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(f: <vE"rS(tr OF 

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The Italo -Turkish War 


Translated and Compiled from the Reports of the 
Italian General Staff 


U. S. M. C. 

July, 1913. 

Kansas City, Missouri, U. S. A., 



Copyrighted 1914, by 

Franklin Hudson Publishing Co., 

Kansas City, Mo., U. S. A. 



Sapper — A soldier employed in building fortifications. 

Class of i88q, 1890, etc. — The males are called to colors 
when twenty years of age, and are classified according to 
the year they were born. 

Ascari and Meharisti — Native troops from Italy's 
African possessions. 

Spotters — Officers detailed to watch the fall of the 
shots\round'the target and report the results in order to 
keep in range. 



Preface, 9 

The Mobilization, 11 

Military Operations 21 

The First Occupations, 25 

Combats of Henni-Sciara and Sciat Henni-Bu Melina, . 26 
Occupation of Tobruk, Derna, Bengasi, and Horns, . 29 

Establishment of Bases, 30 

Zone of Tripoli, 30 

Combats of Hamidiè and Renni-Messri, 30 

Combat and Occupation of Ain Zara, 33 

Reconnaissance, 37 

Battle and Occupation of Gargaresc, 37 

Second Combat at Ain Zara, 38 

Zone of Homs, 38 

Reconnaissance of Lebda, 38 

Combat and Occupation of Mergheb, 39 

Night Combat of Mergheb, 39 

Zone of Bengasi, 40 

Combat of Koefia, 40 

Defense of Bengasi, 43 

Battle of Suani el Rani or "Due Palme," .... 44 

Zone of Derna, 48 

Defense of the Redoubts of Lombardia and Calabria, . 51 
Intensification of the War in Libya and the iEgean, ... 52 

Zone of Zuara, 52 

Landing at Macabez, 52 

Operations for the Occupation of Sidi Said, • • • 55 

Battle of Sidi Ali, 57 

Occupation of Zuara, 58 

Combat and Occupation of Regdaline, 61 

Operations in the ^gean, 62 

Expedition to Rhodes, 62 

Landing at Kalitheas and the Battle of Asgum, . . 65 
Battle of Psitos, 65 


CONTENTS— Continued. 

Zone of Homs, 67 

Battle and Occupation of Lebda, 67 

Battle of the Monticelli di Lebda, 67 

Zone of Misurata, 71 

Battle and Occupation of Misurata, 71 

Battle of Gheran, 72 

Zone of Derna, 72 

Advance on Sidi Abdallah IL, 72 

Battle of Kasr Ras el Leben, 75 

Battles of Sidi Abdallah IIL and Braksada, ... 76 

Zone of Tripoli, 77 

Battle of Sidi Abdul-Gilil or Zanzur, 77 

Battle of Sidi Bilal, 78 

Zone of Tobruk, 81 

Table of Losses in the Principal Actions, 82 

The Various Arms, 85 

The Artillery, 93 

Engineer Corps, 94 

Sanitary Service, 103 

Commissary Department, 104 

Transportation, 107 

Veterinary Service, 109 

Postal Service, no 

The Civil Administration and Its PoUcy, . . . . 113 

Landing-places, 114 

Survey, 114 

Roads, Streets, and Railways, 117 

Telegraph and Telephone, 121 

Water Mains, 122 

Sanitary and Hygienic Measures, 123 

Various Services, 127 

Conclusion, 131 

Tiai'uLl.— Italian 1 lag on the Castle, October ó, I'Jll. 









The various correspondents of Italian newspapers 
have narrated from time to time, while under the imme- 
diate impression of facts, the singular events of our recent 
war, with patriotic zeal and brilliant and colored style. 
They have also referred to the civil administration and 
the policy pursued in Libya and the j^gean by the Army 
and Navy; also, with less detail, on account of the lack of 
data and newspaper conservatism, on the operation of the 
mobilization, the complicated work of rendering secure 
the bases and constantly maintaining the troops at a 
high standard of efficiency. 

Therefore, in order to get a clear and complete account 
of the war, it seemed wiser to compile a brief report of all 
the actions of the troops and to treat successively the 
mobilization, military operations, and civil administra- 
tion and its policy, which the military authorities could 
execute with the cordial and efficacious cooperation of the 
civil personnel, called into the colonies after the first 
months of the war. 

This publication is, therefore, a summary of the official 
actions during the Italo-Turkish War. 


The publishers desire to express their great ap- 
preciation of the courtesy of the ItaHan Government, in 
permitting the use in this volume of the illustrations as 
published in the orginal report to their Government. 


The Mobilization. 

The Tripolitan Question had been agitated a long 
time in Italy, but public opinion became largely interested 
only after the commencement of the Young Turkish 
regime, which started to interfere with and continually 
placed obstacles to the pacific development of commerce, 
industries, and anything else of Itahan initiative, not 
only in Tripoli and Cyrenaica, but, it may be said, in 
every other locality of the Turkish Empire. 

A rapid survey of the Moroccan Question, for the 
purpose of arriving at a definite solution, showed that the 
importance of our status in the Mediterranean was les- 
sened, and that to insure the rights of Italy in Tripoli we 
had to have a sphere of influence and pursue a policy 
adequate to our maritime interests. 

Our Government made demands of the Porte, and, 
awaiting a reply, resolved to prepare a military expedition, 
in order to show Turkey the firm intention of Italy not to 
see her prestige as a great power diminished and to insure 
the recognition of her rights by the other nations. 

The special mobilization which followed was the first 
experience of this kind for our troops on an extensive 
scale since the campaign for the union of It^y. In the 
patient work of organization and preparation, the mih- 
tary authorities had to keep in mind, aside from the par- 


ticular exigency requiring this expedition, the necessity of 
not interfering with an eventual general mobilization of 
the troops, following that of each special body. In line 
with the above condition, it was proposed to assemble 
an expeditionary corps consisting of all arms (Infantry, 
Cavalry, Artillery, Hospital, and Subsistence Corps), 
drafts from the various territorial troops, and to de- 
tail for service the Second Reserve. There had to be 
obtained special materiel and various means for light 
transportation, which had to be substituted for regula- 
tion materiel and regular transportation facilities, with 
the exception of the carriages and caissons of the Field 

To diminish the work of the Sanitary Corps, part of 
the Red Cross Association was assigned to the regular 
troops to maintain ambulances and field hospitals. 

It was decided that, as soon as the special mobilization 
was completed, the Staff should replace immediately the 
personnel and materiel taken from the forces available 
for a general mobilization. 

The Expeditionary Force consisted of the following: 
2 divisions (ist and 2d), each consisting of 2 brigades 
and each brigade of 2 regiments, with Machine Gun pla- 
toons; 2 squadrons of Cavalry; i regiment of Field Ar- 
tillery, consisting of 4 batteries of 75-A (3-in.); i com- 
pany of sappers; wagon and pack transportation. 

Supplementary Troops: 2 regiments of Bersagliere 
(Infantry), with Machine Gun platoon; i regiment of 
Field Artilley (4 batteries); 2 companies of Coast Ar- 


tillery; 2 companies of sappers; i company of Signal 
Corps; 4 field radio stations; wagon and pack transpor- 
tation; Red Cross Association. The Second Reserve 
was held in readiness. 

Total Expeditionary Force: 34,000 men, 6,300 horses 
and mules, 1,050 wagons, 48 field guns, 24 mountain guns. 

Difficulties consistent with the work of a special mo- 
bilization were experienced; some were foreseen, others 
resulted from the peculiar conditions of the moment, 
namely : 

The fact that the Class of 1889 was discharged a few 
days previously. 

The special sanitary regulations of the kingdom, pre- 
venting the recall to arms of all those diseased. 

The necessity of effecting the embarkation of the 
troops without interfering with the normal traffic of the 
ports, especially that of Naples, selected as the principal 
port of departure. 

The necessity of obtaining proper transportation 
without interfering with the national maritime traffic. 

The difficulty of equipping all the expeditionary force 
with the olive-drab uniform, when said uniform had not 
as yet been adopted by all the arms. 

As has been noted, Turkey evaded answering the de- 
mands made by our Government, paid no attention to the 
remonstrances made by us against the sending of her 
troops and war materiel to Tripoli, and finally made an 
evasive reply to our ultimatum. 

On September 25, 191 1, an order was issued desig- 


Dating September 28, 191 1, as the day of mobilization. 
The Expeditionary Force consisted of the Class of 1890 
and those recalled from the Class of 1888. 

The transports were turned over to the Navy as rap- 
idly as possible, and materiel was freighted with all ce- 
lerity to the point of embarkation. Daily requests were 
made by officers to be allowed to go to the front, and many 
soldiers of the Class of 1888 made similar requests. 
Many demands were made by ecclesiastics and different 
religious orders to be allowed to accompany the Hospital 
Corps. A convenient number of all were assigned. 

As soon as the mobilization was commenced, the mili- 
tary authorities ordered that all interested headquarters 
immediately compile and forward reports relative to the 
movements and dispositions of the troops, so that this 
valuable data could be used as a guide for such future or- 
ganization or for the general mobilization. 

Said reports, as well as public opinion at home and 
abroad, have shown that the dispositions made more than 
fulfilled expectations. It was due to the zeal and interest 
displayed by all concerned that the mobilization was 
rapid and complete. 

But the new conditions arising from Turkish concen- 
tration in Libya demanded the sending of a force much 
superior to the one contemplated, and, profiting by the 
experience gained, orders were issued in a brief time for 
the new mobilization. So from the middle of October to 
the end of December the following troops were mobilized : 
2 commands of Divisions (3d and 4th) ; 


7 brigades of Infantry (5th to nth) and i regi- 

ment (30th) ; 
6 battalions of Alpines (Infantry) ; 
I regiment of Bersagliere (Infantry) ; 

8 squadrons of Cavalry; 

6 batteries of Field Artillery (mod. 1906) ; 
II batteries of Field Artillery (75-A, 3-in.); 

8 mountain batteries; 

7 companies of Coast Artillery, for service with 5 

batteries of cannon No. 149 (6-in.), i of shell 
No. 149 (6-in.), and i of mortar No. 210 (8-in.) ; 

5 companies of sappers; 

4 mine companies ; 

I company of telegraphers; 

1 section of aerostatics, aeroplanes, balloons, etc. ; 

2 radio-telegraph stations and search-lights, di- 

visional purposes (3d and 4th) ; 
2 field hospitals of 50 beds each; 
4 field hospitals of 100 beds each; 
2 mountain ambulances (Red Cross) ; 
I section of bake ovens (mod. 1897), and various 
supplies for garrison purposes. 
With this mobilization accomplished and in addition 
to the first expedition we now have: 55,000 men, 8,300 
quadrupeds, 1,500 wagons, 84 field guns, 42 mountain 
guns, and 28 siege guns. 

From January to October, 191 2, there were organized, 
as exigencies required in the localities of Libya and the 
i^gean, 4 battahons of Alpines (Infantry), 7 battalions 


of Ascari (Colonial), and i squadron of Meharisti (native 
Colonial) mounted on camels ; various dirigibles and aero- 
planes were sent and gave proof of their value, which was 
rapidly developed. 

Simultaneously with the sending of subsistence and 
equipment came the necessity of filling the vacancies 
caused by losses through battle and illness, and the pro- 
viding of substitutes for those recalled from the Class of 
1888 and discharged in April and May (30,000 men) and 
those of the Class of 1889 discharged in the months of 
July and August (36,890 men). 

The rapidity of the movements of troops and materiel 
by rail was truly remarkable. It is enough to state that 
from September, 191 1, to June 30, 191 2, as taken from 
the report of the Administrator of Railways for the year 
191 1 -1 2, there were transported for the war in Libya: 
2,940 officers, 184,290 men, 10,650 quadrupeds, and 585 
wagons. The transportation of ammunition and aero- 
nautic material was ingeniously effected. The principal 
part of this work occurred in the months of October and 
November, 191 1, when transportation had to be fur- 
nished simultaneously for those discharged at Naples and 
Palermo, of the Class of 1889, and those called to arms, 
of the Class of 1891. This meant the transportation of 
about 250,000 men, and it may be added that this extra- 
ordinary movement of troops by rail was so well handled 
that it did not in the least affect the public service. 

