Narrator: Everyone was affected by the war, every corner of the world was touched. The human spirit drove us to fight when no one had dared to go before. Whether it was the mountains of the Alps or the skies above, we found a way. They said this would be the war to end all wars. But I wonder if there will ever be an end to human ambition and our will to destroy.
Italy and Austria-Hungary are deadlocked among the alps. Braced by snow-capped mountains, neither side can find a way to dislodge their enemy.
Regular forces dig in and reinforce their positions. Meanwhile, an elite mountaineer regiment prepares an unorthodox assault.
The unit specializes in high-risk tactics. They are called the Arditi.
The Arditi motto: "O la vittoria, o tutti accoppati!"Translation: We either win, or we all die.
O La VittoriaEdit
Night. Luca sits in his attic, looking over photographs on his desk, lit only by a gas light.
Becca Cocchiola: Dad? You up there?
Becca walks up stairs, into view.
Becca: Are you alright? We're ready for you to cut the cake.
Becca approaches her father and sees the photos on the desk. The photos are monochrome and well-worn, depicting photographs of the war on the Alps during World War I, including a saluting Italian soldier.
Becca: Wow. These are incredible.
Luca Vincenzo Cocchiola: Yes... It was an incredible time.
Becca: You looked very handsome in that uniform.
The screen zooms into the photograph of the saluting soldier.
Luca: That's not me. That's Matteo.
The scene shifts to the time when the photograph was taken, at an Italian base in the Alps. Soldiers shuffle around, preparing for a battle.
Becca: Oh, of course. I'm sorry, dad. Take as long as you need.
Matteo lowers his salute, turns around and sees Luca. The two embrace each other.
Luca: No, no, it's okay, tesoro[note 1]. It's time I told you about what happened to him.
Luca: It was during our last battle together. Just a few days after our twenty-first birthday. My brother's battalion had been ordered to capture a fort deep into enemy territory. I wasn't going with him.
Matteo waves Luca farewell.
Luca: I was part of a special unit with a different mission.
Luca: Our task was to support Matteo's battalion. We were a proud unit. We changed the war for Italy. The Arditi.
Capture St. Anastasia ChurchEdit
Soldier: O la vittoria, o tutti accoppati! (caption: We either win, or we all die!)
Luca and other Italian troops charge at Austro-Hungarian defenses, backed up by a round of artillery and overhead bombers.
Luca: While Matteo was pushing forward, I had to fight up the mountain and take out anything targeting his unit.
Becca: Just hearing this story makes me worried for you.
Luca: Don't worry! I was in a...a (speech: a) full suit of armor. Besides, the Arditi were proud volunteers, we would have done anything for Italy.
Luca: A church was sitting at the base of the path, enemy troops had fortified it, I had to fight them first.
Luca attacks the church, eliminating Austro-Hungarian defenses. If Luca kills all Flame Troopers in the area:
Luca: All that was left after the flame troops were some foot soldiers. After that, the church would be ours.
Luca eliminates all defenders in the church and captures it alongside other Italian soldiers.
Assault Artillery GunEdit
Luca: There was an artillery gun that was shelling us and Matteo's unit. I had to destroy it.
Luca and Italian troops exit the church and head towards the enemy fortress gun.
Becca: He was still heading to the fort?
Luca: Right. I had to make sure he got there.
Luca reaches base of the hill with the artillery.
Luca: Matteo and the entire Italian offensive was in danger as long as that artillery gun remained. So, I had to take it down.
Luca and other Italian troops ascend the hill to reach the artillery, fighting enemies along the way. Eventually, Luca reaches the Fortress Gun bunker.
Destroy Artillery GunEdit
Luca: The only way to ensure that my men were safe was to blow up the gun itself.
Luca fights enemies inside the bunker and destroys the artillery with explosives.
Luca: That explosion was one of the sweetest sights of the war for me.
Disable Anti-Aircraft GunEdit
Luca: But there was no rest. I could see an anti-aircraft gun over the next ridge that was taking out our allied planes.
Luca: (uncaptioned) That was my next target.
The AA gun shoots down several Italian bombers. Luca advances towards the AA gun.
Luca: The gun was manned by Austro-Hungarian troops, I had to remove them before I could use the gun myself.
Luca and Italian troops fight their way to the AA gun position, killing all enemies on the position.
Luca: I take down the last man, but then I hear a noise that I will never forget.
A large Austro-Hungarian bomber squadron appear in the sky, consisting of many bombers, attack planes, and fighters.
Luca: They were targeting Matteo's unit below me, so I do the only thing I can.
Luca discards his MG 08 and mans an AA gun.
Destroy Enemy BombersEdit
Luca: It was me against an entire enemy bomber squadron.
