179th Infantry Regiment, 45th Infantry Division, second worldwar

PVT Paul Brown
Part Two

179th Infantry Regiment, 45th Infantry Division, second WorldWar
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Jan 24 Monday 3:30 PM.

Finished loading at 1:30 AM this morning at docks 10 miles west of Naples. Our troops are 4 miles in and 10 miles along beach 30 miles south of Rome. We are now in shelling distance of main highway to cut off Germans south of that point. We left dock and then pulled out on our own. This is English L.S.T. newest out. Capt. R myself had to reload our plant. The sea is very rough and I felt like hell. I had several drinks of Gov't 3 (bennies) to keep awake last night.

Jan 25 Tues.4:30 PM.

[Private Brown disembarks from LST onto the Anzio beach.]
Had a rough ride last night. Many got sick. I had a bed on top of 2 1/2 ton truck in lower deck. Read good book. What time. I didn't sleep. They shot down three dive bombers. Had two raids. We reached port 30 miles south of Rome. Were unloaded in 1 hour 20 minutes. Good job. We are now bivouacked in open field just out of town. Enemy planes are regular.

Jan 26 Wed. 2:30 PM.

Sleep in back of truck with Bode, Puter, Farber & Richmond. It rained and sleeted all night. My bed is on a stretcher. Had four air raids since yesterday, no damage around here. They hit hospital ship 2 days ago. The rats ! This country makes me homesick, flat just like Okla. but there are high MTs(Mountains) in distance. Hope we pull out front soon.


Jan 27 Thurs. 2:00 PM.

We are sitting here like clay pidgins. Waves of enemy fighters and bombers come over regularly. We shot down between 10 & 12 of their planes & they got at least 6 of ours. German anti-aircraft is heavy all around us. They are not closer than 6 miles at any point. Several of our boys are getting hit by falling flak. Our Regt. is not in action yet. Weather is wonderful.
[Jan. 28 - General Mark Clark was making his daily visit to Anzio beach in a patrol boat, PT-201, when a US minesweeper fired at it with 40mm and 5-inch cannon, wounding five of the crew.]

Jan 28 Fri. 2:30 PM.

Still sitting here. Dive bombers were busy all night. Came low over us after dropping bombs on beach 1 ½ mile away. Several planes have been shot down. Ours also. Pilots don't get out every time! Capt. Bloom, medics, Capt. Strickler Ser. Co. along with two D. Co. got hit by flak. Our tanks have been firing point blank most of morning at enemy. We are expected to counter attack most any time. Bombs are getting closer each time.

Jan 29 Sat. 2:00

We are prepared to move up to replace Paratroopers in holding positions along Canal Mussolini. Had more bombs dropped yest. afternoon, dog fights are coming over our heads. Our guns hit our own planes, total is mounting on both sides for planes. Harbor is full of supply ships. Nathan's birthday 22 years old .

 

Jan 30 Sun. 4:30 PM.

Was on guard last night. Was and still are expecting Enemy Paratroopers. They sunk several ships in the harbor last night only three mile away. One was British DD Liberty ship and LST. Our G.R.S. picked up four 2nd Bn. boys, the first since the landing. 180th and 157th are here now. We expect anything now. 285 allies buried since hitting here. But there are many more to pick up.

Jan 31 Mon. 3:00 PM

We got three mores boys today in 2nd Bn. Planes are busy all the time. (correction on ships sunk) British Cruiser, Amer. DD, one Liberty & LST. 400 hundred men went down within three miles of where I sit. Shells dropped in every location of this beach. We expect to move tonight, shore hate to give up this spring and mattress for cold hard ground, but a safe place at that
[Liberty = Liberty transport ship. DD = Destroyer]

Feb 1, 1944 Tues. 3:00 PM.

We sure didn't move last night back to this old area. Germans sighted in on C.P. killed 2 men of Regt. Hq. Co. These boy sure are jumpy, worst I ever saw. Many are lucky to be alive after two months in line Co. S. Our Cemetery is becoming very large. Rangers are bringing them in by truck load. This is one hell of a place.

Feb. 2, 1944 Wed. 2:00 PM

Have set up swell pup tent with fly. Bombers only bothered once last night due to low clouds, I guess! Received letters from Folks and Bells (None from future wife and object of my living). We are sure to be making a push soon. Total of planes going down on both sides are very large. I have seen at least 30 from this small area.

Feb. 3, 1944 Thurs. 3:30 PM

Still here. T.D's must be moving up. Enemy shells were dropped around and over us during the night. Was reported that 2 Bn's of Rangers were cut off and possibly all killed (Germans claim they have captured 400 of them). Up to date 397 allies in Cemetery and 200 Germans. Planes are all over us day and night.
[T.D's - Tank Destroyers - armored vehicles similar to a tank but with lighter armor and an open top.The 645th T.D.'s supported the 45thID through most of the War.]

Feb. 4, 1944 Fri. 3:30 PM

Still here. No air raids up to now over this area. Several farther north. Shells came in again last night. Not any closer than before though. Our new div. (spec. services) has arrived. Has started to rain & wind blowing. Hope this tent hold together.
Feb. 5, 1944 Sat. 6:30 PM
Only two air raids today, fragments from antiaircraft dropped all around us. One fellow just got out of his pup tent about 20 yds form this tent and a shell from 50 cal hit where he was laying (Freaks of this War). Went into Nettuno to see Nathan. He is OK. Ate to many donuts. Hell is starting up front 6 miles from here.
[50 cal is a .50 caliber (or ½ inch) machine gun.
Nettuno - Town next to Anzio, site of
American cemetery, where 7,862 Americans are buried and a memorial commemorates the 3,094 Americans missing in action who were never found.]