The excellent results obtained in this mobilization, 
without any preparation prior to the declaration of war, 

TRIPOLI. — Krupp Gun ''Fort Faro," Abandoned in Consequence of tlie 
Bombardment bv the Fleet. 


TRIPOLI. — Kru])!) Cliin Distnounfod by l'ire from the Fleet. 

TRIPOLI.— Battery afterlBombardment by'the^Fleet. 

The Harbor at Tobruk. 


has demonstrated that even the urgent disposition of 
troops can be accomplished completely and with prompt- 
ness in the face of all difficulties, because of well-thought- 
out rules and instructions, and because the headquarters 
of the mobilization were well prepared to meet the work as 
it occurred. 

The result has proved that, although it is desirable to 
accomplish work of this nature on the base of set rules and 
instructions, the good-will, interest, and intelligent zeal 
that was displayed are also required, and that with this 
alone seemingly insurmountable obstacles, arising from 
unexpected orders, can be overcome. 

The hearty cooperation of the Navy, the railways, 
and the post and telegraph offices contributed greatly to 
the success of this mobilization. 


Military Operations. 

As has been shown, in September, 1911, the Secretary 
of War prepared for miUtary action in Libya in case 
the situation could not be arranged diplomatically with 

The Secretary of the Navy in the meantime assembled 
the fleet and made preparations to transport the troops, 
ordered the forts at Taranto and Brindisi and the coast 
defenses of Messina to place themselves in readiness 
against an attack from the sea, and the other coast de- 
fenses to consider themselves in the "position of alarm" 
in the time of peace. He also installed at Vittoria a radio- 
telegraph station, and had another one kept in readiness 
to be placed where it might later be required. 

Turkey had forces in Tripoli amounting to about 5,000 
men, and in Cyrenaica about 2,000. The fortifications 
on the coast were antiquated and mediocre in their arma- 
ment, hence of Httle value, and the tentative union of 
the Arabian redifs (chiefs) could be considered as a failure. 

The war, owing to the character of the governmental 
pohcy, had to be declared at a moment when the cUmatic 
conditions at sea were not propitious for the landing of 
troops and equipment; but any delay in the operations 
would have greatly minimized our prestige and aug- 
mented the difficulty of the enterprise, because Turkey 


would have assuredly taken advantage of this to send 
new troops, arms, ammunition, and provisions to Libya, 
and to further arouse the Arabs against us. 

It was at first thought that a few acts of capture 
would be sufficient to cause the Turks to settle the matter 
diplomatically, and with this end in view it was intended 
to occupy central points on the coast, regarded as valua- 
ble politically and strategically ; namely, Tripoli, Tobruk, 
Derna, Bengasi, and Homs. 

Owing to the hostility of the Arabs, kindled and kept 
aflame by the Turks, it was found necessary to reinforce 
the corps of occupation and to establish firmly the nec- 
essary bases from which to proceed for action into the 

It became evident that the resistance of the Arabs 
was made possible by contrabandists, who, widely or- 
ganized, were carrying on their work from Tunisia and 
Egypt and from various points along the coast not oc- 
cupied, and it became necessary to provide troops to 
prevent, as far as possible, the enemy receiving arms, am- 
munition, etc. This caused the occupation of Zuara and 
Misurata, and it was one of the reasons which caused the 
occupation of Dodecaneso in the ^gean. 

Simultaneously the marines, besides protecting the 
various convoys, cooperated with great efficacy in the 
many operations of the landing forces, and without any 
assistance and with admirable bravery made landings in 
the Ionian Sea, in the Red Sea, on the coast of the Yemen, 
on the coast of Syria, and in the Straits of Dardanelles. 


In Camp at Bengasi. 

Garden and Vita of Bercas. 

TRIPOLI. — Infantry Landing from Pontoons. 

I LI. — Tombs. 



The theater of operations, therefore, limited at first to the 
coast of Libya and central Mediterranean coasts, extended 
finally along the Mediterranean to the Red Sea, involving 
the coasts of three continents. 

The troops and their equipage during the twelve 
months of war gave continued proof of their technical 
value and their military worth, sustaining with great 
fortitude the trying and prolonged worriments; the ex- 
cellence of the materiel and the knowledge and skill of 
the commanding officers, both ashore and afloat, notwith- 
standing the long time at sea and the numerous bombard- 
ments, retained to the end of the war their integrity and 
wonderful efficiency. 

The war may be divided thus: 

(a) The first occupation (October, 191 1); 

(fc) The establishment of bases (until March, 

(c) The intensification of the war in Libya and the 
^gean (from April, 19 12, to the conclusion 
of hostilities). 

The First Occupations. 

(October, 19 11) 

HostiHties were begun with brilHant action on the part 
of our forces in the Ionian Sea — that is, with the bombard- 
ment and the silencing of the ports of Tripoli, and with 
the occupation of the city by 1,700 sailors; a stroke of 


valor which repulsed and frustrated the vigorous attacks 
of the Turkish troops for seven days, when finally, the 
nth of October, the first troops of the expeditionary 
force landed, and the proud sailors returned to their ships. 
The political and mihtary situation developed into 
something different from that which was at first ex- 
pected. The population along the coast and the towns 
near by became hostile. The efficacy of the Turkish 
propaganda, nourished by continuous assistance of arms, 
men, and money, renewed their hatred and revived hope 
in the success of the war. So that the Turkish Army be- 
came, little by Httle, transformed into what may be called 
a great square about the armed and turbulent Arabs. 
They profited by their admirable knowledge of the intri- 
cate and treacherous locality, and proved themselves ad- 
versaries capable of prolonging the conflict. Their re- 
ligious fanaticism and savage instincts also fomented the 
rebelUon in Tripoli, in the immediate vicinity of and 
adjacent to our lines of defense. 

Combats of Henni-Sciara Sciat (October 23) and Henni-Bu 
M eliana (October 26). 

The outbreak occurred October 23, 191 1 (Henni- 
Sciara Sciat), on which day, and during the combat of 
October 26th (Henni-Bu Meliana), the valor and firmness 
of all of our troops underwent a severe trial; for they 
repulsed an adversary strong in numbers, masterly in 

In Camp at Ain Zara. 

HOMS. — Panorama. 



deceit, tenacious in close quarters, and who took advan- 
tage of all the cover afforded by the terrain. 

Our losses were not light, but justified by the result, 
and showed that the morale of our troops was excellent. 

In the meantime other points along the coast were 

Occupation of Tobruk (October 4), Derna (October 18), 
Bengasi (October 20), and Horns (October 21). 

From the 4th of October, 191 1, our flag had been 
flying at Tobruk, whose harbor afi'orded the best an- 
chorage in all Tripolitania and Cyrenaica. It was used 
as a base for our Navy, which was operating in the waters 
of Cyrenaica. Augosto was used as a base for the Tri- 
politan coast. 

In the last two weeks of October the following points 
were occupied: Derna (i8th), Bengasi (20th), and Homs 

The landing from the battleship Giuliana (19th), 
which was the prelude to the taking of Bengasi, ham- 
pered by heavy seas and resisted by the enemy, repre- 
sented one of the most brilliant actions of all the war, and 
was the beginning of the cooperation between the Army 
and the Navy which won such excellent results and which 
continued in later ventures. On that date also occurred 
the conquest of Berca, defended by the Arab-Turks, 
tenaciously but in vain, against our impetuous troops. 



Combats of Hamidiè (November 6, 191 1) and Renni-Messri 
(November 26, 1911). 

In Tripoli the eastern line of defense had to be with- 
drawn on account of hygienic demands and for military 
purposes; hygienic demands, because of the numerous 
dead bodies of the enemy remaining in the vicinity of the 
line after the battles of Henni-Sciara Sciat and Bu Meli- 
ana, and the consequent fear of contagion to the troops in 
the trenches; for military purposes, because it was nec- 
essary to divide the troops along the line of defense in 
proportion to the number at hand, and this resulted in the 
unequal development of that line and gave entry to the 

The original southern Hne had to be maintained, be- 
cause it held the wells of Bu Meliana, which supplied the 
water to the city. The troops retired from the heights of 
Sidi Messri, Henni, and the Hamidiè Battery to the line 
Sidi Messri, Hamura, Feschlum, and the Tombs of Cara- 
manli. The danger from contagion being over, we en- 
gaged the enemy, upon the arrival of fresh troops from 
Italy, on November 6th, and after a lively and tenacious 
fight the Hamidiè Battery was re-occupied, in order to 
diminish their desultory attacks and to prevent them from 
gaining a flank position to our line of defense. On the 

Artillory Spotter. 

HOMS. — Heights after the Occupation. 


w»J»?;ì-c-s^.^^_ -VKfl**;-, ^•i■i^ 



BENGASI.— Oasis of "Two Palms.' 



1 8th a great number of Arab-Turks, intrenched near the 
Tombs of Caramanli, were attacked and dispersed. On 
the morning of November 26th, after a forced suspension 
of activity caused by heavy rains, the forts of Messri were 
re-occupied; and at 4:00 p. m. Henni and the region im- 
mediately east of the Hamidiè Battery were also taken, 
after an active combat around huts, walls, and defended 
heights, which were finally destroyed by dynamite. 

Combat and Occupation of Ain Zara. 
(December 4, 191 1.) 

It now became necessary to make a further advance 
upon Ain Zara to rout the Arab-Turks, because by occu- 
pying this town an efficient watch could be kept over the 
caravans traveling through the desert, the southern out- 
skirts of the oases, and the communications between 
Tripoli and Tagiura. This also assured us the possession 
of the city and enabled us to keep a better watch over the 
malcontents, whose actions were not to our advantage. 

On the morning of December 4th, after a rainy night 
and heavy storm at daybreak, our troops moved on to the 
conquest of Ain Zara. The attack assumed an episodic 
character. Later in the day it became necessary to bring 
on the line several mountain batteries, because of the 
terrain (all dunes of a misleading character), and because 
of the very small range of vision. This was, moreover, 
necessitated by the special style of combat of the enemy, 
who, with wonderful abihty, took every advantage of the 


cover afforded by the terrain, passing rapidly from one 
point to another to take up fire upon our Une from long 
range, then closing in upon our lines as soon as our bat- 
teries approached the mid range. 

As soon as the various groups of the adversary had 
been dispersed, our columns united and carried the last 
trench. Towards night we arrived finally at the edge of 
the high plain which overlooks Ain Zara. 

The enemy was retreating in disorder towards the 
south, shelled by the artillery, leaving in our hands seven 
Krupp guns (87 mm., 3 -in.); small arms; ammunition 
for both artillery and rifles; many animals and much 

As night was falling and the ground was wet and 
treacherous, and the cavalry fatigued from opposing the 
Arabs proceeding from Zanzur, the pursuit of the enemy 
was not a vigorous one. 

With Ain Zara occupied, our dominion on the extreme 
eastern limb of the oasis of Tripoli was assured; with the 
occupation of the oases of Sahel and Tagiura (December 
10-13, 1911), it became necessary to extend our field of 
operations in the desert zone towards the oases which 
ranged along the extreme slope of the higher plane; oases 
which were pointed out by our aviators as bases from 
which our enemy was sending men and provisions, and 
which were being used as meeting-places for the tribes to 
maintain actively the fanatical propaganda. 


.Viu'l Uh' uaUit' ai Ljt-iijia>l. 



Applied r.vinn.istics— Italians Dislodging Bedouins at Bengasi. 

BENGASI. — Center of Resistance. 

Vallej' of Dema. 




The cavalry reconnoitered towards Bir Tobras and 
Bir Edin; and on December 17th a battalion of grenadiers 
pushed as far south as 12 kilometers (8 miles) below Ain 
Zara; on the 19th a mixed detachment went to Bir Tobras 
to liberate Arab families who were loyal to us, but held 
captive by the enemy. In this last reconnaissance officers 
and men had been subjected to long and continued hard- 
ships and all the privations and dangers of an uncertain 
situation, but they attacked with ardor, valor, and firm- 
ness in a manner to impress the adversary, who were 
emboldened by their superiority in number. This de- 
tachment hoped to obtain an easy success against a small 
number of troops detached from their base, and who 
were for the first time fighting on a desert terrain devoid 
of sustenance. The detachment succeeded in making an 
undisturbed retreat, carrying their wounded and all their 
equipment ; overcoming the difficulties of orientation on a 
dark night, they returned on the morning of the 20th 
to Ain Zara. 

