiate a peace. After hours of discussion with Bava, Cattaneo and Martini the king became convinced of the need to help Veneto and that by now there was no turning back. It was necessary to start a new recruitment in Piedmont in view of future campaigns and to focus industrial resources on war production, but it was also necessary to maintain the strategic initiative and advance in depth in the Veneto region, to move the front line from Lombardy as far as possible and, in the worst case, resist and negotiate a peace for Lombardy, sacrificing Veneto if necessary. The king ordered De Sonnaz and his troops to wade the Mincio and head towards Venice, leaving the general free hand in the conduct of operations but with the aim of advancing as much as possible and fomenting the revolt on his path.

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Daniele Manin proclaims the Republic of San Marco in Venice after a fiery speech on the need to expel the Austrians from Italy

On April 1st the 2nd Corps was in Veneto, headed for Padua and then from there to Venice. Simultaneously with these maneuvers Von Westmeath had reorganized his 30,000 men and had moved them to Pavia to encircle Venice and cut the city out of the mainland, when his scouts had warned him of the ford of the Mincio by the Piedmontese. Von Westmeath then decided to give up Venice and concentrate his body against the Savoy to slow them down, or rather beat them decisively as soon as they entered the Veneto and stop their advance. So it was that the Austrians began to converge at the crossroads of Legnago, preparing defensive positions in view of the imminent arrival of the Piedmontese.
 
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4. THE BATTLE OF LEGNAGO
4. THE BATTLE OF LEGNAGO

On 2nd April 1848 the 2nd Division of the 2nd Corps, commanded by Mario Broglia and supported by a battalion of Bersaglieri under the command of Alessandro La Marmora was at the center of the Piedmontese line headed towards Legnago and its bridge from which they would cross the Adige. The rest of the Corps was split in two directions, one towards Verona and one towards Rovigo; from these positions they would have converged on Padua and then on Venice, but this was not feasible without crossing the Adige and establishing a bridgehead.

The day before the 4th Division of Von Westmeath's Army had established fixed defensive positions around the town: potholes with sharp poles, ditches, artillery positions and a few barricades in the city, while the sabotage of the bridge had not yet begun. The town was not heavily fortified and the Austrians were attested in mainly improvised positions, but from which they could have inflicted devastating blows to the charging Piedmontese infantry.

Broglia decided to take the city head-on, being impossible to flank. The infantry would attack from the center while what little cavalry was present would shield the flanks. La Marmora insisted for his men to be placed in a position to intervene when necessary as reinforcements, instead of being deployed as a reserve. The Piedmontese cannons thundered around 11 am and after a short bombardment the infantry began to advance under Austrian fire while the royal hunters skirmished on the left flank with the scarce Austrian cavalry. Legnago would prove to be an infantry battle due to the "static" nature of the enemy fortifications and the lack of cavalry, concentrated mainly on the wings of the 2nd Corps.

The Piedmontese center was constantly under fire from the Austrian batteries on its side but the right one was taken by a Bersaglieri charge which managed to drive away the gunners and resist a counterattack, turning the cannons against their former masters. With the release of the right flank, the infantry could charge without fear of being overwhelmed by the fire and in less than half an hour the improvised fortifications had been cleaned up by the enemies who had started to fall back towards the bridge together with the rest of their cavalry.

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Bersaglieri infantry stands ready to charge Austrian batteries during the battle of Legnago
In the next hour the Piedmontese managed to repel the Austrians beyond the Adige when, around 3 pm, the Austrian cavalry led a counterattack across the bridge, followed by infantry and covered by three cannons that were placed in the rear. The Austrians broke through the Piedmontese center at first causing panic among the soldiers on their flanks who were about to be surrounded by the enemy infantry when, at running pace and trumpet blast, La Marmora and its bersaglieri, with their iconic moves, counter-charged the Austrian cavalry routing them and, without stopping, continued towards the bridge overwhelming the Austrians and taking back the bank, trapping hundreds of enemies on the wrong side.

Having avoided the danger, Broglia ordered an assault across the bridge supported by cannons and at 4 pm the Piedemontese had control of Legnago, the bridge and a territory of about 4 km inland. In 6 hours of battle the Piedmontese had suffered 1400 victims, the Austrians 3000 including 800 prisoners. The battle had been a blazing Piedmontese victory and had led to the true baptism of the fire of the Bersaglieri, who with the heroic deeds of their commander had prevented the collapse of the front and brought the victory home. The battle of Legnago would have repercussions throughout the peninsula.
 
