Second Battle of the Isonzo

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Second 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 18 July – 3 August 1915
Location Soča river, northwest Slovenia
Result Italian tactical victory
 Kingdom of Italy  Austria-Hungary
Commanders and leaders
Luigi Cadorna
Emanuele Filiberto
Conrad von Hötzendorf
Svetozar Boroević
250,000[1] 78,000[1]
Casualties and losses
41,800 losses[1] 46,600 losses[1]

The Second Battle of the Isonzo was fought between the armies of the Kingdom of Italy and of Austria-Hungary in the Italian Front in World War I, between 18 July and 3 August 1915.


After the failure of the First Battle of the Isonzo, two weeks earlier, Luigi Cadorna, commander-in-chief of the Italian forces, decided for a new thrust against the enemy lines with a heavier artillery support.

General Cadorna's tactics were as simple as they were harsh: after a heavy artillery bombardment, his troops were to advance frontally against the Austrian trenches and take them, after having overcome their barbed-wire fences. The insufficiency of war material – from rifles, to artillery shells to shears to cut the barbed wire – nullified their numerical superiority caused by the recent arrival of 290,000 Italian soldiers.

The battle[edit]

On the Karst Plateau took place an exhausting series of hand-to-hand fights involving the Italian Second and Third Armies, with severe casualties on both sides. Bayonets, swords, knives, and various scrap metal and debris were all used in the terrifying melee. The Hungarian 20th division lost two-thirds of its effectives and was routed, partly because of the successive attacks and partly because of the unfavourable terrain.

On 25 July the Italians occupied the Cappuccio Wood, a position south of Mount San Michele, which was not very steep but dominated quite a large area including the Austrian bridgehead of Gorizia da Sud. The Mount San Michele was briefly held by Italian forces, but a desperate counterattack by Colonel Richter, commanding a group of elite regiments, recaptured it.

In the northern section of the front, in the Julian Alps, the Italians managed to conquer Mount Batognica over Kobarid (Caporetto), which had an important strategic meaning in the next battles.

The battle wore out on its own when both sides ran out of ammunition for both light arms and artillery. The total casualties during the three weeks were about 91,000 men, of which 43,000 Italians and 48,000 Austro-Hungarians.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Bihl, Wolfdieter (2010). Der Erste Weltkrieg 1914-1918: Chronik, Daten, Fakten. Vienna. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Macdonald, John, and Željko Cimprič. Caporetto and the Isonzo Campaign: The Italian Front, 1915-1918. Barnsley, South Yorkshire: Pen & Sword Military, 2011. ISBN 9781848846715 OCLC 774957786
  • Schindler, John R. (2001). Isonzo: The Forgotten Sacrifice of the Great War. Praeger. ISBN 0275972046. OCLC 44681903. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 45°51′48″N 13°31′41″E / 45.86333°N 13.52806°E / 45.86333; 13.52806