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Today, October 24, 1917: One of the Most Crushing Victories of World War I

If you look on a map today for the town of Kobarid, you will find it in the Isonzo Valley of the Julian Alps in Slovenia. It is about 30 miles north of the Italian coastal town of Monfalcone and about 80 miles east northeast of Venice.

Conflict in the Julian Alps in World War I began as early as 1915 when the Countess Lucy Christainigg was killed while on a mission for the Red Cross. Italy initially was part of the Allied forces in World War I, who were fighting the Central Powers of German and Austria-Hungary.

In September 1917, the Eleventh Battle of the Isonzo ended with the near collapse of the Austro-Hungarian forces in the area of Gorizia, just south of Kobarid. After the Italian line held their ground, the Central Power forces began to re-group and re-fortify in preparation of their next offensive in hopes of breaking through the Italian line and eventually conquering all of Italy.

By October 1917, the town of Kobarid had seen so many battles (11 in all) that it had been pretty much destroyed. It was then part of the Italian line that had been holding off the invasion of Italy by Germany and Austria-Hungary. The German leadership was concerned about the inability of their Austro-Hungarian friends to break through the Italian line so when Arz von Straussenberg asked Germany for help, the German leadership was more than willing to help. They knew that it was vital to defeat the Italians in order to better protect their own southern borders.

Leading the Italian defenses were Generals Luigi Cadorna and Luigi Capello. They were in charge of 15 divisions of the Italian Army armed with 2213 guns (cannons and various artillery).

Leading the Central Powers were Generals Otto von Bulow and Svetozar Boroevic. They were in charge of 25 divisions armed with 2,200 guns (cannons and various artillery).

On this day. October 24, 1917, one of the most crushing victories of World War I took place at Kobarid in what is called the Battle of Capretto, the Battle of Kobarid and the 12th Battle of the Isonzo.

At 2:00am, Bulow led his German forces in a surprise attack of the Italians near Capretto. The Italians were completely caught off-guard but by the end of the day, the Germans had only managed to advance about 15 miles into the Italian line, throwing the Italians into chaos.

At the end of the day, General Capello requested permission to retreat, but his commander, General Cadorna would not allow it and ordered Capello to hold his ground.

By October 30, 1917, the German and Austro-Hungarian forces had managed to push the Italians back to the Tagliamento River. By the time the Battle of Caporetto was over, the Italian Army suffered nearly 30,000 killed and 270,000 captured by the Central Powers forces, making the Battle of Caporetto, of the 12th Battle of the Isonzo, one of the most decisive battles of World War I.

 

Sources for the above includes: The Battle of Caporetto, 1917; The Battle of Caporetto; 5 Reasons Why Was the Battle of Caporetto 1917 Was so Decisive; Battle of Caporetto; Battle of Caporetto; Caporetto: a Fresh Look; Battle of Caporetto; World War I: Battle of Caporetto; WWI Timeline

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Dave Jolly

R.L. David Jolly holds a B.S. in Wildlife Biology and an M.S. in Biology – Population Genetics. He has worked in a number of fields, giving him a broad perspective on life, business, economics and politics. He is a very conservative Christian, husband, father and grandfather who cares deeply for his Savior, family and the future of our troubled nation.

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