Anzio, Italy, 1944 – The German 10. and 14. Armies – Part Three
January 31 1944
The enemy attacked in battalion strength, supported by armor, at several points along the front. The attacks were repulsed despite heavy, continuous barrages of all calibers, including naval gunfire. Small penetrations were repulsed or cut off. Only west of Cisterna was a penetration achieved, but it stopped just south of the railroad line. In the evening, the Commander in Chief Southwest reported to the Armed Forces High Command that the enemy began to attack on January 20 with about 3 divisions. The bulk of our own forces, including those which had been withheld for our planned offensive, were now committed in the defense of the front. Consequently, the offensive for the annihilation of the enemy had been postponed.
Now our mission is to prevent an expansion of the beachhead and to inflict heavy losses on the enemy. The enemy has suffered heavily, but our own losses have also been high. We are not certain whether the forces at our disposal will be sufficient to drive the enemy into the sea if an extensive defensive battle has to be fought. Because of the difficult rail situation, we also doubt whether an ammunition issue can be assured for the 14.Army, especially since the 10.Army requires a great deal of ammunition at Cassino.
The 14.Army is to start a counteroffensive, if in the course of the defense, a good opportunity presents itself. Assault groups are to be held in readiness in order that such a possibility can be exploited at any given time. The entire Army coast artillery south of the Tiber has been put under the 1.Fallschirmjäger-Corps, so as to achieve a greater concentration of forces. The artillery is to be emplaced near the coast so that as many pieces as possible will be able to fire, from the flank, at enemy shipping at the beachhead. Since additional enemy landings appear likely, the 14.Army ordered the thorough demolition of the harbor of Civitavecchia.
An infantry battalion located near Campoleone repulsed with machine gun and mortar fire 10 light and medium tanks. This battalion did not possess any antitank weapons since it had taken position only the preceding night. The fact that the enemy tanks retreated from the fire of infantry weapons gave the men a feeling of confidence. However, they are impressed by the enemy’s superiority in material, especially his artillery and planes. It is not understood why the enemy tanks halted their attacks when they had advanced at several points to within 50 meters of our main line of resistance and were not subjected to any antitank fire. A breakthrough of tanks could not have been stopped as neither antitank weapons nor suitable reserves were available.
3rd US Infantry Division :
The 1st and 2nd Ranger Battalions in the area between Mussolini Canal and the road from Borgo Montello to Isola Bella. With them are the 30th, the 7th and 15th Infantry Regiments of the Division. The 15th Infantry Regiment is in the area of Cle Carano.
1st Infantry Division (UK) :
The division is in the bulge north of Aprilia, East of the highway is the 3rd Brigade. On the west side is the 24th Guard Brigade, which according to a prisoner’s report, will be removed. The 2nd Brigade is in the rear of the 24th. The deployment of enemy forces in the sector between the Moletta Valley and the coast is not clear. Our reconnaissance is trying to ascertain the enemy order of battle. On the right flank of the 30th Infantry Regiment (US) is the 751st Tank Battalion. English prisoners report the American tanks of an unknown unit are attached to the 1st Infantry Division (UK). The continuation of enemy attacks with the main effort on the bulge north of Aprilia is expected.
German Losses : 94 killed; 205 wounded; 212 missing.
Allied losses : 4 tanks destroyed, one rendered immobile.
February 1 1944
At dawn, the 71.Infantry-Division and the Panzer-Division Herman Goering counterattacked west of Cisterna where the enemy had made penetration on January 31. Despite stubborn resistance, the former main line of resistance was restored. In the course of the day, enemy attacks in company to battalion strength were made near Aprilia, south of Cisterna, at the Mussolini Canal. They were repulsed. It is intended to eliminate the bulge north of Aprilia on February 3. Heavy fighting is expected due to the presence of strong enemy infantry forces, and the constant reports of the movement of enemy armor. But a concentric attack against the flanks with coordinated artillery fire should bring about the desired result.
Army Group C points out that at the moment great stress is placed on intelligence since further enemy landings are expected. Army Group also stated that the situation is so serious on the 10.Army front, especially at Cassino, that new reserves will soon be required. These can only be drawn from units which are now employed by the 14.Army. It is exceptionally well equipped with artillery and antiaircraft; consequently it is to eliminate the beachhead. The Commanding General of the 14.Army indicates that although this numerical superiority in artillery doubtless exists, operations can be only conducted after thorough preparations. This is due to the weakness in number and training of the infantry troops. If this fails it will be impossible to repeat the undertaking due to lack of forces.
