The First Day
While the Americans tried to rest during the night of 22 May, the British launched the diversionary attack from their positions on the beachhead's far left flank. Shortly after dark and closely following preparatory artillery fire, a brigade of the British 1st Division lunged at the enemy's defenses west of the Anzio-Albano road. The British advanced only about 300 yards before automatic weapons and mortar fire forced a halt. Two hours later, a brigade of the 5th Division, supported by tanks, joined the fight with an attack along the coast toward the settlement of L'Americano. The fighting continued that night and next day until the brigades, after dark, returned to their starting positions.1
General Clark arose at 0430, breakfasted in his van, then joined General Truscott in a forward observation post where, surrounded by their staffs, the two commanders awaited the commencement of the corps artillery preparation. Beginning at H-hour minus thirty minutes, the artillery fired for five minutes on the enemy's main line of resistance across the entire front. For the next twenty-five minutes the divisional artillery joined in with fire directed against all known enemy gun positions. A heavy pall of smoke soon shrouded the landscape. Although a light rain cleared the air to a degree, visibility at dawn was limited to about 300 yards.2
When the artillery fire lifted, Clark and his companions heard the rumble of engines as sixty fighter-bombers from the XII TAC appeared over the front on their way to attack enemy positions about 3,000 yards in front of the corps and along the railroad running northwest from Cisterna. Encountering heavy overcast in the target area, the aircraft turned about and attacked Cisterna, their alternate target. Leaving the enemy strongpoint shattered and burning, the bombers flew southeast to attack the towns of Littoria and Sezze as well. Although the poor weather conditions limited air activity, the XII TAC would manage to fly 722 sorties during the first day of the offensive.3
A General Hazard
In actions along most of the VI Corps front on 23 May one weapon played a leading role in determining the course of the fighting--the mine (both Allied and German). Since the beginning of the Italian campaign, troops of both the U.S. Fifth and the British Eighth Armies had incurred numerous casualties both from enemy mines and their own--the latter when patrols, raiding parties, or advancing
Capture of Cisterna
23-25 May 1944
troops moved unwittingly into indiscriminately laid or poorly charted mine fields. Commanders at all echelons constantly sought to develop methods of eliminating losses from friendly mine fields, but the basic problem remained, particularly in the Anzio beachhead where, during the heavy German counterattacks in February and early March, the front lines had frequently fluctuated. At the start of the breakout offensive, uncharted or poorly charted mine fields were destined to prove the single most harassing and disruptive battlefield obstacle, especially for the tanks of the 1st Armored Division.4
Bearing in mind that ever since the division's earliest experience, mines rather than enemy antitank guns had thus been the tanks' greatest hazard, the division commander, General Harmon, had demanded maximum effort in locating and clearing lanes through all mine fields, enemy and friendly. The engineers proposed to do the job by blasting gaps through known or suspected mine fields with 400-foot lengths of steel pipe filled with explosive material--long, unwieldy contraptions which the engineers had named "Snakes." The Snakes were to be towed forward and then pushed into position by tanks; once in place, they would be detonated by machine gun fire from the tanks. In tests the resulting explosions had produced 15-foot-wide gaps in mine fields and had detonated mines buried as deep as five feet.5
The decision on whether to employ the Snakes, Harmon left to his combat command commanders. Col. Maurice W. Daniel of CCA opted for them, but Brig. Gen. Frank Allen, Jr., of CCB chose to depend upon mine detectors in the hands of his engineers. Allen was concerned lest a premature detonation of the Snakes by enemy fire spoil the element of surprise. He wanted to hold his Snakes for the more extensive mine fields that he expected would be found near the railroad running northwestward from Cisterna.6
Truscott had assigned to Harmon's armor the comparatively open terrain west of Cisterna on the 3d Division's left flank. The zone widened from about three miles at the line of departure (two miles south of the railroad) to about nine miles along the first phase line, the X-Y Line six miles to the north. The Mole Canal, extending northward from the beachhead and at a near right angle to the railroad, divided the zone into approximately two equal parts, the canal actually being just inside CCA's portion. General Harmon assigned the left and slightly wider part to Colonel Daniel's CCA and the right, from the canal's east bank to the divisional boundary, to Allen's CCB. (Map V)
General Harmon had devised for his division a scheme of maneuver involving a three-phase attack with the two
combat commands abreast. During the first phase, the combat commands were to pass through the 34th Division to occupy the line of the railroad three miles northwest of Cisterna; they were then to pause to allow the engineers to prepare crossings and open a path through the expected extensive mine fields.
Both combat commands were to advance from the railroad to seize, first, a low ridge line about a quarter of a mile beyond, then fan out to occupy the X-Y Line. From that first phase line the division was to reconnoiter aggressively toward Giulianello and Velletri, respectively seven miles northwest and north of Cisterna, while getting ready to respond to a corps order to continue the offensive as far north as the second, or O-B phase line. From there the armor was to continue northward into the Velletri gap toward the town of Artena, within three miles of Highway 6 and the goal of the attack's third phase.7 So read the plans on paper, but in actual fact the bulk of the division was destined never to reach Highway 6. Clark had other plans for it which he would not disclose until Cisterna had fallen.
The assault echelon in each of the combat commands consisted of a battalion each of medium and light tanks, 2 battalions of infantry--2 from the 6th Armored Infantry with CCB and 2 from the 135th Infantry supporting CCA--and 2 companies of tank destroyers. Each combat command had a battalion of medium tanks in reserve. Two armored artillery battalions supported CCA and 3 supported CCB; 3 field artillery battalions and an antiaircraft battalion were in general support.8
Colonel Daniel had chosen the 3d Battalion, 1st Armored Regiment, to lead the attack in his sector and General Allen the 13th Armored Regiment's 2d Battalion to lead in his. Each was to advance with two companies of tanks abreast, followed at a 200-yard interval by infantry accompanied by light tanks. The interval was designed to protect the infantry from enemy artillery fire, which most likely would be aimed at the medium tanks leading the attack. On the other hand, the 200-yard interval would keep the infantry close enough to the armor to prevent bypassed enemy groups from attacking the tanks from the rear.9
The Attack Begins
The weather on the 23d seemed to favor the American ground operations. Throughout the day a persistent haze, combined with an Allied smoke screen, would so limit observation from the hills overlooking the beachhead that German artillery would prove to be generally ineffective. The few German guns disclosing their presence were soon silenced by concentrations fired by the 27th Field Artillery Battalion. That battalion also helped Harmon's tanks to maintain their course over the haze-shrouded terrain by firing at 20-minute intervals three rounds of red smoke aimed at a point a little over a mile beyond the front and in the center of the division sector. The remaining two
battalions of division artillery also placed supporting fires 1,300 yards ahead of the assault elements. As predetermined lines were reached, the artillery shifted its fires forward at the request of the assault commander.10
The British diversionary attacks on the 1st Armored Division's left helped cover the noise of Harmon's tanks as they began moving toward their line of departure shortly after midnight. Beginning at 0430 in CCA's sector, two engineer guides led four tanks, each towing a 400-foot Snake into the two gaps prepared earlier through an American mine field along the line of departure. For over an hour engineers toiled in the darkness within the narrow confines of the gaps to connect the unwieldy lengths of pipe. Thirty minutes before H-hour (set for 0630) Daniel's tanks began pushing the Snakes through the gaps into their final positions. Several times enemy fire struck dangerously close to both tanks and Snakes, but the Snakes failed to detonate. By H-hour they were in place in the enemy mine fields.
