The Italian Front

1914 Europe

1915 May 23 - Italy entered the war, and Italian Chief of Staff Gen. Luigi Cadorna began attack on the Isonzo where Austrian Gen. Boroevic took command of the 5th Army and built defensive line, Italy took Brado by May 26, but failed to break through Austrian lines. The battles on the Isonzo over the next 2 years would be "a disaster" for Italy, according to the documentary film Fight for the River.

June 5 - Italy attacked Doberdo plateau on the Isonzo, advanced behind sandbags to take the strategic summit of Mt. Krn

June 23 - 1st Battle of the Isonzo began with Italian artillery bombardment for one week, then main assault June 30 on 21-mile front.

July 18 - 2nd Battle of the Isonzo began with attack by Italian 2nd and 3rd Armies, but run out of artillery shells and stopped by Austrian barbed wire defense lines; battle ended Aug. 3 with 41,886 Italian casualties.

Oct. 18 - 3rd Battle of the Isonzo began with Italian 3rd Army attack on Mt. Sabotino and Mt. San Michele with the main objective of occupying Gorizia with its stone arched bridge; battle ended Nov. 4.

Nov. 10 - 4th Battle of the Isonzo began with italian attack at Carso. On Nov. 29, italians took Oslavia Ridge. Battle ended Dec. 3, with 48,967 Italian casualties and 30,000 Austrian.

1916 Mar. 11 - 5th Battle of the Isonzo stopped early by snow and rain.

May 15 - Trentino offensive, or Asiago Offensive, began with Austrian barrage and attack, forced Italian retreat to 3rd line of defense.

June 16 - Italian counter-attack at Trentino stopped Austrian attack.

June 28 - Austrians fired cyanide gas shells at Italians near Mt. Cosich, but winds blew gas back into Austrians and attack failed.

Aug. 4 - 6th Battle of the Isonzo began with barrage and attack of Duke of Aosta's 3rd Army against Austrian 5th Army of Boroevic, gained west bank of middle Isonzo and Podgora, began to enter Gorizia by Aug. 8. Cadorna ended the offensive Aug. 17, even though it was one of the most successful, and gained 3-4 miles.

Sept. 14 - 7th Battle of the Isonzo began with Italian 3rd Army gas attack on 6-mile front.

Oct. 9 - 8th Battle of the Isonzo began with attack of Italian 2nd and 3rd Armies against Austrian 5th Army. Cadorna still emphasized the frontal assault, packed 6 soldiers per yard in the advance, the highest concentration of the war.

Nov. 1 - 9th Battle of the Isonzo began with Italian attack on Carso east of Gorizia.

Nov. 21 - Emperor Franz Joseph died, succeeded by Charles I.

1917 Apr. 1 - British 6-in howitzers and French heavy guns arrived on Isonzo front. Gen Diaz took command of new 23rd Corps; Cadorna added 10 divisions to reserves. On Apr. 8, foch visited Cadorna at Vicenza and planned Allied reinforcements in case of German intervention in Italy.

Apr. 28 - young Atalo Balbo joined 8th Alpini Regiment.

May 12 - 10th Battle of the Isonzo began with 2-day Italian barrage on 25-mile front. Allied artillery helped to stop Austrian counter-attacks May 17. By the end of May, Italians won some gains around Carso, and Italian artillery moved to10 miles from Trieste.

May 23 - British monitors at sea and 130 Allied airplanes attack Austrians near Adriatic Sea at Kostanjevica.

June 10 - Italian 6th Army offensive in Trentino failed.

June 30 - In the Trentino, the Ortigara tragedy demoralized Italian troops; 28,000 Italians and 9000 Austrians were killed in 12 days on Mt. Ortigara .

Aug. 18 - 11th Battle of the Isonzo began on 30-mile front by Italian 2nd and 3rd Armies, but lost 166,000 by Sept. 12. Cadorna was warned of impending German-Austrian attack and began to dig in with defenses, faced growing desertion rate up to 5500 per month

Oct. 24 - 12th Battle of the Isonzo, or the Battle of Caporetto, began with Austrian gas bombardment and attack by 10 divisions along 20-mile front. The German 12th Division took Caporetto. On Oct. 27, Cadorna ordered general retreat. French and British divisions began arriving Oct. 30. Cadorna ordered final defense line behind the Piave River. On Nov. 9, Gen. Diaz replaced Cadorna.

Nov. 11 - 1st Battle of the Piave succeeded in stopping the Austrian-German offensive. By Nov. 20, British and French divisions reinforce the line

1918 June 15 - 2nd Battle of the Piave began with Austrian attack, stopped by British and French. The Italian 4th Army began counter-attack. On June 20, Boroevic ordered retreat of Austrian army back across river.

July 8 - Ernest Hemingway, an American Red Cross ambulance driver, was wounded at Fossalta di Piave.

Oct. 24 - 3rd Battle of the Piave, or Battle of Vittorio Veneto, began on anniversary of Caporetto, with barrage from 1400 guns and attack by Italian 4th Army on 13-mile front.

Oct. 29 - Austria sought armistice, signed on Nov. 3

Nov. 3 - in the last hours before armistice took effect at 1500, the U.S. 332nd regiment took part in attack on Austrians at Tagliamento River.

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