Allied forces fought fierce battles up the boot of Italy during World War II. Stalemated at the formidable Gustav Line north of Naples in late 1943, they outflanked it with landings at Anzio and Nettuno, then broke through it with a massive offensive in May 1944. By the fall of 1944, after more than a year of arduous campaigning, Rome and most of Italy had been liberated. To further tell this story, the American Battle Monuments Commission has released the Liberating Rome and Central Italy Interactive. This free, digital tool allows the user to follow the path of Allied forces from the surprise amphibious landings at Anzio and Nettuno on January 22, 1944 through September 9, 1944, when the Allies closed to and first penetrated the Gothic Line in northern Italy.
Including dynamic maps showing the locations of units over time, narrative text, and an encyclopedia of people, places, organizations and equipment involved, the Liberating Rome and Central Italy online interactive provides comprehensive insight into this critical World War II campaign.
Stalemated along the Gustav Line and determined to restore their momentum in Italy, the Allies planned to outflank the Germans with a surprise amphibious assault through Anzio and Nettuno on January 22, 1944. The Germans reacted quickly, and fierce battles followed by a prolonged stalemate around the Anzio beachhead ensued. The Allies built up forces for another major assault on the Gustav Line beginning May 11, 1944, intending to link up with a breakout from the Anzio beachhead. The breakthrough and the breakout both succeeded, and the Allies drove north to liberate Rome on June 4, 1944. Allied troops marched through Rome as liberators, wildly applauded by cheering crowds.
In the following several months, the Germans attempted to hold back the advancing Allies, but were pushed back into the North Apennines mountains. By early September the Allies reached the formidable defenses of the Gothic Line across northern Italy. Here the Allied advance again stalemated, requiring further campaigning to complete the liberation. By this time the Allies had been fighting for 12 long months in Italy. They would continue fighting for eight month more. The Italian campaigns proved to be longer, harder and costlier than originally anticipated. Thousands of Americans lost their lives, along with thousands of their Allies. The American dead are honored at Florence American Cemetery and Sicily-Rome American Cemetery.