The route: Basso Tagliamento (UD)


Following the General Plan’s approval for the defense of the national territory in 1908, in the years immediately preceding the First World War, along the border between Italy and the Austro-Hungarian Empire, was built a defense line designed to block or slow the advance of a possible invading army. This fortified line, that started in the mountains, proceeded along the hills of Friuli, following the course of the Tagliamento to the sea, consisted of 44 military work: forts, dams, battery stations and armored towers with the necessary shelters, powder magazines, stores and troop quarters.

The defensive system was divided into 3 zones :

- Upper Tagliamento: garrisons on the outlets of the Valleys of Fella and Tagliamento, with the Forts of Chiusaforte, Monte Festa, Osoppo, Mount Ercole and the nearby auxiliary batteries; other structures on Mount Miaron and on Col Rementera ensured the synergy with the &Ridotto Cadorino”.

- Middle Tagliamento: focused on the moraine belt (installations of Monte Bernadia, Buja, Tricesimo, Santa Margherita, Fagagna, Col Roncone, Buja, Monte Faeit and Colloredo) and on the bridgehead of Ragogna - Pinzano, it covered bridges, which covered the important centers of gravity of the largest river in Friuli, Cornino, Pinzano and from 1916 onwards also Pontaiba.

- Low Tagliamento: consists of the bridgeheads of Codroipo (with the strongholds of Sedegliano, Beano, Rivolto, St. Martino, Varmo) and Latisana (with the forts of Rivarotta and Precenicco).

The complex was to be able to hold an invasion for the necessary period of time for the general mobilization of the Armed Forces. The networks of workstations, sometimes the forts were served by stores, reserves, logistics, housing, entrenchment roads designed to confront the modern "sieges" as independently as possible. Of course, the sites also made use of various instruments of communication with the outside and the other forts.

 

Text by Enza Chiara Lai

La struttura difensiva di Sedegliano


The defense of the bridges on the Tagliamento was essential both to allow the passage of troops and supplies, and to ensure the ferrying of the Italian army in case of retreat...

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La struttura difensiva di Sedegliano


The defense of the bridges on the Tagliamento was essential both to allow the passage of troops and supplies, and to ensure the ferrying of the Italian army in case of retreat. In this perspective, the position of Codroipo was fundamental. The bridgehead in Codroipo included the works of Beano (to protect the railway and the road from Udine) and Rivolto (to protect the road from Palmanova) and was completed by the batteries of Sedegliano, San Martino and Varmo, which were much smaller and arranged as to defend the sidewalls of the main ones.
The defensive structure of Sedegliano consists simply of a concrete base (about 70 meters in length) in which four niches were obtained for the 149 mm guns. Particularly interesting are the raised lunettes, whose floor is reached thanks to elegant concrete staircases adjacent to the building armored shelter for munitions and troops. Although they have been walled up, one of these gates is partially open and you can enter inside. This battery was used as a defensive position during the period of "cold war".


The work of Beano


The work of Beano (in the municipality of Codroipo), built with only one floor in order to be less exposed to enemy fire, is surrounded by a moat crossed by a wooden deck that still...

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The work of Beano


The work of Beano (in the municipality of Codroipo), built with only one floor in order to be less exposed to enemy fire, is surrounded by a moat crossed by a wooden deck that still rests on the original anchors. Inside, a wide corridor cuts the building in all its length and allows the access to all rooms (gunpowder magazine, housings, bathrooms and laboratory for the production of explosives) and to the ramps leading to the domes where the guns were placed. In many of these places you can still see the original armored doors. Due to the potential danger of explosives, a Faraday cage for lightnings protection, had been implemented and is still present on the roof.
The cornerstone was demobilized at the beginning of the war and finally abandoned in October 1917, without ever having been engaged in combat actions.
In the years before the war, it was spied by the Austrians: an Imperial agent in fact managed to bribe an assistant of the gunpowder magazine in Casarsa in order to buy the detailed map of the location of Beano. The infiltrated Habsburg was recognized and sentenced to two years' imprisonment by the Assize Court of Udine.


The fort of Rivolto


The other central bastion in the fortress of Codroipo, is the fort of Rivolto, which is quite similar to the stronghold of Beano: it has the same architecture...

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The fort of Rivolto


The other central bastion in the fortress of Codroipo, is the fort of Rivolto, which is quite similar to the stronghold of Beano: it has the same architecture and an equal number of pieces of artillery. Unarmed in 1915, as the other works of Codroipo's Bridgehead , and therefore never involved in any action during the war, it was later used as a Italian powder magazine. In the immediate vicinity you will find the airbase, home of the Frecce Tricolori, the aerobatic team (PAN) constituting the Air Force and 313º Acrobatic Training Group.



The armored tower of Precenicco


The defensive structure of Varmo, along the road leading to Rivignano, was deeply damaged. Only the remains of the battery’s base...

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"Torre corazzata" (armored tower) of Precenicco


The defensive structure of Varmo, along the road leading to Rivignano, was deeply damaged. Only the remains of the battery’s base, and the tunnel that connected the wells where the guns were installed, are still visible.

Latisana’s bridgehead included the forts of Rivarotta and Precenicco (to protect the railway and the road to Venice) and battery posts of Modeano, Titiano and Pertegada.
Just like Codroipo’s bridgehead, it was structured between 1910 and 1913 in order to block the invader for at least a month, waiting for the total mobilization to be completed.
Latisana is located near the mouth of the Tagliamento, on the border between Friuli Venezia Giulia and Veneto, and was a strategic key point for the southern front.
The so-called "armored tower" of Precenicco, more than fifty feet wide and ten feet high, was also built between 1910 and 1913 and was armed with 4 cannons of 149 mm in dome Schneider, a battery and different types of Perino machine guns. It was never affected by war, but was strengthened during the second world war for territorial surveillance against partisan, and as the cornerstone of a defensive line in case of Allies landing on the Adriatic beaches. It was later used as a powder magazine by the Italian army until a few years ago.
The one floor building is surrounded by a moat full of water and still retains the original armored doors. A wide corridor runs through the whole building’s length and allows access to deposits, rooms, to the laboratory, the service area and the ramps leading to the domes.


The battery of Modeano


The fort of Rivarotta, was built like the others between 1909 and 1914, was most likely similar to that of Precenicco. It had only one level and was armed with four 149 mm...

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The battery of Modeano


The fort of Rivarotta, was built like the others between 1909 and 1914, was most likely similar to that of Precenicco. It had only one level and was armed with four 149 mm guns, in an armored Schneider dome, 4 75 mm cannons and four Perino machine guns for close defense. Given the massive presence of weapons and ammunition, the work was blown up in 1917 by the Italians retreating from the front of Caporetto. For this reason, the mighty fortress is burned to the ground and only the original pylons of the mobile bridge for access to strong remain.

The battery of Modeano is a very simple, one-level, construction, where are still visible some masonry shelters and the stalls of 4 cast iron cannons, as well as the columns that hold up the iron gate.
The complex, built to stop attacks from the north, was powerfully armored. In the period following the Second World War, it has been included among the works intended to form the "anti-Soviet invasion" barrier. After the collapse of the Berlin Wall the fort lost all of its strategic importance, but was still used by the Italian army for a few years.
The batteries of Modeano and Titiano were occasionaly manned during the two world wars, by the troops of the Italian Social Republic.

The building in Pertegada was burned to the ground, however, the battery in Titiano is now private property.



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