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for the Italians, since they cannot be replaced during the war."
In spite of the fact that on May 30, 1916, the Austrians had forced their way across the Posina torrent between Posina and Arsiero and succeeded in partly enveloping the latter, a force which attempted to take Sant' Ubaldo, immediately southeast of Arsiero, on May 31, 1916, was driven back by the Italians beyond the Posina, thus relieving the strongest pressure on the town. A little further west another Austrian force attacked the Italian positions on Monte Spin, southeast of Posina. The Italian lines held on the mountain slopes and the Austrian advance here was checked. West of Posina an Austrian assault on Monte Forni Alti was repulsed. On the Sette Comuni Plateau, where the Austrians were advancing against Asiago, they began operations against the Italian positions on Monte Cengio and Campo Niulo.
On June 1, 1916, however, the Austro-Hungarians in the Arsiero region captured Monte Barro and gained a firm footing on the south bank of the Posina torrent. Repeated night attacks along the Posina front against the northern slopes of Monte Forni Alti and in the direction of Quaro, southwest of Argiero, were repulsed.
All day long an intense uninterrupted bombardment by Austrian batteries of all calbers was maintained against the Italian lines in the Col di Xomo-Rochette sector (southwest of Posina).
On the left wing the Austrians, leaving massed heavy forces between Posina and Fusine (in the Posina Valley, east of Posina), made numerous efforts to advance toward Monte Spin.
On the right wing strong Austro-Hungarian columns in the afternoon launched a violent attack against Segheschiri. These were completely repulsed after a fierce engagement.
In the uplands of the Sette Comuni there was an intense and obstinate struggle along the positions south of the Assa Valley as far as Asiago. Italian troops holding the Monte Cengio Plateau determinedly withstood powerful infantry attacks sup ported by a most violent bombardment.
On the front parallel with the Asiago-Guglio-Valle road near Campo Mullo the Italians gained ground by a violent counteroffensive in spite of the strong Austrian resistance.
Intense artillery and infantry fighting along the Trentino front continued unabated on June 2, 1916, and according to the official Italian statement the Austrian offensive in some places was checked. The Austrian infantry on Zugna Torta was scattered by the fierce Italian infantry fire.
Around Asiero and on the Asiago Plateau in Italy, the Italians repulsed Austrian infantry. The Belmonte position northeast of Monte Cengio, where the struggle was fiercest and which was repeatedly taken and lost, was finally definitely occupied by the Italians.
Several Italian towns, including Vicenza and Verona, were attacked by Austrian aeroplanes, while Italian air squadrons in a raid on objects of military importance in the lower Astico Valley, dropped 100 bombs on various enemy camps and munition depots.
The next day, June 3, 1916, the Austrian attack once more found fresh impetus. In spite of desperate Italian resistance on the ridge south of the Posina Valley and before Monte Cengio, on the Asiago front, south of Monte Cengio, considerable ground was won and the town of Cesuna was captured. Italian counterattacks were repulsed.
During this one day 5,600 prisoners, including seventy-eight officers, were taken and three cannon, cleven machine guns and 126 horses were captured.
In the region west of the Astico Valley fighting activity was generally less pronounced on June 4, 1916, than it had been during the preceding days. South of Posina Austrian troops took a strong point of support and repulsed several Italian counterattacks.
East of the Astico Valley, Austrian groups situated on the heights east of Arsiero stormed Monte Panoccio (east of Monte Barco) and thereby gained command of the Canaglio Valley.
Considerable fighting occurred on June 5, 1916, without, however, resulting in any important changes. Austro-Hungarian attacks, preceded by intensive artillery fire, were launched all along the Trentino front, but were met everywhere with determined Italian resistance. Italian aeroplanes attacked the railway stations of San Bona di Piava, Livenca and Lati Sana, while Austrian airmen bombed the stations of Verona, Ala and Vi
Since June 1, 1916, 9,700 Italians, including 184 officers, had been captured, as well as thirteen machine guns and five cannons.
On June 6, 1916, activities were restricted to artillery duels, although the Austrians southwest of Asiago continued the attack near Cesuna and captured Monte del Busiballo, southwest of Cesuna.
