1918: October 24-November 3
Following the loss of 300,000 soldiers at the Battles of Caporetto in 1917, morale in the Italian army was low. Under the command of a new General, Armando Diaz, however, the troops managed to block the enemy advance and stabilise the front line around the Piave River in June 1918 when they forced back a major attack by the Austro-Hungarian army. Already highly demoralised, the Austro-Hungarian army lost 100,000 men in the attempt.
Armando Diaz decided not to launch a counter-attack until Italy could be certain of striking back successfully. But the victories of Italy’s allies on the Western Front (The Hundred Days Offensive and the Battles of the Hindenburg line), effectively rendered German assistance to Austria-Hungary impossible on the Italian front and brought about a change of heart as Diaz planned an offensive.
The attack began on October 23 in the Monte Grappa sector. After crossing the Piave River, the Italian army captured Vittorio Veneto three days later despite initial resistance from the Austro-Hungarian forces. With the allies succeeding in advancing 24 kilometres along a 56 kilometre front, a truce was agreed on November 2. An armistice was concluded the following day. The Italians had suffered around 38,000 casualties in the Battle of Megiddo, but managed to take as many as 300,000 prisoners.
The Battle of Vittorio Veneto was the last offensive on the Italian front. It brought about the wartime defeat of Austria-Hungary and hastened the collapse of the Empire.