April 7, 1944 — Good Friday on the Anzio beachhead while a war correspondent looked back on successes and failures

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April 7, 1944 — Good Friday on the Anzio beachhead while a war correspondent looked back on successes and failures

On April 7, Phil attended Good Friday services [1] held in a picturesque grove graced by a large white wooden cross, which reminded him of the outdoor services he had enjoyed at the Boy Scout camps of his youth.[1]

Good Friday services were held in a beautiful spot in the (Pine Grove) graced by a large white wooden cross creating the perfect “Church in the Wildwood” setting.


On April 7, the following message was received by General O’Daniel from he Commanding General of VI Corps:[2]

To the Officers and Men of the Third Infantry Division:

Upon the relief of the Third Infantry Division from front-line duty, where it has been sicne D-day, I desire to express my appreciation for the complete and loyal cooperation of every officer and man. The outstanding accomplishments of the Division during the entire battle since 22 January and, particularly, the outstanding work in connection with stopping the final German attack on 29 February and succeeding day, will be a bright page in our future history.

(Signed) L. K. Truscott, Jr., Major General, U. S. Army, Commanding


What Happened to US in Italy?[3]

This is a frank description of the Allied campaign in Italy by correspondents who have been in the field with the troops.

It is not a cheery, optimistic report because that isn’t the kind of a war American, British, Canadian, African, Indian, French and Italian troops have been waging against the Germans and this theater.

The war in Italy is a matter of slogging ahead in some places a few hundred yards in a week and in others just digging in and trying to hold firm at a stiff cost of lives and limbs.

It is a war of mud and booby traps, of hopes and disappointments. It is war at its most undramatic and unpleasant.

The men at the front want the people back home to know that.

I have been at the main fifth Army front and more recently at the Anzio beachhead and it both places I was impressed by the doughboys’ wish that the homefolks know that their task in Italy is “tough going.”

Some of them actually “dared” me to write how rough the going was in the mountains around Casino and on the flat beachhead where soldiers feel “like cockroaches in the bathtub” when the Germans shoot down at them from the surrounding heights.

Seven months of struggling of the Italian boot through mud and mountains and across bloody beaches leave the allies today still short of Rome, the glittering Christmas objective of the armchair strategists at home but with these considerable advantages won:

  1. The Mediterranean cleared for allied shipping to the Middle East;
  2. Italy knocked out of the war except for a Fascist remnant scarcely holding propaganda value to its Nazi Masters;
  3. The great network of air fields at Foggia nesting Allied planes that fly daily to pound German targets in Southern Europe and the Balkans—now hammering enemy communication centers just ahead of the onrushing Red Army.

These are substantial achievements but the limited nature of Allied investment of forces has sometimes resulted in spectacular disappointments such as at Casino and Anzio.

Correspondents at those fronts believe that Allied leaders have learned many lessons which will be applied to the forthcoming battle in Western Europe.


[1] Larimore. At First Light. Page 98.

[2] Taggart, 142.

[3] Reynolds Packard. United Press War Writer. Allied Headquarters, Naples. News Clipping.


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