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Fifth Battle of the Isonzo
Part of the Italian Front
(World War I)
Italian Front 1915-1917.jpg
Eleven Battles of the Isonzo
June 1915 — September 1917
Date March 9—March 15, 1916
Location Isonzo river, western Slovenia
Result Austro-Hungarian Victory
Belligerents
Italy Italy  Austria-Hungary
Commanders
Luigi Cadorna,
Emmanuel Philibert, Duke of Aosta
Conrad von Hötzendorf,
Svetozar Boroević, Archduke Eugen of Austria
Strength
286 battalions(plus 90 in reserve),
1,360 guns
100 battalions(plus 30 in reserve).
470 guns
Casualties and losses
1,882 killed, wounded and missing 1,985 killed and wounded

The Fifth Battle of the Isonzo was fought from March 9-15, 1916 between the armies of the Kingdom of Italy and those of Austria-Hungary. The Italians, under immense pressure from the French commanders, had decided to launch another offensive on the Isonzo River.

Contents

Background

After four attempts to cross the Isonzo river and invade Austro-Hungarian territory, Luigi Cadorna, the Italian commander-in-chief, organized a strong new offensive following the winter lull in fighting which had allowed the Italian High Command to regroup and organize 8 new divisions for the front.

However, it was an offensive launched not after detailed strategic planning, but rather as a distraction to shift the Central Powers away from the Eastern Front and from Verdun, where the greatest bloodshed of the war was occurring. The attack was a result of the allied Chantilly Conference of December 1915.

The Battle

The attacks ordered by Cadorna for the 2nd and 3rd Italian armies as "demonstrations" against the enemy, proved to be less bloody than those previously. The battles were fought on the Kars plateau, with the objective of taking Gorizia and the Tolmin bridgehead.

After a week of fighting that cost the lives of 4,000 men between both sides, the clashes ceased because of the terrible weather conditions that worsened the trench conditions and because of the Austro-Hungarian "punitive" offensive in the Trentino.

Along certain parts of the front, especially around Gorizia, skirmishes continued between enemy platoons until March 30 and beyond, in a protracted struggle that produced no clear victor.

Cadorna had called upon his Russian allies to keep the Austria-Hungarian units at bay on the Eastern front given Cadorna the chance to redeploy his forces at Trentino all the while abandoning the Fifth Battle of the Isonzo.

Aftermath

With the Fifth Battle of the Isonzo over the Italians now had to plan another assault. Cadorna put his sixth offensive on the drawing board after hearing promises of resupply from Italy's Allies.

See also

External links

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