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Gothic Line

From Academic Kids

The Gothic Line also known as Linea Gotica was Field Marshall Albert Kesselring's last line of defence along the top of the Apennines during the retreat of Nazi Germany's forces from Italy in the final stage of World War II, and came into being as a result of one of the war's greatest missed opportunities.

The background: After the nearly concurrent Spring '44 breakthroughs at Cassino and Anzio, the Allies finally had a chance to trap the Germans in a pincer movement, and realize some of Churchill's strategic goals for the long, costly campaign against the Axis "underbelly". This would have required U.S. 5th Army General Mark Clark to commit most of his Anzio forces to the drive east from Cisterna, and execute the envelopment evisioned in the original planning of the Anzio landing (i.e., flank the German 10th Army, and sever its northbound line of retreat from Cassino). Instead, fearing that the Brits might beat him to Rome, Clark diverted a large part of his Anzio force in that direction, to assure that he and 5th Army would have the honor of liberating the Eternal City.

As a result, most of Kesselring's forces slipped the noose, and fell back to the Arno River, where they built a 16 km-deep belt of fortifications extending from south of La Spezia on the west coast, to the Foglia Valley to the Adriatic Sea between Pesaro and Cattolica. The emplacements included numerous concrete-reinforced gun pits and trenches, and 2,376 machine gun nests with interlocking fire.

One major battle that occurred along the Gothic line was the Battle of Gemmano, nicknamed by some historians as the "Cassino of the Adriatic"; a second major battle occurred between August 25, 1944-September 30 at Rimini.

The Gothic line was finally broken in the Spring of 1945, thanks to fresh reinforcements, British landings in Greece, and Yugoslav partisans.

External links

Template:WWII-stubit:Linea gotica

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