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  1. Regions
  2. Dolomites
  3. Mountain warfare

Mountain warfare

Since the Middle Ages the Dolomites formed a natural border between Germany or Austria and Italy. The mighty mountains were/are not only a political frontier, but also a linguistic one.

One of the most tragic in the history of the Dolomites was the war for exactly this boundary during World War I from 1915 to 1917. The front line between Italian and Austro-Hungarian forces passed through the Dolomites. The soldiers on both sides excavated miles long tunnels and galleries in the mountains, built temporary emplacements and fired at one another, without really changing the front line.

The static warfare lasted almost 4 years and had a fatal ending for many soldiers, who died more often from hunger and cold than from hostile projectiles. Supply was difficult and in winter, the soldiers often had to wait for weeks without getting supplies. The casualties at both sides were enormous and the ending of the war was finally fixed on paper and since 1919, the border between Austria and Italy follows the main chain of the Alps.

In many places remains of emplacements and tunnels remind us of the events during World War I. Those who walk and hike here, should always treat the ruins with respect and keep in mind the past. 

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