At 0200 hours on 22 January 1944, the first Allied soldiers land on the beaches at Anzio.
L. D. Mellish, a soldier with the 24th Guards Brigade, British 1st Infantry Division, recalls his journey to the staging area and the landing itself:
˝At this time it was known that the fighting in Europe was going to be very different from North Africa, and our signals section was disbanded, and I was posted to 24th Guards Brigade, which was part of the British 1st Infantry Division, and was at that time at Hammamet, just south of Tunis.
Our next move was to Toranto in Italy, and then after a few days across to Naples to board an LST (landing ship for tanks and transport). On the way, we were briefed about our next job, a landing up the coast, to by-pass Casino, and possibly to advance to Rome.
The landing at Anzio on January 22nd, was very easy, the most difficult for me was the climb down the nets from the deck of the LST to the landing craft waiting alongside. With the amount of kit I was carrying, one slip into the water would have been my last. The only enemy fire in the first few hours was a few rounds from 2 ME109s.
I was our beach landing officer’s wireless operator, and we stayed on the beach all that day and night, to report the landing progress, until the next morning when we rejoined our unit which was grouped a little way inland.
Very early the next morning we started moving, and our battalion, the 5th Grenadiers arrived at what we called ‘The Factory’ and ‘The Flyover'˝.
The landings, for a change, are carried out without issue in calm waters and face minor resistance from depleted German units posted for leave. Landing craft offload 36,000 soldiers and 3,200 vehicles by the end of the day. Churchill and Allied commanders achieved their goal of surprising the Germans through the meticulous planning of Operation Shingle, which you can learn more about in Indy's weekly coverage.
Will the Allies cut straight across Italy and end the stalemate?
From: BBC WW2 People's War, Mr. L. D. Mellish, Article ID: A3669438
Picture: Universal carriers and a Sherman tank on the beach at Anzio, 22 January 1944.
Source: IWM, NA 11041 ...