Battle and Occupation of Gargaresc. 
(January 18-20, 19 12.) 

Our occupation had now to be extended principally 
towards the east, in order to protect the marble works in 
the garrisons around Gargaresc, and to prevent the raids 
of the Arab-Turks upon the population loyal to us. On 
January 18, 191 2, the enemy was attacked and defeated 


by our troops; on the 20th the town was garrisoned and 
work immediately begun to fortify it. 

Second Combat of Ain Zara. 
(January 28, 19 12.) 

On January 28, 191 2, after a respite, a violent attack 
was made on Ain Zara; and around Tripoli a series of 
forays were made by the cavalry and small mixed detach- 
ments. Numerous trips were made by our intrepid avia- 
tors, dropping bombs on the enemy, whose attacks on our 
redoubts and detachments were in every case vigorously 


In the meantime combats were being carried on with 
intensity and without truce along other points of the 
coast, and each one was a new success to our arms. 

Reconnaissance of Lebda. 

(December i, 191 1.) 

At Homs, to break the Turkish telegraph lines and to 
impress the Bedouins encountered in the vicinity of 
Lebda and near the slopes of Mesellata, we attacked the 
enemy on the ist of December and defeated them about 
4 kilometers {2}^ miles) southeast of our trenches. 
Thereafter the attacks on our line were insignificant, and 
the time at our disposal was utilized in fortifying the po- 
sition we occupied. This work was not simple, owing to 


the natural configuration of the ground around Horns, 
hidden from view along the Uttoral by the oases of L,ebda 
and the numerous Roman ruins, which occupied a great 
deal of the territory in those parts, dominated towards 
the west and southwest especially by the hills of Mergheb 
— a point excellently defended, and facing Horns with a 
clear range of vision. 

Combat and Occupation of Mergheb. 
(February 27, 19 12.) 

This strong position at Mergheb had been noted ; and 
occasionally from its heights cannon had been fired upon 
the city. It was therefore found necessary to occupy 
these heights. This was carried out decisively on the 
27th of February. To diminish the forces of the de- 
fenders, a well-simulated move was made towards Sliten 
to entice the enemy in that direction ; meanwhile three of 
our columns approached Mergheb silently, and the Arab- 
Turks were accordingly surprised. The enemy than made 
a violent counter-attack; but after a mixed and close 
combat and an impetuous flank attack by our columns, 
the enemy was routed by a bayonet charge. 

Night Combat of Mergheb. 

(March 5-6, 1912.) 

In spite of their losses, the enemy did not give up ; and 
on the night of March 5-6th they attempted to regain 
their former position by a furious attack, hoping to find 


our vigilance relaxed. Officers and men had, however, 
intelligently fortified their position and were eagerly on 
the watch, so that the Arab-Turks found the defenders 
calm and assured of their position, and suffered consequent 
losses. Meanwhile, to the east of Homs, our troops frus- 
trated a tentative attack made with the object in view of 
diverting the attention of the defenders of Mergheb. 


In the days subsequent to our occupation, the nucleus 
of the Arab-Turks had by preference rallied in the oasis 
near the city of Bengasi, aiming to have better facilities 
to secure their provisions and to keep in touch with the 

Combat of Koefia. 
(November 28, 191 1.) 

After having advised the outposts (established at 
Daut-Luba and Ras el Ferg), a column consisting of the 
three arms pushed towards Sidi Calif a the 28th of No- 
vember, and at Koefia our troops, after ably overcoming 
the difficulty of the terrain, and giving proof of their 
vigor and ardor, surprised and dispersed a large force of 
Bedouins, who left on the field 21 dead, among them 
chiefs of the Avaghir tribe, who had entered the combat 
on horseback. 

Towards the end of November and the beginning of 
December the work of systematizing the defenses of the 
city proceeded uninterruptedly, and meanwhile the Arab- 

Instructions on Board Ship. 


Castle of Orfella. 



'i > 


\ ' 


Turkish force was rapidly growing, augmented by the 
arrival of the regular troops from the Egyptian frontier, 
as well as by the assistance in this respect of the popula- 
tion of the hinterland. The tactics preferred by the 
enemy were to simulate night attacks, with the object in 
view of disturbing the repose of our troops and provoking 
useless expenditure of ammunition, and hoping to sur- 
prise the advance works of the defense and the line of 
security of Bengasi. 

These sporadic attacks were always promptly and en- 
ergetically repulsed with the assistance of our Navy, 
who cooperated in the fire-action and with their search- 
lights illuminated the terrain near our lines and con- 
tiguous to the sea. The Navy, besides bombarding 
Koefia, bombarded the oases of Suani Osman, Tolmetta, 
Bersis, and Tocra, to punish the inhabitants, who were 
giving aid to the enemy around Bengasi by furnishing 
men from their tribes. 

Defense of Bengasi. 
(December 25, 1911.) 

After a brief respite, from the i6th to the 21st of De- 
cember, the activity of the enemy manifested itself on the 
2 2d by an attack upon a camp redoubt and a defended 
post. This was a prelude to the general attack upon the 
city on December 25th. This action involved only the 
artillery, as the Arab-Turks advanced cautiously and 


kept a great distance from the lines. The other arms, 
ready and on the watch, consequently participated neither 
in the action nor in the defense of the trenches nor in the 

The artillery opened up an efficacious and continuous 
fire at 3,800 to 4,000 meters (4,000 to 4,300 yards), using 
29 pieces, each one firing on an average of 39 shots. 
There were no appreciable losses; and when it is taken 
into consideration that the firing kept up all day, the ex- 
penditure of that amount of ammunition was justified. 
The batteries gave proof of their perfect fire-discipline, 
excellent technical and professional preparation, efficacy, 
and coordination of action. 

The enemy took advantage of nightfall and retreated, 
leaving on the field 200 dead, several hundred wounded, 
two dismantled guns, and many horses. 

Battle of Suani el Rani or "Due Palme" {"Two Palms"), 
(March 12, 1912.) 

Serious losses occurred two and one-half months after- 
wards in the battle of Suani el Rani, better known as 
"Two Palms." 

From December to March the work of the enemy was 
limited to small skirmishes around our redoubts and out- 
posts or with our reconnoitering parties; on the 12th of 
March they showed considerable force and started a gen- 
eral attack upon the city, but hesitated, owing to our im- 

-^ * lw t 

^■W' "^..IM.^ - 

Landing at Kalitheas. 


A Halt during the Advance on Rhodes. 

Panorama of Psitos. 

Turkish Prisoners. 



mediate and energetic counter-attack. They attempted 
to withstand the attack, but in vain ; our valorous troops 
surrounded them with a ring of fire and steel and anni- 
hilated them. Nearly one thousand were left dead on 
the field, while many more died in consequence of their 

The result obtained was the reward of constant co- 
operation of the various arms and of the intelligence, 
discipline, and incomparable dash of our troops. The 
behavior of our infantry was splendid; their advance 
under the heavy fire of the adversary is deserving of every 
praise. Calm and in good order, with excellent examples 
set by their officers, they launched themselves upon the 
enemy, engaging them in a hand-to-hand conflict, from 
which they emerged victorious. 

This day set the seal of approval on the excellence 
of the organization of the artillery, who did their work 
patiently, and gained their fire of position with a clearness 
of scope. The functions and range of the field and 
mountain batteries were excellent; the pieces were light 
and ably handled, and the ability to make hits and the 
discipline were perfect. 

The cavalry assaulted in an orderly and prompt 
manner. They carried out the orders to protect the 
right wing from attack, and later assisted in developing 
this wing in a most commendable manner. 

Even the intrenchments and field works of Bengasi 
revealed their efficacy by the fact that a decisive and 
ofifensive action took place under their immediate pro- 


tection, and (the artillery of a whole sector was brought 
into action) demonstrated the excellent position of these 
works and that they dominated the surrounding terrain. 
The battle of "Two Palms" greatly dampened the 
ardor of the enemy, and they no longer attempted to at- 
tack in force. Our aviators dropped bombs on them, and 
our Navy bombarded various points along the coast. 
So they contented themselves with small attacks against 
our redoubts and workmen, but were always easily re- 
pulsed. At times they fired upon our troops while at 
drill. The three arms were drilled daily to keep them in 
trim and to intimidate the enemy. 


The garrison of Derna had to show its mettle, owing 
to the topography of the terrain in that vicinity. The 
city was situated on the face of a rocky cliff; there was 
no accessible way to reach the higher plain, nor could one 
be built, as the rock was composed of limestone and 
crumbled. The higher plane had also a wide gap, caused 
by rain and sun, which did not present any foothold, 
being cut up by sharp cliffs and thick, impassable vegeta- 
tion. This precipice was honeycombed with caverns and 
cells, greatly assisting the inhabitants in their innate 
spirit of brigandage and rapine. 

Therefore a great deal of difficulty was experienced 
with this terrain in securing a line of defense, either to- 
wards the east or towards the west, to protect the potable 

TurkLsli Prisoners. 

ininDES. -Towor of tho Aunr-h 


1{I1( )\)KS -I)q);irture of Iroo]) 

: .^v'^ 


Ruins at Lebda. 

MISURATA.— Cape Zarrug. 


The encounters fought here until September, 191 1, 
were not of a decisive character, because it would have 
been perilous and imprudent to venture into this unknown 
and impervious zone to follow the enemy into possible 
ambush. But they offered themselves continually to 
our fire — both the fire of the troops who protected the 
workmen and in general attacks made with the hope of 
recapturing the city. 

Defense of the Redoubts of Lombardia and Calabria. 
(February 11-12, 19 12.) 

Defeat after defeat occurred to the Arab-Turks, a 
memorable one being the night attack February ii-i2th, 
commanded by En ver Bey. 

The battle of Sidi Abdallah (March 3, 191 1) also 
proved disastrous for the enemy. They displayed their 
forces in the manner most favorable to them, taking ad- 
vantage of the cover afforded by the difficult and treach- 
erous ground. The day was one of laborious combat; 
but the great forces of the adversary, with their knowl- 
edge of the terrain and their fanatical enthusiasm, were 
met by the sturdy opposition of our troops, who, at the 
proper time, encountered the foe with firmness and 
charged them with impetuosity. 


Intensification of the War in Libya and the ^gean. 

(From April 12th to the Declaration of Peace.) 

zone of zuara. 

To put a stop to the contraband of war in Tunis, it 
was decided, in the latter part of December, 1911, to 
make a landing at Zuara; but heavy seas, due to high 
winds, which continued for three weeks, caused the aban- 
donment of the enterprise. The Navy, however, had a 
chance to prove its great value, and the troops to dem- 
onstrate their patience during their long confinement 
aboard ship, from the 2 2d of December to the 14th of 
January, on which latter date the enterprise was definitely 
given up. 

Landing at Macahez. 
(April 10-14, 1912.) 

Persisting, however, in the necessity of preventing 
this smuggling, another attempt was made to land at 
Zuara in April, 19 11; but, owing to various nautical and 
military features, it was decided to land at Macabez in- 
stead. This landing was accomplished by all the arms 
in four days, after experiencing great hydrographic dif- 
ficulties. Again the Navy showed their abihty to co- 
operate with the troops. 

Landing at Misurata. 


Skinni,sli Advance on Misuiata. 

Artillery Advance on Misurata. 

Trenches — Oasis of Misurata. 



The beach, Fort Bu Chemesc, and the caravans were 
taken possession of, all of which were to serve to carry 
the expeditions into the interior towards the new lines of 
communication, which the Arab-Turks would not have 
failed to single out. 

Our troops were well tried in the long and obscure 
work, landing upon a beach open and deserted (probably 
the only case of its kind where such maritime conditions 
were overcome), desiring to face an enemy who could 
display a force and ardor worthy of the effort made to 
reach them. 

