MONTE BRUSCON - ASIAGO PLATEAU

In June 2009 I visited the Italian front where my Grandfather, Bert, served in 1917/18/19. My eldest son, Matthew, accompanied me. We intended to be in Asiago on 15 June 2009, on the 91st anniversary of the Austrian attack during which Bert won his Military Medal by repairing signal wires and maintaining communications during heavy shell fire. We hoped to identify the location and look for artifacts. So, on 6 June we flew into Marco Polo airport near Venice, hired a car and made our way onto the plateau where we had booked a ski apartment near the Asiago airfield for a couple of weeks.

We made contact with a local man, Francesco Brazzale (above), who is an enthusiast and author on the subject of the British in Italy in WW1 and is also very familiar with the plateau. He was born in a small village on the southern slope of the plateau and now lives in Fara. He offered his assistance in finding the location where Bert saw action. We spent several days with him trekking through the hills and looking at the remains of military occupation. We made our way onto Mte Bruscon and looked for artifacts en route.

We were shown trench systems and dugouts.....

Above and below: Shelters cut into rear facing cliffs at a reputed balloon site on Cima di Fonte
Below, Anti Aircraft Gun position? (1 of 2) on Mte Foraora - concrete bases with compass bearings still clearly marked

Below: A tunnel with observation ports facing into a hidden ravine and possible enemy approach from the North. This was part of an extensive defensive position 2.5Km to the rear of Mte Bruscon.

Below, rubbish left behind by the soldiers. Piles of rusty food cans were accompanied by bottles clearly marked as originating from England. Broken china tea cups at one spot suggested that we were perhaps near the location of an officer's mess. This is only 120m from the estimated location of the B/103 officer's mess using Burt's sketch map of the Mte Bruscon position.
Futher on we found an unfired 18 pounder shell, complete with fuse and unmarked drive band, , suggesting that we were in a British artillery position.
Below, another shell, found at the rear of Mte Bruscon. An enemy dud?

In the Google Earth file you will see a GPS track showing our battlefield wanderings in Italy and the various finds. Tree cover resulted in some inaccuracies.