Battle of Piave, 15-23 June 1918

Last Austrian offensive on the Italian front during the First World War. German troops had been withdrawn to the Western Front, and the Germans expected the Austrians to be able to at least hold their own against Italy now that they no longer had to fight the Russians. Unfortunately, the Austrians managed to recreate a two front war for themselves. Both Baron Svetozan Borojevic von Bojna, commanding on the Paive front, and Franz con Conrad, commanding on the Trentino front, demanded control of the great offensive, and a stupid compromise was reached whereby they both launched attacks simultaneously. It was almost impossible to move troops from one front to the other with any speed, while the Italians were fighting on interior lines and were easily able to move troops to respond to any threat. Not only that, the Austrian army by this point did not have the capacity to support two major campaigns, and so by splitting the attack, the Austrians doomed it from the start. Both attacks were launched on 15 June. Borojevic had some initial success, but Conrad's attack stalled from the start, allowing the Italian commander, Armando Diaz, to use his reserves to support the Piave front. Unable to gain reinforcements, Borojevic was forced to retreat back over the River Piave, and by the morning of 23 June was back where he had started, although at the cost of 150,000 men and of any effectiveness remaining in his army.

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How to cite this article: Rickard, J. (4 March 2001), Battle of Piave, 15-23 June 1918, http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/battles_piave.html

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