By Ernest F Fisher

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Only by practicing the utmost economy could the German command manage to husband forces that could be shifted from one theater to another in case of unexpected emergencies. The Wehrmachtfeuhrungsstab (WFSt) realized that Germany had to pin its hopes on the accomplishment of a more formidable objective: “While every foot o f stubbornlydefending ground in the East, we must beat off the impending invasion in the West as well as all possible secondary landings in other theaters. ” 7 This was a rational strategy but given Hitler’s decision to attempt to defend Italy south of Rome, astrategy unlikely to succeed.

Instead on 11 April he simply gave his corpscommanders a short directive, then elaborated his plan verbally in a series of command conferences between that date and D-day. 26 Leese dividedhisattackinto two phases,the first aimed at the Gustav Line and the second aimed at the Hitler Line. during theopeningphase,the Polish corps was to isolate Monte Cassino from the north and northwest anti therebydominate Highway 6 to facilitate the advance of the 13 Corps, fighting its way south of the highway from the Rapido.

Fifth Army held a relatively narrow front extending 12 miles from a 15 Alexander Despatch, p. 47. GENERAL COULTER point just cast of the village of Scauri on the Tyrrhenian coast. Curving northward as far as Tremensuoli, the eastward along a range frontthenran of hills north of the Garigliano River as far as the town of Minturno. From t h e r e the front line continued east through the village of Rufo, northeast across the Ausente valley to a point just southwest of Castelforte about six miles northeast of Minturno, thence east of the Monte Majo massif and across the forward slopes of Monti Turlitto, Juga, and Ornito to the Garigliano.

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