Italian Campaign (World War I)
Overview
 
The Italian campaign refers to a series of battles fought between the armies of Austria-Hungary
Austria-Hungary
Austria-Hungary , more formally known as the Kingdoms and Lands Represented in the Imperial Council and the Lands of the Holy Hungarian Crown of Saint Stephen, was a constitutional monarchic union between the crowns of the Austrian Empire and the Kingdom of Hungary in...

 and Italy, along with their allies, in northern Italy
Northern Italy
Northern Italy is a wide cultural, historical and geographical definition, without any administrative usage, used to indicate the northern part of the Italian state, also referred as Settentrione or Alta Italia...

 between 1915 and 1918. Italy hoped that by joining the countries of the Triple Entente
Triple Entente
The Triple Entente was the name given to the alliance among Britain, France and Russia after the signing of the Anglo-Russian Entente in 1907....

 against the Central Powers
Central Powers
The Central Powers were one of the two warring factions in World War I , composed of the German Empire, the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the Ottoman Empire, and the Kingdom of Bulgaria...

 it would gain
Italia irredenta
Italian irredentism was an Italian Irredentist movement that aimed at the unification of all ethnically Italian peoples....

 Cisalpine Tyrol
County of Tyrol
The County of Tyrol, Princely County from 1504, was a State of the Holy Roman Empire, from 1814 a province of the Austrian Empire and from 1867 a Cisleithanian crown land of Austria-Hungary...

 (today's provinces of Trentino and South Tyrol
South Tyrol
South Tyrol , also known by its Italian name Alto Adige, is an autonomous province in northern Italy. It is one of the two autonomous provinces that make up the autonomous region of Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol. The province has an area of and a total population of more than 500,000 inhabitants...

), the Austrian Littoral
Austrian Littoral
The Austrian Littoral was established as a crown land of the Austrian Empire in 1849. In 1861 it was divided into the three crown lands of the Imperial Free City of Trieste and its suburbs, the Margraviate of Istria, and the Princely County of Gorizia and Gradisca, which each had separate...

, and northern Dalmatia
Dalmatia
Dalmatia is a historical region on the eastern coast of the Adriatic Sea. It stretches from the island of Rab in the northwest to the Bay of Kotor in the southeast. The hinterland, the Dalmatian Zagora, ranges from fifty kilometers in width in the north to just a few kilometers in the south....

. Although Italy had hoped to begin the war with a surprise offensive intended to move quickly and capture several Austrian cities, the war soon bogged down into trench warfare
Trench warfare
Trench warfare is a form of occupied fighting lines, consisting largely of trenches, in which troops are largely immune to the enemy's small arms fire and are substantially sheltered from artillery...

 similar to the Western Front
Western Front (World War I)
Following the outbreak of World War I in 1914, the German Army opened the Western Front by first invading Luxembourg and Belgium, then gaining military control of important industrial regions in France. The tide of the advance was dramatically turned with the Battle of the Marne...

 fought in France.
Although a member of the Triple Alliance
Triple Alliance (1882)
The Triple Alliance was the military alliance between Germany, Austria–Hungary, and Italy, , that lasted from 1882 until the start of World War I in 1914...

 with Austria-Hungary and Germany
German Empire
The German Empire refers to Germany during the "Second Reich" period from the unification of Germany and proclamation of Wilhelm I as German Emperor on 18 January 1871, to 1918, when it became a federal republic after defeat in World War I and the abdication of the Emperor, Wilhelm II.The German...

, Italy did not declare war in August 1914, arguing that the Alliance was defensive in nature and therefore that Austria-Hungary's aggression did not obligate Italy to take part.
Encyclopedia
The Italian campaign refers to a series of battles fought between the armies of Austria-Hungary
Austria-Hungary
Austria-Hungary , more formally known as the Kingdoms and Lands Represented in the Imperial Council and the Lands of the Holy Hungarian Crown of Saint Stephen, was a constitutional monarchic union between the crowns of the Austrian Empire and the Kingdom of Hungary in...

 and Italy, along with their allies, in northern Italy
Northern Italy
Northern Italy is a wide cultural, historical and geographical definition, without any administrative usage, used to indicate the northern part of the Italian state, also referred as Settentrione or Alta Italia...

 between 1915 and 1918. Italy hoped that by joining the countries of the Triple Entente
Triple Entente
The Triple Entente was the name given to the alliance among Britain, France and Russia after the signing of the Anglo-Russian Entente in 1907....

 against the Central Powers
Central Powers
The Central Powers were one of the two warring factions in World War I , composed of the German Empire, the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the Ottoman Empire, and the Kingdom of Bulgaria...

 it would gain
Italia irredenta
Italian irredentism was an Italian Irredentist movement that aimed at the unification of all ethnically Italian peoples....

