June 3, 1944 — The mad dash to liberate Rome

Day 18 — Our Ireland Adventure
June 2, 2024
Day 19 — Our Ireland Adventure
June 3, 2024
Show all

June 3, 1944 — The mad dash to liberate Rome

The 30th Infantry turned toward Rome. On June 3, Phil and his Regiment began the mad dash up Highway 6 toward Rome.[1]


A reconnaissance battalion crept up Highway 6, and by dawn on Saturday, June 3, Truscott’s VI Corps and Keyes’s II Corps were poised for a bragging-rights race into Rome from the south and southeast, respectively.

Roving Italian barbers gave haircuts and shaves to the unkempt soldiers keen to look groomed for the liberation.[2]


 On the late afternoon of 3 June, all the troops of Fifth Army were moving.

On the slopes south of Albano, in the hills and plains of Colli Laziali, along the narrow valley below Palestrina — everywhere masses of infantry, tanks, and all the other fighting arms were driving at their great objective, the city of Rome.

As the night came, some of these troops halted briefly for a little rest; others kept going and probed their way through the dark.

To their front a beaten German army was retiring hastily through the city.

The day’s fighting had died down, but enemy planes once again swept over the highways behind our lines to bomb and strafe our troops through the night. [3]


After dark new orders went out to our troops. The fall of Rome was certain; the important point now was to secure bridging sites in order that Fifth Army might continue the pursuit.

Within and close to Rome there were at least 19 bridges over the Tiber, and plans were made to push small columns swiftly through the city to the bridges; to cope with the possible destruction of the bridges, equipment for temporary spans was brought forward in each corps zone. [4]


[1] Larimore, At First Light, 112

[2] Atkinson. The Day of Battle, 567.

[3] Champagne, 72.

[4] Starr, 263.

In case you haven’t read or listened to Dad’s book, you can learn more or order it here.

© Copyright WLL, INC. 2024.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.