But they were too few in number for a major drive inland, and were quickly trapped in their beach-head by German reinforcements. But the 8th Army's failure to take Orsogna put an end to the drive up the eastern coast. [11] The American staff believed that a full-scale invasion of France at the earliest possible time was required to end the war in Europe, and that no operations should be undertaken that might delay that effort. The following day, the Germans in Italy surrendered to the Allies. Following their victory against the Axis forces in North Africa, the British had high hopes for the development of Allied strategy in the Mediterranean. Italy joined the war as one of the Axis Powers in 1940. The battle to take Cassino was the bloodiest of the entire campaign. Europe The United States, with an even larger army, favoured a more direct method of fighting the main force of the German Army in Northern Europe. Their losses, which eventually amounted to 156,000 men, were inflicted mainly on Italian units. It’s estimated that 600,000 Italians were dead in combat and more than a million were wounded or crippled during WW1. Here, LIFE.com presents a series of both rare and classic color pictures made throughout the Italian Campaign by the great Carl Mydans. Between 1 September 1943 – 10 May 1944: 87,579 casualties. Allied forces gained experience in opposed amphibious operations, coalition warfare and mass airborne drops. This would make the most of the natural defensive geography of Central Italy, whilst denying the Allies the easy capture of a succession of airfields; each one being ever closer to Germany. But he was captured by partisans and executed on 28 April 1945. The 5th Northamptonshire Regiment in Portomaggiore, April 1945, Lancashire Fusiliers with Achilles tank destroyers, Ferrara, 1945, Second World War Italy’s vulnerable coastline could not be exploited effectively by the Allies through amphibious operations due to a lack of ships and landing craft. Allied special forces and commandos provided direction and arms to the partisans, sabotaging lines of supply and communication, and pinpointing targets for air strikes. When 8th Army were held up by stubborn defences in the rugged hills south of Mount Etna, Patton amplified the American role by a wide advance northwest toward Palermo and then directly north to cut the northern coastal road. Wounded men often had to be carried back several miles to reach full medical aid, or even to the point at which they could be transferred to a vehicle. National Army Museum, Royal Hospital Road, London, SW3 4HTRegistered Charity Number: 237902. The Germans retreated slowly using demolitions, mines and booby-traps to delay the British. They successfully crossed the River Sangro, and the coastal town of Ortona was captured by the Canadians after bitter fighting in December 1943. [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. D-Day enabled the Allies to establish a foothold on the beaches of Normandy. Finally, in January 1945, four more divisions were transferred from Italy to North West Europe. They then advanced to the far more formidable Gothic Line, at the approaches to the Po Valley. Paperback . However, most of the German defenders survived and were able to exploit the ruins to create an even more formidable set of defences. One of the early prizes was the developed Italian air base at at Foggia in the South. A further seven, including the highly effective French Expeditionary Corps, were withdrawn in the summer of 1944 for the Allied landings in southern France. Most of the Italian Army was quickly disarmed by the Germans, whose troops now manned key positions throughout Italy. Many British positions in the hills could only be reached by pack animals or porters. The regular supply of food and ammunition was often slow or hindered by bad weather. The rivers were subject to sudden and unexpected flooding, which constantly thwarted the Allied commanders' plans. At its best, the campaign would knock Italy out of the war, persuade neutral Turkey to join the Allies, support the adjacent operations in the Balkans, and ultimately launch the Allied armies into Austria and then the heart of Germany. But many locals backed the Allies and the pro-Allied Italian government in Rome. The Italian Campaign of World War II: The History of the Allied Operations that Knocked Fascist Italy Out of the War Charles River Editors. 3.7 out of 5 stars 16. Ellis states that from various sources, between September 1939 and 31 December 1944, the German armed forces (including the Wafffen SS and foreign volunteers) lost 59,940 killed, 163,600 wounded, and 357,090 captured within Italy. Using a 4.2 inch mortar near Adrano, Sicily, 1943. The 2nd Seaforth Highlanders embarking at Sousse for Sicily, 1943, Bren carriers entering Centuripe, Sicily, August 1943. In early October 1943, Hitler was persuaded by his Army Group Commander in Southern Italy, Field Marshal Albert Kesselring, that the defence of Italy should be conducted as far away from Germany as possible. Operation Husky, the invasion of Sicily, was the largest single assault landing carried out by the Allies during the war. Cutting through enemy resistance, the attacks converged on Bologna, which fell on 21 April. In an attempt to assist the offensive and cut German communications from Rome, an Allied amphibious landing was carried out on the west coast of Italy at Anzio. 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. Italy's winter cold and summer heat exhausted the attackers. [citation needed]. German casualties for the Italian campaign were around 336,000, while those of the Allies totalled 313,000. Even with a large army, but greater naval power, the traditional British answer against a continental enemy was to fight as part of a coalition and mount small peripheral operations designed to gradually weaken the enemy. The new Italian government surrendered to the Allies. On the US Fifth Army front, elements drove north toward Austria and north west to Milan.