Feb. 6 Sun. 4:00 PM

Had several close calls last night & this morning flack falling all around area. Enemy shells humming over us all night, going into town. About 30 bombs dropped within one mile of where I am writing this. Several dog fights. It will be the will of God if one escapes all of this. We are still in same area, but our line me have dug in & returned several times. Always being replaced by relief man but use same foxhole. Art. is plentiful all night on both sides. We should be on push soon.

Feb. 7. Mon. 4:00 PM.

Bomb knocked out four service Co. trucks, us one hurt. Co. is moving out of town after after getting shaken out of our beds. Several ammo trucks were hit on beach & dumps. One hour ago two enemy planes were hit and downed directly over us. One pilot dropped to earth within ¼ mile from here.

Either by accident or not, bombs fell on the U.S. 95th Evacuation Hospital, located near Nettuno.

Feb. 8 Tues. 3:00 PM

Shell killed one boy & injured 4 more ¼ mile from here. One bomb dropped on hosp. 1-½ mile from here. Killed 21 people, nurses and men. Captured German flier says they are told to aim for personnel now. Our lines have dug in & laying mines & wire. Cemetery is growing each day. Have under our beds. Good deal.

Feb. 9 Wed. Wed. 2:00 PM

Sgt. Hair, an old friend was killed short distance from here. All are ordered to dig in. Flak is continuous when planes are over. Shells still singing over us into town. Received package from Irene & 8 letters. Sure was swell to receive them. Best that could happen to me.

Feb. 10 Thurs. 3:00 PM

This is a hell hole & shells & bombers keeping us what cover we can. Very little sleep last night. Enemy flew very low last night, serving personnel bombs light wheat. Our Regt. has moved up directly in rear of British 1st. We will probably go through them tonight or tomorrow for much belated push. 170 planes dropped eggs on enemy roads and railroads yest. afternoon. Was beautiful to see Nettunno is becoming a wreck with shells, bombs hitting it continuously. Our Cemetery is becoming very large. (5) more letters from Irene. Planes down 5. Ours 2, theirs 3.

Feb. 11 Fri. 4:30 PM

Our first Btl. Jumped off and gained their objective before dawn this morning. Very little resistance. Capt. Red and Loudon went up at 3:00 AM to get a body blown up by mine. We are supposed to go up tonight sometime (I am driving 21/2 ton truck, Bode is in hospital. I was teethed on army trucks years ago). No air raid today. Water is four inches deep in this fox hole. Weather is damp & chilly.

Feb. 12 Sat. 3:30 PM

Went up to front line last night. Picked up 6 boys. Capt. Dobbins & Sgt. Leslie of B. Co. were among them. (Capt. Do. was supposed to be going home soon.) Were from 6:00 to 2:30 AM. Very touchy job. Had to be very quiet. Enemy lines were in 1000 yds of us. Had two air raids, no damage.

Feb. 13 Sun. 3:30

Went to same place as night before last. Enemy tanks sighted in on us where I was turning truck around. I thank God I am alive after that. All of us were scared but I was driving the damn truck. Truck has several holes in it. Shells dropped in 25 yds. Bombers dropped flares then lay eggs to their hearts content. Picked up 5 boys last night. Our outfit is pushing again tonight. 4 officers in ? Co. in the disorganized attack of 1st Bn. two mornings ago. The land around here is flat as table top clear up to mountains 10 miles off.

Feb. 14 Mon. 4:30

Did not go with fellows last night. They got three more boys. The bombers came over several times last night. Bombs rained each time.

[Feb 15-Waves of 575 Allied bombers begin carpet bombing the Abbey at Mt. Cassino.]

Feb. 15 Tues. 3:30

Hell hit again last night but I had so much rum in me I would have never known what hit me. Sure was sick this morning. We got one boy last night, there are many more but we cannot get to them yet. Have been listening to radio most every night for some time. While in fox hole last night soft music ("In the still of the night") was playing, now isn't that something.
[Feb 16 - Germans launched a counter attack against the Anzio beach head that struck between the border of the 157th and 179th Regiments of the 45th Division.]

Feb 16 Wed. 3:30

Picked up 5 more boys. That is a hell hole up there three miles. So in the whole beach head for that matter. Bombs and shells rained all around us like hail. Our bombers are coming in thick and fast every day. 5 have been shot down. I know because I saw them burst in flame. Our Inf. is in hell of a fix. The new boys are awfully young and scared.

[Feb 17-At 0740, thirty-five German planes bombed and strafed the 45th Division area, followed by an infantry attack with 60 tanks in the vicinity of the 2nd Battalion, 179th Infantry Regiment. At 1040, another 45 bombers hit the 45th Division and a direct hit was scored on the Command Post of the 3rd Battalion, 179th Regiment. The 179th withdrew 1000 yards; one battalion was shattered and one battalion was at half strength. Colonel Darby(of the Ranger unit) was placed in temporary command of 179th Regiment as it was at less than half strength and exhausted; almost finished.]

