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Anzio
generalzod
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Posted: Sunday, March 24, 2002 - 01:33 AM UTC
Everytime I watch the movie Anzio I always wonder if the allies should have broke out of the beachhead right after the landing In the move Robert Mitchum,Peter Falk and the other dude(can't remember his name)drove to the outskirts of Rome unopposed I'm just curious if that wased a fact or is it typical hollywood hype Who knows maybe that could've shortened the war Can anyone reccomened some good reading about Anzio?
staff_Jim
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Posted: Sunday, March 24, 2002 - 12:54 PM UTC
Zod,
From what I remember about my Italian mainland campaigns there was serious German opposition which got into place a day or two after the landings. I think the allied Generals were criticized for not breaking out into the interior as they ultimately almost lost the beachhead areas in a heavy German counterattack.

Jim
Kencelot
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Posted: Sunday, March 24, 2002 - 10:20 PM UTC

Quoted Text

I always wonder if the allies should have broke out of the beachhead right after the landing Who knows maybe that could've shortened the war Can anyone reccomened some good reading about Anzio?



Yes Zod, they should have drove on immediatly. Unfortunetly, Gen. John Lucas decided to wait for more reenforcements to arrive before moving inland. A great big blunder...the allies had the upperhand with the element of surprise on their side. By waiting on the beach, it gave the Germans time to mount a counter-offensive which nearly blew the allies back to the sea.

I wasn't able to lacate a book specifically on Anzio, but I was able to find a very good site from which you can read about it. Good pictures too.

http://www.army.mil/cmh-pg/books/wwii/anziobeach/anzio-landing.htm
Posted: Saturday, May 11, 2002 - 12:52 PM UTC
from the way the allies ran the anzio operation it is hard to believe they won the war. the axis could have destroyed the beachhead, but somehow i guess someone in the american 5th army woke up and actually thought a battle had to be won. almost like fighting the vietnam war twenty years to early. forgive me for being so harsh, but the allies should have gone to rome with no trouble. sometimes the american army likes to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. the soldier in the field pays for the stupidity of the higher ups and pays in blood. casuality rates their were a lot higher in ratio than that many other battles.
Arthur
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Posted: Saturday, May 11, 2002 - 10:21 PM UTC
For the stupidities of the commander at Anzio,Read Gallipoli,they must have gone to the same school of stupid.
Conficius........say!....when hit beach move arse!
Arthur
Posted: Sunday, May 12, 2002 - 03:21 AM UTC
right on, authur............. i agree 100%
Arthur
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Posted: Sunday, May 12, 2002 - 05:11 AM UTC
Great...we agree on something,lol.
cheers
Arthur :-)
penpen
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Posted: Sunday, May 12, 2002 - 11:00 PM UTC
A few month ago I read a book from a german fighter pilot who was there...
He just couldn't believe the american error... He was flying missions (well, avoiding
american patrols more than anything else) over there and could see the near nothingness
of the defence.
m60a3
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Posted: Sunday, May 12, 2002 - 11:26 PM UTC
Lucas is to blame for the initial error, but Mark Clark was overall hesitant to exploit any advantage he was presented with. (IMHO, the poorest US Army Commander of WWII). Because of this hesitation, the Germans were able to establish a very good defense.
Ranger74
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Posted: Sunday, May 12, 2002 - 11:45 PM UTC
There is a lot of debate on how far Lucas should have moved after the initial landing. A major problem was the lack of assault shipping. They were limited to landing just four division equivalents the first day. Then the shipping had to return to Naples for followup waves. Shipping was restricted because of the buildup for Normandy. Could Lucas have driven to Rome? He could have reached Rome, don't know that he could have maintained a supply line from the beachhead. He could probably had stretched his beachhead to cut the main German supply line running from Rome to Cassino and held the high ground that the Germans took to pin him in. His mission was to first cut the German supply lines, then move on Rome. He did neither. Naval gun fire is what stopped the Germans from over running the beachhead, the same thing that stopped the intial German counterattacks at Normandy. Lucas was too conservative, he had bad experience at Salerno, where the allies were overextended on that beachhead.

