Anzio, Italy, 1944 – The German 10. and 14. Armies (2)
Daily Accounts of the Battle of Anzio – 22 January to 31 May 1944
January 22 to January 25 1944
Allied landings at Anzio in the morning of January 22 1944 came as a surprise to the German High Command, and confronted the German defense at its weakest point, in respect to time and place. Army Group C had believed in the possibility of an Allied landing because concentrations of troops and ships had been reported between Naples and Sicily since January 13. However, pending the outcome of the operations on the Garigliano River, the execution of an amphibious landing seemed improbable. This opinion was further supported by the belief that the German counterattack from the right flank of the 10.Army would create a crisis. This would delay a planned landing. Heavy air raids on the railways and roads in central and northern Italy could not be interpreted as preparations for a landing since it was also possible that these raids were intended to cut the 10.Army supply lines. In view of the threatening Allied breakthrough at the Garigliano River, Army Group C had withdrawn combat forces from the Rome area and transferred them to the south for the counterattack. The only units remaining in the Rome area were battle-fatigued and not prepared for offensive warfare. The strength of the troops remaining in the area west of Rome was so small that they could merely be employed for coastal observation in the Tarquinia-Terracina sector. Units were committed along the coast as follows :
Sector Tarquinia – Mouth of the Tiber : 46 miles long
Two battalions of the 90.Panzer-Grenadier-Division were located on the coast, and one battalion in the rear at Lake Bracciano. The following Italian coast artillery was available :
2 antiaircraft guns (76-MM)
12 light howitzers (100-MM)
12 heavy howitzers (150-MM)
8 guns (75-MM)
61 guns (105-MM)
Sector Mouth of the Tiber – Anzio – Mouth of the Astura : 41 miles long
The following units were located on the coast : two engineer companies of the 4.Fallschirmjäger-Division, one engineer company of the 29.Panzer-Grenadier-Division, and one Panzer Grenadier Battalion of the 29.Panzer-Grenadier-Division. The following coast artillery was available :
1 howitzer (75-MM)
7 howitzers (100-MM)
11 howitzers (150-MM)
3 guns (75-MM)
8 guns (100-MM)
2 guns (105-MM)
3 guns (155-MM)
6 guns (170-MM)
Sector Mouth of Astura – Terracina : 32 miles long
The Reconnaissance Battalion of the 29.Panzer-Grenadier-Division was employed for coastal observation. The following coast artillery was available :
4 antiaircraft guns (75-MM)
5 antiaircraft guns (90-MM)
2 howitzers (100-MM)
2 guns (76-MM)
4 guns (105-MM)
2 guns (122-MM)
2 guns (152-MM)
The Rome – Alban Hills area
1 Italian Assault Gun Company
1 light AAA battery
elements of the 4.Fallschirmjäger-Division
replacement units of the Herman Goering Panzer-Division
Units of the 4.Fallschirmjäger-Division and the Panzer-Division Herman Goering were not completely up to strength nor trained. As a result, Allied landing forces met practically no resistance in the morning of January 22, and no German forces were available for an immediate counterattack. The situation was rendered more serious for the German army because the only headquarter in the Rome area was Army Group C headquarters. No other staff was available to organize an emergency defense. German air reconnaissance had failed. Neither the embarkation of invasion forces nor their approach was observed.
At about 0500, Hqs Army Group C received the first report of the landing. The basic German documents of Army Group C and of Hqs 1.Fallschirmjäger-Corps outlining the course of the landing and the subsequent battle are not available. Therefore, information about events until the evening of January 25 was limited to records of telephone calls between Army Group C and its armies. These notes give the following situation until January 25 1944, when the 14.Army took over command of the beachhead. The critical situation at the southern flank of the 10.Army had necessitated the commitment of all trained German reserves available in the Italian Theater. The absence of immediate German countermeasures, in the face of Allied landings south of Rome, could cut off positions of the 10.Army. This would lead to the collapse of the entire southern Italian front.
