Anzio Italy 1944 – The German 10. and 14.Armies, Part Eight – Final
April 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 1944
In addition to the usual raids along the entire beachhead front, hard fighting developed for the German strong point in the northern section of Vallicello Grandi woods 4500 meters southeast of Aprilia. After preparatory artillery fire, the enemy temporarily penetrated the strong point during the night of April 21 to 22. During the following night, an enemy attack in battalion strength was repulsed. On April 23, the enemy advanced behind a smoke screen and succeeded in penetrating the southern part of the position.
On the eastern front enemy thrusts were repelled and supporting tanks turned away by our artillery fire. During the night of April 22 to 23, all available artillery of the 14.Army fired surprise concentrations on enemy positions, according to plan Code ‘Blumenkohl’, with good results. Subsequently, it was ordered to discontinue all scouting for 48 hours to confuse the enemy as to our intentions.
The enemy replied by heavy artillery fire. The 3.Panzer-Grenadier-Division has requested relief from front line duty. The division has been employed at the front since the landing in January and has sustained more than 4000 casualties. The Commanding General of the 14.Army suggested a replacement by the 29.Panzer-Grenadier-Division as at present no major engagements are expected in the beachhead area.
According to prisoner of war interrogations, the 13th Brigade (UK) is located in the western coast sector. The 15th Brigade (UK) joins the right flank of the 13th Brigade. The 56th Infantry Division (UK) has been withdrawn from the front. The bulk of the division is in Naples for shipment back to England. The 5th Infantry Division (UK) has received the heavy weapons and vehicles of the 56th Infantry Division and has marked the vehicles with its own insignia. Prisoners of war of the 2nd Cameronians state that Baker Co, 2nd Cameronians of the 13th brigade, 5th Infantry Division (UK) was wiped out and has not been reactivated. Several officers of the battalion are said to be on leave in England. The 6th Gordons, 2nd Brigade of the 1st Infantry Division (UK) is located 2000 meters west of Tro di Padiglione, according to prisoners of war of Charlie Co. The battalion is said to have been in the front for one week. According to a captured officer of the 7th Infantry regiment, 3rd Infantry Division (US), the 45th Infantry Division (US) was relieved by the 3rd Infantry Division 8 days ago and is in rest north of Anzio. The 3/30th Infantry Regiment (3rd Infantry Division US) is located at Cle Carano, according to captured documents. Barking dogs north of the Rubbia Wood, some 1500 meters west of Ponte Rotto seemed to indicate employment of watchdogs. Estimated enemy ammunition expenditure, 78.000 rounds.
The German High Command, Propaganda Section, rebroadcast the following British report :
Beachhead at Anzio was 3 months old on April 22. During this time, 3889 enemy soldiers were taken prisoner. The Germans fired an average of 2000 artillery rounds a day, while the Allies fired many times that amount.
German losses : 107 killed; 340 wounded and 48 missing.
Allied losses : 9 prisoners; 3 aircraft downed by small arms; 1 tank destroyed and 3 trucks destroyed.
During the 3 months since his landing at Nettuno, the enemy suffered the following losses : Prisoners counted : 6700 (of which 2350 are American); Estimated killed : 7000; Estimated wounded : 23.000; Tanks and armored scout cars destroyed : 249; Heavy infantry weapons captured : more than 500; Airplanes downed : 235; 8 warships and 60.000 registered tons of shipping sunk and 39 warships and 376.000 registered tons of shipping damaged.
April 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 1944
The enemy penetrations into the northern part of the Vallicello Grandi Forest could not be pushed back on April 23 and 24. Neither could a smaller penetration south of Spaccassassi be prevented. Only on April 25 and 26 were these two penetrations were wiped out. At the Vallicello Grandi Forest, the 30th Infantry Regiment (3-ID US) was granted a one-hour truce on April 25 to recover their dead and wounded. In the morning of April 25, after artillery preparations, tank supported enemy attacks were repelled 2000 meters east of Cle Carano. Covered by a smoke screen, the enemy withdrew.
On April 25, 26 and 27, concentrated artillery fire was directed at enemy battalion and supply depots. Extensive fires and effective hits were observed. Air activity was livelier than ever. In the evening of April 29, about 20 enemy vessels and 3 motor torpedo boats were observed off the mouth of the Tiber. The 3.Panzer-Grenadier-Division claimed that the heavy losses during the last few days were caused by heavy infantry weapons and not by artillery, which had previously inflicted 80% of all losses.
Commencing on April 21, the 14.Army Command issued various orders :
Only defensive measures are considered. The centers of main effort are expected at Aprilia and Cisterna. The enemy will lay down a tremendous barrage on our main defense prior to his major attack. Thereby he will attempt to break through our front line with a minimum loss of his own troops. For this reason, the defense area is ordered enlarged to a depth of 3000 to 4000 meters. It will contain strong points and switch positions on which artillery fire will be less effective. After a day-long heavy barrage, some strong points will still be operative. Each artillery battalion will place in reserve one battery which will not fire at present.
Orders were given for the construction of several switch positions between the eastern front of the beachhead and the mountains; e.g., Borgo Isonzo, Sozzo, Cisterna, Worma, etc., in order to block the coastal plain against attacks from the south. In case that the beachhead breaks open, the two divisions committed in that area will delay the enemy approach to Line C as long as possible. The reinforced 71.Panzer-Grenadier-Regiment, located about 10 km south of Rome, returned to its division. Thus, the complete 29.Panzer-Grenadier-Division was assembled northwest of Braccito Lake as Army Group Reserve. The 90.Panzer-Grenadier-Division, less the reinforced 200.Regiment formerly with the 10.Army, will be transferred on April 26 into the area between the mouth of the Tiber and the beachhead as Army Corps Reserve. Elements of the 26.Panzer-Grenadier-Division, mainly the 9.Panzer-Grenadier-Regiment, will be transferred to the area east of Sozzo on April 26 as Army Group Reserve.
The presence of the Duke of Wellington’s Regiment, 3rd Brigade of the 1st Infantry Division (UK), was confirmed some 1500 meters northwest of Cantonlora from prisoners of war. This battalion relieved the 18th Brigade on April 21 after it had been brought up to full strength. The presence of the 1/30th Infantry Regiment (3-ID US) was confirmed north of Cle Biadaretto, 1000 meters north of Cle Padiglione. The 2/30th Infantry Regiment is on the right and the 3/30th Infantry Regiment is in reserve, according to prisoners of Charlie Co.
The Biadaretto Highway towards the northwest is probably the boundary between the 7th Infantry Regiment and the 30th infantry Regiment. The 15th Infantry Regiment is probably employed on the right flank of the 30th Infantry Regiment in the area of Carano. In the last few days the enemy increased hi propaganda with loudspeakers and leaflets inviting our troops to desert. The enemy fired smoke shells, ejecting smoke pots which screen the entire area over which the shells explode. Shells were observed bursting in the air, leaving two smoke trails and releasing red and green smoke after impact.
Local reliefs took place, mostly in battalion strength. It is assumed that two-thirds of the 5th and 1st Infantry Divisions (UK) are committed on the front, and one-third is held as local reserve. Total strength of the American reserves is unchanged. The 3rd Infantry Division (US) relieved the 45th Infantry Division (US). It is imperative in order to give a correct estimate of the enemy situation to know the location of the 53rd Infantry Division (UK). Even if this division has not been withdrawn from the beachhead, but is located in the area of Anzio for rest, no major enemy attack can be expected within the next few days.
In the detailed statistical report, the Intelligence Officer made the following calculations : from 29 February to 25 April, the strength of the 14.Army, including the coastal defense units of Tarquinia, and the rear areas, were reduced by 42.800 men, by about 170 guns, and 125 tanks through losses and transfers. The Allies, however, increased their forces on the beachhead by about 13.000 men, 48 guns and 104 tanks. The statistics gave the actual strength of German units, the Allied figures were based on the T/C strength of the organizations identified.
