Stalemate in the Mountains and on the Plain
Alexander Develops His Strategy
By the end of October it seemed unlikely that the Allied armies would wrest control of the Po Valley from the Germans before winter set in. Except on the Adriatic flank, the Allies still faced the enemy in the Apennines. The Eighth Army had been checked along the Ronco River, and south of Bologna the Fifth Army had been ordered to go onto the defensive. For the latter there loomed the uninviting prospect of yet another winter in the mountains.
Yet the situation, oddly enough, best served the overall Allied strategy for the Italian Theater--that of containing the maximum number of German divisions. For to hold in their present positions, the Germans would have to use all of the divisions presently in northern Italy. If driven from these positions, the German armies would fall back first to the Po, then the Adige, river lines. These formidable natural obstacles could be held with considerably fewer troops than the existing line in the Apennines and along the Ronco. Divisions spared by more favorable defensive lines then could be released to other more threatened fronts. Thus, instead of the Allies containing the Germans, the latter would be containing the Allies.
Looking forward to resumption of a full-scale offensive in the spring, General Alexander hoped to avoid such a reversal of roles by reviving his earlier concept of a trans-Adriatic operation by the Eighth Army. He envisioned such an operation as a large-scale turning maneuver to outflank the German forces in northern Italy and to open up the road into the mid-Danube basin and possibly reach Vienna before the Russians.1
According to General Alexander's calculations, the Germans should be able to hold the line of the Adige with eleven divisions, and the U.S. Fifth Army would be adequate to fully engage them. This would free the Eighth Army for operations across the Adriatic. Belgrade had fallen to the Russians and their partisan auxiliaries on 20 October, and Tito's partisans were clearing the Dalmatian coast of the enemy. General Alexander believed he would soon be able to occupy the Yugoslav ports of Zadar, Split, and Sibenik with light forces. In February, as part of the final Allied offensive, the Eighth Army could pass through these ports and advance rapidly on Fiume and Ljubljana and thence into lower Austria. Thus would Alexander bring the Germans to decisive battle on
ground of his choosing rather than along fortified river lines, such as the Po or the Adige. Important to the realization of this strategy, however, would be the early capture of Bologna, needed as a base for the Fifth Army's operations against the Po and the Adige lines, and the capture of Ravenna, required as a base, along with Ancona and Rimini, for the Eighth Army's trans-Adriatic operations. Thus it was, that instead of settling down into defensive positions at the end of October, the two Allied armies would prepare for or continue offensive operations in their respective sectors for another month.
As his armies paused in the mountains and on the plain, General Alexander presented to Generals Clark and McCreery his plan for the capture of Bologna and Ravenna. The Eighth Army left wing was to move first, crossing the Ronco and capturing Forli, four miles to the northwest. This feat would open up Route 67 between Florence and Forli and improve lateral communications between the two armies. At the same time, the Eighth Army right wing was also to continue astride Highway 16 (the coastal road) to capture Ravenna, the northeastern terminus of Route 67. These operations on the Eighth Army's front could be expected to siphon off enemy strength from before the U.S. Fifth Army, which, in the meantime, was to withdraw units from the line to rest and prepare for resumption of the drive on Bologna. On army group order, General Clark was to return these units to the line as secretly as possible to make what was expected to be the final effort to capture Bologna before winter set in.
On 29 October, at a conference with his two army commanders at army group headquarters, General Alexander agreed to extend the cut-off date for the forthcoming operations from 15 November to 15 December. This would give Clark more time to rest his exhausted divisions, and McCreery more time to take Forli and Ravenna. General Alexander's only caveat--but an important one--was that the operations were to be undertaken only if the weather were favorable and if they (the two armies) had "a good chance of success."2
The Capture of Forli
For the Forli operation, General McCreery planned to employ only two of his four corps, the British 5 and the Polish 2. The remaining corps, the Canadian 1st Corps and the British 10 would be given an opportunity to rest, the former eventually to be used against Ravenna and the latter to be moved before the end of the year to Greece, together with the British 4th and 46th Divisions and the Indian 4th Division, to enhance the British role in the escalating civil strife in that recently liberated country.
Since 27 October, through a series of limited-objective operations, the 5 Corps had managed to improve its position along the Ronco. The most important of these, on 31 October, had been the 4th Division's crossing of the river east of Forli and the 10th Indian Division's crossing of the Ronco at Meldola, six miles southeast of Forli. The latter division, after crossing the river, turned northwest and made its way as far as Collina, halfway to Forli. On 2 November
the British 46th Division came forward to relieve the Indian division and to join the 4th Division in a final converging assault on Forli from the southeast and the east. (Since both British divisions were slated eventually for duty in Greece, McCreery wanted to make full use of them before their relief.)
On the 5 Corps' left in the Apennines foothills south of Highway 9, the 2 Polish Corps, meanwhile, prepared to resume its advance in the direction of Faenza, thirteen miles northwest of Preddapio Nuova where the corps had halted on 27 October. General McCreery had assigned the Poles the task of clearing high ground south of the highway between Forli and Faenza, eight and a half miles northwest of Forli.
A period of clear, cold weather moved into the area on 6 November, and the fighter-bombers of the DAF emerged in force to support the Eighth Army across its entire front. As the bombs rained down on the enemy lines, the 4th Division initiated the 5 Corps' main attack from the vicinity of Carpena, just southeast of the Forli airport, a little over two miles from the city. On the division's left, the 46th Division attacked from a point about two miles south of Forli. As a diversion to these two operations, a brigade from corps reserves, the 56th Division, launched a holding attack along Highway 9. Southwest of the 5 Corps the Polish 5th Kresowa Division had reached Monte Maggiore and the village of San Zeno in Volpinara, two and a half miles northwest of Predappio Nuova. This advance outflanked the Forli sector to the south and gravely threatened the integrity of the German defense of Forli. Now threatened on three sides, the Germans in Forli broke contact and withdrew during the night of 8 November to the line of the Montone River where it turns northward some three miles northwest of the city. The 4th Division entered Forli early on the 9th.
When the British attempted to exploit beyond the city, however, they were checked briefly by the Germans who, in the meantime, had established themselves behind the flooded Montone. Nevertheless, by the 12th the British managed to cross the river at Ladino, four miles southwest of Forli. Two days later they overran Villagrappa two miles northwest of the bridgehead. But by the 16th growing enemy resistance had brought the 5 Corps' advance to a halt seven miles southeast of Faenza, the corps' next objective.
Forli and the high ground immediately southwest of it were now in Allied hands. This had been an important gain for the Eighth Army. Located at the junction of Highway 9 and Highway 67, Forli, in Eighth Army control, would open up the Florence-Forli road and thereby facilitate lateral communications with the Fifth Army.