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4. THE BATTLE OF LEGNAGO

On 2nd April 1848 the 2nd Division of the 2nd Corps, commanded by Mario Broglia and supported by a battalion of Bersaglieri under the command of Alessandro La Marmora was at the center of the Piedmontese line headed towards Legnago and its bridge from which they would cross the Adige. The rest of the Corps was split in two directions, one towards Verona and one towards Rovigo; from these positions they would have converged on Pavia and then on Venice, but this was not feasible without crossing the Adige and establishing a bridgehead.

Sorry to nitpick, but you mean Padua here, right? PS: Great update!
 
The following day, the 21st, the king ordered his foreign minister to deliver the declaration of war to the Austrian ambassador in Turin, citing as casus belli the need to intervene in favor of the Italian peoples who claimed their self-determination. At the first light of dawn the army crossed the Ticino, the border line between the Kingdom of Sardinia and Austria, with the feared Piedmontese cavalry at the forefront and began to march towards Milan.

It's always nice to find a TL about a different take of the events occurred in Italy in 1848.
However, even leaving aside the well-known indecision which plagued CA, it's not possible for the Piedmontese army to cross the Ticino at dawn on 21st March: in our TL, CA declared war on Austria on 23rd March, but just some cavalry crossed the border on the same date, the bulk of the army crossed on 29th March. Considering that the mobilization was ordered on 1st March, it's a creditable effort and I doubt it can be substantially improved. In order to achieve what you're narrating (Piedmontese troops encircling Milan on the 22nd March), the mobilization order must come earlier (say one week earlier, when news reach Turin that Paris revolt has started), the pace of the mobilization must be definitely accelerated when news arrive that Wien is in revolt and at the same time Piedmontese agents must foment the Milanese insurrection. Obviously all of this is predicated on the assumption that CA by late February/early March is already committed to war with Austria, provided that the insurrectionist trend is confirmed: it looks like a tall asking, although there were signs in the air (two years of bad harvests, IIRC).
Last but not least, the Achilles'heel of the Piedmontese army was logistics, partly because moving huge tonnage of food, powder, shot was not so easy at the time but also because of financial constrains (money was always scarce). Again some of this can be ameliorated by securing early loans, but it sounds a bit like 20/20 hindsight.
IMOH, crossing the Ticino on March 29 is not so bad; the problem is that the river crossing should come after thinking in advance what to do, and factoring in all the insurrection news (Milan, Venice, Parma, Modena). Once again with hindsight, it's quite obvious that the key to victory is not so much investing the Quadrilateral (which is what CA did IOTL), but rather securing the crossings of the Mincio (which he did) and the Adige (which he did not), to threaten communications and supplies with Austria (which is now a mess, with the court abandoning Wien and seeking refuge in Linz). Most importantly, avoiding the risk that troops from Austria or Slovenia can link with Radetzky in Verona. This strategy was never on the table, CA was the run-of-the-mill king with eyes only on the primary goal (Milan, which had been sought after by the Savoys for almost 4 centuries).
 
