New York, N.Y. Zebra Books, Kensington Publishing Corp. 1986. First Zebra Books Printing. Mass market paperback. 338,  pages. Cover has some wear and soiling. Includes Acknowledgments, Epilogue, Maps, Appendices, Notes, Bibliography, and Index. Also contains 14 black and white illustrations, as well as 6 black and white maps. Across the north of Italy--from the Mediterranean to the Adriatic--stretched a nearly impregnable chain of Nazi defenses held by two great German armies, the Tenth and the Fourteenth. Under the command of Field-Marshal Kesselring, they blocked the Allied advance from the towering heights of Gemmano, Livergnano, and San Pietro. Charging into deadly crossfires, bleeding for every inch of ground, the Alllies would not call off their assault. They would either die in the hills of northern Italy, or smash through the Nazi defense known as The Gothic Line. In 1962, Douglas Orgill published his first spy novel, Un tigre dans le lac (The Death Bringers), which was followed in 1964 by Les Tigres sont suis (Ride a Tiger). These two novels feature Secret Intelligence Service agent William Mallett and are published in France in the L'Aventure criminelle collection. He then wrote several detective and spy novels, such as Jasius Pursuit who was a finalist for the Gold Dagger Award in 1973. He is also the author of several books devoted to the First and Second World Wars. He wrote on the Hundred Days Offensive, the Russian T-34 tank, the Gothic Line and the German bomber unit Kampfgeschwader 200. The account of the bitter, bloody campaign by the British Eighth and American Fifth Armies as they clawed their way through the Gothic Line. The Gothic Line was a German defensive line of the Italian Campaign of World War II. It formed Field Marshal Albert Kesselring's last major line of defence along the summits of the northern part of the Apennine Mountains during the fighting retreat of the German forces in Italy against the Allied Armies in Italy, commanded by General Sir Harold Alexander. Adolf Hitler had concerns about the state of preparation of the Gothic Line: he feared the Allies would use amphibious landings to outflank its defences. To downgrade its importance in the eyes of both friend and foe, he ordered the name, with its historic connotations, changed, reasoning that if the Allies managed to break through they would not be able to use the more impressive name to magnify their victory claims. In response to this order, Kesselring renamed it the "Green Line" (Grüne Linie) in June 1944. Using more than 15,000 slave laborers, the Germans created more than 2,000 well-fortified machine gun nests, casemates, bunkers, observation posts and artillery fighting positions to repel any attempt to breach the Gothic Line. Initially this line was breached during Operation Olive (also sometimes known as the Battle of Rimini), but Kesselring's forces were consistently able to retire in good order. This continued to be the case up to March 1945, with the Gothic Line being breached but with no decisive breakthrough; this would not take place until April 1945 during the final Allied offensive of the Italian Campaign. Operation Olive has been described as the biggest battle of materials ever fought in Italy. Over 1,200,000 men participated in the battle. The battle took the form of a pincer maneuver, carried out by the British Eighth Army and the U.S. Fifth Army against the German 10th Army (10. Armee) and German 14th Army (14. Armee). Rimini, a city which had been hit by previous air raids, had 1,470,000 rounds fired against it by allied land forces. According to Lieutenant-General Oliver Leese, commander of the British Eighth Army:
The battle of Rimini was one of the hardest battles of Eighth Army. The fighting was comparable to El Alamein, Mareth and the Gustav Line (Monte-Cassino). Condition: Good.
Keywords: Gothic Line, Kesselring, Apennine Mountains, Harold Alexander, Battle of Rimini, Operation Olive, British Eighth Army, U.S. Fifth Army, Oliver Leese, Mark Clark, San Savino, Croce, Gemmano, Coriano, Altuzzo