 Cisalpine Tyrol
County of Tyrol
The County of Tyrol, Princely County from 1504, was a State of the Holy Roman Empire, from 1814 a province of the Austrian Empire and from 1867 a Cisleithanian crown land of Austria-Hungary...

 (today's provinces of Trentino and South Tyrol
South Tyrol
South Tyrol , also known by its Italian name Alto Adige, is an autonomous province in northern Italy. It is one of the two autonomous provinces that make up the autonomous region of Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol. The province has an area of and a total population of more than 500,000 inhabitants...

), the Austrian Littoral
Austrian Littoral
The Austrian Littoral was established as a crown land of the Austrian Empire in 1849. In 1861 it was divided into the three crown lands of the Imperial Free City of Trieste and its suburbs, the Margraviate of Istria, and the Princely County of Gorizia and Gradisca, which each had separate...

, and northern Dalmatia
Dalmatia
Dalmatia is a historical region on the eastern coast of the Adriatic Sea. It stretches from the island of Rab in the northwest to the Bay of Kotor in the southeast. The hinterland, the Dalmatian Zagora, ranges from fifty kilometers in width in the north to just a few kilometers in the south....

. Although Italy had hoped to begin the war with a surprise offensive intended to move quickly and capture several Austrian cities, the war soon bogged down into trench warfare
Trench warfare
Trench warfare is a form of occupied fighting lines, consisting largely of trenches, in which troops are largely immune to the enemy's small arms fire and are substantially sheltered from artillery...

 similar to the Western Front
Western Front (World War I)
Following the outbreak of World War I in 1914, the German Army opened the Western Front by first invading Luxembourg and Belgium, then gaining military control of important industrial regions in France. The tide of the advance was dramatically turned with the Battle of the Marne...

 fought in France.

Causes for the campaign

Although a member of the Triple Alliance
Triple Alliance (1882)
The Triple Alliance was the military alliance between Germany, Austria–Hungary, and Italy, , that lasted from 1882 until the start of World War I in 1914...

 with Austria-Hungary and Germany
German Empire
The German Empire refers to Germany during the "Second Reich" period from the unification of Germany and proclamation of Wilhelm I as German Emperor on 18 January 1871, to 1918, when it became a federal republic after defeat in World War I and the abdication of the Emperor, Wilhelm II.The German...

, Italy did not declare war in August 1914, arguing that the Alliance was defensive in nature and therefore that Austria-Hungary's aggression did not obligate Italy to take part. Italy had a longstanding rivalry with Austria-Hungary, dating back to the Congress of Vienna
Congress of Vienna
The Congress of Vienna was a conference of ambassadors of European states chaired by Klemens Wenzel von Metternich, and held in Vienna from September, 1814 to June, 1815. The objective of the Congress was to settle the many issues arising from the French Revolutionary Wars, the Napoleonic Wars,...

 in 1815 after the Napoleonic Wars
Napoleonic Wars
The Napoleonic Wars were a series of wars declared against Napoleon's French Empire by opposing coalitions that ran from 1803 to 1815. As a continuation of the wars sparked by the French Revolution of 1789, they revolutionised European armies and played out on an unprecedented scale, mainly due to...

, which granted several regions on the Italian peninsula to the Austrian Empire
Austrian Empire
The Austrian Empire was a modern era successor empire, which was centered on what is today's Austria and which officially lasted from 1804 to 1867. It was followed by the Empire of Austria-Hungary, whose proclamation was a diplomatic move that elevated Hungary's status within the Austrian Empire...

. More importantly, a radical nationalist political movement, called Unredeemed Italy
Italia irredenta
Italian irredentism was an Italian Irredentist movement that aimed at the unification of all ethnically Italian peoples....

