1/11/1916 Round nine: another Italian attack on the Isonzo

The Eighth Battle is barely over, but now the Italians are attacking again on the Isonzo. Cadorna hopes that now at last the Austro-Hungarians will break in the face of the Italian onslaught. He is determined that there will be no backsliding on the part of his men. The local Italian commander has already had men summarily executed for mutiny. Now Cadorna goes one step further and orders that any unit that fails in its duty is to be decimated: one in ten men picked at random and shot. He also has military policemen with machine guns deployed behind the assault troops, ordered to fire on their own comrades if they move forward too slowly.

The Italians are attacking on the Carso plateau, scene of much of the Isonzo fighting. Italian artillery has done its job well this time, pulverising the Austro-Hungarian frontline positions. The Italians make astonishing gains, pushing three kilometres into the enemy positions along at five kilometre wide front. Now Cadorna pushes forward his reserves in the hope of exploiting these gains and achieving a general breakthrough. But the Austro-Hungarians too are sending forward their reserves, in a desperate attempt to prevent the collapse of their line.

image source:

Italian troops move forward (Wikipedia)

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