Anzio, Italy, 1944 – The German 10. and 14.Armies – Part Six
February 23 1944
After brief artillery preparatory fire, the 65.Infantry-Division renewed its attack at 0530, against the encircled enemy at Cle Buon Riposo. Supported by self-propelled guns, we succeeded in penetrating the enemy’s defensive system, and occupied the houses at Cle Buon Riposo. With the exception of enemy remnants we cleared out the valley. Two enemy relief attacks, in battalion strength from the south, were repulsed after heavy fighting. Our artillery shelled infantry and artillery targets, and supported the attack on Cle Buon Riposo with blocking fires towards the south. During the night of February 22 to 23, the 725.Grenadier-Regiment (715.Infantry-Division), was relieved by the 2.Bn, of the 1028.Panzer-Grenadier-Regiment, and transferred to Fosso Presciano, 4000 meters northeast of Campoleone as reserve. Kampfgruppe von Corvin, which had been attached to the 715.Infantry-Division on February 21, was now placed under the command of the 114.Jäger-Division. At 1200, the 362.Infantry-Division was attached to the LXXVI Panzer-Corps.
(Photo bellow) 1944 – War correspondent Tom Trainor with the most kissed woman in the Nettuno-Anzio area. She was permitted to remain behind to take care of her invalid husband when the area was evacuated and kissed every Allied soldier who arrived in the area.
According to prisoners, the 509th Parachute Battalion (US) is now located 1500 meters north of the Collo del Pozzo, 2000 meters west of Cle Carano. The battalion is attached to the 3rd Infantry Division (US). On its right is the 7th Infantry Regiment (3rd Infantry Division); and on its left the 180th Infantry Regiment (45th Infantry Division).
According to interrogation of prisoners of war and captured documents, the 167th Infantry Brigade (UK) and 169th Infantry Brigade (UK) landed on February 11 and February 19, respectively.
For the past week, the boundary between the English and American sectors ran along the Aprilia – Anzio Highway. Reliable sources report that the Royal Scot Greys Armored Battalion is in the area east of the highway. Counterattacks from the area southwest of Aprilia, strongly supported by armor, are to be expected. Reliable sources report that part of the enemy armored forces are assembled in this area.
German losses (less 3.Pzr-Gren-Div, 9.Pzr-Gren-Regt and 1027.Pzr-Gren-Regt) : 33 killed; 184 wounded; 8 missing.
Allied losses : 402 prisoners (majority from 2/57th Infantry Regiment and 2/7th Queen’s Own); 1 tank put out of commission.
February 24 1944
Reconnaissance and combat patrols were conducted by both sides during the period. In the sector of the 1.Fallschirmjäger-Corps, an enemy attack in company strength and a tank assault were repelled. The pocket at Cle Buon Risposo was cleared, with the exception of a few dispersed Allied troops. At 0230, the 10.Fallschirmjäger-Regiment and the 11.Fallschirmjäger-Regiment began an attack to straighten the main line of resistance at the boundary of the 4.Fallschirmjäger-Division and the 65.Infantry-Division. The 3.Panzer-Grenadier-Division will be attached to the 1.Fallschirmjäger-Corps at noon on February 25; the Infantry-Demonstration-Regiment, 998.Heavy-Artillery-Battalion, the 10.Co of the Artillery-Demonstration-Regiment, and one company of the 525.Heavy-Antitank-Battalion (Hornets) are attached to this division. The new boundary line of the 01.Fallschirmjäger-Corps is : Stazione di Campoleone, Aprilia and Cle l’Ovilo, 1000 meters east of Cantoniera
The 10.Army will supply the 3.Panzer-Grenadier-Division with 10 armored personnel carriers for the evacuation of wounded. One company of the 653.Antitank-Battalion (Ferdinand) will be attached to the LXXVI Panzer-Corps. The 3.Bn of the 1.Fallschirmjäger-Regiment, previously committed in the sector of the Panzer-Division Herman Goering, will return to the 1.Fallschirmjäger-Division (10.Army). The Fallschirmjäger-Demonstration-Battalion, up to now with Panzer-Division Herman Goering, will be attached to the 4.Fallschimjäger-Division.