The enemy appeared on the 23d of April at Bu 
Chemesc, and our gallant soldiers had their desires ful- 
filled. With great violence and vigor, the enemy at- 
tacked successively from the east, southeast, and west. 

Mowed down by the artillery from our works and from 
our counter-attacks, after a spirited combat they were 
compelled to retreat, leaving a great number of dead 
and wounded. 

Operations for the Occupation of Sidi Said. 

(January 26, 27, 28, 1912.) 

The frequent offensive reconnaissances sent out by 
our troops had permission to capture the caravans and to 
disperse the Arab-Turk convoys, but it was not altogeth- 
er easy nor convenient to halt and sustain themselves, 
owing to the absolute hostility of the inhabitants and 
the difficulty of maintaining communications across the 


uninterrupted series of streams (called sebche) that run 
through the middle of the zone of Bu Chemesc. 

The enemy (consisting of several thousand men, many- 
horses, and some cannon) attempted to oppose every 
tentative move we made towards the caravans. But, 
uncertain of the direction of our movements and be- 
cause of our persistent activity around Bu Chemesc, they 
formed a cordon with a front of about 30 kilometers (19 
miles), out of range of our artillery, with their right on 
the stronghold Sidi Said and their left eastward of the 
Tunisian border. With this ample front, and not having 
been sufficiently harassed by our troops, who had only 
gone 15 kilometers (9 miles) inland, they had little by 
little strongly fortified themselves. 

After the decision to attack, to avoid proceeding 
through the inhospitable region next to the Tunisian 
border, it was decided to march in two columns from 
Macabez and Bu Chemesc, respectively, to mass against 
the position of Sidi Said, the conquest of which would 
in all probability determine the fall of the Arab-Turk 
defense. And so it happened; the methodical plan of 
attack was crowned with success on the victorious days 
of June 26th, 27th and 28th, which gave us possession of 
Sidi Said, a very important position on the road of Zelten 
and Zuara, and gave us uncontested domain of 40 kilo- 
meters (26 miles) of coast, from the Tunis border to Sidi 
Said and to the line of streams. 

The losses of the Arab-Turks were more than 700 
dead, left on the field, and a large number of wounded; 


arms, ammunition, animals, and various materiel fell 
into our hands. 

Our troops behaved admirably, as did the commanders 
who led them on to victory ; and with the faith that was 
placed in them, everything seemed possible in the face of 
the difficult terrain, the enemy, the climate, and re- 
sources. The spontaneous and intelligent accord be- 
tween the various commanders, arms, and the Army and 
Navy corresponded excellently to the particular require- 
ments during the three days of operation, constituting in 
their completeness a prepared ofiFensive combat. 

Battle of Sidi Ali. 

(July 14, 1912.) 

A few days later the opportunity presented itself to 
extend our territorial occupation as far as Sidi AH, a high 
position 6 kilometers (4 miles) to the eastward of Sidi 
Said, which would assure our halt during our stay in this 
latter locality, an advanced post, and an excellent point 
of vedette on the Zuara road ; and it would impede in the 
meantime the Arab-Turks from assembling at and using 
this point from which to molest our occupation of Sidi 
Said. This point was carried on July 14th, after a bril- 
liant reconnaissance by one of our flying columns, which 
disposed of the fear of any serious threat on the part of a 
nucleus of the enemy assembled to the southward of Bu 
Chemesc. The combat was violent and at close quarters, 
and the enemy numerous, reinforced from the Sahara the 


day after Sidi Said. Terrific heat tended to diminish our 
forces; but the troops maintained, as always, an elevated 
spirit, and their conduct was admirable. 

The enemy was beaten and demoralized. "It is des- 
tiny," so terminated a canard in a Tunisian newspaper. 
"Ah! destiny, the prophet of reason, is with the Italians, 
and our troops fall like flies before the enemy's fire." 
There was no further need to defend Zuara, a city exposed 
to the fire of our Navy, as was also the surrounding ter- 
rain. Its peculiar conformation and works erected by 
the enemy were adapted to a tenacious resistance. 

Occupation of Zuara. 
(August 6, 191 2.) 

Our troops entered with hardly any casualty, after 
having dispersed small squads of the enemy's rear guard. 

Zuara was the objective towards which operations 
were to point after the abandonment, because of logical 
difficulties, of any further penetration of the Tunisian 
border. This was, besides representing the center of 
habitation, the most important of all the vast region to 
the eastward of the border. Regdaline was the principal 
gathering-place of the caravans which proceeded from 
the border to the eastward. To the south of Regdaline 
the country was a desert waste, not containing sufficient 
water to allow the passage of numerous caravans. There- 
fore, with the zone of Zuara-Regdaline occupied, the train 
of caravans that had used the trail close to the sea were 

DERXA.^Bu Msafer. 


DERNA.— Halg Gianiba. 


effectively intercepted and eliminated, and the great 
contraband trade was limited to the mountain roads, 
which were so distant and difficult that it was not found 
worth while to consider them. It was impossible to at- 
tend simultaneously to the two objectives, Zuara and 
Regdaline, owing to the insufficiency of forces. Zuara, 
if found undefended, could be reached on the same day, 
and an offensive operation made against Regdaline and 
Menscia on the following day, to cut off a caravan com- 
ing from the west. It was found convenient to abstain, 
owing to the extreme high temperature and the hardships 
the troops were subjected to, deprived of the bare neces- 
sities, which were still on board, and because of the youth 
of the men of this class. 

On the other hand, the day after the occupation it 
was discovered, without doubt, that a general uprising 
amongst the inhabitants was contemplated, and they 
would be joined by the armed "Mehalle" in case our 
vigilance between Zuara and Regdaline was at all relaxed. 

Combat and Occupation of Regdaline. 
(August 15, 1912.) 

With the troops reorganized and fully equipped, the 
advance towards RegdaHne was made August 15th. 

The enemy, remembering our impetuosity and firm 
intent to win, experienced at Sidi Said and Sidi Ali, com- 
ported themselves accordingly when we confronted them 
en masse; the more audacious ones, however, rallied on 


our extreme left and opposed us in close quarters; but 
our troops, with their usual valor, did not delay in 
flanking and dispersing them. 

Thereafter and until the declaration of peace our only 
engagements were small skirmishes or artillery fire upon 
caravans in the distance. 


The better to prevent the smuggling of arms from 
Turkey to Libya, to aggravate the moral situation of the 
enemy at home and abroad, and to have pledges in our 
favor in case of a peace treaty, it was decided to occupy 
some of the islands in the lower ^gean. 

The island of Stampalia, on account of its topo- 
graphical conformation and its central position regarding 
the islands in the lower ^gean, was selected as a base for 
the naval forces detailed to operate in those waters, and 
was occupied April 28th. An expeditionary force that 
was being organized at Tobruk sailed on the night of 
May 3d-4th, escorted by the ships of the second squadron, 
and proceeded to the isle of Rhodes. 

Expedition to Rhodes. 

This island, bound to Italy from time immemorial, is 
certainly the most important of the Sporades group, and 
also economical as a station for transit from the eastern 
to the western cities of the Mediterranean, in spite of its 
squalid decadence since the sixteenth century. 

Italian Colonial Troops. 

i: '■■-■ 

Squad of Meharisti. 



Landing at Kalitheas and the Battle oj Asguru. 
(May 4, 191 2.) 

The expeditionary force rapidly landed at Kalitheas 
before daylight on the 4th, met the enemy at Asguru, and 
dispersed them; the following day Rhodes was entered. 

We decided not to give the Turkish garrison a chance 
to organize armed bands or receive reinforcements; but 
before a decisive engagement was fought it was necessary 
to construct a solid base which would guarantee the 
safety of the operating troops. Political and military 
preparations were also necessary for various reasons, and 
could not be hurried, requiring great foresight in order to 
arrive at the desired end. This work was completed on 
the 14th, nine days after the entrance of our troops 
into Rhodes; thereafter they were able to march into 
the interior. 

Battle oj Psitos. 

(May 16-17, 1912.) 

The enemy, after being disbanded during the retreat 
on the 4th, gradually ralhed at Psitos; which was an ad- 
vantage for us, for we could encounter the whole force, 
and not have prolonged warfare with fractions of their 
troops. The intent was perfectly carried out, after dif- 
ficult and fatiguing maneuvers; the opportune disposi- 
tions of the command, the admirable accord between the 


Army and Navy, and the magnificent conduct of our 
troops won for us this reward. 

For the first time in history, rapidly and without the 
sUghtest inconvenience, two landings of troops and ma- 
teriel were contemporaneously made at night, without 
the assistance of moon or lights, on a shore open and 

The merit of the excellent results obtained belongs to 
the Navy, for the skill and ardor demonstrated, and to 
the troops, who behaved with dash and perfect discipUne. 
Our troops marched fourteen hours at night, across 
country unknown, mountainous, broken by deep ravines, 
rough and steep paths, yet they were able to arrive on the 
field of action and enter into combat against fresh troops. 

The Turks at Psitos found themselves surrounded 
by a ring of steel, and endeavored in vain to escape; at 
nightfall they took refuge in the valley of Maritza, fol- 
lowed and held there by our troops, and on the following 
day they were made prisoners. Immediately afterwards 
our troops, in spite of the day's battle following the 
fatiguing march and notwithstanding the unsatisfying 
repose of the previous night, spent on the rocks, took up 
the return march to Rhodes, covering in forty-eight 
hours (twenty hours' marching time) a distance of 75 
kilometers (50 miles) or more, under conditions anything 
but normal and on haversack rations. We have there- 
fore a proof that our troops are inexhaustible, precious 
and enviable treasures of miUtary virtue. 

On the 12th of May the fleet landed sailors on the 


islands of Scarpanto, Casos, Episcopi, Nisyros, Calymnus, 
Leros, and Patmos, and captured the small Turkish gar- 
risons and raised the national flag. Successively they 
occupied the islands of Cos, Symi, and Calchi, so that 
during the month of May the southern Sporades fell into 
our hands. 


Battle and Occupation of Lebda. 

(May 2, 1912.) 

The garrison at Mergheb was reinforced, and then it 
was found necessary to push towards Lebda, in order 
that our troops might have freedom of movement to the 

Exact account had been kept of the enemy and their 
disposition, so that the attack was planned for the 2d 
of May. While the garrison at Mergheb engaged the 
enemy in their vicinity, two of our columns advanced 
silently and in accord upon Lebda, to surprise the adver- 
sary. They, however, managed to extricate themselves 
from our grasp in a precipitate flight, but they suffered 
heavy losses, and on that victorious day left in our hands 
the ruins of an antique city of the Roman Empire. 

Battle of the Monticelli di Lebda. 

(June 12, 1912.) 
The activity of the enemy was subdued after the 


sanguinary engagement at the Monticelli, June 12, 191 2. 

The garrison at Horns having been diminished by the 
departure of several detachments, needed at other posts, 
the hope arose among the Arab-Turks that they could 
attack our line of Lebda (the Monticelli) and Homs to 
advantage. Their illusion, however, was replaced by a 
tragic realization when, having failed to surprise us, the 
Arab-Turks beat a hasty retreat: some towards the 
south, raked by a rapid and accurate fire from our bat- 
teries; some towards the deep ravines of Lebda, where 
our men, indefatigable and exalted by victory, followed 
them tenaciously, so that not one of the enemy thus cut 
off managed to escape. A detachment of Arab-Turks 
on Mount Rosse did not have time to extricate itself 
and was "nailed to the spot." 

This made the fourth victorious combat for the troops 
of Homs, undoubtedly unprecedented for positive and 
moral results, and which greatly contributed to the pride 
of the Italian soldier; as our forces in these cases were 
much smaller than those of our adversary, whereas in 
other cases our forces were numerically stronger. 

The greater losses were inflicted upon the enemy by 
rifle and artillery fire, but the bayonet also had its place 
of honor; glistening along the line, furiously seeking the 
enemy, closely pursuing, and finally engaging him in 
mortal combat. 