Meanwhile, six miles northeast of Forli, the 5 Corps' flanking unit, the 12th Lancers, aided by local partisans, had routed the Germans from Coccolia, their last stronghold along the Ronco on 15 November. Eight miles northeast of Coccolia, Task Force Porter, which held the former Canadian sector, occupied the Ravenna airport, despite local flooding caused by the enemy's opening the flood-gates of the Uiumi Uniti Canal. With the line of the Ronco
breached at three places, the Germans northeast of Forli would have no choice but to fall back on the Montone, which parallels the Ronco two to three miles to the west and forms the last possible defense line before Ravenna.
Since Eighth Army's growing threat to Ravenna might cause the Germans to shift units from the Faenza sector to protect their northeastern flank, McCreery decided to take advantage of this shift by mounting a set-piece attack on Faenza. On the west bank of the Lamone River, ten miles northwest of Forli, Faenza, an ancient center of ceramic manufacturing, still lay unscathed behind its 15th century ramparts when on 18 November General McCreery issued his orders for an attack on the city. As they had during the operation against Forli, the 5 Corps' 4th and 46th Divisions would avoid a frontal assault on the city and attempt to invest it from the Apennines foothills to the south. On the corps' left flank this maneuver was extended as the 2 Polish Corps' 3d Carpathian Division sent patrols as far as Modigliana, ten miles southwest of Faenza where contact was made with the Fifth Army's 13 Corps. As before, the 4th and 46th Divisions were to make a converging attack, the former advancing south of Highway 9 and the latter astride the highway. On the 5 Corps' right a holding attack would be set in motion by the 10th Indian Division, which had, meanwhile, replaced the 12th Lancers. For the present the British 56th Division remained in corps reserve.
By 21 November the 5 Corps had completed preparations for the assault on Faenza. On that day clear skies permitted 500 aircraft, including medium bombers, to roar into the air above the front to bomb and strafe enemy positions on the Faenza sector over the next two days. Shortly before the divisions began to move corps artillery opened fire across the front.
In spite of this firepower the Germans clung to the line of the Montone until nightfall on the 23d. Under the concealment of darkness they broke contact and fell back three miles, first to the line of the Marzeno, then an additional three miles to the Lamone.
On the 25th the 5 Corps pulled up to the Lamone on a broad front. The next day heavy rain began to fall, flooding the river and tributary streams. Despite the fact that southwest and northeast of Faenza the 4th and 46th Divisions were now within easy assault distance of the city they could do little until the weather cleared and the rains abated. In the interval the corps commander, General Keightley, relieved the 4th Division with the 2d New Zealand, which, after several weeks in reserve, would be comparatively fresh for the next phase of the offensive.
Meanwhile, to 5 Corps' left, General Anders' Polish corps had made good progress on the 16th in the valley of the Marzeno southwest of Faenza.
Capturing Montefortino, the high ground northeast of Modigliana, the 5th Kresowa Division lost it to a counterattack on the following night. On the 18th the 3d Carpathian Division relieved the 5th Kresowa Division and went on to recapture Montefortino on the 21st. On the Polish corps' left a screening force entered Modigliana on the 15th. Over the next nine days this force patrolled beyond Modigliana as
far as the upper Lamone. On the 24th the patrols probed to within six miles southwest of Faenza.
Reorganization and Planning on the Fifth Army's Front
While the Eighth Army's 5 Corps and Polish corps fought their way northwestward from one river line to the next, the U.S. Fifth Army's commander, Clark, had taken advantage of the November respite to rest his divisions, assemble supplies, and prepare for a resumption of the U.S. II Corps' offensive toward Bologna and the Po Valley. Kendall's 88th Division was the first to be withdrawn. To do this Clark on 2 November once again shifted the left boundary of Kirkman's 13 Corps to the northwest, this time to take over Monte Grande and Monte Cerrere from Kendall. This further thinned out the 13 Corps' front and made it difficult for that corps to give the Eighth Army's drive on Faenza much support. On the other hand, the shift further narrowed the II Corps front, thereby increasing its impact when the attack resumed. Clark also imposed strict rationing of artillery ammunition throughout his army to build up stocks for resuming the offensive in December. Finally, the November hiatus enabled the Fifth Army to integrate replacements who had arrived too late for the October battle.3
Following their relief, the troops of the 88th Division enjoyed a few weeks rest before returning to the lines on 22 November to relieve the 85th Division and elements of the 34th Division. The remainder of the 34th and all of the 1st Armored Division then took over the 91st Division's sector so that unit could join the 85th Division in corps reserve, where both divisions were to prepare themselves to make the main effort in the forthcoming offensive.
On 4 November the IV Corps resumed command of the 6th South African Armoured Division and its attached units. At the same time in the coastal sector north of Viareggio, General Almond's 92d Infantry Division, under army control, replaced Task Force 92.
During November additional units continued to arrive in the Fifth Army. General J. B. Mascarenhas de Morales' Brazilian Expeditionary Force was brought up to division strength with the arrival of the 1st and 11th Infantry Regiments and the 92d Infantry Division's ranks were swelled by the attachment of a fourth regiment--the separate 366th Infantry--and the 758th Light Tank Battalion. In addition to these units, 5,000 infantry replacements arrived in Italy and were quickly integrated into the several combat divisions. In spite of these arrivals the Fifth Army was, by the end of November, still 7,000 understrength in the combat arms, mainly infantry.
Considerable juggling and reorganization had to be done to maintain the army's artillery strength. Although the 8th Antiaircraft Artillery Group had been transferred to the Seventh Army during November, the loss was partly made up by retaining several inactivated antiaircraft artillery units and re-equipping them with self-propelled 105-mm. howitzers to form the 1125th
Armored Field Artillery Battalion. Some of the heavy artillery taken away were partially replaced by the attachment to II Corps of a battery of the British 54th Super-Heavy (8-inch) Gun Regiment.
As the time set for the II Corps' renewed assault on Bologna drew near, General Clark began to wonder whether it would ever take place. Early in November, before the CCS finally laid to rest Alexander's plans for a trans-Adriatic operation, Clark had become convinced that the British, eager for a morale-lifting victory, would, in spite of mutually agreed upon plans for a double-pronged offensive against Bologna, concentrate instead on preparations for the Balkan venture and leave the U.S. Fifth Army alone in opposing the bulk of the German forces in Italy.4 This was indeed Alexander's intention, but at that time he considered the Fifth Army fully adequate for the task.