In the sectors where we are not able to attack for the time being, an intensive consolidation of positions must be started, such as laying of mines, construction of trip wire entanglements, etc. Not a foot of soil will be given by a consolidation of the assigned main line of resistance and of the battle positions behind it. In addition, forces from the defensive sectors will be employed at the points of concentration in attacks. Foxholes will be converted into individual points of resistance and will be connected by trenches, and connecting wire entanglements will be set up.
The next priority is the construction of a secondary connecting trench system along the artillery entrenchments. The battle position will consist of a system of mutually supporting points of resistance, machine gun nests, antitank gun and infantry howitzer positions, observation posts, artillery and mortar positions, shelters and reserves, distributing points, etc. They will all be consolidated as strong points as soon as possible. The strong points assigned to the local reserves will be kept as near to the main line of resistance as the terrain and the missions permit.
In front of the main line of resistance as many antitank and anti-personnel mines as possible will be laid. Natural and artificial tank obstacles and antitank weapons of all kinds are to be supplements by barriers of anti-personnel mines. Only a battle position, based on the system of strong points and supplemented by a system of tank defense, is capable of breaking up a large-scale attack by the enemy. Penetrations cannot be avoided, but a breakthrough must be prevented. The construction must not lower the offensive spirit of the troops. Entrenchment as a means of maintaining power for the offensive. Positions must be consolidated, even though the commanding officer is aware that he will no more than start this construction. Whatever he can do will be profitable for the reserves which follow. It is the task of the all commanders, especially company commanders, to fight against indifference and force the men to entrench themselves.
From the interrogation of prisoners of war the following units have been identified :
1st Infantry Division (UK)
Irish Guards located near Cle Vallelata
5th Grenadier Guards (left flank Irish Guards) (5000 meters northwest Aprilia)
Charlie Co, 2nd Foresters (1000 meters south of Cap D. Osteriaccia, inserted between 1st Irish and 1st Scots Guards on January 31
3rd Infantry Division (US)
Recon Company located north of Clo Carano
1st and 3rd Ranger Bns east of Highway at Borgo Montello
4th Ranger Bn is behind the 1st and 3rd Ranger Bns
45th Infantry Division (US) on the beachhead
36th Engineer Battalion on the beachhead, as indicated on a captured map
83rd Chemical Mortar Battalion on the beachhead, as indicated on a captured map
6th Armored Infantry Regiment (US)
1st Armored Division (US), located 2 km northwest of Aprilia
German losses : 38 killed; 107 wounded; 49 missing. This does not include Kampfgruppe-Graser and the 71.Infantry-Division.
Allied losses : 39 prisoners; 11 Sherman tanks destroyed; 1 tank rendered immobile, and 6 vehicles destroyed.
An enemy attack of more than two companies has been repulsed 4000 meters north of Aprilia. Our counterattack to straighten the line 4000 meters west of Cisterna is stopped because an American battalion with a few tanks is putting up a stubborn defense in an olive grove. The right flank of the Panzer-Division Herman Goering advanced about 1000 meters but was later forced to withdraw to the original line in a costly fight. The enemy advances against the main line of resistance 6000 meters east of Borgo Montello in company strength was repulsed.
The 1.Fallchirmjäger-Corps requested Army Headquarters to move back the main line of resistance of the 71.Infantry-Division and of the right wing of the Panzer-Division Herman Goering. These units, especially the 71.Infantry-Division, have been greatly weakened and since pressure from the enemy has not abated, it is necessary to form reserves, which can be done only by shortening the front. The commanding General of the 14.Army replied that only under the most compelling circumstances could he permit a withdrawal of the front line on the beachhead. In this case the withdrawal is approved in view of the critical situation of the 71.Infantry-Division.
The 1028.Panzer-Grenadier-Regiment is transferred to Velletri in order to place reserves in the rear of the 71.Infantry-Division. Strong activity by assault detachments is ordered during the night of February 2-3 in order to reduce the enemy bulge into our lines as much as possible. Counter battery fire was effectively maintained by our artillery. It also fired at a concentration of tanks which was sighted by air reconnaissance 1000 meters south of Aprilia. Enemy are bombing in area of Kampfgruppe Graser and destroyed the artillery communications net, and all fire direction charts for the action planned to reduce the bulge north of Aprilia were lost. This bombing of communications minimizes the supply of ammunition. The attack has been postponed for 24 hours as it needs the total support of artillery.
In the evening the Commanding General of the 14.Army reported to the Commander in Chief Southwest and described his personal impressions gained in his tour of the units fighting west of Cisterna. He observed that the partial failure of these units, viz, Panzer-Division Herman Goering, was due to the magnitude of enemy artillery bombardments. They demoralize many young soldiers, and the older men often lose their courage. However, he believed that these men will regain their composure.
