Battle of Anzio Facts

Battle of Anzio Facts
The Battle of Anzio, Italy, which lasted from January 22 to June 5, 1944, was a battle that although the Allies won, it came at great loss of life. The purpose was to flank the heavy fortifications known as the "Gustav Line" that German General Albert Kesselring had built across Italy south of Rome. Anzio was deemed to be a suitable beachhead north of the Gustav Line where Allied forces could land, encircle the Axis forces, and end the war in Italy relatively quick. The Anzio landing was oversaw by American Major General John P. Lucas, who initially only sent two infantry divisions to the beachhead with no armor support. Lucas' passivity has been seen as one of the reasons why the Battle of Anzio took so long and was so costly, but Kesselring later said in Lucas' defense that the Allied plan was flawed to begin with and they also failed to take into account the desperate nature of the German forces. Although the Germans continued to hold northern Italy, the Italians were all but out of the war. The Battle of Anzio and the overall Italian Campaign forced the Germans to station troops in Italy, which then allowed the Allies to successfully pull off Operation Overlord, or the D-Day Invasion.
Interesting Battle of Anzio Facts:
The battle began with the amphibious landing known as Operation Shingle
Although amphibious invasions are historically the purview of the Marines, the Marines is the smallest of the United States armed forces and was totally deployed in the Pacific Theater, so the U.S. Army was forced to do its own amphibious landings in the European Theater.
The Axis forces numbered about 25,000 with only about 5,000 of those being Italians. The Allies started the battle with about 36,000 men.
Once the landings began and the Allies established a beachhead, Kesselring took troops from the Gustav Line to stop an Allied breakout.
As the amphibious invasion was taking place, the Allies launched a heavy attack on the Gustav Line.
General Lucian Truscott replaced Lucas as commander on February 22.
The lines on the beachhead became solidified after the initial invasion and a siege took place. Kesselring also built a new defensive line south of Rome he called the "Caesar Line."
After the Allied breakout, the number of men fighting on both sides increased to about 150,000 Allies and 135,000 Axis.
The American 82nd Airborne Division saw heavy action at Anzio.
With most of southern Italy under Allied control by that time, the Italians who were still fighting in the Axis forces were often "true believers" of Mussolini and the Fascist cause. Two Italian SS divisions fought at Anzio and were elevated to Waffen status due to their actions holding the line.
The Allied breakout finally came in May as part of Operation Diadem.
Once the Allies broke through on May 26, they turned north to Rome.
Hitler gave Kesselring the order not to defend Rome and on June 4 American troops entered Rome.
In an interesting post-script, American General Mark Clark prohibited British troops from entering Rome when he gave a press conference upon taking the city.


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