Who's Who - Duke of Aosta

Duke of Aosta Duke Emmanuel Philibert Aosta (1869-1931) served as one of Italy's more competent generals during World War One, and played a role not only in the Italians' greatest success, at Gorizia, but also in the wake of their greatest disaster, at Caporetto.

The son of King Amadeus of Spain and a cousin of Italian King Emanuele III, Aosta commanded the Italian Third Army during the war.

Aosta's Third Army was chiefly responsible for the sole notable Italian success along the Isonzo River.  The sixth (of twelve) battles there, his success in finally capturing Gorizia in August 1916 and establishing an Italian bridgehead across the river was hailed as a great (and timely, in light of growing discontent and pacifist sentiment) success at home - although much of the credit went to Luigi Capello, somewhat of a better self-publicist than Aosta.

Nevertheless Capello's star was not long in the ascendant; with the collapse of the Italian line at Caporetto in October 1918 (chiefly owing to his overconfidence and Italian Chief of Staff Luigi Cadorna's lack of planning) Aosta salvaged a little Italian credit by arranging the orderly retreat of Third Army beyond the Tagliamento.

Following the war the Duke was appointed Marshal by Benito Mussolini's fascist regime in 1926.  His son, Amadeus, succeeded to his title and was subsequently Viceroy of Ethiopia.

The Duke of Aosta died in 1931.

'Alleyman' was British slang for a German soldier.

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