The Revenge - Die Rache
Edited by Jim Haugh-Pennsylvania/USA
sun rose early in the morning, it was a clear sky and very quiet
although occasionally one could hear a rifle shot. Italian heavy
artillery had not yet started firing because both sides were enjoying
to the Italians, behind hill “Costa Alta” within Austrian defence
lines (at Millegrobbe) a small group of Austrian soldiers and officers
were very busy.
battery stopped in
the help of many volunteers, heavy shells were being moved, and powder
cans loaded. Two Austrian observation officers were looking at
topographical maps while communi
officer raised his head…. heavy winds were coming
from the South. He looked at his trajectory tables and thought
…”it’ll be difficult
but we’ll do our best”..
rare photo of the mortar at Millegrobbe which destroyed
the same time, two Italian officers in the observation turret of
day, hundreds sometimes over a thousand, medium and heavy shells
bombarded Austrian fortifi
was little if any territorial gain, and the losses in human life were
staggering. In his binoculars, an officer viewed the heavy destruction
inflicted on the Austrian forts, almost all of Luserna’s gun turrets
were destroyed………only one of the four appeared to be operational.
side of heavily damaged
turrets of Austrian Fort Luserna ,the concrete roof still intact
osservation turret of Austrian Fort Vezzena
Fort Sommo Alto after heavy bombardment,but still intact
Fort Verle after heavy Italian shell firing, still, the Fort defended
itself with great success against any enemy attacks
Fort Verle, the entire area was completely destroyed by heavy Italian
put down his binoculars , looking to his comrade he said “What’s
that, do you hear it?”
the other side something was coming over, there was a deep roar in the
air, seconds later, the sound changed into a high whistling…….
was no time to ask ,no time to discuss.no time for explanation.
there was a tremendous explosion in front of
and section of Italian
first shot fell short. The Austrians
busied themselves making elevation adjustments.
a second M11 was sighted in and fired.
again, the mountains amplified a sound like a huge hornet buzzing its
later, the shell impacted behind the fort……..too far!
both sides soldiers were raising their heads from the trenches. This was
a new sound, never heard before!
now it was becoming regular, every three or four minutes!
two Italian Forts were 5 Km from each other yet the impact of the shells
was easy to observe..
came closer and closer………..
said it was the fifth shell someone said it was the seventh, but there
was a direct hit on
men died instantly together with their commander captain Umberto
Trucchetti, (2/3 of the squad died in less than a second!),
Ammunition started to explode in the casemates almost blowing the
fort in half!! Survivors were fleeing in shock.
terrible hit of the M11 shell behind the 3.turret of
terrible hit of the M11 shell behind the 3.turret of
officers on the roof of
Fort Campolongo , the turrets were blown out, hit directly by M11 shells.
pic shows the Fort from behind
both sides soldiers were climbing out of their trenches, no one was even
thinking about shooting…. everyone was still in shock.
the hill of Costa Alta the two Austrian officers were smiling, and
thinking “job well done”. The mortar being perfectly adjusted, it
was time for a coffee break!..
at Millegrobbe the squad of mortar No.1
were still busy working, (shell weight was 384 kilos).
thing for the squad of mortar No.2 lo
Italian squad of volunteers comanded by an unknown officer caught hold
of their senses and quickly armed the two remaining turrets of
Austrian mortars continued with their systematic destruction of the
the M11’s sighted in, Forts Verena and Campolongo were hit every time.
Quickly, the squad of
half a day both forts were silenced forever never again to be rearmed.
turrets were ordered in 1914 from German Krupp steel facilities, but due
to a neutrality declaration by the Italian government (The Italian side
was an allied of
149G cannons and 6 guns of 280mm relo
used as target practice for the second Austrian mortar M11 Battery.
the same day, fire was directed against Italian artillery positions,
Most were destroyed or
heavily damaged in a very short time.
commanders were totally caught off guard by the Austrian mortar
batteries and it’s precision fire.
Italian defences built 1912-15 were state of the art modern construction
made to defend against all the weapons known to Italian command. Roof
armament was standard 2 meters of concrete without steel
the concrete was weak because it was mixed with large stones and rocks
and any heavy shells especially the M11’s could easily penetrate it.
forts with their 149G
cannons couldn´t hit Austrian mortar positions behind the hills, it was
a strategic error to arm these forts with cannons instead of howitzers.
the M11,there was a little bit of time to make some small talk,the main
destruction work was already done
1915 and spring 1916 all Austrian forts were repaired and reinforced
with better concrete roofs, now up to 5 m of thick. New armament and
heavy turrets arrived but they were still fitted with 100mm howitzers.
Italians started building
new mobile field artillery positions.
May 1916 artillery duells between both sides continued, until the big
Austrian offensive, called the “Strafexpedition” or “punishment
expedition”. The offensive rolled off the entire Italian line and
brought Austrians from the mountains down to Asiago, where they were
finally stopped by Italian defenders. Austrian logistics were too poor
to advance and German reinforcements had not arrived.
the May 1916 campaign Austrians had a few new surprises. To assist the
mortars they brought the “Barbara”,a 380mm Howitzer and “Gudrun”
a 420mm Howitzer. The weapons were mobile and transported by a
during transport with
position was Malga Laghetto and with her heavy shells finished off
380mm Howitzer “Barbara”,ready to fire
grossweight of this arm was 81,7 tons,it was assembled from three pieces
like the M11 Mortar
Maximum firing range was 14600 m
“Howitzer “Barabara” during loading procedure,the shell weight was 740 Kg! In front of the gun the prepared powder cans, one gunner is adjusting elevation for the next shot
“Gudrun”,caliber 420mm nearby Malga Laghetto in the Lavarone
district,the biggest mobile Austrian howitzer
weight was 1000Kg!!
range 14700 m
was 113 tons
of heavy 420mm shells for “Gudrun”
420mm/M14 howitzer being fired. It was lo
and the M11-Mortars supported the attack against Italian lines at
one day all Italian defence positions were completely destroyed,
Austrians advanced with small losses and captured all Italian Forts and
Italian front broke completely and everyone retreated to Asiago.
Italians never recaptured their Forts, only when an armistice was signed
data of Italian Forts:
turrets with 149G Cannons,2 cannons type 75A and 6 machine guns
Turrets 149G cannons and some smaller artillery devices.Machine guns
4 cannons 149G in field positions and 3 Batteries of 280mm cannons (6 guns).Also 4 cannons type 75A and some machine guns
all Forts were lo
by Jim Haugh /Pennsylvania-USA,Cortesy of Jim Haugh
Mößlang Optik Heydenreich