Saturday, November 18, 2017
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Year 1915

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Italy comes into the war

In 1915 when Italy comes into the war, the peaceful Dolomites were upset by the noise of weapons. A continuous movement of men and means of transport upset a community which used to live peaceful and with parsimony.

16 May: in Ampezzo all the men aged between 16 and 50 who had not been enlisted were called to the medical examination for call up, organized in the Standschutzen or in the Landsturm (general call up). They were given the uniform with the Tirolean eagle and they made part of the II Zug (platoon), IV Company of the Enneberg-Marebbe Battalion. Many people left the town.

The front was North of Cortina. 669 men from Ampezzo were called up, more than 35 workers among them, and sent to defend the Austrian border.

19 May: 135 Standshützen with some livestock were sent to Son Pouses; from there the Ampezzani (men from Ampezzo) could see their houses and their relatives. Anguish and suffering were boundless.

20 May: Some Ampezzani, who symphatiz with Italy were imprisoned by the Austrian authority in Katzenau (close to Linz). The wounded from Galicia were taken to other Austrian hospitals.

Cortina becomes empty; the athmosphere is one of fear and hope. The Parish priest, don Antonio Pallua, exhorts the people not to leave.

22 May: the Tirolean soldiers strengthen Son Pouses and other stratetigic points from Col di Lana to Monte Piana.

23 May: Italy declares war on Austria and confirms that the opening of hostilities would be midnight. "The time of vindications has struck....." The King of Italy writes. The Austrian Emperor replies: "A betrayal against two allies about which history does not know the example...."

03 04-10-08 stemma cortina del 1711

Ampezzo is occupied.

24 May: 6:00 pm. The Italians cross the border in Acquabona. Ampezzo has been free for some days, but instead of ordering the officers to proceed, taking advantage of the weakness of the adversary, General Nava asks them to wait..... The Italians do not move. In the first two weeks, taking advantage of their superiority, they could occupy not only Pusteria but also head for Brennero.

27 May: 8 infantrymen of the Brigata Marche come down from Passo Tre Croci-Crojes and go into Cortina; they proceed towards Zuel and do not meet any Austrian soldier.

29 May: Cortina is occupied without striking a blow by the 23rd Regiment of the Brigata Como. 
It is 4:00 pm.

The soldiers were disappointed by the coolness with which they were welcomed; however they could not expect the people from Ampezzo, old men, women and children to feel any sympathy for undesidered armed invaders who were about to fight and maybe to kill their sons, husbands, fathers and brothers from whom they had been separated due to those men.

The first four cannon-shots were heard.

The hotels were requisitioned; almost all the houses had to give hospitality to officers and soldiers. In Ampezzo there were from 20.000 to 30.000 soldiers. On the territory they set encampments, huts, stores, trenches, communication trenches, field hospitals, kitchens, stables, observatories etc.

025 15-01-08 interni museo

Inaction of the first 15 days.

4 June: They begin shooting the whole day from Son Pouses.

Instead of advancing at once, the Italians settled in the village and on the high grounds. Therefore it happened what the Austrians called "a military miracle". The first days were conclusive for the course of the war. Inaction was a fatal mistake on the Italian part and it cost thousands and thousands of casualties. On the other hand it was an unexpected and incredible stroke of luck for the Austrians.

It is to be remembered that Austria had always had defensive intentions on the entire front and it never thought in great advances. On the basis of the defensive concept and due to forces shortage, the Austrians merely blocked the communication lines.

The Austrian defensive line almost did not change until the end of the war, except for withdrawals of slight importance. The Italians never succeeded in break through the enemy’s line. despite the efforts and the apocalyptic mines.

June: Charged of being pro-Austrian, "in Italy many people were interned out of suspicions and accusations.

The operations on the Ampezzo front.

7-16 June: First useless Italian assaults on Son Pòuses and Val Gòtres

10 June: The Standschützen from Ampezzo were transferred from Son Pòuses to Col di Lana.

13-15 June: Unsuccessful attacks on Gòtres and Son Pòuses with many casualties.

15 June: Fights on Fontana Nègra, Col di Bos, Intrà i Sasc, Sas de Strìa; however they were soon stopped due to the high number of casualties and few results.

5-11 July: Various assaults at Intrà i Sas and on Sas de Strìa with no results.

7-11 July: The Forcella (pass) of Col dei Bos and Cima Bos are conquered.

20 July: General Antonio Cantore dies at Fontana Negra

30 July: The Cristallo is occupied by the Italians.

2 August: The Forcella of Fontana Negra is conquered.

8-9 August: other further assaults on Intrà i Sas and Sas de Strìa with no results.

August: the Alpini (Alpine troops) occupy the Cristallo crest. Disastrous assaults in the area of Cima Falzarego, Forcella Travenanzes, Forame, Costabella.

From September to October: Italian assaults on the northern slopes of Cristallo, Costabella, Forame, Rauchkofel.

September: unsuccessful Italian assaults on Castelletto, while they succeed in settling on the Martini ledge of Lagazuoi.

18 September: Italian conquest of the Tofana de Rozes.

18 October: The Italians conquer Cima Falzarego. Once the top of Sas de Stria is occupied, second-lieutenant Mario Fusetti dies and soon afterwards the top is occupied again by the Austrians.

20-26 October: fights on the Cristallo-Forame

24-28 September and 17-31 October: useless assaults on the Castelletto.

24 October: Italian attempt to go over Ruffiedo in order to advance towards Cimabanche-Sorabances.

7 November: the Italians conquer and lose the top of Col di Lana.

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