 (Italia irredenta), founded in the 1880s, started claiming the Italian-inhabited territories of Austria Hungary, especially in the Austrian Littoral
Austrian Littoral
The Austrian Littoral was established as a crown land of the Austrian Empire in 1849. In 1861 it was divided into the three crown lands of the Imperial Free City of Trieste and its suburbs, the Margraviate of Istria, and the Princely County of Gorizia and Gradisca, which each had separate...

 and in the County of Tyrol
County of Tyrol
The County of Tyrol, Princely County from 1504, was a State of the Holy Roman Empire, from 1814 a province of the Austrian Empire and from 1867 a Cisleithanian crown land of Austria-Hungary...

. By the 1910s, the expansionist ideas of this movement were taken up by a significant part of the Italian political elite. The liberation and annexation of those Austrian territories (inhabited not only by Italians, but also by ethnic Germans, South Slavs
South Slavs
The South Slavs are the southern branch of the Slavic peoples and speak South Slavic languages. Geographically, the South Slavs are native to the Balkan peninsula, the southern Pannonian Plain and the eastern Alps...

 and Friulians
Friulians
Friulians or Furlans are a linguistic minority living in Italy and elsewhere. About 530,000 of them live in the provinces of Udine and Pordenone and in parts of Gorizia and Venice. Their language, the Friulian language, is the second largest minority language in Italy. About 170,000 Friulians live...

) became the main Italian war goal, assuming a similar function as the issue of Alsace-Lorraine
Alsace-Lorraine
The Imperial Territory of Alsace-Lorraine was a territory created by the German Empire in 1871 after it annexed most of Alsace and the Moselle region of Lorraine following its victory in the Franco-Prussian War. The Alsatian part lay in the Rhine Valley on the west bank of the Rhine River and east...

 had for the French.

In the early stages of the war, Allied
Allies of World War I
The Entente Powers were the countries at war with the Central Powers during World War I. The members of the Triple Entente were the United Kingdom, France, and the Russian Empire; Italy entered the war on their side in 1915...

 diplomats courted Italy, attempting to secure Italian participation on the Allied side, culminating in the Treaty of London of April 26, 1915 in which Italy renounced her obligations to the Triple Alliance. On May 23, Italy declared war on Austria-Hungary.

Campaigns of 1915-1916

First battles of Isonzo river

Italy opened the war with an offensive aimed at capturing the town of Gorizia
Gorizia
Gorizia is a town and comune in northeastern Italy, in the autonomous region of Friuli Venezia Giulia. It is located at the foot of the Julian Alps, bordering Slovenia. It is the capital of the Province of Gorizia, and it is a local center of tourism, industry, and commerce. Since 1947, a twin...

 (Gorica) on the Soča
Soca
The Soča or Isonzo is a 140 km long river that flows through western Slovenia and northeastern Italy. An Alpine river in character, its source lies in the Trenta Valley in the Julian Alps in Slovenia, at an elevation of around 1,100 metres...

 (Isonzo) river, and capturing the highlands on the Kras
Kras
Karst ; also known as the Karst Plateau, is a limestone borderline plateau region extending in southwestern Slovenia and northeastern Italy. It lies between the Vipava Valley, the low hills surrounding the valley, the westernmost part of the Brkini Hills, northern Istria, and the Gulf of Trieste...

 plateau and in the western Julian March
Julian March
The Julian March is a former political region of southeastern Europe on what are now the borders between Croatia, Slovenia, and Italy...

, which would enable them to secure a further advance towards Trieste
Trieste
Trieste is a city and seaport in northeastern Italy. It is situated towards the end of a narrow strip of land lying between the Adriatic Sea and Italy's border with Slovenia, which lies almost immediately south and east of the city...

 (Trst), Rijeka
Rijeka
Rijeka is the principal seaport and the third largest city in Croatia . It is located on Kvarner Bay, an inlet of the Adriatic Sea and has a population of 128,735 inhabitants...

 (Fiume), Kranj
Kranj
' is the third largest municipality and fourth largest city in Slovenia, with a population of 54,500 . It is located approximately 20 km north-west of Ljubljana...

 (Krainburg) and Ljubljana
Ljubljana
Ljubljana is the capital of Slovenia and its largest city. It is the centre of the City Municipality of Ljubljana. It is located in the centre of the country in the Ljubljana Basin, and is a mid-sized city of some 270,000 inhabitants...