After this complete and bloody defeat, the activity 
of the enemy ceased around Homs. Entanglements of 
wire and other material were made to keep off the ma- 


BKXCASI.— Sentries of a Battery 

Hospital Ship. 

Customs ^^"harf at Tripoli. 



rauding Bedouins. A few shots, however, always put 
them to rout. 


In order to extend our occupations towards the west 
on the TripoUtan coast, on the i6th of June, nearly two 
months after the capture of Macabez, a surprise landing 
was made on the coast of Misurata. The operations 
were carried on with such excellent order and celerity 
that we only met with a futile resistance. A battalion 
of sailors and a company of infantry landed and dis- 
persed the small number of the enemy assembled on the 
beach, and with admirable impetuosity immediately oc- 
cupied the hill and pushed on to Ras Zorug. The balance 
of the expedition was landed and undisturbed, and on the 
following day the oasis of Kasr-Hamed was occupied. 

It might have been possible to send a detachment to 
Misurata immediately, taking advantage of the disor- 
ganized enemy and the panic of the population ; but such 
a resolution might have been repented, owing to the 
limited forces at hand ; it being necessary to leave on the 
coast a considerable number of troops to protect the 
landing of materiel and to establish and garrison a base. 

Battle and Occupation of Misurata. 

(July 8, 19 1 2.) 

But on the 7th of July, after twenty days' liv^ely work, 
the defense of the base was systematized, and on the 8th 


we occupied successively the oasis of Misurata and 
Zarrug, and then the city of Misurata. The enemy, after 
the capture of Zarrug, made weak resistance here and 
there, having been at Zarrug subjected to artillery fire and 
the violent assaults of our troops, and put to rout. 

Our men, now veterans of nearly all the other combats, 
behaved with admirable ardor and dash, physical re- 
sistance, and excellent discipline. They took advantage 
of all the cover of the terrain, and therefore their losses 
were relatively slight. 

As soon as Misurata was occupied, a military and po- 
litical regime was immediately begun against the enemy, 
who had fled to the south and west of the oasis of Mis- 
urata. At times they showed force and committed acts 
of violence against the inhabitants of the surrounding 
country, who asked for our protection. 

Battle of Gheran. 
(July 20, 191 2.) 

The enemy was then dispersed by one of our brigades, 
composed of mixed troops, sent to Gheran; their activi- 
ties were thereby reduced to small attacks against our 
outposts and redoubts. 


Advance on Sidi Abdallah II. 
(September 14, 19 12.) 
In July the possession of Derna was assured by the 

\ ì:i r 

Arming a Battery at Aiu Zara. 


Advance on Regdaline. 

Cuiiiel Battery, 

Transporting Cannon. 

TransDortine Cannon. 



defensive belt of works, erected between 2 to 3 kilometers 
(i to 2 miles) from the inhabited center, and other works 
for immediate security. The enemy's force, not exactly 
computed, but judged to be between eight and twelve 
thousand men, were encamped on the left of the ridge, 
out of range of the heaviest artillery. The adversary 
were not anxious to attack the encampment, but from 
long range dropped a few shells, which did no damage, 
but gave ground for the articles which appeared in the 
foreign gazettes, that we were being besieged by the 
troops of Enver Bey. Having received reinforcements, 
and being sure of the safety of our base at Derna, on the 
14th of September we advanced, with the intent of oc- 
cupying Rudero at the head of the Laggati, to construct 
an occasional work; and to take up the position of Kasr 
Ras el Leben and of Casa Aronne to protect the workmen 
at Rudero. The enemy refused to contest our advance, 
and withdrew into the interior, but the material and 
moral results consequent to this move were great, because 
it demonstrated that we could work and impose upon the 
enemy at a distance from our encampment and our guns 
at Derna. 

Battle of Kasr Ras el Lehen. 
(September 17, 19 12.) 

On the 15th and i6th of September the enemy made 
tentative and weak attacks here and there on our front. 
The 17th was the day of battle. This engagement was 


not preordained on our part, bur it was a direct conse- 
quence of our advance and the location assumed and 
maintained from the night of the 14th. 

The battle was composed of three distinct actions: 
a weak one early in the morning on our extreme left, in 
which the enemy was easily repulsed; the other two re- 
spectively heavy, at the head of the Bent in the morning, 
and again on our extreme left in the afternoon ; but in the 
evening the enemy was defeated and left the field covered 
with dead and wounded. 

On that memorable day the Arab-Turk forces, several 
thousand strong, with plenty of well-commanded artillery, 
conducted by Bnver Bey, arrayed themselves against the 
solidity, calmness, and vigor of the counter-attacks of our 
troops, white and native, conducted by the conspicuous 
ability of our officers and guided by a clear conception of 
tactics, with harmonious and effectual opportune dispo- 
sitions of troops. 

Our losses of 10 officers and 174 men, dead and 
wounded, were small compared with those of the enemy, 
of whom 1,135 were found dead near our lines. 

Battles of Sidi Abdallah III. and Braksada. 

(October 8-10, 191 2.) 

To enlarge the line of works in the western zone, Sidi 
Abdallah and Halg Giaraba were occupied on October 
8th, after having attacked and defeated the enemy, who 


later, on the loth, were again defeated at Bu Msafer, 
suffering heavy losses. 


Battle of Sidi Ahdul-Gelil or Zanzur. 
(June 8, 191 2.) 

From Sidi Abdul-Gelil towards the south and west of 
Gargaresc, the Arab-Turks managed Httle by little to 
construct and fit out a long line of intrenchments (Boer 
fashion), reinforced, traversed, blind covers and covered 
passages, from which they could advance towards our 
front at Gargaresc, while at other points they kept from 
15 to 20 kilometers (10 to 13 miles) away from our out- 
posts. Therefore, it was necessary to remove this menace 
so close to our line, and with the fond hope that a victory 
on our part would win over to us the Urscefifana Tribe, 
who were showing some signs of discontent; also to de- 
stroy these trenches at Zanzur that were closing our 
works at Gargaresc, and which were considered im- 
pregnable. For military reasons and for reasons of 
policy and morale, the attack on Zanzur was made on 
June 8th. 

The Arab-Turks tenaciously defended the trenches of 
Sidi Abdul-Gelil, but our troops surmounted every ob- 
stacle with irresistible impetuosity and charged in a long 
Hne with the bayonet. The enemy made a desperate 
resistance, but were finally put to rout. They fled to- 


wards the oasis of Zanzur, followed by rifle and artillery 
fire. So that, after less than four hours of fighting, the 
treble and strong line of intrenchments of the Arab-Turks, 
proclaimed impregnable, fell into the hands of the Italian 

In the meantime a hostile column, 10,000 strong, at- 
tempted to turn our left flank, which was operating 
against Sidi Abdul-Gelil; but two of our reserves were 
being held at Gargaresc and Bu Meliana, respectively, 
so that while one reserve faced the enemy, the other at- 
tacked their right flank. It was impossible to close the 
two reserves on the enemy before they retreated. Great 
loss was suffered by the Arab-Turks. 

On this day we had 43 killed, i officer, and 278 
wounded, of which 13 were officers. The enemy lost 
about 2,000 dead and a relative number of wounded. 

Our officers and men did their duty in an admirable 
manner, audaciously and with dash on the offensive, 
calm and tenacious on the defensive. In the fourteen 
hours of close combat and maneuvering the temperature 
fortunately was not as high as it had been on the pre- 
ceding days. The Ascari (native troops) demonstrated 
their excellence as soldiers and the devotion they had for 
our flag. 

Battle of Sidi Bilal. 

(September 20, 191 2.) 

The occupation of the heights of Sidi Abdul-Gehl gave 
us the control of the oasis of Zanzur. With a view, how- 

Wharf at Gargaresc. 


TRIPOLI.— Trenches at Bu Meli ma. 

TRIPOLI.— Oasis. 


Oasis of Feschlum. 

Oasis South of Sciara Sciat. 



ever, to further operations, it was necessary to materially 
secure the possession of the oasis and to push on towards 
the hills that skirted it on the south, to the valley of Hira; 
and exactly on the height of Sidi Bilal. 

On September 20, 191 2, three days after the bloody 
defeat of Enver Bey's troops at Dema, the enemy left 
2,000 more dead on the field of battle, and their re- 
sistance around Tripoli was definitely weakened. 

Our losses were heavy, but, compared with those of 
the enemy, small : 10 officers dead and 22 wounded; 105 
men dead and 411 wounded. 

The troops had to fight and maneuver on ground 
difficult to march and deploy upon. The temperature at 
certain hours was 90 degrees in the shade. Led by officers 
who set a splendid example, our soldiers of all the arms, of 
all the corps, and those of the Colonial troops, gave ad- 
mirable proof of endurance and elevated spirit during the 
twelve hours of combat. 


The base at Tobruk was being gradually transformed 
into a maritime stronghold, fortifying first on the land 
side and afterwards towards the sea. 

The adversary was growing in numbers, and made a 
great many attacks against our works and skirmished 
with our troops on reconnaissance, but all the engage- 
ments were limited in importance; and finally, finding 
our defensive organization consistent in action, they 
ceased all hostiUties at the end of July. 

Table op Losses in the Principal Actions. 








The ^gean. 


Combat of Bu Chemesc, April 23, 19 12 

Combat of Sidi Said, June 26, 27, 28, 1912 . . 

Combat of Sidi AH, July 14, 1912 

Occupation of Zuara, August 6, 19 12 

Combat and Occupation of Regdaline, Au- 
gust 15, 1912 

Combat of Henni-Sciara-Sciat, Oct. 23, 1911 . 

Combat of Henni-Bu Meliana, Oct. 26, 1911 . 

Combat of Hamidiè Battery, Nov. 6, 1911 . . 

Combat of Henni-Messri, Nov. 26, 1911 . . . . 

Combat and occupation of Ain Zara, De- 
cember 4, 1911 

Reconnaissance of Bir Tobras, Dec. 19, 19 11 

Combat and occupation of Gargaresc, Janu- 
ary 18-20, 1912 

Second combat of Ain Zara, Jan. 28, 19 12 . 

Battle of Sidi Abdul-Gelil or Zanzur, June 
8, 1912 

Battle of Sidi Bilal, September 20, 1912 . . . 

Reconnaissance of Lebda, Dec. 1,1911... 

Combat and occupation of Mergheb, Feb- 
ruary 27, 19 12 

Night combat of Mergheb, March 5-6, 19 12 

Combat and occupation of Lebda, May 2, 

Combat of the Monticelli of Lebda, June 12, 

Combat and occupation of Misurata, July 
8, 1912 

Combat of Gheran, July 20, 19 12 

Landing from the Giuliana and conquest of 
Berca, October 19, 1911 

Combat of Koefia, November 28, 1911 

Defense of Bengasi, December 25, 1911 

Combat of "Two Palms," March 12, 1912 . . 

Combat of November 24, 191 1 

Combat of December 16, 1911 

Combat of December 27, 1911 

Combat of January 17, 1912 

Combat of February 1 1-12, 1912 

Combat of Sidi Abdallah I., March 3, 1912 . 

Combat of Sidi Abdallah IL, Sept. 14, 1912. 

Combat of Kasr Ras el Leben, September 
17, 1912 

Combat of Sidi Abdallah III. and of Brak- 
sada, October 8-10, 1912 

Combat of Hagiass Nadra, Dec. 22, 1912 . . . 

Combat of Psitos, May 16-17, 1912 


Dead and 

Officers. Men 





































Besides the above, the following were lost in minor engagements at the 
various garrisons during the year of war, up to and including Januarj' 16, 
1912: Officers and men, 5,652; of whom 1,432 died. Illness and disease, 
1,948 died. 

Radio-Telegraph at Bengasi. 

*1»^<g<Mb-t#i» ^Ji » ^^ 


Ascension of the Dirigible "Draclicn." 

TRIPOLI .— Cattle'Corral . 


Observations with the ''Drachen." 

TRIPOLI.- — Forage Department. 




The Various Arms. 

