1,000 French soldiers who died in Italy during the Great War are commemorated

On November 4, 1918, the anniversary of the armistice of Villa Giusti, a tribute will be held at the French Pederobba ossuary in Italy, where nearly 1,000 Poilus are laid to rest.

Poilus also fought in Italy during World War I. 990 soldiers of the French 47th Division are buried in the ossuary of Pederobba, a magnificent building located in the Veneto, at the foot of Mount Tomba-Montfenera and on the banks of the Piave River.

On the anniversary of the armistice of November 4, 1918 at Villa Giusti, which allowed the Italians to retake Trento and Trieste and end the First World War in Italy, this ossuary will host a commemoration of French servicemen. On Friday, November 4, in the presence of the mayor of Pederobba, Marco Turato, and for the first time, the French ambassador to Italy, Christian Masset, as well as the military attaché of the embassy, ​​Admiral Jerome Teillier. The ceremony will commemorate both the Italian soldiers on this holiday of the Italian armed forces and the French soldiers who died on Italian soil during the Great War.

Pederobba French Military Ossuary (Veneto)

Poilus, who fought in Italy during the First World War

If Italy decided to remain neutral when World War I broke out in August 1914, it eventually began secret negotiations with the Triple Entente (France, Great Britain, Russia) and declared war on Austria-Hungary in May 1915. then to Germany in August 1916, in exchange for territorial concessions in the event of victory.
During these two years, the Italian army fights in the Asiago plate, especially in the Dolomites and Frioul, Piave, Isonso. However, in October 1917, the soldiers had to retreat when they encountered the Austro-German attack in Caporetto.
It was then that the French headquarters decided to send reinforcements to the Italian front.

The first French troops arrived in Italy on October 31, 1917, and were gradually deployed between Mantua and Verona; then, just east of Montello, on the line Monfenera – Monte Tomba – Pederobba. At the end of April, two French divisions (23rd and 24th DI) remained on the Italian front to form the 12th Army Corps, commanded by General Jean-César Graziani and henceforth called the French Forces in Italy (FFI).

These troops took an active part in the “Battle of the Piave” on the Asiago Plateau from June 15 to 22, 1918. On October 24, the Italian generalissimo Diaz launched a general offensive. His seven armies attacked a front stretching from Asiago to the sea. In the center of this front was the French XII Corps with General Graziani’s FFI.

On the night of October 26-27, the French forced a crossing of the Piave at Molinetto di Pederobba. RI’s 107th Battalion crosses the river and encounters enemy units clinging to the cliffs of San Vito. On October 28, the French, with the support of Italian units, expanded their enclave and captured the mountains of Perto and Piaunnar. The advance culminated in an Italian victory at Vittorio Veneto on October 29, where 300,000 Austrian soldiers were captured.

A few days later, on November 3, Italian troops landed in Trieste and captured this strategic port, forcing the Austrians to demand an armistice, which was signed that day and entered into force on November 4, 1918, at the Villa Giusti in Padua.

France’s Pederobb military ossuary

The French Pederobba Memorial was inaugurated on June 27, 1937. The magnificent rectangular building, 100 meters long, 10 meters high and 6 meters wide, symbolizes the end of the Austrian offensive.

In the center, two large statues symbolize France (left) and Italy (right), with the body of a French soldier resting on their knees.

On the pedestal are two tombstones and a niche in which earth is placed from Bligny on the Marne, the site of the Italian military cemetery consecrated that day, where 3,453 of the 4,594 Italian soldiers who died in France lie. .

A total of 900 soldiers rest in the Pederobba ossuary, of which 888 are unknown, 12 are unknown.

On March 25, 2005, France ordered the transfer of the remains of 166 French soldiers and 22 Serbian soldiers who died during the First World War from the Taranto military cemetery to the Pederobba cemetery.

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