Army Group C, recognizing this dangerous situation, intended to establish a defensive line on the beachhead as quickly as possible. At the time, it had to be assumed that the disembarking Allied forces might seize the Alban Hills, the key position in the area south of Rome, before sufficient German troops could be brought up for defense. Those considerations determined the necessity for a German counterattack. For this purpose, reinforcements were to be transferred to Italy from other theaters.
After the Allied landing was reported, Army Group C initiated the following measures. [First] it alerted the 4.Fallschirmjäger-Division, which was being activated pursuant to the provisions of Operation Richard, and the replacement units of the Panzer-Division Herman Goering, both in the Rome area. Their mission was to block all roads leading to Rome and all roads leading from the south to the Alban Hills. The Commandant of Rome, Gen Schemer, was assigned to the tactical command in the landing area. [Second], at 0600, Army Group C sent a report to the Armed Forces High Command that a landing tool place, and requested that the task force provided for in Operation Richard be sent to Italy. The Armed Forces High Command ordered the following troops from other theaters to Italy :
998.Artillery-Battalion (GHQ troops)
301.Panzer-Battalion (with remote-controlled demolition vehicles)
were to be transferred from the West. The Commander in Chief Southeast was to furnish the 114.Light-Infantry-Division (Jäger Division), and two artillery battalions (GHQ troops) because neither the Commander in Chief East, nor the Commander in Chief Southeast could provide a second division as was planned in Operation Richard because of the transfer of troops to Russia, the immediate activation of the 92.Infantry-Division, in Italy, was ordered. The following units, from the Replacement Army in Germany, were ordered to Italy :
Hqs LXXV Corps
3 battalions of Security Troops
2 battalions of Russian Volunteers (Ost-Bataillonen)
6 Construction battalions
[Third], at 0710, Hqs Army Group ordered Hqs 14.Army to transfer to the assault area all forces provided for in Operation Richard. The 14.Army ordered :
65.Infantry-Division, from Genoa (less one regiment)
362.Infantry-Division, from Rimini (less one regiment)
16.SS-Panzer-Grenadier-Division with 2 regiments (one from Livorno, one from Lubiana)
to proceed immediately to the beaches. These troops left for Rome on the evening of January 22 and during the course of January 23.
[Fourth], at 0830, Army Group ordered Hqs 10.Army to transfer the Hqs 1.Fallschirmjäger-Corps and all combat troops that could be spared to the beachhead as quickly as possible. Units most suitable for release by the 10.Army were the 71.Infantry-Division and the bulk of the 3.Panzer-Grenadier-Division. Only parts of these divisions were employed on the 10.Army front, while the remainder was still on the march from the north. In addition, local reserves were also withdrawn from the southern front. Since tanks were landed at the very beginning of the Allied landing at Anzio, it was important to release antitank forces and artillery for employment at Anzio. The following troops of the 10.Army were moved to the beachhead on January 22 and during the night of January 23. From the area of Cassino came :
3.Panzer-Grenadier-Division (less one regiment)
1 Artillery Battalion
1 Engineer Company
1 Recon Battalion
1 AAA Battalion (Panzer Division H Goering)
1 Recon Battalion (26.Panzer-Division)
1 AT Battalion (Panzerjäger) (71.Infantry-Division)
525.Heavy-Antitank-Battalion (GHQ troops)
450.Light-Artillery-Battalion (GHQ troops)
451.Light-Artillery-Battalion (GHQ troops)
764.Heavy-Artillery-Battalion (GHQ troops)
The Adriatic sector lost the :
3.Battalion, 1.Regiment, 1.Fallschirmjäger-Division
Machine Gun Battalion, 1.Fallschirmjäger-Division
1.Battalion (Tank Regiment) 26.Panzer-Division
590.Heavy-Antitank-Battalion (GHQ troops)
Hqs 71.Infantry-Division and all elements of the 71.Infantry-Division now en route from the north to the 10.Army were thrown into the Anzio positions. At 1700, Hqs 1.Fallschirmjäger-Corps assumed command in the sector Tarquina – Terracina and established a defensive line around the Allied beachhead with all available and arriving forces as they were allotted by 10.Army.