Army Group C declared that an invasion in the region of Civitavecchia was probable. An enemy air reconnaissance unit, which always has only been encountered where invasions occurred, has made its appearance there. The following countermeasures were taken : first, one battalion was made available for the Viterbo region; second, air reconnaissance was stepped up in the Civitavecchia region; third, our heavy air force units were alerted; and fourth, an antiaircraft battalion of the 10.Army was made available for the region of the Tiber bridges. Army Group C intends to transfer troops from the 14.Army to the 10.Army, which is having difficulties at Cassino. The machine gun battalion of the 1.Fallschirmjäger-Division is contemplated for this transfer. The Commanding General of the 14.Army has noted that the battalion is employed in the sector of Allied penetration west of Cisterna, and can be removed only be placing reserves in its place.
The staff of the LXXVI Panzer-Corps, formerly with 10.Army opposite the British 8-A, is transferred to the 14.Army. It assumes command of the former left sector of the 1.Fallchimjäger-Corps. The following regrouping is ordered by 14.Army.
LXXVI Panzer Corps :
At present will defend the main line of resistance. The command post of the LXXVI Panzer Corps will open at 1200, February 4 in the region of Giulianello (8000 meters east of Velletri). Its chief mission will be to prevent an enemy breakthrough where the heaviest attacks are made, i.e., north of Aprilia and southwest of Cisterna. Apart from those defenses, it is the task of the Panzer-Corps to make preparations for the decisive attack which will annihilate the beachhead. It assumes command of Kampfgruppe Graser (3.Panzer-Grenadier-Division, 715.Motorized-Infantry-Division, Kampfgruppe Raapke (reinforced 71.Infantry-Division) and Kampfgruppe Konrad (reinforced Panzer-Division Herman Goering and 26.Panzer-Division).
With command post at Crotta Ferrata, retains command of the 4.Fallschirmjäger-Division and the 65.Infantry-Division. Kampfgruppe Pfeiffer is to be dissolved. The current mission of 1.Fallchirmjäger-Corps is to defend the main line of resistance between the sector of the LXXVI Panzer Corps (north of Aprilia) and the coast, and also the coastline up to the mouth of the Tiber. Apart from the defensive preparations, plans will be made for an early attack conforming to the mission given to the former Kampfgruppe Pfeiffer. For this attack the front of the 4.Fallschirmjäger-Division is to be extended to reduce the sector of the 65.Infantry-Division so that this division will be available for the attack. It is responsible for the construction of a rear defense line in the Campagna from the Tiber to Lake Albano. The Commandant of Rome is placed under the command of the 1.Fallschirmjäger-Corps, but will retain his present duties. The boundary between the Fallschirmjäger-Corps and the Coastal Defense Sector Cecina – mouth of the Tiber, runs along the Tiber up to the junction of the Magleanella, and then skirts the western end and northern outskirts of Rome.
Army reserves consist of the 114.Jager-Division (less Regimental Group Berger) in the region of Ligo Albano, the 1.Bn, 4.Panzer-Regiment (Panther) in the region of Terrenova – Torre Gaia, southwest of Rome, the 301.Panzer-Battalion (remote control tanks) on the march from Peronne, France and a battalion of assault howitzers on the march from St Pölten, Austria. Among the newly arrived units of the 14.Army are the railroad battery Erhart 8000 meters west of Lake Albano, and the antitank battalion of the 114.Jager-Division at Regimental Group Berger. Parts of the 1027.Panzer-Grenadier-Regiment have arrived near Lake Albano. The 56.Rocket-Projector-Regiment, with Kampfgruppe Graser, is ready for action.
Prisoners of war identified the Recon Battalion of the 1st Infantry Division (UK) 1000 meters southeast of Cle Della Mandria, the 2/7th Infantry Regiment (US) at (map reference point) F994322, confirmed the 45th Infantry Division (US) on the beachhead, located the 36th Engineer Battalion, attached to VI Corps, at (map reference point) G32260.
German losses (minus Kampfgruppe Graser) : 70 killed; 191 wounded; 423 missing.
Allied losses : 35 prisoners; 1 Sherman tank destroyed.
February 3 1944
One of our assault detachments inflicted heavy losses on the enemy by attacking a bridge under construction 6500 meters northwest of Borgo Montello. By counterattacks with superior forces, the enemy prevented the destruction of the bridge. Our forces had to withdraw. In the enemy bulge north of Aprilia, our assault detachments advanced their outpost positions. An enemy infantry attack, supported by tanks and 2 assault detachments, was repulsed. New enemy intentions in the area northwest of Aprillia are indicated by the extreme calm that prevails in that area, except for artillery adjustment fire.
