Loading of a 305 Cannon


This photograph taken in 1918 shows Italian soldiers manning an artillery piece, identified as a 305-millimeter gun. Italian forces in World War I were equipped with the 305-millimeter, Model 1911 Austro-Hungarian siege howitzer, manufactured by the Skoda works in Bohemia (present-day Czech Republic). The Kingdom of Italy entered World War I on the side of the Triple Entente—Great Britain, France, and Russia—on April 26, 1915. Prior to the war, Italy was part of the Triple Alliance with Germany and Austria-Hungary, but it switched sides after Britain, France, and Russia promised it, in the secret Treaty of London concluded in April 1915, territorial acquisitions in Europe and a share of Germany’s African empire in exchange for entering the war on the Allied side. In more than three years of fighting, chiefly on its northern border with Austria-Hungary, Italy lost more than 650,000 soldiers killed, 947,000 wounded, and 600,000 taken prisoner or missing in action. After the war, the Italians were bitterly disappointed by the meager gains they made at the Paris Peace Conference. Hard feelings toward their former allies contributed to political instability in Italy, the rise to power of Benito Mussolini, and Italy’s later alignment with Nazi Germany in World War II.

Date Created

Subject Date

Title in Original Language

Caricamento di un 305


Type of Item

Physical Description

1 photograph ; black-and-white


  1. Pierluigi Scolè, “War Losses (Italy),” in 1914-1918-online. International Encyclopedia of the First World War, edited by Ute Daniel, Peter Gatrell, Oliver Janz, Heather Jones, Jennifer Keene, Alan Kramer, and Bill Nasson. http://encyclopedia.1914-1918-online.net/article/war_finance_italy.

Last updated: November 14, 2017