The Allied Operation Mallory Major (northern Italy, July 1944) aimed at the destruction of all bridges across the Po River and its tributaries and at isolating the enemy in the northern Apennine mountains (the Gothic Line). The Allied Air Forces could count on the ground support of the guerrillas from the Great Partisan Pocket (in the Apennines south of Piacenza) and were opposed by the Flak. This army was led by aging German officers and NCOs leading young non-German women and men in Wehrmacht service: the Czech guards (Regierungstruppe), and the Italian, Slovak, Polish and former Soviet gunners (the Wehrmacht had transferred its German young men to front line units). Yet, this improbable Flak force proved to be effective and supported by Luftwaffe aircraft (outnumbered by at least 10 to 1) it faced both a hailstorm of Allied bombs and guerrilla ground attacks. Women played a major role in this campaign. Axis, guerrillas, and Allied intelligence used women to infiltrate the enemy and as auxiliaries, nurses and fighters. Another aspect of this battle was the Hitler-Beneš confrontation, an intelligence-guerrilla war which took place within the ranks of the Regierungstruppe.
OPERATION MALLORY MAJOR FROM BELOW Women and Men under a Hailstorm of Bombs
This the story of Mallory’s daring plan to cripple Axis supply lines in northern Italy in July 1944, as seen by guerrillas from the Great Partisan Pocket, and the Axis forces that faced both a hailstorm of Allied bombs and guerrilla ground attacks.