The Commanding General of the 1.Fallschirmjäger-Corps reported to 14.Army that preparations for the night of February 4 to 5 are adequate, and that a further delay because of enemy air attacks is unlikely. 14.Army ordered Kampfgruppe Graser to attack without further orders in case the expected enemy attack in the sector of the 71.Infantry-Division occurred. Gen Graser was advised that a successful night attack should be exploited to the point where a push past Aprilia towards the south would be feasible. The 3.Heavy-Company of the 764.Artillery-Regiment and the 1.Fallschimjäger-Machine-Gun-Battalion were withdrawn from the beachhead and transferred to 10.Army for use at Cassino. Estimate of the Situation sent by 14.Army to the Commander in Chief Southwest. So far two enemy infantry divisions have appeared in the forward lines. In the west, opposite the northern flank of the 65.Infantry-Division and opposite Kampfgruppe Graser is the 1st Infantry Division (UK).
In the east, opposite the eastern flank of the 71.Infantry-Division and the western flank of the Panzer-Division Herman Goering, lies the 3rd Infantry Division (US). Each division is supported by a tank brigade. On the eastern flank the enemy has 2 to 3 Ranger Battalions and 1 Parachute Regiment. On the western flank, opposite the southern flank of the 65.Infantry-Division and the 4.Fallschirmjäger-Division, unknown enemy units are operating, but the 65.Infantry-Division brought in a prisoner from the 1st Armored Division (US). In addition to units in the forward lines, we assume that the 1st Armored Division (US) and the 45th Infantry Division (US) are in the rear areas of the beachhead. The presence of the following units is questionable : units of the 2nd Armored Division (US), one Corps Headquarters (UK), and another British division. The intense naval traffic indicates the arrival of reinforcements.
In the battle to enlarge the beachhead the enemy has suffered heavy losses in men and tanks, which was confirmed by prisoners. However, neither his will to attack not his endurance to resist has been broken. The enemy strength is based in his accurate and strong artillery, which is abundantly supplied with ammunition, and on the supporting naval artillery, as well as his superior air force. The mental and physical strain is great on our fresh troops.
Enemy movements and order of battle indicate an attack with one assault group from the region northeast of Aprilia, and with another group from the region west and southwest of Cisterna, in the general direction of Velletri. Holding attacks in other sectors are probable. The forces now in the rear of the beachhead will probably be committed at the center of the attack. The objective of the attack will be to occupy the heights near Velletri to reach Valmontone by advancing through the valley east of Velletri, and to break into the rear of the 10.Army. An attack in the direction of Rome is not likely unless it be executed in connection with a new landing north of the mouth of the Tiber. The 14.Army intends to prevent the enlarging of the beachhead and to prepare an attack to eliminate this area. A number of army units are remnants from various organizations and are not able to mount an attack at this time. During the last days they had to be used in the front lines to prevent an enemy breakthrough. With these forces a strong assault group to conduct the attack on the beachhead cannot be organized. Therefore, the 14.Army has planned attacks with limited objectives to suit various situations as they arise. When the enemy is weakened by these attacks, an all-out counteroffensive will be launched.
The first attack will be launched during the night of February 3 to February 4, by one reinforced regiment, with tanks, in the bulge north of Aprilia. The 1.Fallschirmjäger-Corps will exploit the situation by advancing south beyond present objective, which is the line running 1500 meters northwest of Cle. Valletra to Cle. della Mandria. If successful, the attack will be continued during the night of February 4 to 5, by the 65.Infantry-Division and Kampfgruppe Graser. The objective will be to recover ground on both sides of Aprilia.
As yet, no further attacks have been planned. However, similar attacks will have to be executed in rapid succession in order to prevent effective countermeasures by the enemy. Due to the enemy’s strong artillery, superior air support, and stubborn determination, substantial losses are to be expected. It appears doubtful whether the 14.Army will eliminate the beachhead with the forces available at this time. In order to accomplish its mission, the army requested Army Group to attach additional troops. Should this deplete coastal defenses in other areas it should be considered as a calculated risk.
The Commanding General, 14.Army, issued these orders to subordinate Corps Headquarters : An attack is imperative. Under all circumstances constant blows against the enemy, at least with strong assault detachments, must be delivered along the entire front. This will give us intelligence of the enemy situation, and the enemy, expecting an attack, will be forced to disperse his troops. Partial blows in preparation for the decisive offensive aiming to wipe out the beachhead should be delivered with all available forces in order to weaken the enemy. Therefore, I order : (1) : the elimination of the enemy in the penetrated sector north of Aprilia, as planned by the 1.Fallschirmjäger-Corps Headquarters for the night of February 3 to 4 1944; (2) : that the present main line of resistance be held in all sectors which are not in active combat at the moment.