German losses : 116 killed; 447 wounded and 56 missing.
Allied losses : 43 prisoners; 5 tanks destroyed and 1 airplane downed by small arms fire.
April 29, 30 – May 1, 2, 3, 1944
Patrol activity continued. At the northern edge of the Michele Gorge, and at the Vallicello Grandi Forest there was stubborn fighting for advanced outposts, which resulted in local successes for our forces. The enemy suffered heavy losses during counterattacks. On April 29, an advanced enemy strong point 4000 meters southeast of Cisterna was recaptured with the help of the Goliaths. On May 1, an enemy assault supported by tanks southwest of Lottoria was repelled. Enemy artillery and naval guns were very active, especially during the night. Dummy batteries and other deceptive measures were employed to mislead artillery fire. In the morning of April 30, enemy ships 20 to 30 km off the mouth of the Tiber were observed. The enemy Air Force was very active.
On May 3, the presence of Field Marshal Kesselring, 14.Army Staff and the Divisional Commanders, conducted a war game with the following estimate of the enemy situation in Italy as of April 30 1944 : regrouping of enemy units on the main front is continuing. The sector of the British 8th Army has been broadened to the south. 3 or 4 infantry divisions and 1 or 2 armored divisions have been assembled behind the US 5-A. An offensive against the southern flank of the 10.Army may be launched, simultaneously with an envelopment of the southern flank by a landing at Gaeta. In connection with these operations, there is a possibility of a landing at Terracina and Cap Cerceo to connect the two fronts. It is also possible that available Allied reserves will be used for a landing between the beachhead and the mouth of the Tiber, or farther to the north at Tarquinia, Civitavecchia, or Palo. In each of these cases, attacks from the beachhead, probably with the main effort at Aprilia, are anticipated.
According to prisoners of war, the 13th and 17th Brigades are employed in the area of the 5th Infantry Division (UK). Prisoners of the 2nd Inniskillings stated that the 2nd Cameronians were on the left of the 2nd Wiltshire on the right flank of their unit. Prisoners from the 2nd Northampton’s were taken about 1000 meters north of Highway 82. They stated that the 5th Seaforth and the 2nd Royal Scots Fusiliers had joined their unit. All are elements of the 17th Brigade. It was assumed that in the beginning of April 1000 men arrived from England. Of these, 400 landed at Anzio on April 15. A troop transport convoy from England with 50.000 men is supposed to be on its way to the Mediterranean Theater. Captured documents of the 9th King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry indicated that elements of the Independent 18th Infantry Brigade were still available for commitment. Estimated enemy ammunition expenditure : 93.000 rounds.
German losses : 132 killed; 531 wounded and 11 missing.
Allied losses : 140 killed; 23 prisoners; 2 tanks destroyed and 1 airplane downed.
May 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 1944
All infantry battalions of the 92.Infantry-Division were committed in strong points of the coastal sector Castiglione – Mouth of the Tiber. Units of the 29.Panzer-Grenadier-Division were drawn up closer to the coast to strengthen the defense. Frequent enemy light bomber attacks were reported. Chiefly scouting and raiding occurred in the main sector of the beachhead. During the night of May 6 to 7, several enemy attacks, in company strength, were repulsed on the northwestern front of the beachhead. During the morning of the 8th, and attack by a company and 10 tanks near the Rubbia Woods was forced to withdraw. Enemy artillery remained static, with occasional surprise barrages. There was considerable increase of artillery fire during the raiding operations. Naval artillery fired intermittently on the right flank. Enemy aerial activity was strong when weather conditions permitted.
Prisoners of war of the 1st Royal and of the 2nd Brigade of the 1st Infantry Division (UK) stated that their battalion relieved the 6th Gordons of the same brigade. This unit is occupying an area about 1000 meters north of Highway 82.
German losses : 106 killed; 410 wounded and 5 missing.
Allied losses : 5 prisoners; 2 tanks destroyed and 2 planes downed.
May 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 1944
In comparison with the past few weeks, scouting and raiding has decreased. Minor enemy attacks were repulsed. Our raid to blast the bridge 75 km east of Isola Bella failed. Generally, the terrain is considered to be passable for tanks. The enemy air force has been very active. Complaints have been made about the weakness of our aerial defenses. Heavy air raids were reported from northern and central Italy. Artillery activity on both sides was the same except for occasional enemy surprise bombardments of the shift points. Estimated enemy ammunition expenditure : 89.000 rounds.
At 2300, on May 11, the enemy artillery began concentrated firing preparatory to the offensive on the main front in Italy, which began on May 12. Simultaneously, the shelling lasted for an hour on the whole beachhead front and increased to heavy barrage fire in the northern sector. The enemy repeated the shelling on the morning of May 12.
At noon, on May 12, Terracina was shelled by 1 cruiser and 2 destroyers. In the evening of the same day, all troops not committed in the front line were ordered to be ready to move. The impending major attack from the beachhead and landings north and south of the beachhead were expected at any hour at the beachhead and Cap Circeo. The 90.Panzer-Grenadier-Division, except for one assault gun battalion which is attached to the 1.Fallschirmjäger-Corps, was marched in the direction of Frosinone in the 10.Army sector in the evening of May 13. The GHQ 525.Heavy-AT-Battalion, parts of which had been committed at the front of the 1.Fallschirmjäger-Corps, also was marched to the 10.Army sector. One company of the 1.Bn, 4.Panzer-Regiment (Panther) was transferred to the Tank Group West to replace these units.
From captured documents it was established that Easy Co, 2/157th Infantry Regiment (45-ID US) was at Biadaretto, 1000 meters north of Torre di Padiglione, and Charlie Co of the 133rd Infantry Regiment (34-ID US) was 5000 meters north of Borgo Podgora. Since May 11, naval activity in the Anzio – Nettuno harbor has increased. Movements of large freighters and landing craft indicate the arrival of large reinforcements.
German losses : 77 killed; 359 wounded and 27 missing. Some who had been reported as missing have deserted. Most deserters are from Italian units.
Allied losses : 4 prisoners; 1 tank destroyed and 1 Spitfire captured in emergency landing.
May 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 1944
Usual patrol activity, with small forces, took place on both sides. On May 17, the enemy attacked in battalion strength 4000 meters south of the east edge of Cisterna. The attack was repelled. Artillery activity consisted of heavy surprise concentrations. Coordinated fire from 20 to 25 enemy batteries occurred several times daily, mostly in the early hours of the morning. Our artillery shelled enemy lines and targets in rear areas. Total enemy ammunition expenditure, 125.000 rounds. Air activity increased over the front with frequent attacks by fighter-bombers in the sector of Sabaudia – Terracina, and heavy air raids on coastal towns north of the Tiber. During the morning of May 15, Terracina was shelled from the sea. On May 14, in connection with the Allied offensive on the main front in Italy, Field Marshal Kesselring issued a proclamation to the soldiers of Army Group C. This was accompanied by the following order of the day by the Commanding General of the 14.Army.
Soldiers of the 14th Army ! You who face the enemy on his beachhead and you who guard the coast : On May 12, the enemy launched his offensive against our comrades on the southern front (10.Army in Cassino). This tremendous attack between the coast and Cassino will not be a separate action. At any time, the enemy may also begin an attack against us. We are prepared. In months of hard work you have dug in well. Enemy barrages will not break our defense line. But do not relax during these barrages, our defense is well planned and organized, our artillery will do its utmost to help the infantry soldiers and the fallschirmjäger at the front.
