War and the future: Italy, France and Britain at war eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 183 pages of information about War and the future.
the right (south) of Goritzia.  Both San Martino and Doberdo are destroyed beyond the limits of ruination.  The Carso itself is a waterless upland with but a few bushy trees; it must always have been a desolate region, but now it is an indescribable wilderness of shell craters, smashed-up Austrian trenches, splintered timber, old iron, rags, and that rusty thorny vileness of man’s invention, worse than all the thorns and thickets of nature, barbed wire.  There are no dead visible; the wounded have been cleared away; but about the trenches and particularly near some of the dug-outs there was a faint repulsive smell....

Yet into this wilderness the Italians are now thrusting a sort of order.  The German is a wonderful worker, they say on the Anglo-French front that he makes his trenches by way of resting, but I doubt if he can touch the Italian at certain forms of toil.  All the way up to San Martino and beyond, swarms of workmen were making one of those carefully graded roads that the Italians make better than any other people.  Other swarms were laying water-pipes.  For upon the Carso there are neither roads nor water, and before the Italians can thrust farther both must be brought up to the front.

As we approached San Martino an Austrian aeroplane made its presence felt overhead by dropping a bomb among the tents of some workmen, in a little scrubby wood on the hillside near at hand.  One heard the report and turned to see the fragments flying and the dust.  Probably they got someone.  And then, after a little pause, the encampment began to spew out men; here, there and everywhere they appeared among the tents, running like rabbits at evening-time, down the hill.  Soon after and probably in connection with this signal, Austrian shells began to come over.  They do not use shrapnel because the rocky soil of Italy makes that unnecessary.  They fire a sort of shell that goes bang and releases a cloud of smoke overhead, and then drops a parcel of high explosive that bursts on the ground.  The ground leaps into red dust and smoke.  But these things are now to be seen on the cinema.  Forthwith the men working on the road about us begin to down tools and make for the shelter trenches, a long procession going at a steady but resolute walk.  Then like a blow in the chest came the bang of a big Italian gun somewhere close at hand....

Along about four thousand miles of the various fronts this sort of thing was going on that morning....

2

This Carso front is the practicable offensive front of Italy.  From the left wing on the Isonzo along the Alpine boundary round to the Swiss boundary there is mountain warfare like nothing else in the world; it is warfare that pushes the boundary backward, but it is mountain warfare that will not, for so long a period that the war will be over first, hold out any hopeful prospects of offensive movements on a large scale against Austria or Germany.  It is a short distance as the crow flies from Rovereto to Munich,

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War and the future: Italy, France and Britain at war from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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