Anzio Italy 1944 – The German 10. and 14.Armies – Part Seven
March 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 1944
Shortly after midnight, March 14, the enemy attacked in battalion strength supported by tanks. The attack, which was directed against our positions west of the Aprillia – Anzio Highway, was turned back with heavy enemy losses. During the same night, two more attacks from the Gorges Caronte and Campo di Carne, south of Cle Buon Riposo, succeeded in making several penetrations. However, because of immediate counterattacks, the original line was reestablished by early morning. Enemy raids were turned back on the entire beachhead front. Our reconnaissance and raid operations were successful in taking prisoners.
One scouting party of 5 men succeeded in taking 36 prisoners. Enemy artillery fire was comparatively light. Since the beginning of March, the enemy has extensively been employing artillery observation planes, especially in the area of Cisterna and south of Aprilia. Our artillery firing white phosphorous shells, caused a fire in the enemy motor pool at Le Ferriere, and our long-range artillery shelled enemy supply traffic. It was observed that three transports were hit, and that several ships were forced to withdraw from their berths in the harbor. Throughout the entire period there was considerable enemy air reconnaissance and fighter-bomber activity. Our main defensive area and artillery positions were bombed and strafed. Fires were observed at Anzio and Nettuno after air raids.
On March 13, in the 14.Army sector, the remaining elements of the Panzer-Division Herman Goering, consisting of antiaircraft regiments and panzer regiments, were sent to the new operational area at Liverno. The staff of the 26.Panzer-Regiment took over the command of the coastal sector of the LXXVI Panzer-Corps in the area of the 715.Infantry-Division, and the 26.Panzer-Recon-Battalion was attached to the 715.Infantry-Division in the area southeast of Littoria.
On March 14, the 362.Infantry-Division relieved the 67.Panzer-Grenadier-Regiment and elements of the 2.Bn of the 9.Panzer-Grenadier-Regiment. The bulk of the 26.Panzer-Division has now been taken form the front and made Army Reserves. One regimental group is in the area of Cori and another is in the area of Gonzano – Valletri. By order of the Commander in Chief Southwest, the 29.Panzer-Grenadier-Division will move to the area south of Rome, between the Tiber and the Via Appia, as Army Group Reserve. Army Reserve is comprised of the staff of the 69.Panzer-Regiment, with the following units : the 1.Bn of the 4.Panzer-Regiment, the 508.Heavy-Panzer-Battalion (Tigers), the 653.Heavy-Tank-Destroyer-Battalion (Ferdinands) and the 216.Assault-Howitzer-Battalion.
During the present lull in the fighting, an opportunity has been given to improve in close antitank combat techniques. Such training has been given to 13 officers, 73 non commissioned officers and 177 enlisted men. The training is mainly concerned with the employment of rocket launchers (Panzerschreck) and (Bazookas) as well as antitank grenades. After the 14.Army was regrouped, it was possible to relieve two battalions in the line according to schedule. Of three battalions in a regiment, two stayed and the third was sent to the rear area to rest and receive replacements in its units. Those battalions were also used to erect switch positions in the rear. With this system, it was possible for each battalion to have approximately 10 days rest after having been at the front for three weeks. During this period, outstanding soldiers were given the opportunity to spend two days in Rome with hotel accommodations. The 14.Army is depicted in as follow : Army Troops, Combat Troops, Rear Echelon Troops of Combat Units, Supply Troops, Luftwaffe Force Ground Troops, SS Troops, Italian Units, Italian Auxiliary Supply Units and Russian Auxiliary Supply Units
The enemy artillery observation planes which were in the air every day were harassing our troops, because each moving object was at once fired upon. Night was the only time that commanders could make an inspection of the main line of resistance and get in touch with their men. The defense against artillery observation plains was very difficult because the planes stayed about 500 meters from our line of resistance. Due to their maneuverability, they could not be followed by our antiaircraft guns.
