The route: Medio 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

Fort of Monte Bernadia-Monte Lonza


Not far from what used to be the Austro-Hungarian border at the beginning of the 900s, you can visit the Fort of Monte Bernadia-Monte Lonza near Tarcento. Its construction dates...

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Fort of Monte Bernadia-Monte Lonza


Not far from what used to be the Austro-Hungarian border at the beginning of the 900s, you can visit the Fort of Monte Bernadia-Monte Lonza near Tarcento. Its construction dates back to a few years before the war (around 1910) and was part of the defensive system of the Tagliamento that intended to prevent the enemy’s invasion through the Torre’s Valley, and to protect the bridges over the Tagliamento.
The Fort, at the outbreak of the First World War, like most other fortifications built in Friuli, set back from the front line and was deprived, by order of the Supreme Command, of its artillery pieces, which were used to reinforce the front on the Isonzo. In the last days of October 1917, the 22nd Unit Schutzen, finding it unarmed, decided to occupy it.
The fort was distributed on three floors. In the lower floor there were rifle stations to protect the ditch and the storage rooms of projectiles and explosives. The middle floor housed the troops accommodation and the bathrooms. An elevator carried ammunition from the lower floor to the battery at the fort’s top. On the roof were placed four pieces of heavy artillery. Attached to the fort there were various warehouses, barracks, watchtowers, and numerous underground tunnels.


First World War Museum of Ragogna


After the defeat of Caporetto, in the autumn of 1917, the hills of Friuli became the scene of one of the most important WWI battles: the defense of the mountain of Ragogna...

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First World War Museum of Ragogna


After the defeat of Caporetto, in the autumn of 1917, the hills of Friuli became the scene of one of the most important WWI battles: the defense of the mountain of Ragogna and the breakthrough of Cornino. The episode was the last act of defense on the Tagliamento made by Italians who, although not succesful in their purpose, have slowed the enemy’s offensive for a few days, giving time to other departments to retreat on the Piave River.
Once conquered San Daniele, on October 30, four Imperial divisions converged on the bridges of Pinzano and Cornino, that were defended from the mountain of Ragogna, presided over by the Brigade Bologna.
Despite the inferiority of men and means, Italian troops repulsed the violent attacks of the Austrians for several times, but, on November 1, the gravity of the situation suggested to general Sanna, commander of the front, to order the explosion of the Pinzano bridge, precluding any possibility of salvation to those who were defending the trench on Mount Ragogna, on the left side of Tagliamento: the infantry, however, put up a desperate resistance until nightfall, when they were inexorably overwhelmed.
To the survivors of the Brigade Bologna (among whom was Colonel Rocca) was granted the honors of war, and also the official Austrian report, like all Italian sources, praised the heroic defense supported by Savoy infantry between October 30 and November 1, 1917.
The defensive action on Mount Ragogna has allowed the columns of the Army to acquire the necessary time to organize an effective retreat and complete the defensive system on the Piave.
Many examples of that desperate battle still dot that stretch of the Tagliamento: the bridge of Pinzano on which hangs a plaque dedicated to the last Italian soldiers who defended this area in November 1917; the toll house with a metal post, set on a rocky outcrop; the remains of the former German Ossuary of Colle Pion; numerous huts in which ammunition were stored, the remains of a battery with permanent posts where cannons were deployed; a buried powder keg; some pillboxes and a stone entrance.
On a high spur rises the Castle of Reunia or St. Peter, that was built around the sixth century AD to control the road leading to the Norian, later inhabited by several noble families. With the transition to the Kingdom of Italy, the palace suffered some work of fortification, since it was considered of prime strategic importance. Between the October 30 and 31, 1917 the castle was one of the resistance’s scenarios of the Bologna brigade against the advance of the Austro-Germanic troops.
o these Italian structures were added some Austro-Hungarian buildings: defensive fortifications, a machine-gun nest, the slits of a blockhouse and a tangle of buried trenches. The most touching testimony, however, is represented by two penciled writings still visible inside the caves used as command by Bologna brigade during the fightings of 1917: the first depicts an Austro-Hungarian assault while an Italian defender, flag in hand, stands on the crest of the hill, while the second one includes the name of Luigi Battisti, who was born in Poggio d'Asti in 1895, followed by a stylized frieze of the House of Savoy with two Italian flags woven.

The Great War Museum of Ragogna offers a faithful reconstruction of the military battles on Monte Ragogna and Cornino.
On a plastic relief, which closely follows the morphology of the local operating theater, are faithfully sketched all fortified positions, entrenched lines, the supply routes, the respective deployment on October 31, 1917, and other essential details to the understanding of the war that invested these territories. Many objects and materials found in the surrounding battlefields and images of those years time are also preserved.


The fort of Fagagna


At the beginning of 900s, along the border between the Kingdom of Italy and the Habsburg Empire, it was built a defensive...

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The fort of Fagagna


At the beginning of 900s, along the border between the Kingdom of Italy and the Habsburg Empire, it was built a defensive chain of military works: strongholds, weirs, batteries and armored towers with the necessary shelters and warehouses. The dual purpose of these works, built on the main roads permitting the access to Italy, was to block the advance of an invading army and protect the deployment of Italian troops. The fort of Fagagna was part of the fortifications of the Middle Tagliamento, along with the forts of Col Roncone, Santa Margherita, Tricesimo and Monte Lonza (Bernadia). When Italy became involved in the war, they turned out to be useless because the Italians advanced on the old border, the fortifications were therefore disarmed and used as warehouses.

The fort of Fagagna stands on the hill overlooking the town and consists of a single two-leveled bunker, the upper floor was used for the 4 guns in an armored dome swivel; the defensive slits for riflemen or machine guns are clearly visible in the ditch. The fort is surrounded by a deep moat from which you can see some details of the original drawbridge’s anchors and the joints of the iron bridge crossing the moat itself.


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