MEDITERRANEAN AND MIDDLE EAST VOLUME V: THE CAMPAIGN IN SICILY 1943 AND THE CAMPAIGN IN ITALY 3rd September 1943 TO 31st March 1944 Part One
The fifth and largest volume of the eight books in the 18-volume official British History of the Second World War describing the war in the Mediterranean and Middle East, this narrates the campaigns in Sicily and Italy from July 1943 to March 1944. The Allies, under General Alexander, selected the harsh mountain terrain of Sicily as the site of their return to Europe after being chased from the continent in 1940/1. The July landings were successful and within a month the Germans had evacuated the island. The allies were now faced with the tough prospect of clearing the Germans from the whole Italian peninsula. In September they landed at Salerno, and despite determined counter-attacks, consolidated their beachhead. In October 1943, after the Badoglio Government, which had overthrown Mussolini in July, surrendered, Hitler ordered the occupation and in-depth defence of Italy. This tied down large numbers of German trooops, but made for a protracted and bitter winter campaign, characterised by set-piece Allied attacks against a series of strong German defensive positions along the Bernhardt and Gustav Lines and the Sangro, Garigliano and Rapido rivers. In January 1944 the Allies attempted to outflank the Germans and rush to Rome with another seaborne landing at Anzio. Although the landing was successful, German defence was stubborn, solidifying around the monastery of Monte Cassino, which held out against repeated Allied attacks. With 6 appendices, 43 maps and diagrams and 46 photographs.
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