chapter  5
31 Pages

The Breakthrough Cannot Be Repeated from the North

The village of Longarone, sited in a crucial position in the upper Piave Valley, was taken on 9 November after 1 0 days of hard fighting by the Schiitzen of the Krauss Group's 22nd Division. However, the rewards for all this were quite modest. General Krafft mentioned that out of three corps of General di Robilant's Italian 4th Army retreating from Cadore only 1 0,000 prisoners were taken together with 1 00 machine guns and 27 artillery pieces. On a positive note, Krafft mentions that the road to Belluno was now open to the 14th Army. 1

The three divisions of Krauss Group sent by von Below on the 'Longarone expedition' - the German Jagers, the Austro-Hungarian Edelweiss and 22nd Schiitzen - were all well trained in mountain warfare. They were dispatched towards the upper Piave Valley with the objective of reaching Belluno, the provincial seat of Cadore, and thereby blocking the retreat of what was left of the Italian 4th Army. According to General Krafft, both the Jager and the Edelweiss Divisions had crossed the upper Tagliamento on 5 November and were in position to move through the mountains to Longarone. This indicates that at that time, the Italian 4th Army was approximately six days ahead of the enemy coming from the east.