The battle of Caporetto was one of the most dramatic break-through battles of the First World War and saw a combined Austrian and Germany army inflict a crushing defeat on the Italians on the Isonzo Front. The battle ended with Austrian and German troops within twenty miles of Venice, and forced Britain and France to rush troops to Italy to prop up their ally.
Amongst the German troops was the young Erwin Rommel, already a holder of the Iron Cross, First Class. He would win Imperial Germany's highest qualification, the Pour le Mérite (or Blue Max) for his leadership during the battle, where he advanced deep into Italian territory and captured thousands of prisoners.
This book covers two topics - first is the overall battle of Caporetto - the background on both sides, weaknesses of the Italian command and positions, the German plan and the course of the battle. Second is the role that Rommel and the small unit under his command played in the fighting. Rommel was one of many Germany officers whose efforts helped mould the victory, and there is no attempt to claim that his efforts were decisive, but they did play a part in his long-term success and helped make his name.
Both topics are interesting, and are covered well. The general narrative is clear, with a good use of material from both sides. The sections on Rommel are detailed and closely follow the actions of his small units. The result is a book that should be of interest to two markets - that on the First World War and that on the leaders of the Second World War.
1 - Austria Seeks German Help
2 - Italian Strategy and Tactics
3 - The Breakthrough at Caporetto
4 - Contributions to Disaster
5 - Rommel on the Kolovrat and Matajur
6 - The Advance to the Tagliamento
7 - From the Tagliamento to the Piave
8 - Rommel at Longarone
9 - The Last Battles of the Offensive
10 - Rommel on Grappa
Author: John Wilks and Eileen Wilks
Publisher: Pen & Sword Military