Operation Marder

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This was the German overall plan for the reinforcement of its forces in Italy should the Allies make a major amphibious assault on either the east or west coast (December 1942/January 1944).

Schemed from December 1942, the definitive overall plan was eventually planned with two components. ‘Marder I’ was finally specified on 22 January 1944 for implementation in the event that the Allies landed on the north-west coast of Italy from the Ligurian Sea, and ‘Marder II’ had been specified on 20 December 1943 for implementation in the event that the Allies landed on the east coast from the Adriatic Sea. The plan ordained that the forces in Italy under the command of Generalfeldmarschall Albert Kesselring, the Oberbefehlshaber ‘Süd’ (from 16 November 1943 the Oberbefehlshaber ‘Südwest’), should be boosted by two infantry divisons from the French command of Generalfeldmarschall Gerd von Rundstedt, the Oberbefehlshaber ‘West’, by two infantry or Jäger divisions from the Balkan command of Generalfeldmarschall Maximilian Reichsfreiherr von Weichs, the Oberbefehlshaber ‘Südost’, and by five infantry regiments and 11 infantry battalions from General Friedrich Fromm’s Ersatzheer (replacement army) in Germany.

The plan was implemented in order to bolster the German strength in Italy after the Allied ‘Shingle’ landing at Anzio in January 1944.