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

In May 1915, Italy attacked Austria-Hungary on the banks of the Isonzo River and Trentino, hoping to conquer the region it considered truly Italian. Unlike large-scale battles, this battle was dictated by the landscape of a large mountain range.

Due to the challenging terrain, both countries had to rely on innovative methods of warfare and outstanding acts of bravery. The alpine landscape was incredibly challenging: the mountain peaks in the battle zone were 2000 meters above sea level, with some slopes up to 80 degrees.

Fast-flowing rivers flowed through the glaciers and the region had minimal road and rail connections. In order to make the landscape more suitable for war, intensive road building programs took place; Both armies were also to build bridges across mountain valleys, and build forts, barracks, and huts to serve as housing, as well as to dig trenches (where possible) or, for protection, underground for housing. High explosives had to be used to create a network of caves and tunnels. , and storage.

The Italians used cable cars and mules to carry food and weapons to the front lines of the mountain tops – and to carry the wounded back to the plains, where hospitals were located.

As temperatures remain below zero for at least four months of each year and the presence of snow is persistent in winter, improvised 'snow trenches' are used to protect.

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

Unsurprisingly, the combat in these conditions was very difficult. Due to uneven terrain, artillery could not accurately identify enemy positions and it was extremely difficult to launch a successful attack without effective artillery fire.

Meanwhile, infantrymen carrying heavy packs and weapons struggled to attack the steep slopes, as the defending troops occupied higher ground wherever possible, with the attackers facing enemy fire. .

Units were quickly separated as they scrambled over rough terrain, while the impact of shells that exploded on the rocky surface often resulted in landslides and boulders, which had devastating effects.

Both the Italian and Austro-Hungarian armies had dedicated mountain troops, Alpini and Gebirgstrup, respectively; These specialist units had specialized training and equipment to prepare them for service in the mountains. They were renowned for their courage and skill, fighting fierce battles in the most challenging conditions.

But these specialists were not in sufficient numbers, and it would have been impossible to limit mountain campaigns to these troops alone. Instead, most men in both armies would have served in 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 the area of ​​fierce mountain warfare. To protect their troops from enemy fire and hostile alpine environments, both Austro-Hungarian and Italian military engineers built combat tunnels, which offered a degree of cover and allowed better logistical support.

Working at high altitudes in the hard carbonate rock of the Dolomites, often in exposed areas near mountain peaks and even in glacial ice, required the immense skill of both Austro-Hungarian and Italian miners.

Beginning on the 13th, later called White Friday, an avalanche in the Dolomites in December 1916 killed 10,000 soldiers on both sides. Many avalanches were caused by Italians and Austro-Hungarians firing artillery shells on the hill on purpose, while others occurred naturally.

In addition to building underground shelters and covered supply routes for their troops, such as the Italian Strada delle 52 Gallerie, both sides also attempted to break the stalemate of trench warfare by tunneling under No Man's Land and placing explosive charges under enemy positions. . Between 1 January 1916 and 13 March 1918, Austro-Hungarian and Italian units fired a total of 34 mines into this theater of war.

In October 1917, about 400,000 German and Austro-Hungarian troops attacked the Italian army at Caporetto, 60 miles north of Trieste. Despite their attackers outnumbering two to one, the Italian lines penetrated almost immediately. The Germans and Austro-Hungarians advanced rapidly, encircling and besieging most of the Italian army.

When the war ran its course by mid-November, 11,000 Italians had been killed and over a quarter million were taken prisoner. A large number of these surrendered voluntarily.

The Caporetto was a constant disaster, one of the worst defeats in any theater of World War I. 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 much smaller Austro-Hungarian offensive in mid-1918, then repulsed again in October 1918 at the collapse of the dual monarchy.

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

When it was implemented regularly, 11,000 Watts were regularly handled. Large numbers divided by their respective fractions.

Caporetto was a continuous broadcast, not mad at a single play for the First World War. To empower the authorities and to empower the officers.

Dangerous enemy with enemy, put more perspective in the meeting. In the middle of 1918 the invasion was carried out again.

The participant in the First World War was changing in any way. More than a million in the age group over 650,000 were stagnant. For more check out the smash in 1918.

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