10.Army units moved to the beaches rapidly despite enemy air raids. This was made possible by employing staff officers, available at Hqs Army Group, 10.Army, and Corps to re-route the traffic. These officers had to divert troops arriving from northern Italy and originally destined for the southern front of 10.Army, in the direction of the beachhead. Units with no organic transportation were brought up quickly by the use of available supply columns. Available rear area troops were employed to clear the icy, snow-covered mountain passes.
The Allied advance on the beachhead on the first day of the landing did not conform to the German High Command expectations. Instead of moving northward with the first wave to seize the Alban Hills and northeastward with Mount Lepini as the target, the landing forces limited their objectives. Their initial action was to occupy a small beachhead. This measure fully corresponded with the Allied landing plan, a copy of which had fallen into German hands at the beginning of the operation, but German defenses and troops were insufficient to prevent further advances, had they been made. Consequently, during January 22 and 23, the German Command had time to reinforce the defenses, so that by January 24 the beachhead was encircled and the Allied reconnaissance patrols met German resistance.
Initially, the only available forces for the construction of a defensive line, except for the minor detachments alerted in the Rome area, were the units allotted by the 10.Army. Under the command of the 1.Fallschirmjäger-Corps, three divisional sectors were set up. Reinforcements were assigned to these sectors as they arrived. The 4.Fallschirmjäger-Division was in command of the Western Sector. The six infantry and two artillery battalions in this sector were hastily assembled. Their mission was, in addition to the occupation of defensive positions, to protect the coast up to the Tiber River. The 3.Panzer-Grenadier-Division commanded the Center Sector. This sector was to be the center of resistance since the first objective of the Allied attach was assumed to be the Alban Hills. Therefore, its front was less broad and more strongly manned. The Eastern Sector, considered unsuitable for an enemy attack, was under the command of Hqs Panzer-Division Herman Goering, which had only incomplete units at its disposal. In addition, those units were responsible for the protection of the coast as far as Terracina. The 71.Infantry-Division was moved to the coastal sector above the line, Tiber – Tarquinia because the German command expected another Allied landing north of the Tiber. Previously, three battalions of the 90.Panzer-Grenadier-Division were employed in this sector.
When it became clear on January 22 that the Allied landing at Anzio was a major operation, Hqs Army Group C decided in the evening to discontinue the counterattack at the Garigliano River. Thus, additional troops would be made available for commitment against the beachhead. In the evening of January 22, Army Group ordered the 10.Army to send
3 Grenadier Battalions
1 Artillery Battalion (Panzer Division H Goering)
1 Panzer Grenadier Battalion
2 Artillery Battalions (Regiment Brandenburg)
60.Engineer-Battalion (GHQ troops)
1 AAA Battalion (GHQ troops)
to the beachhead. In addition, the 26.Panzer-Division, which was employed on the left flank of the 10.Army, was relieved and transferred to Avazzano. This division was to participate in the intended counterattack at Anzio. On January 22, the situation on the beachhead had improved considerably for the Germans. From signal intelligence and prisoner of war statements, it was learned that the Allied landing forces were under the command of the VI Corps. The Allied forces identified on the beachhead were the :
3rd Infantry Division (US)
1st Infantry Division (UK)
751st Tank Battalion (US)
504th Parachute Regiment (US)
It was believed that the 45th Infantry Division (US) and the 601st Tank Destroyer Battalion (US), would be landed as reinforcements. As the Allied forces made no preparations for a large-scale attack on the first day of the landings, the German command estimated that the Allies would improve their positions and bring up more troops during the following day. During this time, sufficient German troops would arrive to prevent an Allied breakthrough. The previously prepared plans, to move troops quickly to a threatened area, as well as preparations for designating specific units as reinforcements is landings were made, now benefited the German command. While the transfer of troops from the 10.Army had to be improvised, the disposition and departure of the detachments from the 14.Army, the West, the Southeast, and from the Replacement Army, proceeded according to plan without requiring specific orders.
