IN THE MEMORY OF THE FALLEN AND INJURED IN THE KRN MOUNTAIN RANGE
The First and Second World Wars caused enormous suffering and casualties in the Krn mountain
The war between Italy and Austria-Hungary started on 24 th May 1915. In the First World War, fierce
fighting between the two armies took place in the Krn mountain range.
On 16 th June 1915, the Italian Alpine units conquered the peak of Mt Krn. They occupied the entire
ridge of the Krn mountain range to the west of Mt Krn and started advancing towards the
neighbouring mountain to the East – Mt Batognica. They also tried to occupy Mt Mrzli vrh, advance
to Mt Sleme and descend into the valley of the river Tolminka. Despite heavy casualties, they failed
to achieve these objectives. Mt Mrzli vrh gained the reputation of the bloodiest mountain in the
Soča valley region.
The fighting in the mountains lasted for 29 months. 24 th October 1917 marked the beginning of the
12 th Soča battle. In the battle also known as the »Battle of Kobarid«, the joint Austro-Hungarian and
German armies broke through the Italian positions, pushing both the Italian army and the front line
to the river Piave.
On both sides of the front lines running along the peaks of the Krn mountain range, soldiers were
exposed to extreme weather with snowstorms and severe cold, along with constant fighting, which
was happening even underground. The Austrian army carried out two military mining operations on
Mt Batognica and Mt Vršič. In the 29 months of fighting, both sides suffered horrific casualties due to
warfare as well as disease, lighting strikes, landslides, and other accidents.
In the Second World War, the Krn mountain range was once again a scene of warfare – this time
between the Slovenian partisan liberation army on one side and the Italian and German armies on
On 26 th April 1943, on the Golobar plateau on the Western side of the Krn mountain range, a battle
broke out between the partisans of the Severno-primorski detachment and the Italian army. The
battle ended with heavy casualties, particularly on the side of the partisans.
On 18 th July 1943, the area between Mt Batognica and the Stador pastures was the scene of a large
day-long battle between the partisans of the Gradnik brigade and Italian elite Alpine units. The
Italian army suffered heavy casualties, while the partisans had a lucky escape with few casualties.
The biggest battle of Slovene partisans in the Julian Alps lasted several days in August 1944 and took
place in the area between Mt Rdeči rob and Mt Mrzli vrh. The partisans of the Gregorčič brigade
were attacked from all sides by the German army and the members of the Slovene Home Guard. The
partisans were outnumbered almost tenfold, and many fell while making a difficult retreat through
the German lines.
Two partisan medical stations were set up in the gorge under the Krn village and under the Vrsno
village. Another partisan act of bravery deserves to be mentioned: in the last days of December
1943, the partisans of the Bazovica brigade walked from the Lepena valley in deep, freshly fallen
snow all the way to Mt Škrbina and then crossed the icy Southern slope to descend onto the Kuhinja
Partisan victims of the Second World War are commemorated with monuments on the Golobar
plateau, on Mt Škrbina and on Mt Sleme.
The Krn mountain range was also the scene of many mountaineering accidents. Several
mountaineers and mountain climbers were injured or died here, especially on the Southern slope of
Mt Krn. Many skids ended tragically. In 1950, the head of the Nova Gorica Mountaineering Society
Ervin Gomišček lost his life after a skid during the building of the mountain lodge on top of Mt Krn.
One of the worst tragedies happened at the end of December in 1996, when a mountaineer from
Kobarid and three Italian mountain climbers died after skidding off the icy slope of Mt Krn.
Other common reasons for accidents were lighting strikes, collapsing stones, hypothermia or
dehydration and the resulting weakness.
The commemorative plate on the Kuhinja pasture is dedicated to the thousands of fallen in both
world wars and to the victims of mountaineering accidents. It serves as a reminder to the passers-by
that tragedies took place in the Krn mountain range, and that respect and tribute to those who
suffered and died here are due when walking in these mountains.