As CCA's tanks approached the line of departure, commanders of the leading tanks ordered their machine gunners to detonate the Snakes. Shattering explosions followed, blasting wide paths through the mine fields. Other tanks moved through to push additional Snakes into position. As the smoke and dust from the second detonations drifted through the air, Colonel Daniel's tanks advanced through two gaps 25 feet wide and extending over 700 feet into the German defenses.
In the left half of CCA's sector two medium tank companies of the 3d Battalion, 1st Armored Regiment, advanced along both sides of the Bove Canal, one of several canals paralleling the axis of advance. Following each company in close support came a platoon of tank destroyers and engineers.
Company H led the 3d Battalion attack along the left side of the canal. In the van was a platoon of five tanks, with three volunteers from the 135th Infantry crouching atop each. Moving swiftly toward a slight rise about a quarter of a mile beyond the line of departure, the platoon opened fire on the first of two enemy strongpoints. Apparently still stunned by the detonation of the Snakes and prevented by tank fire from manning their guns, fifteen surviving enemy soldiers quickly surrendered as the tank-riding infantrymen leaped to the ground and swarmed over their position. While the tanks moved on, the infantrymen hurried their prisoners to the rear along the shelter of the Bove Canal's steep banks. To the right of the canal, tanks from Company I employed similar tactics to destroy a second enemy strongpoint.
With two strongpoints out of the way, CCA's tanks rolled on toward the railroad embankment about a mile away. Two hundred yards behind them came the 135th Infantry's 1st Armored Regiment's light tanks.
As CCA's mediums penetrated deeper into the German defenses, individual enemy infantrymen, armed with the bazooka-like Panzerfaust, vainly attacked the leading vehicles. A tactical
formation developed by the armored division during the North African campaign was largely responsible for the enemy's failure. The tanks were echeloned so that only the lead tank was exposed to enemy fire. As soon as a German soldier fired a Panzerfaust, all of the tanks in the formation shot at the suspected position. Only a few of these encounters were needed to convince most German tank fighters to withhold their fire rather than risk certain death. In the few instances when a Panzerfaust found its target, the rockets exploded harmlessly against sandbags bracketed with steel rods to the front and sides of the hulls.
On the right of the Bove Canal, Company I's medium tanks pushed ahead of the rest of the battalion. Assisted by the accompanying tank destroyers and fire from the supporting artillery battalion, the tanks silenced several antitank guns positioned in the shadow of the railroad embankment. By 1100 the company was within 200 yards of the railroad, the first objective.
As the company neared the railroad, the accompanying forward artillery observer spotted eight enemy tanks a thousand yards to the north, presumably assembling for a counterattack. Two artillery battalions, responding to his call with heavy concentrations, set two tanks afire and prompted the others to withdraw. The threat removed, Company I's tanks crossed the remaining 200 yards and at noon gained the railroad. Quite unexpectedly, the tankers found no mines, nor did they experience any difficulty in negotiating the embankment's steep sides; moreover, antitank fire beyond the railroad was feebler than anticipated. By 1300 all of the company's tanks, followed by the 1st Battalion, 135th Infantry, had crossed the railroad and occupied high ground 500 yards to the north.11
Left of the Bove Canal mines prevented Company H from matching Company I's progress. After advancing about a thousand yards beyond the line of departure, Company H ran into an unsuspected enemy mine field. Four tanks were immediately disabled and a fifth returned to the rear with wounded crewmen. Continuing forward, the 135th Infantry's 2d Battalion, with its bodyguard of light tanks, cut around the disabled medium tanks and crossed the mine fields, the light tanks inexplicably failing to set off explosions. Beyond the mine field, infantry and tanks confronted an enemy strongpoint. Supported by direct fire from the light tanks, infantrymen of Company E assaulted it with grenades and bayonets. With hands held high, twenty enemy soldiers poured from the position.
No sooner were those prisoners hustled to the rear than the tank-infantry force ran into another belt of antipersonnel and antitank mines. While enemy small arms and mortar fire from somewhere to the front picked at the area, an engineer detachment hurried forward to clear a path. The field having been gapped by 1130, the infantry and light tanks resumed their advance to within 400 yards of the railroad. Concerned about likely enemy strength beyond the railroad, the infantry
commander halted his men to await arrival of the medium tanks that were still trying to extricate themselves from the first mine field.
By early afternoon both wings of Colonel Daniel's CCA were either within striking distance of the railroad or had already crossed it and occupied a low ridge 500 yards to the north. At that point General Harmon directed Daniel to move the 135th Infantry's 2d Battalion up to the railroad on the division's left, where the battalion was to tie in with the 45th Division to cover the 1st Armored Division's left flank while the main body of CCA crossed the railroad.
While the armored regiment's Companies H and I completed their crossings of the railroad and headed toward the ridge beyond, supporting artillery either kept the enemy at arm's length or cowering under cover. In the course of the move, Company H encountered only scattered resistance and quickly moved onto its portion of the objective, but on the right, it was Company I's turn to fight. The tanks had to knock out several well-emplaced antitank guns before gaining the ridge. As the two infantry battalions and their accompanying light tanks followed to join the mediums on the high ground for the night, division artillery dispersed an enemy force detected assembling in a draw a mile north of the railroad.
General Harmon's left wing under Colonel Daniel's command had, by nightfall, gained its objectives with relatively few losses, but Allen's CCB, on the right, had fared less well. Antitank mines were the cause. Nowhere along the VI Corps front on that first day did mines take a greater toll than in CCB's sector. The reason was that General Allen had decided to hold his Snakes in reserve; he depended instead upon infantrymen and engineers from the 34th Division to clear gaps through known or suspected mine fields just beyond the line of departure.
