Monte San Gabriele 1917.

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Monte San Gabriele 1917.

Postby tigre » 24 Mar 2017 13:47

Hello to all :D; a new post (Isonzo 11º offensive)..........................................

The fight for Monte S. Gabriele (Škabrijel).

On 29 August 1917 the Italian Supreme Command ordered the suspension of operations on the Bainsizza Plateau and arranged a new effort for the 2nd Army troops, this time against the formidable positions constituted in the heights to the northeast of Gorizia. The battle of Bainsizza, which had developed continuously since August 18, had led Italian troops east of the plateau, almost penetrating into the Chiapovano Valley, without providing the results that had been expected. When Monte Santo fell, however, two powerful bastions remained in the hands of the enemy: Monte San Gabriele and Monte San Daniele, which closed the way to Valle Frigida (Vipacco), through which the whole Austro-Hungarian defense system could be dropped from Gorizia to the sea.

Monte San Gabriele, although lower than Monte Santo, is separated from the latter by a depression in the mountain chain constituting a strong position. Through their advance in the Plateau de Bainsizza, the Italians could attack it from both the north and the west. On the other hand the Austro-Hungarians were perfectly aware of what the fall of this stronghold meant to them, so that while the Italians had reached the slopes they could not seize the summit.

For such operations in a few kilometers of the front were concentrated about 700 pieces of artillery of various calibers. The action was in charge of the troops of the Sixth Army Corps. The attacks followed one another, while powerful bombardments made the earth tremble. Everything was useless: the enemy resistance was unshakable. The Austro-Hungarians knew that new Italian advances would bring disaster for them. General Conrad von Hotzendorf was sent to take charge of the front of Isonzo.

The attempts were unsuccessful, the commander of the army wants to take Monte San Gabriele with a fence of fire that enveloped the whole mountain with a continuous rain of projectiles so that it is impossible for the Austro-Hungarians to bring supplies and fresh troops. About 15,000 rounds a day were fired for three consecutive days. At the end of it was launched another attack that was bloody rejected.

Thus on August 29, whole brigades were demolished and pulverized against this formidable bastion. A real catastrophe in vain! The valor of the troops, the tenacity of the leaders, could not prevail over the defense and the enemy resistance. However, it was necessary to win, to destroy the Austro-Hungarian defense system: S. Gabriele - S. Caterina - San Marco to bring about the collapse of the whole line.

The High Command had given very strict orders: San Gabriele must be taken at all costs! However, annulling all orders, is the strong Austro-Hungarian defense: each new assault against the rocks of the mountains, form huge piles of corpses. Even the attempt by a battalion of Bersaglieri cyclists, has ended in a new massacre.

The formidable and profound enemy defensive system on Monte San Gabriele rested on two pillars: the fort of Dol, in Point 367, built on the rock and that of S. Caterina, a fort built of stone in Point 307. The fort of Dol had dominion over the road knot of the same name, while that of S. Catarina controlled and dominated the roads coming from Salcano-Grazigna and was the spearhead behind the fortress of San Daniele prepared for the defense. The trenches of the fort of Dol were to join with those of Veliki Hrib, which, through subterranean corridors, were in communication with the center of the fortress: the San Gabriele (Point 646), and these, in turn, with deep and Masked walkways, with the cornerstone of Santa Catarina.

Sources: Salvatore Farina. Gli arditi sul San Gabriele, 4 settembre 1917.
http://www.ebay.ie/itm/1917-Italy-Progr ... XQEgpTD0sa

Cheers. Raúl M 8-).
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Re: Monte San Gabriele 1917.

Postby tigre » 01 Apr 2017 01:39

Hello to all :D; more..........................................

The fight for Monte S. Gabriele (Škabrijel).

Defense of this sector had been entrusted to the 57th Austrian Division, whose troops were in contact with those of the 58th Austrian Division defending the sector from S. Caterina to S. Marco excluded. Point of contact between the two divisions the "Surgent". The two divisions formed the XXIV. Austrian Corps.

The order of operations followed the concept for the previous action.

A column formed by the 1st Assault Detachment (captain Radicati) outflanking the cornerstone of the Dol, would extend into the valley of Ravnica, occupy the village itself and by means of the simultaneous flanking maneuver, would conquer the fortress of St. Gabriele. The action of the detachment would be supported by a squadron of armored vehicles along the road Sella di Dol-Ravnica and ten teams of portable flamethrowers to facilitate the task of cleaning the numerous caves.

