Operation Mallory Major from Below: Women and Men Under a Hailstorm of Bombs

Author(s): Paolo A. Dossena 

ISBN: 9781781558089
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The full story of Operation Mallory Major based on unpublished photographs, archive documents and interviews with veterans.

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  • The very first book on Operation Mallory Major

  • A study based on unreleased archival documents and interviews with campaign veterans

  • Handsomely illustrated with rare and archival photographs, many previously unpublished  

  • A dramatic account of brutal and bloody violence, including actions by uniformed men and women

The objective of Operation Mallory Major was to destroy all bridges spanning the Po River in northern Italy during July 1944 and to isolate the enemy in the northern Apennine Mountains aka the Gothic Line.

Allied air forces were supported on the ground by guerrillas from an aggressive partisan pocket in the Apennines south of Piacenza. These were opposed by an Axis rear guard commanded by aging German officers, NCOs and non-German men and women: Czech guards aka Regierungstruppe and Italian, Slovak, French, Polish and dissident Soviet gunners and transporters (the Wehrmacht had transferred its German infantry soldiers to frontline units).

However, this improbable force proved to be effective. Supported by a small number of Axis aircraft, which were outnumbered by at least 10-1, they faced a hailstorm of bombs and guerrilla ground attacks.

During the campaign, women played a major role as spies, auxiliaries, nurses and fighters. Another aspect of this battle was the Hitler-Beneš confrontation, an intelligence-guerrilla war that took place within the ranks of the Regierungstruppe. The historical and political background of this operation is described in the second part of Operation Mallory Major from Below: Women and Men Under a Hailstorm of Bombs.

BOOK ISBN 9781781558089
FORMAT 276 x 216 mm
BINDING Paperback
PAGES 160 pages
PUBLICATION DATE 10 November 2021
ILLUSTRATIONS 152 photographs



Paolo A. Dossena was born in 1968 and has been writing for the Swiss magazine Azione since 1999. He is an anglophile who teaches Academic English at an Italian-based Swiss school. He is the author of Hitler’s Turkestani Soldiers (Helion & Company, January 2016). Before this and working as a seasonal labourer in the mountains, Dossena was able to obtain a university degree. His interests are history and English grammar.