Assigned a sector flanked on the left by the Mole Canal and on the right by the Femminamorta Canal and divided by a third, the Santa Maria Canal, CCB was to breach the German defenses south of the railroad and seize part of the low ridge a quarter of a mile beyond. To make the assault, Lt. Col. James S. Simmerman's 2d Battalion, 13th Armored Regiment, began to move from its assembly area shortly before H-hour. With Company D on the left of the Santa Maria Canal and Company F on the right, the battalion advanced along two unimproved roads toward the line of departure. As in CCA, behind the medium tank companies came the infantry, accompanied by light tanks. Following Company D was the 6th Armored Regiment's 3d Battalion accompanied by an attached platoon of light tanks; behind Company F came the same regiment's 1st Battalion, also with a platoon of light tanks.
Colonel Simmerman's battalion crossed the line of departure at the appointed time, but within half an hour exploding antitank mines disabled ten medium tanks--three from one company and seven from the other. The tanks had apparently run into an uncharted antitank mine field hastily laid by U.S. troops sometime during the hectic winter defense of the beachhead. Although the 34th Division's mine-clearing detachments had labored through the night, often under harassing
fire, to clear paths through the mine fields, they had missed this one.
Under considerable pressure to keep the attack moving, Colonel Simmerman decided not to delay until mine-clearing detachments could come forward to complete their job, nor did he call for Snakes. Instead, in the hope that the mine field was not extensive and that the first explosions would be the last, he told the other tank commanders to keep moving by maneuvering as closely as possible around the disabled vehicles. His hope was short-lived. As the second wave of tanks attempted to proceed they too fell victim to mines. Simmerman at that point had no choice but to delay until mine-clearing detachments could come forward.
When news of Simmerman's difficulties reached General Allen, the CCB commander chose to believe, as had Simmerman at first, that the tanks had encountered no extensive mine field but only a few scattered mines. Anxious to hold onto his Snakes for possible use later, he authorized sending them forward only after engineers had determined that the tanks had in fact come on an extensive mine field. It was 0915, almost three hours after the start of the attack, before the medium tanks began the arduous task of towing the unwieldly lengths of steel pipe forward and then pushing them into position.
Meanwhile, the two infantry battalions had closed up behind the crippled tanks. In hope of maintaining the momentum of the attack, the armored infantrymen following Company D bypassed the tanks and advanced to within a thousand yards of the railroad before fire from two enemy strongpoints forced a halt. The battalion commander, Lt. Col. Robert R. Linville, tried to get tank destroyers and towed 57-mm. antitank guns forward to support an assault on the strongpoints. But these were as vulnerable to antitank mines as were medium tanks.
Following Company F on the right, Lt. Col. Lyle S. Deffenbaugh's infantrymen (1st Battalion, 6th Armored Infantry Regiment) also passed through the antitank mine field only to run into an antipersonnel mine field backed by an enemy strongpoint that forced a halt after an advance of only 500 yards. There the infantrymen remained until the engineers cleared a path through the antitank mine field and enabled the surviving medium tanks of Company F to come forward. First silencing a nest of enemy antitank guns that opened fire from a draw to the right front, Company F's tanks churned through the antipersonnel mine field, and the infantry followed safely in their tracks. Together tanks and infantry eliminated the enemy strongpoint. With the medium tanks again leading, the attackers moved a few hundred yards closer to the railroad, only to be stopped once again by a mine field 1,200 yards short of their objective.
By midday CCB's left wing was within a quarter of a mile of the railroad, but the right still had more than half a mile to go. The gains had cost 23 medium tanks and seven tank destroyers. Most were recoverable, yet they were nevertheless lost to the attack. While the crews of eight tank recovery vehicles toiled through the afternoon and far into the night to move the disabled tanks to the rear for repair, the division commander (General Harmon)
replaced CCB's losses with twenty-three tanks from his reserve.
Time was running short if CCB was to reach the railroad before dark, as Harmon had insisted. Although General Allen gave his approval to using the Snakes if necessary to get the attack moving, so narrow and circuitous were the paths cleared through the first mine field that the tank crewmen almost despaired of getting through with the long, unwieldy steel pipes.
As that slow process went on, the commander of Company F, Capt. John Elliott, impatient at the delays, decided to try to bypass the second mine field that blocked his tanks on the right wing of CCB's attack. Sideslipping 500 yards to the northeast, the company's tanks, followed by infantry, by midafternoon finally located the field's eastern limits, but, before they could proceed, a concealed German antitank gun knocked out the lead tank, while enemy artillery fire forced the American infantrymen to cover. Only after Captain Elliott had sent a platoon to the rear of the troublesome antitank gun to silence it were tanks and infantry able to continue. They reached the railroad as darkness was settling over the beachhead. While the tanks took cover for the night south of the railroad, the armored infantrymen crossed the railroad embankment and outposted the high ground a few hundred yards beyond.
Colonel Linville's infantrymen (3d Battalion, 6th Armored Infantry) on CCB's left wing meanwhile had been unable to overcome the two enemy strongpoints south of the railroad. Not until late afternoon, when tank destroyers, towed antitank guns, and the platoon of light tanks that had originally accompanied the infantry came forward, did the attack on the positions begin to make headway. The strongpoint finally fell to a frontal assault launched by two infantry companies, assisted by another enveloping from the left. Only then, as nightfall came, was the infantry able to cross the railroad and outpost the ridge 500 yards to the north.
For all the day's mishaps, the tanks and infantry of the 1st Armored Division's two combat commands by nightfall had fought their way across the railroad to their first objective, the low ridge to the north. During the night both commands consolidated their positions while self-propelled supporting artillery displaced forward.
Not since the fighting for Monte Trocchio during January of 1944 had the division incurred so many casualties in one day. Of the total of 173 casualties, 35 had been killed, 137 wounded, and 1 was missing in action.12
From the German viewpoint, the 1st Armored Division's penetration had occurred within the sector of the LXXVI Panzer Corps almost adjacent to the boundary with the I Parachute Corps. The armored attack pierced the main line of resistance on the right wing and center of the 362d Infantry Division to a depth of almost a mile. (As in several cases on the southern front when the Allied offensive had opened there, the beachhead offensive caught the commander
of the 362d Division away from his post, on leave in Germany, visiting a son badly wounded in Russia.)13 CCA's thrust had pushed back two understrength battalions of the 956th Infantry Regiment, while CCB's had done the same to the 954th Infantry. On the 362d Division's left wing south of Cisterna the third regiment, the 955th Infantry, the only one with a battalion in reserve, had in the meantime achieved greater success in facing the attack of the U.S. 3d Infantry Division.
