September 1917

The Funnel of Carzano

Ljudevit Pivko was an irredentist Slovene lieutenant intent on striking from inside the Austro-Hungarian Empire; he became the unexpected alley of the Italians, helping them to attempt a surprise attack in order to overstep the enemy lines. Pivko handed over topographic sketches about the defense line in Valsugana; the Italian Major Cesare Pettorelli Lalatta considered reliable the sketches and the Italian Army Information Service decided to organize a surprise action in the Austro-Hungarian lines.

Starting from Scurelle on the night of September 18, Italians led by General Attilio Zincone penetrated through enemy lines thanks to the work of conspirators: open gaps in the cross-links, telephone and telegraphs lines broken, enemy soldiers who fell asleep with opium. Troops, mostly inexperienced and bad equipped, were driven through a 80-foot wide walkway, a real funnel, causing a serious delay in operations: only one battalion reached Carzano. When the enemies began to react, Zincone ordered the retreat, a command that did not reach the isolated battalion and cost heavy losses. The plan, which could have significantly changed the course of the war, failed that night.