According to prisoner of war statements, the 6th Cheshire of the 56th Infantry Division (UK) landed on February 16. It consists of 4 companies and one Hqs Co. Each company is equipped with 12 heavy machine guns. Lt Col Birch is the commanding officer of the battalion. Heavy traffic on Highway 82 indicates further re-groupings. It is probable that elements of the 1st Infantry Division (UK), which are being kept in reserve, will be committed to relieve the weaker sectors of the 45th Infantry Division (US).
German losses (less 3.Pzr-Gren-Div and 715.Inf-Div) : 91 killed; 343 wounded; 55 missing.
Losses 14.Army Feb 16/22 (including material turned in for repair) : 450 submachine guns, 430 light machine guns, 93 heavy machine guns, 6 light mortars, 56 medium mortars, 1 heavy mortar, 2 light infantry guns, 12 light antitank guns, 13 light field howitzers (12 salvageable), 7 heavy field howitzers (7 salvageable), 3 guns – 100-MM (3 salvageable), 1 light gun, 6 guns – 75-MM, 1 howitzer – 220-MM, 5 antiaircraft guns – 20-MM, 5 rocket launchers – 150-MM, 10 rocket launchers – 210-MM.
Allied losses : 52 prisoners (this makes a total of 650 prisoners taken in the pocket at Cle Buon Riposo); 2 tanks put out of commission.
February 25 1944
During the night, the 4.Fallschirmjäger-Division and 65.Infantry-Division succeeded in pushing the main line of resistance forward despite heavy enemy artillery and mortar fire. This attack was part of the operation the straighten the line. Late in the evening, the enemy attacked the sector of the 65.Infantry-Division at the Michel Gorgo, and 1000 meters northwest of Captoniera. At both points the attack was under support of heavy artillery fire, but was stopped by coordinated fire of our artillery. No major operations, except raids, took place in the sector of the LXXVI Panzer-Corps.
The following is an order for a new attack against the beachhead :
On February 28, the Army will resume its attack against the beachhead. The LXXVI Panzer-Corps will attack at 0400; in the sector of the 362.Infantry-Division the attack will begin at 0545. The objective is to drive the enemy into the sea. To achieve surprise, deception and secrecy are paramount. The 1.Fallschirmjäger-Corps is to feign preparations for an impending large-scale attack in its sector, as well as to increase activity by assault detachments during the night of February 27 to 28. Roving guns are to be employed in the area of Ardea to simulate a concentration of a new artillery group. The arrival of strong, motorized forces in the area of Ardea is to be simulated during the 26, the 27 and the night of February 27 to 28. For this purpose, combat vehicles of the 3.Panzer-Grenadier-Division will be used. Individual vehicles will be ordered to blink their lights while moving up during the night, but this must not be done in a clumsy way.
In the evening of February 27, an attack to seize Hill 78 and Hill 79, 1000 meters north of Fta Campo di Carno, is to be executed. The LXXVI Panzer-Corps is to simulate an impending strong attack in the direction of the Mussolini Canal, by tank supported raids and the use of roving guns. These operations will not be extended farther than Borgo Piave. In the sector where the actual attack is planned, raiding and scouting will be carried out in usual strength only. No units, other than those at present employed in these sectors, will be used in these operations. Scouting or raiding by mobile units is prohibited. During the attack, it will be important that bridgeheads are established on the south bank of the Austuro Creek. These bridgeheads will serve as bases for further attacks. The enemy forces remaining on the flanks of our assault group must be wiped out in a frontal attack by the reserves of the Army Group. The Luftwaffe is requested to provide air-ground support for our attacking forces, and to chase off enemy artillery observation planes, especially on February 28.
The 65.Infantry-Division reported that as a result of recent actions the condition of its infantry is such that only an immediate relief can prevent complete exhaustion. The combat strength on February 23 was 33 officers, 1 non commissioned officer, and 559 enlisted men. This number includes two regimental staffs and some regimental units. Nearly all competent non commissioned officers and specialists were lost during recent actions. The division will receive 400 to 600 men as replacements (surplus personnel of the 362.Infantry-Division). The 14.Army suggests that according to development of the situation, single battalions be withdrawn for 10 to 14 days as the current situation does not warrant the withdrawal of entire divisions. At 1200, the 715.Infantry-Division took over the sector of the 362.Infantry-Division, which was withdrawn for the coming offensive. The divisions designated for the attack on February 28 are already in their respective assembly areas. The 1.Bn and the 2.Bn of the 115.Panzer-Grenadier-Regiment arrived in the area of Cori. These two battalions were part of the 15.Panzer-Grenadier-Division (10.Army) and are now attached to the 14.Army as reserve.