At 1900, on January 22, the troops of the 14.Army began to leave their areas in northern Italy. On January 23 and 24, the transportation of troops from France, Germany and the Balkans began. These forces arrived in Italy by January 31 despite constant enemy air attacks on roads and railroads. By this time, the advanced detachments of these units were already employed at the beachhead.
No major actions occurred on the beachhead during January 23. On the 10.Army front, the enemy continued his attacks south of Cassino with undiminished ferocity. The crisis arising from the combined attacks of the 34th and 26th Infantry Divisions (US) delayed the dispatch of reinforcements to Anzio. Telephone calls between Kesselring and the Commanding General 10.Army in the evening of January 23 clearly indicated that the Army Group Commander believed that the danger of a large-scale expansion of the beachhead was no longer imminent. On January 22 and 23, the German Luftwaffe repeatedly struck at the landing fleet and disembarkation points on the beachhead, and made frequent reconnaissance flights over the Ligurian and Adriatic seas as the German Command expected further Allied landings, because of the unusual lack of enemy activity. Allied preparations for a major attack were not observed on the beachhead. However, movements of troops and tanks north of Anzio, on the Aprilia Road, were reported. Stronger enemy reconnaissance patrols were expected there during the next day.
January 24 was generally uneventful. As was anticipated, the Allied landing forces limited themselves to reconnaissance and patrolling towards the north, as well as adjusting their artillery fire on German positions. By this time, the German defenses had been strongly reinforced and the German Command considered the danger of an Allied breakthrough to be removed. A telephone call made by Army Group indicated that on January 24 a total of 70 batteries, including antiaircraft, were available for German defenses.
This estimate of the situation was supported by the belief that the enemy did not have sufficient troops available on the beachhead for a large-scale attack. It was learned that the 2nd Armored Division (US) and a British tank brigade were newly deployed on the beachhead. This would, at most, give the enemy a total of three infantry divisions, one armored division, and two or three armored battalions or brigades. The strength of these troops was considered insufficient for an attack on a strategic objective such as the Alban Hills, as such an operation would require effective flank protection.
Therefore, it was expected that for the next few days the enemy would only attempt to expand and consolidate his beachhead for a full-scale attack. Army Group C concluded that the enemy would make only local attacks. Those raids would not begin before January 26 since the enemy had just adjusted his artillery in the afternoon of January 24. With these assumptions in mind, Army Group C decided to launch a counterattack to destroy the Allied landing forces or drive them back into the sea. The time for such an attack depended on the arrival of reinforcements. Every effort was made to deliver the blow before the Allied forces had completed their initial consolidation. In preparation for a German assault, Army Group C ordered Hqs 14.Army, on January 24, to take over the command at the beachhead. In addition, the 14.Army was ordered to hasten the consolidation of forces to be used in the counterattacks. The 26.Panzer-Division and the 56.Rocket-Regiment (at Cassino) were ordered to the beachhead, and were designated as further reinforcements for the attack. The attack was not to be started before January 28, as the initial regrouping could not be completed sooner. However, in the event the Allies should start their assault prior to this date, the German counterattack was to begin immediately, from defensive positions.
The first major action on the beachhead occurred on January 25. After a raid on Aprilia before noon had been repelled, the Allied troops successfully captured the town at 1600, after a desperate struggle. The Allies also gained some ground in the northeast, but were thrown back at Porgo Piave by a German counterattack. More Allied troops disembarked on the beachhead during the day, while forces of the German Air Force in Italy frequently raided troop transports and disembarkation points. The movement of German reinforcements from the south to the beachhead was facilitated as Allied attacks in the area of Cassino had slackened and bad weather limited Allied Air Force operations. Bad weather was considered to the most favorable for the execution of a German counterattack. Success or failure depended on the activity of the Allied Air Forces, and on naval artillery support, as was demonstrated at Salerno. Under bad weather conditions both factors would be reduced to a minimum. However, destruction of railroads by Allied air attacks caused a delay in the arrival of ammunition and reserves from the north. At 1800 on January 25, the 14.Army took over command in the Cacina sector (south of Liverno) – Terracina. At this time the following German troops were employed in the area of Rome.
