When Italy surrendered in 1943, it sparked a diverse resistance movement of anti-German, anti-fascist partisans who rose up against German occupation. This book explores the tactics, organizational structure and equipment of the brave Italian resistance fighters, who knew exactly what was at stake when operating against their German occupiers. Beginning with low-level sabotage and assassinations, the groups grew until spring 1944 when they numbered around 100,000, and as the Allies advanced to the Gothic line, a remarkable, unified partisan command structure was created. The partisans began to work in close co-ordination with the Allies, receiving British SOE and American OSS liaison teams as well as supplies of weapons. The German response was eye-watering in its ferocity and brutality, as the SS and Italian RSI looked to eradicate the partisans once and for all when the Allied advance stalled in Autumn 1944. But when the Allies made their final breakthrough in the last weeks of the war the partisans rose in force to pile the pressure on the retreating Wehrmacht.
From an expert on Italian military history in World War II, this work provides an exhaustively researched, sumptuously illustrated guide to the men and women who fought a desperate struggle against occupation, as well as the German and Italian fascist security forces unleashed against them.
Read an extract of World War II Partisan Warfare in Italy
Table of Contents
Introduction: Italian surrender and German occupation /German organization /From early resistance to partisan warfare /Peak of operations: collapse of RSI army security forces and mobilization of Fascist Party 'Black Brigades' – SS take over from Wehrmacht – creation of partisan CVT command, and 'free zones' – partisans fight with Allied troops – resistance in Florence – the struggle on the Franco-Italian border /Crisis of September 1944–March 1945: major anti-partisan operations – deployment of German combat units against partisans /The Allies and the partisans /Final uprising /The 'operational zones': the NW Italo-French and NE Italo-Yugoslav frontiers /Equipment, tactics, and assessment of Italian partisan groups /Equipment, tactics and assessment of German and Italian Fascist anti-partisan forces /Bibliography /Index