April 14, 1944 — Anzio—Where our men held. Generals may have erred, but doughboys didn’t

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April 14, 1944 — Anzio—Where our men held. Generals may have erred, but doughboys didn’t

AP writer, Daniel De Luce, wrote, “This sun bathed strip of the Italian coast which has cost more Allied lives to hold than any other piece of ground in the Mediterranean, is experiencing now the novelty of “phoney war.”[1]

De Luce continued:

When the Anzio invasion 82 days ago became a dud as far as the capture of Rome was concerned, it resulted in the fiercest and most prolonged defensive battle ever waged by combined British and American forces.

Here in the beachhead outnumbered Allied troops held back three all-out assaults by the German 14th Army, which was not only superior in numbers but also in certain types of weapons.

Judging by reports of public comment in the United States and Britain, the beachhead will be remembered as an adventure in military futility. But to scores of thousands of troops who fought here it remains one spot where the German army had almost all the odds and its favor but could not crack through.

Finally convinced of the beachhead as a permanent fixture in its flank, the German command now obviously intends to do nothing more than contain it. Deep zones of barbed wire, minefields and concrete pillboxes have been established by the enemy.

The Allied forces here are stronger now than ever before, both in men and guns. They have, however, instituted no offensive. Small patrol clashes and indefinite artillery exchanges characterize current beachhead activity.

The fortunes of the beachhead and the casino front are inextricably linked. Breaking the stalemate at one would force the issue at the other. Reserves which the Germans might have used and a fourth attack at Anzio we’re instead sent on South to the main front during March.

The soldiers know that as far as the wars is concerned it isn’t being won in Italy, we’re just having a dry foxhole to sleep in after the mud of the last three months is something to be thankful for.

Caption to a picture of a cemetery with wooden crosses accompanying the above article: White crosses in this American military cemetery mark the resting places of some of our troops who died to give us our hold on the Anzio beachhead.

Held as a brilliant exploit at its beginning, the establishment of the beachhead has been a disappointment costly in lives and prestige.

Failure of prompts follow-thru enabled the Nazis to block the leapfrogging Allied forces from both Rome and the roads connecting North Italy with the Casino front.

Thus the beachhead attack was turned into a holding operation in which our forces beat off desperate Nazi attacks, finally forcing the foe to accept the beachhead as a “permanent fixture and its flank.”

Prime Minister Churchill, Secretary of State Hull and other allied leaders have admitted disappointment in the Italian operations, but are taking consolation in the fact that the invasion has tied up German troops that might have bolstered the Eastern front or help to resist the coming Western front.

Maj. Al Williams, Scripps-Howard writer, says: “The war on the Casino and Anzio fronts is not the fault of the military, naval or air leaders, because they were against this campaign from the start, but were voted down.”

John Nesbitt, in his Passing Parade program over CBS and WREC, recently put forward his theory that’s the Italian fronts will be revealed after the war as deliberately designed “schools for invasion,” where key men and key units got training for the Western Front invasion under the worst handicaps possible.

[1] Daniel De Luce. Associated Press Writer. On the Anzio Beachhead, April 13, 1944. (Delayed). News Clipping.

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