It has been learned from prisoners of war that the 6th Seaforths, 17th Brigade of the 5th Infantry Division (UK) is in the Michele Gorge. The battalion came from Naples and landed at Anzio on March 9. It relieved parts of the 1st London Scots on March 10. The strength of each company is 110 men. One week ago this battalion was employed at Garibliano and later relieved by the Americans. After 5 days of rest south of Naples, it assembled, probably with the entire 17th Brigade. The 14th Foresters is in the Bottacia Gorge. This battalion was employed in the Middle East and came via Algiers and Haplos to Anzio, where it landed on February 20. It belonged to the 18th Independent Infantry Brigade and consists of four infantry companies, a heavy company and a headquarters company. Its strength is approximately 600 men. Able, Baker, and Charlie Cos are committed. The 9th King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry landed at Anzio at the beginning of March after having been employed in Africa for two years. On March 7 they relieved the 1st King’s Shropshire Light Infantry, 310th Brigade of the 1st Infantry Division (UK), the 5th and 51st Infantry Divisions (UK) are probably in England.
The US 1st Ranger Battalion of the US 1st Special Service Force is about 1000 meters east of Isola Bella, according to captured documents. The heavy traffic in the area south of Aprilia is probably due to the arrival of the 5th Infantry Division (UK).
German losses : 121 killed; 372 wounded and 65 missing.
Allied losses : 173 prisoners (163 British); 20 machine guns; 140 small arms captured.
The German Command’s Mid-March Estimate of the Situation and German Intentions
[A] Enemy Situation : according to one report of March 13, from the 14.Army to the Commander in Chief Southwest. After our major attacks were discontinued at the beginning of March, the enemy has shown increased activity. His frequent reconnaissance and combat patrols have the twofold task of procuring intelligence and concealing regroups. Lately these patrols have also taken place in the Lottoria area. In addition to replacements for depleted units, the following new units have been brought up to the beachhead : the 40th Royal Marine Commando (UK); elements of the 17th Brigade of the 5th Infantry Division (UK) and the 14th Foresters (UK).
From the western flank to Borgo Pogora the defensive positions are well fortified and manned at all times. The bulk of the reserves, estimated at 10 to 11 British infantry battalions and 6 to 8 American battalions, is believed to be in the area south of Aprilia. There, the enemy places his main emphasis both for the offensive as well as the defensive. His secondary emphasis lies in the region southwest of Cisterna. A local attack in the Littoria sector, aiming to force the German artillery positions further away from disembarkation points, appears to be possible. As yet, we have no knowledge of a specific date for an Allied offensive. Such offensive is to be expected in combination with major strategic operations and an attack on the southern front. The enemy continued to reorganize his forces as evidenced by the relief of front units. The enemy’s knowledge of weakened German forces must have strengthened his intentions for an offensive on the beachhead.
[B] Enemy Order of Battle, as given by the Intelligence Officer of the 14.Army : VI Corps (US under 5th Army Command), 1st Armored Division (US), 1st Infantry Division (UK), 1st Ranger Battalion (US), 1st Special Service Forces Brigade (US), 3rd Infantry Division (US), 3rd Ranger Battalion (US), 4th Ranger Battalion (US), 5th Infantry Division (UK), 9th Royal Marine Commando (UK), 18th Infantry Brigade (UK), 23rd Tank Brigade (UK), 30th Engineer Regiment (US), 40th Royal Marine Commando (UK), 191st Tank battalion (US), 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment (82nd Airborne Division) (US), 509th Parachute Battalion (US), 751st Tank Battalion (US), Tank Battalion ‘Greys’ (UK), Tank Battalion (4th Hussars) (UK).
As the 114.Jäger-Division has been transferred to the 10.Army and the Panzer-Division Herman Goering has been withdrawn to the area of Livorno, the German Command cannot plan a major attack for the elimination of the beachhead within the near future. German divisions are battle weary and have suffered considerable losses. The following effective combat strength was reported by Gen Hartmann of the German Army High Command after his visit to the front on March 4 to 6 : the 65.Infantry-Division consisting of the 145. and the 147.Infantry-Regiments (2680 men); the 114.Jäger-Division (4582 men); the 1028.Panzer-Grenadier-Regiment (1218 men) and the 715.Infantry-Division (3099 men), for a total of 11.579 men.
