United States Army in World War II
Mediterranean Theater of Operations

Salerno to Cassino

by Martin Blumenson


. . . to Those Who Served

Stetson Conn, General Editor

Advisory Committee
(As of 15 June 1967)
Fred C. Cole
Washington and Lee University


Lt. Gen. August Schomburg
Industrial College of the Armed Forces


Charles B. Burdick
San Jose State College


Maj. Gen. B. E. Powell
U.S. Continental Army Command


James A. Field, Jr.
Swarthmore College


Brig. Gen. Robert B. Smith
U.S. Army War College


Richard W. Leopold
Northwestern University


Brig. Gen. Robert C. Taber
U.S. Army Command and General Staff College


Ernest R. May
Harvard University


Col. Thomas E. Griess
United States Military Academy


Charles P. Roland
Tulane University


Office of the Chief of Military History
Brig. Gen. Hal C. Pattison, Chief of Military History

Chief Historian Stetson Conn
Chief, Histories Division Col. Paul P. Hinkley
Editor in Chief Joseph R. Friedman


Foreword vii
The Author viii
Preface ix
Chapter Page
I. The Origins 3
    The Strategic Background 4
    Toward a Decision 8
II. The Choice 16
    The Concept 16
    The Decision 21
    The Place 25
III. The Preparations 27
    Forces 28
    Lift 37
IV. The Start 43
    The Plans 43
    The Preliminaries 51
V. The Opposition: The Germans in Italy 58
VI. The Landings 73
    The Last Few Miles of Sea 73
    The Initial American Waves 76
    The American Beaches 85
    The Results of the First Day 90
    Slapstick 94
VII. The Beachhead 96
    German Build-up 96
    The Beachhead Developed 99
    The German Attack 112
VIII. The Crisis 118
    Allied Build-up 118
    Stand-off 125
    The Avellino Mission 131
IX. The End of the Battle 133
    The Crisis Resolved 133
    The Eighth Army Role 138
    Some Miscellaneous Matters 143
    Command 148
    Summary 152
X. Beyond Salerno 154
    Problems and Plans 154
    The Flanking March 158
    The Main Effort 162
    Naples 166
    Foggia 170
The Winter Campaign
XI. The Strategy 175
    Allied Intentions 175
    The German Decision 182
    Allied Problems 184
XII. The Volturno Crossing 188
    The Immediate Situation 188
    The Attack Down the Calore Valley 194
    The Main Crossings 196
    The Crossing on the Right Flank 200
    The Crossings on the Left 203
XIII. Into the Winter Line 207
    Mountain Warfare 208
    The Second Volturno Crossing 210
    The Upper Volturno Valley 213
    The Coastal Zone 214
    More Mountain Warfare 217
    The Third Volturno Crossing 220
    The Germans at the Bernhard Line 223
    Into the Bernhard Line 226
XIV. The Shape of Things to Come 235
    Allied Reappraisal 235
    Hitler's Decision 243
    The Cairo and Tehran Conferences 246
    The Lull 248
XV. In the Winter Line 257
    The Sangro Front 257
    Plans To Breach the Mignano Barrier 260
    The Camino-Difensa-Maggiore Complex 262
XVI. San Pietro 270
    The Conditions 270
    The First Attack 274
    The Second Attack 277
    The Aftermath 285
    The Other Fronts 288
Anzio and Cassino
XVII. The Decision for Anzio 293
XVIII. The Preliminaries for Anzio 305
    Toward the Rapido-Garigliano River Line 306
    The German Situation 310
    Closing to the River Line 313
    Crossing the Garigliano 315
XIX. The Rapido River Crossings 322
XX. The Anzio Landing 352
    Preparations 353
    The Landing 357
    German Reaction 360
XXI. The Attacks on Cassino 366
XXII. The Opening Battles at Anzio 385
    The Allied Attack 385
    The First German Counterattack 394
XXIII. The Bombardment of the Abbey of Monte Cassino 397
XXIV. The Test at Anzio 419
    The Major German Attack 419
    Change of Command 424
    The Last German Attack 429
XXV. The Bombing of Cassino 433
XXVI. Results and Prospects 449
A. Table of Equivalent Ranks 457
B. Recipients of the Distinguished Service Cross 458
Bibliographical Note 461
Glossary 465
Basic Military Map Symbols 469
Index 473
Theater Commanders 11
Lt. Gen. Mark W. Clark 29
Maj. Gen. Ernest J. Dawley 30
Maj. Gen. Ernest N. Harmon 30
Maj. Gen. Fred L. Walker 31
Maj. Gen. Charles W. Ryder 32
Maj. Gen. Troy H. Middleton 32
General Sir Bernard L. Montgomery 35
Vice Adm. H. Kent Hewitt 36
Part of the 45th Division Boarding LST's at Palermo, Sicily 51
DUKW's Crossing the Strait of Messina 52
Troops Cheer the News of Italy's Surrender 55
Generalfeldmarschall Albert Kesselring 61
Generaloberst Heinrich von Vietinghoff genannt Scheel 65