More and more it became evident now that the force of the Austrian offensive had been spent. The pressure on the Italian center in the Trentino front gradually diminished as a result of the determined Italian resistance, which had made impossible an equal progress of the Austrian wings. Possibly, too, the great Russian offensive on the southeastern front made itself felt even now. At any rate, there was a decided slowing down of infantry attacks. At one point, however, on the Sette Comuni Plateau, the battle raged along the whole front. On the evening of June 6, 1916, after an intense artillery preparation, the Austro-Hungarians made repeated attacks against Italian positions south and southwest of Asiago. The action, raging fiercely throughout the night of June 6-7, ended in the morning of June 7th with the defeat of the Austrian columns. During the afternoon the Austrians renewed their violent efforts against the center and right wing of the Italian positions. Preceded by the usual intense bombardment, dense infantry masses repeatedly launched assaults against positions south of Asiago, east of the Campo Mulo Valley, but were always repulsed with heavy losses.
Concerning the Austro-Hungarian troops who had carried this offensive into Italy, the special correspondent of the London "Times” says:
"Trench warfare, for the time being, has been abandoned here. Trench lines no longer count.
“Great troop masses are maneuvering in the open, through the valleys and gorges, swarming over the summits of these mountains. The Austrians dare advance only as far as the long arm of their guns will reach, and are bending all their energy to bring up these guns. It is a gigantic task, and the skill of the enemy commander in holding together and coordinating his attacks, now that his troops have entered these defiles, must be acknowledged.
"It is sledge-hammer tactics, so dear to the Prussians, that the Austrian commanders have adopted, and from the general aspect of their plans, it would appear that these were prepared and matured in Berlin rather than in Vienna.
"How long can it last? How long before the Austrian effort will have spent itself ?” are the questions that are being asked here as the second week of this great battle is drawing to a close. For, unlike Verdun, it is not a fortress that is being assaulted, but a great drive, carried on by siege methods. Not converging on a single center, but radiating, like sticks of a fan, from a central base.
"So much has been written regarding the exhaustion of the resources of the Dual Monarchy, not only of materials, but of men. In how far is this true?
“To deal first with the question of ordnance. The Austrians, it is estimated by competent experts, have well over 2,000 pieces of artillery in action along this battle line. These include a great number of heavy-caliber guns. Naval guns, with an extreme length of range, are being used with great skill throughout the engagement. Kept in reserve, and silent, though posted close up to the firing line, they have had a disconcerting effect, in that their fire has reached far behind the Italian lines at intervals between the attacks, firing shots at random which did little actual damage, but gave the impression of continued advance. With the front of this battle line extending now to a length of twentytwo miles, the artillery of the enemy works out at nearly 100 pieces to the mile, or one gun every twenty yards.
“The shells fired by this artillery are of excellent workmanship. I have on my table as I write a fragment of a 10-inch shell which I picked up here. It is rent in deep fissures, which would prove, according to competent authority, that the explosive materials used are good. 'The Austrians fired away all their bad shells during preliminary actions,' was the comment of a young staff officer who is in the habit of recording the efficiency of enemy shells. But it is quantity as well as quality which the enemy is relying upon.
“ 'Twenty thousand shells were fired against my position the first two days of the engagement,' an Alpini major, commanding a small knoll, remarked to me. Using this as a basis, it would not be far from the truth to assert that over 1,000,000 shells have been fired by the enemy in the present battle, and there is as yet no slackening of effort.
“And the troops? This morning a group of some 250 Austrians, taken during the action last night, are in this village. They are divided in squads of twenty-five, each in charge of an Austrian noncommissioned officer. The men had had six hours' rest before I saw them. These prisoners are Rumanians from Transylvania. They are young, well-set-up troops. They are naturally glad to be prisoners, though their captors tell me that they fought valiantly. The equipment of these men is new, and I was struck by the excellent quality of their boots; high, new leather, thick mountain boots. In fact, all their leather accouterments are new, and of good leather. Their uniforms are in many cases of heavy cotton twill, very tough, and resisting the hard mountain fighting better than the usual cloth uniform. Nearly every man has an overcoat, which is of stout new cloth. Only five or six of the men are without caps. None have helmets of any kind, but all wear the soft cap with ear flaps tied back. According to answers given to the interpreter, they are of the class of 1915, and have seen fighting in Galicia.
“Asked about their food, they replied that they did not get enough to eat, but their looks belied their statements. Whatever may be the truth in regard to the meatless and fatless days in the Hapsburg Empire, the armies in the field are not suffering in this respect, and, though the civilians at home are now put on strict rations, their soldiers' rations, in this sector at least, have