During the last days, the enemy attempted to regroup his disorganized units. It was established that American units were relieved by the 1st Infantry Division and the 56th Infantry Division (UK), which now hold the line extending from the coast to the eastern side of the Aprilia – Anzio Highway. Adjoining is the 45th Infantry Division (US), with a front line extending to the area of Cle Carno. On the latter’s right flank is the 3rd Infantry Division (US). Regrouping and moving up replacements continued. The main defensive centers are still on both sides Fta Campo di Carno.
German losses (less 65.Inf-Div) : 18 killed; 51 wounded and 9 missing.
Allied losses : 46 prisoners
Last night an enemy attack of about a company strength and supported by artillery and mortar fire, succeeded in temporarily penetrating the main line of resistance in the sector of the 4.Fallschirmjäger-Division. Our immediate counterattack reestablished the main line of resistance and relieved one platoon of the 10.Fallschirmjäger-Regiment which had been encircled. Except for reciprocal combat patrols, the other sectors were quiet.
At 1200, the 735.Grenadier-Regiment of the 715.Infantry-Division, took over the sector of Kampfgruppe Heidebrook from the Panzer-Division Herman Goering. The 14.Army High Command ordered that in the coming attack, in addition to the previous plans, a tank group is to push forward on the highway Spaccassassi – Ponto della Crocotta. In this operation it is imperative that Carano be seized during the first night by one surprise raid.
The main line of resistance along the southern flank of the LXXVI Panzer-Corps is to be pushed forward, during the night of February 26 to 27, and at least as far as the present line of our combat outposts. From this line, assault detachments, supported by assault guns or tanks, will thrust forward toward the Mussolini Canal.
Those assaults are to be made on as broad a front as possible. The line of combat outposts will be advanced to the Mussolini Canal, or at least as close as possible to the canal.
The 1/157th Infantry Regiment (45th Infantry Division US) was confirmed to the in the area of the Loschione Bridge, 1000 meters west of Cle Tre di Padiglione.
(Above) A family of Italian refugees from Monte Cassino fleeing their blasted town on the road leading to Acquafondata which is held by Allied troops. Italy. Acquafondata, February 8 1944. (NARA)(EUCMH)
(Below) While a piper plays a special rum ration is issued to men of the 2nd Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers to mark the St Patricks Day in the Anzio bridgehead area in Italy. (NARA)(EUCMH)
February 27 1944
No activity too place on either side, except reconnaissance and assault detachment operations. The enemy carried out reconnaissance and combat patrols against the sector held by the 715.Infantry-Division. The 14.Army enemy artillery batteries were located by reconnaissance. Most of them were in the western sector. The date for the intended attack is changed from February 28 to February 29. The plans remain unchanged. Beginning the night of February 27 to 28, the 29.Panzer-Grenadier-Division will be withdrawn form the front and concentrated in the area Lanuvio – Genzano – Palomba. These movements are to be completed before dawn March 1. The 146.Grenadier-Regiment, which is arriving from the Cassino area, will take over the sector of the 29.Panzer-Grenadier-Division. Elements of the 129.Recon-Battalion (motorized), one light artillery battalion, and elements of the 525.Antitank-Battalion (Hornets) will remain in this sector.
Able Co, 2nd Bn, 5th Queen’s, 169th Brigade, 56th Infantry Division (UK) is in the area of Michele Gorgo, according to prisoner of was interrogations.
German losses : 44 killed; 177 wounded and 15 missing.
Allied losses : 39 prisoners, 1 tank destroyed by mine, several MGs and small arms taken.
February 28 1944
Following up the attack by the 65.Infantry-Division on February 25, the left flank of the 4.Fallschirmjäger-Division pushed forward at the eastern end of the Michele Gorgo. In a sudden raid in the morning, the 65.Infantry-Division took the group of ruined houses 1000 meters southwest of Cle Buon Riposo. Simultaneously, a second attacking group advanced in the Campo si Carne gorge, south of Cle Buon Riposo, to a line even with the first attack force. Enemy counterattacks of the group of houses were stopped by artillery fire. In addition, our artillery silenced five enemy batteries. Explosions were observed at four targets.