Chronically suspicious of British intentions, Clark also tended to overestimate enemy strength in Italy. Instead of the eleven divisions he assumed Vietinghoff had on the Tenth Army's front, the Germans actually had only ten, most of them greatly understrength. These divisions, moreover, were not massed opposite the U.S. II Corps' front, as Clark believed, but rather were spread out opposite the II and 13 Corps fronts, as well as that of the Eighth Army's.5 General Clark was also worried whether the forthcoming drive on Bologna would have sufficient tactical air support. What the Fifth Army commander had in mind was something approaching the massive carpet bombing that had paved the way for the breakout of General Omar Bradley's First Army at St. Lo, France, in July. Then a series of blunders and misunderstandings had caused over 900 casualties among the American ground troops and had wrung from General Eisenhower the declaration that he would never again employ heavy bombers in a tactical role.6
General Cannon, the senior Allied air officer in Italy, shared these misgivings, for he was mindful of even greater technical difficulties in Italy where winter weather and mountainous terrain would present serious challenges to airmen attempting to provide close support for ground operations. General Clark, however, was willing to accept such risks and insisted that the Fifth Army's renewed offensive, scheduled for early December, receive close and continuous support from strategic as well as tactical bombers. General Cannon reluctantly agreed.7
Outside Influences on Strategy
Meanwhile, events had taken place elsewhere in Europe that would help keep Allied attention in Italy focused upon the front in the Apennines and the Po Valley rather than on the far shores of the Adriatic. By the third week in November the Germans had
regained control over the western half of Yugoslavia. This meant, barring an advance by the Red Army beyond Budapest, that the Germans would probably continue to defend their present front in northern Italy well forward of the Austrian frontier. In addition to restored German control in western Yugoslavia, Tito's partisans, now fighting alongside the Red Army, had indicated that additional Allied personnel would no longer be welcome in Dalmatia.8
Therefore, on 22 November, Wilson reported to the Combined Chiefs of Staff in London "that recent developments obliged him now to concentrate primarily on the campaign in Italy." He proposed to Alexander that the Allied armies ". . . exploit to the limit of [their] resources with the object of destroying or containing the maximum enemy forces remaining in the peninsula." The once-vaunted trans-Adriatic venture would then be reduced to a mere threat, possibly mounted from an Allied air base at Zara and designed simply to contain those Germans still in Yugoslavia. The assault shipping Wilson had requested in October was now no longer needed in the Mediterranean. SACMED's recommendations found favor with the CCS who agreed to provide Wilson with a new directive concerning future operations.9
As planning for the joint offensive neared completion, the entire Allied command picture changed. On 25 November Clark received word that he had been selected to command the Allied Armies in Italy, now redesignated the 15th Army Group. This change in command had been occasioned by the untimely passing of Sir John Dill, head of the British Military Mission in Washington. SACMED, General Sir Henry Maitland Wilson, had been selected to take Dill's place in Washington, and Field Marshal Alexander would move into the position of theater commander. Clark's place at Fifth Army would be taken by General Truscott, who since mid-August had been in command of VI Corps in France. Another important change reflected the needs of inter-Allied relations. Unlike Alexander's, Clark's new headquarters was to be tactical only. This would permit Eighth Army to deal directly with AFHQ (Alexander's headquarters) for administrative matters, rather than clearing through Army Group. These changes, however, were not to become effective until mid-December.10
On 28 November, Alexander issued orders for resumption of the joint offensive in early December. The Eighth Army, with its 1st Canadian Corps once again in line and with supplies adequate for another three or four weeks of offensive operations, depending upon the intensity of the fighting, was to continue its current operations aimed at capturing Ravenna in the northeast and
Faenza in the northwest and at driving toward a junction with the Fifth Army near Imola by 7 December. Thereafter, the Eighth Army's main thrust was to turn slightly northwest along the Imola-Budrio axis--Budrio lying eight miles northeast of Bologna. A subsidiary thrust was to be directed northwestward beyond Ravenna in the direction of Ferrara, if favorable opportunities beckoned in that direction.11
The appearance of the Eighth Army before Imola was to be Fifth Army's signal to begin its phase of the joint offensive toward Bologna. On the Fifth Army's right flank, General Kirkman's 13 Corps had been stretched so thin by frequent westward shifts of its left flank to take over more and more of the II Corps' sector, that it was unlikely that the 13 Corps could provide as much help to the Eighth Army's advance along Highway 9 as General Alexander had expected when outlining his original plan.
In the Fifth Army's center, Keyes' II Corps was to continue to make the army's main effort, this time along the axis of Highway 65. The Fifth Army's participation in the December offensive was to begin on Alexander's order anytime after 7 December and on three days' notice. Everything, however, would depend upon the weather. The coming of severe winter storms was expected to restrict operations to the main roads, and unless ground and weather conditions were favorable, Alexander declared there would be no offensive.
The Desert Air Force was once again to support the December offensive. Since the beginning of the campaign in North Africa this force had been the Eighth Army's constant companion and would fly again in its support. The XXII Tactical Air Command would support the Fifth Army. In response to General Clark's insistence, General Cannon had agreed to the use of heavy as well as medium bombers in direct support of the ground forces.
An Allied Directive
Meanwhile, on 2 December, Wilson received from the CCS the long-awaited directive that would govern the operations of the Allied Armies in Italy until the spring of 1945. After stating that no major Allied forces (other than those British units already earmarked for Greece) were to be introduced into the Balkans, the directive spelled out once and for all that the first and immediate mission of Alexander's armies "should be to capture Bologna, then to secure the general line Ravenna-Bologna-La Spezia and thereafter continue operations with a view to containing Kesselring's army. Withdrawal of forces from the line for rest, rehabilitation, and rotation should be consistent with the above mission."12
Although the new directive ruled out large-scale trans-Adriatic operations, it had left open the door for the introduction of light forces through those Dalmatian ports still in partisan hands "in order to harass, and exert pressure and attrition on the Germans withdrawing from Yugoslavia." But in view of the changed attitude of Tito's partisans
toward the Allies, this seemed a remote possibility. The directive further fanned within Alexander's headquarters faint sparks of hope for operations other than on the main front; forces and resources made available as a result of withdrawals from the line were to "constitute a strategic reserve well placed to reinforce the effort against Kesselring and facilitate the rotation of tired units to be available for prompt employment in other operations as the changing situation permits."13
Whether or not this slight nod toward the now vanished British designs for Balkan ventures satisfied General Alexander is difficult to determine. In any case, until spring returned to the battlefields of Europe such operations would be, at the most, limited to local offensives and possible counteroffensives.