 (Laibach). However, the Italian Army
Italian Army
The Italian Army is the ground defence force of the Italian Armed Forces. It is all-volunteer force of active-duty personnel, numbering 108,355 in 2010. Its best-known combat vehicles are the Dardo infantry fighting vehicle, the Centauro tank destroyer and the Ariete tank, and among its aircraft...

 was poorly equipped in artillery
Artillery
Originally applied to any group of infantry primarily armed with projectile weapons, artillery has over time become limited in meaning to refer only to those engines of war that operate by projection of munitions far beyond the range of effect of personal weapons...

, vehicles, and ammunition. At the beginning of the war, Italy had just 600 vehicles to move troops.
As with most contemporary militaries, the Italian army primarily used horses for transport, and these failed to move supplies fast enough in the tough terrain of the Alps
Alps
The Alps is one of the great mountain range systems of Europe, stretching from Austria and Slovenia in the east through Italy, Switzerland, Liechtenstein and Germany to France in the west....

. Also, the newly appointed Italian commander, Luigi Cadorna
Luigi Cadorna
Luigi Cadorna GCB was an ItalianField Marshal, most famous for being thechief of staff of the Italian army during the first part of World War I.-Biography:...

, had no combat experience and was highly unpopular amongst his men.

At the beginning of the offensive, Italian forces outnumbered the Austrians 3 to 1, but failed to penetrate their strong defensive lines along the Julian Alps
Julian Alps
The Julian Alps are a mountain range of the Southern Limestone Alps that stretches from northeastern Italy to Slovenia, where they rise to 2,864 m at Mount Triglav. They are named after Julius Caesar, who founded the municipium of Cividale del Friuli at the foot of the mountains...

 and the northwestern highlands of the Goriška
Goriška
Goriška is a traditional region in western Slovenia on the border with Italy. The name means "the Gorizia region" because it is named after Gorizia, Italy. It is part of the wider traditional region of the Slovenian Littoral . Its principal urban center is Nova Gorica...

 region. This was mostly due to the Austrian forces being based on higher ground, and so Italian offensives had to be conducted climbing. Despite a professional officer corp, Italian units were severely undertrained and deficient in morale. Moreover, equipment and munition shortages suffered during the Turkish War in Libya (1911-1912) slowed progress and frustrated all hopes for a "Napoleonic style" breakout. Two weeks later, the Italians attempted another frontal assault with more artillery but were beaten back again. Another attack was mounted from October 18 to November 4 with 1,200 heavy guns, which again resulted in no gain.

The Asiago offensive

Following Italy's disastrous offensives, the Austrians began planning a counteroffensive (Strafexpedition
Battle of Asiago
The Battle of Asiago ' or the Trentino Offensive , nicknamed Strafexpedition by the Austrians, was a counteroffensive launched by the Austro-Hungarians on the Italian Front on 15 May 1916, during World War I...

) in Trentino and directed over the plateau of Altopiano di Asiago
Asiago
Asiago is the name of both a minor township and the surrounding plateau region in the Province of Vicenza in the Veneto region of Northeastern Italy...

, with the aim to break through to the Po River
Po River
The Po |Ligurian]]: Bodincus or Bodencus) is a river that flows either or – considering the length of the Maira, a right bank tributary – eastward across northern Italy, from a spring seeping from a stony hillside at Pian del Re, a flat place at the head of the Val Po under the northwest face...

 plain and thus cutting off the II., III., and IV. Italian Armies in the North East of the country. The offensive began on March 11, 1916 with 15 divisions breaking the Italian lines. Though warned of an impending offensive, the local Italian commander had chosen to conduct local offensives instead of preparing a defense. The unprepared Italian positions collapsed and Italy only staved off defeat by quickly transferring reinforcements from other fronts.

Later battles for the Isonzo

Later in 1916, four more battles along the Isonzo river erupted. The Sixth Battle of the Isonzo
Sixth Battle of the Isonzo
The Sixth Battle of the Isonzo also known as the Battle of Gorizia was the most successful Italian offensive along the Soča River during World War I.- Background :...

, launched by the Italians in August, resulted in a success greater than the previous attacks largely because the Austrians had depleted their lines for the Brusilov Offensive
Brusilov Offensive
The Brusilov Offensive , also known as the June Advance, was the Russian Empire's greatest feat of arms during World War I, and among the most lethal battles in world history. Prof. Graydon A. Tunstall of the University of South Florida called the Brusilov Offensive of 1916 the worst crisis of...

