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Award "The Tagliamento and the First World War"

Under the patronage of:

City of
San Daniele del Friuli

Town of

Town of
Pinzano al

Town of
Forgaria nel Friuli
Great War Museum
of Ragogna

Award “Il Tagliamento e la Grande Guerra”
The ARI Section of the The Italian Amateur Radio Club of San Daniele del Friuli promotes the award “Il Tagliamento e la Grande Guerra” in order to celebrate the 100 years anniversary of the combats occurred during the First World War in the area between the River Tagliamento and the Mount Ragogna.

The award wishes to honour fallen, wounded and prisoners of all armies and the suffering of the people of Friuli during the enemy occupation.

Historical notes

From October 30th and November 3rd, 1917, one of the most important engagements of the withdrawal was fought among Pinzano, Ragogna and Forgaria: the Battle of Ragogna and the Breakthrough of Cornino.
On October 30th no less than four imperial divisions converged towards the Pinzano and Cornino bridges, whose defenses were centered around Mt. Ragogna and the “ClapÓt”.
The Mt. Ragogna ridgeline was manned by the “Bologna” Brigade and other detachments under the command of General Di Giorgio.
Notwithstanding the evident inferiority in men and equipment  and the unfavorable situation for the defenders, who were fighting with a crumbling morale and from poorly built trenches, the order by the Italian commands was clear: “Resist at all costs!”.
The Austrian troops, after having uselessly attacked the Cornino bridge, which was effectively defended by machine guns on the ClapÓt islet and by the few Italian artillery pieces deployed on the right of the river, attacked Mt. Ragogna on October 31st.
The German Alpenkorps, which Lieutenant E. Rommel was serving in, crossing Pontaiba on November 3rd, 1917 just behind the first vanguard units, was committed towards the Bonzicco bridge and in the Aonedis area.
At 03:00 a.m. on November 1st, the machine gunners deployed on the ClapÓt islet disengaged across the swollen Tagliamento towards its right shore, damaging the Western span of the Cornino bridge that unfortunately  was not entirely demolished.
At the same time, the footbridge of Pontaiba, too, had been seriously compromised: the one way out for the heroic infantrymen of the “Bologna” Brigade remained the Pinzano bridge.
On the morning of November 1st, the 12th Division, supported by tens of batteries and a regiment of the 13th SchŘtzen, launched the attack that was meant to be decisive. But, even if they came within some 300 meters of the Pinzano bridge, the Silesians' drive was pushed back by the survivors of the “Bologna” Brigade.
However, given the severity of the situation, General Sanna, commander of the 33rd Division and therefore of the whole front interested, ordered the Pinzano bridge to be blown up. The destruction, carried out at 11:45 a.m., closed any possibility of retreat for those who were defending the Mt. Ragogna trenches on the left of the Tagliamento: nevertheless, the infantrymen opposed a hopeless resistance until sunset, when it was unavoidably overcome.
The overall commander of the Imperial 14th Army, General Otto von Below, conceded the honors of war to the warriors of the “Bologna” and to their valiant commander, Colonel Carlo Rocca.
Between November 1st and 2nd, with support by the daring action of the artillery deployed right in the first line, and exploiting the uncertain attitude of the Italian commanders, the Bosnian soldiers of Major Redl (K.u.K. I.R. IV/4║) firstly occupied the islet of ClapÓt, and then they assaulted the thinly stretched companies of the “Lombardia” Brigade, entrenched on the right shore of the Tagliamento. Notwithstanding their combative resistance, the infantrymen were overcome, and in the night of November 3rd the Austrians of the “Krauss” Group overwhelmed the Italian defense line, encircling and destroying most of the “Lombardia” Brigade, which bravely fought in the vicinity of San Rocco and on the highland of Mt. Prat.
The defensive action of Mt. Ragogna allowed the Royal Army's columns to gain the time needed to organize an effective withdrawal, and to complete the defense line on the new front (Piave - Grappa - Altipiani). A doubt was cast on the invincibility of the attackers, who had to commit significant efforts for the above-mentioned repeated attacks. In the end, the Italian soldiers fighting between Ragogna and Forgaria, (some 7,500 men), by withstanding the impact by enormously stronger in numbers and equipment (at least 25,000 men), offered to the bulk of the Royal Army that time delay that in the final analysis was shown to be indispensable for the purposes of the recovery from the River Piave.

(Courtesy dr. Marco Pascoli – Grande Guerra Museum – Ragogna)