1943: Troops gather for Italian showdown

In a military career that spanned both world wars, Kesselring became one of Nazi Germany's most highly decorated commanders.

Oct 21, 1943: Army reconnaissance has spotted heavy concentrations of German troops on high ground north of the Capua Plain in preparation for a large-scale counter-blow, say reports from the Italian front this morning.

A heavy battle is expected. There is evidence, says wire reports, that Kesselring and Rommel have been involved in a dispute about the disposition of German forces in Italy and Kesselring appears to have won.

Two new divisions are about to stiffen the resistance which the German Tenth Army is offering to our Fifth and Eighth Armies.

An Allied landing in the Rome area is imminent, declared the German News Agency last night, quoting what is described usually well-informed Rome sources. “Combined air and naval operations must be reckoned with,” said the agency.

The first determined attempt by the German High Command to hold the Allies south of the Brenner having collapsed, Kesselring is rallying his battered divisions on a new defence line ten to fifteen miles to the north of the Volturno.

A traditional Eighth Army attack, supported by artillery and tanks, has pierced the German defences and captured the town of Petacciato ten miles north of Termoli.