The Italian campaign in September 1943, spearheaded by the US 5th and British 8th Armies, is one of the most dramatic campaigns of the entire Second World War - it was here that Hitler’s ‘Fortress Europe’ would finally be pierced. By the beginning of October, after a tough fight to gain a foothold, the Allies were now firmly established on the Italian peninsula. But the war in Italy was only going to get tougher as the German defenders dug in - and a brutal winter set in.
Historian and broadcaster James Holland, who has just written his own history of the campaign, has a better knowledge and understanding of the battlefields than anyone and is able to take us into the heart of the action like no other.
In the second episode - “Rome before Christmas" - James continues his journey following the men of the Allied forces - heading to the sprawling metropolis of Naples to find out about the uprising of the people, to the tiniest village of Ripalimosani where men from every corner of the Allied world found themselves. From the sparse foothills of the Apennines, to the Stalingrad of Italy - Ortona.
What James will find is that although the war in Italy may have started well for the Allies, the whole campaign would soon start to falter. Success was now in jeopardy.
For further reading:
James Holland, The Savage Storm: The Battle for Italy 1943. https://www.amazon.co.uk/Savage-Storm-Battle-Italy-1943/dp/1787636682