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Citadelle de Montmélian

Dernière mise à jour : 6 avr. 2020

Montmélian - Savoie - France Gamemode: Siege

  • For the little story ...

The village of Montmélian is the former military and administrative capital of the Counts of Savoy before the purchase of Chambéry. Strategically placed on the crossroads between the Dauphiné, Val du Bourget, via Chambery, and the Combe de Savoie leading to the valleys of Maurienne and Tarentaise intra-alpine, passages to Piedmont, the village was very soon completed by a fortress without ceases to be adapted to military developments. Following the French occupation of the early sixteenth century by the King of France, François I, Duke Emmanuel Philibert is modernizing the citadel by the engineer Dominique Revel de Savonne from 1561, with the addition of an artillery. The duke wants it to become "a stronghold not only the best of Savoy but the best in Europe".

At the end of the sixteenth century, the citadel of Montmelian was one of the most famous citadels in Europe. Built on a rock accessible only on the city side and located above it, it is equipped with 30 pieces of guns and 20,000 hits in reserve. Besides, the old castle had been joined with a new citadel, in the midst of which he was shut up. Its enclosure covered the entire summit of the rock. The square was now flanked by 5 large bastions, the 3 most important face the city, located at the foot of the mountain. The three bastions, the foundations of which were one and a half feet deep in the living rock, could not be undermined or mined. The access ramp was cut by a wide and deep ditch, chiseled into the granite9. On the other side, the rocks too steep did not allow to build advanced works, it is defended by long pincers10.

Faced with the French invasion, the Comte de Brandis, commander of the place, announced that the citadel will be "the cemetery of the French"

Montmélian en 1675, gravure de Romeyn de Hooghe.

After returning to Tarentaise and chasing the Savoyard troops beyond the Petit-Saint-Bernard pass, Lesdiguières took a position at Moutiers to wait for the relief troops to clear Montmelian. The threat of attack by the Savoyard troops did not frighten the French. The duke of Sully received the authorization of the King of France to besiege with all his artillery the fortress of Montmelian.

The place, commanded by Count de Brandis, is defended by 300 garrison men and 30 guns on the ramparts. In the South it is protected by the Isère that crosses on a bridge to go further in Savoy. To the north, it is surrounded by very high mountains, at the foot of which rises a hill planted with very steep vines.

Before fully engaging in hostilities, the French Command summoned the governor of the place to surrender. But he rejected the proposal with contempt and replied, "If the King approached Montmelian, the glory of the name François would find his tomb there."

But the conflicts between Savoy and France persist, and in 1630 Louis XIII and Richelieu resume Chambery May 17 besiege Montmelian. Despite a siege of thirteen months, the citadel commanded by Jaffre de Bens de Cavour does not capitulate; Louis XIV will besiege it also in 1691 and in 1701.

Taken, the citadel is destroyed in 1706, by order of the king of France and the council of Vauban. The hill that greeted it is now bare and has become a belvedere.

  • The context

I propose to relive the assault of the citadel as it was at the time, I allowed myself to take a few liberties on the historical plans and around the citadel, for the gameplay. Enjoy !

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