The Austro-Hungarian Trentino Offensive is thwarted by fierce Italian resistance.
Mid May 1916
The Italian soldiers in the Trentino were aware that something serious was about to happen in their sector. High Command was showing an unusual degree of interest in a region that was supposed to be a bit of a backwater – all of a sudden there was a frantic drive to bolster the defence lines.
Since when, many men asked, had there been so much bother over the second and third lines? Surely the Austro-Hungarians had a screw loose if they were proposing to fight it out on territory that in many places was more favourable to herding mountain goats?
The answer to the last question came on May 14 when a bombardment was unleashed on Italian positions. On the next day men expecting to be on the edges of the action suddenly found themselves grappling with an attacking enemy at close quarters.
Scrambling across the harsh terrain, hordes of pike-grey uniformed infantry pressed forward as the canons continued to find other targets to pummel, while the rattle of machine guns and the crack of grenades rent the air. Expecting their opponents to flee, the Austrians found the Italians were prepared instead to fight to the last man. And so began the one of the bloodiest campaigns ever to be fought in the Alps...