At 2000, the 1.Fallschirmjäger-Corps took over the sector of the 146.Grenadier-Regiment. Two artillery batteries of the 29.Panzer-Grenadier-Division were withdrawn. The 14.Army ordered the 29.Panzer-Grenadier-Division to make a road reconnaissance on February 29 for a possible attack at daybreak, March 1, the objective of which would be to occupy the Astura sector, between the road Borgo Podgora – Borgo Mentello and the coast. This does not interfere with the original plan to employ the division at the center of the LXXVI Panzer-Corps attack.
The CG of the 14.Army made the following report to the Commander in Chief Southwest :
The divisions and regiments with little combat experience or insufficient training are not suitable for difficult offensive operations. The 65.Infantry-Division, the 114.Jäger-Division and the 715.Infantry-Division suffered heavy losses. Most casualties are inflicted by enemy artillery fire. Shell fragments are responsible for 75 percent of all wounds, while 10 to 15 percent of the casualties have been caused by enemy air attacks. The fact that due to insufficient training the men do not know how to handle themselves properly in battle has increased our casualties. The planning for attacks, the redeployment of troops, and the offensive operations now take longer due to heavy losses among officers and non commissioned officers.
According to prisoners of war, the 1/180th Infantry Regiment (45th Infantry Division US) is located at the northeastern edge of the Vallicello Grandi Woods. On its left is the 179th Infantry Regiment. The 1st Duke of Wellington Regiment and 2nd Foresters Regiment are employed in the front line, while the 1st King’s Shropshire Light Infantry Regiment is in a reserve position. Replacements from Naples increased the strength of the companies to 150 men. The enemy seems to have transferred his attention from the Aprilia sector to the sector of Cisterna – Littoria.
German losses (less 114.Jäger-Div and 362.Inf-Div) : 37 killed; 116 wounded and 18 missing.
Allied losses : 135 prisoners (130 British, 5 American); 2 tanks put out of commission.
February 29 1944
At 0400, the LXXVI Panzer-Corps started the new attack against the beachhead with the 114.Jäger-Division, the 362.Infantry-Division, the 26.Panzer-Division and the Panzer-Division Herman Goering. The enemy had been pinned down and confused as to our intentions by the 1.Fallschirmjäger-Corps’ raids and local attacks along the entire front. Over 100 prisoners were taken during these operations.
It was difficult to bring up the units of the LXXVI Panzer-Corps to their initial positions due to mud from the continuous rains. The attacks of the divisions, especially the 362.Infantry-Division and the 26.Panzer-Grenadier-Division, were hampered as their troops were exhausted from marching in the mud. The attack was limited to local penetrations of the enemy’s main line of defense because the defense area was stubbornly defended and strengthened by mines and barbed wire entanglements.
The employment of tanks by the 362.Infantry-Division was not possible as the ground conditions were unfavorable. The 26.Panzer-Grenadier-Division was unable to employ its tanks fully because the Ponte Rotto bridge had been destroyed. Several attacks of the 362.Infantry-Division against Cle del Pozzo, 2000 meters east of Cle Carno, were unsuccessful in spite of the concentration of all forces. Raids by the 741.Jäger-Regiment (114.Jäger-Division) wiped out two strong points in the area west of Torro di Padilione, and brought back 10 prisoners. Several attacks on Cle Carano were repulsed by strong defensive fire. Six tanks were lost during these attacks.
The right flank of the 26.Panzer-Division, after crossing its own main line of resistance, was stopped by strong enemy resistance with very high losses. The 9.Panzer-Grenadier-Regiment on the left flank attacked along the road running southwest from Ponte Rotto. After clearing mine fields on both sides of the road, it advanced and captured the crossroads 1000 meters southwest of Ponte Rotto at 1230. Supported by tanks, it made several attempts to capture Hill 77, 1500 meters west of Ponte Rotto, suffering heavy losses in officers and tanks. It was unsuccessful. The attack to seize the adjacent Rubbia Heights was halted by heavy fire.
Units of the Panzer-Division Herman Goering reached a line 300 meters southeast of Isola Bella. The right flank of the division made little progress due to strong enemy resistance. At 1200, several tanks reached the north edge of Isola Bella. The 715.Infantry-Division sent assault troops to tale the crossings over the Fosso di Cisteran, 3500 meters north of Borgo Podgora, and the Mussolini Canal, 1000 meters north of Borgo Podgora. These assaults met strong enemy resistance and did not reach their desired objectives.
