By Michael E. Haskew For the Allied armies in Italy, the final winter of World War II was one of planning, replenishment, and the continuing effort to make existence in a war-ravaged land in the midst of snow and ice as bearable as possible. Large-scale offensive operations were set to resume in April 1945, but the capture of the city of Bologna, its strategic importance as a communications center diminished, would not be the primary objective. The advance of both the Fifth and Eighth Armies in wide converging arcs might cut off the escape of thousands of German soldiers and push the enemy out of Bologna in the process. The Attrition Losses of German Army Group C Exposure to the elements still took its toll. The prospect of more mountains, more mud, and more Germans, compounded by the absence of a clearly defined objective such as the capture of Rome had been the previous year, was worrisome. Commanders, perhaps somewhat disillusioned themselves, maintained a vigil against sagging morale. On the positive side, an acute shortage of artillery shells had been alleviated. In fact, ammunition dumps were filled to capacity and another 20,000 tons remained some distance away at the port city of Naples. The situation for German Army Group C was growing more desperate, even though its troops occupied strong defensive positions in the remaining mountains under their control and along the Senio River. Field Marshal Albert Kesselring, commander of Army Group C, had been involved in


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