The Eighth Army's Advance Continues
Inasmuch as the CCS directive was consistent with Alexander's operational plan for early December, he made no changes in Eighth Army's phase of the attack, scheduled to be resumed on 2 December. Since intelligence reports had indicated that in order to hold the threatened Faenza sector, the Germans had thinned out their defenses in the northeastern coastal flank, McCreery had decided to replace with the 1st Canadian Corps the relatively weak Porter Force, a task force that had relieved the Canadians late in October. Operating on the coastal flank, the Canadians were to attack across the Montone River, which joins the Ronco a mile south of Ravenna. After establishing a bridgehead near San Pancrazio, five miles southwest of Ravenna, and capturing Godo, three miles northwest of the crossing, the corps was to continue its advance in three columns--the first to turn northeastward to cut in behind Ravenna; the second to cut Highway 16 north of Mezzano, five miles north of Godo; and the third to advance on Russi, three miles southwest of Godo, and cross the Lamone River.14
While the 1st Canadian Corps took its place on the Eighth Army's right wing, in the center the British 5 Corps, having secured Forli, prepared to resume its advance on Faenza. To take advantage of the well-drained ground in hills south of Highway 9 and to avoid a frontal attack over the soggy terrain north of the highway, the corps was first to seize the high ground near Pideura, four miles southwest of Faenza, then bypass the city and take Castel Bolognese, five miles beyond. The 2 Polish Corps on the Eighth Army's left flank was meanwhile to conform to the 5 Corps' advance.
As General Alexander had stipulated, the resumption of operations would depend upon the weather, for as already indicated, the Allies were relying greatly upon the support of their air force. Fortunately, the skies were clear on 2 December, as the aircraft of the DAF bombed and strafed the enemy across the front. On the ground the Canadian corps advanced to the north-northwest in the face of heavy resistance.
Two days later the Canadian 5th Armored Division rolled into Godo and further tightened the noose around Ravenna by cutting Highway 16 six miles to the northwest.
Inasmuch as a partisan uprising had already driven the Germans from the city, the Canadians had little difficulty entering on 4 December. This event marked the first appearance on the Allied front of a major, well-organized partisan unit, for hitherto partisans had played only a peripheral role but would henceforth take a more active part in operations. With Ravenna's capture, the 900-man Communist-led 28th Garibaldi Brigade took a place in the Eighth Army's ranks somewhat comparable to that of a Regular unit, receiving logistical support in the form of ammunition, food, and clothing through army supply channels. For the balance of the winter the brigade would hold a quiet sector of the army's front but would eventually take an active part in the spring offensive to the Po.
Unlike Rimini, Ravenna offered the Eighth Army no logistical advantages other than to provide some shelter for the winter months. Centuries earlier Ravenna had been an important seaport, but in 1944 it was connected to a harbor only by a canal. Shallow and heavily mined, the harbor was ignored by the Eighth Army, which depended instead on a recently opened railhead at Cesena, seven miles west of Rimini. The army's logistical system would be improved even further when a pipeline and oil storage facilities were completed on 10 December as far as Forlimpopoli, six miles beyond Cesena. These developments eliminated much of the long truck haul from Ortona, far to the army's rear, and greatly shortened and simplified the army's line of communications.
Elsewhere on the Canadian Corps sector the Canadian 1st Infantry Division, on the 5th Armored Division's left, encountered stronger resistance on 4 December as it moved toward Russi, eight miles southwest of Ravenna. Bypassing the town, the Canadian infantry rushed to reach the Lamone, two miles to the west where they were halted by the Germans dug in along the far bank. The next day, however, the Canadians managed to establish a precarious bridgehead across the river.
Southwest of the Ravenna sector the 2d New Zealand and the British 46th Infantry Divisions began the first phase of an outflanking maneuver against the Faenza sector. During the night of 2 December the New Zealanders feinted toward the Lamone to hold the enemy on that sector, while four miles south of Faenza in the Quartolo San Ruffilo area the British division established a bridgehead across the river. On the following day, however, the Germans checked all attempts by the British to enlarge the bridgehead in the direction of the Pideura Ridge, two miles to the west and covering the southern approaches to the city.
On the 46th Division's left, the Polish corps supported the 5 Corps' attack on Faenza by clearing the Marradi-Faenza road as far as the town of Strada, twelve miles southwest of Faenza. After crossing the upper reaches of the Lamone on 5 December, the Polish infantry advanced two miles to the west, where they captured the village of Montecchio on Monte San Rinaldo and all the high ground to the south of it,
thereby securing the left flank of the Eighth Army's offensive.
The acting Army Group C commander, General Vietinghoff, had believed that he could hold the Canadians south of Ravenna at least temporarily. But the partisan uprising, which had seized control of the city, upset his calculations and forced him to request permission from OKW to fall back in the Ravenna sector to avoid the necessity of drawing reserves from the Bologna sector, where the Americans could be expected to resume their offensive at any time. In spite of his earlier orders to the army group to hold in place in northeastern Italy, Hitler now reluctantly authorized Vietinghoff to withdraw the Tenth Army to a line northwest of Ravenna to prevent that army's right wing from being cut off.15
Although willing to authorize a withdrawal in the northeast, the German leader was adamant about holding in place on the Faenza sector. As Herr's panzer corps dug in along the west bank of the Lamone, Hitler personally intervened on 7 December to order Vietinghoff to stand fast at Faenza and to yield no ground there. To help Army Group C in this effort OKW promised to send 2,600 replacements to Italy. On 9 December, first the 90th Panzer Grenadier Division, then the 98th Infantry Division appeared on the LXXVI Panzer Corps' front to back up the Fuehrer's order. As the British widened and eventually joined their bridgeheads west of the Lamone on the 11th, Hitler modified his original order by authorizing Vietinghoff to fall back slightly, but cautioned against a temptation to withdraw into the illusive security of the so-called Genghis Khan switch position, which ran northeast from Bologna thirty miles to Lake Comacchio on the Adriatic coast.
Attack on Faenza Resumed
Even before Hitler ordered his troops to defend Faenza at all costs, the British 5 Corps had encountered growing resistance as it attempted to turn the successive enemy defense lines by advancing northwestward through the Apennines foothills south of Highway 9. In addition to increasing resistance, broken country and a lack of roads made it hard for the 46th Division to maneuver in trying to clear the Pideura Ridge. And for a few days high water made the bridges over the Lamone impassable. Consequently, it was not until 7 December that the British finally cleared the enemy from Pideura village. The Germans, in the meantime, having received Hitler's order to hold in place, stubbornly defended high ground to the north of Pideura. Poor weather, which restricted tactical air support over the battle area, even enabled the Germans to launch several local counterattacks, thereby preventing the British from exploiting Pideura's capture.