During the evening, the enemy pushed back our advanced positions to the old line of resistance at the left flank of the Division. During the night, the sector of the 1.Fallschirmjäger-Corps had been heavily attacked by enemy artillery fire, which had increased before our attack began. Apparently, the enemy believed our main effort was going to be in this area. Our deception appeared to have been successful. However, enemy artillery was regrouped during the day, after which concentrated fire was laid in front of our attacking forces. Fire from all of our artillery positions, supported by antiaircraft and rocket fire at the points of main effort, was directed at enemy strongholds, pockets of resistance, and flank positions.
Our artillery subjected the enemy’s supply lines, assembly and unloading areas, mainly in the sector of Casale Campomorto and Le Forriero, to harassing fire throughout the entire day. Our counter-battery fire was successful in neutralizing the enemy’s artillery. The enemy’s rear area was subjected to constant shelling with all available long-range guns. Several direct hits on ships were observed. One ship was sunk in the harbor entrance to Anzio. We aim to prevent the enemy from transferring troops from the front of the 1.Fallschirmjäger-Corps. Strong raids will be made on this front. It is also necessary that the LXXVI Panzer-Corps establish one or more bridgeheads across the Astura as soon as possible. Combat teams supported by tanks will make the attack. The 29.Panzer-Grenadier-Division is transferred to the LXXVI Panzer-Corps for employment on the east flank of the attacking forces.
Allied artillery ammunition expended was 66.600 rounds. The German artillery ammunition expended was 1183 tons, of which the following number of rounds were expended by the weapons indicated : Rocket projectors (150-MM) – 817 rounds, Rocket projectors (210-MM) – 144 rounds, Guns (170-MM) – 600 rounds and Railway guns (210-MM) – 12 rounds. German Artillery Employed on the beachhead : 151 Howitzer 105-MM, 61 Howitzer 150-MM, 46 Guns 100-MM, 8 Light Guns 75-MM, 12 Guns (Russian) 3 inches (76.2-MM), 18 Guns 170-MM, 12 Heavy Howitzers (Italian), 20 Captured Enemy Guns, 3 Howitzers 210-MM, 9 Howitzers (French) 220-MM, 2 Railway Guns 210-MM, 51 Rocket Projectors 150-MM, 739 AA Batteries – 88-MM. Total : 400 guns.
Enemy information : According to prisoner of war reports, Love Co, 3/7th Infantry regiment (3rd Infantry Division US) was in the area southwest of Collo del Pozzo, 2000 meters west of Cle Carano.
German losses (less 362.Inf-Div) : 143 killed; 429 wounded and 269 missing.
Allied losses : 180 prisoners; 3 airplanes downed.
Operations to harass the enemy along the entire front of the 1.Fallschirmjäger-Corps were continued. After the enemy received reinforcements, he attacked all important sectors of the LXXVI Panzer-Corps. The Corps was forced to give up part of the ground gained the previous day. At daybreak the enemy made an attack on the 362.Infantry-Division, in the course of which he reached the Fosso di Carano and seized Hill 63, 800 meters northwest of Colla del Pozzo. We regained the heights in a counterattack. An enemy assault at the Colla del Pozzo was halted by our artillery fire. The enemy forced the 26.Panzer-Grenadier-Division to withdraw from the Rubbia Woods, which we had taken in the morning. Due to enemy attacks and heavy casualties, the Panzer-Division Herman Goering lost the ground gained the day before.
The following order from Kesselring was received :
Today’s (February 29) successes did not meet our expectations despite the fact that we had achieved surprise, that enemy artillery fire was light, and his air raids delayed. Again and again I have noticed an overestimate of the enemy. This has resulted in lack of aggressiveness by both officers and men. We are all aware that the importance of this attack is not only confined to this theatre of war. However, we will succeed only if officers and men regain their former self-confidence as in olden days, inspired by an impetuous urge to attack. It is necessary to keep on pushing forward, even is adjacent troops have been stopped, and enemy strong points have to be bypassed. We must continue attempting to establish bridgeheads across the Mussolini Canal and the Astura Creek.
