|July 10, 1943. The Allied landings in Sicily|
The Green Line commonly know as the Gothic Line
Field Marshal Kesselring, commander of the German armies in Italy, carried into effect the last, desperate tactics the so–called “retreat fought” which consisted in inflicting as many casualties on the enemy and then retreating to the next line of resistance. After the liberation of Florence, the Germans deployed on the Apennine defenses of the Gothic Line, the last obstacle of the Italian Campaign, blocking the Allied advance for eight months. The barrier extended from the coastal defenses between La Spezia and Massa to the Adriatic coast with preparations taking place between Pesaro and Rimini. Between late August and mid-September 1944 operations to breach the Gothic Line by Allied command kicked off. The Germans, however, managed to contain the US-British offensive attacks into late October, it stopped a few kilometers from Bologna.
The Winter break
With the arrival of bad weather and the debilitated offensive, the Gothic front turned into an endless nightmare, after the so-called “Alexander Proclamation” transmitted on November 13, 1944 which proclaimed the suspension of operations, the soldiers, people and partisans became easier prey for the Germans, who from that moment on, felt free to intensify reprisals.
After the winter break the Allies reorganized their troops and in April 1945 launched their final offensive against the Germans along the front. On April 21, Bologna, after arising and liberated of Germans, saw the arrival of Poles and Italians of the “Friuli” Bersaglieri.
On April 25, 1945, the CLNAI ordered the general insurrection throughout northern Italy: the German retreating troops were attacked in every direction. On 2 May hostilities ceased on the Italian front.