Sextener Rotwand

The mountain range of the Dolomites stretches along the south-eastern border of Tyrol. During the Italian attack in 1915, the front line was formed in this part roughly along the state border, and it did not move from there until the advance of the Monarchy in October 1917. The siege of Col di Lana in the western part of the mountain range has already been discussed (here and here). At the eastern edge, the almost 3,000-meter peak of the Rotwand dominates the terrain. It closes the Kreutzberg pass next to the mountain.

Not much information has survived about the siege of this mountain. It is clear that there could not have been large crowds here: the reeboks also climb carefully around here. There was no mining, so there would have been records and memories of it. The Rotwand area is associated with the name of some soldiers, above all the mountain guide Sepp Innerkofler, who died here. Before the war, Innerkofler was already a marksman of the (paramilitary) 3rd Standschützen company organized in the Sexten area. In May 1915, these territorial defense units occupied the peaks of the range with their patrols to secure them against Italian attackers while the regular forces advanced.

After that, the fight was aimed at acquiring and recapturing peaks occupied by the enemy in the high mountains. Natives with local knowledge and extensive rock climbing experience and their Standschützen units were given the main role in these enterprises of a few people. Even if large losses were suffered by the few participants in such operations, only the loss of a few people was reported. According to reminiscences, the winter period claimed an order of magnitude more victims, caused by avalanches or by the rudimentary placement in the mountain conditions that also claimed the victims en masse due to various diseases and malnutrition. From 1916, the supply also became scarce, it did not cover the amount of calories required for serious physical efforts. The soul-destroying standoff took a toll on the soldiers mentally.

The sketch map attached to the post shows the main peaks of the front section, behind which lies the Pusster valley. The photo shows the Rotwand peak, which is also depicted on the cap badge.

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