Gothic Line Offensive
The Gothic Line (Italian: Linea Gotica) formed Field Marshal Albert Kesselring's last major line of defence in the final stages of World War II along the summits of the Apennines during the fighting retreat of Nazi Germany's forces in Italy against the Allied Armies in Italy commanded by General Sir Harold Alexander.
Hitler had concerns about the state of preparation of the Gothic Line: He feared the Allies would use amphibious landings to out-flank its defenses. So, to downgrade its importance in the eyes of both friend and foe, he ordered the name, with its historic connotations, changed, reasoning that if the Allies managed to break through they would not be able to use the more impressive name to magnify their victory claims. In response to this order, Kesselring renamed it the "Green Line" in June 1944.
The Gothic Line was breached on both the Adriatic and the central Apennine fronts during Operation Olive (also sometimes known as the Battle of Rimini) during the autumn of 1944, but Kesselring's forces were consistently able to retire in good order, and no decisive breakthrough was achieved. This did not take place until the renewed offensive in the spring of 1945. On April 29, 1945, Heinrich von Vietinghoff, Commander of the German Army Group C, signed an instrument of surrender, and hostilities in Italy formally ceased on May 2.
Germans set up a defense line north of Rome along the backbone of the northern Apennine Mountains. Again, the British attacked along the east coast. The main crossing of the Apennines was atIl Futa pass. This was heavily defended, so the main attack was at IL Giogo Pass to the east. This fighting was described as an all up-hill battle as several large peaks had to be assaulted. Both the 5th & 8th Armies were drained of men as units were pulled out for the invasion of Normandy and southern France. Without sufficient reserves, the fighting drew to a stalemate as the second winter in Italy set in.