Feb. 17 Thurs. 2:30 PM

6 more boys last night. Howard and Starr. I was talking the breeze with Howard two nights ago. German bombers and dive bombers have kept us in our fox holes most of the time. Our bombers have already come 300 strong over today, and supposed to do so all day (Hitler count your children.) We can hardly drive up to the line any more. They can hear us on the road. (God let our 2nd Bn. down this morning, he is the only one I can blame such things on anymore because each mothers son of us are doing our damnedest to clear this earth of wrong doers, why doesn't he ?)

Feb. 18 Fri. 2:30 PM

Still here at Anzio & Nettuno beachhead as have been for 3 1/2 weeks. Our lines are catching hell, they are determined to run us out into the ocean. And I am not so darned sure but what they will not. One of our two mortared Bombers was shot down ½ mile from here. I secured piece of glass big enough to make handles for my pistol.

Feb. 19 Sat. 1:30 PM

Here I sit just back off front line. I saw clearly the attack enemy made during early morning, then after halting them I saw our troops attack them. Artillery has been almost steady for 10 hours and still going strong. All Ser. Co., Hq. Co., G.R.S. & Co. Kitchens are up here on line in reserve to help if anything happens. Planes are thick one hundred our dive bombers are wonderful. Jerry's tanks are wonderful but ours stopped them! So far. Col. Carmarain was relieved?

Feb. 20 Sun. 4:30 PM

Finally got thawed out. Sleep in fox hole in swamps. Water could be reached at six inches depth. Enemy planes rained personnel bombs all night. My heart stood still many times. Our G.R.S. 36 men are now part of K. Co. Capt. R, Puter, Faber & myself are back at Ser. Co. Our troops are doing fine. News has it that Cassino has fallen. If so happy day! We now have only 1500 men in our Regt. 1500 at least, captured. The others? There are all kinds of interesting stories I heard from our line Co. boys.
[Cassino fell- See March 15 entry.]

Feb. 21 Mon. 3:30 PM

Was sure swell sleeping back here three miles further back, but bombers tickled us with small personnel bombs during the night, missing us with about 60 by 50 yds. We have work to do again tonight.

Feb. 22 Tues. 3:00 PM

Went up to front line just before dark last night. Capt. McClain and four others were hit by art. shell. We saw another tank battle. Sure was a lonely place to be. We drove out of the woods in full view of enemy tank, but out art. knocked him out before they could range in on us. We are getting 750 replacements today. Bombs just missed us last night.

Feb. 23 Wed. 3:00 PM

Was very quiet last night. Went up to front lines at 10:30 PM picked up three, got tangled up in barbed wire network made so much noise tank from enemy started firing in our direction. We came on back, will try again tonight.

Feb. 24 Thurs. 3:10 PM

No raids last night, no shells on us when we went last night. Got 3 more 157 boys last night. Shemp & Gernard were drunk and went with us.

Feb. 25 Fri. 1:30 PM

Have been here one month today. Bombers raised hell again last night, am still lucky. Were unable to bring back KIA last night, were expecting an attack so we were told take or truck & and get the hell out, we got!! Shall try again tonight. Capt. says he has put me in for a Legion of Merit. So what !

Feb. 26 Sat. 1:30

Had a most hectic ride up to Co. C.P. on very front line, will not take a chance on doing that again. Removed 7 KIAs, two Brannan & Tron???? of K Co. were with us a week ago. Hollywood, a very good friend from Staten Island was injured when shell hit dead center 3rd Bn. Mes. Center, just after they got off lines last night. All hell broke loose while it is raining like hell too. What next?

Feb. 27 Sun. 2:30 PM

Another raid last night. Hit harbor pretty hard. Picked up one more boy last night. I did not have to make the trip. Am sending flowers to Irene for Easter. Have work to do again tonight.

Feb. 28 Mon.

The Lord was with me again last night. Was pinned down for time, besides being struck five times going up to Co. C.P. and back, were 7 hours making the trip. Coleman, the 13 ½ shoe size boy from Ala. was flat 5 yds to rear of me and received bad cut from shell frag. Which cut clean through his helmet at angle. 12 shells hit within 15 to 25 yd. From where I lay. One time were pinned three times coming across field and one at house in Co. E. C.P. We got 3 KIAs. One hell of a night, my nerves are just about shot. Coleman is in Hosp.

Feb. 29 Tues. 1:30 PM

Did not go out last night. Rained most of the night. Germans threw shell in all over the beach head. Sure did sweat plenty. Have no idea what they are trying to do, cover up their troop movements, getting ready to drive again or just warning us! The Band Co. is with us now, the poor devils.

March. 1. 1944 Wed 4:00 PM

Went up to K. Co. to bring back left of our G.R.S. boys. They were sure glad to get off front line duty. Boy got killed with an air ?????, we picked him up on the way back. Farber went up to B. Co. got two Englishmen. Bomber hit large ammo dump, but missed us. Sure wish we could get more troops & guns in here to return some of this pressure. My ego is just about shot.

March 2. Thurs. 1:30

Did not go out with boys last night. They got 8 KIAs. Enemy bombers jeep us in fox holes all night. 250 of our bombers have already come over today giving the Germans hell. Hope that takes some pressure off us. Shells hit within 100 yds of us. What next. We are still in the same area since reaching beach head five weeks ago. 2 bombers shot down (ours)

March 3, Fri. 6:00 PM

I did not go with the boys again last night. My ego is still very far down. Hope it improves soon. Was jarred out of beds early this morning. No real damage close, but did hit two ammo dumps on beach. We got two KIA last night.

