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Excerpt[]

The final chapter of the fierce fighting in 1918 between the Austro-Hungarian Empire and the Kingdom of Italy. Battles raged across mountains, rivers and rugged coastlines, among fortresses and trenches, at the top of the world and at the surface of the sea. Like the Western Front, the frontlines stretched across vast areas of northern Italy, areas recently claimed by Austria-Hungary. Italy prepared for the final battles to reclaim their lost lands.

Introduction[]

Narrator/Announcer: On the anniversary of their humiliating defeat at Caporetto, the Italian Army launched a huge assault to win back the land they had lost from the now well prepared Austro-Hungarians. This would be the ultimate test for both of these courageous armies.

Monte Grappa[]

Kingdom of Italy[]

Introduction[]

Italian Soldier (in Italian): Non dimenticheremo mai l'indelebile vergona causata al paese dalla disfatta di Caporetto. Oggi possiamo lenire quel dolore, riconquistando le terre cadute sotto il giogo degli invasori asburgici. Prega per me, mamma. Prega per il Regno d'Italia. (We will never forget the shame that our defeat at Caporetto brought to this country. Today we have a chance to ease that pain by reclaiming those lands that we lost to the Habsburg invaders. So pray for me, mother. Pray for the Kingdom of Italy.)

Briefing[]

VENETIAN ALPS 1918

Italian Officer: Orders from General Diaz, soldato. Three objectives. First, the Church of San de Rocco must be taken. After this, we move immediately through la Valle Di Seren. Then, with this momentum, we must move on and reclaim the great Fort de Ferro over here. This will cut the entire Austro-Hungarian army in two, allowing us to finish them by the coast.

First Battalion Lost[]

Italian Officer: Our attack has failed. But this fight is not over. If we pull together, like true Italians, then these walls of rock that face us, they will crumble, and the empire will fall!

Second Battalion Lost[]

Italian Officer: Our attacks have failed. The Austrians managed to hold their ground. We're going to put every last man, into this coming attack, our last chance to take back the fortress. Avanti Savoia![note 1]

Third Battalion Lost (Defeat)[]

Italian Officer: We may have lost the battle, but our honor remains, for you fought well. Hold your heads up high, and know, you did all you could.

Victory[]

Italian Officer: Yes, soldati! We've broken through and captured the fortress. Our cries of victory will be heard across all of Europe. We will now join our forces on the Adriatic Coast for the final push.

Austro-Hungarian Empire[]

Introduction[]

Austro-Hungarian Soldier (in German): Heute morgen sah ich einen Adler über den Berg kreisen. Ich kam nicht umhin, an unseren Reichsadler zu denken, der uns die wahre Größe unserer Ideale zeigt - so majestätisch, so erhaben. Er kann von dort oben sicher die Italiener sehen. Wie dieser Raubvogel werde iche sie mir holen, einen nach dem anderen. (This morning I saw an eagle soaring above the mountain. I could not help thinking it was our Imperial Eagle showing us the true height of our ambitions and ideals—it was majestic, it was glorious. From up there, it can surely see the Italians. Like that bird of prey we will soon be picking them off, one by one.)

Briefing[]

VENETIAN ALPS 1918

Austro-Hungarian Officer: Soldaten, the Italians are upon us. We must hold the Church of San Rocco. If we are overcome, fall back to our second line in the Valley of Seren. Should we lose the pass, do not despair. We will retreat to our fortress. There, we will win. Be bold, men, the empire unites us!

First Battalion Defeated[]

Austro-Hungarian Officer: We defended well. Now, breathe deeply, men. Shout out with pride at this small victory, then steel yourselves again, for our fight is not over. Onward!

Second Battalion Defeated[]

Austro-Hungarian Officer: We won. The empire is close to victory. The Italian ranks are diminishing, but we expect one final attack. Let's show these usurpers who truly rules these mountainous lands!

Third Battalion Defeated (Victory)[]

Austro-Hungarian Officer: We have defeated these Italians with a hurricane of fire! You set an example for the Central Powers across the world! Be proud.

Defeat[]

Austro-Hungarian Officer: We have lost the fortress, and more fortresses have fallen up here in the Dolomites. We've been ordered to join the defenses on the coast, where we will have a better chance of defending our glorious empire.