A second column formed by the 2nd Detachment (captain Abbondanza) by the "Surgent" - the point of union of the two Austrian divisions - reinforced by five flame-throwing teams (assigned by the First Detachment) would break in S. Caterina with a flanking maneuver, it must also focus on the S. Daniele, conquer it, reinforce himself, establishing liaison with the Arditi of Captain Radicati, who from the inn of Ravnica, following the heights 395 and 391, would occupy centers of resistance.

Units of the 8th Division (Sector Gargaro - II Corps) had to advance on Zagorie to press on the opposite side of the S. Gabriele ensuring at the same time the flank of the Radicati column and the action of the armored vehicles. Then make contact with the Arditi of the 1st Detachment of Ravnic.

The Elba Brigade (Brig. Tisi), which had to be transferred to the VI Corps, had to reach the objectives achieved, under the protection of the two assault troops, to occupy a defensive position on the ground gained in accordance with the directives of the Commander of the VI Corps. Two squadrons of Filippini's Cavalry Brigade had to deploy themselves near Salcano for possible timely employment on targets that would be revealed during the battle.

The preparation fire was eliminated, the use of machine guns and artillery would instead follow the criteria already established. Hour of attack: 4 of September 4, 1917.

The order of operations issued by col. Bassi and approved by the Commander of the Army, was transmitted on the night of September 2 to the commanders of Corps II and VI for execution.

On the morning of September 3 the colonel, immediately after the alarm, announced the order of operations and the provisions for the execution of it to the two chiefs of detachment in question, for which Bassi had prescribed all officers and commanders of the assault teams should reach the S. Gabriele area in the afternoon to study the order of the operation in situ.

At about 11:30 hours an army dispacht raider brought the following message to Col Bassi:

Put three assault companies available to the Sixth Army Corps. Your honor becomes irreplaceable and continues with the training of the assault elements.
Gen. CAPELLO.

What new circumstances had come to change the previous order? In the morning, in two successive telephone conversations, Generals Montuori and Gatti, respectively commanders of the II and VI Corps, had urged the Commander of the Army that the honor of the conquest of St. Gabriele be reserved for his troops. Gen. Capello gave his consent to the two generals on the condition that three assault companies preceded the troops of the two Corps.

Sources: Salvatore Farina. Gli arditi sul San Gabriele, 4 settembre 1917.
http://www.ebay.ie/itm/1917-Italy-Progr ... XQEgpTD0sa

Cheers. Raúl M 8-).
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Re: Monte San Gabriele 1917.

Postby tigre » 07 Apr 2017 22:17

Hello to all :D; more..........................................

The fight for Monte S. Gabriele (Škabrijel).

The concept of operation and mode of implementation remained unchanged. The three assault companies would respectively form three attack columns against the three pillars of the Austrian position. For the immediate support of each column of attack, a battalion of the 213rd Infantry (Arno Brigade, 11th Division, VI Corps) and a battalion of the 115th Infantry (Brigade Treviso, 8th Division, II Corps) had been arranged.

As soon as the three columns of attack had crossed the slope and headed toward their targets, the three battalions of the 213rd Infantry should reach the eastern slope of S. Daniele. The battalion of the 115th Infantry, beyond Dol's fortress, had to advance towards Zagorie, to press the opposite side of S. Gabriele. The command of the operation was entrusted to the commander of the 11th Division. The real command of the operation, for the troops of the VI Corps, was in charge of the commander of the Brigade Treviso, rather in its place, for the troops of the II Corps. The time of the attack was set for 5:45 hours on September 4.

At 14:00 hours on September 3, the three companies in charge of the operation: the 2nd (Lt. Crisanti), 3rd (Cap. Pedercini) and 4th complements (Lt. Stefanoni) of the 1st Assault Detachment with the Platoon of Flamethrower (2nd Lt. Aime) composed of 15 portable devices, left the school in trucks greeted by the songs and cheers of the arditi that remained in Sdricca.

