Defence of Podgora and Oslavija in the winter of 1915

In the winter of 1915-16, the mountains on the west bank of the Isonzo (Podgora and Mt Sabotino) were still retained by the Monarchy. In the middle of the flatter part between the two mountains lies the village of Oslavija, whose possession was the subject of fierce battles. The sketch map shows the positions in January 1916. In the south, the companies of the II/52 (Pécs) battalion belonging to the 4th mountain brigade can be seen. Above, on the slopes of Sabotino, the 1st Battalion of the 80th Infantry Regiment. During this period, the 4th Mountain Brigade and the 60th Infantry Brigade (with IR 30 and IR 80) were also attached to the same 58th Division. This division defended the terrain shown on the map, as well as Mount Sabotino and its northern side in the area of ​​Plava (there along the eastern bank of the Isonzo).

The commemorative album of the 52nd regiment gives a detailed account of the defense here. During our observed period (October 1915 – April 1916) they served together with the 80th Regiment when two major Italian attacks took place: the 3rd and 4th Battles of the Isonzo. The Italians first tried between October 21 and November 5. At that time, the Podgora-Oslavija section was attacked by an Italian infantry brigade. Mainly the “nose position” shown on the map to the south-west of Oslavija was targeted, which the 7/52. company protected. The attack had no tangible results at this stage.

On November 10, reinforced Italian troops renewed the attack in the IV. Isonzo with battle. On November 12, 18, 23 and 25, a series of mass attacks were launched against Austro-Hungarian positions. For a short time, they managed to occupy the “nose position” on Podgora and broke into the positions defended by the 80ers near Oslavija. The 188 height was also occupied. The Italian invasion could not be repelled at that time. A counterattack was launched on January 14 and 24, 1916 to regain the original positions. The 80ers were also assisted by the troops of the II/52nd battalion. The second attack was already successful. The original positions were restored. With the onset of winter, the Italians did not attempt another attack.

I have already written here about the defense of Podgora and Oslavija in connection with the II/52 battalion. Now I came back to this episode because of the 80er badge. This badge depicts a piece of wall representing the ruins of the village. The inscription on it mentions the name of the settlement and the above-mentioned elevation point 188. At the top of the hill today there is an Italian monument and ossuary erected in the 1930s. The bones of the Austro-Hungarian dead who fell in the region also rest here.

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