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
Date18 October – 3 November 1915
Soča river, western Slovenia
Result Austro-Hungarian victory
failed Italian offensive
 Kingdom of Italy  Austria-Hungary
Commanders and leaders
Luigi Cadorna
Emanuele Filiberto
Svetozar Boroević
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
10,733 killed
9,624 missing
44,290 wounded
2,351 captured
8,228 killed
7,201 missing
26,418 wounded

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), Tolmin, and (if possible) the town of Gorizia. Cadorna's tactic, of deploying his forces evenly along the entire Soča (Isonzo), proved indecisive, and the Austro-Hungarians took advantage of this by concentrating their firepower in certain areas.


Due 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 suffered heavy casualties.

Thanks to the low profile held by Boroević's forces, the Austro-Hungarians were able to hold their positions despite heavy casualties, which were dwarfed by those of the Italian Army. This battle proved Boroević's tactical brilliance despite the limited scope of the front.

The lull in action lasted barely two weeks at which time the Italian offensive started anew.[2][3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Schindler, John R. (2001). Isonzo: The Forgotten Sacrifice of the Great War. Praeger Publishers. p. 103/104.
  2. ^ FirstWorldWar.Com: The Battles of the Isonzo, 1915-17
  3. ^ Isonzo 1915

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