​​​​​​ 

<< ​1915 | The operation plans | ​​The first year of war >>

In view of the going to war, General Cadorna conceived an operational plan that would have included the Italian effort in the efforts of the Allies in a really coordinated and efficient way. In fact, Cadorna established: defensive along the Trentino front; offensive on the Giulio front towards Lubiana and Zagabria; possible offensives from Cadore and from Carnia.

The apparently ambitious plan was justified by an important prerequisite: the involvement of the Serbian Army from the low Sava to Lubiana and of the Russian Army from Carpazi in the Hungarian plateau.

The formation of the Italian Army was carried out consequently:
  • 1st Army: Trentino-Adige sector, from Stelvio to Croda Grande;
  • 4th Army: Cadore sector, from Croda Grande to M. Peralba;
  • Carnia zone (independent Command; then​ 12th​ Army Corps at direct dependencies of the Superior Command): from M. Peralba to M. Maggiore;
  • 2nd Army: from M.Maggiore to Prepotto;
  • 3rd Army (of Carso): from Prepotto to the sea.
After the gathering on 13th​ June 1915, there were: 569 battalions, 173 squadrons, 512 artilleries (two-fifths to bar 560 km of the border between the Stelvio and M. Canin, two-fifths on the Giulio front for 70 km and a fifth as reserve).

As regards the operational plan of the Austro-Hungarian Command it is to say that the Chief of the Imperial General Staff, Franz Conrad von Hoetzendorf, had firstly thought to a decisive action against Italy: gathering a big mass in the basin of Lubiana and waiting for the Italians in order to defeat them definitely.

To carry out this operational plan he asked for the involvement of 10 German divisions; the refusal of the Chief of the German General Staff, Erich von Falkenhayn, forced to change the project. As a consequence, General Conrad established to resist on the excellent defensive positions along the border in order to weaken the Italian forces using the minimum of theirs and continuing the currently actions against Russia. For that reason the positions along the border were prepared to defend it, by integrating and reinforcing the efficiency of the permanent fortifications. In addition to mountain barriers, great works were carried out on the Rombon, Monte Negro, at the bridgeheads of Tolmino and Gorizia and on the Carso.

The Austro-Hungarian Army at the Italian front wanted to keep having a defensive attitude and it was deployed as follow:
  • the Army of Tiralo, Stelvio and M. Peralba;
  • the Army of Carinzia, from M.Peralba to the highest Isonzo;
  • the Army of Isonzo, from the highest Isonzo to the sea.
They were totally 234 battalions, 21 squadrons, 155 gun batteries, along with the Bavarian Alpenkorps that wa​s deployed in Trentino, even if there was not an official state of war between Italy and Germany.
Although the Austro-Hungarian forces were inferior in number respect to the Italian ones, they had the advantage of fighting from strong positions and organized to defend, thanks to permanent fortifications and hard works.​