Assault detachments will attack the enemy continuously. Our forces will be shifted in accordance with enemy moves. Forces will be reduced rapidly in sectors where the enemy is inactive. In order to destroy the enemy near Aprilia this detailed plan will take effect : Western Group will push forward in an easterly direction form the area north and south of Hill 102. The Eastern Group will fight in a westerly direction toward the railroad from the area 1000 meters south of Cle. della Mandria. Then, after establishing a defense line in the south, the enemy should be rolled up in a northern direction.
– The Western Group will consist of a reinforced 145.Grenadier-Regiment (65.ID), 3 infantry battalions, two light artillery battalions, and two combat companies. It will be equipped with ten 88-MM self-propelled guns (Hornets) and 3 heavy antitank guns.
– The Eastern Group will comprise a reinforced 104.Panzer-Grenadier-Regiment, 2 light artillery battalions, 3 infantry battalions, and 2 combat engineer companies. It will be equipped with 8 Hornets and 4 heavy antitank guns. There is a reserve of 12 assault guns in addition, to the detached Artillery Group, with 3 light artillery battalions, 9 heavy artillery battalions including mortars and 170-MM guns, and rocket projectors.
Should the outcome of this attack be favorable, strong assault detachments will push southward past the planned main line of resistance to seize the enemy stronghold at the road junction 1500 meters north of Aprilia. Outposts will be established there. The artillery, the antiaircraft artillery, and the combat engineers assigned to support Kampfgruppe Graser will be brought forward immediately after the completion of the operation. This will enable us to follow up our attack during the night of February 4 to 5 1944, and capture Aprilia. For the attack, the 1.Bn, 4.Panzer-Regiment, equipped with Panthers, will be attached to the LXXVI Panzer-Corps. However, tanks and assault guns will attack wit the infantry; they will not precede the infantry. All officers are expected to understand the urgency of the situation. Our grand strategy demands that the beachhead be wiped out promptly.
After a telephone call with Kesselring, the CG of the 14.Army issued the following orders : Compared with other fronts, we have particularly strong artillery forces, and an adequate supply of ammunition. Enemy attacks must be repelled before they reach our main line of resistance. Artillery officers will be held responsible if this task should fail, because of the lack of coordination between infantry and artillery, faulty liaison, or bad leadership. Continuous artillery fire will support the infantry. Single bursts of fire are not adequate for the support of infantry. A barrage will be placed in front of our lines. Long-range guns will engage enemy naval artillery, preventing it from interfering with our operations. Sectors of the main line of resistance where no attack is planned will be held and fortified by use of construction battalions. Tactical command posts will be moved from communication centers and villages for protection against air raids, which might cause a delay in the attack or the loss of staff personnel.
As a countermeasure against possible further amphibious or airborne operations against Rome, the 1027.Panzer-Grenadier-Regiment is held as a motorized reserve. The 1027.Panzer-Grenadier-Regiment, 450.Artillery-Battalion, 3.Co, 525.Antitank-Battalion, (88-MM SP Guns), and the 1.Co, 60.Combat-Engineer-Battalion (Motorized) are available to counterattack the expected enemy landing in the area of Civitavecchia. The Commander of Artillery Group 317 is placed under the command of Army. He will command the long-range artillery group of the unattached 619.Regiment and the 56.Projector-Regiment, reinforced by the Projector Demonstration Battalion. He will coordinate the artillery of both Corps in order to assure effectiveness of the artillery, particularly along the Corps boundaries.
Prisoners of war have confirmed the 1st Duke of Wellington, of the 3rd Brigade (1st Infantry Division)(UK) at Hill 115. Units of the 1st Armored Division (US) are employed in the area north of Aprilia.
German losses : 67 killed; 259 wounded; 194 missing.
Allied losses : 2 prisoners (American); 2 trucks destroyed; 3 aircraft downed.
February 4 1944
Our attack north of Aprilia began at 2300 last night. Kampfgruppe Pfeiffer (65.ID) reached the road 3200 meters southwest of Cle. Vallelata and defended this newly won position with artillery fire. Kampfgruppe Graser penetrated the main line of resistance 2500 meters north of Aprilia and contacted Kampfgruppe Pfeiffer. After setting up a defensive front toward the south, the cut off enemy groups were attacked. Individual strong points were heavily fought over and enemy attempts to relieve their encircled forces from the south by attacks in battalion strength, with tank support, were repulsed. Our artillery supported our attack by firing on Allied reserves, brought toward Aprilia. An enemy battalion north of Aprilia was destroyed. Heavy enemy artillery fire, partly supported by naval gunfire, interfered with our attacks. The main forces of the 29.Grenadier-Regiment (Motorized) were placed on the main line of resistance during the night of February 4 to 5.
