Figure that still stimulates debate, Luigi Cadorna (1850 - 1928) was a general of the Royal Italian Army of great determination and offensive spirit. His famous "shouldered" have gone down in history for having worn the spirit and morale of his men, compared with modest results against the enemy army.
Cadorna was a severe general and a supporter of decimation as a response to acts of mutiny or cowardice, as evidenced by two circulars of 1916 issued by him:
"... when the identification of...
Mount Ortigara was the scene of the battle that, according to Cadorna, would mark the Italian comeback in Trentino after having checked the enemy at the Battle of Asiago (Strafexpedition). Despite the abundance of men and means at their disposal, the offensive on Ortigara turned into a bloody disappointment. The hardships suffered by the Italian Alpini gave rise to the legendary status of these mountain troops.
In June, a long series of bloody Italian offensives began on the Isonzo front. Forced to attack on unfavourable terrain, with few machine guns and a shortage of heavy artillery, Italian troops were soon forced to an exhausting war of position.
With the entry of Italy into World War I, Cadorna finally had a way to put in practice his convictions on carrying out the offensive. He presented himself at the front as an esteemed general, but still lacked experience. In fact during the various wars fought by Italy until then, military campaigns with often uncertain and sometimes disastrous results, he had never occupied positions of command.
The Isonzo valley was the front of intense Italian efforts to open a breach between the Austro-Hungarian defences. The line of combat stretched from Mount Tolmino as far as the sea.
Because Italy had entered the war to free the 'Irredenta' territories - Trento and Trieste - it was a necessity to attack. On the Isonzo front the Italian supreme commander, General Luigi Cadorna, trusting in a victory in short time, unleashed between June 1915 and August 1917 eleven useless offensives.
"May any cowardice die here. Let all the classes and all parties that sincerely love the homeland merge in a single outburst of pride and faith, to repeat as during the memorable days of May 1915 to the enemy who listened in ambush: Italy knows only the way of honour."
(Gen. Luigi Cadorna)
(Gen. Luigi Cadorna)