Luigi Cadorna

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Cadorna, Luigi


Born Sept. 4, 1850, in Pallanza; died Dec. 23, 1928, in Bordighera. Italian marshal (1924) and count.

Cadorna entered military service in 1866. Subsequently, he commanded, in succession, a regiment, a division, and a corps and worked to reorganize the Italian Army. From 1914 to 1917 he was chief of the General Staff. After May 1915, when Italy entered the war on the side of the Entente, Cadorna was the de facto commander in chief of the Italian Army. His repeated attempts from 1915 to 1917 to defeat the Austro-Hungarian troops on the Isonzo River were unsuccessful. After the defeat of the Italian troops at Caporetto, Cadorna was removed from his post on Nov. 8, 1917. He wrote several works on Italy’s participation in World War I.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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An enthralling book by Mark Thompson, The White War (Faber, 2008), recounts how Italy's peasant armies were flung repeatedly against impregnable Austrian positions high in the mountains, resulting in huge casualties, and how the Italian Commander-in-Chief, Luigi Cadorna, resorted to the ancient Roman practice of decimation (arbitrary executions) in a vain attempt to sustain morale.
Neiberg also emphasizes the bloody futility of the numerous Italian offensives on the Isonzo River, presenting a devastating picture of Luigi Cadorna, who he appropriately labels as "one of the worst senior commanders of the twentieth century" (151).