Lately, we have used less ammunition, and, therefore, have been able to save enough for the expected major attack. No tank must penetrate our main line of resistance. Keep your antitank weapons ready and use them when they will be most effective. There will be no withdrawals either on the beachhead or on the coast. Penetrations might occur, but enemy breakthroughs cannot be tolerated. Once again, check all preparations, weapons and supplies. In case reinforcements are needed, request them immediately. The decisive battle is imminent. We must and we will succeed and I have full confidence in you, my gallant soldiers, because the past five years of war have shown in an amazing way to what extent the German soldier is capable of almost miraculous performances.
Long life the Fuehrer
The piecemeal withdrawal of the 14.Army reserves for the 10.Army continued even though the 14.Army Chief of Staff repeatedly complained about it to the Army Group. On May 15, one company of the 26.Panzer-Regiment was transferred to the 10.Army. On May 16, the 1.Bn of the 9.Panzer-Grenadier-Regiment was transported to Fondi in the 10.Army sector via the railroad tunnel north of Terracina. On May 17, the remainder of the regiment and the 26.Panzer-Recon-Battalion were moved to Pico, 25 km north of Terracina. On the morning of May 18, the Commanding General of the 14.Army called Kesselring by telephone and reported as follows : All indications, including enemy orders intercepted on May 17, lead to the conclusion that the enemy offensive is imminent. While the 10.Army can withstand enemy attacks by withdrawing step by step without operational danger, the 14.Army must unconditionally hold its present main line of resistance, and must prevent further landings.
Those landings are to be expected between the main front and the beachhead. A strategic landing north of the Tiber seems improbable at the present moment, unless troops are moved up from North Africa. A large part of the tactical reserves has been removed from the 14.Army. The Commanding General of the 14.Army requested that at least one reinforced regiment of the 29.Panzer-Grenadier-Division, still stationed as Army Group Reserve north of the Tiber, be attached to him. (Kesselring declined, but agreed that the 67.Panzer-Grenadier-Regiment should be transferred to the area of Pontinia). There it can be used as local reserve for the east front of the beachhead and will also be available for both the area of Terracina and the right flank of the 10.Army.
During the evening of May 18, the remainder of the 26.Panzer-Division, less two battalions of the 93.Artillery-Regiment, was moved to the 10.Army. To replace the 67.Panzer-Grenadier-Regiment, the reinforced 1027.Panzer-Grenadier-Regiment was transferred from the northwestern front of the beachhead to Pontinia. Staff and two companies of the 1.Bn of the 4.Panzer-Regiment (Panther) were transferred into the area of Littoria. One company of the Panther tanks was moved up to Cori and only one remained at Pratica di Maro.
Prisoners of war state that the 5th Recon Bn, 5th Infantry Division (UK) is located north of Highway 82. Prisoners of the Royal Electric and Mechanic Engineers, 17th Brigade of the 5th Infantry Division (UK), state that their battalion is employed at the north edge of Anzio. Fox Co, 2/179th Infantry Regiment (45-ID US), is now employed northwest of Carano. It is assumed that this battalion has taken over the sector of the 2/30th Infantry Regiment. A small vehicle which ejected a jet 60 meters wide, probably phosphorous, was observed near Cle Carano approaching the main line of resistance. Two minutes later, the vehicle exploded.
German losses : 92 killed; 334 wounded and 5 missing.
Allied losses : 31 prisoners and 2 planes shot down by small arms.
On the beachhead, action continued in the same manner as it had since March. During the evening of May 19 an enemy attack against the strong point at the northern edge of the Ballicello Grandi Forest was repelled. In the 20th the enemy succeeded in penetrating the main line of resistance for a short time 2000 meters northeast of Borgo Podgora. The penetration was made under cover of smoke screens in the sector of the Italian unit. Fifteen Italians were shot for cowardice in the face of the enemy. Subsequent attacks at that point on May 20 and 21 were repulsed or wiped out by counter thrusts. On May 21 attacks, partly in battalion strength, between Borgo Podgora and the coast were halted.
Every day, the artillery repeatedly fired surprise concentrations of 20 minutes in duration. The enemy air force was very active during clear weather, encountering little opposition. Road traffic east of the beachhead had to cease during daylight hours. While the situation remained unchanged at the beachhead proper, conditions on the left flank of the 14.Army became more and more serious.
On May 1, the German units on the southern flank of the main Italian front were already badly mauled and had been pushed northwest into the mountains. This let the left flank of the 14.Army unprotected, except by the 103.Recon-Battalion stationed around Fondi. On May 20, Gen von Mackensen asked Field Marshal Kesselring during several telephone conversations to assign him the 29.Panzer-Grenadier-Division in order that the rapidly developing gap north of the Terracina-Fondi sector might be closed. The Field Marshal only complied in the evening after air reconnaissance reports had shown there was no enemy activity in the vicinity of Corsica or Sardinia, which would point to intended enemy landings north of the Tiber. However, at the same time the boundary between the 10.Army and the 14.Army moved to the line Sporlonga – Fondi – Vallo – Corso – Castro di Belsci.
It now ran in a northerly direction from the coast. This added to the 14.Army zone the southern flank of the main front, which was continuously widened as the enemy advanced in a northwesterly direction. For this reason, the transfer of the 29.Panzer-Grenadier-Division could not improve the situation at the beachhead front, nor was it made in time to save the situation north of Terracina. As replacement of the 1027.Panzer-Grenadier-Regiment (which had been a reserve unit for the east flank of the beachhead), the 71.Panzer-Grenadier-Regiment, with one artillery battalion from the 26.Panzer-Division, was moved up during the night of May 20. Upon its arrival on May 21 it had to be committed north of Terracina.
The enemy situation remains unchanged. Estimated allied ammunition expenditure : 107.000 rounds.
German losses : 62 killed; 234 wounded and 20 missing.
Allied losses : 10 prisoners and 1 airplane downed by small arms fire.
German artillery losses : The following guns were lost at the beachhead between April 21 and May 21. Most of the pieces were destroyed by direct hits of enemy artillery or bombs, and a few were destroyed by muzzle bursts : 10 light guns of light infantry howitzers (75-MM); 8 antitank guns (75-MM); 6 antitank guns (88-MM); 42 light field howitzers (105-MM); 5 guns (100-MM); 2 guns (Russian 122-MM); 2 howitzers (210-MM), (total of 75 pieces).
May 23 1944
After very extensive artillery preparations, the enemy launched the offensive, supported by numerous tanks and aircraft, against the front of the 362.Infantry-Division and on the right flank of the 715.Motorized-Infantry-Division. Simultaneously he carried out feints and holding attacks along all other front sectors. By night, the enemy had succeeded in crossing a section 4000 meters wide in the center of the 362.Division’s sector. His tank units thrust forward to the Cle Fiemmingo area 1000 meters east of Cle Lazzaria. The attack against the left flank and the rear of the 3.Panzer-Grenadier-Division was sealed off 1400 meters east and 2000 meters northeast of Spacassassi.
In the 715.Infantry-Division’s sector, the enemy advanced to the railway bridge over the Mussolini Canal 5000 meters southeast of Cisterna. Three attacks on the 715.Infantry-Division’s central sector were repulsed, the enemy suffering heavy casualties.
On the 1.Fallschirmjäger-Corps sector, the enemy attacked the right flank of the 4.Fallschirmjäger-Division simultaneously disembarking infantry units in the rear of this division by local landings. He thereby succeeded in taking the wooded dunes lying between the former main line of resistance and l’Americano. At noon, the Commanding General of the 14.Army reported to the Commander in Chief Southwest, the enemy’s breakthrough to the Via Appia, 5000 meters southeast of Cisterna and outlined the proposal of the Commander, LXXVI Panzer-Corps which aimed at withdrawing the left flank of the beachhead to the Sezzo line. The Commanding General of the 14.Army pointed out that he had no reserves strong enough to rectify the situation on the LXXVI Panzer-Corps’ right flank. The proposal was rejected by Kesselring. The situation had to be stabilized by local reserves. The Panzer-Division Herman Goering, stationed in the Liverno area, left for commitment at the beachhead. Its arrival was expected within two days.