Sector north of the Tiber River – Tarquinia
Elements of the :
Sector south of the Tiber River – Terracina
Hqs 1.Fallschirmjäger-Corps, numerous GHQ troops and elements of the :
Panzer Division Herman Goering
All these units were employed in the defense line on the beachhead, with the exception of elements of the 4.Fallschirmjäger and the 29.Panzer-Grenadier Divisions. These excepted units were employed along the coast on both sides of the beachhead. Moving towards Anzio were the following German divisions :
26.Panzer-Division from the left flank of the 10.Army
65.Infantry-Division (less 1 Gren Regt and 1 Arty Bn) from Genoa
114.Light-Infantry-Division (Jager Division) from the Balkans
362.Infantry-Division (2 Regts) from the coastal section Rimini
715.Infantry-Division from southern France
After January 26 1944, the Journal of the 14.Army gives an account of the battle on the Anzio beachhead in chronological order. The following daily reports outlining these events are translations of this journal.
January 26 1944
A. Operations Report
On the right flank, a successful raid was carried out by an assault detachment. An enemy counterattack, in company strength, was repulsed. The 29.Panzer-Grenadier-Regiment, supported by tanks, attacked Aprilia and pushed forward from the west to the center of the town. 58 prisoners were taken, 3 antitank guns destroyed, 4 Sherman tanks destroyed, and 3 put out of commission. In the evening our forces in Aprilia were withdrawn from the town. In the sector of the Panzer Division Herman Goering, at Cisterna, the enemy attacked in battalion strength at 1545, but was repelled. At 1700 this attack was resumed with one to two battalions. The battle was still on at 2000, and during the night small penetrations were sealed off. West of this sector and attack by two to three enemy infantry battalions with 20 tanks was broken up by effective artillery fire.
The 24th Grenadier Brigade (UK) is confirmed at Aprilia. The 1st Irish Guards and the 5th Grenadier Guards are stationed west of Aprilia. The 751st Tank Battalion (US) has been identified 8000 meters south of Cisterna. The 1/504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division (US) is confirmed along the Mussolini Canal. At 1730, 100 vessels were observed in the sector 8000 meters southwest of Anzio. Estimate of enemy situation : attacks are likely against our positions north of Aprilia, and reconnaissance raids are expected against Cisterna and Borgo Piave.
German losses : no reports
Allied losses : 90 prisoners, 7 tanks destroyed, 3 tanks put out of commission and 4 AT guns destroyed.
January 27 1944
Sector of the 3.Panzer-Grenadier-Division : two combat patrols of the enemy were repelled on right flank. No action at Aprilia. In the morning, attacks by one or two companies were repelled east of Aprilia. In the afternoon, a heavy enemy attack inflicted casualties on our outposts, forcing them to withdraw about 1000 meters to the northeast. Sector of the Panzer-Division Herman Goering : an attack on the right flank was repulsed. In the center of the sector, the enemy attacked in regimental strength, supported by 10 tanks, and infiltrated south of Isola Bella, and 2500 meters northwest of Borgo Podgora. A continuation of attacks was expected, especially northward, in the direction of the railroad, as well as from Aprilia.