March 4. Sat. 3:30 PM

A huge boost in my morale, a snapshot of Irene (Lovely is no name for her, heavenly is!) The shells were too thick for us to go up to front last night but got 2 KIAs in Reg. Area. The rest dugouts are almost ready for use. Hope no bombs hit them, no shells can hurt them. We put full length mirror and plenty chairs, reading material in each. (5) a damn good thing. To be used when boy return off 5 days in lines & wet fox holes. No news of relief for us anywhere.

March 5 Sun. 5:30 PM

Did not go out last night. Am visiting with Ser. Co. most of time. Received more swell photos from Irene. Sure wonderful woman. Situation still same. Have more replacements.

March 6, Mon. 3:00 PM

Two KIAs last night, one was S/Sgt just been in lines one day. Rain & hail regular & roads are almost impossible. Shells continue to pick at Nettuno & Anzio & US. No bombers for two nights. 1709 in Cemetery, 403 are 45 Div., 72 are 179th.

March 7 Tues. 2:30 PM

Went after 7 Germans and 1 of our boys last night, but could not reach them. The Germans were caught trying to filter through our lines on scouting duty. Our Reg. is in Corp. Reserve. Shells are continuous as usual. No bombers lately. New replacement s are coming in all the time. The fellows chosen to go home have left, the lucky cusses. Picked up one boy at 3rd Bn. this afternoon. Won at poker yest.

March 8 Wed. 3:00 PM

No work last night. E. Co. brought back a Lt. KIA, one which went up with us three days ago. Was bombed last night, no damage. Played poker last night, won a little. Still rainy and chilly.

March 9. Thurs. 4:30

No bombs, no work to do, so got drink with Slemp, Ben Frank. They sure had to do a lot of patching, personnel bomb hit 15 yds from their tent. All kinds of rumors. None true. Are take line men into showers.

March 10. Fri. 6:00 PM

Drank vino again last night, sure got drunk. Received two more letters from my future wife, sure love hat woman. Got supplies for boys. We have work tonight. Report has it two of three enemy big guns were knocked out, we will get proof of it tonight.

March 11. Sat. 4:30 PM

Was drunk again last night. No work to do today. Still getting shelled and bombed. We have more troops on beach head now.

March 12 Sun 3:30

No work last night. Capt. Richmond left us for other duties up front C.P. A new Lt. Is in charge of G.R.S. got drunk again last night. Eat big stake last night. A terrific barrage hit town just after we left it last night. Lucky again.

March 13 Mon. 5:15 PM

Was drunk again last night. Did not attack dest? Night ,bad weather . No work either! Did not send any Mothers Day flowers. No change in events on beach head.

March 14, Tues. 3:30 PM

Drunk again last night. Are starting a Reg. Laundry. Arty is busy all the time. Air bursts were bursting over our heads, but too far up. Capt. Red is still O.K.. no work last night.

March 15, Wed.6:00 PM

Rained as usual last night. Left vino jug alone last night. One letter from Irene. Troops are coming in. A hell of an air raid in British sector. Our 3rd. Bn. is on line. May have work tonight.

March 16, Thurs. 4:00 PM

Two KIAs last night. Rained steadily. No moon, a smoke screen covered ???? troops (new) landings. Attacking to right. Capt. Reds Bn. going in tonight. Have Regt. laundry ready to work. No news of invasions.

March 17, Fri. 2:03 PM

Nights are getting warmer in weather as well as air raids. Picked up another KIA last night, was dark as hell! Got drunk again, and I mean drunk! Have the laundry running smooth.

March 18, Sat. 5:30 PM

Bombers raised hell four times last night. Damage ?? Another KIA. Slowly buy surely this meat grinder of a beach head is working. Have 4 Italian women working now, will have (8) Mon., a hell of a job but they are use to it.

March 19, Sun. 3:30 PM

Have my laundry business running fine. Col. Is very much pleased. It's really something to see. Two new Div. Are in now. I took care of replacement who shot himself through the foot. These new guys are scared before they get into the front lines.

March 20, Mon. 3:00 PM

Another KIA last night. Several improvements in our laundry (Tub St.) Officers sure think it something. Our Regt. is still on line.

March 21, Tues. 3:00

We are getting crowded here on the beach head. We must spread out soon! Our laundry is working fine. No KIA reported for last night. Spring weather sure is making me homesick.

March 22, Wed. 2:00 PM

Another beautiful day. Our laundry is working fine, Anzio and Nathan are becoming wrecks. In one more month there will not be a building hardly standing. Big 203 enemy shells sing over us and hit then most hour of day & night. A swell letter from Irene. I sure love that lady.
[March 23 - Partisans bombed a column of SS men in Rome, killing 33. Hitler ordered 10 Italians shot for each German within 24 hours. A total of 335 Italians were taken from prison and off the streets and executed in caves south of Rome.]

March 23, Thurs. 4:30

Rained most of the night. Had to shoot a mule today, it broke it's leg in a fox hole. My trusty 38 done a good job. The poor replacements had to turn their heads. Received another letter from my darling Irene today. No change in situation on beach head.
[38 - Apparently a .38 caliber pistol. Most soldiers were issued Colt .45 automatics; not sure what type he had.]

March 24, Fri. 3:30 PM

A very fine day. Good for fishing and other things. There are 10 women working today. Hq. is moving, G.R.S. Plt. Is staying here. Nathan was back from Naples, bur is going back tonight.