To answer the original question, there was a reconnaissance by the 1st Special Service Force, into Rome, and back, but that was part of the breakout. I believe there was an initial element to enter Rome immediately after the landings and they found no opposition. But to send a couple jeeps inland is a lot easier that getting an organized force moving after a beachhead. Allied doctrine for beachheads required a secure lodgement before exploitation. The problem at Anzio was that the initial beachhead line was too shallow to accomplish the first mission, and gave the best terrain to the Germans.
Greg
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Posted: Monday, May 13, 2002 - 12:00 AM UTC
Noted historian Carlo D'Este has an excellent book on Anzio, I think the title if Fatal Decision. I have it at home, and it is an excellent read. I'm sure if you hit amazon and search for Anzio and the author's name you'll find it right quick.
Greg
210cav
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Posted: Monday, May 13, 2002 - 03:39 AM UTC

Quoted Text


Quoted Text

I always wonder if the allies should have broke out of the beachhead right after the landing Who knows maybe that could've shortened the war Can anyone reccomened some good reading about Anzio?



Yes Zod, they should have drove on immediatly. Unfortunetly, Gen. John Lucas decided to wait for more reenforcements to arrive before moving inland. A great big blunder...the allies had the upperhand with the element of surprise on their side. By waiting on the beach, it gave the Germans time to mount a counter-offensive which nearly blew the allies back to the sea.

I wasn't able to lacate a book specifically on Anzio, but I was able to find a very good site from which you can read about it. Good pictures too.

http://www.army.mil/cmh-pg/books/wwii/anziobeach/anzio-landing.htm



Sir--I beg to differ. The operation should never have been conducted. The force was too small and lacked sufficient logistical support to sustain a drive outside the beach area. It was dumb to do from the start. Lucas faced a true dilemma. I believe he choose the right path. He stayed where he was put. His intimate knowledge of artillery saved the beachead. He personally placed numerous artillery positions that supported the fragile crest of soldiers defending the area. See Carlo D'Este's book(s) on the invasion of Sicily and follow-on Italian Campaign. Superb. I believe the Allied invasion force could have gotten to Rome in two days and then spent the remaining eighteen months of the war as German POWs.
DJ
Posted: Tuesday, May 21, 2002 - 11:21 PM UTC
to bad Patton didn't lead at Anzio, he should have shot the soldier, not just slapped him.

again i re-iterate, it is hard for me believe we won the war with some of the people who were in charge of it.
Greg
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Posted: Tuesday, May 21, 2002 - 11:40 PM UTC
We won the war precisely because of "those people". Of course they made mistakes, many of them tragic. But we are looking back with sixty years of hindsight, with knowledge that these men did not possess. Anzio was flawed from the very start, and Lucas did the best he could with what he had. Patton would certainly have driven fast to Rome, and entered the conquering hero. And, as DJ suggests, there he would have been captured or killed--now, owuldn't THAT have cemented a sterling reputation for Patton? At least if he had been killed, he would have gone out the way he wanted to. But really, it doesn't matter who was in charge, Pak, the logistics weren't there. And logistics is what ultimately wins wars. American commanders proved to be very adept at managing logistics--far better IMO than anyone else. Lucas was tossed on the beach and left there, without a port of any size to unload supplies and with the LSTs leaving for England and Overlord. The Anzio operation lacked an attainable mission, IMO. It never drew German forces from the front lines to the south, as Clark had hoped. The Germans reinforced from the north. The drive inland was towards Rome, not towards 5th Army, and so the Germans were not presented with a serious operational threat. I did my bachelor's thesis on this battle almost twenty years ago, looking specifically at historiography and analysis of the battle and how that changed with succeeding generations of historians (WAY before the wonders of internet reserarch). I came up with pretty much the same conclusion the recent writers have--Brave men acccomplished a great deal, but on an operational level were doomed from the start. Very sad.
Greg
210cav
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Posted: Wednesday, May 22, 2002 - 12:37 AM UTC

Quoted Text

We won the war precisely because of "those people". Of course they made mistakes, many of them tragic. But we are looking back with sixty years of hindsight, with knowledge that these men did not possess. Anzio was flawed from the very start, and Lucas did the best he could with what he had. Patton would certainly have driven fast to Rome, and entered the conquering hero. And, as DJ suggests, there he would have been captured or killed--now, owuldn't THAT have cemented a sterling reputation for Patton? At least if he had been killed, he would have gone out the way he wanted to. But really, it doesn't matter who was in charge, Pak, the logistics weren't there. And logistics is what ultimately wins wars. American commanders proved to be very adept at managing logistics--far better IMO than anyone else. Lucas was tossed on the beach and left there, without a port of any size to unload supplies and with the LSTs leaving for England and Overlord. The Anzio operation lacked an attainable mission, IMO. It never drew German forces from the front lines to the south, as Clark had hoped. The Germans reinforced from the north. The drive inland was towards Rome, not towards 5th Army, and so the Germans were not presented with a serious operational threat. I did my bachelor's thesis on this battle almost twenty years ago, looking specifically at historiography and analysis of the battle and how that changed with succeeding generations of historians (WAY before the wonders of internet reserarch). I came up with pretty much the same conclusion the recent writers have--Brave men acccomplished a great deal, but on an operational level were doomed from the start. Very sad.
Greg