The mobilization carefully and promptly organized; 
the dash, the physical and moral resistance, and the tech- 
nical knowledge of our troops; the enthusiasm of the 
country for whom the enterprise was to be undertaken 
— all were important factors towards success. The war, 
however, wore out energy and consumed ammunition and 
materiel of all descriptions; but no enterprise, without 
continued superiority of spirit to vivify it, even if excel- 
lently prepared, well initiated and well conducted, can 
conclude with a final victory. 

Therefore it is necessary to have a complete netful 
of logical resources to meet the varied and important 
needs of the operating force ; but it required a great deal 
of foresight and a large amount of energy to complete 
this fatiguing work, so obscure and devoid of tangible 

Of these qualities the personnel of all the arms gave 
distinct proof in our recent war, in which the work of the 
Quartermaster's Corps was particularly arduous, owing 
to the uncertain maritime communications and the diffi- 
culty of finding a landing-place in Libya; their work was 
excellent and complete. They had to provide not only 
for collecting and sending to the theater of war provisions 
and materiel of ordinary quaHty, for the removal of 


sick and wounded, of prisoners, of materiel that could 
no longer be utilized, but had also to furnish firewood, 
drinking-water, and rations. 

Naples was selected as the principal base of operations 
for the depot of provisions and materiel, and ports in 
Sicily were used as minor bases. 

An idea of the transportation required from October 
to December, 191 1, can be had from the following: 

Ships sailed from Naples to Libya 141 

Ships sailed from Sicily to Libya 25 

Men transported 90,000 

Horses and mules 12,000 

Cattle 10,000 

Merchandise and various materiel (tons) 40,000 

Forty-two ships were hired, but only thirty-two were 
used; the Quartermaster retaining the balance of the 
transports for the eventual transportation of 10,000 troops 
with their equipment. 

With this fleet of transports it was thought to establish 
a Une of communication to whatever point was occupied 
on the coast of Libya, in order to insure the deh very of 
equipment and materiel; besides a certain number of 
ships to be retained for an emergency, either to transport 
men or materiel. But as soon as this was suggested, it 
became necessary to send more detachments to the new 
occupations; and the condition of the sea was especially 
bad at this season of the year, this making it obligatory 
to meet the necessities of the troops as the occasion re- 
quired and without any plans as to regular trips. 

The continued heavy seas, and the fact that all the 
occupied points had neither harbors nor breakwaters, 

Search Lights. 


TKiroLl.— Hangar Destroyed by Cyclone December 10, 1911. 

Dirigible Launched at Sea. 



BENGASI.— A Section of the Line of Security. 



but were simply open beaches (except perhaps Tripoh, 
whose harbor was only slightly protected), caused the 
Quartermaster's Corps great anxiety; notwithstanding the 
fact that they tried to break the seas by a system of 
anchorage in echelon, several tows were capsized and lost. 

Therefore during the winter of 1911-12 it was im- 
possible to maintain a regular establishment of provisions 
at the secondary depots on the Libyan coast, and it was 
with great effort that the Quartermaster's Department 
provided daily rations. 

Having profited by this experience, the department 
decided to store ninety days' provisions at the various 
depots, instead of fifteen days' stores as was at first 
planned, in order to prevent any shortage during the 
winter of 191 2-13. 

It is to be noted that the department had few ships 
left for the actual transportation of stores when the fol- 
lowing is taken into consideration: the transportation 
of new detachments to Macabez, Rhodes, Misurata, and 
Zuara, and the return to Italy of invalids and the dis- 
charged and substitutions for the Classes of 1888- 1889. 

Following is a table of transportation : 

Ships sailed from Naples 185 

Men transported from Italy to Libya to establish new garrisons and 

for the substitution of the Classes of 1888-1889 124,000 

Returned to Italy from Libya 70,000 

Horses and mules transported 12,000 

Cattle 9,500 

Merchandise and various materiel (tons) 85,000 

This department also provided water (which was 
brought from Italy in tank steamers), material to build 


the depots, means to transport the water on shore, ice 
(which was sent from Italy), and later estabhshed ice 
machines ashore. Ice was furnished the firing-line in small 
boxes, specially made. All measures were taken to keep 
the health standard of the troops high. With this end in 
view, mineral water and lemons were provided, the gar- 
risons were equipped with modern improvements to pre- 
vent an epidemic, the most effective cures and medicines 
were supplied, and hospitals with most recent improve- 
ments were constructed. 

To transport the sick and wounded to Italy, hospital 
ships were used ; four in the first stage of the war, and two 
from April, 191 2, to the end. These ships were sched- 
uled to touch at each garrison two or three times a month ; 
the sick and wounded were then sent to the civil and 
military hospitals in Sicily, Naples, and Tuscany. 

During the war 23,921 sick and 2,802 wounded were 
sent to Italy. 

Necessary numbers of horses, mules, and carts were 
furnished. Camels were used for transportation into the 
interior; 300 auto-wagons were also used, which gave 
proof that this system of transportation is an excellent 
one and can be used in a country devoid of roads. Rail- 
road material was furnished, and was used on roads that 
had been constructed or were completed by us. An 
enormous amount (60,000 tons) of building material was 
furnished for civil and military work. 

The Quartermaster's Department cooperated efficiently 
with all civil and military operations during the year of 


TRIPOLI.— Photograp]) Taken from a Dirigible at an Altitude of 400 Meters. 


Photograph 'I'akcn fromjuDirigible at aH Altitiidf of 101) .Mrtcrs.] 


war ; constantly inspiring the command by the fact that 
at no time was there any anxiety lest the troops should 
lack proper requirements. 

The ArtilIvEy. 

In the shortest time, and with unfavorable conditions 
at sea, we were able to land numerous field and mountain 
guns and a great supply of materiel; to get rapidly into 
action, and to overcome difficulties in transportation not 
light, owing to the nature of the sandy and hilly soil, or 
because of rain. Even the artillery of medium caliber 
(guns 149-6-inch and mortars 210-8-inch) was rapidly 
landed and transported with only ud mentary means 
across muddy ways to arm the batteries. Magazines 
were constructed, and a great quantity of ammunition 
and explosives were stored; repair shops were built for 
artillery and wagon accessories, and reserve depots con- 
ttructed for materiel, arms, and ammunition (our own and 
that captured from the enemy). This labor was ex- 
tremely difficult when dealing with the temperature and 
the fine sandy soil in which they worked. The workers 
had to understand the duties of gunsmiths, mechanics, 
armorers, carpenters, saddlers, plumbers, etc. Repair 
shops were set up for small arms, harness, bicycles, 
stoves and pots, telephone apparatus, tents, sappers' 
tools, pumps, etc. The workshops of Tripoli provided 
the needs of the smaller garrisons, made shields for the 
artillery (75-A, 3-inch, and 70-2, 6-inch) and mountain 


guns, tall enough to protect a camel lying down and in- 
vulnerable to ordinary fire; made equipments and acces- 
sories for regular consumption, and finally the workmen 
constructed barracks and made roofs. 

Experiments were continually going on in the artillery : 
substituting mules for horses ; the use of a loose, springy, 
padded tire for the carriages; to safeguard the stowing 
of ammunition and powder away from the direct rays of 
the sun; to maintain telephone communication between 
batteries, spotters, and battery commanders' stations. 

Finally camels were substituted as the leading haul- 
ing power for the artillery, for the following logical, eco- 
nomical, and tactical reasons: they withstood the long 
marches without fatigue; they could be fed from local 
pastures, and could go several days without drinking; 
they would He down during action, offering a small target, 
and are insensible to fire; they are easily guided and 
watched, cost less than other quadrupeds, are fed at a 
small cost, and, finally, do not suffer from the extreme 

Engineer Corps. 

This corps also had its chance to distinguish itself, 
overcoming, with few resources, all climatic obstacles and 
the enemy who opposed its work; starting this work by 
building landing docks with alacrity. 

The troops of this corps greatly helped the other 
branches of the service with the perfection of their first 
defenses as well as the succeeding ones, and in the clear- 


ings for an open field of view and fire, and a line of com- 
munications. They took part in all the combats with 
admirable spirit and sacrifice, without any saving of 
fatigue or blood. 

Their work can be judged by the result. The sappers 
built all works on the coast occupied by us, and in the 
zone of Tripoli alone the intrenchments were 20 kilometers 
(14 miles) long, constructed with every care to render 
them safe and healthy. They also constructed various 
batteries, field redoubts, and semi-permanent trenches, 
and about 600,000 yards of accessory defenses, and cleared 
the field of fire in the oases, difficult and treacherous be- 
cause of the impenetrable mud-holes, thick vegetation, 
and palm trees. 

The engineers did not omit anything that would 
assist them in gaining their ends or material, with the 
idea in view of adapting themselves to any exigency that 
would arise from the condition of the terrain or the mode 
of combat of the enemy. They became so skilled in their 
work that in a few hours after a combat and conquest 
they could erect defensive positions that would withstand 
any sort of attack from the enemy. 

Normal barracks and tents were modified to meet the 
requirements of the climate and ground. Barracks were 
constructed so that all hydraulic and hygienic measures 
were considered, and all sorts of mechanical contrivances 
were used to obtain water from the wells. 

This corps were also actively engaged in starting 
a telegraph and telephone system. At Tobruk they 


stretched a telephone net of 40 kilometers (26 miles), 
using about 60 kilometers (40 miles) of wire, partly on 
poles, partly underground, partly flying; at Bengasi the 
telegraph and telephone line reached 132 kilometers (88 
miles); at Tripoli 195 kilometers ( 130 miles) of perman- 
ent telegraph line was installed, partly underground and 
partly on poles; 40 kilometers (26 miles) of telephone; 
50 telegraphic, 50 telephonic, and 12 signal stations, pro- 
ducing, daily 2,000 despatches. Installations of minor 
character were made at other garrisons. 

At the same time with the telegraph, the radio- 
telegraph was brilliantly justified. On the 14th of Oc- 
tober, Tripoli was communicating with the Navy, con- 
tinuing in this way to maintain rapid transmission, con- 
tributing to that mutual and perfect cooperation between 
Army and Navy which has been largely dealt with all 
through this report. By November, TripoU, Homs, Lam- 
pedusa, and Vittoria were connected up; after the visit 
of Mr. Marconi, and on his advice, eight stations were 
erected; 31,000 radio-telegrams were sent, showing the 
importance of this system in warfare. Various experi- 
ments were made in using mules and camels as the means 
of transporting wireless equipment. 

The use of the dirigible Drachcn was important. It 
was used by spotters both at sea and ashore to watch the 
effect of our fire upon the enemy. At sea the dirigible 
was tendered by a specially fitted ship. The spotters in 
the dirigible were able to watch the effect of our fire in the 

DERNA. — ^A Section of the Line of Security. 


TRIPOLI. -A Street. 

TRIPOLI.— A Street in the Cavalry Barracks. 

TRIPOLI .—Bakeshop . 



density of the oases, and at night, by the use of search- 
light, they were able to locate the enemy. 

In long-distance reconnaissances both dirigibles and 
aeroplanes were used. 

The first flight was made at Tripoli on October 22, 
191 1 ; later, flights were made at Bengasi (November, 
191 1), Tobruk (December, 191 1), and at Derna, Ferua, 
and Zuara (in March, April, and August, 191 1, respect- 
ively). The two airships P2 and Pj were launched at 
Tripoli in March from the only hangar, as the other 
hangar had been destroyed by a hurricane December i6th. 
The first ascension was made March 5, 191 1, and later 
with such frequency as the weather conditions permitted. 

During the period of hostilities ninety ascensions were 
made. Both ships made flights simultaneously, in order 
that they might render each other assistance in case of 

At Bengasi the dirigible Pi arrived the nth of May, 
191 2, and remained until the 15th of July, making nine 

Explorative and offensive reconnaissances were made 
by both aeroplanes and dirigibles. The observers in the 
aeroplanes followed the traffic to ascertain the destination 
and source of provisions furnished to the enemy, discov- 
ered the oases occupied by them, and located their de- 
fenses, the camps of the Turks and the Arabs, with their 
depots, etc. 

The offensive flights were accomplished by dropping 
bombs on the enemy. 