The enemy regrouped his artillery, pulling back emplacement positions. Therefore, the range of our howitzers and antiaircraft guns is too short to reach the enemy artillery positions, and only the four 100-MM guns at our disposal can do so. The front line cannot be considered fit for any major attack at this time. Only the 26.Panzer-Division and the 29.Panzer-Grenadier-Division are capable of any large-scale operations. Both units presently constitute the Army Group Reserve, located south of Rome. Tank units, attached to the staff of the 69.Panzer-Regiment with the exception of the Panther Battalion, are brought into forward positions as a countermeasure against tank supported attacks of the enemy. Two groups are formed : 1 – Group West : in the area of Cle Campoleone, composed of two companies of Tiger tanks and one company of assault guns and 2 – Group East : consisting of one company of Tiger tanks, two companies of assault guns, and one company of heavy self-propelled antitank guns. Since the German units are considerably weakened and the enemy is constantly fortifying his positions, the German High Command can only plan a gradual reduction of the beachhead. An order dated March 16 from the German Army High Command emphasized this fact, as follows : we must continue to attack in the Nettuno sector in order to keep the initiative. Attacks must be made continuously in small sectors so that the beachhead is steadily reduced. We have experienced in the past that our failures were mainly due to enemy artillery. Further attacks must be executed according to the tactics of the Ludendorf offensive in 1918.
On March 13, the Commanding General of the 14.Army recommended to Army Group the following two plans of attack, either of which can be put into effect after March 29, providing the ground has dried.  Attack against the northern flank of the beachhead with the objective of gaining the line, Buon Riposo Gorge, 2000 meters south of Cle Buon Riposo – crossroads Cantoniera – south edge of Vallicollo Grandi – Cle Carano. The attack is to be carried out in three limited assaults;  Attack with the objective of gaining the line bench mark 67, group of houses 1000 meters southwest of Ponte Rotto – bench mark 60, on hill with windmill 1000 meters northwest of Isola Bella – Borgo Podgora. A successful outcome of this attack will assist further action to establish bridgeheads across the Mussolini Canal and eventual breakthrough to the Astura.
Both attacks would involve the commitment of the 26.Panzer-Division and the 29.Panzer-Grenadier-Division now in Army Group Reserve. If the latter plan is executed, it is feared that one of the assault divisions will have to be committed to hold the newly captured ground. In addition, the 14.Army is confronted with the following problems :
[First] enemy landings may occur at Torracina (code word ‘Thor’), between the front line of the 1.Fallschirmjäger-Corps and the mouth of the Tiber River (code word ‘Ruckendeckung’), and the coastal defense sector Cocina – mouth of Tiber (code word ‘Caccilio’). Detailed orders were issued concerning the fortification of the coastal defense sectors, the plan for tactical countermeasures, and the organization of alert units in case of enemy airborne operations. The 92.Infantry-Division, which is in activation, is to defend the coastline from the mouth of the Tiber to the boundary of the 14.Army at Cocina.
[Second] due to the lack of safety in Rome, strict orders concerning entrance into the city limits are issued. Rome has been declared an Open City and all service units will be moved outside the city. Only medical and quartermaster units which operate bakeries, butcher shops, tailor shops, etc., will remain.
[Third] the partisans, consisting of communists, Badoglio followers, and prisoners of war at large, endanger the areas south of Perugia and east of Orviato. The 103.Recon-Battalion has been dispatched to these areas.
March 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 1944
Particularly at night, during this period, routine reconnaissance and raiding activities took place. Early on March 15 the Allies captured the strong point at K9, 1500 meters southeast of Tre Spaccassassi with overwhelming forces. Despite a counterattack, during which we suffered heavy losses, the group of houses could not be retaken. Withdrawal of the 26.Panzer-Division was completed on March 15. The 362.Infantry-Division took over this sector. The 26.Panzer-Division will be assembled as Army Reserve in the area directly west of Velletri. The relief of the 114.Jäger-Division by the 1028.Panzer-Grenadier-Regiment began on March 13.
