The Context

Italy 1943 – 45: Allied troops moving north encounter a new front line – the Gothic Line – just north of Firenze

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From September 1943 to September 1944, Allied forces slowly fought their way north through Italy. After taking  Rome (June 1944) and Florence (August 1944). They stopped at the Apennines between Tuscany and Emilia Romagna, and remained encamped on this new front line (called the Gothic Line) for about 8 months, until April 1945. This was because the Allied High Command had decided to concentrate its efforts on other European fronts. 

The winter of 1944-45 was very hard for both civilians and the partisans, who had been secretly warned by Allied Commander, General Alexander, to remain in hiding and wait for an Allied offensive in the  spring .

The counter-insurgency operations by German troops, which had begun in April 1944, continued and, increasingly, they targeted the civilian population.