The Attack on Cisterna
In striving to take the rubble-strewn strongpoint of Cisterna--vital to General Truscott's plans since the main roads leading to Velletri, Cori, and Valmontone passed through the town--General O'Daniel's 3d Division was to fix the defenders of Cisterna frontally with one regiment while the other two enveloped the objective from the right and left, after which the center regiment was to penetrate the town. Once Cisterna was in hand, the division was to continue to Cori, there to anchor the VI Corps' right flank on the high ground behind the village, then turn north toward Highway 6 and Valmontone. General Frederick's Canadian-American 1st Special Service Force was to operate along the division's right flank.
In addition to the 362d Division's left regiment, located west of the main highway into Cisterna from the southwest, the 3d Division faced the right wing of the 715th Division, reinforced by a panzer grenadier regiment. Since that division held the line from the same road all the way around the eastern arc of the beachhead to the coast, its regiments were thinly spread. General O'Daniel's men faced four enemy battalions on line, with approximately three in reserve.
Just as mines seriously deterred the 1st Armored Division's attack, so they also posed a major hazard for the 3d Division. Only on the division's right wing, where the 15th Infantry under Col. Richard G. Thomas sought to envelop Cisterna from the southeast, would mines cause no appreciable delay.14
In making a wheeling maneuver to get behind Cisterna, Colonel Thomas recognized that his regiment would be turning away from General Frederick's 1st Special Service Force, on the 15th Infantry's right flank, and thus creating a gap between the two forces. To cover that gap Thomas formed a special task force around Company A, which he drew from his regimental reserve. Commanded by Major Michael Paulick, the task force included a platoon each of medium and light tanks from the 751st Tank Battalion and a section from the 601st Tank Destroyer Battalion. The force also included the regimental battle patrol, a platoon of machine guns, a section of mortars, a platoon from the cannon company, and a squad of engineers. Moving close along the right flank of the 2d Battalion, which was to constitute the regiment's right wing, Paulick's task force was to cross the Cisterna Canal and drive northeastward
to cut Highway 7, in the process taking several road junctions and clearing the Boschetta di Mosca woods, the latter less than a mile short of Highway 7.
Striking swiftly at H-hour (0630) Company A with fire support from the attached tanks and tank destroyers quickly enveloped and seized a bridge over the Cisterna Canal, but every attempt to advance beyond the bridge brought down a hail of small arms fire from a group of houses some 600 yards away along a road leading from the hamlet of Borgo Podgora into Cisterna. The company commander tried to set up a base of fire with one platoon and send a second to outflank the enemy position, but the German fire was too intense. When the attached tanks and tank destroyers tried to move against the position, accurate fire from well-sited antitank guns knocked out two tanks and one tank destroyer.
At that point Major Paulick sought to break the impasse by sending his three surviving tanks on a wide flanking maneuver into the 1st Special Service Force's zone on the right. The necessary permission obtained, the tanks turned back to cross the Cisterna Canal until they were well to the rear of the enemy-held houses. Firing point-blank at the houses, the tanks enabled a platoon of Company A to attack the position from the front. Unable to withstand the fire, the Germans withdrew as the infantry closed in. That resistance broken, the main body of Task Force Paulick moved on with little difficulty into the Boschetta di Mosca, there to dig in for the night within half a mile of Highway 7 southeast Cisterna.
After dark the regimental battle patrol sent three men to a road junction 200 yards beyond the woods. The men reached the junction just in time to observe a column of about sixty German soldiers apparently on their way to establish a strongpoint in the vicinity of the woods. Undetected, the three men quickly withdrew to the main body of the battle patrol and set up an ambush. When the German column came within range, the entire battle patrol opened fire, killing 20 and capturing 37.
Two of the 15th Infantry's battalions meanwhile had launched the regiment's main attack between the location of Task Force Paulick and Cisterna, with the 2d Battalion on the right making steady progress from the start. While the infantrymen advanced toward the first objective, a wooden area about half a mile beyond the line of departure, the attached platoon of medium tanks encountered no antitank mines; from the first the infantry had effective close-in fire support.
As the troops neared the woods, the battalion commander, in a maneuver designed to draw fire and force the enemy to disclose his positions, sent Company F across an open field 500 yards east of the woods. At the same time, Company E, accompanied by the tank platoon, made the main assault directly against the woods. At that point the tanks did run into mines, but so close to the woods that they were still able to support the infantry by fire.
With ammunition running short and anxious to take advantage of the supporting tank fire's keeping the enemy under cover, Company E's commander ordered his men to fix bayonets and charge. In one of the few verified bayonet assaults by American troops
during World War II, the men dashed into the woods and swarmed over the German positions. They killed 15 of the enemy and captured 80, while an undetermined number broke from the far side of the woods and fled. Company F, meanwhile, crossed the open field east of the woods to join Company E in rounding up enemy stragglers.
The first objective taken, the battalion commander called for an artillery concentration on the area between the woods and the highway and committed his reserve, Company G, with orders to pass north of the woods and capture a road junction 500 yards away on the Cisterna-Borgo Podgora road. Meeting only light resistance, Company G reached the junction at 1800 and then turned east to the Cisterna Canal, there to capture more than a hundred Germans who had taken refuge from artillery fire in deep dugouts along the side of the canal. Since those shelters were useless as fighting positions, the Germans had little choice when U.S. infantrymen suddenly appeared but to surrender.
Although Colonel Thomas had intended both his assault battalions to cut Highway 7 southeast of Cisterna before dark, the opening moves of the 2d Battalion had taken too much time, and a lapse in communications between the battalion and regimental headquarters imposed a further delay. The battalion at last headed for the highway in late afternoon, but progress was so slow that darkness found the men still short of that objective.
On the 15th Infantry's left wing, the 3d Battalion, in the meantime, had crossed the line of departure in a column of companies, with Company L leading and taking advantage of the cover of a shallow ditch about half a mile east of the American-held settlement of Isola Bella. The company's objective was a group of houses around which the Germans had developed a formidable strongpoint southwest of a road junction 700 yards away. As the men emerged from the ditch, a blast of small arms and mortar fire from the strongpoint forced them back. Only after a fire fight lasting several hours and with supporting fire from tank destroyers did Company L capture the position, and then but 40 effectives remained of an original strength of 180 men. Other enemy positions still blocked the way, and Company L was too depleted to continue.