On March 19 the present sector of the 114.Jäger-Division will be taken over by the 3.Panzer-Grenadier-Division (1.Fallschirmjäger-Corps). On March 18, our assault troops succeeded in penetrating enemy positions in the wooded area at the Moletta Gorge. Infantry weapons were captured. The enemy had considerable losses and his position was destroyed. At 0730, March 19, after heavy artillery preparatory fire which extended to the Cisterna sector, the enemy attacked at several points southwest of Aprilia. These attacks were continued throughout the day, at times in battalion strength. They were repulsed partly by close combat and partly by immediate counterattack. 45 prisoners were taken.
It has been learned from prisoners of war that the 36th Engineer Combat Regiment is located south of Torre del Moletta. The 1st Battalion of this Regiment is committed north of Highway 82 while the 2nd Battalion is in reserve, and 3rd Battalion is located on the coast. It has been learned from prisoners of war of Baker Co that the 2nd Cameronians (13th Brigade, 5th Infantry Division UK) is located in the area west of Michele Gorge. It landed at Anzio on March 12 and is replacing the 56th Infantry Division (UK). On March 14, part of the Queen’s Royal Regiment was relieved. Able and Charlie Cos of this unit have not as yet been committed. In the morning of March 19, the 46th Tank Battalion (UK), attached to 1st Infantry Division (UK), took part in an attack west of the Aprilia – Anzio Highway. Easy and George Cos, 30th Infantry Regiment of the 3rd Infantry Division (US) are committed on both sides of Cle Carano. The 1st Battalion is held in reserve. Continuous convoy activity was observed in the harbor area of Anzio – Nettuno, with a daily average of 30 to 40 units, including LST’s, transports, several large freighters, tankers, destroyers and escort vessels. By smoke screens, the enemy tried to conceal the reorganization and replacement of his troops. The enemy seems to be preparing further attacks.
German losses : 150 killed; 646 wounded and 76 missing.
Allied losses : 78 prisoners; 2 tanks put out of commission; 6 planes downed by antiaircraft; heavy and light infantry weapons captured.
My mother lived through this battle. She lived in Velletri and her home town was bombed. When they heard the sirens no one believed there was going to be a bombing most stayed and went to stand in line to get milk and meat. My grandmother left for the mountains were some of her family lived. The Americans bombed her home town for days thinking there were Germans there and there wasn’t. Every time my uncle tried to scavenge some of their belongings they would start bombing again. Her cousin was killed and they didn’t find her body for two years. They stayed in the country in the vineyards and was forced to take care of the Germans picking cherries. If they got caught eating any they were beaten.
My mother found hot dogs buried by the Americans and didn’t know what it was, only that it was food. She washed it and brought it home. No one asked where she got it they just ate it up. They decided to leave and go to the American side so an old man said to meet them and in the middle of the night he would guide them. It was pitch black and you could hardly see, her mother was 50 (Annia) momma was 10 (Grazialla) she had 5 brothers and sisters (Gytanna, Alfio, Oscanio, Olga, and Marisa) and numerous aunts and uncles. They walked with such fright it was almost unbearable, knowing if hey got caught by the Germans they all would be killed.
They walked slowly and quietly and for a very long time until they reached the beach, Anzio beach. They didn’t know when they heard a noise if it was the Americans or the Germans they were so scared, afraid to speak up. Finally someone came out and spoke up and it was such a relief to find out it was the Americans. No one could understand each other though, finally they found a translator and they wanted to know where the Germans were. Mom said they felt so guilty telling them knowing they were going to kill them, but they knew it was their duty. They were starving and the Americans fed them and they ate thing they had never tasted before. Mom said she had diarrhea for a week. Then the soldiers told them to leave because it was dangerous so they left and went up the beach a few miles to abandoned homes. They curled inside a wind barrel and went to sleep.
Americans came by and started taunting them they tried to grab my aunt Marisa and she ran outside and hide they rustled with my uncle Gofredo and hit him on the head with their gun. He still has a lump to this day on his head. They were drunk and disorderly. My mom’s family was so afraid. That’s all I remember my mom telling me there’s many more stories … but that’s the basic … mom’s still alive and I would love to preserve her stories better some how she’s almost a young 80 and loves to tell her story if some one wants to listen … she could write a book. Except she had to quit school 3rd grade because of the war. When the war ended she was 15. She tried to go back to school but felt stupid, being so old with little kids, so she quit and got a job working for the Fendi family, taking care of the Fendi girls as a house maid, until she realized she had to dress like a maid and didn’t like that. So she quit and went to Rome to live with her sister, Olga was so mad when she saw her getting off the bus because she got her the job.
