Second Battle of the Isonzo

The Second Battle of the Isonzo was fought between the armies of the Kingdom of Italy and of Austria-Hungary in the Italian Front in World War I, between 18 July and 3 August 1915.

Second Battle of the Isonzo
Part of the Italian Front
(World War I)
WWI - Second Battle of the Isonzo - 20th Cavalleggeri di Roma Cavalry Regiment position in the Carso.jpg
20th Cavalleggeri di Roma Cavalry Regiment during the Second Battle of the Isonzo
Date18 July – 3 August 1915
Soča river, northwest Slovenia
Result Italian tactical victory
 Kingdom of Italy  Austria-Hungary
Commanders and leaders
Kingdom of Italy Luigi Cadorna
Kingdom of Italy Emanuele Filiberto
Austria-Hungary Conrad von Hötzendorf
Austria-Hungary Svetozar Boroević
250,000[1] 78,000[1]
Casualties and losses
41,800 losses[1] 46,600 losses[1]


After the failure of the First Battle of the Isonzo, two weeks earlier, Luigi Cadorna, commander-in-chief of the Italian forces, decided for a new thrust against the Austro-Hungarian lines with heavier artillery support.

The overall plans of the Italian offensive were barely changed by the outcomes of the previous fight, besides the role of general Frugoni's Second Army, which this time had, on paper, to carry out only demonstrative attacks all over his front. The major role, assigned to the Duke of Aosta's Third Army, was to conquer Mount San Michele and Mount Cosich, cutting the enemy line and opening the way to Gorizia.

General Cadorna's tactics were as simple as they were harsh: after a heavy artillery bombardment his troops were to advance in a frontal assault against the Austro-Hungarian line, overcome the enemy's barbed-wire fences, and take the trenches. The insufficiency of war materiel – from rifles, to artillery shells, to shears to cut barbed wire – nullified the Italians' numerical superiority.

The battleEdit

The Karst Plateau was the site of an exhausting series of hand-to-hand fights involving the Italian Second and Third Armies, with severe casualties on both sides. Bayonets, swords, knives, and various scrap metal and debris were all used in the terrifying melee. The Austro-Hungarian 20th division lost two-thirds of its effective strength and was routed due to a combination of the successive Italian Army attacks and the unfavorable terrain.

On 25 July the Italians occupied the Cappuccio Wood, a position south of Mount San Michele, which was not very steep but dominated quite a large area including the Austro-Hungarian bridgehead of Gorizia from the South. Mount San Michele was briefly held by Italian forces, but was recaptured during a desperate counterattack by Colonel Richter, who commanded a group of elite regiments.

In the northern section of the front, the Julian Alps, the Italians managed to overrun Mount Batognica over Kobarid (Caporetto), which would have an important strategic value in future battles.

The battle wore down when both sides ran out of ammunition. The total casualties during the three week battle were about 91,000 men, of which 43,000 Italians and 48,000 Austro-Hungarians.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c d Bihl, Wolfdieter (2010). Der Erste Weltkrieg 1914-1918: Chronik, Daten, Fakten. Vienna.

Further readingEdit

  • Macdonald, John, and Željko Cimprič. Caporetto and the Isonzo Campaign: The Italian Front, 1915-1918. Barnsley, South Yorkshire: Pen & Sword Military, 2011. ISBN 9781848846715 OCLC 774957786
  • Schindler, John R. (2001). Isonzo: The Forgotten Sacrifice of the Great War. Praeger. ISBN 0275972046. OCLC 44681903.

External linksEdit

Coordinates: 45°51′48″N 13°31′41″E / 45.86333°N 13.52806°E / 45.86333; 13.52806