Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Italian Army

When World War 1 began in November of 1914, Italy was member of the Triple Alliance along with Germany and the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The Italian Parliament declared, that since the alliance was for defensive proposes, and since Germany and the Austrians had been the aggressors, their treaty obligations were not enforceable. In May of 1915, Italy joined the Entente and allied themselves with Great Britain, France and Russia. From 1915 to 1917 the Italian army attacked Austrian forces along their border but were unable to make any significant advances. In 1917, with German help, the Austrian army made a significant counter attack that resulted in the rout of the Italian army at the battle of Caporetto. See A Farewell To Arms by Ernest Hemingway for a written description of the retreat. The Italians were able to halt the offensive, but until October of 1918, with Austria on the verge of civil war, they were not able to regain significant territory from the Austrians. In the last few months of the war, the Italian army was finally able to penetrate deep into Austrian territory. Fighting ended between the Italians and the Austrians on November 3, 1918, a week before the signing of a final armistice, ending the war.
All of these images are printed on postcard stock. The first image is the newest. I'm usually pretty good at deciphering hand writing, but not having any Italian, I'm unable to infer things from context. Normally I wouldn't post the back of a card, but I can only figure out so much, so if anyone out there can give me an accurate translation.... "Col." I'm guessing is an abbreviation for Colonello, Italian for Colonel. That last name may be Rafall, but I can't be sure. I've got "Gioia" figured out, with "Calle" so I'm putting the Colonel on Joy Street in August of 1927. The Colonel and the civilian postcard has an address that I can't make out, and a name, "Giovanni" a last name I can't decipher and "+ moglie" wife. I've put up a number of hand tinted images on this blog, but the last two images are the first before and after pictures that I've been able to post. Written on the back of the tinted version, "Ottobre 6. 1918 Austria" October 6, 1918 Austria. Less than a month to the cease fire.

1 comment:

  1. Reads for me :
    Cav. GioXXX Raffael
    Gioia dal Calle
    Agosto 1927
    Anno V"

    His name is Rafael GioXXX - the Italians had, and still sometimes have, as people do in the South of Europe, their family name called first.
    I read the first as "Cav." what could be a "cavaliere", not a rank, but perhaps translatable as "gentleman".
    August 1927, in the year five of the duce's reign.