Snow Soldiers


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Some of the most critical fighting took place on the 11,foot-high 3, meters Corno di Cavento. Its eastern slopes rise gently along the Vedretta di Lares glacier. To the west, the mountain face plummets straight down to the valley. After the first offensive of the Alpini—the Italian mountain-warfare military corps—in April , Corno di Cavento became the front line of the Austrian defense.

His aim was to reinforce defenses and import heavy artillery. Following his orders, "diggers" from the Austro-Hungarian Corps of Engineers, aided by Russian prisoners, blew up outlying rocks with explosives and dug a tunnel into the summit of the mountain. A vintage photograph of an Adamello lookout post shows the treacherous aspects of war at high altitudes. It was a truly Sisyphean labor: Snowfall destroyed weeks of work, the Russian prisoners escaped, and many of the Austro-Hungarian soldiers collapsed from the cold or were injured by mines.

With temperatures hovering well below zero, nocturnal reconnaissance missions were both an adventure and torture. Adding to the tension was the anticipation of combat with the "Tigers," as the Austro-Hungarians called the Alpini. Hecht writes that as blasts of enemy artillery startled him, he could sometimes make out their white uniforms against the snow.

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On June 15, , about 1, Alpinis attacked Corno di Cavento from three sides, routing much of Hecht's garrison. The lieutenant was killed as he emerged from the relative safety of the gallery to try to prevent soldiers from fleeing. Hecht's special shorthand was deciphered, translated, and published years later. Today, the original is kept in a museum in Spiazzo.

Hecht's body, most likely thrown into a crevasse, has never been found. Soldiers drill holes into the ice to place explosives and begin the massive task of digging a tunnel under enemy lines. In the Dolomites, the Austrian Corps of Engineers dug an entire "ice city"—a complex of tunnels, dormitories, and storerooms—out of the glacier.

In June the Austro-Hungarians, emerging from a tunnel they'd dug through the glacier, took back Corno di Cavento. But later that month the Italians returned in force and managed to recapture the summit. This time they held it until the end of the war.

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The last garrison of Alpini left Corno di Cavento a few weeks after the Armistice of Villa Gusti took effect November 4, after which thousands of soldiers returned home. After the troops departed, the glaciers were deserted once again. The only people who ventured there were "salvagers"—men who hiked up to collect leftover war materials, mostly metal, to resell by the pound. The most sought-after items were the copper, brass, and lead inside large, unexploded bombs. It was such hard work.

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We went back down the mountain with as many as 70 kilos [ pounds] on our backs. But there was no work in the village, and salvagers made good money. The first time I came home with liras, my father jumped for joy, crying, 'Now we can have polenta all year long! A grenade shell used as a lamp hangs inside a deep passageway in a Corno di Cavento garrison.

The Austrians dug the military post into the rock; the Italians conquered it twice. The cave is now accessible to visitors. The White War artifacts found by salvagers such as Capelli have seeded several small museums. And the memory of the war continues to be a powerful draw for hikers and history enthusiasts. Lists with This Book. This book is not yet featured on Listopia.

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High-Altitude Front Line

Jan 25, Carolyn rated it it was amazing. This book is about Pentwater, written by someone who loves Pentwater as much as I do View all 3 comments. Feb 19, Tomi rated it did not like it.


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The premise of the story was good - a writer finding her mojo. But the main character had to be the whiniest, most self-pitying person on the planet. The characters were so one-dimensional, the author had to create drama filled conversations that really went nowhere. The book tried really hard to be chick lit, but the snow storm scene was awful and the book really went downhill from there. No point and a pointlessly boring conclusion. Jun 20, Dawn Simmons rated it it was amazing. A good read I read this book because of the title, not really sure what it was about. I thought women soldiers, which YES, it sort of is but not in the traditional "soldiers" sense.

It was a very good read and I recommend it. A book about friends and family. I really liked it. May 26, Linda rated it liked it. Ok book I found this book hard to get into for awhile. It was easy for me to put it down and leave it for a couple days. For me, the story picked up about the last quarter. I did notice there are quite a few spelling and grammar errors which drives me crazy.

Jan 04, P M rated it it was ok.


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  • I really liked the theme of the book. I'm fairly certain a lot of women who have let marriage and kids take over their lives and have put their priorities on the back burner can relate to this book. I also liked the fact that the author has delved into a topic where the protagonist tries to bring together two cultures and tries to keep hers from withering away even though she lives elsewhere. The idea of self-conflict and self-resolution is something that everyone goes through at some point in l I really liked the theme of the book. The idea of self-conflict and self-resolution is something that everyone goes through at some point in life and I liked reading about it in a book.

    That being said, right from the start, I felt the book lacked a natural flow. I felt the author had roughly put together ideas without weaving it together. I had to go back and forth several times to get things right. There are instances where the past is being reminisced and I understand that but then there should be a link between that and the present and I felt that lacking throughout this book.

    It took me a while to understand what the basic theme was. I was under the impression that the main character is off to find her family history or to renew her old ties for a long time at the beginning of the book. I also felt that the addition of other characters and their conflicts and emotions should have not been delved in with this amount of detail. It distracted me from the actual story line. I felt Kate's saga of self-discovery was somewhat derailed by the amount of time spent on irrelevant issues. I felt the title too was a little misleading. The story is of one woman's journey into herself and the various relationships she holds dear but the title almost makes it feel like a couple of friends and their respective lives.

    The term has been mentioned multiple times in the book but I couldn't make the connection. Last but not the least, I found a lot of errors in spelling and grammar. It is really distracting and these are all avoidable mistakes, something that could have all been corrected had the book been edited properly. I would like to encourage the author to continue writing without getting side tracked by too much of attention to detail and also to pay attention to the small things in the book like grammar. Feb 17, Terri Tinkel rated it really liked it Shelves: children , family , female-friends , marriage.

    This story is about an American female writer who had written one book.

    She falls in love, gets married, has children, moves to Ireland and suddenly has created a different life from the one she had expected to live. She goes back to a summer home in America, with her husband's blessing, to try to find her way back and write again.

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    As she spends time in the small town, during the off-season, she finds some information that gives her an idea for another book. However, she has to return to her lif This story is about an American female writer who had written one book. However, she has to return to her life and try to carry out her writing plans. She doesn't want to offend anyone and often, supresses her own interests to please others in her life. In the end, she finds out what really matters. Feb 24, Diane rated it really liked it. I enjoyed this book about friendships and families. The term Snow Soldiers is a shared expression between two friends.

    Soldiering In The Snow: British Army Troops Pictured In Estonia Training

    But if British soldiers spent only just over half their time in the trenches, where were they the rest of the time? On average, the British Tommy spent almost half his time behind this line of trenches. Those who needed it received medical treatment and training, whilst others enjoyed relaxation and leave.

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