Captured documents confirm previous information that these units are on the beachhead 1st Infantry Division (UK), composed of the 24th Guard brigade, 2nd and 3rd Brigades, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment (US), 21 enemy batteries have been observed in the area l’Americano to Spaccasassi. Air situation : active patrol activity. Sea situation : Heavy disembarkation east of Anzio. Aerial photographs taken at 100 showed the following vessels :
5 destroyers and escort vessels
5 small auxiliary vessels
39 LST (Landing Ship Tank)
59 LCT (Landing Craft Tank)
1 LCF (Landing Craft Flag Ship)
17 LCJ (Landing Craft Job)
16 LCM (Landing Craft Medium)
X LCA (Landing Craft Assault)
X LCP (Landing Craft Personnel)
9 freighters with 53.000 tons (Register)
1 special ship 3.000 tons (Register)
1 auxiliary cruiser 3.500 tons (Register)
At 1330, 1 light cruiser and 2 destroyers were shelled by our coast artillery northwest of Anzio.
German losses : 29 killed; 49 wounded; 41 missing.
Allied losses : 16 prisoners; 1 tank destroyed; 1 tank rendered inoperable; 2 antitank guns destroyed; 3 planes shot down by antiaircraft; 1 mortar; 2 machine guns and a number of small arms.
January 28 1944
A. Operations Report
A message from Berlin states that according to reliable sources the enemy is planning an attack against Civitavecchia. Consequently, the motorized Kampfgruppe Von Bohr (part of the 90.Panzer-Grenadier-Division) will be transferred from the coastal defense sector north of the Tiber to a concentration area near Vetralla. The sector will be taken over by the staff of the 362.Infantry-Division with the first artillery battalion and a reinforced 955.Infantry-Regiment. As the staff of the 4.Fallschirmjäger-Division is still in the process of being activated, the staff of the 65.Infantry-Division (Gen Major Pfeiffer), will take over the sector of the 4.Fallschirmjäger-Division and the right flank of the 3.Panzer-Grenadier-Division, the sector of the 11.Fallschirmjäger-Regiment.
On the right flank of the sector, the enemy pushed closer to the Moletta Creek. An attack by motorized infantry, with 20 scout cars, 1300 meters northwest of Aprilia, was repulsed and 3 scout cars were put out of action. In the sector Isola Bella our front line was practically restored. Later, an enemy attack, in battalion strength, 3000 meters west of Iso Bella was repulsed after a two hour battle. Around noon, the enemy temporarily penetrated our front line 2000 meters southwest of Isola Bella, during a new attack in battalion strength. At hill 32, 4000 meters southeast of Isola Bella, the former front line was regained.
In the morning, our artillery fired at 9 invasion barges at Anzio. Two enemy ammunition dumps exploded from direct hits by our artillery. Kampfgruppe Ens (104.Panzer-Grenadier-Regiment of the 15.Panzer-Grenadier-Division), which has been on the left flank of the 3.Panzer-Grenadier-Division west of Aprilia, was relieved during the night by the 71.Infantry division (less the 211. and 191.Regiments).
The 2nd Company, 7th Middlesex Battalion (element of the 24th Guard Brigade UK) is located in an area northeast of Aprilia. According to captured documents, the Recon Battalion of the 1st Infantry Division (UK) is in the vicinity of Canale San Lorenzo. The boundary between the British and American troops runs along route Cas. Terre Spaccassassi, Cas. Tre di Padiglione. Sea and Air situation : continued heavy landings were made at Anzio, and air activity over the front line remained steady.
German losses : 31 killed; 100 wounded; 18 missing.
Allied losses : 1 prisoner from 1st Rcn Bn (UK); 2 prisoners from 3/504th Parachute Regiment (US); 6 heavy machine guns captured; 4 planes, including 1 P-51 Mustang, shot down by antiaircraft.