It's always nice to find a TL about a different take of the events occurred in Italy in 1848.
However, even leaving aside the well-known indecision which plagued CA, it's not possible for the Piedmontese army to cross the Ticino at dawn on 21st March: in our TL, CA declared war on Austria on 23rd March, but just some cavalry crossed the border on the same date, the bulk of the army crossed on 29th March. Considering that the mobilization was ordered on 1st March, it's a creditable effort and I doubt it can be substantially improved. In order to achieve what you're narrating (Piedmontese troops encircling Milan on the 22nd March), the mobilization order must come earlier (say one week earlier, when news reach Turin that Paris revolt has started), the pace of the mobilization must be definitely accelerated when news arrive that Wien is in revolt and at the same time Piedmontese agents must foment the Milanese insurrection. Obviously all of this is predicated on the assumption that CA by late February/early March is already committed to war with Austria, provided that the insurrectionist trend is confirmed: it looks like a tall asking, although there were signs in the air (two years of bad harvests, IIRC).
Last but not least, the Achilles'heel of the Piedmontese army was logistics, partly because moving huge tonnage of food, powder, shot was not so easy at the time but also because of financial constrains (money was always scarce). Again some of this can be ameliorated by securing early loans, but it sounds a bit like 20/20 hindsight.
IMOH, crossing the Ticino on March 29 is not so bad; the problem is that the river crossing should come after thinking in advance what to do, and factoring in all the insurrection news (Milan, Venice, Parma, Modena). Once again with hindsight, it's quite obvious that the key to victory is not so much investing the Quadrilateral (which is what CA did IOTL), but rather securing the crossings of the Mincio (which he did) and the Adige (which he did not), to threaten communications and supplies with Austria (which is now a mess, with the court abandoning Wien and seeking refuge in Linz). Most importantly, avoiding the risk that troops from Austria or Slovenia can link with Radetzky in Verona. This strategy was never on the table, CA was the run-of-the-mill king with eyes only on the primary goal (Milan, which had been sought after by the Savoys for almost 4 centuries).
Thank you for the insight. Maybe on a later date I'll do "prologue" like update describing the main reasons why the Piedemontese were already on the war footing.
I'm no historian unfortunately and certain things are based on assumptions, for example that after the first signs of rebellion in the italian peninsula and the subsequent chaos in the kingdom leading to the proclamation of the Statuto in early 1848 Charles Albert decided to mobilize his troops first to restore order and then after the revolution in Austria to be ready for anything, which in this case was the Five Days. CA has a rare moment of boldness and takes his chanches against Austria, betting on the disgregation of the empire and aiming to profit from it and grabbing Lombardy.
For the moment the Piedemontese are living mainly on the land especially the more forward units, but are treated as liberators from the population which is happy about their presence and feeds them...for the moment. In the meantime logistical lines will have to be organized capitalising on the whole of Lombardy which is currently under "Italian" control and the provisional government is already taking the first steps to ensure a collection and redistribution of the goods favouring the army in Veneto.
At the moment (April) Lombardy is under the control of the house of Savoy and the Emilian and Tuscan duchies are already or on the verge of joining Sardinia against their former overlord. With the proclamation of the republic in Venice and the subsequent insurrection in the region, along with the loss of Radetzky and his army, the Austrians are on the backfoot for now and will retreat to Padua to establish a frontline while the Italians will try to link with Venice and from there take Veneto reaching the mountains from which they would be able to check any Austrian advance which is impossible at the moment with all the troubles that the Empire is experiencing now. CA is fully prepared to trade Veneto for Lombardy which is more populuous and rich, making it a fine addiction to the Sardinian lands, maybe along with Emilia. But for now the Piedemontese (and soon Italians) are marching into Veneto to expel the remaining Austrian units
 
Thank you for the insight. Maybe on a later date I'll do "prologue" like update describing the main reasons why the Piedemontese were already on the war footing.
I'm no historian unfortunately and certain things are based on assumptions, for example that after the first signs of rebellion in the italian peninsula and the subsequent chaos in the kingdom leading to the proclamation of the Statuto in early 1848 Charles Albert decided to mobilize his troops first to restore order and then after the revolution in Austria to be ready for anything, which in this case was the Five Days. CA has a rare moment of boldness and takes his chanches against Austria, betting on the disgregation of the empire and aiming to profit from it and grabbing Lombardy.
For the moment the Piedemontese are living mainly on the land especially the more forward units, but are treated as liberators from the population which is happy about their presence and feeds them...for the moment. In the meantime logistical lines will have to be organized capitalising on the whole of Lombardy which is currently under "Italian" control and the provisional government is already taking the first steps to ensure a collection and redistribution of the goods favouring the army in Veneto.
At the moment (April) Lombardy is under the control of the house of Savoy and the Emilian and Tuscan duchies are already or on the verge of joining Sardinia against their former overlord. With the proclamation of the republic in Venice and the subsequent insurrection in the region, along with the loss of Radetzky and his army, the Austrians are on the backfoot for now and will retreat to Padua to establish a frontline while the Italians will try to link with Venice and from there take Veneto reaching the mountains from which they would be able to check any Austrian advance which is impossible at the moment with all the troubles that the Empire is experiencing now. CA is fully prepared to trade Veneto for Lombardy which is more populuous and rich, making it a fine addiction to the Sardinian lands, maybe along with Emilia. But for now the Piedemontese (and soon Italians) are marching into Veneto to expel the remaining Austrian units
I'm glad that you took my post in the right way: it was not meant as a criticism, but rather as an attempt to steer you away from glaring impossibilities.