The deployment of the troops for the attack at 3:00 hours on September 4 was as follows:

Objectives: Strong point de Dol-S. Gabriele.
3rd assault company (with 5 flamethrowers): path Sella Dol.
3rd Battalion of the 213rd Infantry: trenches of Sella de Dol.
2nd Battalion of the 115th Infantry: trenches of Sella de Dol.

Objective: S. Gabriele.
2nd assault company (with 10 flamethrowers): rocky sector in the vicinity of S. Gabriele.
1st Battalion of the 213rd Infantry: in the first line trenches.

Objective: S. Caterina.
4th Assault Company: In the frontline trenches.
2nd Battalion of the 213rd Infantry: in the immediate reserve trenches.

Conquered the three strong points, the assault companies had to achieve the following final objectives:

3rd Assault Company: Ravnica.
2nd Battalion of the 115th Infantry: Zagorie.
2nd and 4th assault companies: S. Daniele.

The Italian artillery, that during the night had realized the concentrations of fire on the rear of the enemy, a few minutes before the attack concentrated its fire power in the S.Gabriele. It was terrible!

Sources: Salvatore Farina. Gli arditi sul San Gabriele, 4 settembre 1917.

Cheers. Raúl M 8-).
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Re: Monte San Gabriele 1917.

Postby tigre » 14 Apr 2017 13:15

Hello to all :D; more..........................................

The fight for Monte S. Gabriele (Škabrijel).

Exactly at 5:45 AM, backed by the fire of their machine guns, the companies jumped into the assault. The men followed behind the fire and the grenades, advancing in a thin line. All the explosions are confused. A few minutes pass, how many are enough to overcome no man's land? Ten. Crisanti, wounded, was forced to abandon the command of the 2nd Company, and was replaced by Ten. Farina. Once the first line was overcome, it was occupied only by a few sentinels who were eliminated with well-struck punches from the daggers, the Arditi made good progress and reached the summit, on which the Italian artillery continues firing. The Austrians, who still believe they are in the preparatory phase, suddenly found themselves in front of the Arditi, unable to defend the position.

However, soon after the alarm goes off. It was known that the mount was organized with caves with numerous exits and it is well known that the Austrians would hide there to carry out then sudden raids behind the attackers. The Arditi, in small groups, blocked all the caves and with bombs and flamethrowers, forced the enemy to surrender. There was no pity for anyone. Who did not raise his arms immediately, was stabbed without hesitation, any uncertainty was very dangerous. At 6:30 hours S. Gabriele fell into the hands of the Arditi and the commander of the 2nd Company hoisted the Italian flag on the mountain. The Aide de camp Amilcare Corsetti, in the absence of a mast, provided the officer with an Austrian rifle on which the cloth with the national colors was hung.

On the left, the 3rd Company pressed forward, attacking the fortress of Dol and annihilated, in a close combat, the Austrian garrison. An enemy service troop captured on its way to the forefront provided coffee to the winners. Now the Arditi rushed toward the Ravnica route. A platoon of the 4th Company engaged itself head-on against the defenses of S. Caterina, while the rest of the company began to flank the mentioned position.

The struggle spread all over the mountain. The 2nd Company, after the last resistance had been eliminated, quickly descended the slopes of S. Gabriele and hurled itself towards S. Daniele, attacking the last trench that was little defended. Some of the company's squads took care of raking the ground. In some caves, many Austrian troops still offered resistance. The struggle fragmented, each man became a fortress, because the Austrians responded vigorously and fought with great courage. Ardito Colacci, already with two mutilated fingers, is in a man-to-man fight with General Hon, Commander of the 4th Austrian Infantry Brigade, but the Italian dagger is faster than the enemy's pistol, who paid with his life the audacity. Colacci, was about to return with his own, when he met with two of the brigade officers. As he was previously injured in the back and a side by two shots of the general, he rammed the two austrians, throwing them to the ground stunned. In a jump he disarms them. The officers rise and obey meekly, astonished at such audacity.

This turn the game had been lost by the Austrians. Stunned by the bombing, terrified by the flamethrowers who caused a painful death, exhausted by the struggle, they surrendered to the strongest. Long columns of prisoners were walking towards the Italian lines escorted by some wounded Arditi. Meanwhile, the last enemy trench is occupied and prepared for the defense. The infantry did not follow and stopped. What happened?

