Italië / Slagveld

Battle of Sangro




The Battle of the Sangro River represents the clashes between the British Army's 8th Army and Nazi troops along the Abruzzi territories of the Gustav Line between December 1943 and April 1944. The outcome of the battle proved crucial for the Italian liberation.

The Battle of the Sangro River is one of the most important frontal clashes between the Allies and the Nazis during the first phase of the Italian Campaign focused on the conquest of the Gustav Line positions. From November 1943 onwards, the British 8th Army under the command of General Montgomery, after moving up the Trigno area, came up against enemy blockades positioned at the strongholds built along the defensive line from Ortona to Cassino. Due to its characteristics, the Sangro River was identified by German soldiers as a reference point for the installation of interception posts for Allied troops. Indeed, the crossing of the river marked a potential guiding line that could lead back towards a more rapid ascent of the peninsula. Between 20 and 27 November, Montgomery's battalions carried out their first operations, establishing a bridgehead that immediately became the target of intense German artillery action. On 28 November, the Allied attack operation was launched, an intense action that lasted three days, which saw infantry, artillery and aviation working in synergy, inflicting heavy losses on the enemy, who were progressively forced to retreat. Besides the hundreds of casualties resulting from the military confrontation, the Battle resulted in several problems for civilians. In those November days, the liberation of the towns of Alfedena and Castel di Sangro was counterbalanced by the retaliation, looting and destruction carried out by Werhmacht soldiers near Roccaraso, Gessopalena and Lettopalena.

Further military actions took place at Ortona between 21 and 28 December 1943, and the Battle of the Sangro River finally ended with the operations near Orsogna in June 1944. The sacrifice achieved for the conquest of the positions on the Sangro, also thanks to the contribution provided by the Maiella Partisan Brigade, resulted in the breakthrough of the Gustav and the road to the capital, moving the front northwards, on the last massive German defensive line.