. The offensive gained nothing of strategic value but did take Gorizia
Gorizia
Gorizia is a town and comune in northeastern Italy, in the autonomous region of Friuli Venezia Giulia. It is located at the foot of the Julian Alps, bordering Slovenia. It is the capital of the Province of Gorizia, and it is a local center of tourism, industry, and commerce. Since 1947, a twin...

, which boosted Italian spirits. The Seventh, Eighth, and Ninth battles of the Isonzo (September 14-November 4) managed to accomplish little except to wear down the already exhausted armies of both nations.

The frequency of offensives for which the Italian soldiers partook between May 1915 and August 1917, one every three months, was higher than demanded by the armies on the Western Front. Italian discipline was also harsher, with punishments for infractions of duty of a severity not known in the German, French, and British armies.

Shellfire in the rocky terrain caused 70% more casualties per rounds expended than on the soft ground in Belgium and France. By the autumn of 1917 the Italian army had suffered most of the deaths it was to incur during the war, yet the end of the war seemed to still be an eternity away. This was not the same line of thought for the Austrians. On August 25, the Emperor Charles wrote to the Kaiser the following: "The experience we have acquired in the eleventh battle has led me to believe that we should fare far worse in the twelfth. My commanders and brave troops have decided that such an unfortunate situation might be anticipated by an offensive. We have not the necessary means as regards troops."

On 13 December 1916, known as 'White Friday', 10,000 soldiers were killed by avalanches in the Dolomites.

1917: Germany arrives

Following the minuscule gains of the Tenth Battle of the Isonzo
Tenth Battle of the Isonzo
The Tenth Battle of the Isonzo was an Italian offensive against Austria-Hungary in the course of World War I.-Background:With nine largely unsuccessful Isonzo battles conducted within an eighteen month period to date, Italian Chief of Staff Luigi Cadorna - responsible for launching all nine -...

, the Italians directed a two-pronged attack against the Austrian lines north and east of Gorizia. The Austrians easily checked the advance east, but Italian forces under Luigi Capello
Luigi Capello
Luigi Capello was an Italian army officer.He took part to the Italo-Turkish War , where he distinguished himself. During World War I he was the commander of several Army Corps, then, since June 1917, of the II Army, and led the Italian troops that captured Gorizia and the Bainsizza Plateau...

 managed to break the Austrian lines and capture the Banjšice
Banjšice
Banjšice is a settlement in western Slovenia in the municipality of Nova Gorica. It has a population of 264. It is located on the high Banjšice Plateau, overlooking the Soča Valley...

 (Bainsizza) Plateau. Characteristic of nearly every other theater of the war, the Italians found themselves on the verge of victory but could not secure it because their supply lines could not keep up with the front-line troops and they were forced to withdraw.

The Austrians received desperately needed reinforcements after the Eleventh Battle of the Isonzo
Eleventh Battle of the Isonzo
The Eleventh Battle of the Isonzo was a World War I battle fought by the Italian and Austro-Hungarian Armies on the Italian Front between August 18 and September 12, 1917.- Background :...

 from German Army
German Army
The German Army is the land component of the armed forces of the Federal Republic of Germany. Following the disbanding of the Wehrmacht after World War II, it was re-established in 1955 as the Bundesheer, part of the newly formed West German Bundeswehr along with the Navy and the Air Force...

 soldiers rushed in after the Russian
Russian Empire
The Russian Empire was a state that existed from 1721 until the Russian Revolution of 1917. It was the successor to the Tsardom of Russia and the predecessor of the Soviet Union...

 offensive ordered by Kerensky
Alexander Kerensky
Alexander Fyodorovich Kerensky was a major political leader before and during the Russian Revolutions of 1917.Kerensky served as the second Prime Minister of the Russian Provisional Government until Vladimir Lenin was elected by the All-Russian Congress of Soviets following the October Revolution...

 (Kerensky Offensive
Kerensky Offensive
The Kerensky Offensive was the last Russian offensive in World War I. It took place in July 1917.- Background :...

) of July 1917 failed. The Germans introduced infiltration tactics (Hutier tactics) to the Austrian front and helped work on a new offensive. Meanwhile, mutinies and plummeting morale crippled the Italian Army from within. The soldiers lived in poor conditions and engaged in attack after attack that often yielded minimal or no military gain. On October 24, 1917 the Austrians and Germans launched the Battle of Caporetto
Battle of Caporetto
The Battle of Caporetto , took place from 24 October to 19 November 1917, near the town of Kobarid , on the Austro-Italian front of World War I...

