The Allies fought the Germans in Italy from July 1943 to May 1945, in a campaign reminiscent of the First World War. The terrain was difficult, the weather bitter, the adversaries fierce and in no way inferior in strength. The Allies felt they played 'second fiddle to the cross-channel invasion; that victory was not going to be won by them, and that their sacrifices and suffering were not essential to it and would not be appreciated. This feeling was accentuated by the number of attacks to which they were committed which clearly had only slender chances of success...' (Lord Carver). Had the Germans been able to deploy their forces in Italy against the D-Day landings and subsequent offensive, there could have been a very different situation in Northern Europe in 1944-45.
The hard-fought campaign in Italy, so vividly portrayed in this book, probably made the difference.