This article includes a list of references, but its sources remain unclear because it has insufficient inline citations . (April 2010) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
The Battle of Rimini took place between 13 and 21 September 1944 during Operation Olive, the main Allied offensive on the Gothic Line in August and September 1944, part of the Italian Campaign in the Second World War. Rimini, a town on the Adriatic coast of Italy, anchored the Rimini Line, a German defensive line which was the third such line forming the Gothic Line defences.
Rimini, which had been hit previously by 373 air raids, had 1,470,000 rounds fired against it by allied land forces; by the end of the battle, only 2% of all buildings in the city were still undamaged.
The battle of Rimini was one of the hardest battles of Eighth Army. The fighting was comparable to El Alamein, Mareth and the Gustav Line (Monte-Cassino).— Lieutenant-General Sir Oliver Leese, commander of the Eighth Army
On 23 August 1944 the Eighth Army launched Operation Olive, attacking on a three Corps front up the eastern flank of Italy into the Gothic Line defences. By the first week in September the offensive had broken through the forward defences of the Gothic Line and the defensive positions of the Green I line and United States Fifth Army entered the offensive in central Italy attacking towards Bologna.
In the Eighth Army's centre 1st Canadian Corps had broken through Green II on the right of its front advancing to pinch out the Polish Corps on the very right of the army (and allowing the latter to be withdrawn to army reserve) but inland in the hills the Corps' advance had been held up by stubborn defence at Coriano and V Corps on the army's left flank had been halted at Croce and Gemmano. A new attack to clear the Green II positions in the hills and destroy the Rimini Line running from the port of Rimini inland to San Marino was scheduled to start on 12 September.
Just south of Rimini, attached to 1st Canadian Division, was 3rd Greek Mountain Brigade (Greek : ΙΙΙ Ελληνική Ορεινή Ταξιαρχία, ΙΙΙ Ε.Ο.Τ.), a unit of mountain infantry formed by the Greek government in exile on 1 July 1944 in Lebanon under the command of Colonel Thrasyvoulos Tsakalotos. Near the village of Cattolica they pushed back two strong German attacks on 8 and 10 September. On 13 September the brigade, supported by the combined armour and infantry of B squadron, 20th New Zealand Armoured Regiment and 22 New Zealand Motor Battalion from 2nd New Zealand Division, launched a counterattack to take Rimini. Also supporting the brigade were infantry, mortars and machine guns from the Canadian Saskatoon Light Infantry (SLI) and New Zealand 33 Anti-tank battery fielding 17pdr guns.
The initial attack on 13 September saw the Greeks attacking two small farm settlements on the Marano road. The two settlements (Monaldini and Monticelli) were defended by 1st Parachute Regiment (1. Fallschirmjäger Regiment) and some Osttruppen described as Turkomen (likely a Turkestani Ostlegion battalion from the 162nd Turkoman Division). The Germans were well prepared and held off the Greeks.
The following day 7 and 8 Troop of the B Squadron, 20th Armoured Regiment were added to the attack on Monaldini, while soon after a platoon from 22nd Motor Battalion aided the attack on Monticelli with the support of 5 and 6 Troops' Sherman tanks. By 2000 hours the Monaldini farm had been taken, with only light casualties. The focus then turned to Monticelli, where the Greeks and New Zealanders once again attacked. The German defenders cleared out of the position as soon as the attackers approached and the farm was in Allied hands a short time later.
On 15 September the Greeks launched an assault on the Rimini airfield. The 1st Greek Battalion crossed the Marano River (a stream with only a gentle flow of water) at 1000 hours, and immediately came under intense fire from German positions around the airfield. The Greeks halted to re-organise themselves for an attack. C Squadron, 18th New Zealand Armoured Regiment relieved B Squadron 20th Armoured Regiment in the line supporting the Greeks.Air support was called in and Allied fighter/bombers attacked the western side of the airfield, and the Greeks attacked shortly afterwards.
The 1st Greek Battalion attacked the airfield itself, the 2nd Greek Battalion then attacked up the Route 16 road and the 3rd Battalion attacked the small village of Casalecchio.
The 1st Greek Battalion once more ran into stiff resistance from the airfield defenders. Fire from airfield inflicted heavy casualties on the advancing Greeks, however support from the New Zealand tanks and infantry was better co-ordinated as one of the New Zealand officers spoke Greek. The tanks were able to fire on each house lining the south of the airfield to ensure they weren't occupied. As the Greeks and New Zealanders approached the defensive positions they came under fire from infantry, anti-tank rockets ( Panzerschrecks ), self-propelled guns, and emplaced Panther turrets. The heavy fire pinned the advance just short of the airfield. Meanwhile, the tanks edged around a hedgerow to avoid the anti-tank fire, but soon found themselves at the forefront of the attack. A German self-propelled gun knocked out a Sherman, but the New Zealanders continued forward and knocked out enemy positions with high-explosives and grenades, forcing the Germans to withdraw from their positions. The crew of a Panther turret abandoned it during the night.
