The paper studies the operation of reinforcement of the defence system in Trentino by the Hapsburg empire, in the second half of the nineteenth century. In particular, the author analyses the plan by lieutenant colonel Johan Karl von Huyn, which was essentially based on the creation of an external defence line, corresponding to the Southern Tyrol, and an internal one, surrounding the town of Trento, aimed at blocking the passage along the Adige valley and, as a consequence, toward northern Europe. Von Huyn developed some variations to the then existing fortification typologies, based on the territory’s orography. His defence plan led to the renovation of the transport system, developing the network of roads, reinforcing the existing infrastructure with railways and cableways and - at the beginning of the twentieth century - with some airports. The pursuit of military self-sufficiency required water, electrical and telephonic systems, new hospitals, graveyards, and factories aimed at sustaining the garrisons’ needs. Furthermore, militarization led to the transformation of uncontaminated lands, through deforestations, terracing and soil tillage. The present paper also deals with the Hapsburg management system in developing the new defence system. The general plan was managed by the Imperial ministry of war in Vienna, with the aim to study, plan and create the entire national defence system. The ministry was articulated in several departments: strategic, military, experimental and technical. The Hapsburg empire invested enormous sums in the technical department, allowing the creation of a modern office where the military technicians developed new defence and building technologies and published handbooks aimed at developing innovations.
Keywords: Trentino Defence system Hapsburg Empire Southern Front Line