The Gothic Line
The Gothic Line was a defensive line held by the Germans during the Italian Campaign of the Second World War.
When the Commander of the 5th Canadian Armoured Division, Major-General BM Hoffmeister, discovered lightly manned defences at the German fortified Gothic Line in northern Italy, he convinced Allied staff to cancel the set-piece attack and immediately “gate-crash” the enemy position.
On August 30, 1944, the Canadians launched an infantry assault, the Perth Regiment being the first to pierce the Gothic Line. Intense artillery fire, however, prevented the Perths from further advance leaving the tanks of the British Columbia Dragoons (BCD’s) without infantry support.
The BCD’s boldly advanced alone and seized Point 204, the Gothic Line’s lynch pin position. That evening, the Perths and the Lord Strathcona’s Horse tanks relieved the BCD’s and held the line against three determined counterattacks by the Germans, thus securing the breakthrough of the Gothic Line.