The terrain of our attack was difficult, because of the many deep cuts running in a northeast to southwesterly direction. Supporting tanks were handicapped by the heavy rains and mud. Any success against the stubborn enemy was due to the efforts of our infantry. Our losses were light compared to those of the enemy. We captured 5 trucks, 2 armored reconnaissance cars, 1 Sherman tank, 3 ammunition carriers, and 2 motorcycles. With the exception of the 2 reconnaissance cars and 1 ammunition carrier damaged by artillery fire, all vehicles were intact. They were abandoned by their crews without attempting to destroy them.
The 1st Royal Battalion of the 2nd Brigade of the 1st Infantry Division (UK) is located 1500 meters northeast of Cle. Spaccassassi according to a British prisoner. He also said the 7th Infantry Regiment (US), with 3rd Recon Battalion attached, was on the right side of the 1st Royal. This confirms our previous estimates of the boundary between the British and American forces. Captured papers confirmed previous information that the 1st Armored Division (US) was on the beachhead. The 6th Gordons Infantry Battalion (UK) was in the area 1500 meters south of Cle. della Mandria. The 1st Duke of Wellington Infantry Regiment (UK) is 4000 meters northeast of Aprilia, and the 1st King’s Shropshire Light Infantry Regiment (UK) is south of Stazione Campoleone.
German losses : 74 killed; 161 wounded; 498 missing.
Allied losses : 19 officers taken prisoner, 900 enlisted men taken prisoner in a pocket north of Aprilia; 12 tanks; 1 armored recon car destroyed; 4 aircraft shot down.
February 5 1944
Only minor infantry activities took place during the day. The enemy artillery was active including naval guns. In the evening, the left flank of the 71.Infantry-Division and the 26.Panzer-Division attacked on 14.Army orders with the objective to establish a new main line of resistance from Ponte Carano to a crossing 3000 meters northeast of Cle. Carano. Our armor crossed the railroad dam and penetrated the olive grove 1600 meters west of Ponte Carano. An enemy attack from the grove in battalion strength was halted when it reached its own artillery impact area. Enemy losses were high. The Parachute Demonstration Battalion attacking the woods west of Ponte Rotto had to withdraw under enemy pressure. The left flank of the division reached its objective with armored support and occupied Ponte Rotto. Our artillery fired on visual targets with good results. 1 cruiser and 1 destroyer 4 miles west of Anzio withdrew. Army Reserves included the :
1 & 2 Bns, 147.Gren-Regt (behind 1.Fallschirmjäger-Corps)
2 battalions 67.Panzer-Grenadier-Regiment
1028.Panzer-Grenadier-Regiment (behind LXXVI Corps)
1027.Panzer-Grenadier-Regiment (former Army reserve) assigned to 4.Fallschirmjäger-Division.
By order of the Army High Command the reinforced 1027.Panzer-Grenadier-Regiment was assigned to the 3.Panzer-Grenadier-Division, and the reinforced 1028.Panzer-Grenadier-Regiment to the 26.Panzer-Division. With the assignment of these regiments each of the two divisions now has 3 Panzer Grenadier Regiments. Due to the possibility of new landings, particularly in the area between the Tiber River and Livorno, 14.Army ordered the following units to be ready to move after a 2 hour warning :
the newly arrived units of the 114.Jager-Division
Artillery Situation : A total of 39 enemy batteries has been located. An additional 20 batteries are believed to be in the area. Therefore, our 85 batteries are opposed by 59 Allied batteries. Not included in this figure are enemy heavy caliber naval guns, which give considerable support to the land forces, and armored self-propelled artillery. Unlike our own, the enemy’s artillery has at its disposal an almost unlimited supply of ammunition. Due to the absence of enemy counterbattery fire, it is believed that he has no exact picture of our artillery positions.
The ensuing table depicts the artillery available to our own units.
