Barbara Line

Barbara Line

During World War II, the Barbara Line was a series of German military fortifications in Italy, some ten to twenty miles south of the Gustav Line, and a similar distance north of the Volturno Line. Near the eastern coast, it ran along the line of the Trigno river. The line mostly consisted of fortified hilltop positions.

Western breakthrough (U.S. 5th Army front)

General Albert Kesselring, commander of the German forces in Italy, ordered his forces to retreat to the Barbara Line on 12 October 1943 after the 5th Army crossed the Volturno River, breaching the Volturno defensive line.

By the early November the Barbara Line on the Tyrrhenian Sea side of the Apennine Mountains had been breached by U.S. 5th Army, and the Germans fell back to the Bernhardt Line.

Eastern breakthrough (British 8th Army front)

On the Adriatic front British 8th Army had broken the Viktor/Volturno Line defences on 6 October. However, they had had to pause at the Trigno to re-group and reorganise their logistics along the poor roads stretching back to Bari and Taranto 120 and 170 miles respectively to the rear of the front.

It therefore was not until the early hours of November 2 that the V Corps on the right of the front on the coast and British XIII Corps on their left attacked across the Trigno river. On the V Corps front British 78th Infantry Division attacked along the coastal road whilst Indian 8th Infantry Division attacked some 10 miles inland. Fighting was fierce but on 3 November 78th Division reached San Salvo, some three miles beyond the Trigno, at which point Major-General Rudolf Sieckenius, commanding German 16th Panzer Division decided to make a fighting withdrawal to the Sangro river and the formidable Gustav defensive positions overlooking the river from the ridge tops on the far side. The Allied advance reached the Sangro on 9 November. [Carver, p. 90]


*cite book | first=Col. Kenneth V.|last=Smith| url= |title=Naples-Foggia 9 September 1943-21 January 1944 | series=CMH Online bookshelves: World War II Campaigns |publisher=US Army Center of Military History|location=Washington| year=1990?| id=CMH Pub 72-17


ee also

* Allied invasion of Italy
* British Eighth Army
* US Fifth Army
* Volturno Line
* Bernhardt Line
* Battle of San Pietro Infine
* Gustav Line
* Gothic Line

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