The 2nd Greek Battalion, on the right of the brigade, attacked up the Route 16 road, but became separated from their supporting New Zealand tanks. The Greeks were halted by mines and heavy defensive fire from the east side of the airfield and nearby houses. The 3rd Greek Battalion attacked the village of Casalecchio on the left flank, supported by New Zealand tanks and infantry. The little village stood on a crossroads with a few houses and a church. The Greek infantry quickly cleared the houses, but the paratroops in the church proved harder to move. The church was finally cleared when a combined attack by Greek and New Zealand infantry and tanks drove the paratroopers out. However heavy machine-gun and mortar fire from the airfield halted any further advance. The following day (16 September) the Greeks continued to mop up around the airfield, most of which they held, though one Panther turret was still in operation. The 3rd Greek Battalion advanced up the left through the hedges and ditches beyond Casalecchio until they came level with the 1st Greek Battalion in the centre. Their task was made difficult as they had occasionally to clear minefields and were under constant fire. The 2nd Greek Battalion advanced up the right flank of the airfield. Anti-tank fire was lighter than the previous day.
The following day (17 September) the three battalions continued their advance. Several attempts were made to knock out the remaining Panther turret with aircraft and artillery, but it finally fell to one of the New Zealand Shermans working around its flank. It fired several anti-tank rounds into the turret before the crew eventually evacuated.Once the airfield was taken the 3rd Greek Mountain Brigade turned its attention towards Rimini itself. On 18 September the 2nd and 3rd Battalions pushed on to Rimini, towards the coastal suburbs of the town. They encountered heavy resistance once again from the German paratroops, but with the aid of New Zealand and Canadian support were finally able to push into the outskirts of the town on 20 September. They pushed on into Rimini from the south, only to find the city abandoned by the Germans who had been forced to withdraw by the outflanking threat created by the fall of San Fortunato to 1st Canadian Division.
On the morning of 21 September the 2nd Greek Battalion reached the city centre via the Ausa River and raised the Greek flag on the balcony of the municipal building. At 7:45 of 21 September the mayor unconditionally surrendered the city to the 3rd Greek Mountain Brigade with an official protocol that is written in Greek, English and Italian.
The actions of the Greek brigade during the battle earned it the honorific title "Rimini Brigade" ("Ταξιαρχία Ρίμινι").
The Guards Armoured Division was an armoured division of the British Army during the Second World War. The division was created in the United Kingdom on 17 June 1941 during World War II from elements of the Guards units, the Grenadier Guards, Coldstream Guards, Scots Guards, Irish Guards,Welsh Guards, and the Household Cavalry.
The 2nd New Zealand Division, initially the New Zealand Division, was an infantry division of the New Zealand Military Forces during the Second World War. The division was commanded for most of its existence by Lieutenant-General Bernard C. Freyberg. It fought in Greece, Crete, the Western Desert and Italy. In the Western Desert Campaign, the division played a prominent role in the defeat of German and Italian forces in the Second Battle of El Alamein and the British Eighth Army's advance to Tunisia.
The Italian campaign of World War II consisted of Allied and Axis operations in and around Italy, from 1943 to 1945. The Joint Allied Forces Headquarters (AFHQ) was operationally responsible for all Allied land forces in the Mediterranean theatre and it planned and led the invasion of Sicily in July 1943, followed in September by the invasion of the Italian mainland and the campaign in Italy until the surrender of the German Armed Forces in Italy in May 1945.
The Gothic Line was a German defensive line of the Italian Campaign of World War II. It formed Field Marshal Albert Kesselring's last major line of defence along the summits of the northern part of the Apennine Mountains during the fighting retreat of the German forces in Italy against the Allied Armies in Italy, commanded by General Sir Harold Alexander.
The Battle of Gemmano took place during World War II, between the dates of September 4th, and September 15th of 1944. The battle occurred in the area of the Gothic Line, near the Apennine Mountains in northern Italy, which would soon turn out to be the last line of defense for the Axis Powers in Italy. The village of Gemmano was eventually captured on September 9th, 1944 by the invading Eighth Army, but two more subsequent attacks were needed to secure the area surrounding the village of Gemmano. Fighting was so fierce, similar to that of the famous battle of Monte Cassino, that the battle was sometimes referred to as, “ The Cassino of the Adriatic”.
The York and Lancaster Regiment was a line infantry regiment of the British Army that existed from 1881 until 1968. The regiment was created in the Childers Reforms of 1881 by the amalgamation of the 65th Regiment of Foot and the 84th Regiment of Foot. The regiment saw service in many small conflicts and both World War I and World War II until 1968, when the regiment chose to be disbanded rather than amalgamated with another regiment, one of only two infantry regiments in the British Army to do so, with the other being the Cameronians.
The Hampshire Regiment was a line infantry regiment of the British Army, created as part of the Childers Reforms in 1881 by the amalgamation of the 37th Regiment of Foot and the 67th Regiment of Foot. The regiment existed continuously for 111 years and served in the Second Boer War, World War I and World War II. In 1946, due to distinguished service in World War II, the regiment was retitled as the Royal Hampshire Regiment.