A Panorama of the Salerno Bay Landing Area  
Tanks Moving Ashore, Salerno 88
LST With Improvised Flight Deck 88
Troops of the 36th Division Advancing on Red Beach, Salerno 89
Lt. Gen. Sir Richard L. McCreery With General Dwight D. Eisenhower and General Clark 101
The Tobacco Factory 105
The Ancient Temple of Neptune, Paestum 111
U.S. Equipment Burning on the Beach at Salerno 121
Maj. Gen. Matthew B. Ridgway 135
Civilians Clearing the Ruins of Eboli 139
Maj. Gen. John P. Lucas 158
Engineers Repairing a Bridge Near Acerno 160
Wreckage in the Dockyards, Naples 167
Pier Across the Hull of a Sunken Ship, Naples 169
Triflisco Gap 193
Self-Propelled 105-mm. Howitzer on a Ponton Treadway Bridge at the Volturno 202
Removing a German S Mine 221
Rescue at the Volturno 223
Mignano Gap 226
British Soldiers Hugging Side of Hill, Monte Camino 228
Troops of the 30th Infantry Division Moving Out To Attack 230
Pack Train on a Mountain Trail 232
Stranded Vehicles at the Volturno 250
War Against Mud 250
Maj. Gen. Geoffrey T. Keyes 251
Maj. Gen. William W. Eagles 253
General Alphonse Juin 254
Brig. Gen. Robert T. Frederick 256
British Troops on Monte Camino 264
2d Moroccan Infantry Division Troops Around a Campfire 268
Monte Sammucro, With San Pietro on the Right 271
Evacuating the Wounded 284
German Pillbox on Monte Lungo 285
Paratroopers Approaching San Pietro 287
Medical Corpsmen at San Pietro 287
General Sir Henry Maitland Wilson 295
Lt. Gen. Sir Oliver Leese 296
Lt. Gen. Jacob L. Devers 296
Christmas Dinner on a Haystack, Somewhere in Italy 299
Men on Monte Porchia 309
The Liri Valley 311
Mud and the 36th Division Supply Dump, Mignano Area 312
German Box Mine 314
Forward Observer on La Chiaia 314
British 10 Corps Troops Shuttling Ambulances Across the Garigliano 317
The Rapido, Viewed From Monte Trocchio 324
Monte Cassino and the Benedictine Monastery 325
Bringing Casualties Back From the Rapido 344
Ships Off Anzio Awaiting Signals To Move to Shore 359
Men and Equipment Move Ashore South of Anzio, D-Day 360
The Anzio-Nettuno Area 362
Men of the 504th Parachute Infantry at the Mussolini Canal 364
The Cassino Area 367
The Monte Cassino Monastery and Its Environs 368
Bogged-Down American Tank Near the Rapido 369
Remains of the Barracks 377
Mortar Squad Firing Into Cassino 379
240-mm. Howitzer 380
Troop Position on a Rocky Hillside Near Cassino 381
34th Division MP Directing Traffic From a Roadside Dugout 382
Aiming a Bazooka at a Stone House 384
Ruins of the "Factory" 388
Civilian Refugees in the Cassino Area 398
Cassino: The Monastery, the Castle, and the Town 400
Lt. Gen. Sir Bernard Freyberg 403
Maj. Gen. Alfred M. Gruenther 405
Monastery Under Attack [1] [2] 410
Artillery Aimed at the Monastery 412
Monastery in Ruins 412
Archbishop Don Gregorio Diamare, Abbot of Monte Cassino, and Generalleutnant Fridolin von Senger and Etterlin 415
German Troops Inside the Ruined Abbey 416
M7 Self-Propelled 105-mm. Howitzers 422
Smoke Screen and Observation Plane Near Ammunition Dump, Anzio 424
German Prisoners Marching to the Rear 426
Maj. Gen. Lucian K. Truscott, Jr 429
Wine Cellar That Served as VI Corps Headquarters 430
Bombing of the Town of Cassino 440
Ruins of the Continental Hotel 443
German Long-Range Artillery Shell Hits a Nettuno Hotel 453
Revetted Hospital Tents, Anzio 454
Illustrations are from Department of Defense files, with the exception of photographs on pages 101, 403, and 415, which are reproduced by kind permission of the Imperial War Museum, London.
No.    Page
1.  Invasion Plans 12
2.  The VI Corps Holds, 13-14 September 1943 128
3.  The Situation at the Volturno, 7 October 1943 189
4.  10 Corps Drive to the Garigliano, 26 October-4 November 1943 216
5.  VI Corps Advance, 26 October-4 November 1943 218
6.  Fifth Army at the Winter Line, 5-15 November 1943 227
7.  First Attack on San Pietro, 8-11 December 1943 272
8.  Second Attack on San Pietro, 15-17 December 1943 278
9.  Crossing the Garigliano and Rapido Rivers, 17 January-8 February 1944 323
Maps I-VII are in accompanying map envelope
I.  Fifth Army Landings, 9-13 September 1943
II.  Advance to the Volturno, 20 September-6 October 1943
III.  Fifth Army Crosses the Volturno, 12-14 October 1943
IV.  The Fifth Army Advances, 14-25 October 1943
V.  Advances at Anzio, 22-31 January 1944
VI.  Enemy Offensive, 16 February-3 March 1944
VII.  Stalemate, Spring 1944

Transcribed and formatted for HTML by Jerry Holden for the HyperWar Foundation