 (Italian name for Kobarid
Kobarid
Kobarid is a town and a municipality in the upper Soča valley, western Slovenia, near the Italian border.Kobarid is known for the famous Battle of Caporetto, where the Italian retreat was documented by Ernest Hemingway in his novel A Farewell to Arms. The battle is well documented in the museum in...

) with a huge artillery barrage followed by infantry using Hutier
Oskar von Hutier
Oskar von Hutier was one of Imperial Germany's most successful and innovative generals of World War I.-Biography:Hutier was born in Erfurt, in the Prussian Province of Saxony...

 tactics, bypassing enemy strong points and attacking on the Italian rear. At the end of the first day, the Italians had retreated 12 miles to the Tagliamento River
Tagliamento River
The Tagliamento is a braided river in north-east Italy, flowing from the Alps to the Adriatic Sea at a point between Trieste and Venice. The source is in the Mauria Pass, on the border between the regions of Veneto and Friuli-Venezia Giulia. In the upper section, it flows through the historic...

.

Battle of the Piave

Advancing deep and fast, the Austrians overran their supply lines, which forced them to stop and regroup. The Italians, pushed back to defensive lines near Venice
Venice
Venice is a city in northern Italy which is renowned for the beauty of its setting, its architecture and its artworks. It is the capital of the Veneto region...

 on the Piave River
Piave River
Piave is a river in north Italy. It begins in the Alps and flows southeast for into the Adriatic Sea near the city of Venice....

, had suffered 600,000 casualties to this point in the war. Because of these losses, the Italian Government called to arms the so-called 99 Boys (Ragazzi del '99), that is, all males who were 18 years old. In November 1917, British
British Empire
The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom. It originated with the overseas colonies and trading posts established by England in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. At its height, it was the...

, French and US forces started to bolster the front line, though not in decisive numbers; the Italians were able to contain the Austrian offensive largely by themselves. Far more decisive than Allied help in troops, indeed, was Franco-British (and US) help provided in those strategic materials (coal, steel, etc.) Italy always lacked sorely. In the spring of 1918, Germany pulled out its troops for use in its upcoming Spring Offensive
Spring Offensive
The 1918 Spring Offensive or Kaiserschlacht , also known as the Ludendorff Offensive, was a series of German attacks along the Western Front during World War I, beginning on 21 March 1918, which marked the deepest advances by either side since 1914...

. The Austrians now began debating how to finish the war in Italy. The Austro-Hungarian generals disagreed on how to administer the final offensive. Archduke Joseph August of Austria
Archduke Joseph August of Austria
Archduke Joseph August Viktor Klemens Maria of Austria, Prince of Hungary and Bohemia was for a short period head of state of Hungary, a member of the House of Habsburg-Lorraine and the eldest son of Archduke Joseph Karl of Austria and his wife Princess Clotilde of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha...

 decided for a two-pronged offensive, where it would prove impossible for the two forces to communicate in the mountains.

The Battle of the Piave River
Battle of the Piave River
The Battle of the Piave River , known in Italy as Battaglia del Solstizio , Battaglia di Mezzo Giugno , or Seconda Battaglia del Piave , was a decisive victory for the Italian Army during World War...

 began with a diversionary attack near the Tonale Pass
Tonale Pass
Tonale Pass is a high mountain pass in northern Italy across the Rhaetian Alps, between Lombardy and Trentino.It connects Valcamonica and Val di Sole...

 named Lawine, which the Italians easily repulsed after two days of fight. Austrian deserters betrayed the objectives of the upcoming offensive, which allowed the Italians to move two armies directly in the path of the Austrian prongs. The other prong, led by general Svetozar Boroević von Bojna
Svetozar Boroevic
Svetozar Boroević von Bojna was an Austro-Hungarian field marshal who was described as one of the finest defensive strategists of the First World War....

 initially experienced success until aircraft bombed their supply lines and Italian reinforcements arrived.

