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Events of 1944-1945

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Partisans raiding a Fascist's home

July 26, 1943, Mussolini was no longer in power and it became obvious that a confrontation with Germany was imminent. Tancredi Galimberti, a member of the underground Action Party, shouted from a balcony in Cuneo, “The war goes on,but against Germany. For this war there is one means – popular insurrection.” The crowd stood silent. No one had the will to fight anymore. They had hoped that Italy would just be left alone, but they knew that would not happen. Nobody took Galimberti’s call for arms, and it wasn’t until Germany began treating Italy as an occupied nation and a subservient people, did they rise up against the Germans.

One such instance was when 16 Italians were killed in the village of Rionero Sannitico, because an old Italian farmer wounded a German soldier trying to steal a chicken.

Italian soldiers near Monte Lungo

On October 13, the new Italian government declared war on Germany. Italy, at this point, had little to offer militarily, but what Italy lacked in military armament, she made up with in hatred for the Germans and the Fascist/Nazi ideology. It would still be a difficult battle, Germany had 22 divisions and Mussolini had 6 RSI divisions that liberated Italy and the partisans would be up against.

Committees for national liberation sprang up in the North to fight both the Germans and the new Salo Republic. In Southern Italy, it was less organized but just as effective. Bands of Partisans sprang up and commenced attacking German units. Naples was especially active in Partisan uprisings. Within a few days of forming, thousands of insurgents volunteered. Together with civil rioting, and the approaching Allies, the Germans were forced to abandon Naples on October 1, 1943.

There was a heavy price to pay for this victory. The Germans systematically looted the city and placed timed bombs throughout public areas.

In December of 1943, the liberated Italian army was fighting alongside their new allies against the Germans. Monte Lungo, Monte Cassino and the liberation of Rome was some of the many battles in which the Italians participated. Italian partisans also managed to sidetrack over 200,000 Germans due to their resistance.

December 20, 1943, a partisan exploit dismembered a train carrying ammunition to Monte Cassino, killing 500 German troops. Up to 2,200 partisan actions were reported by the end of 1943.

In the beginning of 1944, the 185th Nembo Autonomous Parachute Unit was employed on the Gustav line front with heavy fighting against seasoned German Units. Some of the heavier engagements were Mainarde, Monte Marrone and Monte San Michele. The Germans gradually withdrew from the front, moving first on the Frieda Line and then the Mathild Line at Filottrano, in the Marches.

On 7 July 44, the Nembo attack was concentrated with the 183rd and 184th Guastatori Battalion. Filonttrano was conquered with heavy losses (300 Italian paratroopers killed or wounded).

On March 23, 1944, partisans in Rome attack an SS police detachment, killing 32 Germans. Hitler was infuriated and ordered 10 Romans dead for every German killed. In response, 335 Jews, captured partisans and other citizens were killed. This action only caused the partisans to grow more organized. Six major parties were formed to fight the Germans and the Salo Republic: Communists, Socialists, Labor Democrats, Christian Democrats, Liberals and the Action Party. Since Italy was not able to offer any kind of elections, Badoglio’s new government gave each party an equal voice.

By May of 1944, a retrained and reequipped Italian army consisting of 100,000 men was fighting the Germans with the Allies.

On June 4, 1944, The Allies, along with 5,000 Italian troops, were able to take Rome. The Partisans then fired Badoglio’s government and forced King Emanuele out of the throne. The new Prime Minister elect was Ivanoe Bonomi and the crown went to King Emanuele’s son.

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