However, I suggest that you address as a priority the perfect storm that has fallen on the European chancelleries.
IOTL, the proclamation of the republic in France worried a lot the British (the Napoleonic era was not so long ago, after all).
The balance of power in Europe was threatened (or I should say, effectively destroyed), and the biggest fear was that the empire of Austria would shatter completely, creating a huge instability in the center of Europe.
ITTL, Austria is in an even worse pickle: the field army of Italy is effectively shattered, Wien and Prague have successfully revolted, Hungary is restive (to say the least), and the events in Italy will have a strong impact on the secession movement in Budapest. The imperial court is in Linz, but doesn't control much more than western Austria, Slovenia and Croatia (I'd assume that the Ban of Croatia will still reconfirm his allegiance to the empire, as he did IOTL).
I doubt that the government-in-exile has the will or the stomach to contest the situation in Italy, given that they have much bigger and serious problems at home.
I do not see Prussia intervening (they have some problems at home too, and in any case the Prussian army is at a low ebb), and if they do it will be in the German Confederation only. The Czar will be tempted to intervene, in particular in Hungary, if they go into open rebellion, but cannot be the only enforcer of the order agreed at the Congress of Vienna, and anyway will be a long time before they can set up an expeditionary force far from their borders.
I'd expect that the British will try to save as much as possible of the empire of Austria, to avoid the chaos in Central Europe, and the new French regime will play ball, to ensure the other European states that they are willing to be reasonable. This will probably mean that the Franco-British will try to engineer a compromise in Italy (as they did IOTL: by June, diplomatic negotiation were held in London, with the idea to grant Sardinia Lombardy with the cessation of hostilities in northern Italy. Everything was ready for signature when CA got mousetrapped at Custoza, and obviously this was both a huge boost for Austrian morale and the end of any negotiation.
ITTL the clock is ticking much faster, and I think that Veneto comes into play too, as well as the duchies of Parma and Modena (not Tuscany: grand-duke Leopold is the single Habsburg in Italy who is not hated by his people. I would expect that the Tuscan contingents will show up on schedule). It may be quite different for the Papal States and Two Sicilies: Pius IX never had a true allegiance to constitutional principles, and the same is even more true for Ferdinand II of Two Sicilies (properly nicknamed "king Bomb", for his repression of insurgents), who had also the added trouble of a rebellious Sicily (IOTL, the Sicilian insurgents offered the throne to Ferdinand of Savoy, younger son of CA. Once again, Custoza put an end to this possibility). Even more interesting would be if the insurgents from Parma and Modena will start an insurrection in Bologna and Romagna. I do not see the Papal troops en marche toward Veneto to be willing to repress it.
Finally Veneto: Venice has proclaimed the Republic of San Marco, but has not claimed the lands of the Serenissima, nor has even started to coordinate with the other cities of the old Terra Firma, who have been effectively abandoned to themselves. The Republic of San Marco is effectively the old Dogado, the city of Venice, Chioggia, Grado and the coast in front of the city. Blame Daniele Manin for this blunder, or better blame the attitude of Venetians who always considered different from the people of Terra Firma.
 
I happen to be listening to a lot of Prof. Alessandro Barbero's lessons on Youtube, recently. One of the things that went wrong OTL is the inefficiency of the Milanese provisional government (to the point that what volunteers they could muster to help CA were hastily dressed in Austrian uniforms). My impression is that TTL they are being at the very least effective. What changed TTL? Another thing that could help later is CA understanding who Garibaldi was and granting him... something. Some volunteers, perhaps? I would love to see him fighting side by side with the Bersaglieri. There is potential for epic battles.
 
