Today’s Funny for Mar. 28: How to Live a Long Life

How to Live a Long Life

A passer-by noticed an old lady sitting on her front step: “I couldn’t help noticing how happy you look! What is your secret for such a long, happy life?”


“I smoke 4 packs of cigarettes a day”, she said. “Before I go to bed, I smoke a nice big joint. Apart from that, I drink a whole bottle of Jack Daniels every week, and eat only junk food. On weekends I pop a huge number of pills and do no exercise at all.”

“This is absolutely amazing at your age!”, says the passer-by. “How old are you?”

“Twenty four.”

–Turok’s Cabana


The Old Farmer’s Almanac for Mar. 28: FLOWERS YOU CAN EAT



But did you know that the flowers of hundreds of common wild and cultivated plants are edible? Yes, there are many flowers that you can eat!

But did you know that the flowers of hundreds of common wild and cultivated plants are edible? Dressing up your soups, salads, drinks, and desserts with buds and flowers will add color, diversity, and new flavor to your meals. Adventurous folks might also want to explore some of the traditional medicinal uses of common flowers.

When preparing most flowers (exceptions: squash, violets, and nasturtiums) for food or beverage, use only the petals for best flavor. Remove the sepals, as well as the pistils and stamens.


  • Nasturtium sits at the top of my list. It’s easy to grow from seed, indoors or out, and every above-ground part is edible. Its buds and delicate, voluptuous blossoms spice up a bland salad or cooked vegetable platter. Nasturtium leaves and flowers are rich in antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds, and have a long history of medicinal use in indigenous cultures for urinary-tract, cardiovascular, and respiratory disorders. Extracts of this cabbage-family relative are currently under investigation as possible treatments for many diseases, including antibiotic-resistant infections.
  • Daylily  Harvested fresh, the plump buds and meaty flowers of this common garden plant are delicious sauteed in a little oil or butter, then seasoned with salt and pepper. Some people stuff the just-opened blossom with a favorite stuffing mix, then saute the stuffed flowers in a little oil or poach them in broth. Use only freshly harvested buds/flowers.
  • Violets I’ve already written about my love of the irrepressible wild violets that pop up all over my lawns and gardens. Give it a read, and tend your lawn violets with care!
  • Roses The darker-colored, more aromatic the variety the more flavor it will have. Strew rose petals across a fresh salad, brew them into tea, or use the entire blossoms to decorate a cake.
  • Sunflowers Carefully separate the petals and sprinkle them into salads. For a real treat, harvest the unopened buds, remove the sepals, and steam the buds until tender. Meaty and filling, they taste like artichoke. Mmm!
  • Chamomile Dried or fresh, chamomile tea is renowned as a safe and gentle calming and sleep-promoting agent. It’s readily available in stores (buy flowers in bulk), and easy to grow in the home garden.
  • Calendula A lovely and easy-to-grow annual flower, calendula petals will add color and spice to just about any cooked or fresh dish. Carefully remove the petals and toss them into salad, stir-fries, or your favorite rice dishes.

Calendula flowers are renowned for skin care and healing. You’ll find calendula listed as an ingredient in many high-end skincare products and healing creams.

Here’s a nice recipe for homemade calendula oil or cream: Pull the petals from enough dried or fresh calendula blossoms to give you a cup. Add petals to a cup of olive oil in a large glass jar with a lid; seal and leave in a sunny window or outside for a week or two. After straining out the petals, you can use the oil as is, or heat it in a double boiler with ¼ cup of melted beeswax to make a spreadable cream.


Some caveats

  • Never eat a flower you can’t identify with absolute certainty and know to be safe.
  • Don’t eat commercially grown flowers or flowers that came from a florist; they could have been sprayed.
  • Don’t forage wild flowers on treated lawns or along well-traveled roadways (possibility of chemical contamination).
  • Introduce a new edible flower or floral tea slowly and gradually, especially if you have a serious ragweed or other pollen allergy. On your first try, take a few deep sniffs, then only a bite or two.
  • Because flowers may contain powerful phytocompounds (which confer their healing virtues, as well as their flavors and colors), check with your healthcare professional before eating edible flowers if you’re pregnant or taking prescription drugs.


“Living Naturally” is all about living a naturally healthy lifestyle. Margaret Boyles covers health tips, ways to avoid illness, natural remedies, food that’s good for body and soul, recipes for homemade beauty products, ideas to make your home a healthy and safe haven, and the latest news on health. Our goal is also to encourage self-sufficiency, whether it’s relearning some age-old skills or getting informed on modern improvements that help us live better, healthier lives.



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The Old Farmer’s Almanac for March 28: CALENDULA: BEAUTIFUL FLOWERS THAT HEAL



If you have a garden, I hope you grow the beautiful annual flower calendula.

Calendula self-sows readily in the garden if you allow a few flower heads to fall to the ground (or you can harvest and dry the mature flowers, save the seeds, and plant them where you want them next spring). Its flowers are edible, and its long use as a cooking herb gives the flower its common name pot marigold. Adding calendula flowers to cooked foods (grains, casseroles, breads, even desserts) gives them a lovely yellow color.

