Jump to content
Free downloads from TNA ×
The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

The Astonishing White War


Recommended Posts

Am just back from a snowshoeing trip the Dolomites, where I've been climbing up to some truly spectacular WW1 battlefields. Here are a few shots of these extraordinary battlefields under snow.


Reconstructed Italian barracks on the Cinque Torri, Austrian positions on the peak to the right (Lagazuoi Piccolo)



My youngest son outside the entrance to one of the Austrian tunnels on Lagazuoi Piccolo



Austrian machine-gun position on Lagazuoi, overlooking the entrance to the Val Travenanzes and the Italian-held Monte Tofane



Reconstructed Austrian hut on the Lagazuoi



The Tofane (on the left) was held by the Italians, and the Castelletto (the flake of rock in the centre of photo) was held by the Austrians. To oust the Austrians the Italians dug a 400m tunnel through the Tofane and under the Castelletto, then detonated a 35 tonne mine beneath it. Three days of hand-to-hand combat in the tunnels and crater resulted in the Italians finally taking the Castelletto. 



Passo Sentinella, between the Cima Undici (right) and the Croda Rossa (left), was bitterly contested over the freezing winter of 1916/17 (a temp of -42°C was recorded up there in Feb 1917). The Italians finally took the pass, climbed up the cliffs of the Croda Rossa and "dug" themselves in 30m below the Austrians. This was, literally, a vertical war.



Col di Lana (aka "mountain of blood"). More than 10,000 Italians were killed trying to take Col di Lana. In the end they tunnelled beneath it and blew a 5 tonne mine (where the lefthand red X is). The Austrians lost 300 men and withdrew along a very narrow ridge to Monte Sief. So the Italians dug another mine and exploded it beneath Austrian positions (middle red X). The Austrians withdrew further and exploded a 45 tonne mine (righthand red X) that completely demolished the ridge and made Sief virtually impregnable.



Forcella V at 3000m on Monte Marmolada, the front line from Spring 1916 to November 1917. There is a 2000ft vertical drop down the south face (righthand photo), where you can still see tunnels, ladders and remains of the original via ferratas. Three mines were exploded up here.



A great trip, but very physically demanding. I couldn't have done it without the help of my son, with his trail-breaking and mountain skills. And I love sharing these experiences with my sons, all of whom are becoming very familiar with the Italian Front.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 minute ago, michaeldr said:

Beautiful, amazing pictures; thank you so much

And the story of Tofane/Castelletto – incredible

Thanks again

The commander of the Castelletto said afterwards that the drilling beneath them was awful, but when the drilling stopped they knew what was about to happen.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Stunning photos and notes - as usual Tom = Thanks


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you for posting the excellent  photographs and information, really appreciate it. Incredibly difficult conditions to operate in.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Absolutely staggeringly good shots Tom, thank you; I'm feeling slightly lightheaded just looking at them. Fantastic that it's fun for all the family too......


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...