I happen to be listening to a lot of Prof. Alessandro Barbero's lessons on Youtube, recently. One of the things that went wrong OTL is the inefficiency of the Milanese provisional government (to the point that what volunteers they could muster to help CA were hastily dressed in Austrian uniforms). My impression is that TTL they are being at the very least effective. What changed TTL? Another thing that could help later is CA understanding who Garibaldi was and granting him... something. Some volunteers, perhaps? I would love to see him fighting side by side with the Bersaglieri. There is potential for epic battles.
It is possible that the Milanese provisional government is less inefficient because it's less divided between the Casati and the Cattaneo sides. ITTL there should be no such a hard divide, since CA is at the doors of Milan on the 22nd of March, and the Piedmontese army effectively defeats the Austrian attempt to sortie from Milan. Not to mention that to be there at that time, TTL CA must have sent someone in advance to the city, say just after granting the Statute. A very different CA, who spends much less time praying and flagellating himself and much more time to planning in advance.

OTOH, unless we end up discovering that TTL CA is an SI with knowledge of the future, it is pretty unlikely that he warms up to Garibaldi. His record in Piedmont-Sardinia (or for that matter anywhere in Italy) says that he's an ardent follower of Mazzini, and that he left (clandestinely) the country after the failed Genoese insurrection of 1833 (for which he was also condemned to death in absentia). Not exactly the kind of person that CA (or the court of Turin) can take to the bosom. So I suppose he still get the cold shoulder, after which he may end up in Parma or Modena and participate in the insurrections there, in Bologna and Romagna. The bonus would be that Anita will probably avoid an early death during the retreat from Rome.
 
I'm happy to see the embryo of discussion on my humble thread!

To answer some questions: The state of Europe and the internal politics of the great powers will be discussed in a further update, for now the most important event is the war in Northern Italy and the awakning of a national identity and revolutionary spirit but anyway most of the other GPs have their share of troubles like France and Prussia while Russia is a bit too far to care anyway. About potential Piedemontese gains, we'll have to see if they can keep what they've gained so far but wouldn't be Leopold of Tuscany prone to swear fealty to CA if he establishes a strong kingdom in the north? Afterall Tuscany will be the least powerful Italian state and likely the smallest so prone to foreign influences so I find more reasonable for Leopold to make a deal with CA, much like the south german states after the Franco Prussian war.

Logistics is always a touchy issue, one which is often overlooked. For now as I said the army is living off the land while some redistribution is being set up behind the lines, it might be a bit more efficent than OTL but the gamble is to win the war before supplies become a concern so it means very quickly (based on my assumptions late spring early summer) trying to deal a knockout blow to Austria and force them to the bargaining table.

Mazzini has slipped back to Italy and is going to Venice. Why this happens will be explained in the next few chapters but to sum it up the city is becoming a hotbed of republican activity. CA has had a stroke of luck and a bit of courage, maybe the Lord inspired him this time around, but also Gioberti's Neoguelfe teachings may have played a hand in CA's decision to go on the offensive.
 
5. THE REVOLUTION SPREADS
5. THE REVOLUTION SPREADS

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Despite being divided for much of it's modern history, many Italians sought national unification
Legnago's victory would have had a great resonance in the Italian peninsula: it was the first time that an Italian army had defeated a foreign power since Napoleon and the victory did nothing but strengthen and swell the ranks of those who openly sided for intervention in the war in favor of their northern brethen.

In Tuscany, Grand Duke Leopold had been sympathetic to the Milanese insurgents and rather favorable to the Savoy cause, allowing a group of volunteers to march north and join the Piedmontese army. Legnago erased any doubts about the intervention and in the aftermath of the news the Grand Duke declared that the weapons of Tuscany were at the service of Carlo Alberto, notifying the Austrian ambassador that a state of war now existed between the Grand Duchy and the Habsburg Empire. The Tuscan army was not as large or well trained as the Piedmontese, but it was nevertheless a professional force which was not lacking in volounteers and joined with the Parmense and Modenese armies it would make an excellent expeditionary force.

In the Papal States the news of Legnago were received much more cautiously: Cardinal Antonelli, Secretary of State of the Papacy, was at the head of a mixed government of clergy and lay people with a decidedly reformist but conservative imprint that intended to keep the Papal State intact and above all unharmed by the revolutions of 1848. The idea of a war with Austria and a "unified" Italy by a secular power were not attractive to the pope, but nontheless the population was very favorable to the Italian cause, pressing to send an expeditionary force to the north and Legnago did nothing but strengthen those patriotic calls to a level that could compromise the tightness of the executive. It was in that climate that Antonelli consented to the requests and ordered to set up an expeditionary force of 14,000 men under the command of General Giovanni Durando and to send him to Romagna where he would join the rest of the Sardinian army.

