Sixth Battle of the Isonzo - History of World War I - WW1 - The Great War

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Sixth Battle of the Isonzo Information

Sixth Battle of the Isonzo

Date: Date
6 August-17 August 1916
Gorizia - Doberdx≤ del Lago, Italy; Opatje selo & north-western Kras, Slovenia
Italian victory
Date: 6 August-17 August 1916
Location: Gorizia - Doberdx≤ del Lago, Italy; Opatje selo & north-western Kras, Slovenia
Result: Italian victory
: Italy
Commanders and leaders:
: Luigi Cadorna
: 22 divisions
Casualties and losses:
: 51,000 (21,000 dead)

The Sixth Battle of the Isonzo also known as the Battle of Gorizia was the most successful Italian offensive along the Sońća (Isonzo) River during World War I.


Franz Graf Conrad von Hx∂tzendorf had reduced the Austro-Hungarian forces along the Sońća (Isonzo) front to reinforce his Trentino Offensive. Italian Chief-of-Staff Luigi Cadorna made good use of railroads to quickly shift troops from Trentino back to the Isonzo line for an offensive against the weakened Austro-Hungarian defenses.


On August 6 the offensive was launched against Gorizia. The offensive was concentrated in two zones: the hilly area west of the Sońća (Isonzo) river near Gorizia the westernmost edge of the Kras plateau near Doberdx≤ del Lago. In the Battle of Doberdx≤, the Italians managed to conquer the main transport road leading from the coast town of Duino to Gorizia, thus securing their advance to Gorizia from the south. The Austro-Hungarian forces had to retreat on the line east of Gorizia (Mount ҆kabrijel), leaving the heavily damaged town to the Italians.

On August 8, Gorizia fell to Cadorna and a bridgehead was finally established across the Sońća (Isonzo) River. The Austro-Hungarians shifted troops to the Gorizia sector to prevent a breakthrough. Content with having established the bridgehead, Cadorna ended the offensive on August 17.

The attack on Gorizia was the most successful Italian offensive along the Isonzo lines and greatly boosted Italian morale. In the wake of the battle Italy finally declared war against Germany, on August 28.

In later years, historians maintained that that battle (with 21,000 dead on the Italian side) was a useless and limited conquest, perhaps Cadorna's only victory. In reality, the Austrians, who were short on troops (having to fight on two fronts), retreated to Slovene territory where Cadorna sacrificed thousands of soldiers in futile attempts to advance toward Ljubljana and Trieste. The Austrians, who were better equipped, preferred to preserve their forces. The Italian generals, in an attempt to make up for their poor equipment, committed the Italians to frontal assaults, resulting in massive casualties.

If one compares the number of dead Italians and the number of dead Austrians, the one sided-ness of the proportion highlights the high cost to this limited victory. In addition, like all other battles on the Sońća (Isonzo), there were many missing soldiers, victims of the superior Austrian artillery.

First Battle of the Isonzo - 23 June-7 July 1915
Second Battle of the Isonzo - 18 July-3 August 1915
Third Battle of the Isonzo - 18 October-3 November 1915
Fourth Battle of the Isonzo - 10 November-2 December 1915
Fifth Battle of the Isonzo - 9-17 March 1916
Seventh Battle of the Isonzo - 14-17 September 1916
Eighth Battle of the Isonzo - 10-12 October 1916
Ninth Battle of the Isonzo - 1-4 November 1916
Tenth Battle of the Isonzo - 12 May-8 June 1917
Eleventh Battle of the Isonzo - 19 August-12 September 1917
Twelfth Battle of the Isonzo - 24 October-7 November 1917 also known as the Battle of Caporetto

Tucker, Spencer The Great War:1914-18 (1998)

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Source: WikiPedia

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