Join The National WWII Museum Educational Travel Program on this Italian journey of “Mud, Mountains, and Mules,” with all of its sacrifices, heartbreak, and triumphs. With exquisite hotels in Rome and Florence and expert battlefield guides throughout, you will experience the best that Italy has to offer.
Mud, Mountains, and Mules
Following the initial landings in the south, the Allies found themselves bogged down facing the formidable Gustav Line, a network of German defenses in the mountains between Naples and Rome. Attempting to outflank this line, the 36th and 45th Infantry Divisions achieved a successful amphibious landing in Anzio on January 25, 1944, but sluggish commanders failed to move rapidly enough, resulting in another stalemate. The destruction of Monte Cassino by the Allies in 1944 served mainly to generate headlines and fodder for German propaganda. The spring thaw in the mountains found the Allies once more on the advance, liberating Rome on June 4, 1944, creating brief headlines around the world that would soon be outshined by the June 6 landings in Normandy. Meanwhile, German Field Marshal Albert Kesselring retreated to the northern Apennines to establish yet another defensive position known to the Allies as the Gothic Line. General Mark Clark’s Fifth Army faced a desperate enemy and unforgiving terrain, and it was here he coined the phrase that defined the Italian Campaign: “Mud, Mountains, and Mules.”