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Diary of Lieutenant Commander Charles R. Train, United States Naval Attaché in Rome

Saturday – Nov 17/17.

     A good mornings work- the new courier – between Paris & Rome has arrived Oglesby – A gunnery sergent U.S.M.C. Had a long chat with Lackey – who spent leave time at Venice on the edge of the Piave.1 It is astounding how little initiative the Italians have as regards doing anything with their naval forces at Venice to hamper the enemy— whose left wing rests upon the sea. The Mondavi tunnel was blocked for 8 hrs Wed. night- due to a bribed engine driver who sent an engine against an oncoming train. Dined with the Liuet. Gen. Robilone2 sister in law says both he & Duke d’Aosta3 begged Cardorna to let them cut in behind the advancing enemy from both sides instead of retreating – but he refused.4

Source Note: D, DLC-MSS, Charles R. Train Papers, Box 1.

Footnote 1: Lackey has not been further identified. “Piave” was a river that flowed into the Adriatic Sea near Venice. The Italian army established a defensive front on the south side of the river after their defeat and rout at the battle of Caporetto.

Footnote 2: Possibly a misspelling of the name of Italian Lt. Gen. Mario Nicolis de Robilant, commander of the Italian Army’s IV Corps.

Footnote 3: Prince Emanuele Filberto, Duke of Aosta, commander of the Italian Third Army.

Footnote 4: Luigi Cardona was commander-in-chief of the Italian armies. Train is alluding to the battle of Caporetto fought between 24 October and 19 November 1917 and resulting in a smashing defeat for the Italian forces. As a result of this defeat Cardona was relieved of command.