March 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 1944
On the front, the only activity was scouting and raiding. Recon patrols reported the construction of a new barbed wire entanglement by the enemy. For this reason, raids by both sides were rather unsuccessful. During the mopping up of the Michele Gorge near Appolonia on March 20, 35 British dead were found. Their small arms, machine guns and mortars were brought in. The artillery continued the usual harassing fire on recognized objectives. The enemy ammunition expenditure was much larger than ours. After our artillery shelled the enemy rear areas, explosions and fires were observed. It was assumed that large ammunition dumps were hit. Our long-range artillery fired on ships lying in the harbor of Anzio – Nettuno, and occasional direct hits were observed.
It has been learned from prisoners of war that the 2nd Cameronians, 13th Brigade, 5th Infantry Division (UK) was in the Michele Gorge and was replaced by the 2nd Battalion Inniskillings, 13th Brigade, 5th Infantry Division (UK) on February 21. The 14th Foresters, 13th Independent Infantry Brigade, (UK) is located about 1000 meters north of the Campo di Carno crossroads. Captured documents yielded the following information : taken from dead enemy soldiers, the documents revealed that the 1st Recon Bn of the 1st Infantry Division (UK) is stationed in the sector northeast of Campo di Carno. On the front of the 6th Seaforths, 17th Brig, in second line is the 2nd Wiltshire, 13th Brig, both of the 5th Infantry Division (UK). Daily disembarkations of reinforcements for the beachhead have been observed. On March 21, for the first time, propaganda leaflets were shot into our lines at Cisterna. On the following days this also happened in other sectors. In several sectors white phosphorous shells were used by the enemy.
German losses : 110 killed; 394 wounded and 16 missing.
Allied losses : 8 prisoners; 1 tank put out of commission; 1 airplane downed and numerous small arms captured
March 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 1944
Raid, reconnaissance, and artillery activities continued on both sides. Combat patrols often clashed in no-man’s land. Results were negligible and losses relatively light. On the morning of March 26, the enemy captured a strong point north of the Rubbia Forest, 1500 meters west of Ponte Rotto, with an attack in company strength. He was repulsed after hand-to-hand fighting. The coastal defense sector north of Castiglione (west of Grosseto) up to Cecina was separated from the 14.Army. In the sector of the 65.Infantry-Division, the 166.Infantry-Battalion was relieved by the 2.Bn of the 1027.Infantry-Regiment, on March 28. In the sector of the 362.Infantry-Division, the 362.Fusilier-Battalion was relieved by elements of the 1028.Panzer-Grenadier-Regiment on March 27. The 556.Ost-Battalion was transferred to the 362.Infantry-Division and assigned to the 955.Infantry-Regiment as Ost Battalion. The 1.Bn of the Italian Assault Brigade was assigned to the 715.Infantry-Division. At noon on March 29, Army Group issued the code word Caccilia I, i.e., enemy landings are imminent in the Tarquina – Civitavecci area. Consequently, during the night, the 29.Panzer-Grenadier-Division was transferred from the assembly area south of Rome to the vicinity of the Bracciano Lake. Only the 71.Panzer-Grenadier-Regiment remained.
Newly established, 1st Green Howards, 15th Brig, 5th Infantry Division (UK). Dog Co at Torre di Moletta. On March 24 this battalion relieved the 3rd Bn of the 36th Engineer Regiment (US), 2nd Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, 13th Brigade, 5th Infantry Division (UK), committed on March 21, was relieved by the 2nd Royal Scots Fusiliers, 17th Brigade of the 5th Infantry Division (UK) on March 27. This battalion landed at Anzio with 2 other battalions of the 17th Brigade (the 2nd Northamptonshire and the 6th Seaforth Highlanders) on March 12.
