Year 1916 – The fronts consolidate and the war of mines begins.
1 January: 1st mine on Lagazuoi (Austrian); 300 kg of explosive.
21 February: fire of Ciadin de Sote (the village Cadin di Sotto).
17 April: Italian mine on Col di Lana: a tunnel 105 meters long and 90 meters deep loaded with 524 of blasting gelatin.
6-27 June: repeated assaults on Ruffiedo, Zuoghe and Croda d’Ancona with great loss.
8-10 July: the Italians conquer the Sasso Cubico on Masarè, the Tre Dita and finally the Nemesis (6 August) all in the Tofana area.
11 July: the winter pause was used in order to begin the excavation of a mine tunnel under Castelletto. At 3:30 the mine, 35 tons of explosive, blew up the of Castelletto saddle while the King and General Cadorna were looking at it from the Cinque Torri. The burst killed 150 Austrians.
4 October: fire in the Campo di Sopra village.
9 November: avalanche on Cima Bois; 1 Italian died and 7 werer injured.
21 November: Emperor Francis Joseph dies.
13 December: avalanche on Valon Tofana; more than 4 million cubic meters of snow which blocked the Dolomites road. It was necessary to excavate a tunnel. In some places the snow was 18 meters high.
December: avalanche of Forcella Fanis. An undefined number of Austrians were under it.
Cease fire moments.
The horrors were not continuous; actually in the back-lines there were also restful moments, fine and peaceful days: the arrival of presents, the evenings happily spent in the trench with the accordion, violin or the trumpet, playing and singing together. There was the mass in the field and the army chaplain with his religious message; new friendships there began; the wounded and the prisoners were treated with humanity, even if enemies.
Beginning from 1916 the shelters in the huts and in the tunnels improved; the supplies became more regular and more plentiful, thanks to the construction of cableways. The assaults were not so frequent and generally speaking the situation was more comfortable in the Dolomites than in the hell of Carso or other fronts.
During the relatively peaceful long periods, without the knowledge of the high officers, there were moments of peace between the often close to each other trenches. The enemies, who had often known each other before the war, were fathers of a family and aware of being them all victims of a tragedy greater than themselves.
They did not hate each other and did agree not to shoot each other; they spoke together and exchanged bread against tobacco or coffee against grappa. They did go to get firewood togetherin order to be able to warm up in winter time or they used to play cards going from one hut to the other like good neighbours.
The men from Ampezzo could not go back home during the leaves, therefore they asked their enemies to give the news to their families when they went downhill. The relations between officers and soldiers were usually good. Captain Barborka, for example, forgave the guide Bortolo Barbaria Zuchin who was about to go down to Ampezzo from the Tofane through short cuts, actually he did not want to desert, but just wanted to go to his family, reassure them and then go back to his place.
2020 Ⓒ Museo della Grande Guerra "Tre Sassi" Cortina d'Ampezzo