Intermission[]

Narrator/Announcer: The Italian victory in the mountains meant that the Austro-Hungarian line was breached and its armies divided. Subsequently, the fighting moved south towards the Adriatic Coast, where the empire forces were determined to put up one last fight.

Empire's Edge[]

Kingdom of Italy[]

Introduction[]

Italian Soldier (in Italian): Massimo. Ci dirigiamo verso nuove piosizioni, sulla costa. Accanto agli uomini rombano potenti mezzi corazzati. Siamo in una nuova era! La nostra prossima vittoria sarà decisiva, il passo finale per riunificare il Regno d'Italia. Avanti, fratello. (Massimo. We are now moving to new positions on the coast. Great armored cars moving side-by-side with rows of men. Modern times indeed. This victory will be decisive. The final step to unify the kingdom of Italy. Onwards, brother.)

Briefing[]

ADRIATIC COAST 1918

Italian Officer: Brothers, the retreating imperial forces are once more rooting themselves in our beloved kingdom. We must move quickly. Secure Hill 201 immediately. Then, swiftly take the old Castello at the top of this hill. Finally, we must capture the heavily defended fortress protecting the seafront. Do this, and our war is won.

First Battalion Lost[]

Italian Officer: There is no shame in defeat, men. We fought like wolves, and like the wolf, we are stubborn. So let us fight again, for the honor of the Kingdom of Italy!

Second Battalion Lost[]

Italian Officer: The attack failed. The Austrians defended well. We now only have one last chance to unite and fight like we did in the mountains. Then, only then, can we bring an end to this war.

Third Battalion Lost (Defeat)[]

Italian Officer: Soldati! Though we have lost this fight, take up. For Italy is a newly born nation. When we have matured, when we are fully grown, our time will come.

Victory[]

Italian Officer: Fantastico, fratelli! Revel in your freedom and gaze upon this land of ours, the Kingdom of Italy! Our Sacro Egoismo[note 2] is an example to the entire world.

Austro-Hungarian Empire[]

Introduction[]

Austro-Hungarian Soldier (in German): Es ist keine Schande, eine Schlacht zu verlieren. Wir haben gekämpft wie die Löwen, aber sie waren stärker. An der Küste werden wir aufs Neue wie die Löwen kämpfen. Denn wir haben geschworen, die Ehre des Reichs zu verteidigen. Und als Männer von Ehre stehen wir zu unserem Wort. (There is nothing shameful in defeat. We fought like lions but they were stronger. At the coast we will fight like lions again. For we have sworn to defend the honor of the Empire. And, we men of honor stand by our word.)

Briefing[]

ADRIATIC COAST 1918

Austro-Hungarian Officer: Soldaten, they are upon us again, attacking our last defenses. This hill will be their first target. Should they somehow defeat us here, then we must fall back to the old Castello and never relinquish it. If we lose the Castello, then we have no choice but to retreat to our last fortress above the sea. There, none shall pass!

​First Battalion Defeated[]

Austro-Hungarian Officer: We have destroyed the attackers with an iron fist. With our fire and our steel we have driven back those usurpers. The might of our empire is neverending. We will win this war!

​Second Battalion Defeated[]

Austro-Hungarian Officer: We stand victorious once again. But the Italians are preparing for one final attack. Let them come. Let them fail. These lands belong to the empire.

​Third Battalion Defeated (Victory)[]

Austro-Hungarian Officer: This triumph will be a turning point. Imperial forces all over Europe will hear of our victory and shout out the name of the emperor! We are an inspiration, brothers! This is an historic day.

Defeat[]

Austro-Hungarian Officer: Brothers of all nations we are defeated. But your hearts, they are still beating! And the spirit of our fraternity will live on!

Conclusion[]

Kingdom of Italy Victory[]

Narrator/Announcer: The Italian victory, known as the "Vittorio Veneto", brought an end to the war in the Italian front and resulted in the complete collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. This also meant the war on the Western Front would soon come to an end.

Austro-Hungarian Empire Victory[]

Narrator/Announcer: One can only speculate what an Austro-Hungarian victory would have meant for the future of Europe. It is possible success could have united the crumbling empire, allowing the Habsburgs to keep control of their countries, races, and ethnicities for at least a few months longer.

Notes[]

  1. Loosely translates as "Long live Savoy!"
  2. Italian for "Sacred Self-Interest", a term used by wartime Prime Minister Antonio Salandra to describe the choice of which of the warring sides Italy should join.
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