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by land and sea, and to wrest from her hereditary enemy those portions of unredeemed Italy which still remained in Austrian hands.
“These hopes have either been fulfilled or are in course of fulfillment. United Italy is unitedly in the war, and, except among a few political busybodies, who intrigue after the manner of their kind, there are not two opinions about the war. There are many cases of mothers compelling their sons to volunteer and other cases of fathers insisting upon being taken because their sons are at the front. The prefect of Friuli told me that nearly all the 24,000 men in his province who were absent abroad when the war broke out returned home to fight before they were recalled. The south and the island areas warm for war as the north, and the regiments of Naples and of Sicily have done very well indeed in the field. Some people think that Piedmont is not quite so enthusiastic as other parts of Italy, because she flags her streets rather less, but I do not think that there is any real difference of feeling. In all the capitals of the Allies the political climate has been a trifle unhealthy, and of Rome it has been said that the old families of the Blacks have not taken a leading part in the campaign. My inquiries make me doubt the accuracy of this statement, and I think on the whole it will be found that, despite the old and persistent divergence of opinion on certain topics, all ranks and all classes are heartily for the war, and that an enemy who counts on assistance from within Italy will be grievously disappointed.
"Italy is fortunate in having at her head, at this critical hour of her destinies, a king who is a soldier born and bred.
"It is a common saying here that the King of Italy is homesick when he is absent from the army, and it is certain that his majesty spends every hour that he can spare from state affairs with his troops. He wears on his breast the medal ribbon, only given to those who have been at the front for a year, and, though he deprecates any allusion to the fact, it is true that he is constantly in the firing line, has had many narrow escapes, and is personally known to the whole army, who love to see him in their midst.
"I have not found any officer of his army who has a better, a more intimate, or a more accurate knowledge of his troops than the king His attention to the wants of the army is absolutely untiring, and I fancy that his cool judgment and large experience must often be of great service to his ministers and his generals.
"I do not know whether the field headquarters of the King of Italy or of King Albert of Belgium is the most unpretentious, but certainly both monarchs live in circumstances of extreme simplicity. My recollection is that when I last had the honor of visiting King Albert's headquarters, the bell in what I must call the parlor did not ring, and the queen of the Belgians had to get up and fetch the tea herself.
“When I had the honor of being received by the King of Italy I found his majesty in a little villa which only held four people, and the king was working in a room of which the only furniture which I can recall consisted of a camp bed close to the ground and of exiguous breadth, a small table, and two chairs of uncompromising hardness. The only ornament in the room was the base of the last Austrian shell which had burst just above the king's head and has been mounted as a souvenir by the queen.
“When a prince of the House of Savoy lives in the traditions of his family, and shares all the hardships of his troops, it needs must that his people follow him. And so they do.
“The hardy Alpini from the frontiers, the stout soldiers of Piedmont, the well-to-do peasantry of Venetia, the Sardinians, who are ever to the front when there is fighting to be enjoyed, the Tuscans, Calabrians, and those Sicilians once so famous amongst the legionaries, are all here or at the depots training for war. Mobilization must have affected two and a half million Italians at least. There have been fairly heavy losses, and fighting of one kind or another is going on in every sector that I have visited, and every day, despite the great hardships of fighting on the Alpine frontier, the moral of the army remains good, the men are in splendid health, and Italy as a whole remains gay and confident, less affected on the whole by the war than any other member of the grand alliance.
“There are certainly more able-bodied men of military age out of uniform in Italy than there are in France, or than there are now with us. Except volunteers, no men under twenty are at the front. There are large reserves still available upon which to draw. The army has been more than doubled since the war began.
“The Italian regular officers, and the officers of reserve, are quite excellent. The spirit of good comradeship which prevails in the army is most admirable, and the corps of officers reminds me of a large family which is proverbially a happy one. Those foreign observers who have seen much of the Italian officers under fire tell me that they have always led their men with superb valor and determination, while, though Italy has not such a professional body of N. C. O.'s as Germany, I believe that most of these men are capable of leading when their officers fall.