Unit / No. of Batteries / No. of Guns / Caliber
1.Fallschirmjäger-Corps – 20 – 87 – 22-MM to 105-MM
LXXVI Panzer-Corps – 46 – 156 – 57-MM to 105-MM
Army Coast Artillery – 10.5 – 43 – 19-MM to 105-MM
56.Rocket-Projector-Regt – 7 – 41 – 35-MM to 150-MM
Panzer-Projector-Battery-Herman Goering – / – 8 – 150-MM
Railroad Artillery – 2 – 4
Army reserve – 9 – 35 – none over 105-MM
Total : 94.5 Batteries – 374 Tubes
A rocket projector demonstration battalion is expected. The chart below indicates the tanks, assault guns, heavy antitank guns available in our area, less those employed in coastal defense.
Type of Tank and Tanks at Hands : (February 1944)
Panzer IV (Long) 1120
Panzer V (Panther) 59
Flame-throwing Tanks 56
Panzer VI (Tiger) 4
Command Tanks – German 77
Command Tanks – Italian 33
Total : 1349
Assault Guns : (February 1944)
German – 2218
Italian – 2629
Total – 4847
Captured documents indicate that the 1st Irish Guards is supported by the 39th Battalion of the Field Artillery Regiment. The 81st Reconnaissance Battalion of the 1st Armored Division (US) has been established 1000 meters southeast of l’Osteriacoia. The 2/36th Engineer Regiment (US) is about 4000 meters southwest of Le Ferriere. According to 2 prisoners of war of Fox Co, the 30th Infantry Regiment (3-ID)(US) is 1000 meters south of Padiglione and George Co is 1000 meters east of that town. Most of the prisoners taken in the pocket north of Aprilia are from the 6th Gordons and 1st Duke of Wellington’s Regiment (UK). A prisoner of war says the 1/504th Parachute Infantry Regiment is near the bridge 1500 meters southwest of Borgo Piave. An enemy patrol had the mission to capture prisoners for interrogation as the enemy is preparing an attack from the Littoria area. Rumors are spreading that the 509th Parachute Infantry Regiment will arrive in Anzio soon. As the enemy is not committing his reserves, it is assumed that he is preparing a new attack. It is possible that apart from continuing his efforts to break out of the beachhead in the direction of Aprilia, the enemy will attempt a breakthrough towards Cisterna. Another possibility is an attack in the direction of Ardea, in coordination with a landing west of Ardea.
Enemy strength on Anzio Beachhead as of February 5 1944
1st Infantry Division
46th Tank Battalion
3rd Infantry Division
71st Tank Battalion
601st Tank Destroyer Bn
1st Armored Division
504th Parachute Regiment
45th Infantry Division
Elements, 2nd Armored Division
66th Armored Regiment
German losses : 64 killed; 190 wounded; 7 missing.
Allied losses : 63 prisoners; 102 dead.
Destroyed or captured :
3 howitzers (75-MM)
1 light gun
4 light mortars
1 machine gun
2 antitank guns
numerous small arms
7 planes shot down
34 vehicles destroyed
XIII – February 6 1944
A. Operations Report
With the exception of reconnaissance, artillery and air activities by both sides, the day was quiet. During the night an enemy attack, in company strength, against the right sector of the 26.-Panzer-Division was broken up by concentrated fire of all weapons. Our artillery shelled enemy assembly areas, entrenchments, batteries and ships at Nettuno and Anzio. Our antiaircraft guns (88-MM) shelled the airport 2.5 km southeast of Nettuno. The 114.-Jager-Division, less Kampfgruppe Berger, is assembling in the region of Frascati – Castel di Leva – Torre Chiesacoia. The 1.-Bn, 4.-Panzer-Regiment will be in the region 5 km west of Albano tonight. The 301.-Panzer-Battalion (remote-controlled demolition vehicles) arrived in part in the region south of Stazione Agraria (5 km south of the outskirts of Rome). By order of the 14. Armee, the newly arrived staff of the 69.-Panzer-Regiment is attached to the LXXVI Panzer Corps. The staff and subordinate units will constitute Army reserves. They are :
1.-Bn, 4.-Panzer-Regiment (Panther)
301.-Panzer-Battalion (remote-controlled demolition vehicles)
1 assault howitzer battalion
Panzer Company Schwelbach (Tiger) currently with the 3.-Pzr-Gren-Div
1 Tank Destroyer Company (Ferdinand)
The units now in transit will assemble in the region south and southeast of Rome. All measures for a rapid drive to the south must be prepared. The Army High Command has ordered the activation of the 92.-Infantry-Division in the Civitavecchia area. The majority of the troops will be obtained from the reinforced 1026.-Grenadier-Regiment. It will consist of the 1059.-Grenadier-Regiment, 1060.-Grenadier-Regiment, and the 192.-Artillery-Battalion. Its activation will be completed by March 1 1944, and the division will be ready for action by April 15 1944. The Commanding General of 14. Armee issued an order setting forth the following directions :
(1) the aim of the next attack by the Army will be the capture of Aprilia. This attack will be made during the night of February 7 to 8. The approximate main line of resistance after the attack will be the line along the southern edge of the ridge Tenuto Bucaroposo to 1 km southwest of Casale Carroceto to the crossroads southwest of Aprilia to the road fork 5 km northeast of Aprilia.