On March 14, the 2nd Bn of the Royal Scots Fusiliers and the 2nd Bn of Northamptonshire Regiment were attached as reserve to the 40th Royal Marine Commando. The 6th Seaforth, on the left of the 40th Royal Marine Commando, was withdrawn from the front line. Company strength was 60 men. In the southeastern sector of the Reserva Nueva Gorge, 1000 meters southwest of Cle Buon Riposo, one prisoner belonging to the 1st King’s Shropshire Light Infantry, 3rd Brigade of the 1st Infantry Division (UK) was taken. On March 23, Charlie Co of this battalion relieved parts of the 1st King’s Own Yorkshire Light infantry, 15th Brigade of the 5th Infantry Division (UK).
On March 28, for the first time, elements of the newly arrived 34th Infantry Division (US) were identified. According to statements by prisoners of war, the 2/168th Infantry Regiment, 34th infantry Division was transferred 6 days ago from Naples to Anzio. Two days ago, the battalion with a company strength of 200 men was committed in the Isola Bella area, which was the original sector of the 15th Infantry-regiment of the 3rd Infantry Division (US).
Documents from dead enemy soldiers revealed that the 2nd and 3rd Battalions, 7th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division (US) were stationed in the sector about 1500 meters west of Ponte Rotto. According to statements of two prisoners from Love Co, the position of the 3/168th Infantry Regiment of the 34th Infantry Division (US) was established north of the Mussolini Canal in the former sector of the 2/504th Parachute Infantry. The 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment was supposed to have been withdrawn and replaced by elements of the 34th Infantry Division (US).
Prisoners stated that the Fosso Carano is the boundary between the 45th and the 34th Infantry Divisions. In the harbor area of Anzio – Nettuno, heavy shipping traffic (a daily average of 50 to 60 units) has been observed. Because of the drying up of the terrain and the appearance of the 34th Infantry Division on the beachhead, it can be assumed that the enemy intends to attack presumably in a northeasterly direction.
German losses : 93 killed; 397 wounded and 32 missing.
Allied losses : 17 prisoners; infantry arms captured; 3 barrage balloons shot down over Anzio; 2 ammunition dumps destroyed by direct hits.
Patrol activity continued on both sides. Enemy outpost positions on the north side of the Michele Gorge were captured by our scouting parties on March 31, and held against strong enemy counterattacks. The main line of resistance in the sector of the 3.Panzer-Grenadier-Division southwest of Aprilia was considered a disadvantageous position in case of a large-scale enemy attack. For that reason, it was strengthened in depth, while the main line of resistance was held with reduced forces.
On March 30, we succeeded in destroying the bridge 1500 meters southwest of Borgo Piave with remote-controlled demolition vehicles (Goliath). Thirteen prisoners were taken. There was the usual artillery activity with occasional surprise barrages. Long-range artillery employed in shelling disembarkation points ran short of ammunition at the end of the month. In the beginning of April, the ammunition supply was replenished. Shelling was resumed and hits were observed. The 1.Bn of the 4.Panzer-Regiment (Panther), less the 1.Co which remained in the Cassino sector, was shifted to Pratica di Maro to replace the 29.Panzer-Grenadier-Division. Terrain conditions were so poor that they were comparable only with the mud on the Russian front during the worst period of the year. The level of surface water continued to rise.
On March 23, it was decided that the attack planned for March 29 would have to be postponed for several days because of terrain conditions and the difficulty of ammunition supply. The Army ordered the preparation for an offensive from the east, to reduce the beachhead. An attack of this kind was though to be more promising, particularly in the Borgo Podgora sector – Borgo Piave. The aim was to thrust across the Mussolini Canal toward the Astura. On the second day to execute a flanking thrust from the south against the enemy positions in front of Cisterna. However, for the latter action, a third assault division is required. A Headquarters of the 14.Army summary concerning the fighting quality of its units gave the following estimates :
Units falling into Combat Quality Classification 1 :
Infantry Demonstration Regiment
General Headquarters Panzer
Units falling into Combat Quality Classification 2 :
Units falling into Combat Quality Classification 3 :
92.Infantry-Division (in activation)
Attached Italian units were evaluated as follows : 1, Paratrooper Battalion Nembo, 2, Battalion Barbarigo and 3, the 1st Battalion, Italian Assault Brigade. Comparison of artillery strength with his units up to full strength, the enemy has on the beachhead more than 442 artillery pieces, not including antiaircraft artillery, compared to our 323 pieces, only 226 of which were ready for action on March 31. Even if we include the 109 antiaircraft guns and the 61 rocket launchers, whose ammunition supply is limited, the Allies should still have a numerical superiority of 46 pieces, excluding the artillery of the 34th Infantry Division (US), which is in transit.