At noon the battalion commander relieved Company L with what many in the 3d Division hoped would be a decisive innovation in infantry combat--a regimental "battle sled team" towed by a platoon of medium tanks. The battle sled was General O'Daniel's idea, one in which he took special pride. It was an open-topped narrow steel tube mounted on flat runners and wide enough to carry one infantryman in a prone position. Serving as protection against shell fragments and small arms fire, the steel tubes were to transport infantrymen through enemy fire in what O'Daniel looked on as portable foxholes. Early in May, a battle sled team of sixty men had been organized in each of the division's three regiments.15
With each of five tanks towing twelve
ISOLA BELLA. Cisterna and Alban hills in background.
battle sleds, the 3d Battalion, with Companies I and K following, renewed its attack in early afternoon. The tanks had advanced only a short distance when they came upon a drainage ditch too wide and too deep to negotiate. The men in the battle sleds had to dismount and continue the attack on foot. Thus ended the first and, as it turned out, sole test of the division commander's proud innovation. The medium tanks that had towed the sleds nevertheless continued to support the infantrymen by fire. Progress was steady, yet it took time to root the enemy from one strongpoint after another. Consequently, as darkness fell the 3d Battalion, like the 2d, was still well short of cutting Highway 7 southeast of Cisterna.
Whereas mines had caused the 15th Infantry, on the 3d Division's right wing, little trouble, they were much more of an obstacle in the center, where the 7th Infantry, under Col. Wiley H. Omohundro, attacked. Not decisive, the mines nevertheless served to deny the infantry companies much of their needed tank support in front of Cisterna in what General O'Daniel expected would be the hardest fighting on his division's front.
GENERAL O'DANIEL'S BATTLE SLEDS
In direct defense of the major stronghold of Cisterna, the Germans had constructed their most formidable defenses, controlled from a regimental command post located in a wine cellar deep underneath a large building in the center of the town. Other cellars and numerous tunnels honeycombed the ground beneath the town, sheltering its garrison from the 3d Division's preparatory artillery fire and aerial bombardment. When those fires ceased, the Germans quickly emerged to man firing positions from which they could contest every foot of ground.
The 7th Infantry commander, Colonel Omohundro, was to send two battalions abreast in a northeasterly direction along the axis of the Isola Bella-Cisterna road to break through the enemy defenses south of Cisterna and draw up to the town. That accomplished, Omohundro, on division order, was to send his reserve battalion to take the settlement of La Villa, on the railroad a mile northwest of Cisterna, and then seize a ridge just east of La Villa, cut Highway 7 in the vicinity of the Cisterna cemetery, and occupy a portion of the X-Y phase line. The remainder of the regiment was, on division order, to clear the Germans
from the rubble of Cisterna. A company each from the 751st Tank Battalion and the 601st Tank Destroyer Battalion, as well as a battery from the 10th Field Artillery Battalion (105-mm. howitzers, towed), were to be in direct support of the regiment throughout.
No sooner had leading troops of the 7th Infantry's 3d Battalion crossed their line of departure (about three miles southwest of Cisterna) at 0630 than automatic weapons fire from two positions about half a mile northeast of Isola Bella drove them to cover. Two and a half hours after the attack began the two advance companies were still, in the words of Omohundro's S-3, "pinned down." To that report General O'Daniel growled, "We have no such words in our vocabulary now." The division commander added threateningly in words meant more for Omohundro than his harried S-3, "You're supposed to be at the railroad track by noon. You'll get a bonus if you do, something else if you don't."16 What Omohundro's infantrymen most needed at that point was close-in fire support, but an uncleared antitank mine field kept the attached medium tank platoon and a platoon of tank destroyers too far away to have effect.
To get the attack moving again, a slow, painstaking, and costly infantry advance in the face of enemy fire seemed the only way. Taking advantage of every scrap of cover and concealment, especially numerous drainage ditches, the 3d Battalion, with Company L leading, laboriously started to move. It took the men three hours to advance one mile to within grenade-throwing range of the enemy strongpoint that had held up the attack all morning. Unable or unwilling to resist once Company L got that close, sixteen surviving Germans raised their hands in surrender. Their capitulation enabled Company L to move quickly onto its first objective, the Colle Monaco, a low rise about a quarter of mile northeast of Isola Bella, while Company I in the meantime slipped around to the left to seize a nose of adjacent high ground 500 yards away. Moving too far to the west, Company I encountered a storm of enemy fire that forced the men to take such cover as they could find. The battalion commander committed Company K on Company I's right, but that move proved of little help after enemy fire killed first the company commander and then his executive officer. By midafternoon, the 3d Battalion had penetrated the German position to a depth of almost a mile, but, in doing so, had incurred such heavy casualties that the momentum of its attack was lost.
On the 7th Infantry's right wing, the 2d Battalion had even less to show in its advance astride the Isola Bella-Cisterna road. Scheduled to jump off at H-hour, the battalion had to delay for twenty minutes because of enemy artillery fire. The assault companies, supported by a platoon of medium tanks, had advanced only 200 yards beyond the shelter of a drainage ditch that marked the line of departure before small arms fire from two strong points approximately 600 yards away drove the men to cover. To get the attack moving again, tanks came forward to deal with those positions, but the maneuver collapsed when antitank mines disabled all of the tanks. The Company E commander
then decided to envelop one of the strongpoints by sending an infantry platoon on a wide swing to the west. Advancing slowly in cover afforded by a drainage ditch, the platoon, after two hours of crawling through the ditch, approached to within striking distance of the enemy. Assaulting the first strongpoint with rifle fire and grenades, the men quickly overran and destroyed it, but the effort left the platoon with but eighteen men.
Meanwhile, Company F, fighting east of the Isola Bella-Cisterna road, had a much easier experience. Attacking the other strongpoint, Company F had the support of an attached platoon of tank destroyers that somehow experienced no difficulty with mines. In only forty minutes, Company F overcame the enemy position.
Regrouping his men, the 2d Battalion commander called for more tanks to replace those lost earlier to mines, but the regiment had none to spare. Without tank support, no recourse remained but to resume the attack with the firepower at hand, this time toward the Colle Maraccio, a group of low hills about 1,300 yards north of the Colle Monaco. The two assault companies had advanced a quarter of a mile when heavy automatic weapons fire forced another halt.
When word of the 7th Infantry's continuing difficulties reached the division commander, he authorized additional artillery support and a smoke screen behind which Omohundro's regiment was to try again before dark to break the impasse. While his regiment regrouped, Colonel Omohundro moved his reserve battalion into a blocking position east of Isola Bella.
The new drive was to begin at 1645 behind a 15-minute preparation fired by four battalions of artillery. As the fire lifted, the 2d Battalion began to advance. Apparently demoralized by losses during the morning action, the adjacent 3d Battalion failed to move.
With two companies abreast, the 2d Battalion advanced along both sides of the Isola Bella road. Although antitank mines again prevented two surviving tanks and a platoon of tank destroyers from accompanying the infantry, when two enemy tanks suddenly appeared several hundred yards to the front, the American armor was close enough to bring the enemy vehicles under fire. One German tank burst into flame and the other withdrew. That threat removed, the 2d Battalion continued to advance, although the commander was concerned that unless the 3d Battalion soon drew abreast, his leading companies might be cut off. By 2300 the lead company was within 600 yards of Cisterna.
