Gemmano, my family's homeplace, is a small, nice village quietly laying at 404 meters above sea level, on the ridge of the hills surrounding the well known beaches of the Romagna : Rimini, Riccione, Cattolica....
|The village, which is at a 10-15
miles distance from the sea shore, can be easily reached through a network of motorways,
state, regional and country roads. The final leg, which actually leads into Gemmano,
climbs from the plain for about three miles and, in spite of its average 10% slope
and 32 curves, it's a worthwhile trip...
As soon as you arrive on top of the hill, you first see the huge ring of stone walls which surrounds the "Centro storico" (old core) of the village. From the old core, a downhill road leads then into the "Borgo" , the village outskirts.
Today the travelling to Gemmano is pleasant and restful. When you arrive there you find peaceful landscapes, good food, agreeable environment, amiable people... The situation was instead much, much different during the summer of 1944, when Winston Churchill decided it was time for the Eighth Army to attack ....
|Get around and listen. I'll tell you a story of brave men who went to the battle straight of limb, steady and aglow and fell with their faces to the foe.
Since I was a boy, I had heard from my grands of how hard the war had shattered Gemmano, of how it happened that our house (one of the buildings in the Borgo) had been contended for four or five days by the British and by the Germans (they actually shot each other from one room to the other), of how a German Corporal, while smoking at night in a corner of our garden, was killed by a British sniper who had aimed the light of the tip of his cigarette...and a number of other stories!
Having recently had the opportunity to review priceless documentation about the topic (see Acknowledgment section herebelow), I have decided to create this web site, which consists of :
|This site is dedicated to the hundreds, soldiers of the two parties as
well as civilians, who lost their lives in the hurricane of fire which stormed for ten
days the village and the steep slopes of Gemmano.
A special tribute goes, however, to Lt. Weber (CO 6th Company ) and to Capt. Strohmeyer (CO 7th Company) of the II Abteilung of the 100th Gebirgsjäger-Regiment, who disappeared during the battle. They were great soldiers...
Please forward your comments (if any) to my Mailbox
The image of the Edelweiss patchcut is courtesy of Peter Denniston, the webmaster of a site (Die Gebirgstruppen) fully dedicated to the German mountain troops, and in particular to the 100th Gebirgs Regiment.
|Well, being interested in WWII history
(with a special interest for the events occurred in Gemmano), I had always said to
myself : "one of these days I will make a research on these facts"
... but nothing happened until, a couple of years ago, I met with Corrado Monti, another
enthusiast of the Gothic Line (he has organized a museum of artifacts, arms, uniforms and
other memories from the battlefields of "Operation Olive" ) who gave me
some good hints and useful material to develop my project. Amongst the other, he provided
me with a book written by Amedeo Montemaggi, an historian,
President of the documentation centre referred to herebelow. This book ( a bilingual
Italian-British edition) contains a vast, daily chronicle of all the battles, of other
military events and personal experiences of the civilians refugees, occurred in Romagna
during the first three weeks of September 1944. I have "visited and
widely exploited" it to create this web site. In fact, without this book
this website would not have been created.
Those willing to purchase the book (it pays !) and/or who may need other information, may contact the Centro Internazionale Documentazione "Linea Gotica" - Via dell'Aquila, 25/27 - 47900 RIMINI (Italy) . Phone/Fax : 0039 + 541 + 773373
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Page established on : November 25, 1998
Last update November 25, 1998
This page is maintained by Mario Paesani .....the webmaster !