4/11/1916 Isonzo: Cadorna’s nerve fails again

Italian troops continue to push forward on the Carso plateau. An Austro-Hungarian counter-attack failed to stop their advance. Now the Italians are pushing towards the enemy’s second line of defence and few on the Austro-Hungarian side think that this will stop them. Boroevic, the Austro-Hungarian commander, is running out of reserves to commit to the battle. He has just one battalion left, an ethnically mixed unit from the Banat region. He sends them forward to launch one last desperate counter-attack against the Italians.

The Banat soldiers are heavily outnumbered, yet somehow their attack achieves the impossible. The Italians are shaken, their onward march temporarily halted. In the lull, another infantry division arrives from Galicia to reinforce the Austro-Hungarians. They wait for the Italians to resume their advance, hoping that they might just now be able to contain it.

But the Italians do not renew their advance. Cadorna too is shaken by today’s counter-attack. He orders a halt to the offensive. He hopes to launch a new offensive before Christmas, weather permitting, once his artillery has had a chance to batter the enemy’s second line trenches. For now the Italian troops are to be stood down.

The Austro-Hungarians are astonished. They know how desperately stretched their lines are now, how close they are to breaking. As with the Eighth Battle, Cadorna appears to have thrown away a chance for victory.

The Ninth Battle has cost the Italians another 39,000 casualties, while the Austro-Hungarians have suffered something like 33,000.

image source:

Luigi Cadorna (Wikipedia)

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