21/10/1915 Third Isonzo: no breakthrough for Italy

Along the Isonzo line the Italians have been shelling the Austro-Hungarians for the last three days. Italian aeroplanes have also hit targets behind the enemy lines. Now it is the turn of the infantry to attack. In this Third Battle of the Isonzo Italy’s Cadorna is sending his men forward to the north and south of Gorizia in the hope of capturing this enemy-held town.

However, the Austro-Hungarians are waiting for the Italians. The Italians struggle to advance uphill in the face of determined enemy fire. And the Austro-Hungarian barbed wire is still largely intact; Italy has many artillery pieces but they mostly fire shells too light to damage the enemy’s barbed wire.

So the breakthrough the Italians are hoping for fails to materialise. They do at least manage to take the Big Trench, an especially strong Austro-Hungarian position on the slopes of Mount Mrzli, but elsewhere their gains are minimal and paid for in oceans of blood.

image source (Mental Floss) (readers may notice that the map is of the First Battle of the Isonzo, but the failure of the first and second battles mean that it is also relevant to the third)

2 thoughts on “21/10/1915 Third Isonzo: no breakthrough for Italy

  1. I skipped ahead (via wikipedia) to see how many battles of the Isonzo there were. Many, as we will learn over the coming months. Genuinely very grim.


  2. It is one of the more no-fun fronts of the First World War. A particularly grim detail I want to work in at some point is that Italian prisoners had a higher mortality rate than frontline soldiers, because the Italian leadership felt that prisoners were traitors and blocked the despatch of food parcels.


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