January 29 1944
A. Operations report
The 51.Gebirgsjäger-Corps (Mountain) took over the coastal sector north of the mouth of the Tiber to the army border at Cecina. There was less enemy activity than usual on the beachhead. An enemy attack, in battalion strength, on hill 61, 3000 meters west of Isola Bella was halted by artillery fire. Enemy recon, in company strength, partially with tanks and armored scout cars, was turned back. North of Aprilia, a stalled tank was destroyed by a magnetic tank charge and other vehicles were destroyed by fire. The enemy was thrown back west of Borgo Piava to Mescarello Creek. Thirteen prisoners were taken. One heavy machine gun and several bazookas were captured. In the evening a concentration of approximately 30 tanks and 70 to 80 trucks loaded with troops was observed in the area of Aprilia. Harassing artillery fire from the entire beachhead and the sea was primarily directed on the right flank of the Panzer-Division Herman Goering. Two cruisers and several PT boats withdrew under coast artillery fire.
From prisoner of war interrogation it was learned that the 3/504th Parachute Infantry Regiment is still at Borgo Piave, the 1st Scots Guards at Macchia del Casale and the 5th Grenadier Guards at Cle Vallerata. Disembarkation of troops continues at Anzio – Nettuno. In the evening a large convoy of approximately 100 ships was reported as approaching.
German losses : 17 killed; 63 wounded; 24 missing.
Allied losses : 20 prisoners (13 US and 7 UK); 2 fighters shot down (1 US and 1 UK); 1 machine gun carrier, and several vehicles destroyed.
The German Plan of Attack
The main mission of the 14.Army is to annihilate the beachhead, which the enemy is reinforcing. The attack must be made as soon as possible; the date depends on the arrival of the necessary forces, which is being delayed as the railroad system in Italy has been crippled by enemy air raids. The attack will be launched from north to south along the Albano – Anzio Road, with the main concentration on either side of Aprilia. D-Day was to be January 28, but in a meeting between Army and Army Group Commanders on January 26, D-Day was postponed to February 1 so that reinforcements would be available. These reinforcements were :
Artillery Demonstration Regiment
Rocket Projector Demonstration Battalion
These units left by train from Germany and are expected to pass through the Brenner Pass on January 26 and 27. The plan of attack as proposed by the 1.Fallschirmjäger-Corps follows.
Consists of 9 infantry battalions of the 65.Infanterie-Division and the 4.Fallschirmjäger-Division. Its objective in the attack was to penetrate toward the south and link up with the main group. In addition to the artillery assigned to coastal defense, the group will have 9 light field howitzers (100-MM).
Located in the sector previously held by the 3.Panzer-Grenadier-Division. This group will be employed for the main effort. On the right flank of the main effort are the 3.Panzer-Grenadier-Division and the 29.Panzer-Division, the latter supported by the 1.Bn of the 4.Panzer-Regiment. On the left flank will be the 715.Infantry-Division, making a total of 17 infantry battalions. This unit will have 11 long-range artillery guns (170-MM), assault artillery, 29 heavy field howitzers (150-MM), 34 light field howitzers (105-MM), 8 guns (100-MM), 36 rocket launchers (each with five 210-MM), and 8 rocket launchers (each with ten 150-MM tubes).
This group is composed of elements of the Panzer-Division Herman Goering and elements of the 114.Infantry-Division, giving it a total of four infantry battalions. Its mission is to penetrate to the Astura Creek from the area west of Cisterna. It will be furnished with 32 heavy field howitzers (150-MM), 42 light field howitzers (105-MM) and 3 guns (100-MM).
Located in the region south of Albano, it will consist of elements of the 71.Infantry-Division and the 16.SS-Panzer-Grenadier-Division, with a total of six infantry battalions. The following antiaircraft artillery is to be employed in ground action and air defense at the discretion of the divisional staff. Contrary to previous instruction, the attacks will begin simultaneously in the morning of D-Day after a coordinated 10 minutes artillery barrage. Only on the southern flank of the beachhead in the area of Borgo Piave a local diversionary attack will be executed on D minus 1.
January 30 1944
During the night of January 29 to 30 1944, the enemy began the anticipated large-scale attack on either side of the Albano – Anzio Road. The attack was preceded by heavy artillery fire, which lasted for two hours. In the sector of the Panzer-Division Herman Goering, the enemy made a penetration at dawn on both sides of the Nettuno – Cisterna Road. Later, the attacks expanded to other sectors of the beachhead. By late afternoon, the enemy renewed his attacks after reserves were brought in. Heavy fighting occurred, with the positions changing hands frequently. The attacks were generally repulsed.