The decisive Battle of Vittorio Veneto

To the disappointment of Italy's allies, no counter-offensive followed the Battle of Piave. The Italian Army had suffered huge losses in the battle, and considered an offensive dangerous. General Armando Diaz
Armando Diaz
Armando Diaz, 1st Duca della Vittoria was an Italian general and a Marshal of Italy.Born in Naples, Diaz began his military career as a student at the Military Academy of Turin, where he became an artillery officer. He was a colonel commanding the 93rd infantry during the Italo-Turkish War, and...

 waited for more reinforcements to arrive from the Western Front. By October 1918, Italy finally had enough soldiers to mount an offensive. The attack targeted Vittorio Veneto
Vittorio Veneto
Vittorio Veneto is a city and comune situated in the Province of Treviso, in the region of Veneto, Italy, in the northeast of the Italian peninsula, between the Piave and the Livenza rivers.-Geography:...

, across the Piave. Though Austrian soldiers fought fiercely, the superior numbers of the Italians overwhelmed them. The Italians broke through a gap near Sacile
Sacile
Sacile is a town and comune in the province of Pordenone, in the Friuli-Venezia Giulia region of north-east Italy. It is known as the "Garden of the Serenissima" after the many palaces that were constructed along the river Livenza for the nobility of the Most Serene Republic of...

 and poured in reinforcements that crushed the Austrian defensive line. On the 3rd of November; 300,000 Austrian soldiers surrendered.
The Battle of Vittorio Veneto
Battle of Vittorio Veneto
The Battle of Vittorio Veneto was fought between 24 October and 3 November 1918, near Vittorio Veneto, during the Italian Campaign of World War I...

 heralded the dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian Army
Austro-Hungarian Army
The Austro-Hungarian Army was the ground force of the Austro-Hungarian Dual Monarchy from 1867 to 1918. It was composed of three parts: the joint army , the Austrian Landwehr , and the Hungarian Honvédség .In the wake of fighting between the...

 as an effective fighting force, and also triggered the disintegration of Austria-Hungary. During the last week of October, declarations made in Budapest, Prague, and Zagreb proclaimed the independence of their respective parts of the old empire. On October 29 the imperial authorities asked Italy for an armistice, but the Italians continued to advance, reaching Trento, Udine, and Trieste. On November 3, Austria-Hungary sent a flag of truce
White flag
White flags have had different meanings throughout history and depending on the locale.-Flag of temporary truce in order to parley :...

 to the Italian Commander to ask again for an Armistice and terms of peace. The terms were arranged by telegraph with the Allied Authorities in Paris, communicated to the Austrian Commander, and were accepted. The Armistice with Austria
Armistice with Austria
The Armistice of villa Giusti ended warfare between Italy and Austria-Hungary on the Italian Front during World War I. The armistice was signed on November 3, 1918 in the Villa Giusti and was to take effect 24 hours later.-Background:...

 was signed in the Villa Giusti, near Padua, on November 3, and took effect on November 4, at three o'clock in the afternoon. Austria and Hungary signed separate armistices following the overthrow of the Habsburg Monarchy
Habsburg Monarchy
The Habsburg Monarchy covered the territories ruled by the junior Austrian branch of the House of Habsburg , and then by the successor House of Habsburg-Lorraine , between 1526 and 1867/1918. The Imperial capital was Vienna, except from 1583 to 1611, when it was moved to Prague...

 and the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

See also

  • Austria–Hungary
  • Bollettino della Vittoria
    Bollettino della Vittoria
    The Bollettino della Vittoria is the final address to the Army and the Nation issued by the Chief of Staff, General Armando Diaz, at the conclusion of the Battle of Vittorio Veneto ending World War I in Italy.- Italian :...

  • History of Austria
    History of Austria
    The history of Austria covers the history of the current country of Austria and predecessor states, from the Iron Age, through to a sovereign state, annexation by the German Third Reich, partition after the Second World War and later developments until the present day...

  • History of Hungary
    History of Hungary
    Hungary is a country in central Europe. Its history under this name dates to the early Middle Ages, when the Pannonian Basin was colonized by the Magyars, a semi-nomadic people from what is now central-northern Russia...

  • History of South Tyrol
    History of South Tyrol
    The modern-day South Tyrol, an autonomous Italian province created in 1948, was originally part of the Austro-Hungarian County of Tyrol until 1918 . Its area was annexed by Italy following the defeat of the Central Powers in World War I...

  • Italy in World War I
    Italy in World War I
    This article is about Italian military operations in World War I.Italy, though nominally allied with Germany and Austria-Hungary, refused to join them when the war started. Instead Italy entered the war on the Allied side in May 1915....


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