Frederick hurried up his forces from Silesia and marched as rapidly as possible on Dresden, winning the actions of Katholisch-Hennersdorf (November 24) and Görlitz (November 25). Prince Charles was thereby forced back, and now a second Prussian army under the old Dessauer advanced up the Elbe from Magdeburg to meet Rutowski. The latter took up a strong position at Kesselsdorf between Meissen and Dresden, but the veteran Leopold attacked him directly and without hesitation (December 14). The Saxons and their allies were completely routed after a hard struggle, and Maria Theresa at last gave way. In the peace of Dresden (December 25) Frederick recognized the imperial election, and retained Silesia, as at the peace of Breslau.
9. Operations in Italy, 1745-1747. - The campaign in Italy this year was also no mere war of posts. In March 1745 a secret treaty allied the Genoese republic with France, Spain and Naples. A change in the command of the Austrians favoured the first move of the allies, De Gages moved from Modena towards Lucca, the French and Spaniards in the Alps under Marshal Maillebois advanced through the Riviera to the Tanaro, and in the middle of July the two armies were at last concentrated between the Scrivia and the Tanaro, to the unusually large number of 80,000. A swift march on Piacenza drew the Austrian commander thither, and in his absence the allies fell upon and completely defeated the Sardinians at Bassignano (September 27), a victory which was quickly followed by the capture of Alessandria, Valenza and Casale. Jomini calls the concentration of forces which effected the victory "le plus remarquable de toute la guerre." But the complicated politics of Italy brought it about that Maillebois was ultimately unable to turn his victory to account. Indeed, early in 1746, Austrian troops, freed by the peace with Frederick, passed through Tirol into Italy; the Franco-Spanish winter quarters were brusquely attacked, and a French garrison of 6000 men at Asti was forced to capitulate.
At the same time Count Browne with an Austrian corps struck at the allies on the lower Po, and cut off their communication with the main body in Piedmont. A series of minor actions thus completely destroyed the great concentration. The allies separated, Maillebois covering Liguria, the Spaniards marching against Browne. The latter was promptly and heavily reinforced, and all that the Spaniards could do was to entrench themselves at Piacenza; the Spanish Infant as supreme commander calling up Maillebois to his aid. The French, skilfully conducted and marching rapidly, joined forces once more, but their situation was critical, for only two marches behind them the army of the king of Sardinia was in pursuit, and before them lay the principal army of the Austrians. The pitched battle of Piacenza (June 16) was hard fought, and Maillebois had nearly achieved a victory when orders from the Infant compelled him to retire. That the army escaped at all was in the highest degree creditable to Maillebois and to his son and chief of staff, under whose leadership it eluded both the Austrians and the Sardinians, defeated an Austrian corps in the battle of Rottofreddo (August 12), and made good its retreat on Genoa. It was, however, a mere remnant of the allied army which returned, and the Austrians were soon masters of north Italy, including Genoa (September). But they met with no success in their forays towards the Alps. Soon Genoa revolted from the oppressive rule of the victors, rose and drove out the Austrians (December 5-11), and the French, now commanded by Belleisle, took the offensive (1747). Genoa held out against a second Austrian siege, and after the plan of campaign had as usual been referred to Paris and Madrid, it was relieved, though a picked corps of the French army under the chevalier de Belleisle, brother of the marshal, was defeated in the almost impossible attempt (July 19) to storm the entrenched pass of Exiles (Col di Assietta), the chevalier, and with him the élite of the French nobility, being killed at the barricades.
Before the steady advance of Marshal Belleisle the Austrians retired into Lombardy, and a desultory campaign was waged up to the conclusion of peace.
In North America the most remarkable incident of what has been called "King George's War" was the capture of the French Canadian fortress of Louisburg by a British expedition (April 20-June 16, 1745), of which the military portion was furnished by the colonial militia under Colonel (afterwards Lieutenant-General Sir William) Pepperell (1696-1759) of Maine. Louisburg was then regarded merely as a nest of privateers, and at the peace it was given up, but in the Seven Years' War it came within the domain of grand strategy, and its second capture was the preliminary step to the British conquest of Canada. For the war in India, see India: History.