Prisoners of war reveal that the 1st York and Lancaster Battalion of the 5th Infantry Division (UK) is in the area west of Ciocca Gorge. A prisoner of war confirmed that the 9th King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry of the 18th Infantry Brigade (UK) is south of Cle Buon Riposo. The 24th Guard Infantry Brigade (UK) is said to have been sent to Naples for a rest period. They are expected to return on April 4 to relieve the 18th Independent Brigade (UK). The Allied relief schedule is : 10 days front line, 2 days second line, 6 days rest. Along the canal, cigarette packages were found, which exploded when opened.
German losses : 147 killed; 420 wounded and 12 missing.
Allied losses : 29 prisoners and numerous small arms captured
April 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 1944
No activity except the usual patrols. A derelict enemy vessel (LCA) with two machine guns was brought in north of the mouth of the Tiber. The enemy artillery was somewhat more active. His surprise fire often increased to heavy barrage fire, especially in the area of Ardea and Cisterna. 180-MM guns with high burst effect were observed in the northern sector. Explosions and fires were seen after our artillery fired on enemy rear areas and landing places. It is assumed that large enemy dumps were located there. Air activity was heavy. Fighter units of 15 to 24 airplanes repeatedly attacked artillery, antiaircraft positions and traffic centers.
Due to strongly fortified positions and the alertness of enemy troops, surprise raids were nearly impossible. The raids that were made resulted in heavy casualties and had little success. On April 7, the Army ordered such raids to be prepared very thoroughly and to be supported by heavy artillery fire, even at the expense of the element of surprise. Reconnaissance patrolling was to be continued in order to have a clear picture of the enemy situation at all times. The 216.Assault-Tank-Battalion, with 150-MM assault howitzers, was transferred to the area Pisa – Lucca as Army Corps Reserve. Also on April 7, after operations against partisans south of Perugia were completed, the 103.-Recon-Bn relieved the 129.Recon-Battalion in the area of Terracina.
Prisoners of war state that the 2nd Battalion, 2nd Brigade of the 1st Infantry Division (UK) is now in the new operational area north of Highway 82. The 133rd, 135th, and 168th Infantry Regiments of the 34th Infantry Division (US) are now on the beachhead and in action. Artillery ammunition expenditure is estimated at 51.000 rounds. The enemy fired propaganda leaflets into our lines. A new type of shell was observed in the east sector. The shell exploded 50 meters above the ground and broke into 3 smaller shells which left green smoke trails. Due to less naval and ground artillery activity on the beachhead, and increased artillery fire on our command posts and observation posts, it is assumed that enemy preparations for the attack have been completed.
German losses : 140 killed; 421 wounded and 18 missing.
Allied losses : 20 prisoners; machine guns and small arms captured; 1 tank put out of commission.
April 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 1944
Continued reconnoitering took place during this period. During the night of April 13, six sudden artillery concentrations, using all artillery and antiaircraft artillery at the disposal of the 14.Army, were directed at enemy rear areas and particularly at identified ammunition and fuel dumps approximately 8000 meters north of Nettuno. At the same time, enemy antiaircraft positions were shelled in order to protect our participating aircraft. All convoy traffic south of the line Puiombino – Ancona has been suspended during daylight hours because of the losses inflicted by enemy fighter-bombers.