The CG of the 14.Army reported to the Commander in Chief Southwest that the failure of the previous day was mainly due to the deficiencies enumerated on February 27, which are : insufficient training of troops and young replacements who are not qualified to meet the Allied troops in battle. Due to this, the Army will be unable to wipe out the beachhead with the troops on hand. The tactics which have been employed, was to reduce the beachhead gradually by concentrated attacks by several divisions, cannot be effectively continued much longer. New tactics must be employed in order to enable us to meet the eventual enemy large-scale attack from the beachhead with an adequate number of troops and material.
This attack will probably be made in conjunction with an offensive against the front of the 10.Army and, possibly simultaneously with the main invasion in Western Europe if weather conditions turn for the better, It will be the mission of the Army to harass the enemy and to keep him in the dark concerning our intentions, and to improve our positions in order to reduce the beachhead so as to place us in a favorable position counter the eventual major enemy attack. A message was sent from the Commander in Chief Southwest to the Commanding General 14.Army at 1840. This message stated that contrary to the weather predictions, it has been raining continuously for 18 hours. The ground is so muddy that neither tanks nor horse-drawn vehicles can be moved. Therefore, concentrated attacks must be halted. The division will continue to mount carefully prepared local raids. Units which are not needed for these actions will be withdrawn for rest and replacements.
Order from the 14. Armee to subordinate units :
Since the attack on February 29 did not lead to the desired result, our next operation will be to launch minor well-prepared attacks to push our lines forward and to reduce the enemy beachhead. The 26.Panzer-Division and the 29.Panzer-Grenadier-Division will be withdrawn from the front as tactical reserve.
In general, the orders to the Corps were to engage the enemy along the entire front. At least two raids a night will be launched in every division sector. Attacks in company and battalion strength will be carried out with the twofold purpose of improving our positions and inflicting heavy losses on the enemy. The objectives for attacks will be chosen with these points in mind. These actions will start immediately. Especially selected and equipped assault companies and battalions will be formed in all divisions. Recent days have shown that the different arms are not cooperating sufficiently in battle. It is imperative that during the coming attacks mistakes be pointed out to the troops so that they will learn with experience. After the attacks, the newly occupied lines will be fortified and mined immediately to prevent effective enemy counteraction. Those preparations must not lower the spirit of aggressiveness. On the contrary, they should only be considered as an aid for the continuation of our offensive operations.
In the sector if the 1.Fallschirmjäger-Corps, it is most important to gain ground on the western flank of the 4.Fallschirmjäger-Division, in order to further reduce the beachhead in this sector. It will be necessary to push forward the main line of resistance to the Buon Riposo and Botaccia Gorges. To achieve this, the Corps will make attacks in company to battalion strength on March 2, 4 and 6. On each day one attack will be made. In the sector of the LXXVI Panzer-Corps, the front must be pushed forward, particularly in our current Offensive sector. Possible objectives for these operations are Cle Biadaretto, Cle Carano, Colla del Pozzo, the Rubbia Woods and the Rubbia hill, Isola Bella, and the little woods 1000 meters northeast of Isola Bella. The 29.Panzer-Grenadier-Division will be withdrawn as soon as possible. The 26.Panzer-Division will withdraw in the near future. The 29.Panzer-Grenadier-Division will move to the area of Cisterna – Velletri, and the 26.Panzer-Division will move to the area Cecchina – Albano. Both of these divisions will become part of the 14.Army. Beginning March 2, the following tank forces of the 69.Panzer-Regiment, which have been attached to the LXXVI Panzer-Corps, will be brought to their original assembly area southeastwards of Rome : the 301.Panzer-Battalion (radio-controlled demolition vehicles); the 508.Tiger-Battalion (including a company of Ferdinand tanks); the 1.Bn, of the 4.Panzer-Regiment (Panther) and the 216.Panzer-Battalion
The 1.Fallschirmjäger-Corps and the LXXVI Panzer-Corps will form the following alert units to be ready to move within 2 or 4 hours, in order to reinforce the units employed in coastal defense, in case of a possible enemy landing in the area of Civitavecchia : one company of the 60.Motorized-Engineer-Battalion, one company of the 22.Luftwaffe-Engineer-Battalion, one Panther tank company, one company of the 1.Antiaircraft-Battalion (12.Regiment) and one company of the 590.Tank-Destroyer-Battalion. Infantry Reserves as the condition demands (at present the 145.Grenadier-Regiment and one battalion of the 71.Motorized-Grenadier-Regiment).