At 1230, the Hqs 14.Army gave orders that one reinforced regiment of the 92.Infantry-Division, 2 battalions and 1 light artillery battalion commanded by staff of the 1060.Grenadier-Regiment, to relieve the 4.Fallschirmjäger-Division’s elements from their present coastal defense assignment for commitment with the LXXVI Panzer-Corps. In addition, the 1.Fallschirmjäger-Corps was to withdraw one regiment group of the 65.Infantry-Division, 2 battalions with heavy weapons, by the morning of May 25. This regiment group is to be committed as the situation requires. The 1.Fallschirmjäger-Corps was to move the 29.Panzer-Grenadier-Division’s 129.Motorized-Recon-Battalion to the right flank of the LXXVI Panzer-Corps.
In the evening, the Commanding General of the 14.Army ordered that the strong point in the Cle Vallicello Grandi Forest be evacuated during the night. In order to shorten the front line, the left flank of the 1.Fallschirmjäger-Corps was to be withdrawn to a secondary line. Cle Buon Riposo is to be held. At 2200, the 1.Fallschirmjäger-Corps reported to 14.Army that it believed the enemy was to extend his attack on l’Americano. The 14.Army assented that the 1.Bn of the Fallschirmjäger-Assault-Regiment should remain in the present sector. During the night, the CG 14.Army gave the following written order : On May 24, it is of prime importance to concentrate all forces to prevent an enemy breakthrough; all heavy antitank guns, assault guns and tanks will be committed at the points where the enemy concentrates his tanks by ruthlessly depleting all sectors not affected by the attack; the danger of a breakthrough to Velletri necessitates the reinforcement of the severely crippled fighting power of the 362.Infantry-Division and the 1.Fallschirmjäger-Corps will release the following 65.Infantry-Division units to the LXXVI Panzer-Corps : the 65.Fusilier-Battalion, the 1165.Assault-Gun-Battalion, the 165.Pioneer-Battalion (less one company) and the AT Co of the 92.Infantry-Division.
By order of Army Group C, the 94.Infantry-Division, formerly with the 10.Army, is subordinated to the 29.Panzer-Grenadier-Division of the 14.Army effective 1600 hours. The division is left with 200 soldiers.
No new enemy units were identified. The major attack supported by additional infantry and armored units will continue.
German losses : 15 killed; 35 wounded and 1 missing. The 362.Inf-Div has lost 50% of its fighting power; the 1028.Pzr-Gren-Regt (715.Mtrz-Inf-Div) has lost 40% of its fighting power; the 725.Gren-Regt (715.Mtrz-Inf-Division) has lost 40% of its fighting power and the 735.Gren-Regt (715.Mtrz-Inf-Division) has lost 10% of its fighting power.
Equipment lost : 15 antitank guns (75-MM); 12 infantry howitzers (75-MM); 30 medium and heavy mortars; 2 howitzers.
Allied losses : 66 captured; 20 tanks destroyed and 1 airplane downed.
May 24 1944
In the early morning hours after brief artillery preparations, the enemy continued his attacks on the northern and northeastern fronts of the beachhead. After bitter fighting he was able to cross the Via Appia, 3000 meters northwest of Cisterna towards the northeast. Several attacks on Cisterna were turned back. In the afternoon and evening the artillery batteries of the 362.Infantry-Division were in close combat with enemy tanks and infantry.
In the sector of the 715.Infantry-Division, the enemy penetrated between Cisterna and the Mussolini Canal in the morning. This succeeded in crossing the line. With permission of the Commander in Chief Southwest, at dusk, the southern flank of the 715.Infantry-Division was withdrawn to the Norma Line. The 29.Panzer-Grenadier-Division in the area north of Terracina received orders to withdraw. It was to maintain contact with the 715.Infantry-Division in the west, and with the 10.Army in the east. The defense of Monte Calvilli was emphasized since this point affects the supply line of the 10.Army.
On the northern flank of the beachhead, the penetration of the previous day in the 4.Fallschirmjäger-Division sector was eliminated by counterattacks. The old main line of defense was reestablished and heavy losses inflicted on the enemy. The 3.Panzer-Grenadier-Division turned back several enemy attacks, especially near the highway Cle Carano-Spaccasassi.
With consent of Army Group C, the 1.Fallschirmjäger-Corps, during the night of May 24 to 25, withdrew its main line of resistance to a secondary line in order to release troops. Preparations are to be made facilitating a further withdrawal to the B-line during the night of May 25 to 26. Execution of the withdrawal is to take place on Army order only. Army Group C orders that officers will be assigned to Velletri, Norma, Cori and Sozzo to be personally responsible for the defense of these towns. Emergency fortifications are to be erected. Civilian labor will be used. The rear positions will be manned by garrisons made up of rear echelon troops under the leadership of energetic officers. In the quiet sectors of the front, raids will be executed to tie down enemy forces.
The 1060.Panzer-Grenadier-Regiment (92.Infantry-Division) was attached to the LXXVI Panzer-Corps. The 14.Army ordered the 92.Infantry-Division to move a battalion during the night of May 25 to 26 from the coastal defense into the area about 8000 meters south of Rome. Furthermore, the 3.Bn of the 192.Artillery-Regiment (88-MM AAA) will be moved forward for employment on the beachhead front. The 14.Army orders the 1.Fallschirmjäger-Corps to transfer the following units to the LXXVI Panzer-Corps : Regimental Staff of the Fallschirmjäger-Assault-Regiment and one battalion AT Co, 1 Panzer-Company (Tiger), Regimental Staff of the 45.Grenadier-Regiment and his 2.Bn and the 3.Bn of the 8.Panzer-Grenadier-Regiment (less one company). After the regrouping has been completed, the 14.Army (excluding the coastal defense sector between Civitavecchia and the mouth of the Tiber) will be organized in the following manner :
between western flank of the 1.Fallschirmjäger-Corps and the mouth of the Tiber : 1.Bn of the Fallschirmjäger-Assault-Regiment.
1.Fallschirmjäger-Corps : the bulk of the 4.Fallschirmjäger-Division, the 65.Infantry-Division (less the 145.Grenadier-Regiment and one assault gun company), one Pioneer-Battalion and the 3.Panzer-Grenadier-Division (less the 8.Motorized-Grenadier-Regiment, 2 batteries of the 103.Assault-Gun-Battalion and the 103.Recon-Battalion).
LXXVI Panzer Corps Sector
In the sector of the 362.Infantry-Division : the remainder of the 362.Infantry-Division, one Panzerjäger-Company (Ferdinand), one company of the 103.Assault-Gun-Battalion, the 65.Fusilier-Battalion, two battalions of the Fallschirmjäger-Assault-Regiment and the 129.Panzer-Recon-Battalion.
The remainder of the 715.Infantry-Division, one Panzer-Company (Tiger), one company of the 103.Assault-Gun-Battalion, one battalion of the 8.Panzer-Grenadier-Regiment, and the 1060.Panzer-Grenadier-Regiment.
Kampfgruppe Fries Sector
The 29.Panzer-Grenadier-Division, the remainder of the 94.Infantry-Division, elements of the 103.Recon-Battalion, one battalion of the 8.Panzer-Grenadier-Regiment, and one company of the 93.Panzer-Pioneer-Battalion.
At 2245, the 1.Fallschirmjäger-Corps reported to the 14.Army that the enemy was attacking since 2145 in the sector of the 3.Panzer-Grenadier-Division on a 2000 meters wide front. This interferes with the planned withdrawal. The question now arises whether the 3.Bn of the 8.Panzer-Grenadier-Regiment, will be available for the LXXVI Panzer-Corps.
