|Italian Campaign Pt. 2 - Breakthrough into Po Valley.|
|by Stanley Yuen|
Scenario Contest Honorable Mention
This scenario was written by one of our three Honorable Mention entries in our Axis and Allies Miniatures Scenario Contest . Once again, congratulations to Stanley Yuen and all our participants.
The spring of 1945 was a desperate time for the Axis in Italy. The Allied forces had taken most of the peninsula and driven the fascist regime out of Rome. Despite these successes, this front was now the furthest from the ultimate objective, Berlin. Italy had become less important than the Western and Russian Fronts, both closer to the German capitol. Both the Axis and Allies were handicapped as resources were siphoned off to these larger fronts, but the drain would be especially harmful to the smaller Axis armies.
The Axis had some respite in the Apennines, a mountain range with highly defensible terrain where they stalled the Allies for 19 grueling months. Despite a shortage of artillery and air support and an Allied superiority in manpower of about two or three to one, the Axis had slowed the Allied campaign to a crawl. In April 1945, the Allies were finally on the edge of Po Valley. If the Allies were allowed to enter the valley, the defensive advantage the Axis had enjoyed up to this point would be lost. Conversely, the Allies would be able to make up for lost time and hopefully catch up with the other fronts closing on Berlin.
Through the winter of 1944 and early spring, the Allies licked their wounds and re-equipped for a massive spring offensive. In the meantime, the Axis dug in a line of defense along the northern Apennines, centered on the city of Bologna. Bologna was an important communications center for the Axis as well as a crucial access point to the highways in Po Valley. The Allies would have to take Bologna if they wanted to sweep the Axis from Italy.
Scenario: Italian Campaign Pt. 2 - Breakthrough into Po Valley
Italian and German forces engage the British and American armies as they drive up the peninsula towards Berlin. The battle is fierce, but the Axis have steadily been losing ground and are about to lose the highly-defensible territory they held in the Apennine Mountains. In April 1945, they make their stand at Bologna, on the edge of Po Valley.
The defensive line at Bologna would be the last place the Axis would mount a strong defense in Italy. Resistance was stiff at first, and the Allies feared the advance would be as slow and costly as it was in previous years. As the Allied front crept into the foothills, impassable terrain and entrenched fortifications were replaced with plains and roads. The defensive line soon broke and the Axis were routed and chased across the valley. The city held out until April 21, when it was captured by the Americans.
The remaining Axis forces attempted to retreat to other pre-constructed defensive lines, but they did not have enough time to gather troops to defend the positions. By May 2nd, the Axis had their backs against the Alps and their generals signed a formal surrender. Po Valley was the last great offensive on the Italian Front.