"But there are not enough of good professional officers and N. C. O.'s to admit for the moment of a considerable further expansion of the army. Existing formations can be, and are being, well maintained, and this is what matters most for the moment.
“The peasant in certain parts of Italy rarely eats meat. In the army he gets 300 to 350 grams a day, according to the season, not to speak of a kilogram of good bread and plenty of vegetables, besides wine and tobacco. He is having the time of his life, and if, as cynics say, peace will break up many happy homes in England, peace in Italy will certainly make some peasants less joyful than before."
CONTINUATION OF THE ITALIAN
ETWEEN the Adige and the Brenta the retreating Austro
Hungarian forces had now reached strongly fortified and commanding positions which considerably increased their power of resistance. The Italians, however, continued, even if at reduced speed, to make progress. On June 27, 1916, they shelled Austrian positions on Monte Trappola and Monte Testo and took trenches near Malga Zugna. Between the Posina and the Astico they took Austrian positions on Monte Gamonda, north of Fusine, and Monte Caviojo. Cavalry detachments reached Pedescala (in the Astico Valley, about three miles north of Arsiero).
On the Asiago Plateau other Italian forces occupied the southern side of the Assa Valley and reached the slopes of Monte Rasta, Monte Interrotto and Monte Mosciagh, which were held strongly by the Austrian rear guards. Further north, after carrying Monte Colombara, Italian troops began to approach Calamara Valley.
On June 28, 1916, the Vallarsa Alpine troops stormed the fort of Mattassone, and detachments of infantry carried the ridge of Monte Trappola. On the Pasubio sector Italian troops took some trenches near Malga Comagnon. Along the Posina line their advance was delayed by the fire of heavy batteries from the Borcola.
In the Astico Valley they occupied Pedescala. On the Sette Comuni Plateau the Austrians strengthened the northern side of the Assa Valley Heights on the left bank of the Galmarara to the Agnella Pass. The Italians established themselves on the southern side of the Assa Valley and gained possession of trenches near Zebio and Zingarella.
The following day, June 29, 1916, the Italian line in the region between the Val Lagarina and the Val Sugana was pushed forward still further until it reached the main Austrian line of resistance. The Italians occupied the Valmorbia line, in the Vallarsa, the southern slopes of Monte Spil, and began an offensive to the northwest of Pasubio, in the Cosmagnon region.
Farther east on the line of the Posina Valley, the Italians took Monte Maggio, the town of Griso, northwest of Monte Maggio; positions in the Zara Valley and Monte Scatolari and Sogliblanchi. Monte Civaron and the Zellonkofel, in the Sugana Valley, fell into the hands of the Italians.
The Italians continued their advance along the Posina front on June 30, 1916, despite the violent fire of numerous AustroHungarian batteries dominating Borcola Pass, and also Monte Maggio and Monte Toraro. Italian infantry occupied Zarolli in the Vallarsa, north of Mattassone. On the left wing, overcoming stubborn resistance, Italian troops scaled the crest of Monte Cosmagnon, whose northerly ridges they shelled to drive out the enemy hidden among the rocks. On the Sette Comuni Plateau they kept in close contact with Austrian positions. ConAlicts in the densely wooded and rocky ground were carried on chiefly by hand grenades.
Between the Adige and the Brenta the Italians continued their offensive vigorously on July 1, 1916. In the Vallarsa infantry began an attack on the lines strongly held by the Austrians between Zugna Torta and Foppiano.
Italian artillery shelled Fort Pozzacchio. On Monte Pasubio the Austrians were offering stubborn resistance from their fortified positions between Monte Spil and Monte Cosmagnon.
Along the Posina-Astico line Italian forces completed the conquest of Monte Maggio and occupied the southern side of Monte Seluggio. On the Asiago Plateau there were skirmishes on the northern side of the Assa Valley.
On July 2, 1916, in the region of the Adige Valley, the Austrians directed a heavy bombardment against the Italian positions from Serravalle, north of Coni Zugna to Monte Pasubio. Some shells fell on Ala. Italian artillery replied effectively. The infantry fighting on the northern slopes of Pasubio was continued with great violence. In the Posina Valley Italian troops