What Was The Battle Of Caporetto?

The Battle of Caporetto, also known as the Twelfth Battle of the Isonzo, began in October 24, 1917, and lasted until November 19, 1917. Other names used to refer to this battle are the Battle of Kobarid and the Battle of Karfreit. The battle was part of the First World War and is considered one of the most important successes of the war. The battle took place in Kobarid, in Austria-Hungary, in present-day Slovenia. The battle of Caporetto was between Italy and a combination of Germany and Austria-Hungary.

Prelude to the Battle of Caporetto

From May 1915, eleven battles were fought along the Isonzo river and had exhausted both the Italian and Austro-Hungarian armies by September 1917. The wave of Italian attacks had exhausted the Austro-Hungarian resources until the collapse of the positions of the Austria around Gorizia. In August 1917, Paul von Hindenburg of the Austro-Hungarian side decided to get help from the Germans to defeat the Italian army. Three experts from the Imperial General Staff went to Isonzo in September 1917 in search of a place for a gas attack. When the Italian marshal Luigi Cadorna learned of the insertion of Germany and their movement, he decided to reject the planned attack and prepared to defend.

The battle of Caporetto

In October 24, 1917, the Italians were taken by surprise by the Austro-Hungarian and German forces due to the meteorological conditions in the region. At 0200, the poisonous gas was fired in the Italian trenches in the valley, killing the Italians of 600. The German and Austrian armies shot the Italians at 0641 with more cannons 2,200. The foot soldiers attacked and invaded the Italian barricades in the valley and violated the Italian Second Army. The Germans and the Austrian had managed to advance the 15.5 miles by the end of the day almost without opposition. Cardona ordered a withdrawal of the Italians on the opposite side of the Tagliamento river, but the forces of Austria-Hungary and Germany were right behind them. A German division was established at the bridge over the Tagliamento by November 2. The rapid advancement of the Austro-Hungarian and German troops began to fail because the supply lines were at full capacity and could not launch another attack. The Italians retreated further up to Monte Grappa where they defeated the Germans and the Hungarian Austrians in the first battle of Monte Grappa.

The outcome of the battle

The disaster that struck the Italian army forced the creation of a Supreme War Council to strengthen Allied military collaboration and to develop a collective strategy. Luigi Cardona resigned and the Italian propaganda offices were incorporated to provide social justice and land to the soldiers. Italy suffered considerable losses in the battle with 10,000 soldiers killed, 30,000 wounded and 265,000 as prisoners. The Austro-Hungarian and German forces suffered 70,000 losses from the Battle of Caporetto.

Legacy Caporetto

The Battle of Caporetto became the subject of books such as Caporetto by FJ Nordstedt. The term Caporetto is widespread throughout Italy. People use the word to represent a disastrous defeat. Nowadays, in Kobarid there is a museum dedicated to the battles that occurred in Isonzo, in particular the Battle of Caporetto.

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