The Forgotten Front: The British Campaign in Italy 1917-18

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A&C Black, Jan 1, 1998 - History - 269 pages
The importance of the Italian front in the First World War is often overlooked. Nor is it realised that British troops fought in Italy. The Forgotten Front demonstrates Italy's vital contribution to the Allied effort, including Lloyd George's plan to secure overall victory by an offensive on this front. Although his grand scheme was frustrated, British troops were committed to the theatre and played a real part in holding the Italian line and in the final victory of 1918. George H. Cassar, in an account that is original, scholarly and readable, covers both the strategic considerations and the actual fighting.

Faced by stalemate on the Western Front, Lloyd George argued strongly in 1917 for a joint Allied campaign in Italy to defeat Austria-Hungary. Knocking Germany's principal ally out of the war would lead in turn to the collapse of Germany itself. While his plan had real attractions, it also begged many questions. These allowed Haig and Robertson to join the French high command to thwarting it. The disastrous Italian defeat at Caporetto in October 1917 led, however, to the deployment of a British corps in Italy under Sir Herbert Plumer, which bolstered the Italians at a critical juncture. Subsequently led by the Earl of Cavan, British troops fought gallantly at the battle of Asiago in February to March 1918 and contributed significantly to the final defeat of Austria-Hungary at Vittorio Veneto in October.
 

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Contents

The Italian Front before Caporetto
5
The Search for a Way Forward
9
The Conflict over Aid to Italy
33
Northern France
35
Crisis in Italy
59
Caporetto and the Retreat to the Piave
61
The Arrival of British Forces
91
The MontelloAsiago Sector
108
The Battle of Asiago
135
The Battle of Asiago 1516June 1918
139
The Long Pause
167
The British Multiple Raid and Austrian
179
The Road to Victory
185
The Italian Plan 24 October 1918
187
Reflections
219
The Battle of Vittorio Veneto
251

Plumers Command
111
The Capture of the Meletta Massif
121
Bibliography
255
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Page 232 - Bruce I. Gudmundsson, Stormtroop Tactics: Innovation in the German Army, 1914-1918 (New York: Praeger, 1989), pp. 1-25 on the debate in the German Army; THE Travers, "Technology, Tactics, and Morale: Jean de Bloch, the Boer War, and British Military Theory, 1900-1914," Journal of Modern History, Vol.

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