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Battle of Doberdò

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Title: Battle of Doberdò  
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Subject: Prežihov Voranc, Military history of Italy during World War I, First Battle of Monte Grappa, Second Battle of the Isonzo, Third Battle of the Isonzo
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Battle of Doberdò

Battle of Doberdò
Part of the Italian Front of the First World War

Depiction of the Battle of Doberdò.
Date 6 August 1916
Location Gorizia - Doberdò del Lago, Italy
Result Italian victory
Belligerents
 Kingdom of Italy  Austria-Hungary
Commanders and leaders
Luigi Capello Archduke Eugen of Austria
Strength
50,000 ~20,000
Casualties and losses
5,000 dead
8,000 wounded
560 missing or captured
3,500 dead
4,600 wounded
1,200 missing or captured

The Battle of Doberdò was one of the bloodiest battlefields of World War I, fought in August 1916 between the Italian and Austro-Hungarian Armies, composed mostly of Hungarian and Slovenian regiments.

The battle, which was part of the Sixth Battle of the Isonzo, took place on a strategic area the westernmost edge of the Kras plateau. The Italians, who conquered the lowland area around Monfalcone and Ronchi, tried to force themselves over the Kras Plateau in order to gain control over the main road linking the port city of Trieste to the town of Gorizia. After fierce fighting and huge casualties, they succeeded in their attempts. The Austro-Hungarian forces retreated and Gorizia fell to the Italians. They, however, didn't succeed in forcing their way to Trieste, and were stopped north-west of Duino.

Battle

Fighting culminated on 6 August, when Italian forces under general Luigi Capello launched an attack on Austro-Hungarian positions guarding the main transport road leading from the coast town of Duino to Gorizia. The main objective of the attack was to secure the transport road, thus securing their advance to Gorizia from the south. A plan was drafted by Italian general Luigi Capello, to split the army in half, with one side attacking straight at Austrian positions and the other to attack from the rear.

On the morning of 6 August, Austro-Hungarian artillery began shelling Italian infantry as they were drawing nearer. Following the devised plan, four divisions of Italian infantry launched a straight-on frontal assault on Austro-Hungarian trenches, resulting in many soldiers and officers being gunned down by heavy machine-gun fire. With reinforcements, the Italian infantry managed to penetrate through Austro-Hungarian lines, eventually taking the village Doberdò itself. By now, Austrian forces were in desperate need for reinforcements to halt the Italian advance towards Gorizia. The other half of the Italian army attacked Austrian positions from the rear, as planned. Intensive hand-to-hand fighting commenced, with both sides taking massive losses. Surrounded, Austro-Hungarian forces were forced to retreat, on the line east of Gorizia, giving Italian forces control of the heavily damaged town.

Results

Both sides had taken massive losses, with an estimated of more than 20,000 soldiers killed or missing. Although victorious, Italian losses were much greater than those of the Austro-Hungarians, with around 5,000 of their soldiers killed. This was largely due to the frontal assaults on Austrian positions, which were superior to that of the Italians. Italian generals were eager to crush Austro-Hungarian forces in the area, with the intent of going as far as Ljubljana. While Austrian generals wanted to preserve their troops (having to fight on two fronts), which gave them fewer men to defend their border with Italy. In all, this was a strategically important victory for the Italians despite the outcome of the battle.

References

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