Unfortunately, the weather conditions did not always 
permit flights during action. The dropping of bombs, 
while they did no material damage, had a wonderful 
moral effect. Our troops were the first in the world to 
use this method of offense. Excellent photographs were 
also taken by the air squad, which were highly important 
to our intelligence department and for the compilation 
of maps. 

The aerial navigation and aviation rendered excellent 
service, reporting the character of the ground and taking 
particular observations, especially in Tripoli. They fa- 
cilitated work, which would have been hard to accom- 
plish in an ordinary theater of war, in mountainous 
country, rich with vegetation and natural obstacles, and 
against an enemy furnished with arms capable of hitting 
the bird-men. The value of this experiment, which Italy 
had the fortune to effect for the first time in history, will 
furnish a treasure for the future. 

To return to the works, the systematizing of the bases, 
and the special study and work required to make them a 
definite assest: Works of a permanent character were 
constructed, and a line of security to guarantee the safety 
of the bases from the depredations of a possible mass- 
attack of the Arabs, who, regardless of consequences, 
would probably have tried to enter the city; a wall of 
masonry high enough to prevent surprise was built. 

With limited means at hand, there was commenced 
the construction of barracks, offices, and magazines, and 
foundations were laid for hospitals. Depots and store- 

TRIPOLI.— Magazines. 


■ m^j,,*^ 


! • - 


r'- ^ - " -H ■ * * ' 



Bn.T'^ìISTr '39H 




TRIPOLI.— Water Department. 

TRIPOLI.— Auto-Wagons. 

TRIPOLI.— Camel Corral. 



rooms for merchandise, ammunition, and materiel, ovens 
and foundries, reservoirs to insure the retention of water, 
with steriUzers and pumps with motor power, were 

Sanitary Service. 

The Sanitary Corps and the Red Cross rapidly in- 
stalled their respective establishments, perfecting them, 
as conditions required, to meet the climate, the troops, 
and the surroundings, so that the care of the sick and 
wounded was facilitated. They improved the antique 
military hospitals of the Turks, and erected several con- 
valescence wards for the complete recovery of those dis- 
charged from the sick wards before sending them to duty. 

The sickness that predominated was of an intestinal 
character, and in the rainy season rheumatism. The 
daily proportion of sick varied between a minimum of 
1.30 in the month of March and a maximum of 2.10 in 
the month of October, for each 1,000 men. The general 
health of the troops was very satisfactory; and the sani- 
tary corps were present in every combat, giving first aid, 
and at times resorting to arms to defend the hospital from 
the barbarous aggressors. The manner in which they 
fought and stamped out the epidemic of cholera amongst 
the inhabitants, which, if it had broken out in the ranks, 
probably would have resulted in compromising the en- 
terprise, is a matter which cannot be exaggerated. 

How the Sanitary Corps assisted the civil authorities 
in this will be succinctly told in a following chapter. 


Commissary Department. 

The organization of this department was perfect from 
the first days of our occupation, and maintained through- 
out the whole campaign. Difficulties of landing stores, 
owing to heavy seas, and the many adverse obstacles 
which are contended with when a rapid collection and dis- 
tribution of merchandise and materiel is made, were over- 
come, due to the intelHgence and to the inexhaustible 
spirit of abnegation demonstrated by the personnel, and 
again in the last days of October, in Tripoli, by the sacri- 
fice of blood. 

Although the provisions had been a long time on board 
and then on beaches and landings, conglomerated with 
materiel of all descriptions, and lacking the proper means 
of cover from the intemperate weather, yet they were 
able to furnish the troops with fresh provisions and bread 
in good condition, during action and at points distant 
from the depot of supplies. 

Little by little conditions were perfected. During the 
first few days bread was made on board the ships; then 
the field ovens were used, and finally the brick ovens 
abandoned by the Turks, which were partly recon- 
structed. Successively store-rooms were built for the 
daily and reserve provisions. The transportation of 
stores was facilitated by constructing railroads, when 
those captured did not answer. Branch subsistence de- 
pots were established in the vast zone of Tripoli at Ain 
Zara, Tagiura, Gargaresc, Fornaci, Trik Taruna, Sidi Ab- 

TRIPOLI. — Interior of Mosque of the Caramanli. 



dul-Gelil, Gheran; with brick ovens at Ain Zara, Tagi- 
ura, and Sidi Abdul-Gelil. 

Experiments were made at all the bases relative to the 
subsistence of men and animals, and the rations were 
varied and increased daily. 

As has been stated, the special difficulties experienced 
in the beginning of the campaign did not have any effect 
on the troops, but to obtain this result it took a consid- 
erable amount of energy to meet their wants. At Tripoli, 
for instance, there were distributed during the year of 
war 12,600,000 rations, with an average of 34,000 rations 
daily; 10,000 horses and mules, 3,000 camels, and 1,500 
head of cattle consumed 1,200 cwt. of hay and 1,000 cwt. 
of oats and barley; 260,000 cwt. of wood, with a daily 
average of 800 cwt., was also consumed. 

At Bengasi, during the campaign, 4,500,000 rations, 
with a daily average of 13,000 rations, were issued; 6,500 
head of cattle were slaughtered, and there was a daily 
consumption of 200 cwt. of wood, 140 cwt. of oats and 
barley, and 320 cwt. of hay and straw. 

Analogous in proportion were the other issues of the 
commissariat — those of uniforms, equipment, and pay; 
and not everything was obtained from the mother coun- 
try, but, where possible, from local sources, thereby caus- 
ing the resumption of activities in market and industries, 
large and small. 

Transportation . 
The enormity of the work attached to the construction 


of bases and the landing of stores called into service land 

The work was arduous, owing to the scarcity of floats, 
lighters, tug-boats, and wharves, and the continuous 
heavy seas; add to this the large number of troops of 
each arm, materiel of all sorts, quadrupeds, cannon and 
their carriages, which had to be landed with that urgency 
which the warlike exigencies demanded. 

Finally new Ughters were collected and wharves and 
landing-stages were constructed by military and private 
concerns. These things, however, preoccupied the regu- 
lar functions of this service ; yet the troops did not in any 
way suffer, nor did the necessities, for use on the field of 
action, thanks to the activities of this corps. 

The land transportation assumed vast proportions 
from the outset. The difficulties attending the landing 
of stores in restricted spaces neqessarily caused some 
confusion of merchandise and materiel, which later had 
to be sorted and then sent to the depots and organizations 
and to the troops on the firing-line. 

It was necessary to estabHsh a vigorous and active 
organization, always prepared to meet, not only the or- 
dinary demands, but also those arising from unforeseen 
circumstances, as well as to be ready to meet the require- 
ments of whatever expedition the mihtary situation re- 
quired, going a long distance from the base and into an 
inhospitable country. 

As soon as Tripoli was occupied, the idea occurred to 
experiment with auto-trucks; this was done successfully 


and at nearly all points occupied, but naturally 160 out 
of the 300 sent to Libya were used in the zone of Tripoli, 
owing to the extent of operations. 

This new method of transportation resulted in the 
rapid clearing of the wharves and transmitting the stores 
to the troops, transporting construction materials, re- 
moval of camp equipage, and carrying ammunition and 
rations to the firing-line. We therefore had ample proof 
from this complex work — the long daily trips made over 
desert and variable ground — that inspired complete faith 
in this mode of transportation to follow the troops, under 
any circumstances and for long distances, with great 
saving of time and fatigue, besides the ordinary services 
required by the presence of many troops on a warlike 

Veterinary Service. 

The hygienic and sanitary conditions of the quad- 
rupeds were always excellent, as were their nutrition and 
suitability, notwithstanding the long and hard marches, 
the prolonged stay aboard vessels, the climate, and the 
heavy work. 

There were, especially in Tripoli, several cases of in- 
fectious diseases, provoked by the inevitable contact 
with native animals. Energetic measures were taken to 
combat these diseases and to provide means to insure 
vigilant care of the animals. Thus the spread was not 
only prevented, but stamped out, by the active work and 
the intelligent care of the veterinary surgeons. 


Postal Service. 

The difficulty of a convenient system and the quantity 
of work, from the first moment, caused by the large 
number of troops and their consequent manifold relations 
with the mother country, confronted this service at the 
initiation of the campaign; it became more complicated, 
owing to the irregularities in the arrivals and departures 
of the postal vessels, caused by the conditions of the seas, 
and the continuous augmenting of the forces of the corps 
of occupation, the unexpected change of detail of troops 
in the various zones, the numerous departures for Italy, 
and the substitutions therefor. 

A patient, dutiful, and devoted personnel faced all 
these difficulties with a true spirit of abnegation. 

To facilitate the correspondence of the troops with 
their famiUes and vice versa, in a manner suitable even 
for those who knew only how to sign their names, a special 
post card was issued, on which an appropriate phrase was 
printed, which was distributed gratuitously. The Min- 
ister of Posts (Postmaster General) also provided the 
troops gratuitously with thousands of post cards, larger 
than the regular size, and envelopes. The troops were 
allowed to frank all mail. 


Construction of a Wharf. 


MACABEZ. — Constructing a Dam across the Bav. 


I— I 


The Civil Administration and Its Policy. 

The activity of the service had civil as well as military 
dealings with the natives, and laid the foundation for a 
progress which we intended to introduce into a land that 
had long remained abandoned. 

The consequent result was a vast and complex work, 
and, given the state of war, had to be proceeded with 
gradually and effectually. 

With just foresight, it was desirous of developing a 
policy which would conduce to an effectual affirmation 
of our sovereignty over all Libya in the briefest time and 
with as Httle loss of blood as possible. This would tend 
to reduce the inevitable rancor originated by the war and 
to establish a sure and cordial support. 

To instill the proper spirit in the Arabs, they had to be 
coerced and at times punished in an exemplary manner, 
to obtain respect for and fear of our power; they were 
convinced by continuous proof of our desne to introduce 
into their country a new era of good-will and prosperity, 
respecting their beliefs, their customs, and traditions. 

The mihtary authorities initiated this alone. The 
men, directed by the officers, carried on this work during 
the first few months of the war, but immediately after- 
wards, especially in Tripoli, they received the intelligent 


assistance of the civil authorities sent from Italy to 
colonize Libya. 

The dual activity of the civil and military authorities, 
who were in complete and cordial accord, netted the re- 
sults which were arrived at in a few months and that 
were especially notable in the principal centers. 


As has been stated, the first and probably the gravest 
difficulties that were encountered were the absence of 
landing-places for our troops on the coast of Libya (beaten 
frequently by violent seas) and the absence of harbor 

Work was immediately begun to improve the harbors 
and systematize in the best manner possible the anchor- 
ages; to construct landing-places, wharves, store-houses, 
and cranes for the rapid landing of stores. Excavations 
were also made; and at Macabez a canal was dug to a 
depth of 4>2 feet, allowing the passage of small craft. 

Naturally, the major portion of this work was done 
in the two principal ports, Tripoli and Bengasi. The 
wharves here were more substantial, larger and longer, 
and the cranes heavier. Tracks were laid on the wharves, 
and the merchandise transferred to the store-houses or to 
the main railroad line by train. 

It was essential, for military purposes, to know the 

TRIPOLI. — A Breakwater'under Construction. 

TORRUK.— Aiuia VuUev. 

TRIPOLI.— Railway Station. 

RHODES.— Mount Smith. 



topography of Libya. We had approximate and incom- 
plete knowledge of the surrounding country, especially 
of Cyrenaica, which was not widely traveled. A com- 
mission from the Military Geographic Institute, from the 
first days of the occupation, began at Tripoli a study of 
the geodetic and topographical conditions, and promptly 
turned out maps of Libya on various scales and of suf- 
ficient accuracy, in spite of the insufficient methods of 

Roads, Streets, and Railways. 

The roads, even in the proximity of the inhabited 
centers, were deficient and in some places obsolete or 
reduced to broken paths. 

This was the case at Derna. When the communica- 
tions between the littoral and the higher plane were 
difficult, at first paths were made, then transformed into 
trails, and finally into roads for wagon-travel. In some 
places the road-building was difficult, and in one place 
we cut through rock for 2,500 meters (2,735 yards). Ar- 
riving on the higher plane, the work became easier, and 
roads were built connecting Marabutto, Sidi Abdallah, and 
Segnale on one side, and Kasr Ras el Leben and Casa 
Aronne on the other. The first road, when completed, 
would reach Ain Mara, and the second would become the 
principal communication towards Mantuba and Bomba. 

