Was World War I
an avoidable debacle ?
October 24 – November 12, 1917
Vittorio Veneto, Italy – Italian Front
Allies – Italy
Allies – France
Allies – British Empire
Associated Powers - USA
Central Powers – Austria-Hungary
Following the Battle of Caporetto, Italy had lost over 300,000 soldiers. General Armando Diaz took over as commander in chief. General Diaz set out to salvage the front line of troops along the Piave River.
General Diaz also abstained from counterattacking the Austro-Hungarian troops following the offensive in June 1918. News of the Allied victory on the Western Front lifted the spirits of Italy, and General Diaz planned an offensive at Vittorio Veneto. The Italians planned to cross the Piave and thrust across the two units of the Austro-Hungarian Army on the opposite bank.
On October 24, 1918, while having engaged the Austro-Hungarian troops in battle at Monte Grappa, the Italian Third Army made a valiant attempt to cross the river. Initially occupying the Papadopoli Island, the army crossed over to the other side. Having won over Vittorio Veneto, the Italian army made a move to close the retreat path of the Central troops. On November 3, 1918, armistice was signed and war ended on November 4.
The Austro-Hungarian Army lost over 30,000 soldiers in the Battle of Vittorio Veneto. Over 300,000 soldiers were taken captive by the Italians. The Italian losses numbered 38,000, the French lost 145 soldiers, and 374 British casualties were recorded. Apart from ending war on the Italian Front, the Battle of Vittorio Veneto marked the political disintegration of Austria-Hungary as an Empire.