Page 3782

3782 UNIVERSAL HISTORY-THE MODERN WORLD.

an Austrian counter-attack threw the Italian

right back somewhat and resulted in the

taking of over 10,000 prisoners. The Italian

resistance then stiffened, and the Austrians

were beaten back. In August, General

Cadorna, after a period of comparative quiet,

began an offensive on the Julian front from

the Adriatic to the upper Isonzo. About

2,000 guns were used in this attack. By

throwing bridges over the Isonzo during a

fog the Italians succeeded in crossing the

river at many points.

In preparing for the crossing of the Isonzo

the Italians, according to a correspondent,

made use of a novel scheme. "On the hills

opposite the Austrian positions, and at

exactly the same level, the Italians had been

concentrating searchlights for days. There

seemed to be miles of them. On the night

when the pontoons were to be thrown across

they were turned full on the Austrians

for the first time, dazzling them to such an

extent that they could see nothing of the

work going on under their noses and only a

few hundred yards under at that. It was

almost as near as if bridges were being thrown

over Broadway with an enemy with preventive means on top of the Times Building and

searchlights on the Hotel Knickerbocker.

"Naturally, the Austrians must have known

that something was going on. There was

considerable firing, and one bridge was damaged. But for the most part the crossing

of the Isonzo was a complete surprise.

"While the searchlights streamed constantly overhead, the Italian engineers

worked below in pitch dark. They had to

drop their pontoon boats down that forty-foot wall on wooden skids, then join them

across the rushing water, plank them over

so that the troops could walk, and provide

ladders for them to climb up the precipice on

the Austrian side.

"Time and again the current swept boats

away before they were properly joined up.

Frequently workers fell into the water and

were carried instantly down. The constant

cannonade helped the searchlights in fooling

the enemy and kept the sound of the bridge making from reaching the Austrians' ears."