The bloody mountain warfare of the Italian, 1915-1918.

Soldiers hoisted at a field gunpoint. 1917.

In May 1915, Italy attacked Austria-Hungary on the banks of the Isonzo River and in Trentino, hoping to conquer an area he believed to be Italian. Unlike large-scale battles, this battle was decided by a landscape of large size mountain ranges.

Due to the challenging terrain, both countries had to depend on new methods of warfare and outstanding works of bravery. The alpine landscape was incredibly challenging: the mountain peaks in the battlefield were up to 2000 meters above sea level, with some slopes up to 80 °.

Fast flowing rivers flowed through glacial troughs and the region had minimal road and rail connectivity. To make the landscape more suitable for war, intensive road-building programs took place; Both armies also had to build bridges across mountain trenches, and build forts, barracks, and huts to serve dwellings, as well as dig trenches (where possible) or use high explosives for protection, housing, and Building a network of underground caves and tunnels for storage.

The Italians used cable cars and mules to transport food and silence to the upper lines of the mountain - and to transport the injured back to the plains, where the hospitals were located.

Temperatures were down for at least four months of each year and there was a constant presence of snow in winter, with es snow trenches used for defense.

Both armies equipped specialist ski units as well as soldiers with ice-picks, ropes, snow suits, cold weather clothing and goggles for use on glaciers. Freezing and frostbite were real problems for all men in the High Alps, especially when it came to treating the injured, who suffered greatly from extreme conditions.

Unexpectedly, combat was very difficult under these circumstances. Due to the uneven terrain the artillery could not correctly identify enemy targets and it was extremely difficult to launch a successful attack without effective artillery fire.

Meanwhile the infantrymen carrying heavy packs and weapons struggled to attack the steep slope, as the rescue team placed the high bombers in front of enemy fire wherever possible.

The units were quickly disassembled as they transformed into rugged terrains, while landslides and boulders frequently fell from the effects of explosions on the rocky surface, causing devastating effects.

Both the Italian and Austro-Hungarian armies had dedicated the forces of the mountain, Alpini and Geborgstruppe, respectively; These specialist units had specialized training and equipment to prepare them for service in the mountains. He was noted for his courage and skill, fighting fiercely in the most challenging situations.

But these experts were not enough, and it would be impossible for these troops alone to limit the operation of the mountain. Instead most of the men of both armies would have served in the mountainous areas at some stage in the war, including many - such as soldiers from southern Italy or Sicily - who had no experience of such extreme temperatures.

From 1915, the high peaks of the Dolomites range were areas of fierce mountain warfare. To protect their troops from enemy fire and hostile alpine environments, both Austro-Hungarian and Italian military engineers built fighting tunnels that offered a degree of cover and allowed better logistic support.

Working at high elevations in the hard carbonate rock of the Dolomites, often near mountain peaks and in areas exposed to glacial ice, requires the extreme skills of both Austro-Hungarian and Italian miners.

Beginning on the 13th day, later referred to as White Friday, 10,000 soldiers from both sides would be seen killed by avalanches in the Dolomites on December 1916. Many avalanches were caused by Italians and Austro-Hungarians intentionally firing artillery shells at the hill, while others occurred naturally.

In addition to building underground shelters and covered supply routes for their troops, such as the Italian Strada 52 Gallery, the two sides break the deadlock of trench warfare by building tunnels under no man's ground and placing explosives under enemy bases. Also tried. Between 1 January 1916 and 13 March 1918, Austro-Hungarian and Italian units fired a total of 34 mines in this theater of war.

In October 1917, about 400,000 German and Austro-Hungarian troops attacked the Italian army at Capretto, 60 miles north of Trieste. Despite outnumbering its attackers by two to one, the Italian lines penetrated almost immediately. The Germans and Austro-Hungarians moved rapidly, besieged by many from Italy's army.

When the fighting had run its course by the middle of November, 11,000 Italians had died and more than a quarter million were taken as prisoners. A large number of these voluntarily surrendered.

Caporetto was an illiterate disaster, the worst defeat in any theater of the First World War. The Italian government fell again and the Prime Minister and several military commanders were replaced.

With the enemy now threatening Italian territory, Rome adopted more defensive military strategies. They managed to repel another small Austro-Hungarian invasion in mid-1918, then attacked again in October 1918 as a double monarchy.

Italy's involvement in the First World War was disastrous by any measure. More than 650,000 Italian soldiers were killed while more than a million were seriously injured. In 1918, more than half of the citizens died as a result of food shortages and poor harvests.

Italian generals in the Carricane Alps. 1915.

Austrian soldiers set out on skis. 1915.

An Italian Alpine Regiment on a glacier in the Italian Alps. 1916.

Austrian soldiers guard a mountain outpost in the Isonzo region.

The Austrian army views the front line from a high point. 1917.

Austro-Hungarian soldiers wear new steel helmets.

Austrian troops build a tunnel near the front. 1918.

An Italian soldier outside a mountain bunker. 1916.

A group of Alpine Infantry soldiers encamped at the foot of Mount Villau. 1915.

Italian artillery gunners load shells decorated with Easter messages. 1916.

A Hungarian Workers Unit transfers oven components for use in military shelters in the Dolomites. 1916.

Austro-Hungarian heavy artillery in the Karst Mountains.

Austrian mountain infantry slopes downhill. 1916.

A mule carries a heavy weapon on the high footpaths in front of Isonzo. 1916.

Austro-Hungarian Trop Shelter. 1916.

The soldiers buried 7 cm guns at a peak of 3,400 meters. 1916.

Italian troops made the scale of Monte Nero on the Karst Plateau during the Second Battle of Isonzo. 1915.

A soldier takes a field gun to high ground. 1916.

Italian troops on the ski advance on the Austrian army in the Julian Alps. 1916.

A ski patrol in the war on Monte Sevedel. 1917.

An Austro-Hungarian area telephone outpost on Mount Rombon. 1917.

Soldiers advance to support a flamethrower attack. 1917.

Austrian troops near the front line in the Dolomites. 1917.

Austrian soldiers descend from a cliff. 1915.

German soldiers pass through the Italian posts destroyed near St. Daniel's during Isonzo's 12th War. 1917.

Members of an Italian alpine regiment leave a stone hut in the Alps. 1915.

Italian Alpini Companies ski in the Carnic Alps. 1918.

German Alpine Soldier. 1915.

Austro-Hungarian troops measured the slope of Monte Nero. 1917.

Italian Alpini Army. 1915.

The soldiers lowered a wounded comrade down a cliff. 1915.

A Swiss soldier is an army outpost in the High Alps fighting a war between Austrians and Italians. 1918.

Austro-Hungarian soldiers transport an injured comrade to a field hospital in Monte Nero. 1916.

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