An attack of the 1st Green Howards, 15th Brigade of the 5th Infantry Division (UK) north of Moletta Gorge was supported by the Independent 3rd Tank Battalion of the County of London Yeomanry. According to reports from agents and foreign radio broadcasts, a landing of the 36th Infantry Division (US) is possible.
German losses (minus LXXVI Panzer-Corps and 4.Prcht-Div) : 12 killed; 81 wounded and 8 missing.
German artillery losses : 1 assault gun (75-MM) direct hit artillery. The following pieces were : (1) Spiked : 3 howitzers (105-MM), 1 howitzer (150-MM), 3 howitzers (220-MM Mörser, French); (2) Damaged : 1 gun (100-MM), 1 gun (170-MM), 2 field howitzers (105-MM), 1 field howitzer (105-MM Italian) and 1 field howitzer (150-MM).
Allied losses : 29 prisoners; 25 tanks destroyed; 6 tanks put out of commission; 1 tank captured and 2 fighter-bombers downed.
May 25 1944
After 0530, the enemy continued his attacks with heavy tank, artillery and air support. The main effort was in the area northwest, north and northeast of Cisterna. He succeeded, in spite of heavy resistance on the part of our troops, in advancing to the line 3000 meters south of Velletri – 3000 meters east of Velletri – Giulianello. In Cisterna, a weak combat team of 80 men led by the commander of the 954.Grenadier-Regiment (362.Infantry-Division), was surrounded and overcome by superior enemy forces. During the night, the 3.Panzer-Grenadier-Division repulsed heavy enemy attacks in the Spaccasassi area in hand-to-hand fighting.
On the left flank of the 1.Fallschirmjäger-Corps, beginning south of Cle Buon Riposo, the main line of resistance was withdrawn to the secondary line. Strong outposts were maintained at the old line. The 14.Army ordered the immediate strengthening of the antitank defenses at the boundary between the 362.Infantry-Division and the 715.Infantry-Division. To accomplish this, one company of the 103.Assault-Gun-Battalion and 8 heavy antitank guns of the AT-Battalion of the 4.Fallschirmjäger-Division were shifted from the 1.Fallschirmjäger-Corps to the LXXVI Panzer-Corps. In order to make the Velletri – Giulianello – Cori road usable, contact was to be made from east to west between the 362.Infantry and the 715.Infantry Divisions. Telegraphic order by Kesselring to the Commanding General of the 14.Army read : the defensive battle has now reached its decisive stage, we must inflict such heavy casualties that the enemy’s aggressive power is reduced. This will only be possible if the main lines of resistance are defended with the utmost courage and zeal. I therefore prohibit the withdrawal of division or the relinquishment of any key positions without my express orders.
During the evening, Kesselring informed the Commanding General of the 14.Army that the Recon-Battalion of the Panzer-Division Herman Goering is being moved to the breakthrough sector and will remain under the 14.Army orders. However, the bulk of the division should be held back for possible commitment with the 10.Army.
From intercepted radio messages it is believed that the 1st Armored Division (US) is employed in the Littoria – Cisterna – Lazzaria area. Estimated enemy artillery ammunition expenditure : 108.000 rounds.
May 26 1944
The enemy further developed his attacks. Around midday, armored forces succeeded in breaching the defensive position south of Velletri by advancing on both sides of the Appian Way and from the east. Between the 362.Infantry-Division and the mountain range the enemy pushed forward as far as Artena. In the evening, the 2.Panzer-Grenadier-Regiment of the Panzer-Division Herman Goering attacked from a line west of Labico, their objective being a line 2500 meters north of Giulianello.
In the 3.Panzer-Grenadier-Division’s sector, enemy infantry and armored units attacked in force along a broad front at 1100. Except for a few minor penetrations, the attack was repulsed after bitter fighting. The Commanding General of the LXXVI Panzer-Corps reported to the Commanding General of the 14.Army that the 715.Infantry-Division had lost the greater part of its heavy weapons. Elements of the division were probably at Cori, Norma and Sozzo. Moreover, as there was no signal equipment left, the division could not be employed for some time.
Army Group C informed the 14.Army that the Panzer-Division Herman Goering would be subordinated to LXXVI Panzer-Corps. The division is to be committed as a unit. In order to master the situation south of Valmontone, the Commander in Chief Southwest ordered the 10.Army to transfer the following units to the LXXVI Panzer-Corps during the night of May 26 to 27 May : a regimental group, comprising two battalions, staff, 5.Rocket-Projector-Brigade, with one regiment, and two heavy antiaircraft artillery battalions.
Apart from these reinforcements, LXXVI Panzer-Corps transferred two panzer grenadier battalions and two artillery battalions from the 29.Panzer-Grenadier-Division for commitment with the 715.Infantry-Division. In case of overwhelming enemy pressure, the 29.Panzer-Grenadier-Division was granted permission to withdraw to a line running along the crests from Rocca Massina, 6000 meters southeast of Cori, to 4000 meters southeast of Carpinoto, to Roccagorge, southeast of Prossedi. The following 14.Army order was issued : (1) During the night (May 26 to 27), the elements of the 1.Fallschirmjäger-Corps south of Aprilia between Cle Buon Riposo and the road intersection 2000 meters northwest of Tre Speccasassi will fall back to the B-line, which is approximately 2000 meters behind the main line of resistance. (2) The elements to the east of this point will take up a flanking position along a line running east of Cle Pandria over Cle Pedica to a point 3000 meters southeast of Lanuvio, where it joins the C-line. Effective 2200, the 362.Infantry-Division will be subordinated to the 1.Fallschirmjäger-Corps and will fall back to the C-line in its own sector. Its center of defense will be Velletri. The C-line coming from the southwest runs 1000 meters south of Lanuvio – 1000 meters south of Velletri-Labico. (3) At the earliest possible hour on May 27, the Panzer-Division Herman Goering, under the command of the LXXVI Panzer-Corps, will attack the enemy forces which have penetrated as far as Artena. They will drive the enemy back to the line 4000 meters southeast of Velletri – 2000 meters south of Giulianello – Rocca Massina.
The 706th Tank Battalion was established as attached to the 34th Infantry Division (US). The commitment of the 36th Infantry Division (US) was established through prisoners of the 143rd Infantry Regiment taken south of Velletri.
German losses : Unknown.
German Artillery losses : (inflicted by enemy artillery bombardments) all guns except 6 field howitzers (150-MM) of the 671.Artillery-Regiment (715.Infantry-Division) and the 3.Bn of the Artillery Demonstration Regiment. Three field howitzers self-propelled (105-MM), Two field howitzers self-propelled (150-MM), one gun (170-MM), one Russian gun (152-MM) and one gun (210-MM).
Allied losses : 45 tanks destroyed and 6 planes downed by small arms.
May 27 1944
The enemy continued his attacks in the area south of Valmontone. He also extended the offensive to the sectors of the 65.Infantry-Division and the 3.Panzer-Grenadier-Division. His main blows are on either side of the Aprilia – Anzio Highway 42, and east of Aprilia. After repeated attacks were repulsed by concentrated fire of all our artillery, the enemy succeeded in making several penetrations in the sector of the 3.Panzer-Grenadier-Division. Our last antitank guns were destroyed.
The weakened troops were forced to withdraw nearly 1500 meters to Spaccasassi Creek. During the morning the enemy advanced towards the new main line of resistance of the 362.Infantry-Division. Repeated attacks were turned back. Parts of the Panzer-Division Herman Goering, counterattacking from the area east of Valmontone against stubbornly fighting enemy reached the railroad line and the highway west of Artena. During the morning, the enemy succeeded in entering Artena by forcing the Panzer-Recon-Battalion Herman Goering to withdraw to the north of the town. Summarized Army orders for further operations follow.
