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Falzarego pass 1915-17

The Austrian and Italian emplacements
above the Falzarego pass

At the Falzarego Pass and on the mountain above, the Piccolo Lagazuoi, during the First World War Austrian and Italian troops were engaged in fierce fighting. 
Still today, in this area there are war remnants everywhere. 
The goal of the Italian troops was to break through the Austro-Hungarian defenses at the Valparola pass and from here, through the Val Badia, to reach the railway of the Puster Valley.
At the beginning of the first attacks, in June 1915, few Austrian and Tirolean troops were deployed at this high altitude fort, while the Italian army was positioning many soldiers in this area.  
But the decisive military advance failed because the Austrian troops had occupied important positions on the top of the mountains surrounding the Falzarego pass: Piccolo Lagazuoi and Sasso di Stria.
The Tre Sassi fort, built as a barrage against the Italian army on the Valparola pass, was exposed to severe artillery fire at the beginning of the war, which damaged its shell and made necessary its evacuation.
Thereupon the Austro-Hungarians  moved their two cannons named "Max and Moritz" and positioned them inside the Goiginger tunnel on Mt. Sasso di Stria. 
Under the command of Major Martini, in October 1915 the Italian troops succeeded in occupying the ledge (which later was named after him) climbing  up along a defenseless gully below the Austrian emplacements on Mt. Lagazuoi and above the Austrian Vonbank-emplacement. 
The Italian troops constantly continued to strengthen their position on this ledge because their shooting was extremely effective against the trenches of the Vonbank emplacement above the Valparola pass. 

By blowing up 4 mines on the Martini ledge, the Austrians tried in vain to chase away the Italian troops from this position. 
Also the Italian attempt to reach the top of the Piccolo Lagazuoi, digging an over 1 km long tunnel system with a vertical drop of 500 m, failed. 
On 20th June 1917 the Italians blew up the 2668 m high summit, which was occupied by the Austrians, with over 32 tons of dynamite, but the attacking Italian soldiers were killed by the defensive fire of the Austrian machine guns positioned in the Feldwache emplacement 4. 
At the foot of Mt. Lagazuoi, besides the valley station of the cable car, there are two stone scree cones: many thousand cubic metres of rock which were detached by the mine explosions (in total 5). They bear witness to the absurdity and brutality of a war that has cost hundreds of thousands of lives on both sides.


Quarta mina austriaca

On 24th October 1917, after the defeat of Caporetto, all troops stationed on the south-western Dolomite front were withdrawn.

After 3 years of senseless fighting, the wonderful world of the Dolomites was finally immersed in peace and silence again.