The Battle of Caporetto — The Collapse of the Italian Arm
The Battle of Caporetto, or the Twelfth Battle of the Isonzo, in October 1917 was a spectacularly successful Austro-Hungarian/German offensive against Italian forces on the upper reaches of the river Isonzo. It led to the collapse and retreat of Italian forces across the whole of north-eastern Italy. The origin of the Battle of Caporetto lay in the eleven Italian offensives led by Luigi Cadorna along the Isonzo river from May 1915 to September 1917, that threatened to break Austro-Hungarian resistance (see Map 20). Had Austro-Hungarian units broken, as seemed possible in August 1917, Italy could have captured the port of Trieste. Austria-Hungary appealed to Germany for help. In response, Germany sent six divisions, grouped with nine Austro-Hungarian divisions into the Fourteenth Army commanded by the German general, Otto von Below, and planning began for an assault against the Italians.