In the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies the situation was complicated: the kingdom had been the first to be affected by the uprisings with the expulsion of the Bourbons from Sicily and the creation of a revolutionary committee which, after the victory, was uncertain about the future decision of the island, divided between Mazzinians and liberals. On the continent, riots had prompted King Ferdinand II to promulgate the constitution and to hold elections in mid-April, in which the liberal faction had promised that, if successful, it would "upset" the constitution. The war to the north, although distant, was considered important for the kingdom, as the king was sympathetic to the cause of the Savoys regarding the expulsion of the Austrians from Italy, while colder to the idea of a single kingdom. So the king decided to send a contingent of 16,000 men, mainly composed of selected troops, to support the Savoy.
 
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If the pope flies to Gaeta I could see Leopold sending troops to "reinforce" the revolutionaries and avoid the birth of a republic like Carlo Alberto did. It could lead to a federations of macro-regions: northern, tyrrhenian and southern Italy.
 
6. THE FUTURE OF LOMBARDY
6. THE FUTURE OF LOMBARDY

With the army winning it's first major victory of the war, Carlo Alberto decided that he could no longer stay in Milan to endear himself to the population and the opposing factions in the Provisional Government as a unifying figure. Craving military success the king had left the city along with much of his entourage to reach the frontlines, leaving in the city Cesare Balbo.

Cesare Balbo was the Sardinian prime minister, called by the king himself to the city after the Five Days to broker a truce between the two factions and ensure that the future of Lombardy would be with Piedmont. This idea was supported by the "popular" faction led by the current podestà Casati, which also included Count Martini, who aimed to create a new duchy incorporated into the kingdom of Sardinia of which it would become an integral part. This idea was opposed by Cattaneo's "democrats", who wanted to give Lombardy a more autonomous character, perhaps even create a state separate from Piedmont and linked with it through commercial and military ties; the biggest dispute between the two factions was the political structure of the new state, with Cattaneo proposing a "democratic" state with strong Mazzinian influences, a republic on the model of the French one, proclaimed a month before the Five Days, while Casati who had the support of the nobles thought of a monarchical structure.

Days into the negotiation Balbo proved to be quick to act to mop up the mess. He understood that the council was divided and a middle ground had to be found if he were to close a deal quickly and to present it to the kingdom's parliement as soon as possible, so he started negotiations with both parties. Piedmont had a strong hand in the negotiations: their interventon had proven pivotal to prevent an Austrian retreat and turning it into a dashing victory and they were the only ones with the weapons capable of defending Lombardy. Using this points and some careful diplomacy, Balbo was able to broker this deal: Lombardy would be annexed by the kingdom of Sardinia as a duchy, dynastically linked to the house of Savoy through the coronation of the current king of Sardinia, Charles Albert, as Duke of Lombardy. The Albertine Statute would have been extended, giving the population the rights that Cattaneo wanted. The elections that were about to be conducted in Piedmont in April were extended to Lombardy, granting the upper classes the right to vote and elect their own representatives. From now on the King of Sardinia will also be the Duke of Lombardy, strengthening the ties between the two regions and finalizing the dream of the house of Savoy

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The old flag of the Duchy of Milan was chosen as the flag of the new duchy

Both parties, having participated in the negotiations, agreed to the deal which satisfied them both, even if in part. With the future of Lombardy secured and the people cheering to the news, Balbo departed as soon as possible from the city, intending to deliver the proposal to the Piedemontese parliement and approve it.

Charles Albert was at the head of a 25.000 strong army along with general Bava, heading towards Vicenza were he intended to join his forces with De Sonnaz and other Italian allies, from where he could put himself at the head of the combined armies and organize an invasion of the Venetian plain which was going to be the main battlefield in the next phase of the war, with Austrian troops shocked by the rapid Piedmontean advance but reorganizing. One good thing was the Venetian insurrection that had managed to evict austrian forces from the Adriatic coast and thus cover the flank of the army. The main problem remained the two fortresses of Verona and Mantua which citadels were occupied by determined Austrian soldiers and had tied down some Sardinian forces and presented a dagger pointed at the back of the Italians
 
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