1. World War in Karst
KOMEN KARST 1915–1918
Karst villages in the Isonzo Front outskirts were quite safe from artillery fire until August 1916, when Italian forces occupied Gorizia and the Austro-Hungarian army withdrew from the battlefield on the Doberdob Plateau. Thus, the front was moved to the Gorizia Karst and the villages of Gorjansko, Komen, and Škrbina. Later on, other villages also came within the range of the Italian artillery fire.
The Austro-Hungarian army set up numerous field hospitals in the area of Karst. Some of them were housed in wooden shacks and more of them were located in larger buildings in the Karst villages – in schools, churches, outbuildings, etc. After one hundred years, numerous military cemeteries in the surroundings of almost every larger village remind us of the operation of these military hospitals.
AUSTRO-HUNGARIAN MILITARY TRACKS IN THE KARST
In the area of the Karst, the Austro-Hungarian army built more than a few narrow-gauge tracks to supply the front line and to carry out logistics supply between the railway stations of Štanjel and Dutovlje and the warehouse centres in the Karst outskirts. From Dutovlje to Kostanjevica na Krasu, a regular-gauge track was operating with the main railway station located in Komen. This track supplied all military units up to the first line of battle.
During the first months of war, the locals joined the army accommodated in the Karst villages. They remained by their home fireplace until the front line was moved from Doberdob to the Gorizia Karst in August 1916, when the villages and places were even more bombarded by the Italian artillery and air force. The locals who lived together with soldiers also shared their farm chores and common life, irrespective of their nationality and religion.
For the flawless operation of the expansive structure of the Austro-Hungarian army and for the assurance of the battlefield supply, a strong rear infrastructure throughout the entire Karst outskirts was established. Hospitals, accommodation camps, workshops, warehouses, slaughterhouses, kitchens, command offices, etc. were built. There were plenty of options to entertain as well: cinemas, theatres, playing facilities, brothels. In the Karst, air balloons were used to observe the battlefield and direct the artillery fire. Balloon units were located in Vojščica, Sveto, Volčji grad, etc.
TRANSPORT OF MILITARY, ARTILLERY AND MATERIAL
In order to support the operation of the Austro-Hungarian units on the battlefield and in the Karst rear, numerous supply roads had to be built along which various battle machinery, commissary equipment, food, building material, reserves, ammunition, artillery and other weapons were transported by freight vehicles, wagons and horse yokes to support the infantry on the battlefield. Many artillery units made stops during their rest and transport to the battlefield in the area of Komen Karst.
The outskirts of numerous villages and places were in the immediate vicinity of the Karst front line. Many field hospitals and bandaging facilities also operated there. Therefore, a lot of Austro-Hungarian military cemeteries, at which soldiers of different nationalities and religions within the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy, including Russian prisoners of war and Italian soldiers who died in the Austro-Hungarian hospitals, were buried, are located there. Most of them died due to shot wounds and illnesses that developed in this war period because of the lack of water and hygiene, especially cholera.
The Austro-Hungarian cemetery from World War I, Gorjansko
Austro-Hungarian military cemetery from World War I, Štanjel
World War I Military Cemetery I, Brje pri Komnu
World War I Military Cemetery II, Brje pri Komnu
World War I Military Cemetery III, Brje pri Komnu
World War I Military Cemetery IV, Brje pri Komnu
World War I Military Cemetery in Draga, Komen
World War I Military Cemetery, Sveto
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