In fact, as soon as they realize that the mountain had been lost, the Austrians opened a violent bombardment that starting from the Italian trenches extends to the whole mountain. Not even the columns of prisoners are saved, which were affected in their entirety. The fire was getting more intense, terrible, and there is not a meter that is not beaten. The reinforcements can not now be moved. The black flames were left alone!

At 10:00 hours the enemy launched a first attack. Two battalions at least, who pressed in closed formations. The only Italian machine gun wreaked havoc. The Austrians continued the advance: to thirty meters they received an barrage of artillery. At first they resisted heroically with sublime stoicism but then, reduced to a few men, they retreated into disorder, leaving behind hundreds of dead and wounded.

After the attack, the bombing resumed. Then suddenly everything is calm. They just continued, insistent, violent, bombing on the starting trenches. Mount S. Gabriele had been taken! The news, as in a heartbeat, spread from trench to trench. At noon, S. M. the King left the observatory, offering Col. Bassi his approval for the development of the action.

At that time the situation of the three companies was as follows:

The 3rd Company had reached the route to Ravnica;
The 2nd Company was in position on the slopes of S. Daniele;
The 4th Company continued to struggle with the flanking of S. Caterina.

Meanwhile, in the conquered trenches the Arditi were watching.

Sources: Salvatore Farina. Gli arditi sul San Gabriele, 4 settembre 1917.

Cheers. Raúl M 8-).
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Re: Monte San Gabriele 1917.

Postby tigre » 22 Apr 2017 12:27

Hello to all :D; more..........................................

The fight for Monte S. Gabriele (Škabrijel).

Taking advantage of the very rocky terrain, the Austrians sent big patrols in order to take the defenders by the rear. The operation had a high probability of success because the Arditi were deployed on a broad front. But the attentive watch of the Italians frustrated each maneuver and the patrols were in turn surrounded and captured. The greater effort of the enemy was directed against the positions occupied by the "Black Flames" of the 2nd Company. Short, small struggles, which were always solved in favor of the Italians. In one of them, the Aspirant Pulzella fell, with hit on the front.

At 14:00 hours, preceded by a brief artillery fire, a new Austrian attack began. One could see the enemy units in front of S. Daniele and then climbing the mountain. No fewer than five battalions, the Arditi armed with rifles firing like possessed: the machine gun sings. Even the wounded were on the line: those who guarded some prisoners gathered them in a cave, freed themselves and participated in the defense. The enemy climbed slowly, accused the impacts, stopped, fled. At the time the ammunition was running out, the weapons had no more projectiles; Only a few bombs remain that will be used in case of the last resistance. It was forbidden to use them without a precise order. The knapsacks of the killed soldiers were revised: the nearby caves were raked. Two boxes of Austrian bombs were greeted with joy.

The Austrian attack begins again: not more than half an hour ago had finished the other. Literally decimated the Austrians came almost to the line. A few meters were stopped because of the bombs. The commander of the second company was seriously injured. The Arditi were reduced to a few dozen, exhausted by the long struggle. A new attack, which broke out at about 16:00 hours, reached the trenches, too long to be defended by a few men who retreated to the fortress at the top of the mountain. There the enemy was rejected again and this time forever. At night, the front stretched from the Rávnica route along the eastern slopes of S. Gabriele, and then in its turn was set to the west of S. Caterina's stronghold.

At 19:00 hours the mentioned line was given to the infantry for their defense. 3,127 prisoners, including a wounded general and two colonels, 55 machine guns, 26 trench guns and several grenade launchers, were the loot captured by the 475 "Black Flames", which was the total men of the three companies used in this action. However, hundreds of other Austrians, who refused to surrender, remained in the caves traversed by the Arditi daggers of the assault detachment. A guard of honor of the brave enemies mounted by the heroic souls of the Ten. Stefanoni, the Aspirant Pulzella and 59 Arditi.

Sources: Salvatore Farina. Gli arditi sul San Gabriele, 4 settembre 1917.

Cheers. Raúl M 8-).
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Re: Monte San Gabriele 1917.

Postby tigre » 19 May 2017 01:31

Hello to all :D; more..........................................

The fight for Monte S. Gabriele (Škabrijel).

Sources: http://www.ebay.ie/itm/1917-WWI-WW1-PRI ... SwLEtYm4dz

Cheers. Raúl M 8-).
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