The hilltown of Montese

Montese, awarded the Bronze Medal of Civil Merit in the final phase of the Second World War, was situated on the north-western margin of the Gothic Line, the last German defense against the advance of the Allies in Italy.

The Germans arrived in Montese during late summer of 1944 from the Tuscany front where the first Gothic Line had been broken by the attacks of the Fifth Army at the Gioga and Futa mountain passes. In November the Brazilian troops of the FEB, Força Expedicionaria Brasiliera arrived in the area between Bologna and Modena, then with the arrival of the USA 10th Mountain Division plans for the final offensive against the Gothic line were deployed. The attacks on German defenses on 18 and 19 February on the ridges of Mount Belvedere were successful and after a few days the Americans liberated Iola and the Brazilian “pracinhas” were in front of the defenses of Montese. After consolidating positions on April 14, the Fifth Army launched into the final leap towards Bologna and the Po Valley. The FEB led the attack on Montese, which was taken after heavy bombardment and house to house fighting. The successive days saw the relentless German artillery bombing of the village and finally, after ulterior bloody clashes the Brazilians took over Mount Buffoon forcing the retreat of the Germans from Mount Montello.