The Army considers the following to be the intentions of the enemy :
(1) to make a breakthrough in the area between Aprilia and the Alban Hills, in a northwesterly direction; (2) to make a breakthrough towards Valmontone with the bulk of its forces in order to surround the southern flank of the 10.Army, and to cut off their communications to the rear and (3) new landings on both sides of the mouth of the Tiber are within the realm of possibility.
The 1.Fallschirmjäger-Corps will hold its present position. In the sectors of the 4.Fallschirmjäger-Division, the 65.Infantry-Division, and the 3.Panzer-Grenadier-Division, a gradual withdrawal to the C-line is probable and must be prepared for. In the sector of the 362.Infantry-Division, which is already in the C-line, the position will be held at all costs. The enemy must be brought to a final halt in front of the line. This order pertains to the entire C-line; it has been issued by Hitler. It is the mission of the LXXVI Panzer-Corps to drive the enemy back to the Velletri – Rocca – Massina line, which he has penetrated in the direction of Valmontone.
This is essential in order to secure the western flank of the southern tip of the 10.Army, and to insure once again its supply line over the Via Casilim until the southern flank of the 10.Army has reached the C-line. The 10.Army has orders to transfer the 334.Infantry-Division to the 14.Army. The bulk of the 334.Infantry-Division will be brought to the Tivoli sector and elements of it, probably 2 battalions, to the sector 7000 meters southeast of Valmontone. The Italian Parachute Regiment ‘Folgore’ will be attached to the 1.Fallschirmjäger-Corps to fight a rearguard action.
The 1/6th Armored Infantry Regiment (1-AD US) is west of Artena, according to prisoner of war statements. This regiment, together with the 13th Armored Infantry Regiment (1-AD US), advanced from the Cisterna area toward Artena. The first objective was to be the Via Casilina, then the units were to push westward. Elements of the 36th Infantry Division (US) are to follow closely behind. The 1st Armored Infantry Regiment (1-AD US) was on the left flank of the 6th Armored Infantry regiment. The 1st Armored Division had on its left flank the 34th Infantry Division (US), and on its right the 3rd Infantry Division (US).
German losses (only 4.Prcht-Div and 65.Inf-Div) : 6 killed; 32 wounded and 13 missing.
Allied losses : 32 prisoners; 17 tanks destroyed and 3 tanks put out of commission.
May 28 1944
The enemy attacks continued in the western and northern sectors of the 14.Army with the main effort at Stazione di Campoleone and in the area southeast and southwest of Lanuvie. Strong infantry and tank forces, part of which had been just brought up, were employed in this attack. All enemy attacks against the front of the 65.Infantry-Division were repelled, but the enemy succeeded in making a penetration at the boundary between the 65.Infantry-Division and the 3.Panzer-Grenadier-Division. The penetration was sealed and a front line reestablished.
Minor enemy attacks against the front of the 362.Infantry-Division were repelled. The Panzer-Division Herman Goering withstood a strong enemy counterattack west of Stazione di Artena, and continued its attack, gaining ground toward Lariano despite stubborn enemy resistance. The Commander in Chief Southwest issued this order : (1) at the expense of other sectors the enemy concentrates all available forces on his left flank; (2) his reserves which we believed to be located in the rear, are committed her almost exclusively; (3) the Commander in Chief Southwest will defend Rome under all circumstances; (4) the right flank of the 14.Army will prevent the enemy from breaking through the C-line; (5) all available reserves will be concentrated in the area of Valmontone in order to stop the advancing enemy and to repel him towards the south; (6) the construction of the Campagna switch position will be continued at all cost, even if the population of Rome has to be employed.
Summarized Army orders for further operations : In order to provide new reserves, the 1.Fallschirmjäger-Corps will withdraw its western flank to the general front line Cle la Fosse-Ardea-C-line east of Cle Piano di Frasso. Strong rear guards will remain in the present main line of resistance. The following units will be transferred to the 1.Fallschirmjäger-Corps : the 334.Infantry-Division from 10.Army; then 9.Luftwaffe-Field-Battalion (attached to the 715.Infantry-Division) and reinforced by remnants of the 7.Luftwaffe-Field-Battalion to be committed between the mouth of the Tiber and the main line of resistance; the Assault-Battalion of the Service School, Southwestern Theater; the Fusilier-Battalion of the 92.Infantry-Division and the 811.Panzer-Pioneer-Company (Goliath) to be committed as infantry.
The task of the LXXVI PanzerCorps is to continue the attacks on its western flank in order to contact the eastern flank of the 1.Fallschirmjäger-Corps. The C-line is to be reached. In case of further withdrawal of the eastern flank of the Corps and the 10.Army, contact is to be established in the area 4000 meters southeast of Spurgola. In addition to holding the C-line as the final main line of resistance, and to halting the major enemy attack, scouting and patrolling as well as defensive preparations in the area behind the C-line will be executed. The Italian Battalion Barbarigo will be attached to the 1.Fallschirmjäger-Corps for construction of field fortifications.
According to prisoner of war statements, the 2nd and 3rd Battalions, 147th Infantry Regiment of the 36th Infantry Division (US) are committed south of Velletri. General Ryder is said to be Commanding General of the 34th Infantry Division (US).
German losses : not reported.
Allied losses : 7 prisoners.
May 29 1944
The 1.Fallschirmjäger-Corps withdrew last night according to plan. The 4.Fallschirmjäger-Division and the 65.Infantry-Division repelled several attacks, but the enemy succeeded in penetrating the line. This penetration occurred in the area east of the railroad, making 2500 meters wide and 1500 meters deep gap in the center of the 3.Panzer-Grenadier-Division’s sector. During the night, the Panzer-Division Herman Goering attacked and occupied Lariano and the road to the northeast. Enemy counterattacks were repulsed and an enemy penetration west of Stazione di Artena was wiped out.
During the evening the right flank of the 29.Panzer-Grenadier-Division attacked in a southwesterly direction to make contact with the Panzer-Division Herman Goering. At noon, the 14.Army informed Army Group C that the position of the 65.Infantry-Division was serious. For tank defense, the division had at its disposal only 6 assault guns, 1 Tiger and several antitank guns. Kesselring ordered the AAA-Battalion of the 1.Fallschirmjäger-Corps (approximately 14 batteries) be employed exclusively against tanks. Minefields were to be laid in the path of enemy tanks by all available engineers. A breakthrough must be prevented.
Army orders for further operations were : (1) after the unsuccessful attempt to break through at Via Casilina, the enemy transferred his point of main effort to the area between the Alban Hills and the coast; (2) according to radio intercepts, one armored regiment and elements of an armored infantry regiment of the 1st Armored Division (US) were transferred to the area; (3) the Army expects the continuation of major enemy attacks in the 1.Fallschirmjäger-Corps sector southwest of the Alban Hills to force a breakthrough towards Rome; (4) at the same time, continuous attacks in the direction of Valmontone and stronger thrusts against the eastern flank of the LXXVI Panzer-Corps can be expected and (5), the 1.Fallschirmjäger-Corps will defend the C-line, prevent an enemy breakthrough, and repel penetrations. The withdrawal of the western flank of the C-line is authorized; (6) the penetration in the area of the LXXVI Panzer-Corps must be reduced as quickly as possible by converging attacks of the Panzer-Division Herman Goering and attacks by the northern flank of the 29.Panzer-Grenadier-Division and (7), Army Group C ordered Kampfgruppe von Aangen, a reinforced regimental group of the 356.Infantry-Division, presently employed for coastal defense on the Gulf of Genoa, to transfer to the area Grossoto – Orbetello, as Army Group reserve.