Along the shore and the wider roads of the plain 
narrow-gauge railroads were laid and animal power used, 
principally to carry water. An aerial cable 300 meters 


(310 yards) long was stretched across the valley of 
Giaraba, to which a car capable of carrying 200 kilograms 
(450 pounds) was attached, so that a haul up and down 
the mountain-side was saved. 

At Bengasi the work of road-building was not as dif- 
ficult as at Derna. A road was built from Bengasi to 
Giuliana (a drawbridge was built across the Sibback) ; to 
the oasis of Foeyat (where the water was potable) ; to 
Sabri and the various field-works. On this road narrow- 
gauge tracks were laid, facilitating the hauling of water, 
and so forth. 

At Tobruk, where the ground was rough and broken, 
a number of difficulties had to be overcome. However, 
21 kilometers (14 miles) of roads were built, which could 
be used by auto-trucks, with a view to the future use by 
the towns, connecting them with the caravan trails of 
Solum and Derna. 

In the other garrisons of Libya secondary roads were 
built to meet the immediate requirements of the troops. 

At Tripoli, however, from the first days of our occu- 
pation, a narrow-gauge track was laid connecting the 
wharves with magazines and warehouses, and, with a 
view towards operations into the interior and the future 
railroad of Libya, 60 kilometers (40 miles) of tracks were 
requisitioned from Italy and laid. 

In March, 191 2, railroads connected Tripoli with Ain 
Zara ; in April, with Gargaresc ; and from this line ran a 
spur connecting with the quarries, for the transport of 
stone used in construction. In July the railroad from 

Fountain at Zanzur, Constructed by Soldiers. 


Re8er\'oir at Bii M eliana. 

Panorama of Misurata. 

A Water Maia at Berna. 



Tripoli to Tagiura was completed, and in the beginning 
of September the tracks were extended from Gargaresc to 

In the meantime a central depot and also one of de- 
parture were erected in Tripoli, with all the necessary 
apphances and offices. 

At the declaration of peace 60 kilometers (40 miles) 
of tracks were laid, and in operation there were 4 loco- 
motives, I train of first- and i of third-class coaches, 12 
tank cars, 62 box and flat cars, and 12 armored cars. 

Even in the ^gean, roads were constructed. On the 
island of Rhodes, from Rhodes to Kum-Barnu Trianta 
to Fanes (a road for auto-trucks), from Rhodes to the 
fountains of Rodino to Kalitheas, 12 kilometers (18 
miles). Another road 3 meters (3^ yards) wide was 
paved from the Bay of Trianta to Mount Smith, and 
then down into Rhodes. It was the ancient road of 
Cavaliere, which had been reduced to a path in spite of 
its being the most direct communication between Trianta 
and Rhodes. This work, finished in October, was long 
and tedious, the bridges and retaining-walls having to be 
repaired or rebuilt. 

At Leros the detachment stationed there repaired the 
road from Partheni to S. Marina for a length of 5 kilo- 
meters (3>2 miles). 

Telegraph and Telephone. 

As has been stated in the report of the Engineer Corps, 
the telegraphic, telephonic, and radio-telegraphic commu- 


nication installed by them, for immediate military pur- 
poses, was only the forerunner of an extensive net to be 
established and that would prove its value in the colony. 

Water Mains. 

The water problem was one of the gravest faced 
during the war. It has been seen how in the beginning 
water had to be sent from Italy, and later how wells were 
dug and water sterilized for drinking purposes. 

Gradually this problem was solved, and water was 
furnished for the inhabitants as well as the troops. 

Little could be done around Bu Chemesc, because the 
water was brackish; and after digging loo meters (io8) 
yards) and not finding fresh water, this project was 

In the peninsula of Macabez the water was fresh, but 
did not reach to a great depth. 

At Tripoli the sources of Bu Meliana were cleaned out 
and the existing mains were renovated; but the flow of 
water was insufiicient when the inhabitants abandoned 
the use of the wells. Work is in progress laying mains 
from Hamidiè to provide water for Hara, Sciara Sciat, and 
other quarters in that zone. 

At Misurata water mains and a power-plant were es- 
tablished, getting water from the wells of Mangush, i8 
meters (20 yards) deep, i kilometer (1,094 yards) distant. 

At Bengasi plans are laid to get water from the wells 
of Foeyat and to construct a reservoir of 200,000 liters 
(40,000 gallons) . 


At Dema the best water exists. Before our occupa- 
tion the city was furnished by wells and two uncovered 
aqueducts, which ran along the valley of Dema; the one 
on the right called the Seghia, 5 kilometers (3^2 miles) 
from the city and 53 meters (57 yards) above the sea 
level; the other, on the left, called Bu Mansur; both 
from distant sources not yet located. From the first 
days of our occupation this latter aqueduct was de- 
stroyed by the Arab-Turks, but the remaining one fur- 
nished enough water for our use. To prevent the de- 
struction of this one, the valley was dammed and the 
water was obtained through an iron pipe leading from 
this wall. 

The few wells and sources at Tobruk furnished brackish 
water, but the bad results were negative. It is expected 
that good water will soon be located further inland. 

Sanitary and Hygienic Measures. 

The sanitary conditions of the natives were bad, 
owing to the lack of hygienic and curative measures. 
They were provided, gratuitously in all the garrisons, 
with dispensaries, either detached or in the military 
hospitals, and even in the regimental infirmaries. 

The natives, at first diffident, finally began to report 
for treatment in great numbers and with faith. At Homs 
from 15 to 20 per day at first reported, and finally from 
60 to 80; at Misurata, from June to October, 5,000 sick 
were cared for; and at Bengasi, during the year of the 
war, 32,507. 


At Rhodes the civil and marine hospital services were 
in a position to attend to all the wants. 

In Tripoli this free treatment had to be reinforced, the 
cholera having broken out among the natives just before 
we landed. 

The first steps taken were to isolate and stamp out 
this epidemic. The military sanitary corps worked with 
great intelligence and abnegation, first alone and then in 
conjunction with the civil sanitary corps. Notwithstand- 
ing the gravest difficulties experienced — the scarcity of 
potable water, the filth in the houses and streets, and 
insufficient and unsuitable means to cope with this dis- 
ease, they managed to eliminate the cholera in a brief 
space of time. 

The peril from cholera having diminished, the sanitary 
personnel immediately began to organize. They in- 
stalled two laboratories, one chemical and one bacterio- 
logical, with all the means and instruments necessary to 
carry on their respective work. They could therefore 
perform and render the same service as any laboratory in 
the mother country. To prevent contagious diseases and 
to rapidly stamp them out in case they manifested them- 
selves, a quarantine station was established in all the 
ports; the one in Tripoli being the most important, as 
this port was used by the pilgrims to and from Mecca. 
In case of an epidemic, those afflicted were isolated out- 
side of the city in a hospital of 150 beds. Illness of a 
minor character was taken care of in the regular hos- 
pitals. The laboratory Baccelli, created by the Minister 

y'ii'iiUJL ...,,, 


\ 1.-,. yjL i ii_.i.ain..w 1..1 - -a. J lieview ol" Troups. 


BENCÌA61. — iort at riemonU), 

A Company of Colonials. 


Orphans at Exercise. 



of Foreign Affairs for research before our occupation, 
with its four specialists, did excellent and conspicuous 
work in ophthalmia and diseases of the ear, nose, and 

To organize and better the sanitary and hygienic con- 
ditions of the natives, doctors were detailed to live in the 
various quarters, to see that decrees relative to sanitation 
were being carried out, and to give medical aid. 

Various Services. 

The synthetic character of this writing does not allow 
the space these services merit, but will be explained in 

Customs and tariff were imposed or reduced, care 
being taken not to alarm the commerce of the neutral 
nations; keeping account of the local exigencies, and not 
preventing the liberal development of industr>^ com- 
bating, moreover, the excessive use of alcoholic drinks. 

The port officials regulated the harbor police, fishing- 
boats, maritime rights and sanitation, pilots, landings, 
and departures. 

Steps were taken to protect and till the tobacco plan- 
tations and promote the growth of Fezzan and Tripolitan 

The municipal and federal establishments were reha- 
bilitated, having been left by the Turks in complete 
abandon. Civil jails and prisons were constructed, elec- 
tric lights and cars installed, streets paved, and local and 
suburban police organized. 


At Tripoli an orphan asylum was established, where 
the children were maintained and educated. Steps were 
taken to assist the poor, who had become more numerous, 
due to the misery of the war. 

The Exchange was organized; illicit speculations, ex- 
cessive loans from banks, illegal acquirement of land, and 
the cutting down of palms prevented. 

Steps were taken to repopulate and cultivate the 
oases, with pecuniary encouragement and protection 
against marauders, who were a menace to all isolated 
grounds, and to institute agricultural credit. Excellent 
silk is raised on the experimental farms established. 

Italian schools were opened as soon as possible. 

In the interests of archaeology, the old Roman ruins 
around Libya are being excavated under the supervision 
of experts. 

The service of the poHce was at first rendered by the 
Carabiniere (Italian Royal PoHce), then by natives under 
their supervision. 

The courts of justice were in the beginning all military. 
Later, a civil tribunal and an appellate court were insti- 
tuted in Tripoli. 

Our good intentions were demonstrated to the Arabs, 
relative to the new colony, and the comparison made be- 
tween the old and new regime, the removal of the squalor, 
and our respect for their traditions, customs, and rehgious 
beliefs by distributing lambs for their rites, and repairing 
the mosques that had been damaged by shells. Flour 
was furnished gratuitously and periodically, money was 

*^V O^i-v 

Orphans at School. 


Orphans at Drill. 

Olive Trees at Misurata — Shoemakers in the Shade. 

TRIPOLI.— DrilUng Recruits. 



given for repair of houses and wells, and work-animals 
loaned. Treaties were made with the chiefs, and they 
were given administrative rights and power over their 
tribes. As it was difficult to get into direct communica- 
tion with the Arabs, owing to the vigilance exercised by 
the Turks over our emissaries, proclamations in Arabic 
were dropped from dirigibles and aeroplanes into Arab 

The Arabs had been and were kept in the dark by the 
Turks as to the developments of the campaign, our vic- 
tories, our intentions, and our form of government, in the 
whole theater of war. 


Our recent war, due to the condition of the terrain, 
resources, and climate of the hostile country, was complex 
and difficult. The work completed by Italy, by means of 
its Army and Navy and supported by public enthusiasm, 
can be said to be truly unique. 

The accurate and sagacious work of military prepara- 
tion, the valor displayed in combat, and for the fruitful 
civil rights established in our antique Roman colony, is 
destined, under the activity of our people, to be given a 
new and religious life. 

His Majesty the King issued the following order: 
"Order of the Day to the Army and Navy. 
"S. Rossore, 2Qth October, igi2. 
"In the solemn proof, to which Italy was called by her 


new destinies, the Army and Navy have worthily ac- 
complished their proper duty. 

"They were put to the test on land and sea, and were 
found prepared, ably directed by chiefs, and valorous in 
combat. The happy result was merited and was a con- 
sequence of the activity and intelligent cooperation of all, 
the abnegation, the calm patience with which the perils 
and discomforts were serenely confronted, the sacrifice 
of noble lives with enthusiastic loyalty devoted to their 

"Glory to those who fell for the grandeur of Italy. 

"To the Army and Navy, who fraternally united in 
this arduous enterprise and worthily impersonated the 
national conscience, falls the warmest expression of my 
most heartfelt gratitude and the loyal applause of a 
grateful country." 

On the 19th of January, 19 13, the troops passed in 
review before His Majesty; the flags of all the corps were 
then escorted to the monument of Vittorio Emanuele II., 
"The Altar of the Country," and decorated by the King. 

Arab l-*risoners. 


King of Italy Decorating the Colors. 


: 1.500.000 

regione Jegii O'ieila 


Scala appr 1 : 250.000 





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