There was another factor limiting the momentum of the British advance--the necessity to pull units out of line to be sent to Greece. Although all counterattacks were thrown back with considerable loss to the enemy, Major General C. F. Keightley, the 5 Corps commander, was forced to halt his attack to pull the Greece-bound 46th Division out of the
line. This forced him to regroup his remaining divisions across the corps' sector. Regrouping was completed by 14 December, as two relatively fresh units, the 10th Indian and 2d New Zealand Divisions, moved into the bridgeheads across the Lamone. The Indian division assembled in the left half of the bridgehead and the New Zealand division in the right and along the line of the river east of Faenza. North of the city lay the 5 Corps reserve--the 56th Division, now committed to a quiet water-logged sector east of the Lamone.
While General Keightley regrouped his corps, the 2 Polish Corps' 5th Kresowa Division advanced beyond Brisighella onto the high ground seven miles southwest of Faenza. When patrols reached the Sintria River, three miles northwest of Brisighella, they found that high water made the river unfordable.
Taking advantage of concealment offered by darkness, the 5 Corps, in the meantime, launched its assault on Faenza during the night of 14 December. To support the assault General Keightley had massed more than 400 guns to cover the advance of the New Zealanders from the southwest and the Indians from the east of the city. On the 5 Corps' left the Polish troops crossed the flooded Sintria and closed up to the Senio River, two miles to the west. Faced now with the prospect of being trapped in Faenza, the German garrison withdrew to the northwest, where they re-established themselves along the Senio, three miles away. On the heels of the retreating Germans the 43d Motorized Indian Infantry Brigade (10 Indian Division) rolled into the city. By dawn on the following day the Indians had established two small bridgeheads across the Senio at a point west of Faenza.
Before the line of the Senio could be forced in any strength, a bridge carrying Highway 9 across the Lamone at Faenza had first to be rebuilt. But north of the city opposite the 56th Division, the Germans still held positions where flooded fields enabled them to take their time about withdrawing in the sector. From these positions enemy fire made completion of the bridge impossible until the Germans finally withdrew on the 22d. While the engineers worked on the bridge, the 5 Corps tried consolidating its positions in and around Faenza. Meanwhile the Eighth Army's advance along Highway 9 had come virtually to a halt.
On Eighth Army's coastal flank, the 1st Canadian Corps encountered less trouble reaching the Senio in its sector. After having consolidated its positions beyond Ravenna and along the east bank of the Lamone River, the Canadians patrolled northward toward the Comacchio Lagoon, a large coastal body of water nine miles north of Ravenna. On 11 December the Canadians established two large bridgeheads over the Lamone, following on the 12th with a third, six miles northwest of Ravenna near Mezzano on Highway 16. After linking all three bridgeheads, the Canadians advanced against relatively little opposition toward Bagnacavallo, six miles southwest of Mezzano, as the Germans, with the Canadians following closely, fell back to the next river line, the Senio, five miles west of the Lamone river.
The Fifth Army Plans and Waits
All this time, other than reorganization of units, resting of weary men, and planning for coming operations, the only activity on the Fifth Army sector had taken place on the flanks. To the right, the British 13 Corps helped Eighth Army's operations south of Highway 9 through pressure against the enemy opposite its sector. The 8th Indian Division, on the corps' right flank, proceeded along the Marradi-Faenza road, following the valley of the upper Lamone toward Brisighella, seven miles southwest of Faenza. On the 13 Corps' center, the British 6th Armoured Division pushed 5 miles beyond Castel del Rio along the Santerno valley road to capture the village of Fontanelice on 30 November. This brought the British armor to within ten miles of Imola. On the corps' left wing, the British 1st Infantry was less fortunate, for not only did it make no gains but during the night of the 28th was driven from Monte Castellera near Monte Grande by troops from the 1st Parachute Division.
There was far less action in the west, on the Fifth Army's left flank, where some Brazilian units received their baptism of fire. This was a brief set-piece operation on the Bombiana-Marano sector by the 6th Regimental Combat Team of the BEF. Thereafter that sector too settled down to sporadic patrolling, as was the case elsewhere on the army's front.
During this period Army and Corps headquarters, however, bustled with activity as planning for resumption of the drive on Bologna continued. Much of the Fifth Army's earlier crippling personnel shortages had largely been replenished. Enough replacements had arrived to bring the divisions up to full strength. The 91st Division had returned to the front on 3 December. Keyes' II Corps now had four divisions on line; from left to right, the 1st Armored, the 91st, the 34th, and the 88th Infantry Divisions. The 85th Division lay in corps reserve, enjoying a well-deserved respite from combat.16
To reach Bologna, Clark planned a three-phase attack astride Highway 65. During the first two phases Keyes' corps was to clear the enemy from the high ground in the vicinity of Pianoro, eight miles south of Bologna. In the last phase the corps was to sweep down from the last of the Apennines into the Po Valley and capture Bologna. While the II Corps advanced along Highway 65, Crittenberger's IV Corps was to maintain pressure against the enemy by continuing the series of limited objective operations initiated earlier by the Brazilians on the Bombiana-Marano sector. On the right of the II Corps, Kirkman's 13 Corps was to continue to exert pressure down the Santerno and Lamone valleys against the flank of the LXXVI Panzer Corps, opposing 5 Corps on Highway 9.
The Fifth Army was ready to move, but the Eighth Army had not yet reached the objectives that Alexander had set for it on Highway 9, and Allied meteorologists were unable to forecast the necessary minimum of three days of good flying weather to assure Clark of the close air support he so strongly desired. On 7 December, therefore, General Alexander, instead of giving
the signal for Fifth Army to attack, announced the first in a series of postponements of the Fifth Army's offensive. Despite plans and revision of plans, followed by preparations and alerts, postponement followed postponement.
Were these postponements necessary? Was Alexander's decision not to unleash Clark's Fifth Army militarily valid or unduly cautious? Both Allied armies had broken through the Gothic Line on their respective sectors. In the mountains the U.S. II Corps lay within nine miles of the center of Bologna and five miles from Highway 9. And the attached British 13 Corps was within ten miles of Imola. In the plain the Eighth Army's three corps had reached the east bank of the Senio and at one point were within seven miles of Imola. Furthermore, the enemy divisions had been weakened by considerable casualties. Might not one last mighty effort by both Allied armies have carried them through to Bologna and the Po Valley on a broad front? Possibly. But the offensive that had been under way since August on the Eighth Army's front and since September on the Fifth's had left the troops near exhaustion by the beginning of December. Faced with the need to rest the weary divisions, Alexander had no choice but to call the offensive to a halt.17
For the rest of the year most of the Fifth Army's front remained dormant. The Allied command believed that the German armies in Italy would adopt a similar posture. But when the Germans in northwestern Europe precipitated a large-scale counteroffensive against Eisenhower's forces in the Ardennes, General Alexander had to revise his earlier assumptions. He concluded that if the enemy undertook a similar enterprise in the Italian theater, the likeliest to be attacked would be the weaker of the two Allied armies--the Fifth Army. The logical location of an attack on that army's front would, of course, be that sector held either by the Brazilian Expeditionary Force or the newly arrived and largely untested 92d Infantry Division, both on the Army's left flank.
