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"Battle of Ortona" Topic

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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP16 Mar 2023 8:25 p.m. PST

"The battle of Ortona occurred between German and Canadian forces from December 20 to December 27, 1943, during World War II (19391945). A coastal town in central Italy, Ortona sits on a plateau overlooking the Adriatic Sea. The newer, southern part of Ortona had larger structures that were separated from each other while the buildings in the older, northern portion were more tightly packed, often with no space between them. There is one main thoroughfare through the center of the town, Highway 16. The many secondary streets are extremely narrow, some only wide enough for oxcarts and pedestrians. Ortona had a prewar population of ten thousand residents.

Ortona was the first prolonged urban battle of the Italian campaign, which began in Sicily in the summer of 1943 and continued with the invasion of the mainland in the fall. The battle came at a critical moment for the German military, which remained as an occupying force in Italy after the Fascist government fell and effectively controlled the parts of Italy not yet liberated by Allied forces on their northward campaign up the peninsula. Strategically, Rome was important. If it fell to the Allies there would have been extreme political, military, economic, social, and psychological ramifications for both sides. To prevent this, the German forces at the operational level took advantage of Italy's mountainous geography and combined it with manmade obstacles to favor their defense along a series of defensive lines centered on a series of deep valleys and wide rivers. In October 1943, Adolf Hitler instructed his Mediterranean theater commander, Field Marshal Albert Kesselring, to establish the Gustav Line, a cross-country defensive position across the narrowest part of Italy…"

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