Excerpt from ATTACKS
By Field Marshal Erwin Rommel

In the Piave valley the enemy blew up the bridge east of Longarone. An attempt to move off in the direction of Mudu in closed column was thwarted by our fire. Only in very small groups was it possible for the enemy to move at all on the Mudu-Belluno road or along the railway line running south. The situation remained unchanged even when several hostile batteries chimed in from the knolls south of Longarone. They did not find our positions south of the Vajont ravine either. Instead, dozens of shells hit on the pass road in front of and in the Vajont ravine, as well as on the cliffs above the road. In spite of the very unpleasant effect of the hostile machine-gun and artillery fire, which was increased considerably by falling rocks and stones, by 1145, the remaining units of the 3d Company, as well as the 1st Company and a platoon of the 1st Machine-Gun Company, had reached the heights a hundred yards south of the entrance of the road into the Vajont ravine.

In order to block the road and railway toward Belluno on the west bank of the Piave and to capture all hostile units coming from the north, I sent the 1st Company, reinforced by the heavy machine gun platoon, through Dogna to the west bank of the Piave in the vicinity of Pirago. The entire 3d Company furnished fire support for this movement and prevented the enemy from marching anywhere in closed formation.

In file with very short intervals, the 1st Company hurried off in the direction of Dogna. Its way there led over a steep, grassy slope devoid of cover and fully exposed to enemy observation. Italian machine guns and batteries turned their fire on the company, but it managed to reach the protecting houses of Dogna almost without losses. The hostile machine-gun and artillery fire increased perceptibly with its bulk falling in the Vajont ravine.

Then we saw the 1st Company west of Dogna moving across the bed of the Piave. But the river bed offered no protection against observation, and still less against fire. Very soon the Italians around Longarone poured such a hail of fire on the 1st Company that only rapid retreat to Dogna prevented heavy losses. While this action was in progress I hurried to Dogna with the detachment staff. Telephone wire was laid to the 3d Company, which remained in the former position. Shells and machine-gun fire sped us on our way. The enemy was firing on each individual.

In Dogna I met the 1st Company, which had just returned from the Piave channel. This failure did not discourage me. That an entire company did not manage to get through the hostile fire zone in the Piave River bed did not mean that such a maneuver was impossible for a few men who could take better advantage of the terrain and perhaps veer off somewhat farther to the south.