With British Guns in Italy eBook

Hugh Dalton
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 220 pages of information about With British Guns in Italy.
mass of artillery and aircraft, were thrown into the Austrian scale, while from the Italian was withdrawn the majority of that tiny handful of French and British Batteries, which were all the armed support which, up to that time, her Allies had ever lent her.  Only five British Batteries and a few French were left on the Italian Front.  By the defeat of Caporetto she lost a great quantity of guns and stores and practically the whole of her Second Army, while half of Venetia fell into the hands of the enemy, and remained in his possession for a year.  The inferiority of the Italian Army to its enemies, both in numbers and in material, was thus sharply increased.

But the Italians held grimly on; they turned at bay on the Piave and in the mountains, and checked the onrush of Austrians and Germans.  Then, supported by French and British reinforcements, but still inferior in numbers, they continued for a year longer to hold up almost the whole strength of Austria.  That winter the poor were very near starvation in the cities of Italy, and the peasants had to cut down their olive groves for fuel.  The following spring part of the French and British reinforcements were withdrawn to France, together with an Italian contingent which numerically balanced the French and British who remained in Italy.

The Austrians also lost their German support and sent some of their own troops to France, but they retained their numerical superiority on the Italian Front.  In June they launched a great attack on a seventy-mile front, which was to have made an end of Italy; but the Italians beat them back.  Then four months later, after an intense effort of preparation, Italy, still inferior in numbers and material, struck for the last time and utterly destroyed the Austrian Army in the great battle which will be known to history as Vittorio Veneto.  The Austrians lost twice as many prisoners and four times as many guns at Vittorio Veneto as they had taken at Caporetto.

The war on the Italian Front was over, the Austrian Army was broken beyond recovery, the Austrian State was dissolving into its national elements, which only tradition, corruption and brute force had for so long held together.  Italy, heroic and constant, had endured to the end, and with her last great gesture had both completed her own freedom, and given their freedom to those who had been the instruments of her enemies.

PART II

SOME EARLY IMPRESSIONS

CHAPTER II

FROM FOLKESTONE TO VENICE

On the 6th July, 1917, I arrived at Folkestone armed with a War Office letter ordering my “passage to France for reinforcements for Siege Artillery Batteries in Italy.”  I had a millpond crossing in the afternoon, and that evening left Boulogne for Modane.

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With British Guns in Italy from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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