The 3d Battalion in the meantime remained throughout the afternoon on the Colle Monaco. At last convinced that the commander was no longer able to control either himself or his unit, the executive officer Maj. Lloyd B. Ramsey, assumed command and made plans for a two-company attack to start shortly after nightfall at 2100. When the armored support Ramsey requested failed to appear, he postponed the attack to 2130, but before that hour arrived, enemy tanks made a second appearance. Leading a small infantry force, several German tanks approached to within 250 yards of Ramsey's right front. Although the tanks failed to attack, their presence was
enough to prompt Ramsey to cancel his plans and go on the defensive for the night while awaiting reinforcement by the regiment's reserve battalion. By the end of the first day, only the 2d Battalion of Omohundro's 7th Infantry had made any significant penetration of the enemy's defense, that to within 600 yards of Cisterna. Antitank mine fields had severely limited the close-in fire support so desperately needed by the infantry in the first hours if the momentum of the attack was to be maintained. Moreover, the day's gains had been as costly as they were disappointing. Of the regiment's more than 900 casualties, 54 men had been killed.
As with the 7th Infantry, antitank mines also affected progress of the 30th Infantry, constituting the 3d Division's left wing and main effort alongside the 1st Armored Division. This was the regiment comprising the left pincer of General O'Daniel's enveloping maneuver to isolate Cisterna. The regiment was first to cut the railroad, then the highway to the northwest of the town, and finally to move on Cori along with the 15th Infantry on the right. The sector assigned extended at the line of departure for 9,500 yards astride the Femminamorta Canal but narrowed to about 800 yards at the railroad, a little over a mile away.
Like Colonel Omohundro on his right, the regimental commander, Col. Lionel C. McGarr, also planned to attack with two battalions abreast. In direct support of each was a platoon of the 751st Tank Battalion. The 30th Infantry was further strengthened by attachment of a company from the 601st Tank Destroyer Battalion, whose vehicles were to be employed as self-propelled assault guns.
Believing the enemy's defenses to be weakest opposite his left wing, Colonel McGarr sought to exploit this situation by choosing his most experienced commander, Lt. Col. Woodrow W. Stromberg of the 2d Battalion, to lead the effort there. Because the battalion's sector was quite narrow, McGarr told Stromberg to attack in a column of companies, leapfrogging them periodically to keep the freshest forward.
On the right, where the sector was much broader and the defenses apparently stronger, McGarr ordered the 3d Battalion to attack with three companies abreast and attached a company from the 1st Battalion as a reserve. He also placed all of the attached tank destroyers and the regimental cannon company of 105-mm. howitzers in direct support.
At 0630 Company G led Stromberg's 2d Battalion in a column of companies west of the Femminamorta Canal and advanced toward Hill 77, about 1,200 yards northwest of Ponte Rotto, an enemy-held settlement at a road junction and bridge over the canal a mile and a half southwest of Cisterna. Even before the company crossed the line of departure, automatic weapons fire, punctuated with shelling by mortars and artillery, forced the men to take cover in a nearby drainage ditch. At the same time, mines halted the tanks too far from the action to be of much assistance.
Since the drainage ditch led in the direction Company G wanted to go, it provided a confined though adequate covered approach and enabled the infantrymen to reach and overrun Hill 77. Then they moved 300 yards beyond
to the foot of Hill 81, about 600 yards beyond the line of departure. Since that put Company G almost halfway to the railroad, Colonel Stromberg sent Company E to seize the hill.
That accomplished with reasonable facility, Stromberg directed Company F to destroy a troublesome strongpoint on a knoll just east of Hill 81. By 0900, less than three hours after the attack began, that mission too was accomplished. Yet for all the relative ease of the advance, Colonel Stromberg hesitated to continue to the railroad without first dealing with several bypassed pockets of resistance. That both flanks were exposed also made him wary of continuing. It took much of the rest of the day for Company G to clear the pockets of resistance, while Company E, from blocking positions on Hills 81 and 77, covered the battalion's flanks. As time passed, Colonel Stromberg grew ever more apprehensive about continuing alone to the railroad, particularly when reports revealed that Company G was down to 26 men and Company E to 40. Only Company F, last in line in the battalion column of companies, had incurred relatively few casualties and was in a condition to continue the attack.
Anxious that the 30th Infantry secure its objectives before morning, General O'Daniel authorized Colonel McGarr to commit his reserve battalion to exploit the 2d Battalion's limited success.17 With that assurance of support, Colonel Stromberg, as darkness settled over the battlefield, sent Company F on toward the railroad. When the company reached a point only a hundred yards from the railroad bridge over the Femminamorta Canal, intermittent small arms fire began to strike the column. Unable to locate the enemy positions in the darkness, the company dug in and settled down for the night. Not until daylight came was the reserve battalion destined to reach the company's position.
On the 30th Infantry's right wing, the 3d Battalion met little resistance at first, but that was before the supporting tanks and tank destroyers bogged down in the mine fields. From that point resistance increased, so that by midafternoon the battalion had lost its momentum. As night fell the leading company, unable to keep pace with Company F west of the canal, had reached a point only about half a mile north of the Ponte Rotto road junction. Shortly after dark the troops dug in where they were, placed concertina wire and mines across the road, and settled down to await dawn.
Thus, although the armored half of the VI Corps' attack had made considerable progress toward seizing the first day's objectives on schedule, the infantry half (the 3d Division) had lagged. In spite of abundant artillery support, frequent harassment of the enemy's rear throughout the day by tactical aircraft, and, most importantly, the element of surprise that Truscott had succeeded in maintaining until the offensive began, a well dug-in enemy had responded to the 3d Division's attack with considerable small arms fire and had held the infantrymen to relatively modest gains. Some indication of the effectiveness of the enemy's defensive fires could be seen in the high losses incurred by the division on the first day. Of a total of
1,626 casualties, 107 were killed in action, 642 wounded, 812 missing, and 65 captured.18
Action on the Corps' Flanks
Even as the 1st Armored and 3d Infantry Divisions attacked in their sectors, General Eagles' 45th Division had launched a limited objective attack to stabilize the VI Corps' left flank. While one regiment made a vigorous demonstration on the far left in the vicinity of the Anzio-Campoleone railroad, the 45th Division's other two regiments attacked along an axis running northwest of the village of Carano, a little over five miles southwest of Cisterna.
