Italian Infantry Charge

Italian Infantry ChargeThis is a really interesting photo of a group of Italian soldiers charging an Austrian position. The date of this photograph is not known but it is likely early in the war, since there are no visible trenches. Early on both sides relied on tactics of maneuver and movement, often charging enemy positions head on with fixed bayonets. Military doctrine held that these charges would sweep the enemy away. Courage and fighting spirit were considered more effective weapons than guns and steel. But in fact these charges often resulted in the attackers being massacred, as they were mowed down by machine gun fire.

 

Contrary to the military doctrine developed by the generals, in actual practice the weapons of world war 1 favoured defence over offence. Barbed wire, trenches, land mines, and machine guns allowed entrenched troops to hold out against attacks and inflict heavy losses on the attackers. Soon both sides realized this and there came into being a vast network of trenches stretching all along the western front and the Italian front.

It is also interesting to note that these Italian soldiers are not wearing any helmets or protective gear. And they are advancing in a very close formation, making them easy targets for a well placed mortar shell or a machine gun nest.

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