The 6th Armoured Division was an armoured division of the British Army, created in September 1940 during the Second World War. In October 1940, armoured regiments within the Division, such as the 2nd Lothian and Border Horse, were supplied with Matilda MkI.I tanks, then in May 1942 Crusader MkII tanks, in August 1942 Valentine Mk.V tanks and finally in October Crusader MKIIIs. In North Africa tankers were finally put on an almost equal footing to their Panzer counterparts when the M4A2 Sherman medium tank was added to their inventory by March 1943. In November/December 1942 The division participated in the Operation Torch assault landings in Bone, closest to the Axis Forces in all the Torch landings that stretched from Morocco to the Tunisian border. In November 1942 they saw their first action as part of V Corps of the British First Army, First Allied Army in the Tunisia Campaign. In March 1943, around the same time when most of the units had been supplied with American M4A2 Shermans, the Sixth Division came under IX Corp. After Tunisia, the Division participated in the Italian Campaign as part of the British Eighth Army and ended the war in Austria, again under the command of V Corps.
The 69th Infantry Brigade was an infantry brigade formation of the British Army in the Second World War. It was a Second Line Territorial Army unit and during the Battle of France served with the 23rd (Northumbrian) Division a division which suffered such heavy losses that it was disbanded. The brigade was included in the "order of battle" of the 50th (Northumbrian) Infantry Division, together with the 150th Infantry Brigade and the 151st Infantry Brigade and became part of XII Corps, British home forces.
Gothic Line order of battle is a listing of the significant formations that were involved in Operation Olive, the Allied offensive on the Gothic Line in northern Italy, August–September 1944, and in the subsequent fighting in the central Apennine mountains and on the plains of eastern Emilia–Romagna up to April 1945.
The Italian Co-belligerent Army, Army of the South, or Italian Liberation Corps were names applied to various division sets of the now former Royal Italian Army during the period when it fought alongside the Allies during World War II from October 1943 onwards. During the same period, the pro-allied Italian Royal Navy and Italian Royal Air Force were known as the Italian Co-belligerent Navy and Italian Co-belligerent Air Force respectively. From September 1943, pro-Axis Italian forces became the National Republican Army of the newly formed Italian Social Republic.
The 4th New Zealand Armoured Brigade was an armoured brigade of the New Zealand Military Forces, formed during the Second World War in October 1942 from the remnants of the 4th New Zealand Infantry Brigade. It was part of the 2nd New Zealand Division, which had already seen action in the Battle of Greece, the Battle of Crete and in the North African Campaign, having a leading part in the Second Battle of El Alamein. The brigade arrived in Italy in October 1943 and took part in a number of battles over the course of a sixteen-month campaign in Italy. They were equipped with Sherman and Stuart tanks, Lynx scout cars and a variety of other vehicles. The 4th Armoured Brigade was officially disbanded, after the war, in December 1945. It was reactivated briefly in the 1950s.
Operation Windsor(4–5 July 1944), was a Canadian attack, which was part of the Battle of Normandy during the Second World War. The attack was undertaken by the 3rd Canadian Infantry Division to take Carpiquet and the adjacent airfield, from troops of the 12th SS-Panzer Division Hitler Jugend of Panzergruppe West. The attack was originally intended to take place during the later stages of Operation Epsom, to protect the eastern flank of the main assault but was postponed for a week.
The Airmobile Brigade "Friuli" is an airmobile brigade of the Italian Army, based mainly in the Emilia-Romagna region. The brigade was part of the 1st Defence Forces Command until it was transferred to the Division "Friuli". The brigade's coat of arms depicts a stylized version of the Rocca di Monfalcone castle near the city of Monfalcone in the Friuli region, where the brigade distinguished itself during World War I. Since 1 July 2019 the brigade is part of the Division "Vittorio Veneto".
The Divisional Cavalry Regiment, was an armoured cavalry regiment of the 2nd New Zealand Division during the Second World War and was New Zealand's first armoured unit. It served as a reconnaissance force for the 2nd New Zealand Division. Formed on 29 September 1939, the regiment embarked for Egypt on 4 January 1940. It fought with the division, as part of the 2nd New Zealand Expeditionary Force, in Greece, Crete, North Africa and Italy. The regiment formed part of J Force, New Zealand's contribution to the occupation of Japan at the end of the war.
The Battle of Garfagnana, known to the Germans as Operation Winter Storm and nicknamed the "Christmas Offensive", was a successful Axis offensive against American forces on the western sector of the Gothic Line during World War II. It took place in December 1944 in the north Tuscan Apennines, near Massa and Lucca.
The 20th Battalion was an infantry battalion of the New Zealand Military Forces, which served during the Second World War as part of the 2nd New Zealand Division. During the war it was converted to an armoured regiment.
The 6th Infantry Brigade was an infantry brigade of the New Zealand Military Forces, active during World War II as part of the 2nd New Zealand Division. It saw service during the North African Campaign and the Italian Campaign before being disbanded in late 1945.
The 18th Battalion was a formation of the New Zealand Military Forces which served, initially as an infantry battalion and then as an armoured regiment, during the Second World War as part of the 2nd New Zealand Division.
The 25th Battalion was an infantry battalion of the New Zealand Military Forces, which served during the Second World War as part of the 6th Infantry Brigade, 2nd New Zealand Division.