Italian Campaign (World War I)

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Italian front
Part of the European theatre of World War I

Clockwise: Italian soldiers listening to their General's speech; Austro-Hungarian trench on the Isonzo; Austro-Hungarian trench in the Alps; Italian trench on the Piave
Date23 May 1915 – 6 November 1918
(3 years, 5 months and 2 weeks)

Italian victory

Kingdom of Italy Italy
 United Kingdom
 United States
 German Empire
Commanders and leaders
Kingdom of Italy Luigi Cadorna
Kingdom of Italy Armando Diaz
Kingdom of Italy Duke of Aosta
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland Rudolph Lambart
French Third Republic Jean César Graziani
Austria-Hungary Conrad von Hötzendorf
Austria-Hungary Arz von Straußenburg
Austria-Hungary Archduke Eugen
Austria-Hungary Svetozar Boroević
German Empire Otto von Below
1915 – up to 58 divisions
 United Kingdom
1917 – 3 divisions
1918 – 2 divisions
Czechoslovak Legion
1918 – 5 regiments
Romanian Legion
1918 – 3 regiments
 United States
1918 – 1 regiment
1915 – up to 61 divisions
 German Empire
1917 – 5 divisions
Casualties and losses
Kingdom of Italy 1,832,639:[1][2]
246,133 killed
946,640 wounded
70,656 missing [nb 1]
569,210 captured [nb 2]
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland 6,700:[3]
1,057 killed
4,971 wounded
670 missing/captured
French Third Republic 2,872:
480 killed
(700 died indirectly)
2,302 wounded
Unknown captured
Austria-Hungary 1,386,327:[4][5][nb 3]
155,350 killed [nb 4]
560,863 wounded
175,041 missing [nb 5]
477,024 captured [6][nb 6]
German Empire N/A
589,000 Italian civilians died of war-related causes

The Italian campaign was a series of battles fought between Austria-Hungary and Italy in the mountains of northern Italy between 1915 and 1918.

Italy did not fight for the Triple Alliance, despite promises to Germany and Austria-Hungary, in 1914, when World War I started. In 1915, Italy joined the Triple Entente to take part of Austria-Hungary. Italian irredentism wanted the province of Trento (Trentino), the port of Trieste and the province of Bolzano-Bozen (Alto Adige/Südtirol), Istria, and Dalmatia.

Italy had hoped to begin the war with a surprise attack to act quickly and capture several Austrian-held cities. However, the war in Italy soon turned to trench warfare, which was similar to that of the Western Front.

References[change | change source]

  1. Presumed dead by 1921
  2. ca. 300,000 alone during Caporetto 24 October – 19 November 1917
  3. Exact figures missing in von Horstenau's work for the year 1916 are provided for August in Wilfried Thanner, Analyse des Stellungskrieges am Isonzo von 1915-1917, p. 301 link text and for the time period 15 May - 31 July 1916, from k.u.k. official reports, in Gianni Pieropan, 1916. Le montagne scottano, Tamari editori, Bologna, 1968, p. 214.
  4. 150,812 soldiers and 4,538 officers killed in action.
  5. How many of the 175,041 missing were presumed dead by 1921 is not determined. Overall 341,601 Austro-Hungarian soldiers and officers were missing and presumed dead by 1921, an unknown share of that falls onto the Italian Front.
  6. ca. 380.000 alone during Vittorio Veneto 24 October – 4 November 1918
  1. Mortara 1925, pp. 28–29 link text
  2. "War Losses (Italy) | International Encyclopedia of the First World War (WW1)".
  3. Statistics of the Military Effort of the British Empire During the Great War 1914–1920, The War Office, p. 744.
  4. Glaise von Horstenau 1932, pp. BeiL. IV. V. VII. link text
  5. "War Losses (Austria-Hungary) | International Encyclopedia of the First World War (WW1)".
  6. Tortato, Alessandro: La Prigionia di Guerra in Italia, 1914–1919, Milan 2004, pp. 49–50. Does not include 18,049 who died. Includes 89,760 recruited into various units and sent back to fight the AH army, and 12,238 who were freed.