Luca uses the AA gun to shoot Austro-Hungarian bombers out of the sky.
Luca: We had no reinforcements. If those men were killed, our advance would be completely halted. And I would have lost Matteo.
Some attack planes notice Luca and begin to attack him.
Luca: After the first few went down they started targeting me. I had to stand my ground.
Luca continues to fire on Austro-Hungarian planes, destroying many.
Becca: Were you still safe behind your armor?
Luca: Of course, of course. Nothing could dent it.
An attack plane hits Luca and stuns him temporarily.
Luca: But then the planes veered away.
The Austro-Hungarian bombing squadron turns and moves away from the mountain. A few attack planes bomb the mountain itself, causing a landslide. Luca is knocked on his back. A damaged Austro-Hungarian plane crashes into Luca, knocking him out.
O Tutti AccoppatiEdit
Luca wakes up. Night had already fallen. He removes his damaged helmet.
Luca recovers and struggles to stand up.
Luca removes his armor completely and stands up. Rain begins to fall.
Luca: When I got up, I thought I had died and gone to hell.
Luca surveys his surroundings. The mountain has been covered by ash and smoke from the landslide, with burning trees dotting the landscape. The wreck of the crashed Austro-Hungarian plane burns beside him.
Luca: They blew up the mountain. They buried us. They buried themselves.
Luca sees the fortress Matteo was assaulting, surrounded by burning trees and bombed landscape.
Becca: Oh god... Matteo.
Luca: I had to find him—so I went down into that hell.
Luca picks up a Villar Perosa and heads towards the fortress.
Luca: It was my only choice.
Search for MatteoEdit
Luca: I had to find Matteo. He could have been anywhere.
Luca descends the hill to find Matteo. Fighting can be heard through the smoke and fog, and Luca encounters a few enemies searching on his way.
Defend Alpini OutpostEdit
Luca: I started with the first thing that came through the fog. There were allies pinned inside lodges. I needed to save them.
Luca reaches the bottom of the hill and enters a damaged house used by the Italians as a defensive position, fighting against attacking Austro-Hungarian troops.
Luca: We could hear them before we saw them: armored vehicles coming from the enemy fort.
Becca: But you didn't have your equipment anymore.
Luca: There were crates of enemy weapons in the lodges that we scavenged and prepared ourselves with.
A coordinated Austro-Hungarian assault begins. Austro-Hungarian troops emerge from the fog, with troop-carrying armored trucks reinforcing the assault. The assault is eventually repelled by Luca and the Italian forces.
Luca: Through sheer force of will, we took out their firepower. The lodges were safe. (speech: and) I had to move on.
Becca: You never said, was Matteo in those lodges?
Luca: No. The men said his unit had made it further up.
Search for MatteoEdit
Luca continues to search for Matteo, leaving the lodge and moving towards the fortress, eventually reaching a trench line.
Luca: Every part of me wanted to get out of the trenches, but I could hear Italian yelling, I knew my friends were trapped.
Luca enters a bunker in the trench line. Matteo's unit is found lying around, dead, exhausted, or injured.
Luca: Everywhere I looked: too late. I felt alone among ghosts. After a while I couldn't even look at the bodies. He had to have made it to the fort.
Luca leaves the bunker and heads towards the fortress, moving across the dead landscape under enemy fire.
Luca: Some of the things I saw, tesoro... I had to convince myself I wasn't dead.
Becca: Like what?
Luca: Fire, fire everywhere.
Luca reaches the trench line near the fort.
Search for Matteo Inside the FortEdit
Luca: There were two ways into the fort—I could either go through the underground tunnels or above ground by circling around the back.
Becca: Not through the front?
Luca: I no longer had my armor. It was impossible.
Luca fights into the fort.
Clear the Austrian HornEdit
Luca finds the fort full of Austro-Hungarian defenders. After fierce fighting, the fort is cleared of Austro-Hungarian troops.
Luca: I don't know how, I just knew Matteo wasn't there.
Luca opens the back entrance of the fortress. He finds a road of dead bodies and begins to search them, looking for Matteo.
Luca: I still think about that field. Every day. I'd almost stopped looking—started giving into the hope that Matteo had escaped. And then—
Luca finds Matteo's dead body.
Luca: No! No!
Luca checks Matteo's body, confirming that he is dead. Luca breaks down and starts crying, and lies down beside Matteo.
Luca: He never got older. And here I am, still. Who decides such things?
The screen zooms out into the present, showing a photograph of Luca and Matteo looking at each other.
Luca: Buon compleanno[note 2], Matteo.
The world and our view of it was changed forever.
Families were changed not only by those they lost but also by those who returned.Both the fallen and the veterans became known as the "Lost Generation".