14 000 dead at the Gothic Line or 14 000 casualties ?

Discussion in 'Italy' started by Owen, Oct 9, 2014.

  1. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    I've seen this figure mentioned by a couple of posters on the forum.
    That seems alot of dead.
    If there were 14000 dead how many wounded were there?
    Thought I'd have a look .

    First thing I found was this.

    Righto , so that's 14000 casualties which will include dead , wounded & missing.

    Not 14000 dead.
  2. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery

  3. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran


    While 14,000 KIA appears to be a lot from your quote 5th Corps and only 1st Cdn Div - from 25th August to 23rd September

    the Polish Corps was involved as was the New Zealand Div - 1st Armoured Div - 4th Indian Div and the Greek Bde and my figures

    were 14,000 K.I.A. and around another 16,000 wounded…

    It must be mentioned that at Croce and Gemmano for a whole week we were losing 150 KIA( 1050) - and 650 WIA(4550) DAILY

    The CCS at Ancona - couldn't cope with the wounded and thus one hospital ship was sailing to Bari - daily - one more to North

    Africa and another to the Uk -both from Bari - which I was allegedly on but dumped off at Catania Sicily as the word came down to
    patch em up and throw 'e m back up the line - didn't surprise us as we knew we were running short of men as AA units were being

    broken up to fill the gaps etc - ask Ron - his unit was one of the first to go - even 21st Tank Bde and 25th Tb were broken up -

    ask Gerry as he took our place in 21st TB as well as 1st AD…..the Gothic Line was one hell of a series of Battles - you might

    find seven cemeteries around the area as well as a Crematorium for the Indians...

    Many General Officers claimed that the Gothic line was even worse than Cassino - which took four months to amass their dead


    PS - Forgot 78th Div and 4th Brit Div along with 10th Indian ...
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  4. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Cheers, I havent got the official histories (cant afford to keep buying every book) so I was wondering about this 14000 figure & a break down of numbers for those formations involved.
  5. bexley84

    bexley84 Well-Known Member

    Just adding a bit of data into the mix:

    Op Olive started at midnight 25/26th August 1944, and the Official History suggests that it "ended" on 21st September 1944 but of course, plenty went on beyond that date in Italy over the next few months, as Tom, Ron, my father's mob (Monte Spaduro etc) and so many others would testify.

    Deaths as listed by CWGC - they're all buried in Italy, all services, most of course were Army:

    Aug 26th - Aug 31st: 561.
    Sep 1st - Sep 21st: 3,881.
    Sep 22nd - Sep 30th: 939.
    Oct 1st - Oct 31st: 2,352.
    Nov 1st - Nov 30th: 1,233.
    Dec 1st - Dec 31st: 1,779.

    As Tom says, other nationalities were involved - the Polish, for example, are estimated to have suffered 3,500 casualties (k,w,m) during Olive.

    Do the Mathematics.

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  6. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran


    our casualties were in the region of 306 Killed and wounded and for a small Tank Bde this was about 16% of total strength and 30

    Tanks lost - our squadron even had a cook wounded ….most killed were the young officers as Troop Leaders - they had to stick

    their heads out to see what was going on - we started with 9 Officers but 3 were killed - 3 wounded and 3 promoted…

    Not much fun that month…

  7. BFBSM

    BFBSM Very Senior Member

    Douglas Orgill in The Gothic Line (PAN Books, 1967) on page 182:

    Eighth Army had advance thirty miles in twenty-six days, and had lost 14,000 men in killed, wounded, and missing. More than 200 British tanks had also been destroyed, though, as Alexander reported later 'the tanks were easily replaceable, but the men were not'.

    I have attached pages 303 & 304 from the Official History which discuss the casualties.

    image.jpg image.jpg
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  8. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    While Orgill's book is one of a very few on the Gothic Line Battles - it should be recalled that he was with 6th Armoured at

    the time sitting in the British X111 Corps in the US 5th Army in the mountains between the two armies and only coming back to

    8th Army for the spring push to the PO River - so he didn't really have the "BIG PICTURE" of which we were often accused…

  9. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran


    The casualties for the Gothic will be like the Ahrnem story - a million guesses - so I go with Alexanders figures of 14,000 KIA

    and around 16,000 WIA after all he had the ration strength - which was being depleted daily he must have noticed…

  10. Mr Jinks

    Mr Jinks Bit of a Cad

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  11. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran


    It helps inasmuch as the 8th army was always under strength to the enemy - and surprised that the US had so many in 5th Army as

    they didn't want to be there and relied on British three divisions at all times- and six at one point before Florence- the 45th

    British was anon event it was the British 46th Div in X Corps - the 45th was an American Division…

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  12. gpo son

    gpo son Senior Member

    Thanks Bexley for the resolve to follow through and nail down the real numbers I played at it a few weeks ago; but was unable to get there. I find the number completely staggering. in fact so much so that it's hard to believe. not because of doubt but because its the kind of statistic you just don't want to believe. We owe a great debt to the men who fought in those horrendous conditions with out proper support or re-enforcement. My dad was home by but lost a great many close friends in the last few months in Italy.
  13. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    G.P.O's son

    Yes it wasn't only the Gothic which came up with all the Canadian casualties from starting with only 1 st Div and 1st AB

    they took some hammerings at Sicily - Ortona - Moro - Campobasso -then with 5th AD - Hitler Line - then the Gothic and after

    in the Romagna before heading off to Belgium for some more punishment leaving 6000 KIA in Italy - the Seaforths whom we

    mainly supported lost 90 men in one day- but then they had many like " Smokey" Smith…

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