The GHQ Tank Battalion, 4th Queen’s Own Hussars (UK) is employed in the Campo di Carno sector, according to a captured map. Further attacks against our advanced points must be expected.
German losses : 202 killed; 707 wounded and 465 missing.
Allied losses : 132 prisoners (66 British and 66 American); several machine guns; 1 truck and 1 radio set captured
March 2, 3, 4, 1944
Due to strong enemy counterattacks, one company of the 4.Fallschirmjäger-Division, which had occupied the eastern part of the Ciccea Gorge, was wiped out by the enemy. The group of houses 1000 meters southwest of Ponte Rotto, which had been taken by the 26.Panzer-Division, had to be abandoned after a struggle of several days. In the course of this struggle, the houses changed hands several times. In other sectors, scouting and raiding were the only activities. Enemy artillery fire has been generally light. However, during the morning of March 2 the enemy brought the sectors of the 114.Jäger-Division and the 362.Infantry-Division under an artillery barrage. During the numerous heavy air raids on our rear areas and artillery positions, the enemy systematically neutralized our antiaircraft.
The following subjects were considered in a meeting of the Commander in Chief Southwest and the CGs of the Armies :
(1) Kesselring believes that minor operations in the Mediterranean Theater, probably in southern France, will precede the main invasion in northern France. Nevertheless, heavy diversionary attacks at Livorna and Genoa are possible. Landing operations on the Adriatic coast are not likely at the present; the possibility of tactical landings at Pescara and Civitavecchia remains.
(2) the mission of the Commander in Chief Southwest still is to defend central Italy and to reduce gradually the Nettuno beachhead.
(3) the 14.Army will transfer the following forces to the 10.Army : the 114.Jäger-Division, one regiment before March 20, and the majority of the division by March 25, the 1. and 2.Bns of the 71.Projector-Regiment, formerly the Projector-Demonstration-Battalion, by March 12, the 450.Heavy-Artillery-Battalion, the Panzer-Division Herman Goering to Kampfgruppe von Zangen for employment in Livorno and the 3.Panzer-Grenadier-Division will get back to the reinforced 8.Motorized-Grenadier-Regiment from the 10.Army by March 8.
The German High Command intends to reinforce the 14. Armee with one railway battery (280-MM) and one Czechoslovakian railway battery (320-MM). The Commander in Chief Southwest has ordered the immediate construction of a second line of defense (Caesar) from Macchia Idrovora in a northeasterly direction to the east coast. The line will be ready for occupancy, particularly in the threatened sector, by April 30. The 14. Armee is responsible for the fortification from the west coast to the neighborhood of Artena. On March 3 the Italian Marine Battalion Barbarigo, consisting of Battalion Staff and four companies with strength of 850 men, arrived at the 715.-Infantry-Division. It will be stationed in the area northeast of Littoria. Army reserve : 29.-Panzer-Grenadier-Division (less the elements currently employed in the front line) to be assembled in the area north of Velletri.
The 2nd Co, 6th Queen’s Own, 169th Brig., 56th Infantry Division (UK) is located in the Michele Gorge, as confirmed by prisoners of war from Charlie Co. The battalion relieved the 10th Royal Yorkshire Regiment on February 29. The 1st King’s Shropshire Light Infantry (3rd Brig., 1st Infantry Division UK) is now employed in the sector 1500 meters northwest of the road crossing Campo di Carno. Prisoners of war state that Charlie Co has been in this area for 10 days.
German losses : 156 killed; 667 wounded and 209 missing.
Allied losses : 38 prisoners; 7 airplanes downed by antiaircraft and several machine guns and small arms captured.
March 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 1944
During the entire period combat and reconnaissance patrols were active on both sides. Enemy bombing and strafing raids on March 6 against artillery emplacements in the sector of the 362.Infantry-Division met with no success. At 1200, March 6, the 26.Panzer-Division took over the former sector of the Panzer-Division Herman Goering, which in turn, was moved to Livorno, less its antiaircraft and armored units. On March 6, one company of Italian Marines, Battalion Bargarigo, was committed in the sector of the 2.Bn of the 36.SS-Panzer-Grenadier-Regiment, attached to the 715.Infantry-Division. This unit could not be deployed for special missions because it lacked sufficient infantry training. The 114.Jäger-Division, earmarked for mountain warfare in the southern front, will be equipped with mountain artillery.
