"KOBARID" Slovenia Things to Do Tip by mtncorg
Slovenia Things to Do: 544 reviews and 992 photos
In the English-speaking world (and Italian, too), the town is know as Caporetto - the same name as the battle which took place around here in 1917 between forces of Imperial Austria and Germany and those of Italy. Before the battle, Austria and Italy had stalematted each other along the peaks high above the Soca/Isonzo River. Further south, 11 Italian offensives had gained little ground as the Italian Army strove to capture the port city of Trieste. The last of the offensives, while not succeeding, had given the Austrian command a good scare. The defeat of Russia had released enough troops from the East to let the Central Powers attempt a limited offensive aimed at ending the trheat to Trieste, once and for all. They were successful moving the front far to the west to the Piave River in Italy, thus ending the Alpine fighting in the mountains above Kobarid.
Kobarid was at the heart of the fighting and the town hosts a very fine museum devoted to the fighting - a European Museum of the Year in the '90's. You can get a better understanding of life along the Soca/Isonzo front, the men who fought there and the battle itself - which due to its mobile nature (in a most static war), was called the harbinger of blitzkriegs to come. Ernest Hemingway's 'A Farewell to Arms' describes the Italian retreat after the battle. Hemingway was a Red Cross ambulance driver who served on the Italian front during the summer of 1918, long after the battle here. He was wounded at Fossalta di Piave in July, 1918 and recovered, like the narrator in 'A Farewell to Arms' Frederic Henry, in Milan. Unlike the narrator, he did not desert and flee to Switzerland with a pregnant nurse in tow. The museum, itself, was the site of Italian military courts during WWI.
A short walk above the town takes you to the Italian Charnel House where the remains of over 7000 Italian soldiers were placed. The House was dedicated in 1938 by Mussolini - this region was annexed by Italy in between WWI and WWII, returning to the then-Yugoslavia at the conclusion of WWII.
For more see my Kobarid pages.
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