10. Later Campaigns. - The last three campaigns of the war in the Netherlands were illustrated by the now fully developed genius of Marshal Saxe. After Fontenoy the French carried all before them. The withdrawal of most of the English to aid in suppressing the 'Forty-Five rebellion at home left their allies in a helpless position. In 1746 the Dutch and the Austrians were driven back towards the line of the Meuse, and most of the important fortresses were taken by the French. The battle of Roucoux (or Raucourt) near Liége, fought on the 11th of October between the allies under Prince Charles of Lorraine and the French under Saxe, resulted in a victory for the latter. Holland itself was now in danger, and when in April 1747 Saxe's army, which had now conquered the Austrian Netherlands up to the Meuse, turned its attention to the United Provinces, the old fortresses on the frontier offered but slight resistance. The prince of Orange and the duke of Cumberland underwent a severe defeat at Lauffeld (Lawfeld, etc., also called Val) on the 2nd of July 1747, and Saxe, after his victory, promptly and secretly despatched a corps under (Marshal) Löwendahl to besiege Bergen-op-Zoom. On the 18th of September Bergen-op-Zoom was stormed by the French, and in the last year of the war Maestricht, attacked by the entire forces of Saxe and Löwendahl, surrendered on the 7th of May 1748. A large Russian army arrived on the Meuse to join the allies, but too late to be of use.
The quarrel of Russia and Sweden had been settled by the peace of Abo in 1743, and in 1746 Russia had allied herself with Austria. Eventually a large army marched from Moscow to the Rhine, an event which was not without military significance, and in a manner preluded the great invasions of 1813-1814 and 1815. The general peace of Aix-la-Chapelle (Aachen) was signed on the 18th of October 1748.
11. General Character of the War. - Little need be said of the military features of the war. The intervention of Prussia as a military power was indeed a striking phenomenon, but her triumph was in a great measure due to her fuller application of principles of tactics and discipline universally recognized though less universally enforced. The other powers reorganized their forces after the war, not so much on the Prussian model as on the basis of a stricter application of known general principles. Prussia, moreover, was far ahead of all the other continental powers in administration, and over Austria, in particular, her advantage in this matter was almost decisive of the struggle. Added to this was the personal ascendancy of Frederick, not yet a great general, but energetic and resolute, and, further, opposed to generals who were responsible for their men to their individual sovereigns. These advantages have been decisive in many wars, almost in all. The special feature of the war of 1740 to 1748, and of other wars of the time, is the extraordinary disparity between the end and the means.
The political schemes to be executed by the French and other armies were as grandiose as any of modern times; their execution, under the then conditions of time and space, invariably fell short of expectation, and the history of the war proves, as that of the Seven Years' War was to prove, that the small standing army of the 18th century could conquer by degrees, but could not deliver a decisive blow. Frederick alone, with a definite end and proportionate means wherewith to achieve it, succeeded completely. The French, in spite of their later victories, obtained so little of what they fought for that Parisians could say to each other, when they met in the streets, "You are as stupid as the Peace." And if, when fighting for their own hand, the governments of Europe could so fail of their purpose, even less was to be expected when the armies were composed of allied contingents, sent to the war each for a different object. The allied national armies of 1813 co-operated loyally, for they had much at stake and worked for a common object; those of 1741 represented the divergent private interests of the several dynasties, and achieved nothing.
Besides general works on Frederick's life and reign, of which Carlyle, Preuss and v. Taysen are of particular importance, and Frederick's own works, see the Prussian official Die I. und II. schlesischen Kriege (Berlin, 1890-1895); Austrian official Kriege der Kaiserin Maria Theresia; Gesch. des österr. Erbfolgekrieges (Vienna, from 1895); Jomini, Traité des grandes opérations militaires, introduction to vol. i. (Paris, 4th edition, 1851); C. von B.-K., Geist und Stoff im Kriege (Vienna, 1895); v. Arneth, Maria Teresias ersten Regierungsjahre (1863); v. Schöning, Die 5 erste Jahre der Regierung Friedrichs des Grossen; Bernhardi, Friedrich der Grosse als Feldherr (Berlin, 1881); v. Canitz, Nachrichten, etc., über die Taten und Schicksale der Reiterei, &c. (Berlin, 1861); Grünhagen, Gesch. des I. schlesischen Krieges (Gotha, 1881-1882); Orlich, Gesch. der schlesischen Kriege; Deroy, Beiträge zur Gesch. des österr. Erbfolgekrieges (Munich, 1883); Crousse, La Guerre de la succession dans les provinces belgiques (Paris, 1885); Duncker, Militärische, etc., Aktenstücke zur Gesch. des I. schles.
Krieges; Militär-Wochenblatt supplements 1875, 1877, 1878, 1883, 1891, 1901, etc. (Berlin); Mitteilungen des k.k. Kriegsarchivs, from 1887 (Vienna); Baumgart, Die Litteratur, etc., über Friedrich d. Gr. (Berlin, 1886); Fortescue, History of the British Army, vol. ii.; F. H. Skrine, Fontenoy and the War of the Austrian Succession (London, 1906); Francis Parkman, A Half-Century of Conflict (1892).
(C. F. A.)