Mine fields, fortunately, were not the problem here that they were elsewhere. Both regiments moved rapidly toward objectives along the road leading northwest from Carano to the Cisterna-Rome railroad. The supporting tanks worked closely with the infantry, the two arms fighting together as a smooth-working team. By midafternoon, Col. Robert L. Dulaney's 180th Infantry, on the left, had reached its objectives about one mile northwest of Carano after overrunning a battalion of the 29th Panzer Grenadier Regiment and capturing the battalion commander in his command post. On the 180th Infantry's right, the 157th Infantry, commanded by Col. John H. Church, attacked toward distant objectives along the railroad and in the process encountered a sharp German riposte.
Although General Eagles was unaware of it at the time, the quick penetration by his division seriously threatened the left flank and rear of the 3d Panzer Grenadier Division, comprising the left wing of the I Parachute Corps. The panzer grenadier division commander reacted by counterattacking with the only force at his disposal: 15 Tiger tanks from the 508th Panzer Battalion.19 About the time Colonel Dulaney's 180th Infantry was digging in on its objectives, a force of Tigers variously estimated by American observers to number between fifteen and twenty-four attacked Colonel Church's 157th Infantry. The German tanks pushed through one battalion and opened fire on the rear of another.
To counter that threat, General Truscott ordered forward a battalion of armored infantry from the 1st Armored Division's reserve, but before the infantrymen could arrive, division and corps artillery, including 8-inch howitzers, responded with a devastating blast of shelling. It was too much for the Germans. The tanks withdrew, leaving behind several of their number as flaming hulks. By nightfall, fighting had cost the division a total of 458 casualties, of whom 30 were killed, 169 wounded, 31 captured, and 228 missing.20
Meanwhile, on the opposite flank of the American offensive, General Frederick's 1st Special Service Force had begun its part of the operation with an advance by its 1st Regiment toward
Highway 7 and the railroad. Despite German small arms and machine gun fire, the lead regiment quickly overran the enemy's forward positions and by noon had pushed across Highway 7 to within a thousand yards of the railroad. General Frederick held the regiment there to allow units of the neighboring 15th Infantry on the left to pull abreast.
The pause afforded the Germans time to assemble a counterattacking force of tanks and infantry beyond the railroad embankment. Shortly after dark, twelve Mark IV tanks and an estimated platoon of enemy infantry suddenly struck. Within an hour the Germans had rolled through the 1st Special Service Force's outpost line and threatened to break through to the rear. "All hell has broken loose up here," Frederick's G-3 reported. "The Germans have unleashed everything. They got four of our M-4's and three M-10 tank destroyers. We need more M-4's and TD's." Maj. William R. Rossen, the assistant corps G-3, promised to "see if we can get some stuff up right away."21
Help arrived, but not before part of one company had been cut off and captured. The rest of the regiment fell back about half a mile south of the highway. Despite the early gains, won largely by exploitation of the elements of shock and surprise, the Germans lacked the necessary reserve strength to take advantage of their success and under heavy artillery fire fell back north of the railroad. The withdrawal gave General Frederick an opportunity to regroup his battered force, reoccupy some of the lost ground, and count his losses. The 1st Regiment had lost 39 men killed, over 100 wounded, and 30 captured. During the night, General Truscott, in order to give the regiment some respite from its exertions that day, ordered the 34th Division's 133d Infantry to send one battalion to relieve the 1st Special Service Force's 1st Regiment and outpost a line north of the highway and another to protect the flank along the Mussolini Canal.
For Generalleutnant der Panzertruppen Traugott Herr, at the command post of his LXXVI Panzer Corps, the situation map throughout 23 May provided little reason for satisfaction despite the brief successes of the counterattacks against the American flanks. The stronghold of Cisterna in the panzer corps center still held, but the magnitude of the attack meant to General Herr that the Allies had indeed begun their long-awaited breakout offensive.22
In response to pleas during the afternoon from the commander of the hard-pressed 715th Infantry Division, opposite the 1st Special Service Force, General Herr requested approval by Fourteenth Army headquarters to withdraw the division's left wing about 1,200 yards to the line of the railroad, which southeast of Cisterna lay beyond the highway. That move would enable Herr to anchor his left flank on higher ground, the foothills of the Lepini Mountains, and establish a stronger defensive line parallel to the Tyrrhenian coast.
In line with that reasoning, yet unwilling to make the decision without
approval of higher authority, General von Mackensen relayed the proposal to Field Marshal Kesselring, along with the additional information that the Americans (the 1st Special Service Force) had already cut Highway 7 southeast of Cisterna and the railroad (1st Armored Division) northwest of the town. Still concerned about an Allied thrust against the German right flank along the coast, Mackensen also pointed out that approval of the panzer corps commander's proposal would release some troops to reinforce the Cisterna sector while avoiding the risk of weakening other parts of the front in a quest for reinforcements.
As in the case of the southern front, Kesselring would sanction no withdrawal. Hold in place, the army group commander directed, and stabilize the LXXVI Panzer Corps with local reserves. To pull back the left wing of Herr's corps might create a gap in the mountains north of Terracina between the corps and the Tenth Army's right flank, thereby enabling the U.S. Fifth Army to separate the two German armies. New positions along a line between Cisterna and Sezze, Kesselring believed, also would be less economical in men and weapons, and pulling back would deny the Fourteenth Army an opportunity to mount further counterattacks against the American right flank in hope of pinching off the penetration of the army's lines about the beachhead.
Kesselring also dismissed Mackensen's concern for his right flank along the beachhead's northwestern front; the attack there by the British divisions, the field marshal correctly believed, had been only a diversion. He suggested, instead, that Mackensen shift elements of the 92d Infantry Division from the I Parachute Corps sector southward to reinforce the central sector of the LXXVI Panzer Corps near Cisterna.
That Mackensen was unwilling to do. The Fourteenth Army commander was convinced that the Americans had yet to reveal the direction of the main thrust from the beachhead, and that when it came it would develop near his right wing in the Aprilia-Albano sector, the gateway into the Alban Hills. (Actually, General Clark was even then considering the possibility of shifting the axis of Truscott's beachhead offensive in that very direction.) Shifting troops to the Cisterna sector would, Mackensen reckoned, leave the Albano gateway open. In any case, the 92d Infantry Division was his only uncommitted division. Recently formed and only partially trained, he regarded it as unfit for intensive fighting.
In response to the 1st Armored Division's pushing back the 362d Division's right wing beyond the railway, the only action Mackensen took was to direct General der Flieger Alfred Schlemm, commander of the I Parachute Corps, to transfer a panzer reconnaissance battalion from the vicinity of Albano to reinforce the 362d's right. Until that battalion completed its move shortly after nightfall on the 23d, the LXXVI Panzer Corps would have to draw upon its own local reserves.
