With the invasion of France the following year taking shape, and hot on the heels of victory in Sicily, the Allies crossed into Southern Italy in September 1943.
They expected to drive the Axis forces north and be in Rome by Christmas.
And although Italy surrendered, the German forces resisted fiercely and the swift hoped-for victory descended into one of the most brutal battles of the war.
Even though shipping and materiel were already being safeguarded for the D-Day landings, there were still huge expectations on the progress of the invading armies, but those shortages were to slow the advance with tragic consequences.
As the weather closed in, the critical months leading up to Monte Cassino would inflict a heavy price for every bloody, hard fought mile the Allied troops covered.
Chronicling those dark, dramatic months in unflinching and insightful detail, The Savage Storm is unlike any campaign history yet written.
James Holland has always recounted the Second World War at ground level, but this version telling brings the story vividly to life like never before.
Weaving together a wealth of letters, diaries, and other incredible documents, Holland traces the battles as they were fought – across plains, over mountains, through shattered villages and cities, in intense heat and, towards the end, frigid cold and relentless rain – putting readers at the heart of the action to create an entirely fresh and revealing telling of this most pivotal phase of the war.
‘Impeccably researched and superbly written’ – Observer
‘Holland has something new to say….filled with insight and detail’ – Neil Oliver
‘James Holland is the best of the new generation of WW2 historians’ – Sebastian Faulks