By Michael E. Haskew The reason for it was unthinkable. The Gothic Line, the last line of defense in Italy, was necessary, but senior German commanders had not been concerned that it would ever be contested by Allied forces. Before the actual inception of the Italian campaign, preliminary plans for a strong defensive line in the northern Apennine Mountains were approved, and by the summer of 1944, the unthinkable had become reality. To the north of the Apennines lay the broad expanse of the Po

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