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Orgill's THE GOTHIC LINE--A few observations

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On balance, I found this an excellent book, but it could've really used tactical maps to explain some of the critical small unit actions. This frustrated me repeatedly. What the book does very well is to put the period and the campaign into a solid tactical and operational-strategic context, as well as giving a most useful rundown on the identities and qualities of the units involved. Many of the actions lend themselves to CMAK/CMETO treatment, but further research will be needed. Even so, there are some valuable numbers presented, for example, on Allied armor combat readiness. In one case, a unit took 13% losses before even reaching the Start Line, all attributable to terrain and bad roads. There's some great material on artillery use by both sides, too. The bibliography is of great value in that it lists many of the unit histories. Those of you used to Borg Spotting will find the difficulties of locating and silencing AT guns most distressing, and you will "learn" about the deadly 89 mm and the "fact" that the Germans were firing T/APCR/HVAP/PzGr40 as the primary AT round. Perhaps against Churchills, but that's about the only way I'd buy the claim. As a WW II tanker himself, Orgill should know better. He either knows about Jagdpanthers as pillboxes or also botched another item, in that he describes 88 mm Panther pillboxes. One thing in the book totally blew my mind: the fact that not only were tens of thousands of Poles serving with the Germans in France; they were captured, and some 11,000 were deemed suitable to be used in the Gothic Line Campaign, starting with a planned transfer of 4000, with more to follow. Never came across that before!


John Kettler

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