In mid-December major changes of command took place among the senior Allied commanders in the theater. General Alexander, promoted to Field Marshal, took over General Wilson's headquarters as Supreme Allied Commander, Mediterranean (SACMED), whereupon General Clark moved up to take command of the Allied Armies, Italy; and General Truscott returned from his command in France to head the Fifth Army. The problem of how to deal with a possible enemy counterattack on the Italian front now passed to Alexander's successors.
One of the first papers to reach General Truscott's desk was an intelligence report of a buildup of enemy forces opposite the Fifth Army's left flank in IV Corps' sector. The 148th Infantry Division and elements of two Italian units, the Monte Rosa and San Marco Divisions, had been reported in the La Spezia area, and there were some indications that the 157th Mountain Division might be moving into the sector as well. There was also some evidence that the Germans might take advantage of the lull on the central front by shifting the 16th SS Panzer Grenadier, the 26th Panzer, or the 5th Mountain
Division to their Ligurian flank. Moreover, aerial reconnaissance had confirmed partisan and prisoner of war reports that bridges and roads destroyed earlier in the upper Serchio valley had been repaired. Even as the vital Allied port of Antwerp seemed to be the ultimate objective of the German counteroffensive in the Ardennes, so now it seemed to the Fifth Army's intelligence officers that the port of Leghorn might become the objective of a similar operation in the northern Apennines on the Fifth Army's left flank.
Such speculations seemed not without substance, for at the beginning of December all that stood in the way of a German thrust toward Leghorn was General Almond's relatively inexperienced 92d Infantry Division, holding a 6-mile-wide front from the coast inland to the village of Barga in the upper Serchio valley. This division, made up entirely of Negro enlisted men, with officers from both races, had been activated at Fort McClellan, Alabama, in October 1942, from a cadre of officers and men drawn from the 93d Infantry Division, the first Negro combat division to be organized in World War II.18
Since its activation, the 92d Division's ranks had been characterized by an usually high percentage of poorly educated men. At the end of January 1944, the division's General Classification Test score percentages disclosed that none of the enlisted men assigned was in Class I, 10 percent were in Class II, 15 percent in Class III, 41 percent in Class IV, and 21 percent in Class V. Thirteen percent had received no score at all because they were illiterate and unable to take the test. Obviously the men of the 92d Division had come into the Army with far fewer educational and cultural opportunities and from homes with significantly lower socio-economic status than men in other combat divisions. This situation was widely known throughout the army and, even before December 1944, had given the division a reputation as an undesirable assignment for white officers.
Only one of the division's regiments, the 370th, had seen any action, that as part of Task Force 92. Although the division commander, General Almond, had nothing but praise for his unit's artillery, communications, supply, medical service, and transportation troops, he was less enthusiastic about the performance of the combat infantry, which had shown little steadiness in its first encounter with the enemy. The very limited battle experience gained by the 370th Infantry since October had, in Almond's opinion, "been no compensation for the loss of key leaders incurred." On 18 October the second of the regiments, the 371st Infantry, had arrived at Leghorn and relieved the 370th Infantry on 31 October. After the 365th Infantry had completed its deployment on 8 November, the 92d Division took over a 6-mile front in the Serchio valley on the II Corps' left flank.
It was hardly surprising, therefore, that one of General Truscott's first decisions as Fifth Army commander
was to shift additional units to IV Corps where they would be in position to back up the 92d Division as a precaution against an enemy counteroffensive. On 23 December Truscott attached the 85th Division's 339th Infantry to IV Corps. At the same time, he shifted the 85th Division's 337th Infantry from II Corps reserve and two brigades of the 8th Indian Division from 13 Corps reserve to back-up positions in the IV Corps' rear. Meanwhile, Truscott also returned the 92d Division to army control. He also detached from II Corps the 84th Chemical Battalion, the 755th and 760th Tank Battalions, two 155-mm. howitzer and one 155-mm. gun U.S. Field Artillery battalions, and two regiments (battalions) of British 5.5-inch guns and sent them to IV Corps in the vicinity of Lucca. By 25 December both Indian brigades had closed into reserve position near Lucca. The 85th Division's remaining regiment, the 338th Infantry, remained in II Corps reserve to help repel any counteroffensive directed against either the 1st Armored Division's or the 91st Division's sectors.
A German Counterattack
General Truscott's precautionary moves were well justified, for the Fourteenth Army, then under the command of General der Infanterie Kurt von Tippelskirch, had on its own initiative made plans to deliver on 26 December, a limited objective attack under the code Operation WINTERGEWITTER (Winter Thunderstorm). The primary purpose of this operation was to relieve pressure on the Italian Alpine division, Monte Rosa, which had been engaged earlier by the Brazilian Expeditionary Force in the Serchio valley. The LI Mountain Corps, which had replaced the XIV Panzer Corps on the Fourteenth Army's right wing, had assembled a miscellaneous group of units for Operation WINTERGEWITTER. They included a battalion each from the 148th Infantry Division's 285th and 286th Infantry Regiments, the Alpine Training Battalion (Mittenwald) (a school battalion from the German mountain warfare school at Mittenwald), and the 4th Alpine Battalion. The mountain units were first-rate troops. A motorized artillery battalion of the 51st Artillery Regiment and one heavy and two light battalions of the 1048th Artillery Regiment were to provide fire support for the operation. The mission of this force was to initiate a limited objective operation against the U.S. 92d Division with the intent of destroying its effectiveness for further offensive operations. This was an ironic twist, for, in the eyes of its own commander, the division already lacked a capacity for such operations.19
The euphoria of Christmas Day at the snow-covered front had just begun to fade when, early on the 26th, Operation WINTERGEWITTER broke over the Serchio valley. Behind a screen of mortar and artillery fire, the Germans attacked along the slopes flanking the valley. West of the river, from the vicinity of Castelnuovo, twenty miles north of Lucca, the enemy struck, simultaneously, the 1st Battalion of the 370th Infantry, located near the village of Molazzana four miles south of Castelnuovo, and the 2d Battalion, in the village of Calomini, a mile south of
Molazzana. East of the Serchio, the enemy attack also hit outposts of the 366th Infantry's 2d Battalion, attached to the 370th Infantry and garrisoning the villages of Sommocolonia, Bebbio, and Tiglio--all lying just east of Molazzana.20
Feinting first at the American positions west of the Serchio the 2d Battalion of the 285th Infantry Regiment advanced from one to two miles to capture the villages of Calomini and Gallicano early in the day. Some hint that the thrust west of the valley might be a mere feint became apparent when the Germans recoiled quickly in the face of a weak American counterattack in that area.21
