26/7/1915 Italy and Austria-Hungary feed the Isonzo meat grinder

The Second Battle of the Isonzo continues. Italy’s General Cadorna is throwing his men at the Austro-Hungarians. There is no longer any real prospect of a breakthrough. Instead the battle has become a series of attritional struggles over key strong points.

The fighting is bloody for both sides. The Italians are cut to ribbons by the enemy’s machine guns and artillery as they attempt to advance up the mountainsides while Italian artillery exacts a heavy toll on the Austro-Hungarians, particularly to the rear of the frontline. Austria-Hungary’s Boroevic has ordered his men to immediately recapture any position lost to the enemy, which ensures that the Italians cannot rest on their laurels after any local victory.

One site of brutal combat is the summit of Mount San Michele, on the north western corner of the Carso plateau, overlooking the town of Gorizia. The peak was briefly captured by the Italians on the 20th only to be lost to a counter-attack on the 21st. Today the Italians storm the mountain-top again, but the Austro-Hungarians are determined not to surrender the position. A counterattack dislodges the Italians, but they too are loth to accept defeat. A second Italian assault takes the summit again, but by the day’s end the Austro-Hungarians have taken back the peak. Losses on both sides are horrendous.

Image source:

Painting by R.A. Höger of fighting during the Second Battle of the Isonzo (Vasily Sergeev’s LiveJournal)

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