In the fight against both the 1st Armored Division and the 3d Infantry Division, the acting 362d Division commander by midafternoon had already committed his last reserves: one engineer and two infantry battalions. On the left, the commander of the 715th Infantry Division had committed his remaining
infantry reserves and some tanks in the counterattack against the 1st Special Service Force along Highway 7.
Both divisions had incurred heavy losses during the day. The 362d Division, bearing the brunt of the American attack, had lost 50 percent of its combat strength; two regiments of the 715th Division had lost 40 percent of their's. In both divisions equipment losses, especially in antitank guns, had been correspondingly heavy.
By early evening of the 23d, Field Marshal Kesselring realized that, contrary to all his expectations, the situation at the beachhead had taken a most unfavorable turn. The Allied offensive itself, however, had been no surprise to him. He had been expecting it for over a week, though he had been uncertain as to the exact timing.
What had surprised him was Mackensen's failure, with the forces at his disposal, to contain the breakout. The penetration by the 1st Armored Division into the 362d Division's sector, Kesselring recognized, threatened the Fourteenth Army's entire position and also that of the Tenth Army, whose slow withdrawal from the southern front would be jeopardized should the Fourteenth Army's front collapse. That evening Kesselring hinted to Vietinghoff, the Tenth Army commander, that he should be thinking about a withdrawal to the Caesar Line south of Rome.
Both Kesselring and Mackensen agreed that somehow Herr's LXXVI Panzer Corps had to be reinforced, but they differed as to how it should be done. The army group commander clung to his conviction that the corps front could be reinforced in place by thinning out quiet sectors. In that vein, he ordered Mackensen to move to the threatened sector all available antitank gun companies from the I Parachute Corps. That Mackensen did, but he still delayed transferring other units from the I Parachute Corps to the LXXVI Panzer Corps front. In response to Kesselring's urging, he did order the I Parachute Corps to assemble a fusilier battalion in the Alban Hills as a reserve under army control for possible commitment in the Cisterna sector. Mackensen also directed a battalion of the 12th Parachute Regiment to the central sector but countermanded the order after Schlemm, the I Parachute Corps commander, played upon his fear that the British attack on the northern flank of the beachhead might increase in strength and be supplemented by an amphibious landing along the coast.
Concerned lest the American armored penetration along the intercorps boundary turn the left flank of the I Parachute Corps, Mackensen directed Schlemm to withdraw his corps during the night of the 23d, in accord with the army's original defense plan, to a secondary defense line about half a mile behind his forward positions. Meanwhile, General Herr, the LXXVI Panzer Corps commander, awaiting authority to withdraw, went ahead hopefully with plans to shift units from the 715th Division's relatively quiet coastal flank to bolster the division's front just east of Cisterna. That action, he hoped, would prevent the Americans from splitting the division from the rest of the corps and pinning it against either the coast or the Lepini Mountains. Moreover, the Americans preparing to assault Terracina would, if they broke through
there, soon threaten the division's rear.
Unlike Kesselring, Mackensen still believed that General Clark intended a main effort along the more direct road to Rome--that is, against the I Parachute Corps--and that he might also launch an amphibious landing in the army's rear. He also still looked with deep concern at the British divisions close to the coast. Until the morning of the 24th, these misplaced concerns denied timely reinforcement of the central sector at Cisterna, the real focus of General Truscott's offensive. Thus, unknown to Truscott at the time, the cover plan HIPPO had accomplished exactly what those who planned it had intended.
The first day of the breakout offensive had been costly for the Americans, and there had been no breakthrough of the enemy's defenses. Yet decisive advances had been made, and Generals Clark and Truscott, following the day's action on the operation maps in their command post, were satisfied. Had they been aware of the growing differences between Field Marshal Kesselring and General von Mackensen over defense strategy, their satisfaction might have been even greater.
1. Fifth Army History, Part V, p. 108.
2. Clark Diary, 23 May 44.
3. VI Corps G-2 Jnl, 23 May 44, Summary of Air Action; DA Hist Div, Anzio Beachhead, p. 119; Craven and Cate, eds., AAF III, pp. 384-96.
4. Hq 15th AGp, A Military Encyclopedia, Based on Operations in the Italian Campaign, 1943-45, pp. 311-14.
5. There were important limitations to the use of Snakes. They were useful only against minefields protecting prepared positions. If towed assembled for any distance over rough ground, they broke up. On the other hand, if moved unassembled into position, more time was required to assemble them than to cross mine fields by other means or to bypass them altogether.
6. Interv, Mathews with Lt Col Robert R. Linville, 9 May 50, CMH.
7. 1st Armd Div FO 10, 19 May 44, and CCA and CCB FO's of same date.
10. Unless otherwise noted, the following narrative is based on the official records of the 1st Armored Division and subordinate units and on combat interviews and small unit action reports prepared by Sidney T. Mathews.
11. Technical Sgt. Ernest H. Dervishian and Staff Sgt. George J. Hall of the attached 135th Infantry (34th Division) won the Medal of Honor during the fighting on the 23d for "conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at risk of life above and beyond the call of duty."
12. 9th MRU, Fifth Army Battle Casualties, 10 Jun 45. During the fighting on the 23d, 2d Lt. Thomas W. Fowler of the 1st Armored Division performed with "conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at risk of life above and beyond the call of duty," for which he was subsequently awarded the Medal of Honor.
13. MS # C-064 (Kesselring).
14. Unless otherwise noted the tactical narrative is based upon official records of the 3d Division and its subordinate units, plus combat interviews and small unit action narratives prepared by Sidney T. Mathews of the Fifth Army Historical Section.
15. Donald G. Taggert, ed., History of the Third Infantry Division in World War II (Washington: Infantry Journal Press, 1947), p. 148.
16. 3d Div G-3 Jnl, 230925B May 44.
17. VI Corps G-3 Jnl, 231450B May 44.
18. 9th MRU, Fifth Army Battle Casualties, 10 Jun 45, CMH. As a result of the fighting on the 23d three members of the 3d Division were awarded the Medal of Honor: Privates 1st Class John W. Dutko (posthumously), Patrick L. Kessler, and Henry Schauer.
19. MS # R-50 (Bailey), CMH.
20. 9th MRU, Fifth Army Battle Casualties, 10 Jun 45, CMH. For action during this fight Technical Sgt. Van T. Barfoot was awarded the Medal of Honor.
21. VI Corps G-3 Jnl, 23-24 May 44.
22. Unless otherwise noted German material is based upon MSS #'s R-50 (Bailey), T-1a and T-1b (Westphal et al.), and C-064 (Kesselring).