The following units and artillery are assigned to the Corps : five AT-Guns of the 92.Infantry-Division; one Pioneer-Company of the 92.Infantry-Division; one Pioneer-Company of the 715.Infantry-Division; the Panzer-Battalion of the 29.Panzer-Grenadier-Division (less one company) and two AAA-Battalions (to be transferred by the CG of the Central Italian Luftwaffe).
According to reliable sources, the three regiments of the 36th Infantry Division (US) are committed.
German losses : no information.
Allied losses : 65 prisoners; 3 airplanes down and several others damaged.
May 30 1944
The enemy continued his attack on a broad front with heavy artillery fire and strong armored forces. His main efforts were in the northern sector, on the eastern flank, and in the sector of the 65.Infantry-Division. All attacks were repelled. On the right flank of the 3.Panzer-Grenadier-Division, the enemy penetration could not be considerably reduced by a counterattack. The night raid of the Panzer-Division Herman Goering in the direction of Artena encountered an enemy attack supported by tanks. The enemy penetration just west of Stazione di Artena was sealed off. The right flank of the 29.Panzer-Grenadier-Division attacked during the night, and gained the line running from 2000 meters east of Artena to 5000 meters northwest of Segni. The 14.Army ordered the withdrawal of the Ost Battalion (362.Infantry-Division) from the front line in order to employ this unit in the construction of fortifications. During the night of May 30 to 31, the 2.Bn (- 1 Co) of the 755.Grenadier-Regiment (334.Infantry-Division) was transferred to the LXXVI Panzer-Corps in the area south of Palestrina.
Prisoners of war revealed that the 108th Antiaircraft Battalion of the VI American Corps was employed northwest of Velletri. Two companies of the 1st Recon Battalion of the 1st Infantry Division (UK), were established near Cle Campoleone. The 46th Tank Battalion (GHQ troops) of the 1st Infantry Division (UK) was identified through captured documents. General Walker has been identified as the commander of the 36th Infantry Division (US).
German losses : no records.
Allied losses : 106 prisoners; 28 tanks destroyed and 1 airplane downed.
May 31 1944
The enemy continued his efforts to force a breakthrough in the center of the 1.Fallschirmjäger-Corps by employing strong infantry and armored units, supported by continuous barrage firing. In heavy fighting, the 65.Infantry-Division succeeded in preventing a breakthrough along the railroad line Cisterna – Rome, and in holding a thinly manned line, which blocked the enemy from northwest Cle Campoleone.
During the night, the right flank of the 3.Panzer-Grenadier-Division was able to regain the old main line of defense along the Aprilia – Albano Highway by counterattacking. In the morning hours, a few enemy tanks penetrated along the Aprilia – Albano Highway in the direction of Cecchina.
An enemy breakthrough at the boundary line of the 65.Infantry-Division and the 3.Panzer-Grenadier-Division was prevented. The enemy managed to infiltrate two battalions at the boundary between the 1.Fallschirmjäger-Corps and the LXXVI Panzer-Corps, and to advance on both sides of the mountain ridge Monte Artomisio up to 3000 meters northwest of Velletri. An attack was launched by the Panzer-Division Herman Goering from Lariano in a southwesterly direction to close the gap between the two Corps. The 29.Panzer-Grenadier-Division will be attached to the 10.Army as of midnight, June 1.
The main mission of the 14.Army from 1 June is : (1), the repulsion of further enemy attacks. His main point of effort is assumed to be between the Alban Hills and the coast and (2), the elimination of enemy penetrations between the 1.Fallschirmjäger-Corps and the LXXVI Panzer-Corps at the earliest possible moment.
The 334.Infantry-Division, less Kampfgruppe Janisch, will be assigned to the LXXVI Panzer-Corps. It will be committed along and west of the boundary line between the 14.Army and the 10.Army. Kampfgruppe Janisch will remain under command of the 1.Fallschirmjäger-Corps until further notice. The 92.Infantry-Division has received orders to transfer to the 1.Fallschirmjäger-Corps during the night of May 31 to June 1. It is also to prepare the 1.Bn of the 1059.Grenadier-Regiment so that it can be attached to the 1.Fallschirmjäger-Corps in the evening of June 1.
The 1.Fallschirmjäger-Corps will receive an armored combat team consisting of 10 Tiger tanks and 10 remote-controlled demolition vehicles from the 508.Heavy-Panzer-Battalion. In the evening, an order by Kesselring emphasized the urgency of eliminating the enemy infiltration between the 1.Fallschimjäger-Corps and the LXXVI Panzer-Corps. This was to be accomplished even though it might be necessary to use all the tanks of the Panzer-Division Herman Goering and to withdraw units from the northern flank of the 29.Panzer-Grenadier-Division.
Available tanks and assault guns on May 31 were : Italian 65.Infantry-Division : 1; 3.Panzer-Grenadier-Division : 15; Panzer-Division Herman Goering : 20; 508.Heavy-Panzer-Battalion : 10 Tigers and 71.Co, 653.AT-Battalion : 2 Ferdinands.
The 14.Army was now facing the following enemy divisions : the 5th Infantry Division (UK); the 1st Infantry Division (UK); the 1st Armored Division (US); the 3rd Infantry Division (US); the 34th Infantry Division (US); the 36th Infantry Division (US); the 85th Infantry Division (US); the 1st Special Service Brigade (US); the 88th Infantry Division (US) and the 4th Moroccan Mountain Division (Free French).
Final estimate of enemy situation
On May 23, the enemy began his major attack from the beachhead, with a strong concentration of men and material. The objective was to occupy the important heights near Velletri and then to thrust forward to Valmontone. This would clear the way for a breakthrough to Rome. His immediate objective was to cut the important 10.Army supply route to the Via Casilina (Highway 6). All available forces were concentrated in a spearhead, with the 1st Armored Division (US), the 3rd and the 34th Infantry Divisions (US), which succeeded in making a loop penetration east of Velletri.
Making use of this success, the 36th Infantry Division (US) was brought up and immediately committed at the point of main effort. The attacking force was further strengthened by the 706th Tank Battalion and the 178th Artillery Regiment (US). The 1st Infantry Division (UK) was reinforced by the 3rd Tank Battalion, County of London Yeomanry. The enemy changed his tactics from a slow advance to a quick thrust. He attempted to achieve a strategic success by driving a strong tank wedge forward.
The battle reached the climax when enemy units from the main front and from the beachhead made contact. The enemy now had a flanking position from which he could attempt to roll up the front of the 10. Armee. At the same time, the possibility existed that he would capture Rome by attacking along the western slope of the Alban Hills. Judging from the ships available and the large reserves in North Africa, landings in central and northern Italy appeared possible.
German losses : not reported.
Guns destroyed : 1 field howitzer (150-MM); 4 assault guns, all by artillery fire.
Allied losses : 69 prisoners; 38 tanks put out of commission; 2 airplanes downed.
Captured : 4 American scout cars and 1 armored personnel carrier and miscellaneous equipment.
 Prior to the landings, the first phase of the Anzio operation appeared pre-determined for the defender, by depleting the coastal area of Rome, while the first days after the landings were decisive for the Allies. All engagements thereafter, were the result of the above fact. After the Allies had successfully invaded southern Italy, the main task of the German High Command was to prevent Allied advances by defending on a stabilized defensive front, since the German forces were not numerous enough to eliminate the Allies from the Italian mainland.
 This was accomplished, until the beginning of 1944, by means of the Gaeta – Ortona line (Bernhard or Gustav Position). As continued attacks against this line promised little success for the Allies, the German High Command believed that Allied tactics would have to change and amphibious moves be planned. It was believed that these landings were intended to cut the supply lines of the German 10.Army and neutralize the Bernhard position. Due to the small number of German troops in Italy, successful enemy landings, supported by intensified Allied attacks against the southern front, could have created a critical situation. The Allies had apparently recognized this and prepared for a landing, by attacks at the Gariglieno River. It was believed that the immediate Allied intentions were to break through at the Garigliano, but to pin down German front line units and draw German reserves forward. A break through of the Bernhard position was only to be expected in conjunction whit a successful amphibious operation against the weakened German areas.
