Second Week Assignments for Econ 2: Introduction to Economics: Spring 2014: UC Berkeley
Musings on the "Profession" That Is Academic Labor in the United States Today: The View from La Farine LXXX: January 22, 2014

Liveblogging World War II: January 22, 1944

Operation Shingle :: Wikipedia:

At the end of 1943, following the Allied invasion of Italy, Allied forces were bogged down at the Gustav Line, a defensive line across Italy south of the strategic objective of Rome. The terrain of central Italy had proved ideally suited to defense, and Field Marshal Albert Kesselring took full advantage. Operation Shingle was originally conceived by Winston Churchill in December 1943, as he lay recovering from pneumonia in Marrakesh. His concept was to land two divisions at Anzio, bypassing German forces in central Italy, and take Rome, the strategic objective of the current Battle of Rome. By January he had recovered and was badgering his commanders for a plan of attack, accusing them of not wanting to fight but of being interested only in drawing pay and eating rations....

When Truscott's 3rd Division was first selected for the operation, he pointed out to [General Mark] Clark that the position was a death trap and there would be no survivors. Agreeing, Clark canceled the operation, but Prime Minister Churchill revived it. Apparently the two allies had different concepts: the Americans viewed such a landing as another distraction from Cassino, but if they could not break through at Cassino, the men at Anzio would be trapped. Churchill and the British high command envisioned an outflanking movement ending with the capture of Rome....

Both sides finally agreed that the troops could not remain at Anzio, but Lucas received somewhat equivocal orders. He was to lead the Fifth Army's U.S. VI Corps in a surprise landing in the Anzio/Nettuno area, and make a rapid advance into the Alban Hills to cut German communications and "threaten the rear of the German XIV Panzer Corps" under General Fridolin von Senger und Etterlin. It was hoped that this threat would draw Germany's forces away from the Cassino area and facilitate an Allied breakthrough there....

Planners argued that if Kesselring (in charge of German forces in Italy) pulled troops out of the Gustav Line to defend against the Allied assault, then Allied forces would be able to break through the line; if Kesselring did not pull troops out of the Gustav Line, then Operation Shingle would threaten to capture Rome and cut off the German units defending the Gustav Line. Should Germany have adequate reinforcements available to defend both Rome and the Gustav Line, the Allies felt that the operation would nevertheless be useful in engaging forces which could otherwise be committed on another front....

Clark['s] plan... rel[ied] on the southern offensive drawing Kesselring's reserves in and providing the Anzio force the opportunity to break inland quickly.... However, his written orders to Lucas did not really reflect this. Initially Lucas had received orders to

1 Seize and secure a beachhead in the vicinity of Anzio 2. Advance and secure Colli Laziali [the Alban Hills] 3. Be prepared to advance on Rome....

Neither Clark nor Lucas had full confidence in either their superiors or the operational plan.... A few days prior to the attack, Lucas wrote in his diary, "They will end up putting me ashore with inadequate forces and get me in a serious jam... Then, who will get the blame?" and "[The operation] has a strong odour of Gallipoli and apparently the same amateur was still on the coach's bench"... referr[ing] to Winston Churchill....

The Fifth Army's attack on the Gustav Line began on January 16, 1944, at Monte Cassino. Although the operation failed to break through, it did succeed in part in its primary objective. Heinrich von Vietinghoff, commanding the Gustav Line, called for reinforcements, and Kesselring transferred the 29th and 90th Panzergrenadier Divisions from Rome....

The [Anzio] landings began on January 22, 1944.

Although resistance had been expected, as seen at Salerno during 1943, the initial landings were essentially unopposed, with the exception of desultory Luftwaffe strafing runs. By midnight, 36,000 soldiers and 3,200 vehicles had landed on the beaches. Thirteen Allied troops were killed, and 97 wounded; about 200 Germans had been taken as POWs. The 1st Division penetrated 2 miles (3 km) inland, the Rangers captured Anzio's port, the 509th PIB captured Nettuno, and the 3rd Division penetrated 3 miles (5 km) inland.

Comments