Operation WINTERGEWITTER's main effort was actually concentrated east of the Serchio, where the 286th Infantry Regiment's 2d Battalion overran the area west of Barga, a mile and a half south of Sommocolonia, and beat back several American counterattacks launched from Barga. After bitter house-to-house fighting, the 4th Alpine Battalion finally drove the Americans from Sommocolonia northeast of Barga, and to the northwest occupied the high ground at Monte Vano. To the grenadiers' east the Mittenwald Battalion captured the village of Tiglio.22
When General Crittenberger, the IV Corps commander, learned of the German attack, he immediately moved the two Indian brigades into backstop positions behind the 92d Division. Sharing the corps commander's concern for that division's steadfastness and uncertain of enemy intentions, General Truscott also detached Prichard's 1st Armored Division from II Corps and moved it westward to the vicinity of Lucca. The 34th Division's 135th Infantry followed to take up a reserve position near Viareggio.23
By the afternoon of the 26th German successes seemed to threaten a breakthrough on the 92d Division's Serchio valley front. The threat was especially evident east of the valley where Company G of the 366th Infantry had fallen back in disarray, opening up a 500-yard gap through which the enemy troops rushed toward the village of Barga.24 Despite steadfast resistance by a handful of heroic men, the village fell to the Germans on the following morning. Continuing their attack throughout the 27th, the Germans pushed a few miles beyond Barga, then concluded the operation by mopping up the area between the village and the Serchio River. Since their mission had been accomplished, and they had not intended to advance any further, they now began to withdraw, leaving, for the next few days, only a screening force in contact with U.S. IV Corps.25
In the meantime, the 8th Indian Division's 19th Brigade had been moved five miles northwest of Bagni di Lucca to establish a line to the 92d
Division's rear; the line extended from Coreglia Antelminelli in the northeast, southwest four miles to San Fomano, a mile south of the Serchio River and about four miles south of Barga. During the night of the 26th the disorganized survivors of the 2d and 3d Battalions of the 370th Infantry passed through the Indians' lines on their way to the rear, where the men believed they might find safety from enemy fire. After rounding up these men, General Almond had them moved west of the Serchio, where they took up positions on the Indians' left and to the rear of the 370th Infantry's 1st Battalion. Late that same night the Indian patrols ran into the German screening force.26
The skies were clear and bright on the 27th as the aircraft of the XXII TAC appeared over the front to pound the withdrawing enemy troops. For the next four days, the supporting aircraft flew a total of 1,330 sorties while the two Indian brigades, driving the screening force before them, cleared Barga on the 29th and Sommocolonia the following day. As the year 1944 drew to a close, the Indians met little resistance as they retook in turn Gallicano, Bebbio, and Molazzana to recover virtually all of the ground lost to the enemy since the 26th.27
Contrary to the Fifth Army G-2's belief, Operation WINTERGEWITTER had no connection with the Ardennes offensive. As a matter of fact, after the operation in the Serchio valley had run its course, Hitler's chief of staff cautioned the Army Group C commander not to undertake such operations in the future without prior approval from supreme headquarters.28
The Fifth Army command was not alone in being somewhat puzzled over enemy objectives in the Serchio valley--the German supreme command itself had questioned the operation--but General von Tippelskirch, acting Fourteenth Army commander, harbored no doubts as to its desirability and purpose. The brief offensive had, in his opinion, improved troop morale by giving his men a needed victory over the Americans. Moreover, the units participating had received valuable training and combat experience. Most importantly, the U.S. Fifth Army had been forced to withdraw troops from the critical II Corps' sector south of Bologna in order to support the sagging Serchio valley sector.29 Both General von Tippelskirch and his superiors would have been even more pleased had they known that Operation WINTERGEWITTER had also thrown the Fifth Army off balance to such an extent as to contribute to a fourth and, what proved to be, a final postponement, until spring, of the assault on Bologna.30
Not only on the Fifth Army's front, but also on the Eighth Army's, all military operations now came to a halt. Although the Germans had been driven from Ravenna on 4 December, from Faenza on the 16th, and Bagnacavallo,
two miles to the northeast, on the 21st, these were to be the Eighth Army's last significant advances in 1944. The Lamone River had been crossed on a broad front, but three miles beyond it the Germans had re-established themselves along the west bank of the Senio. In spite of these limited successes, time had run out on the Eighth Army's operations for 1944. Imola and the Santerno River, necessary springboards for a co-ordinated assault on Bologna by both armies, still lay well behind enemy lines. The weather had meanwhile worsened, grounding aircraft and making it impossible even for tracked vehicles to operate off hard-surfaced roads. Although the ground had begun to freeze, it was not yet firm enough to support armor. Once again a change in the weather would deprive the Eighth Army of the advantages of its superiority in armor and airpower. Commenting on this fact before leaving to take up his new post in Washington, Wilson had observed that "the terrain and weather were all in [Kesselring's] favor; these discounted our superiority in armor and restricted the use which could be made of our powerful Air Forces, thus bringing the enemy's resources in the battle area to a level more comparable to our own."31
There were other factors operating to reduce Allied strength and to bring the opposing armies more into balance during the winter of 1944-45. Before the end of the year the Eighth Army would lose a corps headquarters and three divisions to the growing civil strife in Greece. And, in February, a decision that had been debated since September and finally had been made in January would be implemented, as the 1st Canadian Corps and its two divisions left to join other Canadian forces in northwestern Europe. Under these circumstances, there was little the Eighth Army could do but to dig in along the Senio and there await the coming of spring and perhaps better days for the fortunes of Allied arms in Italy.32
The failure of the two Allied armies to reach the Lombardy plain had placed them at some disadvantage, when compared with the Germans, who had in Highway 9 an excellent lateral road with relatively short distances between it and their front lines. The Allies had no comparable lateral road network. In some instances forward units on the Fifth Army's front lay eighty miles from a railhead or advance base, and usually the last thirty miles to the front could be traversed only by jeeps for the stretch and generally ended with mule trains or back-packing by the men themselves.
Although the Allies, anticipating mountain operations, had assembled and organized considerable mule transport, the operational demands during November and December far exceeded anything foreseen. A school to train additional muleteers had been established by the Allied armies at Orvieto, after efforts to recruit them from among the civilian population had been less than satisfactory. But as the Fifth Army settled down for another winter in the mountains, the supply of both men and animals never quite kept up with the demands of combat troops, for mud and cold would take a high toll.
