Roundtrip in Austria-Hungary

15. Corps at Isonzo

Both the badge and the photo are my favorite. I already wrote about the destroyed Salcano valley bridge here. For me, this panorama is the symbol and emblem of the Great War. The brutality of war in a wonderful landscape. According to the script, we see a panoramic image of the lower reaches of the Isonzo photographed from Mt Santo. Closer left is Mt San Gabriele, right is Mt Sabotino. Beyond this is Podgora. The town of Görz can hardly be seen in front of it, the Karst Plateau is even further away, with Mt San Michele at the tip. Places full of blood, the sites of the battles of 1915-17.

The 15th Corps, whose insignia is the main motif of this post, fought on this front, as the insignia’s caption shows. “We were standing at the Isonzo!” This statement is valid from the summer of 1916, before that the corps was deployed in Tyrol from the summer of 1915. In August 1916, they were transferred to the Isonzo Army in the 6th Isonzo Battle. In the advance after the 12th Battle of the Isonzo, the corps was transferred to Army Group Boroevic on the Piave Front. So they spent more than a year at the Isonzo, mostly around Tolmein a bit further to the North from the place where the photo was taken. Mostly the mountain brigades of the 1st and 50th divisions were assigned to the corps.

The mountain landscape and the background depicted on the badge are not elaborated in such detail that it could be identified with one of the terrain sections. In any case, it is very similar to the terrain shown in the photo, that is, the upper section of the Isonzo winding between the mountains. In the photo, the river is just emerging from the grip of the mountains onto the plain. Resting his feet on a rock, the buck is waiting for the Italian attackers with a grenade in his hand. I don’t think this is a typical setup: snipers would have hit him long ago in this position. But of course the message of the badge, the supreme calm and strength, radiates from the figure.

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