10/7/1916 Italian mine war in the Dolomites

The Isonzo sector has been the main focus of Italian efforts against the Austro-Hungarians. However, they are also looking to advance in the Dolomites to the west, even though this mountainous region is even less suited to offensive operations than the Isonzo. Here the Italians hope to advance along the Travenanzes valley, but the way forward here is blocked by an Austro-Hungarian fortified position on a rocky outcropping. The Italians have dubbed this position the Castelletto, the little castle.

The Castelletto is impregnable to conventional assault but the Italians are trying something out of the ordinary. For months now they have been digging a 500 metre-long tunnel from their own positions to underneath the Austro-Hungarians. Once the tunnel is complete they will explode a huge mine, blasting the enemy off the mountain.

The Austro-Hungarians can hear the Italians’ tunnelling but are powerless to stop it. The defenders of the Castelletto can only await their doom.

And their doom will come soon. Today Italian artillery begins to blast the Castelletto with a renewed intensity. The Austro-Hungarians realise that their time is nearly up: the Italians are about to explode their mine.

image source

The Castelletto today (Climbing, Hiking, Mountaineering: SummitPost)

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