Army Group ordered on April 9 that the 26.Panzer-Division be moved to an area between the Nemi Lake and Segni to act as Army Corps Reserve, available for the central Italian front also. Elements of this division were utilized during the day to consolidate the C-Line. However, the 93.Artillery-Regiment of the 26.Panzer-Division and the 304.AAA-Battalion are to remain on the front line. Since the Staff of the 69.Panzer-Regiment has transferred to Commander in Chief West (France), the local tank reserves for immediate counterattacks were reorganized as follows :
one Platoon of the 653.AT-Bn (Ferdinand)
one Company, 1.Bn, 4.Pzr-Regt (Panther)
Kampfgruppe East (between Genzano and Velletri)
one Company of the 508.Pzr-Bn (Tiger)
one Company of the 653.AT-Bn (less one platoon)
Kampfgruppe West (Campoleone)
508.Pzr-Bn, (Tigers), (less one company)
1.Bn, 4.Pzr-Regt (Panther), (less one company) (Pratica di Mare).
On April 10, the Commanding General of the 14.Army decided that, at the present time, the complete Army reserve should not be committed in an attack against the eastern position of the beachhead. Therefore, the planned attack was to be carried out merely as a counterattack after the expected Allied offensive. A strength report by the 14.Army, dated April 10, showed a total combat strength of 65.800. This included all attached units of the Luftwaffe, Waffen-SS, SS-Police in Rome, Antiaircraft, Fallschirmjäger, but not rear echelon troops, supply units, or foreign auxiliaries.
Documents found on dead enemy soldiers established the location of the 238th Engineer Company of the 1st Ranger Battalion of the 1st Infantry Division (UK) about 1500 meters north of milestone 11 on Highway 82. An artillery observation plane was observed landing 4000 meters southwest of Borgo Montello. Thus the existence of the advanced airfield which was recognized on aerial photographs was confirmed. The use of 40-MM rapid fire guns, probably self-propelled, west of Fta Campo di Carne was observed. At several points the enemy employed phosphorous shells with combination fuses.
German losses : 82 killed; 403 wounded and 14 missing.
Allied losses : 11 prisoners.
April 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 1944
On April 15, the enemy captured two advanced strong points some 6000 meters southwest of Littoria. After a preparatory artillery fire he attacked with two companies, each supported by 6 tanks. German losses were 3 killed and 46 missing in the 735.Infantry-Regiment. Three Allied tanks were destroyed by mines. It is not planned to recapture these strong points due to lack of forces in this sector.
On April 18, the enemy repulsed a raid on a strong point 1750 meters northwest of Borgo Piave, and pushed forward into our main line of resistance. He was thrown back by counterattack. Our artillery activity remained unchanged. During the night of April 17, both battalions of the 16.SS-Panzer-Grenadier-Division employed on the beachhead front, 2.Bn of the 35.SS-Panzer-Grenadier-Regiment and the 2.Bn of the 36.SS-Panzer-Grenadier-Regiment were relieved by the 1028.Panzer-Grenadier-Regiment, and transferred to the area of Florence. In the sector of the 1028.Regiment, on the right flank of the 362.Infantry-Division (1.Fallschirmjäger-Corps) took over the area vacated by the battalion furthest to the right. The Corps boundary now runs in a north-south line through the western edge of Cle Carno. To protect the area of Terracina against a landing, a strong point is being established at the road junction 8000 meters northwest of Terracina, and switch positions in the mountains north of Terracina are being prepared.
According to prisoners of war, the 1st and 2nd Bns, 30th Infantry Regiments (3rd Infantry Division US) have been withdrawn from the front and are now in area north of Anzio. The enemy organized an assault detachment from volunteers of several companies of these units. This assault detachment was ordered to take over a sector temporarily, and launch raids from it.
On April 18, during an attack on the Aqua Blanca Road, between the Mussolini Canal and Littoria, phosphorescent smoke, which adheres to clothing and weapons, was encountered for the first time. The estimated enemy ammunition expenditure was 84.000 rounds. Two ammunition dumps were hit and set on fire. During the last few days, the enemy tactics changed in the northeastern and eastern part of the beachhead.
In the Carano sector artillery shelling increased to heavy barrages. Enemy reconnaissance patrols were very active. A prisoner of war stated that the 3rd Infantry Division (US) is in action again. Whether this is preparation for an attack or to relieve the 45th Infantry Division (US) has not been ascertained.
German losses : 97 killed; 342 wounded and 82 missing.
Allied losses : 12 prisoners; 4 tanks destroyed.
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