(2) diversions will be carried out along the entire front. Strong elements of I Parachute Corps will attack from the west. The main attack group, consisting of LXXVI Panzer Corps, reinforced by available elements of the 71.-Infantry-Division, will attack from the east.
(3) the ground liaison officer of the 2.-Luftwaffe will be requested to provide strong fighter escort over the area of Aprilia as early as possible on February 8, and to have planes alerted for missions requested by the LXXVI Panzer Corps.
An updated paper captured in the sector of the 7th Infantry Regiment (US) indicated that the 45th US Infantry Division, supported by a second brigade (probably the 1st Infantry Division (UK) will attack Ardea. The interrogation of two prisoners captured north of Aprilia on February 5 1944 indicated that the 169th Brigade (UK) was an element of the 56th Infantry Division (UK). The brigade is on the beachhead, as well as the entire division. It is possible that an attack toward Ardea will be made by the 45th Infantry Division (US) and possibly parts of the 1st Infantry Division (UK). This attack may be coordinated with a landing in the region south of Rome.
German losses : 46 killed; 132 wounded; 5 missing.
February 7 1944
The hill, 1500 meters northeast of Cle S. Lorenzo, captured last night by an assault detachment, was later taken by the enemy as a result of counterfire which caused many casualties. An enemy attack in battalion strength on the right flank of the 26.Panzer-Division was repulsed. Two assault detachments wiped out two enemy strongholds on two hills 2500 meters northeast of Aprilia. In the evening, the attack to recapture Aprilia began as planned. The 4.Fallschirmjäger-Division, which occupied the edge of the woods south of the Holette Creek, made numerous feints with reconnaissance patrols and assault detachments.
At 2100, the 65.Infantry-Division penetrated the enemy main line of resistance after combating enemy forces which stubbornly defended their positions. After destroying points of resistance in the Buon Riposo Valley we succeeded in seizing a hill 2000 meters southwest of Aprilia. At 2130, the LXXVI Panzer-Corps attacked on the right flank (Kampfgruppe Graser) and penetrated the enemy line along the road 1000 meters east of Cantoniera. Diversionary attempts were made by assault detachments of the 26.Panzer-Division and the Panzer-Division Herman Goering. In spite of heavy defensive fire by artillery and naval guns, the attacking forces reached their designated objectives in all sectors. Our artillery supported the attack, with harassing and surprise fire on enemy troop concentrations and movements, shelters, and supply routes. In addition, the 280-MM railroad guns and the 170-MM guns shelled enemy ships off Anzio and Nettuno.
The attack on Aprilia is planned for 0600, February 8. After an air raid by the Luftwaffe on Nettuno, fires were observed. After the completion of the attack on Aprilia, the Army Command has ordered the LXXVI Panzer-Corps to reorganize its forces as follows :
(1) withdraw 26.Pzr-Div asap to the vicinity of Cisterna, where it is to act as a reserve
(2) replace 71.Inf-Div by the 715.Inf-Div (Motorized)
(3) prepare to place the 114.Jager-Div, less Kampfgruppe Berger, in the sector currently held by Kampfgruppe Graser
(4) withdraw 3.Pzr-Gren-Regt from the front. This reorganization must be completed no later than February 14 1944
Army reserves with the 1.Fallschirmjäger-Corps are :
3 bns of the 4.Fallschirmjäger-Division
LXXVI Panzer Corps :
2.Bn, 194.Gren-Regt, and 26.Pzr-Recon-Bn, as its subordinate unit.
Prisoners confirm the position of the 1st London Scots (169th Brigade of the 56th Infantry Division)(UK) to be north of Aprilia, and the 1st Irish Rifles (UK) to be west of Spaccasassi.
German losses (minus 1.Fallschirmjäger-Corps) : 23 killed; 99 wounded; 9 missing.
Allied losses : 8 British prisoners; 28 American prisoners; 4 tanks destroyed or captured; 1 tank rendered immobile; 1 scout car destroyed; 3 motor vehicles destroyed; 5 fighter bombers downed.
Captured material : 8 automatic rifles; 7 light machine guns; 1 bazooka; 13 mines; 1 radio set (tank); 2 ammunition carriers; 2 motorcycles.
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Gunter ‘Doc Snafu’ Gillot
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