16/8/1916 Italy claims victory as the Sixth Battle of the Isonzo draws to a close

The Sixth Battle of the Isonzo started well for the Italians. The Austro-Hungarians had weakened their lines by sending men off to face the Russian offensive in Galicia. Thanks also to better than usual preparations, the Italians had been able to overrun the enemy’s frontline positions and finally capture the city of Gorizia.

Their success came as something of a surprise to the Italians, who had expected only modest gains. Cadorna rushed men forward in an attempt to exploit the Austro-Hungarian discomfiture, but then progress began to slow. The Austro-Hungarians were reinforced and retreated to prepared positions. Fighting began to assume the character of previous Isonzo battles, with the Italians throwing their lives away in futile assaults on strongly defended enemy positions.

Now Cadorna halts the Italian attacks. Casualties in this battle have been heavy for both sides, with the Austro-Hungarians suffering some 50,000 casualties and the Italians around twice as many. For all the disparity in blood-letting, the Italians still hail the battle as a victory, thanks to the capture of Gorizia.

Given the pummelling the Austro-Hungarians are taking in Galicia, perhaps one more Italian offensive will be all that is needed to knock them out of the war. Cadorna orders preparations to begin for the seventh battle.

image sources:

Map (Storia e Memoria di Bologna)

Italian troops occupying Gorizia (Corriere della Sera)

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