ITALIAN MULE TRAIN TRANSPORTING SUPPLIES TO THE FRONT
General Truscott had meanwhile informed his corps commanders on the 28th that all troops were to remain on a nine-day alert pending resumption of offensive operations. General Crittenberger's IV Corps was to continue to cover the army's lines of communications between the central front south of Bologna and the base at Leghorn, while General Keyes' II Corps was to be prepared to move on short notice, and General Kirkman's 13 Corps was to maintain pressure in the Santerno valley along the Imola road and assist, if possible, any further Eighth Army movement along Highway 9. General Prichard's 1st Armored Division was to remain at Lucca in army reserve.33
This dogged optimism could not be long maintained, however, in the face of the present reality of a winter stalemate. General Clark, after conferring on 30 December with his army commanders, did cling for awhile to his determination that Bologna must be captured that winter, and refused to abandon the offensive until ammunition stocks were rebuilt. But he, too, finally capitulated to reality a week later, when at a meeting with Field Marshal Alexander at the 15th Army Group headquarters in Florence, Clark at last acknowledged that resumption of the Bologna offensive was no longer feasible before spring. The two men, therefore, agreed that the Fifth and Eighth Armies were to remain on the defensive while building up strength for a spring offensive, tentatively scheduled to begin on 1 April.34
Despite two months of planning and shifting of units, the Fifth Army's front line would remain for the rest of the winter approximately where it had come to a halt in late October. An enemy counterattack in the west had forced Truscott to thin out the II Corps' front in order to strengthen the IV Corps' sector. The 17th Indian Brigade had taken over the support tasks formerly accomplished by the 8th Indian Division (less 17th Brigade) which returned to the 13 Corps. East of the Serchio, Task Force 45 (the retread antiaircraft artillerymen who had become infantrymen) and the Brazilian Expeditionary Force sectors remained unchanged, and the 6th South African Armoured Division held its old sector
GENERAL CLARK VISITS BRITISH 13 CORPS SECTOR WITH GENERAL KIRKMAN, DECEMBER 1944
between the II and IV Corps and under Fifth Army control. The 1st Armored Division and the 85th Division moved over to the IV Corps' zone, where they were to rest and prepare for the spring offensive. The 34th Division withdrew into II Corps reserve, while the 91st and 88th Divisions took over the entire II Corps front.35
Even as the Allies abandoned for the winter their plans for resumption of offensive operations against Bologna, the Germans also reduced their forces, defending that sector with a force far below the October strength of nine divisions. Since 15 December, only four understrength divisions--the 65th and 362d Infantry and the 42d Rifle and 1st Parachute Divisions, all under the XIV Panzer Corps--remained on the front south of Bologna. Secure in their belief that a winter stalemate had settled over the front, the Germans had no immediate concern for that city.36
1. Alexander Despatch, pp. 76-78; Operations of the British, Indian, and Dominion Forces in Italy, Part III, Sec. B, pp. 62-97. Unless otherwise indicated the following is based upon these sources.
2. Alexander Despatch, p. 76.
3. Clark Diary, 27 Oct 44, citing Ltr, Alexander to Clark, and latter's comments thereon; Fifth Army History, Part VI, p. 175ff.
4. Clark Diary, 5 Nov 44.
5. Clark Diary, 30 Oct 44. See also AOK 14 and AOK 10, Ia KTB's.
6. He would do so, however, in Operation QUEEN during the Siegfried Line campaign. See Charles B. MacDonald, The Siegfried Line Campaign (Washington, 1963). For an account of Operation COBRA at St. Lo see Martin Blumenson, Breakout and Pursuit (Washington, 1961), pp. 228-38. Both are volumes of UNITED STATES ARMY IN WORLD WAR II. See also Clark Diary, 30 Oct 44.
7. Clark Diary, 30 Oct 44.
8. SACMED Despatch, Aug-Dec 44; Ehrman, Grand Strategy, Vol. VI, pp. 50-56.
9. SACMED Despatch, Aug-Dec 44.
10. In Clark's diary, 23 Nov 44, the date given for the change in command is 16 December; Alexander Despatch, p. 78, gives it as 12 December 1944. Clark, Calculated Risk, pp. 404-05.
11. Hq AAI Opns O No. 1, 28 Nov 44, 0300/6/55. Unless otherwise indicated the following section is based upon this reference.
12. Ehrman, Grand Strategy, Vol. VI, p. 56.
13. Ibid. Italics supplied.
14. Operations of British, Indian and Dominion Forces in Italy, Pt. III, Sec B. Unless otherwise indicated the following is based on this source.
15. Greiner and Schramm, eds., OKW WFSt, KTB, IV(1), pp. 570-76. Unless otherwise indicated the following section is based upon this source.
16. Fifth Army History, Part VIII, pp. 12-16. Unless otherwise indicated the following is based upon this citation.
17. Nicholson, Alex, p. 266.
18. See Lee, The Employment of Negro Troops, for the details on the division's training and organization difficulties. See also Paul Goodman, A Fragment of Victory, a special monograph (hereafter cited as Goodman Monograph), written at the Army War College, Carlisle, Pa., 1952; and IG file on 92d Div. Unless otherwise indicated the following section is based upon these sources.
19. AOK 14, Ia KTB Anl. 5, 11-27 Dec 44, AOK 14, Doc. 65922/1.
20. The 366th Infantry, a separate all-Negro regiment, had been assigned to the 15th Air Force from 6 May to 19 November 1944, during which time the regiment had been used to guard airfields. Assigned to the Fifth Army on 19 November, the regiment was attached to the 92d Division until 25 February 1945. See Fifth Army History, Part VII, p. 17.
21. AOK 14, Ia KTB Anl. 5, 26 Dec 44, AOK 14, Doc. 65922/1.
23. Fifth Army History, Part VIII, pp. 17-19.
24. Lee, The Employment of Negro Troops, pp. 62-67; Goodman Monograph, p. 76.
25. AOK 14, Ia KTB Anl 5, 27 Dec 44, AOK 14, Doc. 65922/1.
26. Lee, Employment of Negro Troops; Goodman Monograph; Fifth Army History, Part VII, pp. 17-18.
27. Fifth Army History, Part VIII, pp. 17-18.
28. Greiner and Schramm, eds., OKW/WFSt, KTB, IV (1), p. 569.
29. AOK 14, Ia KTB Anl. 5, 31 Dec 44, AOK 14, Doc. 65922/1.
30. Msg 06006, Hq 15th Army Group to AFHQ, 28 Dec 44, MOSTEL 44, 0100/4/26.
31. SAC Despatch, Aug-Dec 44, p. 58.
32. Alexander Despatch, pp. 76-78.
33. Truscott, Command Missions, pp. 456-68.
34. Msg FX 81059, AFHQ to Br COS, 8 Jan 45, MEDCOS 228, 0100/4/671.
35. Fifth Army History, Part VII, p. 19.
36. MS # C-095 (Senger), CMH.