March 25 Sat. 4:30 PM

Got drunk last night. Have several swell Victrola records. My laundry is working sell. No for this beach head. Just same old stuff.

March 26, Sun. 3:00 PM

Capt. Hatter went to North to two days ago. Saw him this morning. Shells through out this area. All tents, big and small are dug in, but several have been hit. No one hit yet? No mail today. The weather is beautiful, mountains in distance still snow topped & seem miles closer. (Enemy territory).

March 27, Mon. 3:00 PM

Was a beautiful Sunday. Just a few dozen shells close in to bother us here in this area. We serviced 2100 men this week with clothes. Nothing too good for our fellows coming off the front line. Finally got news of her father's death. She has been going through trying times. The boys got 6 KIA last night.

March 28, Tues. 4:30

Shells dropped in close this again morning. 18 enemy planes came over at 6:30 in easy 50. Cal. Distance. We got three of them. This is still a hell hole, make no mistake! Our Regt. received a citation. So what. Our dead pals are responsible.

March 29, Wed. 3:30

No work for today on KIA. Was drunk on White Horse last night. Had piano, sax, (2) two trumpets, drums, trombones, bass viola in one fox hole, besides eight ???????? I played a fiddle for long time. Had 15 women work on the job today.

March 30, Thurs. 4:00 PM

Sober last night. Picked up 6 KIAs last night got in at 5:30. Nathan caught and held in Naples speeding, also Branson, must see what I can do to keep them out of the line Co. Our Col. Is very wrong to send them there. Irene I sure need your help in a decision now. (I shall go to line Co. now if Nathan goes. I have not had time to write Irene today.

March 31, Fri. 3:30 PM

Another air rain yest. evening. 4 were shot down. News is not very good of other fronts, ours is ? The laundry business, PX & barber shop is doing all right. Weather is fine, even though it does rain some times during the day and night.

April 1, Sat. 2:00 PM

Just night shells kept us low in our fox holes. No mail for several days & I haven't written any. I still do not know what so say to Irene of her father. We sure have our (Tub Street) fixed up now. Something is new beginning to happen in the old organization. What is it ?

April 2. Sun. 6:00 PM

Picked up 7 boys last night. There're old boys from Okla. Shells sure are getting closer, Our smoke pots are busy, as well as bombers. Harman is going home tomorrow sure am glad.

April 3. Mon. 2:00 PM

Bombs sure came close last night. Hit directly in area we moved out of last week. Planes came low enough to leave marks on tent. Town, Nettuno & Anzio are still under plenty of fire. The Hospital was hit again. Higgins got bomb frag. Through both cheeks. Very lucky. I am now the only T.Q.M. left of enlisted men. Will not get to see Irenes'' brother in Naples. Our laundry women were taken off the beach head today, don't know what will happen to our services now.

April 4, Tues. 6:00 PM

I think the flu as caught up with me, I ache all over. (the American soldier-played volleyball calmly reading and writing a letter, with big shells singing over head). I know because that is what is happening right now. Picked up two more boys last night.

April 5, Wed. 4:30 PM

We now have one man from each Co. to wash clothes from our Regt. Laundry. Sent Jack Bransen with pistol and note to see Irenes brother Maurice in Naples, because I cannot get away. No news worth while we just sit around like clay pidgins.

April 6, Thurs. 4:30 PM

Shells dropped all around all night long. Stayed in bed again which makes two days. Am not going to hospital if I can help it. The boys picked up two more fellows last night. Our laundry is in full swing. Two more letters from Irene.

April 7, Fri. 4:30 PM

More shells very close last as usual. Another bunch are leaving on rotation, lucky guys. Saw Botts today, he was up from Naples. The dirty ------! Bombed hospital again one night ago. Feeling better today.

April 8, Sat. 4:30

More shells last night. One more body also. Saw Capt. Red today, was offered S/Sgt sappy job with C. Co. but don't know yet due to rotation. Am on my feet again. Gen. Came to see our laundry, thought it was OK. Got shower fixed up now. Thompson went home, Okla. City. And Glogal? out of ????? but didn't get chance to have them call folks. Am going to Easter Service tomorrow.

April 9, Sun. 5:30 PM

Shells killed 2 M.P.s not 150 yds from where we are set up, another shell hit 75 yds, we are still lucky on this Easter Sunday. It is raining now. We listening to radio, (German music).

April 10 Mon. 4:30 PM

Was up till 3:00 AM could give a complete change of cloths to 11 men who had been out on a petrol it had rained I gave a complete change of clothes to 11 men who had been out on a patrol and it had rained all the time on them. They went 600 yds. Up Muss. Canal, were lucky & found no enemy. Shells came in close enough to have smoke from their burst in our fox hole. ( I mean close!) Saw Pat Partridge again. Today he is fine. There is a feeling of something going to happen soon.
[Mussolini Canal was a predominate feature on the east end of the Anzio front. Since it was flooded, neither side tried crossing it and the lines became a stalemate.]

April 11 Tues. 4:30 PM

Two KIAs last night, all new fellows. Enemy Art. sure rained hell again. We are going to move out starting tomorrow. 3rd is replacing us. I am going to Naples to get Spec. Ser. Equipment. Hope I see Maurice.

April 12 Wed . 2:30

2 more KIA last night as usual. Will not leave for Naples till tomorrow. The night was very still for a change. Something big is in the air. We are moving to 3rd Div. Area, they are coming in here.

