Alexander summed up the Battle for Italy in the following words: "Any estimate of the value of the campaign must he expressed, not in terms of the ground gained, for the ground was not vital, in the strict sense, either to us or to the enemy, but in terms of its effect on the war as a whole. The Allied Armies in Italy were not engaged with the enemy's main armies and their attacks were not directed, as were those of the Allies in the west or the Russians in the east, against the heart of the German Fatherland and the nerve-centres of Germany's national existence. Our role was subordinate and preparatory. Ten months before the great assault in the west our invasion of Italy, at first in very moderate strength, drew off to that remote quarter forces that might have turned the scale in France. As the campaign progressed more and more German troops were drawn in to oppose us. The supreme directors of Allied strategy were always careful to see that our strength was never allowed to grow above the minimum necessary for our tasks; at one time and another during those 20 months no less than 21 divisions in all were removed from my command for the benefit of other theatres. The Germans made no comparable detachments. Except for a short period in the spring of 1944 they had always more formations in Italy than we had, and we made such good use of that brief exceptional period that in the summer of 1944, the crisis of the war, they found themselves forced to divert eight divisions to this secondary theatre. At that time, when the value of our strategic contribution was at its greatest, 55 German divisions were tied down in the Mediterranean by the threat, actual or potential, presented by our armies in Italy. The record of the comparative casualties tells us the same story. On the German side they amounted to 536,000. Allied casualties were 312,000. The difference is the more remarkable in that we were always the attackers. Four times we carried out that most difficult operation of war, an amphibious landing. Three times we launched a prepared offensive with the full strength of an army group. Nowhere in Europe did soldiers face more difficult terrain or more determined adversaries. The conclusion is that the campaign in Italy fulfilled its strategic mission."