St. Gotthard

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St. Gotthard


a pass in the Lepontine Alps, Switzerland. Elevation, 2,108 m. A highway traverses the St. Gotthard pass. A tunnel of about 15 km long on the Zürich-Milan railroad has been built at an elevation of 1,100 m near the pass.

During Suvorov’s Swiss Campaign of 1799, about 20,000 Russian troops, moving from Italy into Switzerland, took St. Gotthard in fierce combat on September 13 (24). The inaccessible positions at the pass and in its rear at the village of Urseren were held by two French brigades under General C. J. Le-courbe. Suvorov sent General A. G. Rozenberg’s detachment of 6,000 to envelop St. Gotthard in order to strike at the enemy from the rear at Urseren. The main forces attacked St. Gotthard in three columns from the front and from both flanks.

By the end of the day, the Russians took St. Gotthard after stubborn combat. However, Rozenberg’s detachment reached Urseren late in the evening and could not cut off the French line of retreat. As a result, the latter, abandoning their supply trains and guns, managed to retreat to the Devil’s Bridge. The battle at St. Gotthard is an example of successful vigorous combat operations in mountainous terrain.

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