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United Kingdom. Invasion of Italy. 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. Adolf Hitler had concerns about the state of preparation of the Gothic Line: he feared the Allies would use amphibious landings to outflank its defences. To downgrade its importance in the eyes of both friend and foe, he ordered the name, with its historic connotations, changed, reasoning that if the Allies managed to break through they would not be able to use the more impressive name to magnify their victory claims. Using more than 15, slave labourers , the Germans created more than 2, well-fortified machine gun nests , casemates , bunkers , observation posts and artillery fighting positions to repel any attempt to breach the Gothic Line. This continued to be the case up to March , with the Gothic Line being breached but with no decisive breakthrough; this would not take place until April during the final Allied offensive of the Italian Campaign. Operation Olive has been described as the biggest battle of materials ever fought in Italy. Over 1,, men participated in the battle.
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