While the main focus in early 1945 was on the advance to The Fatherland, 15 Army Group's 5th (US) and 8th (British) Armies were achieving remarkable results in Northern Italy. Superb generalship (Truscott - 5th Army and McCreery - 8th Army under General Mark Clark's 15 Army Group), planning, preparation and training outweighed the diversion of major formations to NW Europe, the appalling terrain, harsh climate and general battle fatigue. Equipment was improvised and air/ground operations coordinated to a very high level. In April the Allied offensive surprised the Germans with its speed and brilliance. As a result the Germans capitulated on 2 May before the surrender in Germany. Churchill wrote to Field Marshal Alexander on 29 April 19.45 - 'I rejoice in the magnificently planned and executed operations of 15th Group of Armies'. Praise indeed. This is a masterly description and analysis of this victorious campaign.
Richard Doherty is recognised as Ireland's leading military history author with 15 published works to his credit. He is the author of A Noble Crusade: The History of the Eighth Army 1941-1945 and The Thin Green Line - The History of the RUC GC (published by Pen and Sword, 2004). He has also worked on TV historical series including The Sons of Ulster and The Siege Chronicles.