A History of the Great War, 1914-1918

By C. R. M. F. Cruttwell | Go to book overview

XXVII CAPORETTO AND THE DEFENCE OF THE PIAVE

I

WHEN the Austrian Staff first decided upon an attack it was proposed to deal with the 'hereditary enemy' without German assistance, except that of some heavy artillery. It was hoped to induce Ludendorff to relieve a

MAP 24. Caporetto.

sufficient number of Austrian divisions in the East. That, however, was far from Ludendorff's intention. He was not enthusiastic about attacking the Italians, and would have preferred to finish Rumania, after bringing off his hurricane coup at Riga. But if the general military position demanded it so peremptorily, he was determined, whether Karl asked for it or no, that a picked German force should do the lion's work. He rightly mistrusted the organizing power of his allies, and knew them to be incapable of using his own new method of rapidly penetrating an enemy's front by the careful co-operation of specialists of all arms. Conse-

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