During the first half of 1944 while the Allies had been preparing for the invasion of France, their forces in Italy had slowly driven the enemy northward. Rome was liberated on June 4, and by late September, the Allies had passed beyond Florence.
In support of the land battle, Italian-based medium bombers and fighters continued pounding German transportation routes, front-line defenses and supply centers. Consequently, the heavy bombers continued to strike at strategic targets in Germany and the Balkans under heavy fighter escort. Though aerial supremacy had been maintained and the risk of being shot down by Luftwaffe interceptors had declined greatly, antiaircraft fire continued to take a heavy toll.
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