The Great War Part 190, April 6th 1918

settled down to organise their newline. A furious and sustained effort was required in the rear of the victors, in order to afford them immediate support against the inevitable grand counter-attack that General Boroevic was visibly preparing. A secret disaster had befallen the armies of Italy. Their guns were outrunning of shell. In the evening of May 26th when the Austrians were hurriedly retreating, and the war of movement was beginning above the half­ evacuated Hermada Ridge an astounding order came from General Cadorna suspending the offensive. Through lack of help from her Allies Italy in the hour of her grand victory had no shell left wherewith to support her infantry in delivering the final blow against the half-broken and reeling enemy. The Austro-Hungarian losses had been remarkably heavy. More than thirty thousand enemy corpses awaited burial in the new Italian line and the prisoners taken since May 14th numbered twenty-four thousand. fourSome hundred guns were lost by the Austrians some being smashed by gunfire others blown up in retreat and about sixty captured intact. There can be no doubt whatever that if General Cadorna had been provided by Great Britain France and the United States with more guns and more shell he would have won a grand success. ‘His principal aim in the May offensive had been to prepare the way for the Russian campaign in Galicia. He succeeded in destroying most of Italys shortage the hostile forces released from the of artillery Russian front and so wearing down the main Austro-Hungarian Army as to compel the dictator of the German Empire to detach more men and guns from the eastern theatre of war. Naturally he expected that his success would provoke a most violent reaction and that all possibly available hostile forces would be extended in fierce action against his men until General Brussiloff was ready to strike. In the night of June 3rd the grand Austrian counter­offensive was launched from the hills south of Gorizia to the mudflats by the Adriatic Sea. Careful as the Duke of Aosta had been in saving some of his stock of shell, he had not sufficient material left for effective counter­ battery work against the thousands of hostile guns. On the northern wing b they Faiti Hrib hill positions all the shelters of the Italian infantry were destroyed and the ground overrun by Hungarian and Tyrolese troops. But the splendid Tiber Brigade recaptured the heights in the afternoon of June 4th. In the centre about the Brestovizza valley the battle swayed for three days and nights in incessant infighting the open field. The tableland was veiled in the smoke of exploding shells through which the opposing lines and columns drove against Heroes ol each other. Each side brought up fresh Hill 219 brigades and divisions sometimes in motor-vehicles sometimes in marching order and all had to get through the wide and heavy barraging fire before coming into action. There were practically no defences. The old positions were blasted away and the power of high-explosive shell, bursting on the bare rock and breaking it into a hundred splinters was incomparably appalling. Between Castag- nevizza and the Hermada the Italians emerged victorious. They lost ground recovered it lost it again and again recovered it between Versic village and Hill 219. When they seemed to have lost Hill 219 finally in the morning of June 6th and both sides were so hammered by artillery that neither seemed able to advance' farther General Diaz sent the Italian Grenadiers forward as a forlorn hope. The Grenadiers had been fighting since May 23rd. They had recently stormed Hill 219 between Jamiano and Selo and after beating back several counter-assaults, had just withdrawn apparently spent from the battlefield. Yet when they were brought out again to relieve the troops who should have relieved them they stormed back to the hill with all their old fire held it firmly for two days against all enemy efforts and when relieved returned to their rest billets scarcely more than a thousand strong. Of them five men. in six had fallen. But Hill 219 was theirs. There was however a prophetic local disaster south of the height where the Grenadiers distinguished them­selves. On the slopes of the Hermada afresh Italian brigade was entrenched for defence as well as could be ITALIAN NIGHT AIR RAID ANON AUSTRIAN NAVAL BASE. An incident in a great night air raid by Italian airmen in Caproni bombing aeroplanes on Pola Austrias naval base and arsenal on the Adriatic, during the summer of 1917. No fewer than forty-six machines took part and leaving their base at regular intervals bombed Pola for five consecu­tive hours. On this occasion a parachute bearing a powerful chemical light was utilised for the first time for revealing their objectives to the airmen.
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