March 29, 1944 – Living in a covered foxhole for 45 consecutive days on Anzio

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March 29, 1944 – Living in a covered foxhole for 45 consecutive days on Anzio

Through March and April, 1944, things on Anzio remained unchanged. Living in a covered foxhole for 45 consecutive days was quite an experience.[1]

Most of us became infested with lice and had to be “deloused.”

The hair on our heads was shaven off completely, and we were taken back for a shower, and issued used clean underwear and OD’s. Our clothes were sprayed with DDT Powder.

This was the very first time, that I heard there was a shortage of new clothing for the U.S. Troops. It was my understanding that the used clothing came from wounded and deceased G.I.’s.[1]


At 0900 March 28 the [3rd Infantry] Division was officially relieved of command of the sector, ending sixty-seven consecutive days in the line from 0200 January 22, 1944. [2]


The entire 3rd Division was relieved by the 34th Division on March 28, and designated as the corps reserve, ending sixty-seven days in the line.

After a well-deserved rest, the Dogface Soldiers moved into an area near Torre Astura to begin an intensive two week training period, which focused on correcting “deficiencies noted during combat.”

The intensive training period covered many aspects of combat operations, including: anti-tank defense, pill box reduction, sniper training, small arms fire, small unit attack problems, and discipline.

The Marnemen were eventually ordered back to the front lines on April 12th.[3]


Veterans of 20 days’ combat with the Germans returned from the front line slip trenches today and began a four-day course on “how to fight the krauts” at one of the strangest training camps in any war theater.

The Camp is out of range of German mortars and small arms but within range of everything else and under the watchful eyes of Nazi observers perched on slopes above the beach.

One regiment seemed surprised when it learned when it learned it was a training camp and not a rest area.

The first order was to shave off  beards that had grown over a period of three weeks. Been they were fed and marched to the group of Italian thatched huts and taught street fighting. Some of the “pupils” were veterans of street fighting in Cassino and Benvento.

Other groups were drilled on squirming through sandy beach areas; on clearing mines and attacking pillboxes. They were taught platoon and squad tactics and observation techniques.

Lt. Col. Richard C. Parker, Charlottesville, Va., explained to the veteran fighters, to whom the course seemed elementary, that it was necessary because American front line troops had been getting careless during the lull in fighting.

“So careless, in fact,” he said, “that even the German prisoners mentioned it.”

German prisoners have criticized American infantry tactics in the front lines

“They say,” Parker said, “Americans play at war without business or science. In one case mentioned via prisoner, an American soldier wearing a pistol ran into a three-man German patrol and advised them they were prisoners. He didn’t even pull the pistol from his holster. The Germans surrendered but they said it was a very careless thing to do.

“That,” Parker continued, “is what this school is going to eliminate. We are just drumming into them again the things they were taught in infantry schools back in the states with the benefit of experience.”

One squad, after listening to a 15-minute lecture from Capt. Leslie Bailey of Olinger, Va., on house to house tactics, went thru the maneuver like experts. Pvt. John T. Bogacki, Chicago, had done the same thing in many an Italian village.

So had Pvt. Rufe Wiggins, Lenoir City, Tenn., and Pvt. Caleb Bonsall, West Chester, Pa.

Pfc. Theodore Hill, Reidsville, N. C., who celebrated his 20th birthday yesterday, crouched all day in a slit trench, summed up the group opinion of this unprecedented training center.

“At least,” said … showers and clean … we don’t have … Jerry.”[4]


[1] Staff Sergeant Albert R. Panebianco.

[2] Taggart, 142.

[3] Champagne, 65.

[4] Robert Vermillion, United Press Staff Writer. Anzio Beachhead, Ital. April 16, 1944. In the Wednesday, April 19, 1944 Memphis newspaper. Clipping in small brown scrapbook with heavily embossed front.

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