SOLFERINO, Italy – While looking down from a museum tower, members of U.S. Army Africa’s G-5 directorate stare at the amazing panoramic view of the small town of Solferino, Italy. It was hard to believe that on this spot 154 years ago, more than 4,000 French, Italian and Austrian soliders were killed and tens of thousands wounded in the second largest land battle fought in Europe, leading to Italian unification and independence.
La Spia d’Italia tower, also known as the “spyhole of Italy,” nicknamed due to its considerable height of 190 feet and its strategic position dominating the surrounding area, was a distinctive symbol during the Battle of Solferino and San Martino of the 1859 War of Independence campaign, which was the topic of the first G5 staff ride May 22.
Lt. Col. Thomas F. Talley, USARAF G5 chief of strategy, policy and programs, said learning about the battle is a useful tool for teaching important and relevant lessons whether they pertain to the dynamics of campaign planning, tactics, logistics or simply to understand his Soldiers.
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