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DOI 10.4461/GFDQ.2020.43.7


The geomorphological constraints of the Italian/Austro-Hungarian Front in the Dolomites during the First World War.

Pages 157-165


Many documents within the enormous historiography of the First World War on the Italian Front highlight the importance of physical geography, yet specific and systematic studies of the influence of morphology on war in the Alps are scarce. Geomorphology influenced the battles that occurred on the main passes in the Dolomites. Geomorphological and military history maps were created for four of the most important areas on this front. The steep and high valley sides, part of the unique geomorphological setting of the Dolomites, determined unassailable positions from which the defenders, with protected and sometimes relatively accessible rear lines, could control and hinder enemy transit through the valleys by use of crossfire. From this point of view, the alpine terrain, as the result of the morphogenetic processes that took place in the region, can be considered as one of the key geographical aspects that controlled the conduct and the outcomes of the fighting in the valleys and passes.

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