Fifth Battle of the Isonzo
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|Fifth Battle of the Isonzo|
|Part of the Italian Front
(World War I)
Italian trenches at the beginning of the Fifth Battle of the Isonzo
|Kingdom of Italy||Austria-Hungary|
|Commanders and leaders|
Emmanuel Philibert, Duke of Aosta
|Conrad von Hötzendorf,
Archduke Eugen of Austria,
Franz Rohr von Denta,
Gustav Globočnik Edler von Vojka
|286 battalions (plus 90 in reserve)
|100 battalions (plus 30 in reserve).
|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 Soča (Isonzo) River.
After four attempts to cross the Soča (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 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 Karst 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.
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.
- First Battle of the Isonzo – June 23 – July 7, 1915
- Second Battle of the Isonzo – July 18 – August 3, 1915
- Third Battle of the Isonzo – October 18 – November 3, 1915
- Fourth Battle of the Isonzo – November 10 – December 2, 1915
- Sixth Battle of the Isonzo – August 6–17, 1916
- Seventh Battle of the Isonzo – September 14–17, 1916
- Eighth Battle of the Isonzo – October 10–12, 1916
- Ninth Battle of the Isonzo – November 1–4, 1916
- Tenth Battle of the Isonzo – May 12 – June 8, 1917
- Eleventh Battle of the Isonzo – August 19 – September 12, 1917
- Twelfth Battle of the Isonzo – October 24 – November 7, 1917, also known as the Battle of Caporetto
- Schindler, John R. (2001). Isonzo: The Forgotten Sacrifice of the Great War. Praeger. ISBN 0275972046. OCLC 44681903.
- FirstWorldWar.Com: The Battles of the Isonzo, 1915–17
- Battlefield Maps: Italian Front
- 11 battles at the Isonzo
- The Walks of Peace in the Soča Region Foundation. The Foundation preserves, restores and presents the historical and cultural heritage of the First World War in the area of the Isonzo Front for the study, tourist and educational purposes.
- The Kobarid Museum (in English)
- Društvo Soška Fronta (in Slovenian)
- Pro Hereditate – extensive site (in En/It/Sl)