The battle of Emba Aradom which took place on 10 to 15 February 1936, was a key one in Italy’s campaign (Italian war 1935–36) to conquer the northern highlands. By 4 February 1936, Italian air and ground forces, under the command of Pietro Badoglio, used 280 cannons and 170 aircraft to bomb Ethiopian positions along a 250-mile front between Dase and Emba Aradom, a strategically important flat-topped mountain south-east of Mekelle (Mockler 1984:97).
Using an encircling movement, the Italians quickly defeated the Ethiopians and occupied Emba Aradom on 15 February. The following day, the Ethiopian Army fled from Emba aradom. During 17–19 February, Badoglio’s forces pursued the remnants of the Ethiopian army. In this operation, the Regia Aeronautica flew 546 raids, dropped 396 tons of bombs and fired 30,000 rounds of machine-gun ammunition.
The outlawed mustard gas was used by fascist Italian army for the first time in Ethiopia, which was devastating to both the Abysinian army and the people of Hintalo and the surrounding villages. Mustard gas was outlawed by international convention in 1925. This mountain symbolizes the resilience and steadfastness of our people to remain free and independent from any foreign powers.
Italian casualties, including dead and wounded, totaled 36 officers, 621 Italian soldiers and 145 Eritrean askaris. The Ethiopians lost an estimated 20,000 troops.
Emba Aradom has one of the cemeteries where Italian soldiers were buried.