Greg--once again, I follow your lead. My Son was stationed in Italy and we went to Anzio as we did Salerno and Monte Cassino. Walking the terrain gives you an appreciation for how risky this operation was for the Allies. Anzio drained the Allies for a goal not worth the price. I roundly question the influence and strategic appreciation displayed by GEN Clark. I heard it said by at least two sources that "Alexander always discussed and never acted while Clark always acted and never discussed." He had a fixation derived from a casual comment by President Roosevelt that he (Clark) was to take Rome. Once the terrible carnage of Anzio gave way to the breakthrough from the south up the Liri River valley, he did not propel the VI Corps to the Alban Hills thus cutting off the German escape route. Rather, he turned the force to Rome and left an escape avenue open to the retreating German force. He enters Rome on June 4, 1944. Two days later, he's back page news. And for what?
DJ
Greg
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Posted: Wednesday, May 22, 2002 - 12:52 AM UTC
You said it, DJ. Not worth the price, and a waste of good men's lives. Truly a lesson for Corps and Army level commanders to ponder.
Greg
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Posted: Wednesday, May 22, 2002 - 12:57 AM UTC


Quoted Text

Sir--I beg to differ. The operation should never have been conducted. The force was too small and lacked sufficient logistical support to sustain a drive outside the beach area.



I have mixed feeling about the above quote
By midnight the following day there were somehting like 36,000 men and 3000 vehicle ashore. By the 7th day 12,350 vehicles ( 356 which were tanks ) were ashore.
By the 14th day - 21,940 vehicles ( 380 were tanks included ) & a total force of 70,000 men !
Because Gen. Lucas was so intent on occupying the beach-head, this gave the Germans time to reinforce quickly, despite Allied air attacks against their communications.
With the perimeter sealed we were held from advancing.
I believe we should of went with Gen Penney's plan of wanting to push inland as quickly as possible. Thus, the Germans would have been unable to reinforce as they did, because of troops & tanks that would have been already inland, giving added support to those coming ashore, and assaulting the elements of German divisions before they even had a chance counterattack.
With regards to the above, if things went according to Penney,. I think victory would have been on swift wings & less casualties.

- ralph
Arthur
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Posted: Wednesday, May 22, 2002 - 03:16 AM UTC
For all commanders in charge of peoples lives(there but for the grace of God go i)
its one thing to read about it in books and not to be faced with the horror of it.
Cheers
Arthur
am alba mannich
Chief
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Posted: Wednesday, May 22, 2002 - 03:34 AM UTC
[quote]Lucas is to blame for the initial error, but Mark Clark was overall hesitant to exploit any advantage he was presented with. (IMHO, the poorest US Army Commander of WWII).

Probably why my uncle never boasted about being his driver!
Posted: Wednesday, May 22, 2002 - 08:49 AM UTC
a couple of comments:
1). i guess no one understands sarcasm
2). still doesn't change mind about allied incompetence
3). to many good soldiers died because of that incompetence
4). i know that anybody can learn from mistakes(but seldom do we)
5). so what if the allies won the battle
6). to much ladying between the americans and british, so plenty of stupidity to go around.
7). i don't support the germans, i just don't totally believe what the allies did was right all the time.
210cav
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Posted: Wednesday, May 22, 2002 - 09:07 AM UTC
Well, Field Marshall Slim said it best, "historians have years to review what I had three seconds to do." While the statistic quoted on tonnage sound impressive, the troop strength was anything but compelling. It should have never been attempted. The pressure placed on Clark to return shipping for invasion of southern France was enormous. This entire adventure delayed the invasion of southern France which was far more profitable in terms of terrain seized and area liberated than anything in Italy.
DJ's two cents.
Posted: Wednesday, May 22, 2002 - 11:14 AM UTC
DJ i couldn't agree more :-)
Posted: Thursday, May 23, 2002 - 12:18 PM UTC
another thought........ well, the germans fought hard and made the allies pay for every foot 'til the end of the war.
sourkraut
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Posted: Thursday, May 23, 2002 - 01:22 PM UTC
pak40
you are so right
sourkraut
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Posted: Thursday, May 23, 2002 - 01:22 PM UTC
pak40
you are so right