The Slovenia Times

100 years since last battle on Isonzo Front remembered


It was 24 October 1917 when the Austro-Hungarian Army, helped by German forces, lunched the offensive which brought a breakthrough and a complete defeat of the Italian army.

The battle that ended the bloody campaign that had lasted for more than two and a half years was named the Miracle of Caporetto, as the planners of the offensive could not have imagined it being so successful.

The main commemoration for all soldiers who fought on the front, which ran from the Julian Alps in the north to the Adriatic Sea in the south, was held in Kobarid (Caporetto in Italian) with representatives from other countries, mostly Hungary, Germany and Italy.

A memorial run also took place, with runners from different countries running into the north-western town today.

Before entering Kobarid, the runners laid wreaths at the German ossuary in Tolmin, the Austro-Hungarian cemetery on Loče and at the Italian ossuary in Kobarid.

A group of Hungarian runners who have embarked on the journey left Budapest as early as 12 October.

Commemorations of the 100th anniversary of the end of one of the bloodiest fronts of WWI also featured representatives of the defence ministries from Slovenia, Hungary and Italy.

"Today, Kobarid is the capital of Europe. At the same time, we are happy to be visited by honoured guests who have paid their respects to their compatriots who fought here 100 years ago," Kobarid Mayor Robert Kavčič said.

Zdravko Likar of the Walk of Peace Foundation said it was a historic day for Kobarid. "We mostly remembered victims and the sufferings of the local population," he recapped today's ceremonies.

The events got under way in the morning, when candles were lit along the historical front lines for all the victims of WWI.

Candles were also lit in memory of all mothers and wives who had not known where their loved ones had been buried at a memorial to Field Marshal Svetozar Boroević, the commander of the Austro-Hungarian forces on the WWI Isonzo Front, above Nova Gorica.

Marko Zavrtanik, a member of the Isonzo Front Society, told the STA that they mounted the memorial to Boroević last year because at least 350,000 soldiers had died in the twelve Isonzo battles, but virtually no Austro-Hungarian memorials had been set up.

It is a memorial to "remember and warn against, not to glorify war", he added.

Meanwhile, the remembering of WWI will not conclude with the centenary of the end of the Isonzo Front, as ceremonies will continue next year, marking 100 years since the end of the Great War, Samo Bevk, an advisor to the defence minister said.


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