March 20, 1944 – On Anzio a beachhead order to the men to wear steel hats or pay fine

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March 20, 1944 – On Anzio a beachhead order to the men to wear steel hats or pay fine

AP correspondent, Richard G. Massock, observed, “Germans are being killed on the Anzio beachhead by “some pretty grim looking characters.”[1]

Anzio Beach, Italy

Dearest Aunt Leota;

Again I have to humble myself for not writing is so long a time. Every time I write I seem to have to find some excuse for not having written in so long a time. I’m sorry I couldn’t come to New York while I was at Fort Meade, but they wouldn’t let us get that far away from Camp. I should have called tho. But they got me in a place where I can’t do to(sic) much running around now. I am kept quite busy tho. Boy in this war they sure do keep us busy all the time. I never did write you any thanks for the money you sent but it was swell of you. I’m saving every cent I can. When I get back, Marilyn will have finished college, and we will be able to get married. That is if it isn’t so long that she will forgotten all about me. Let us hope. Give Uncle Walter my regards and tell him there is(sic) so many things I would like to talk to him about now. Give every one my love.

With love, Phil


Wear Steel Hats or Pay Fine, Beachhead Order[1]

Germans are being killed on the Anzio beachhead by “some pretty grim looking characters,” to use the expression of soldier correspondents at the front.

As in the mountains surround Casino, nobody makes much fuss about shaving.

Helmets are a must on the beachhead, where a German shell may land almost anywhere and usually does.

The soldiers in the front line used to discard the steel hats because they interfered with hearing, while those back on the beach where the shells land most often have always worn them.

Now helmets are compulsory for everybody.

An enlisted man working in regimental headquarters was fined $20 dollars for disobeying the order.

Leggings on combat boots are another requirement, but no soldier on the beachhead is required to wear a tie.

Goggles are worn by preference, since windshields must be lowered and the dust on the roads heavy.

“Usual patrol activity and exchanges of artillery fire,” maybe all the communiqué says about the beach action, and one thinks of a lull. But the beachhead war never sleeps.

Throughout the night the sky is ripped by tracer bullets, shell explosions or bursting flak.

When German planes come over, sometimes three or four times a night, there flares turn night into day.

The beachhead has his own radio program with an ever-interested audience. There is only one voice, that of a G.I. broadcasting when the enemy planes have been spotted and telling the antiaircraft guns when to shoot.

[1] Richard G. Massock. Associated Press Staff Writer. Italy. Undated news clipping.

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