April 13 Thurs. 4:00 PM

Had another close call with personnel bomb. The planes were low enough for rifle fire. Sprinkled our area. Am now on LST headed for Naples. Left Anzio 1:00 PM. Should arrive 12: midnight in Naples. Sky is cloudy, sea is smooth.

April 14 Fri. 3:30

Arrived Naples 8:30 this morning. Went to Personnel Sec. Saw all the fellows. Am now up near Venafro to get athletic equipment. Stopped in Naples long enough to see Maurice, Irenes Brother & one skit of show. He is a right guy. Will try to see him later.

April 15 Sat. 4:00 PM

Was with Nathan & Faulkner last night at Pietramelara had big bull session. Am now back here below Naples ready to load up for the beach head tomorrow. If we don't leave will see Maurice again tomorrow.

April 16 Sun. 5:00 PM

Loaded up at 10:00 AM are still in port, will probably sail tonight. Slept with Palmer. We sure got drunk last night, had a good time. Sure hate to go back to that beach head.

"Stormy Weather" highlights some of the era's greatest African-American entertainers. 1943

April 17 Mon. 4:30

Arrived on beach head at 9:30 AM. We are now in rest area close to beach in center of area. All were glad to get the stuff brought. The movies are in full swing. Stormy Weather is on.

April 18 Tues. 5:30 PM

Everything is running fine, shows, showers, ball games, card games, etc. until 5:00 PM. When one Co. was in formation a shell killed 4, injured 24. Isn't that hell. Could have come 50 yds. More and killed 100 who were in show tent ! We played a.A.T. Won 15 to 10. Baseball.

April 19 Wed. 4:30 PM

G.R.S. never rest. A body floated in from the sea. Was an awful job. Movies are still going strong. News from front (we are gaining a little ground and better position). Play ball again tonight.

April 20 Thurs. 2:30 PM

Transportation beat us 13 to 10. Have new Spec. Ser. Officer. Lt. Lawrence. A swell letter from Irene. Nothing important except an air raid last night as usual, no damage reports.

Probably the 1940 romance comedy, "Always a Bride" starring George Reeves.

April 21 Fri. 6:30 PM

Another air raid last night, a few fires. Saw show "Always a Bridegroom". Not so hot. Played ballgame, won 2 to 0, to 'D" Co. The laundry is going strong, had two shows for Regt. The front is guiet.

April 22 Sat. 4:00 PM.

Another air raid. Done much damage in 157th area. They are sure unlucky cusses. Sgt. Was a good man to get big honor, but 36th Div. Is no good what so ever. Many could be eligible for such honor if truth was known. Won another ball game last night. Saw movie today "Mr. Big". Morale is high for everyone. Have received no mail for several days. We are in large grove of pine trees along beach, but water is full of mines, and water is yet too cold.

April 23 Sun. 4:30 PM

Had Regt. Memorial Service, very good thing. I have no sorrows for those boys gone, just high praise. We are getting ready to go back into action in a few days. We now have the factory area. That is very good news. Won another ball game last night.
[Factory - A prominent defensive position in the Anzio line containing a collection of buildings.
See also, entry dated May 18, where he reports a second capture of the Factory.]

April 24 Mon. 4:30 PM

Won another ball game last night. No news from front of importance. Will see another movie tonight. The morale is fine for most men.

April 25 Tues. 4:30 PM

Our troops in 3rd Div. Are having plenty bombs dropping in old area. We are preparing to move back up. Won another ball game last evening. Received another letter from my future wife. This pine grove is a swell place if sand was not so deep, very hard on trucks. Our movies have been on schedule.

April 26 Wed. 4:30 PM

Another uneventful day back here. Went into town to get watch fixed, shell dropped in on our way back. Played another ball game. Bought a darn good Kodak for $75. Am have a shoulder holster made. Two more letters from the gal I love.

April 27 Thurs. 3:30 PM

Sure got drunk on gin last night. Eight of our truck drivers came back from special duty in Naples. Lost a ball game 3 to 2, rained out in the 5th. More replacements came in. We are preparing to move in two days. 180th has already moved.

"Hi De Ho" (1937)

April 28 Fri. 6:30 PM

Did not play ball last night. Rained out. Saw show Hi De Hoe ! Very good. Will move up tomorrow. A good air raid last night, they hit on area we are moving into. 150 new men came in last night.

April 29 Sat. 6:10 PM

Will complete moving in the morning. 7th Regt. of 3rd Div. Are combing back here. Sure wish I knew the score on all this moving back and forth. They seem to be getting al the break. We listening to radio to fine music. Lost ball game last night to 2nd Btn.

April 30 Sun. 4:30 PM

We are now in area we were in three weeks ago. Sure looks better with trees and grapevines leafed out. Our troops are now in line. Sure am making a fine home under ground.

May 1 Mon. 6:30 PM

Have finish my house, sure is something. We got 2 KIA last night. Guess we will have plenty more. Hope that damned invasion comes off soon.

May 2 Tues. 4:30 PM

No KIAs last night. Very good. Art. sure dropped in close last night, seemed like home again after 14 days away from them. Got four swell letters today. Another air raid as usual.

