Battle of Garfagnana
Contributor: C. Peter Chen
ww2dbaseOn 26 Dec 1944, the Axis launched an offensive from the western end of the Gothic Line in the Serchio River in the Toscana (English: Tuscany) region of Italy with two Italian divisions (4th Alpine Division "Monte Rosa" and 3rd Marine Division "San Marco") and three German battalions, totaling 9,100 men with 100 artillery pieces and no tanks; the offensive would be known to the Germans as Operation Winter Storm (Unternehmen Wintergewitter). Facing them was the US 92nd Infantry Division with two Indian battalions currently arriving a few miles behind them in support, called in by Allied leadership mere days before this Axis offensive, predicting that the Axis might attack in indirect support of the Ardennes Offensive (known to the Americans as "Battle of the Bulge") currently raging in Western Europe. The Allies totaled about 18,000 men with 140 artillery pieces and 120 tanks.
ww2dbaseThe Axis offensive advanced in three columns. The first column moved toward Vergemoli-Calomini, the second toward Treppignana-Castelvecchio, and the third toward Sommocolonia-Barga. The troops of 2nd Battalion of the US 366th Regiment at Sommocolonia were struck first, shortly before dawn, and several forward posts were overrun; after daybreak, positions at Bebbio and Scarpello were taken, pushing the Americans back toward Coreglia. Elsewhere, German troops captured Fornaci with minimal resistance, and the Italians captured the village of Molazzano but failed to take Brucciano. In the following morning, German troops captured Pian di Coreglia, a main objective, and Italian troops captured the village of Calavorno. Although the offensive had pushed back the Americans by about 25 kilometers, fresh Indian troops from 19th Infantry Brigade and 21st Infantry Brigade of Indian 8th Infantry Division halted the offensive. Cautiously, the Axis leadership gave the orders for the front line troops to fall back to consolidate the territorial gains. The Axis troops would form a new line about 2 kilometers south of the original line, bringing back large amounts of captured weapons, food, equipment, and 250 prisoners of war.
Last Major Update: Feb 2013
Battle of Garfagnana Timeline
|21 Dec 1944Â||Italian Marshal Rodolfo Graziani and General Mario Carloni inspected troops of the 4th Alpine Division "Monte Rosa" in the Garfagnana area of Toscana, Italy.|
|26 Dec 1944Â||Two Italian divisions and three German battalions launched an offensive in Toscana, Italy, capturing several towns and villages. On the same day, 19th Infantry Brigade of Indian 8th Infantry Division began to arrive in the region.|
|27 Dec 1944Â||Axis troops captured Pian di Coreglia, Italy and would penetrate the Allied lines by 25 kilometers by the afternoon. The presence of fresh Indian troops, however, stopped the Axis momentum.|
|28 Dec 1944Â||21st Brigade of Indian 8th Infantry Division arrived on the western end of the German Gothic Line in Toscana, Italy.|
|29 Dec 1944Â||Indian troops advanced to make contact with Axis troops that had recently attacked in Toscana, Italy but seemed to have fallen back.|
|30 Dec 1944Â||Allied troops regained most of the territory lost in Tuscany, Italy over the past few days from the latest Axis offensive.|
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Lt. Gen. Lewis B. "Chesty" Puller, at Guadalcanal
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