7 July ,1915

The First Battle of the Isonzo comes to an end.

On June 23, 1915, exactly one month after Italy declared war on Austria-Hungary, the Italian army attacks Austro-Hungarian positions near the Isonzo River, in the eastern section of the Italian front; it will become the first of twelve Battles of the Isonzo fought during World War I.

Of all the fronts of the Great War, the Italian was the least well-suited not only for offensive operations but for any form of warfare at all. Four-fifths of Italy’s 600-kilometer-long border with Austria-Hungary was mountainous, with several peaks rising above 3,000 meters. Despite this, the Italian chief of staff, Luigi Cadorna, desperately wanted to satisfy the demands of his government–as well as the other Allies–by making substantial gains of territory against Austria-Hungary upon Italy’s declaration of war on May 23, 1915.

For its part, Austria-Hungary was surprisingly unconcerned with the Italian entry into the war, despite the fact that it opened a third front for an army whose resources were already stretched dangerously thin. In the years before the war, the Austrian commander in chief, Conrad von Hotzendorff, had often suggested a pre-emptive strike against Italy, as well as against Serbia; in 1915, the prospect of confronting an inferior Italian army seemed to lend a new burst of energy to the Dual Monarchy. Germany, though, pressured Austria-Hungary to fight defensively in Italy and not to divert resources from the Eastern Front against Russia. As a result, while the Italians plotted ambitious offensive operations, including surprise attacks across the Isonzo River, the Austrians settled into their positions in the mountains along the rapid-flowing Isonzo and planned to mount a solid and spirited defense.

After a series of preliminary operations on various sections of the front, Italian forces struck the Austrian positions at the Isonzo for the first time on June 23, 1915, after a one-week bombardment. Despite enjoying numerical superiority, the Italian forces were unable to break the Austro-Hungarian forces, Cadorna having failed to assemble adequate artillery protection to back up his infantry troops–a mistake similar to those made early in the war by commanders on the Western Front. Two Austro-Hungarian infantry divisions soon arrived to aid their comrades at the Isonzo and the Italians were prevented from crossing the river; Cadorna called off the attacks on July 7.

In the four battles fought on the Isonzo in 1915 alone, Italy made no substantial progress and suffered 235,000 casualties, including 54,000 killed. Cadorna’s plans for a highly mobile Italian advance had definitively failed, and battle on the Italian front, as in the west, had settled into slow, excruciating trench warfare.

7 July 1770

The Battle of Larga is fought between the Russian Empire and the Ottoman Empire.

Torelli2

Russo-Turkish wars, series of wars between Russia and the Ottoman Empire in the 17th–19th century. The wars reflected the decline of the Ottoman Empire and resulted in the gradual southward extension of Russia’s frontier and influence into Ottoman territory. As a result of these wars, Russia was able to extend its European frontiers southward to the Black Sea, southwestward to the Prut River, and south of the Caucasus Mountains in Asia.

The early Russo-Turkish Wars were mostly sparked by Russia’s attempts to establish a warm-water port on the Black Sea, which lay in Turkish hands. The first war was fought without success in Ukraine west of the Dnieper River by Russia, which renewed the war with failed invasions of Crimea in 1687 and 1689. In the war of 1695–96, the Russian tsar Peter I the Great’s forces succeeded in capturing the fortress of Azov. In 1710 Turkey entered the Northern War against Russia, and after Peter the Great’s attempt to liberate the Balkans from Ottoman rule ended in defeat at the Prut River, he was forced to return Azov to Turkey. War again broke out in 1735, with Russia and Austria in alliance against Turkey. The Russians successfully invaded Turkish-held Moldavia, but their Austrian allies were defeated in the field, and as a result the Russians obtained almost nothing in the Treaty of Belgrade.

The first major Russo-Turkish War began after Turkey demanded that Russia’s ruler, Catherine II the Great, abstain from interfering in Poland’s internal affairs. The Russians went on to win impressive victories over the Turks. They captured Azov, Crimea, and Bessarabia, and under Field Marshal P.A. Rumyantsev they overran Moldavia and also defeated the Turks in Bulgaria. The Turks were compelled to seek peace, which was concluded in the Treaty of Küçük Kaynarca. This treaty made the Crimean khanate independent of the Turkish sultan; advanced the Russian frontier southward to the Southern Buh River; gave Russia the right to maintain a fleet on the Black Sea; and assigned Russia vague rights of protection over the Ottoman sultan’s Christian subjects throughout the Balkans.