Posted 24 March 2012 - 04:54 PM
From 'The War Service of the 1/4 Royal Berkshire Regiment (T.F.)'
"Every autumn the enemy replied to our offensive in France with a furious blow elsewhere. As in 1915 he had crushed Serbia, in 1916 occupied two-thirds of Roumania, so this year (1917) he fell upon the Italians at Caparetto on the 25th October. This enormous disaster, which cost the Italians 250,000 prisoners and a third of their artillery, brought the Austro-Germans by the beginning of Novermber to the banks of the Piave, and it was decided that British and French forces should be dispatched to Italy to defend Venice and give the Italian Army a breathing space for reorganisation. Therefore, when we were resting on the 21st, and speculating on the possibility of taking part in the Cambrai Battle so dramatically begun the day before, orders arrived for entrainment next afternoon with nine days' rations."
As said in previous posts the choice of which formations and units to send to Italy at this juncture was not a reflection on poor performance in battle - quite the contrary in fact.