Third Battle of the Isonzo

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Third 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 October – 3 November 1915
Location Soča river, western Slovenia
Result Austro-Hungarian tactical victory
 Kingdom of Italy  Austria-Hungary
Commanders and leaders
Kingdom of Italy Luigi Cadorna
Kingdom of Italy Emanuele Filiberto
Austria-Hungary Svetozar Boroević
Austria-Hungary Archduke Eugen of Austria
338 battalions
130 cavalry squadrons
1,372 artillery pieces
137 battalions (plus 47 battalions of reinforcements)
634 artillery pieces.
Casualties and losses
67,100 (11,000 dead) 40,400 (9,000 dead)

The Third Battle of the Isonzo was fought from 18 October through 3 November 1915 between the armies of Italy and Austria-Hungary.


After roughly two and a half months of reprieve to recuperate from the casualties incurred from frontal assaults from the First and Second Battle of the Isonzo, Luigi Cadorna, Italian commander-in-chief, understood that artillery played a fundamental role on the front and brought the total number to 1,200 pieces.

The main objectives were to take the Austro-Hungarian bridgeheads at Bovec (Plezzo in Italian) and Tolmin, if possible the town of Gorizia. Cadorna's tactic, of deploying his forces evenly along the entire Soča (Isonzo), proved indecisive. The Austro-Hungarians took advantage of the relatively small areas of attack to concentrate their firepower on those areas.


Thanks to extensive artillery barrages, the Italians were able to advance to Plave (Plava in Italian) near Kanal ob Soči, beneath the southern end of the Banjšice Plateau (Bainsizza), and on Mount San Michele on the Kras plateau in an attempt to outflank those forces defending Gorizia. The plateau near San Michele was the scene of heavy attacks and counterattacks involving the Italian Third Army and Austro-Hungarian reinforcements from the Eastern and Balkan fronts under the command of Svetozar Boroević; both sides suffering heavy casualties.

Thanks to the low profile held by Boroević's forces, the Austrians were able to hold their positions with heavy casualties, inferior however to those of the Italians. This battle showed Boroević's tactical brilliance despite the limited scope of the front.

The lull in action lasted barely two weeks after which the Italian offensive started anew.[1][2]

See also[edit]


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. 
  • Bauer, E., 1985: Der Lowe vom Isonzo, Feldmarschall Svetozar Boroević de Bojna. Aufl. Styria. Graz
  • Boroević, S., 1923: O vojni proti Italiji (prevod iz nemškega jezika). Ljubljana
  • Comando supremo R.E. Italiano, 1916: Addestramento della fanteria al combattimento. Roma. Tipografia del Senato

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 45°51′24″N 13°24′01″E / 45.85667°N 13.40028°E / 45.85667; 13.40028