On March 7, the 114.Jäger-Division attack on the enemy stronghold at Cle Biadarotto, 2000 meters north of Cle Tro di Padiglione, failed due to the heavy barrage and the strongly defended and mined positions of the enemy. During the night of March 7 to 8, enemy attacks against the 10.Fallschirmjäger-Regiment’s right flank by about two companies, launched after two hours of artillery preparation, were repelled in hard fighting. On March 9, several enemy assaults, partly supported by tanks, launched at the boundary between the 65.Infantry-Division and the 3.Panzer-Grenadier-Division, were repelled by determined counterattacks. Enemy artillery fire was very heavy, at times increasing to barrage pitch, especially along the Aprilia – Anzio Highway and the Cle Buon Riposo area. The enemy fired an extraordinary number of smoke shells. He also employed a new type shell for the first time, which explodes about 150 meters from the ground, ejecting four smoke pots in different directions that produce heavy smoke after hitting the ground some 50 meters apart.
Our artillery bombarded the enemy’s strong points, positions, supply traffic and gun emplacements. Good results were observed in several cases. Long-range artillery, supported by antiaircraft artillery, bombed the harbor at Anzio. Two merchant ships were hit, one of them pouring out great quantities of smoke. Violent explosions were observed. During the night of March 8/9, our air forces launched a heavy aerial attack on the Nettuno area. The Commander in Chief Southwest foresees the possibility of major airborne and sea borne enemy landings in the very near future, coordinated with an offensive against the 10.Army’s front. The following reserves are available for the defense : the 29.Panzer-Grenadier-Division (14.Army Reserve); elements of the 3.Panzer-Grenadier-Division (1.Fallschirmjäger-Corps); 26.Panzer-Division (LXXVI Panzer-Corps).
These units will be on a two-hour alert status form 2100 to 0300 daily. Reconnaissance for possible commitment in the Civitavecchia area was to be executed at once. The following units are subject to the same alert status : 3. and 2.Bns of the Demonstration-Regiment; 1.Co of the 590.AT-Battalion; 1.Bn of the 4.Panzer-Regiment (Panther) and the 60.Engineer-Battalion
Repeated observations confirmed that the frequently erroneous releases of our artillery barrage was due to the use of flare signals by the enemy. For this reason, flare signals, changing daily at noon, will be introduced immediately. Dispersion and echelonment in depth of enemy artillery positions render our artillery’s counter fire more difficult. To remove this obstacle, the Chief Artillery Officer, 14. Armee, requested the attachment of a howitzer battalion and heavy flat-trajectory gun battalion. The Commanding General, 14. Armee, reported to the Commander in Chief Southwest that no suitable tunnels as air protection were available for the employment of the two railway artillery batteries promised by the German High Command. The tunnel farthest to the south gives an effective range of only 3 kilometers in front of our own main line of resistance. In case the batteries must operate from the tunnels, the Army will have to forego their employment. The enemy fighter-bomber activity is continually causing considerable losses in motor vehicles. Considering the difficulty of replacing motor transport, 14. Armee again points out that all convoy traffic by day must be reduced to the minimum.
Prisoners of war report that the 40th Royal Marine Commando (UK) is established 1500 meters northwest of Ft Campo di Carno. The Commandos, 600 men strong, disembarked at Anzio on March 3. During the night of March 5/6, they relieved the 2nd Foresters. Same source stated that the 43rd Marine Commando (UK), who came ashore with the first wave on the beachhead, were withdrawn to Naples several weeks ago.
It was also established from prisoners of war that the 3/30th Infantry Regiment (3rd Infantry Division US) is newly established 1500 meters southwest of Ponte Rotto. Prisoners taken belonged to the AT platoon, the Hqs Co, and Engineers Co. The Regiment has occupied this position for the last two days. Gen Lucian Truscott, previously commanding the 3rd Infantry Division, was transferred to the VI Corps as Commanding General. Gen McDaniel is mentioned as the new Commanding Officer of the division, with Col Sherman as Chief of Staff. There were no indications of the arrival of new units. Commitment of the 1st Armored Division (US) in the Cisterna sector is to be expected.
German losses : 162 killed; 646 wounded and 66 missing.
Allied losses : 27 prisoners; 2 tanks destroyed; 2 antitank guns destroyed; 1 airplane downed
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