 This danger was recognized by the German High Command. Therefore, at the beginning of the Allied offensive on January 18 1944, Army Group C intended to reinforce the Carigliano front, without weakening the coastal defenses of central and upper Italy. Allied tactics simplified the task of Army Group C. When only the US 5-A attacked in the sector south of Cassino on January 18, the Germans were able to withdraw and transfer troops from the sector of the British Eighth Army, to reinforce the Cassino sector. The German High Command made the error of not transferring a maximum of forces at the outset of the offensive, but delayed until the situation became grave and the Allies threatened with a break through on the Garigliano. To prevent this, all readily available German forces in the area of Rome and its coastal sector had to be committed. As a result, the Allied success in the offensive south of Cassino was not only established, but increased in scope. Army Group C was compelled to commit all its troops along the defense line, including the reserves. It was also forced to relieve its units from the coast defenses west of Rome as reinforcements for the south. This created the favorable vacuum for successful Allied landings at Anzio.
 The VI Army Corps (US) encountered no organized resistance, during the landings on January 22, as there had been no leakage of the plans for the intended landing and, consequently, the German coastal defense forces were not alerted. The Allies landed during the night of the January 21 to 22, and formed several small bridgeheads which were consolidated and expanded during January 22. The following two days, the beachhead forces did not attack but concentrated on landing further reinforcements and securing the beachhead. Due to this stand-still by the invading forces, the supply lines of 10.Army remained open, and neither the highways leading south from Rome nor the Albanase Mountains were denied to the Germans. It appeared to the German Command that Allied plans did not contain a precise time-table for an assault against these objectives, but made this attack dependent on the strength of the German defending forces.
 During the first two days after the landing, the Allies appeared to make a critical error, in that they did not exploit the weakness of the German defense by immediately extending the beachhead on a strategic plane, even though this may have been contrary to the original plans. The German Command realized that the loss of the Albanese Mountains or the City of Rome would have led to an Allied break-through on the southern front. The fact that the Allies did not immediately exploit this favorable situation on the beachhead determined the German course for the entire operation and made it possible for Army Group C to build a stabilized defensive line on the beachhead until January 24. Later, German reinforcements could be brought up as the attacks of the US 5-A south of Cassino diminished. This allowed for a release of reserves in this area to the Anzio sector. After conclusion of the first phase of the landings, the German Command considered that neither the attacking Allied forces nor the defending German forces obtained complete success. The Allies did not reach their strategic objectives, and the Germans did not succeed in preventing the landings or in eliminating the Allied Forces before they had established their positions. By January 25, both sides had built a stabilized front line. Thus the beachhead became practically an extension of the southern front. The battles of the following weeks and months were fought in accordance with the original objectives on both sides : the Allies to make a break-trough from the beachhead in a northernly and northeasterly direction, and the Germans to eliminate the beachhead.
 German operations depended on the condition of the terrain and on the weather. For these reasons, German counterattacks could only be made in the Aprilia sector, or from the area of Cisterna, during a period of bad weather when the Allied Air Force and Naval Artillery were less effective. The opportunities for success, during this time, seemed quite feasible, since the Allied forces on the beachhead appeared not too strong. The German High Command did plan an attack for January 28, from the area of Aprilia, to split the beachhead. However, the concentration of German troops was delayed, because reinforcements for the attack from upper Italy, France, and Germany did not arrive in time, due to demolished railroads and highways.
 The German High Command then had to postpone the attack until February 1. This plan was upset by the Allied attack on January 30, which began in the area of Aprilia and resulted in a deep penetration into the German defensive front. The German High Command was forced to eliminate this penetration and gain positions for a new counterattack. The penetration was eliminated by February 9. During the following days, the Germans prepared a new large-scale attack which, depending on weather conditions, was scheduled for February 15. The attack favored by good weather, began on February 16. On February 17, Highway 82 across the beachhead was traversed between Fta Campodi Carne and Cle Tre di Padigliones.
 It was the opinion of the German High Command that the development of this attack would create a crisis on the Allied side, this, if properly exploited, could lead to a complete German success. The 14.Army however uncertain, whether sufficiently deep penetrations in the Allied line had been made, by the evening of the second day of the attack, did not commit its available reserves at that time. In addition, the terrain was not suitable for tank employment as had been presumed. The 14.Army having no faith in the possible success of a break-through without supporting tanks, held back its reserves. This decision brought the attack to a stand-still on February 18, and the final success appeared to be in no proportion to the strength committed.
 As a result of these experiences Army Group C abandoned the original plan of eliminating the Allied beachhead by an all-out large-scale attack. The revised intentions were to reduce the beachhead by limited attacks against smaller objectives. The German artillery, concentrated around the beachhead, was to interfere with Allied concentrations, which might be preparing for a major attack. With these tactics, the German High Command hoped that the Allies would evacuate the beachhead as soon as they realized a further strategic extension could not be executed.
 The first German offensive, under these plans, was made on February 29, from the area of Cisterna with the Astura as the prixmary objective. A secondary and more strategic action was envisaged if the attack were successful. However, unfavorable terrain for tanks due to weather, halted the assault. Later German counterattacks of this type were of smaller scope, because of the strong local reactions of the Allies, and the situation on the 10.Army front rarely permitted the concentration of strong German assault forces in the Anzio sector.
 As a result the Allies, in the months that followed, were unable to enlarge the beachhead to any extent, while the 14.Army was not able to eliminate it. Only in the latter part of May, were the Allies able to break through the German defensive front on the beachhead, and reach their original objectives. The German High Cormand did not believe that this success resulted from engagements on the beachhead, but rather from the effects of the successful Allied offensive against the southern flank of the 10.Army, causing a collapse of the German defensive front south of Cassino.
Order of Battle – Anzio – British Troops
1st Infantry Division
5th Infantry Division
56th Infantry Division
British Units attached to 5-A
24th Artillery Regiment
78th Artillery Regiment
80th Artillery Regiment
46th Royal Scots Greys (Armored Battalion)
6th Queen’s Own Hussars (Armored Battalion)
6th Cheshire (Infantry Battalion)
2/VII Middlesex (Infantry Battalion)
1st Rifle Brigade
40th Marine Commando
1st Armored Division
3rd Infantry Division
34th Infantry Division
36th Infantry Division
45th Infantry Division
82nd Airborne Division
US Units attached to the 5-A
1st Special Service Force Brigade
1st Ranger Battalion
3rd Ranger Battalion
4th Ranger Battalion
36th Engineer Regiment
191st Armored Battalion
601st Antitank Battalion
894th Antitank Battalion
751st Tank Battalion
You have probably see the quality of the work in this archive. The quality of the layout and the images as well. This is only possible because some of you takes the time to put some coins in the Juke-Work. Remember that the whole thing is a one-man work. Not even some kind of US 501-C etc …! I am doing alone, a remake of Rio Bravo, just when Dean Martin, Ricky Nelson, Walter Brennan and John Wayne are singing “Just my Rifle, Pony and Me”. In fact I could sing “Just my Keyboard, my Brain and your Donations”. That’s what keep this site alive and online. One last very important point! For God’s sake, if you have anything relevant to this archive, and I repeat – anything – do not leave that treasure in the dust of an old cardboard box in the shadow of an attic. If it’s a few photos, papers, badges or whatever, send them to me. If it comes to more important things contact me.
For all purposes :
European Center of Military History
Gunter ‘Doc Snafu’ Gillot
rue des Thiers 8
Email : gunter [at] eucmh.be
Thank You for your support !