Italian Breakthrough on the Isonzo
August 22 1917, Gorizia–The initial Italian attacks in the Eleventh Battle of the Isonzo had made progress mostly on the Bainsizza plateau. After continued attacks, by the evening of August 21 the Italians had opened up a gap a mile wide in the Austrian lines. The next morning, the Italians, with the help of Fiat trucks, had been able to rush up further reinforcements to exploit this. The Austrians, on the other hand, were nearly out of reserves and had a truck shortage; no reserves could reach the Bainsizza for another twenty four hours. This would prove to be too late.
On August 22, the Italians completely overran the last Austrian lines on the Bainsizza and began advancing into the undefended forests beyond. One Austrian said that “the human wall that had withstood ten battles has burst.” Boroevic met with Emperor Charles, who happened to be visiting the front, that afternoon, and informed him of the gravity of the situation. Charles, who had witnessed the ferocity of the fighting to the west, soon agreed with Boroevic that there was no choice but to order a retreat off of the Bainsizza plateau and hope to regroup to the east before the Italians could exploit their victory. At 9PM, Boroevic ordered a general retreat for the next day, hoping that a final artillery barrage could provide some cover for it.
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