In a nation at war, teamwork by the whole people is necessary for victory. But the issue is decided on the battlefield, toward which all national effort leads. The country's fate lies in the hands of its soldier citizens; in the clash of battle is found the final test of plans, training, equipment, and-above all-the fighting spirit of units and individuals.

AMERICAN FORCES IN ACTION SERIES presents detailed accounts of particular combat operations of United States forces. To the American public, this record of high achievement by men who served their Nation well is presented as a preface to the full military history of World War II. To the soldiers who took part in the operations concerned, these narratives will give the opportunity to see more clearly the results of orders which they obeyed and of sacrifices which they anti their comrades made, in performance of missions that find their meaning in the outcome of a larger plan of battle.

Dwight D. Eisenhower,
Chief of Staff.


Historical Division
Washington 25, D.C.
1 October 1947

Anzio Beachhead, fourteenth in the series of studies of particular combat operations, is the story of how VI Corps of the American Fifth Army seized and held a strategic position far to the rear of the main fighting front, in the Italian campaign of 1944. Since VI Corps included British as well as American units, and the high command in Italy was in British rather than in American hands, the battle to maintain the Anzio beachhead was an Allied rather than an exclusively American operation. Essentially, this narrative of Anzio is confined to the first six weeks of bitter struggle to hold the beachhead against German attacks designed to drive the Allied forces from their foothold, a period which ended on 3 Match. Thereafter, until the Allied offensive of May, the Anzio beachhead was a static and relatively quiet front. Then the beachhead forces spearheaded the drive that led to the capture of Rome. Only a sketch of this final and decisive phase of the Anzio operation is included in this narrative.

This study is based upon a first narrative by Capt. John Bowditch, III, prepared in the field from military records and from notes and interviews recorded during and after the operation by Captain Bowditch and by 1st Lt. Robert W. Kerner. Although as published this book contains no documentation, the original narrative, fully documented, is on file in the War Department. Captain Bowditch's manuscript has been revised and extended with the help of additional information, including that obtained from enemy records, in the Historical Division, War Department Special Staff, by Maj. Roy Lamson, Jr., and by Dr. Stetson Conn. The maps were planned by Col. Allison R. Hartman of the Historical Division, and they were designed and drafted by the World War I Branch of the Division. The photographs were selected by Capt. Robert L. Bedell of the Historical Division. In order that the more definitive history of this operation may be as complete and correct as possible, readers are urged to send all comments, criticisms, and additional data to the Historical Division, Department of the Army, Washington 25, D. C.


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