Monte Cervino Battalion,
4° Reggimento, Alpini
Our unit was formed in mid 2016 in order to add yet another under represented unit to our reenactment group's portrayals. We are the very first and currently the only WW1 Italian Re-enactment Group in the whole of the UK. When portraying WW1 in the United Kingdom units such as British Tommy and Basic German Infantry are seen at most period events whereas the less represented impressions such as Italian and Austro-Hungarian are often overlooked.
When asked to think of the First World War one of the most iconic images is that of Trench warfare; alongside the development of new inventions and advances such as the use of tanks, machine guns and the use of gases in warfare to break the stalemates.
The War in the Alps, White War or the 'War in snow and ice' as it is also commonly known, has been publicised in the media in recent years with the discovery of dead Italian and Austro-Hungarian soldiers at Peio. Peio was once the highest village in the Austro-Hungarian empire and as the glaciers have slowly receeded the bodies and equipment have become unveiled in a preserved condition.
Alongside the harsh conditions of warfare, the Italians, Austro-Hungarians and Germans fighting in the Alps during WW1 were also at risk of danger from the extreme environment such as avalanches.
Italian Alpini troops were first established in 1872, making them the oldest active mountain infantry in the World.
The Monte Cervino Alpini Battalion was formed in November 1915 in the village of Ivrea in Northern Italy. After undergoing training in Tirano, the Monte Cervino Battalion was sent to the Asiago Plateau in North-Eastern Italy to reinforce the frontline against with the attacking Austrian troops. The Battalion arrived at the Asiago Plateau in April 1916 coming into contact with Austrian troops in the Strafexpedition offensive. On May 15th 1916, the heavy fighting had taken its toll on the 103rd Company who were forced to surrender the Borcola Pass to the Austrians.
The 87th and 103rd Companies of the Battalion managed to withdraw. An Italian counter-offensive saw the remaining soldiers of the Monte Cervino Battalion deployed to the Caldiera e Posina valleys.
WW1 Italian Alpini Troops on manoeuvres during winter.
The Battalion was redployed to fight on the Isonzo Front in 1917 in an attempt to capture Monte Vodice. Later that year in November 1917 the Battalion was tasked with defending the Melette di Gallio on the Asiago Plateau against a fresh Austrian attack on the Plateau.
After continuos conflict the Battalion was transported to the rear lines for rest and refit prior to being redeployed to defending Monte Fior and Monte Castelgomberto mountains in June 1918 against the final Austrian attempt to break through the Italian lines on the Asiago Plateau. During the defence of Monte Fior the Battalion suffered heaving losses, with 30 officers and 1,000 Alpini soldiers dieing in the action which mounted to two-thirds of the Battalions original strength at the beginning of the Austrian offensive.
In recognition of the sacrafices made, the Battalion was awareded the Silver Medal of Military Valor which is Italy's second highest military order.
Following the addition of new recruits, the Battalion spent the remaining few months of the war on Monte Pasubio and Monte Grappa until the end of the war, where in the coming year the Battalion was eventually disbanded in 1919.
Images of our unit display
Please note this page is still under construction. We apologise for any inconviniece this may cause, please check back soon to see updates to this unit page!
Insight into life in the Alpine trenches