8. Ancona July 1944

2nd Polish Corps in the Battle of Ancona - preparations for the conquest of the town. An M4 Sherman tank passess an  abandoned German gun. 2nd Polish Corps in the Battle of Ancona - preparations for the conquest of the town. An M4 Sherman tank passess an abandoned German gun. Pictures come from the National Digital Archives, Polska
The most important engagement of the 2nd Polish Corps during the warfare by the Adriatic Sea was the Battle of Ancona. On 1 July, the Polish troops chasing the enemy that was withdrawing along the coast reached the Musone River where they were surprised by an organised defence of the German 71st and 278th Infantry Divisions that were blocking the way to an important harbour. In the first days of combat, the 3rd Carpathian Infantry Division, attacking in the right wing, successfully crossed the river, but after arduous battles the attack had to be stopped and defence had to begin on 9 July, while awaiting new troops and supplies.
During the second stage of the Battle of Ancona, most of the fighting was done by the 5th Kresowa Infantry Division which was supported by the 2nd Armoured Brigade and by the British 7th Hussar Regiment. They were attacking in the left wing, aiming at taking over the retreat routes of the German troops that were defending the city. The offensive started on 17 July with breaking through the enemy's main line of defence, which created a necessity for a quick retreat from the entire coastal front line. It was as early as the following day that the front troops of the 2nd Armoured Brigade reached the coast of the Adriatic Sea, while the Carpathian Uhlan Regiment seized Ancona without any resistance. Five days later, first freight ships called at the harbour, which was of great importance for the supply system of the entire British 8th Army.
In August 1944, the 2nd Polish Corps continued fighting along the Adriatic coast of Italy. The retreating German troops were trying to slow down the chase using to this end the local rivers. The Allied forces were to be stopped at the so-called "Gothic Line," a strong reinforced position that had been under preparation from 1943. On the night of 24/25 August the Polish troops went on the offensive in the Line's foreground and by 29 August the Germans were pushed into their major line of defence behind the Foglia River. It was as early as a day before that the 1st Canadian Corps, which fought next to the Polish army, was able to break into the front periphery of the fortifications. That made it easier for the 2nd Corps to carry on with their offensive, so that, as early as 2 September, the Pesaro harbour was captured. That was followed by moving the soldiers under General Anders into the back. During a month long rest the Corps was joined by many Polish Wehrmacht prisoners of war, who had ended up in the German armed forces as a result of a forced recruitment. That move not only allowed to compensate for the losses, but also to make the Corps bigger.

Pictures come from the National Digital Archives, Polska logo-nac