Fifth Army in Italy 1943–1945

A Coalition at War

Ian Blackwell

Date Published :
April 2014
Publisher :
Pen and Sword
Illustration :
16 b/w plates
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding. : Hardback
ISBN : 9781848844872
Pages : 288
Dimensions : 9 X 6 inches
Stock Status : In stock
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The US Fifth Army first saw action during the Salerno Landings in September 1943. While commanded by US Lieutenant General Mark Clark, from the outset one of its two Corps was the X (British) Corps; the other V1 (US) Corps.

The French Expeditionary Corps, the Brazilian Expeditionary Force, the South African Armored Division, the Italian Co-Belligerent forces, formations from the New Zealand Corps and the 4th Indian Division, demonstrate the multi-national composition of Fifth Army.

Clark’s Fifth Army was itself part of the Fifteenth Army Group, commanded by Field Marshal Alexander. Alexander’s light and diplomatic touch oiled the wheels of this uneasy arrangement but inevitably, there were tensions and disagreements that threatened success.

The low priority accorded to Italy as compared with OVERLORD and NW Europe did not help matters. Seen as a backwater, crack units were taken away and insufficient resources allocated to the Italian Campaign. This combined with the tenacity of the Germans, the difficult terrain and the harsh climate caused real problems. Allied morale was at times particularly brittle and desertion rates worryingly high.

This superbly researched book objectively examines the performance of Fifth Army against this complex and troublesome backdrop. The author’s findings make for informative and fascinating reading.

About The Author

Ian Blackwell is an author and historian.


“Generally interesting analysis, although rather truncated in describing operations after the fall of Rome, as if nothing happened for a year or the author ran into deadline pressure. Nothing particularly new here and a large section of the 'where to land after Africa' discussion seems taken from the US Army green book.”

- Russ Lockwood, Historical Miniatures Gaming Society

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