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Luigi Cadorna
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Military Personnel
    (September 4, 1850-December 21, 1928)
    Born in Verbania, Italy
    Italian Field Marshall
    Chief of Staff of the Army (1914-17)
    He started World War I with a series of four offensives that all failed, producing 250,000 casualties for little material gain.
    He ordered the summary execution of officers whose units retreated.
    He mounted machine guns behind his lines to fire on any stragglers.
    He brought back the Roman practice of decimation, executing randomly chosen men from units he felt had failed to perform adequately in battle.
    He was finally relieved of command when the Italian army collapsed after being attacked by the Austrians and Germans at Caporetto.
    During the battle, he fled to Padua and left the army to its fate.
    He claimed, 'I did all I could. Is it my fault if the army is full of vermin?'
    One biographer said that he was 'amiable within his small circle of friends.'
    He had ordered the fortification of Monte Grappa, where the Italian forces successfully rallied after the rout from Caporetto.
    He managed to impress Mussolini enough to get re-appointed Field Marshall (1924).
    His son Raffaele became one of the leaders of the Italian resistance against the German occupation during World War II.

Credit: C. Fishel


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