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Monterosa Div vs Buffalo Div – Gothic Line

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92nd-DivisionOn Jan 17th 1945, Gian Ugo Taggiasco – Sgt of the Italian Alpine Division “Monterosa” – was sent to an advanced outpost in Tuscany’s Serchio Valley.

In the morning he found out that his position had been surrounded by a 100 man strong US Buffalo Div. patrol.

The Battle of Garfagnana known to the Germans as Operation Winter Storm (Unternehmen Wintergewitter) and nicknamed the “Christmas Offensive” (Italian: Offensiva di Natale), was an offensive of Axis forces on the western sector of the Gothic Line during World War II. It took place in December 1944 in the north Tuscan Apennines, near Massa and Lucca.

In late December 1944 the German 14th Army under General Kurt von Tippelskirch, using a mixed Italian / German force of some eight infantry battalions, launched a limited objectives attack on the left wing of the U.S. Fifth Army in the Serchio valley in front of Lucca to pin units there which might otherwise be switched to the central front.

Anticipating some operation of this sort, the Allies had ordered two brigades from Indian 8th Infantry Division to be rapidly switched across the Apennines to reinforce the US 92nd Infantry Division.

By the time they had arrived the Germans and Italians had broken through to capture Barga and rout the so-called Buffalo US Division.

Reports from captured US soldiers indicated that they had intended to retreat to Lucca and beyond, but decisive action by the Indian Division’s Major-General Dudley Russell stabilised the situation.

Objectives achieved, the German / Italian force broke off the attack and withdrew.

Barga was recaptured one week later by the New Year, and the front in the western Gothic Line remained nearly stable until late March 1945. – source

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