In August 1944 Operation Anvil was launched against southern France but had a detrimental effect on Allied operations in Italy as the troops (four French and three American divisions) came from the Italian theatre. Operations to breach the Gothic Line started on 25 August 1944 and continued for weeks.
Already suffering from the bad weather, the Germans' skilful use of mountainous terrain, river and ridges slowed the Allies advance, but by the end of October the Germans had been forced back about 20 miles to the line of the Ronco River to the extreme east of the Gothic Line. The Germans still held the mountainous regions to the west, and by January 1945 the Allies were exhausted and were forced to rebuild their strength before another effort to break onto the northern Italian plain and the alpine passes could be mounted.
On 9 April 1945 the last offensive in the Italian campaign started, and in three weeks had destroyed the German forces in Italy. The Germans were caught between the armoured forces of the 8th and 5th armies, which combined on 23 April. On 28 April German delegates arrived at the Allied headquarters to negotiate surrender terms. The German forces in Italy surrendered unconditionally and on 2 May a ceasefire was imposed.