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However, most of the German defenders survived and were able to exploit the ruins to create an even more formidable set of defences. Churchill had hoped that a major advance in the autumn of 1944 would open the way for the Allied armies to advance north eastwards through the 'Ljubljana Gap' (the area between Venice and Vienna, modern Slovenia) to Vienna and Hungary to forestall the Russians advancing into Eastern Europe. Following their victory against the Axis forces in North Africa, the British had high hopes for the development of Allied strategy in the Mediterranean. During the Second World War, Britain created a range of special units who undertook a variety of daring operations against the Axis Powers. They successfully crossed the River Sangro, and the coastal town of Ortona was captured by the Canadians after bitter fighting in December 1943. The two major commands were the 12th and 15th Air Forces. Prisoners captured on the River Volturno, 13 October 1943, Infantry in Castiglione on the Volturno Line, November 1943. 5th Battalion The Northamptonshire Regiment entering Adrano, Sicily, August 1943. The Italian army’s history dates back to the unification of the country in the 1850-60s. Indian soldiers patrolling an Italian mountain trail, 1944, Infantry and tanks moving along a track, May 1944. Beyond their goal of crushing Italian Axis forces, the Allies wanted to draw German troops away from the main Allied advance through Nazi-occupied northern Europe to Berlin, Germany. Cutting through enemy resistance, the attacks converged on Bologna, which fell on 21 April. The ability to launch such a campaign depended on first winning the Battle of the Atlantic. Mavrogordato, Ralph S. (2000 (reissue from 1960)). Be the first to hear about our latest events, exhibitions and offers. Their losses, which eventually amounted to 156,000 men, were inflicted mainly on Italian units. [23][24][25] Meanwhile, damage to other transport infrastructure forced Axis forces to use sea, canal and river routes for re-supply, leading to Operation Bowler against shipping in Venice harbour on 21 March 1945. Yet, the achievements of the Allied forces in the Mediterranean were by no means inconsiderable. [citation needed]. Between February and March 1945: 13,741 casualties. A 25-pounder gun in action on the Cassino front, 1944, Observing the bombing of Monte Cassino monastery, February 1944. German casualties for the Italian campaign were around 336,000, while those of the Allies totalled 313,000. On D-Day, 6 June 1944, they were helping to hold down nearly 70 enemy divisions. Thoroughly enjoyed it. Hitler was also convinced that yielding southern Italy would provide the Allies with a springboard for an invasion of the Balkans with its vital resources of oil, bauxite and copper. Rain frequently suspended what little mobility they had. In order to shorten the Allied lines of communication for the advance into Northern Italy, the Polish II Corps advanced towards the port of Ancona and, after a month-long battle, succeeded in capturing it on 18 July. The Italian campaign had come to be seen by the Allies as a massive holding attack. Yet, for most of the last 14 months of the war, the Germans deployed more divisions in Italy than the Allies. The following day, the Germans in Italy surrendered to the Allies. The Duke of Wellington's Regiment on Pantellaria, 11 June 1943, A Sherman tank moving down to the River Sangro, November 1943. Mussolini, who had earlier been rescued from Italian captivity by German commandos, retreated north with the Germans and their ISR allies. He notes that other sources, for only the army, losses between June 1941 and 10 April 1945 amount to 46,800 killed, 208,240 missing, and 168,570 wounded. Landings at Anzio during Operation Shingle, advocated by Churchill, behind the line were intended to destabilise the German Gustav line defences, but the early thrust inland to cut off the German defences did not occur, thanks again to the indecisiveness of the American commander (General Lucas),[citation needed] and the Anzio forces became bottled up in their beachhead. Paperback . Harold Alexander after the war used a figure of 312,000, Moraes, "The Brazilian Expeditionary Force By Its Commander" Chapter V (The IV Corps Offensive); Sections. There had been a hope that, with the surrender of the Italian government, the Germans would withdraw to the north, since at the time Adolf Hitler had been persuaded that Southern Italy was strategically unimportant. Jun 17, 2019 - World War II History. [18] On 21 April, Bologna was entered by the Polish 3rd Carpathian Rifle Division, the Italian Friuli Group (both from Eighth Army) and the US 34th Infantry Division (from Fifth Army). In order to minimise casualties, the Allies launched a massive bombardment of the German defences prior to their assault. Although a welcome propaganda victory, this drive on the Italian capital meant that many of the Germans retreating from the Gustav Line avoided being completely cut off and captured. British troops moving through a smoke screen towards Monastery Hill at Cassino, 1944. The British argued that the presence of large numbers of troops trained for amphibious landings in the Mediterranean made a limited-scale invasion possible and useful. It took four major offensives between January and May 1944 before the line was eventually broken by a combined assault of the Fifth and Eighth Armies (including British, US, French, Polish and Canadian Corps) concentrated along a twenty mile front between Monte Cassino and the western seaboard. Articles with unsourced statements from November 2014, Articles with Portuguese-language external links, Articles with Italian-language external links, Articles incorporating text from Wikipedia, Battles and operations of World War II involving Brazil, Battles and operations of World War II involving Canada, Battles and operations of World War II involving France, Battles and operations of World War II involving Greece, Battles and operations of World War II involving India, Battles and operations of World War II involving Italy, Battles and operations of World War II involving Poland, Battles and operations of World War II involving New Zealand, Battles and operations of World War II involving South Africa, Battles and operations of World War II involving the United States, Battles and operations of World War II involving the United Kingdom, World War II campaigns of the Mediterranean Theatre, Military history of Italy during World War II, http://www.webcitation.org/query?url=http://www.geocities.com/limeydvr/italycamp6.htm&date=2009-10-26+01:50:36, http://www.archive.org/details/gov.archives.arc.39132, "Chapter 12: Hitler's Decision on the Defense of Italy", United States Army Center of Military History, http://www.history.army.mil/books/70-7_12.htm, "Chapter 14: General Clark's Decision to Drive to Rome", http://www.history.army.mil/books/70-7_14.htm, The Loyal Edmonton Regiment at war, 1943-1945, Ortona and the Italian Campaign - 65th Anniversary, Italy volume I: From The Sangro to Cassino, Memoirs of Lt-Col Donald, NZEF (Italy, Chapters 8-15), Dal Volturno a Cassino, website (in Italian) covering the autumn /winter of 1943 - 44, World War II propaganda leaflets - use in Italy, BBC's flash video of the Italian Campaign, Canadian Newspapers and the Second World War - The Sicilian and Italian Campaigns, 1943-1945, CBC Digital Archives - The Italian Campaign, https://military.wikia.org/wiki/Italian_Campaign_(World_War_II)?oldid=4526528. 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