This article transports readers to a most treacherous battle of World War I fought 100 years ago. (Another connection to Noonday and Peaky Blinders. See post from June 10 and current topic on the Reading Page.) Austrian and Italian soldiers climbed the mountains of northern Italy in snow and extreme cold. High mountains had never before been a battlefield.
In spring 1915, the Italians abandoned their alliance with Austria-Hungary and Germany to join the United Kingdom, France and Russia. In subzero temperatures small units dug miles of tunnels through glacial ice. They hauled heavy artillery and other instruments of war up the mountain. This is one of the least-known battlefields of that war.
Reading of these war events stabs at the soul. Such hardship. One misstep can be easily fatal, but….so is war for so many. The whole operation is rightly described as daring and difficult. The article by Brian Mockenhaupt with photos by Stefen Chow is a mesmerizing read.
The beauty and horror in this place, the geology, geography and archaeology are more exciting than any futuristic scenario. See more photographs of alpine battlefields at Smithsonian.com/dolomites. Through cracks in the rocks Italian tunnelers could smell the cooking of the Austrians. These alpine battles may have been of lesser importance in the grand horrors of the war but the causalities were real as was the suspenseful adventure scaling and digging among the cold rocky peaks. It must have been difficult just to catch one’s breath!
See more at Smithsonian.com