May 3 Wed. 3:30 PM

We sure got hell last night (all night). I didn't sleep but one hour. Bombs tore up my clothes on the line 25 yds from my and Puters hole. Killed two boys in hole 50 yds away.
They had 40 bombers, all flew in low under anti-aircraft. Also picked up two KIAs in lines. Put more sand bags on top also. Makes about two feet. Hope they give us a rest tonight. Three more letters today. Oh yeah! Had a little accident while in bed when big raid was on. I had gas on my stomach, but when one bomber came in low enough to leave track marks it was something else besides gas, so changed shorts !

May 4 Thurs. 3:15 PM

No raids last night, no Art. I wonder why ? Will have show tomorrow night, we hope. Our troops are securing better positions tonight, there is very little enemy action among line men. Their Art. is busy but not so strong as usual. No KIA last night. The new Col. (number 5) Meyer seems to be a fine fellow. Said the work of Puter and I's was fine. Our underground was best he had seen on beach head.

May 5 Fri. 4:30 PM

No air raids last night. Three KIA from 1st & 3rd Bn.. It sure is getting tiresome bringing in our boys. Got sort of drunk on distilled vino. Art was plenty busy all night. Our bombers sure did raise hell all day over enemy lines, it kept the ground in a tremble most of the day. The jazz band played this afternoon. They sure are good.

May 6 Sat. 6:30 PM

The Art. raised Hell again starting at 11:00 P.M.. Our beach head has 2900 allies, 400 germans in its Cemetery. Good size. The boys picked up 6 KIA plus 1 jerry. A very bad odor from them, due to 6 weeks in open. Received word that I am soon to go home. Am being put in Training Co. as instructor. Our Regt. is coming off line tonight. 157th going in. No big push as yet. Don't think they will for awhile.

May 7 Sun. 4:30 PM

Wind is blowing hard. Just like Texas. Botts is back now, very glad to see him. We are drinking gin & are sure getting drunk. Am saying my good byes to all starting today, sure wish I could write hoe I feel. Our troops are all taking showers, clothes furnished by our laundry. Am proud of the job I help do for the line men.

May 8 Mon. 6:30 PM

April quota left this morning for home. I am now training these replacements till my time comes. Oh ! happy day. Had a little trouble last night at ball game between Ser. Co. & Band. F.G. slugged Capt. S. & Sgt. V. - Capt. Filed charges, will see what I can do to help F.G. He was very drunk. Took several pictures today of the gang. Nothing important on line just constant patrolling and slight enemy action. Plenty of Art. all time of day & night. No air raids for several nights.

May 9 Tues. 4:30 PM

No bombers, but Art. came in as usual. Am sure playing safe. I will probably be leaving before 25 of month. There is sure to be a big push. Wrote several letters last night to friends.

May 10 Wed. 4:30 PM

Another hell of a raid, was reported 15 planes came over. Flak was falling all around. No bombs fell close. Our Regt. is moving back on line tomorrow night. My good friends have been stopping in to congrad. Me on my going home. Will send box of my stuff home tomorrow.

May 11 Thurs. 4:30 PM

Had good nights sleep for once. All was quiet. Am sure anxious to leave, yet do not want to leave the old gang. One Bn. moved back in lines last night. No KIAs so far.
[May 11 - The spring offensive began with a huge artillery barrage at 2300 hours along the front at Cassino area. General Mark Clark's book reported 173,941 rounds of artillery were fired along the5th Army front. In the early hours of May 12th, the Allied forces attacked with the objective to link up with the Anzio beachhead. The Gustav line was penetrated and a general advance began towards Anzio position and eventually reaching Rome on June 4.]

May 12 Fri. 4:00 PM

Plenty of Art. all night. Our lines are same as for months. We will push most any day now. No KIA last night. Have radio for our house. Sure swell music.

May 13 Sat. 6:00 PM

5 killed last night. One was old friend. Sure wish I could get off this beachhead or have my name off the list. 3 swell letters from Irene. Art came in close as hell again all night. News from Russian front is fine, also Cassino front, now it's our turn.

May 14 Sun. 4:30 PM

4 more KIA last night. Bombers came over at 5:30 AM, no damage. Our Corp. Art. raised hell for ½ hour at 8:30. British troops on Cassino marched 14 miles. Played cards and listened to radio as usual last night. Got Beer and Coca-Cola yest. Sure good.

May 15 Mon. 6:30 PM

4 KIA last night. Who is next? Went to Hosp. to hear 1st Armored bunch, as real bunch of musicians. Drew P.X. supplies today for weather is wonderful. Art. sure did pour it out last night. No shells came in for a change. Had rumor we will leave before 25th.
[1st Armored - 1st (US) Armored Division was part of 5th Army; apparently had a good band.]

May 16 Tues. 4:30 PM

No KIA, No Art., No air raids. News is good from other fronts. Ours the same. Sure is fine weather for baseball.

May 17 Wed. 5:30 PM

Another quiet night, no KIAs. Played ball, lost. Listened to radio, good music. Wrote letters. News is fine of Cassino front.
[May 18 - Germans voluntarily pulled out of the ruins of Monte Cassino Abbey. See Feb 15 comment.]

May 18 Thurs. 4:30 PM

No news for today. Am sure anxious to leave. We now have factory. Our bombers are now becoming active. The drive should start soon. [See April 23, reference to the Factory.]

May 19 Fri. 3:00 PM

Sure got drunk on corn liquor but feel fine today. We won a ball game last night. No raids but plenty of Art. coming in. Our bombers are busy today.