Operation reports by units follow.
The right flank was infiltrated by Allied forces, which were eliminated, and 60 men captured. During early morning an enemy attack, with tanks, against the center sector was stopped. In the afternoon, a heavy tank formation of at least 70 tanks attacked the left flank (at Vallelata Heights, 3 km northwest of Aprilia). The main line of resistance, within the entire sector, generally remained in our hands except for partial withdrawals at Vallelata Heights.
After heavy artillery fire, the enemy attacked at about 0100, with two infantry battalions supported by armor. The attack made a negligible penetration along both sides of the Aprilia – Albano Road. In the afternoon, our own counterattack met a second enemy attack, which was halted. At 1700, a unit supported by armor penetrated our defense line and by sunset had advanced to the railroad crossing about 6000 meters north of Aprilia. A new defensive line was established there. However, contact was not re-established with Kampfgruppe Pfeiffer and a 2000 to 3000 meters gap between units remained.
No unusual activity.
Panzer-Division Herman Goering
In the early morning, enemy infantry, supported by tanks, attacked in the area Mount Garibaldi – Canale Mussolini. The first attack force made several penetrations, which were repulsed by local counterattacks. Enemy units which advanced to Cisterna were destroyed. During the morning, the enemy began a new counterattack, with a strong infantry force, northeast of Mount Garibaldi – Isola Bella. Our forces counterattacked and fought heavily until darkness. A defensive front from Isola Bella to benchmark 45 (3000 meters southeast) along the Canale Mussolini to north benchmark 31 (6000 meters southeast of Isola Bella) was restored. An enemy breakthrough from the beachhead had to be prevented and a closed main line of resistance in the sector of the 3.Panzer-Grenadier-Division had to be restored. In the sector of the Panzer-Division Herman Goering the 26.Panzer-Division was to counterattack the 3rd US Infantry Division, which had penetrated south of Cisterna. The 26.Panzer-Division was concentrated in the area north of Cisterna and units of the 114.Jager-Division, which have arrived in the region south of Velletri, were attached as Regimental Group Berger to the Panzer-Division Herman Goering.
Prisoners of war stated that the 7th and 30th Regiments of the 3rd Infantry Division (US) are still on the line; the 601st US Tank Destroyer Battalion is attached to the 30th Regiment, and that the 1st Irish Guards were committed west of Aprilia.
German losses :> 94 men killed; 260 wounded; 231 men missing. These losses do not include those of the Panzer-Division Herman Goering, which will be included in the statistics report of January 31.
Allied losses : Enemy suffered heavy losses, especially in the area of the Panzer-Division Herman Goering. 786 men, including 49 officers, were taken prisoner; 680 of them by Panzer-Division Herman Goering; 3 enemy tanks destroyed.
(end of part two)
You have probably see the quality of the work in this archive. The quality of the layout and the images as well. This is only possible because some of you takes the time to put some coins in the Juke-Work. Remember that the whole thing is a one-man work. Not even some kind of US 501-C etc …! I am doing alone, a remake of Rio Bravo, just when Dean Martin, Ricky Nelson, Walter Brennan and John Wayne are singing “Just my Rifle, Pony and Me”. In fact I could sing “Just my Keyboard, my Brain and your Donations”. That’s what keep this site alive and online. One last very important point! For God’s sake, if you have anything relevant to this archive, and I repeat – anything – do not leave that treasure in the dust of an old cardboard box in the shadow of an attic. If it’s a few photos, papers, badges or whatever, send them to me. If it comes to more important things contact me.
For all purposes :
European Center of Military History
Gunter ‘Doc Snafu’ Gillot
rue des Thiers 8
Email : gunter [at] eucmh.be
Thank You for your support !