The Piave Offensive June–July 1918


Map Code: Ax00259

With Russia out of the war, Germany was keen for Austria-Hungary to make a decisive strike against Italy, in the hope that it might divert Allied troops from the western front. The Austro-Hungarian Chief of Staff, von Straussenburg, buoyed by the decisive victory at Caporetto, decided on a broad frontal assault on the Italian positions along the River Piave. The new Italian Chief of Staff, Armando Diaz had, however, absorbed some lessons from Caporetto; he rejected his predecessor’s rigid approach to battle management and encouraged initiative, mobility and a layered defensive line. While the eastern wing of the offensive met with some success forming a bridgehead over the Piave, the western wing became bogged down in assault on the town of Asiago. Under heavy bombardment the bridgehead had to be abandoned, with many soldiers captured or drowned. Fought to a standstill, the offensive was called off at the end of June.

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