May 20 Sat. 2:00 PM

Bad news today. Two old Ser. Co. boys went up to line for eight days. Duke DeCharles was killed outright, Tom Dare was wounded. They had no business going up. All boys in Ser. Co. feel bad. Duke was first to go that way. Have written Nathan, I may never see him again. Still no big push. Cassino front is no more, it's now Hitler Line. Had a big drunk farewell for Tick Pettyjohn with ????? Bn.
[Hitler Line was name of German line of defense constructed just north of Cassino.]

May 21 Sun. 3:30 PM

News of Cassino front is good, we have Gala Peninsula now. Our front lines are only 35 miles from our other troops. We have been improving our front line position right along. Our Art. has been catching enemy transportation right along on No. 6 highway.
2 more KIA last night.
[Highway 6 was main road leading up Liri Valley from Cassino, passing behind Anzio lines, into Rome. Highway 7 followed coast line through Cisterna and into Rome.
Gala Pennisula is point on coastline below Anzio beach, captured by 85th Division.]

May 22 Mon. 3:30 PM

Nathan is here now. Wish he could have stayed down there in Naples. 6 more KIAs last night. Life is nothing to me anymore except taking a chance to get off this beachhead. All are becoming acclimated to Art. shaking them each day, wish I didn't know that I was leaving. Two more letters yesterday.

Road to Rome paved with skulls, propaganda leaflet

May 23 Tues. 4:30 PM

Made big push last night and early this morning, our Div. gained their objective, without ant to much trouble. Took 300 or so captives so far or so as reported. 180th lead 157th beachhead out and 179th reserved them for first time. They went around factory and cut Appian Highway. We picked up three KIAs also that night. We lost several tanks But so did Nazis'. Sure am getting nervous over this going home.
['Appian Highway' or 'Appian Way' was name of segment of Highway 7 that ran through Cisterna.]

May 24 Wed. 4:30 PM

Art.has been continuos for two day now. None are reaching around here to close now. Probably ½ mile away, sometimes they go over our heads hitting hospital area. We are still improving positions. News of Cassino front is very good also. Beachheads should only be about 25 miles apart now. Oh happy day when they meet. 3rd div. is taking Littoria. Weather is sure fine. Two letters today.

May 25 Thurs. 6:30 PM

Real news, our beachhead is now connected with south. All of us are very happy over such. We are taking many prisoners, and still gaining ground. Our Art. is continuously raising hell, we now have #7 highway & ready to cut 6 highway. They have many Germans cut off. Am still sweating the date I am to leave. We'd probably go to Naples by truck, that would be something to remember.
[Highway 7 followed coast line through Cisterna and into Rome.]

May 26 Fri. 6:00 PM

We have Cisternia, Littoria now, very good news. Our Regt. C.P.s on No 7 Highway. No KIA last night. No air raids, some Art. . Things are sure moving on beachhead, all up. Prisoners admit it has been hell. Much ruffer than Russ. Front.
[Russian Front was considered by the Germans to be the area of the worst fighting; due mainly to cold weather, harsh conditions and persistent Russian attacks.]

May 27 Sat. 27 3:00 PM

Bombers raised hell last night. Was down to see Pat P? again, will try to see him again before he leaves. Our troops are doing all the good, Ser. Co, is preparing to move up. Heard fine music on radio till 3:00 AM this morning. Am going to take small pistol and .38 with me. These boys are sure fine.

May 28 Sun 28 2:30 PM

Bombers sure got close again last night. This is our Div. 288 (day) of combat day so far. A record of all time in U.S. Army. Our troops are very close to 6 highway from this side, British are close to it on another front. Germans are going to be cut off. Am going to Cisternia later this afternoon. Art. is busy all afternoon. Our Art. is very busy all afternoon. Have 7 KIAs to pick up this afternoon. Saw Generals Alexander & Clark yesterday. Col. Donalson? was up to see us yesterday. He drove up on 7 highway.
[General Mark Clark - CG of 5th Army. General Alexander (British) was commander of 15th Army Group, over General Clark.]

May 29 Mon. 4:30 PM

Will send two helmets, 2 knifes, ?????. To Irene's boys. Our troops. We went up to 4 ½ miles from 6 Highway , would have gone further, but 2nd. Div. stopped us. All the towns are sure knocked down. The dead are all along the highway, I counted at least 30 enemy tanks, that many or more trucks, several were in good condition. Sure got dusty. Will probably get up again. Yet I have no business taking such chances.

May 30 Tues. 6:00 PM

Bombers came over last night again. No damage. Our Regt. has several dead. Sgt. Harbferson finely got after being wounded 3 times. Just heard I will be leaving next Monday. Valletri is a tough place. 180th lost most of their 3rd Bn. All have moved up except Pt. Co. & Maint.

June 1 The 179th Regiment lead the Division to advance astride the Albano road, suffering considerable casualties--one company only had 35 men and 1 officer remaining out of about 100.

June 4 - Allied troops liberate Rome with very little destruction.

June 6 - Allied invasion of northern France at Normandy.

June 11, 1944. The 45th Division was pulled out of Italy and sent to France.

Picture on the right is of the Sicily Rome Cemetary, Nettuno, Italy.

Sicily Rome cemetery, Nettuno Italy

Used by permission of The Italian Campaign website.
Steve Cole Collierville, TN Web Master of "The Italian Campaign"
[http://members.aol.com/ItalyWW2/Menu.htm]

 

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