The flowers also have a long history of use for healing, especially for wounds, inflammations of the skin, mouth, and mucous membranes, and sunburns. You’ll find extracts of calendula in many cosmetics, hair-care, and baby-care products, too.

When you harvest the blooms or handle the plants, a sticky, resinous substance with a distinctive, fruity fragrance clings to your fingers. Herbalists say these plant resins are partly responsible for the plant’s healing power.


Most calendula medicinals begin with a supply of fresh or dried flowers. If you’re not growing your own, buy dried flowers intended for human use.

  • To make a tea that soothes internal mucous membranes, add calendula flowers to water in a ratio of a tablespoon of fresh or two teaspoons of dried flowers to a cup of water. Bring to a boil and simmer or allow to steep for 10 minutes. You can either drink the tea or use it as a soothing wash for sunburns, rashes, or sores. Refrigerate for up to a week any tea you don’t use right away.
  • To make calendula oil/lotion, fill a sterilized glass jar (of any size) with dried calendula flowers and cover the flowers with a high quality oil: olive, almond, or grapeseed work well. Cover the jar and let it sit in a cool, dark place for four to six weeks, shaking or stirring occasionally. Strain the plant material from the oil using two or three layers of cheesecloth, and refrigerate the oil until ready for use. You can rub the oily cheesecloth bag holding the spent flowers onto face or hands as a moisturizer. To help prevent the oil from going rancid, add two or three drops of benzoin essential oil or half a teaspoon of tincture of benzoin per half cup of oil, along with a few drops of rosemary or lavender oil.
  • To make a healing salve, add three or four teaspoons of melted beeswax per half cup of warmed oil in a double boiler, and stir well until the mixture begins to cool. Pour it into a suitable glass or metal container and seal. If the salve is too hard, reheat it and add a bit more oil; if it’s too runny, add a bit more beeswax.


“Living Naturally” is all about living a naturally healthy lifestyle. Margaret Boyles covers health tips, ways to avoid illness, natural remedies, food that’s good for body and soul, recipes for homemade beauty products, ideas to make your home a healthy and safe haven, and the latest news on health. Our goal is also to encourage self-sufficiency, whether it’s relearning some age-old skills or getting informed on modern improvements that help us live better, healthier lives.



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The Old Farmer’s Almanac for Mar. 28: MAKING AN HERBAL SALVE



Herbal salves (a term often used interchangeably with ointments, creams, balms, and unguents; I’ve never found definitions that differentiate them clearly) have come down through the ages as the premier household first-aid for scrapes, burns, wounds, itches, stings, bruises, diaper rashes, and more.

Early to midsummer is a great time of year to try your hand at it. Many healing herbs are in full leaf and have just begun to flower, concentrating their active healing constituents in their aboveground parts. (Fall is a good time to make root-based salves.)

I like to start with an herb-infused oil, which involves slightly wilting, then chopping and bruising the leaves or flowers I’ve collected, packing them loosely into a clean glass jar, and covering them with oil. I cover the top of the jar with a piece of cheesecloth or a coffee filter secured with a rubber band. This lets moisture that would otherwise spoil the salve escape from the jar.

Then I just leave the jar in a sunny windowsill for two or three weeks, shaking or stirring the infusion whenever I think of it, usually once or twice a day. I use a long wooden spoon for stirring.

When the herbs have infused long enough, I strain the plant material out with a cheesecloth, catching the oil in a glass pitcher, twisting the end of the cloth to squeeze as much oil as possible from the leafy material.

The final step: melting pure beeswax (use a double boiler on the stove or a pyrex cup within a glass bowl in the microwave), and adding it to the infused oil in a ratio of about five parts oil to one part melted wax. Stir with a wooden spoon and store in a sterilized glass or metal container.

It’s easy to adjust the consistency of a salve by adding a bit more oil to make it more spreadable or a bit more beeswax to thicken or harden it. Homemade salves without any preservative agents will last about six to eight months at room temperature out of direct heat and sunlight. Refrigerated, they’ll keep for a year or more.

Today I’m making a general-purpose household salve of comfrey and plantain leaves–the comfrey has just begun to flower at the edge of my vegetable garden, and the plantain grows abundantly in the lawn. I added the chopped leaves to a combination of grapeseed and coconut oiI, though I could have used olive, sunflower, sesame, or one of the exotic (and expensive) nut oils. Our ancestors didn’t have access to pressed oils; they made their healing ointments from bear grease, lard, and other animal fats, which reportedly have healing powers of their own.

I also could have used burdock, lemon balm, yarrow, self-heal, or one of dozens of wild and cultivated plants that flourish around here. Later in the season, I plan on making flower salves from mullein, calendula, and St. John’s wort. It’s fun to experiment and learn about the herbs and their uses as you go.

Although herbalists no longer recommend comfrey for internal consumption, it enjoys wide renown as a wound healer (in fact, it helps new skin form so fast, herbalists don’t recommend using it for deep wounds that require slow healing). Plantain enjoys equal renown as an anti-itch, anti-inflammatory herb.

My comfrey-plantain salve is versatile. I’ll use it on itches and stings, chapped hands and lips, cracked heels, ragged cuticles, nicks, cuts, and scrapes. It also works wonders on diaper and heat rash.

One caution: Clean and disinfect a fresh wound, then wait for it to stop bleeding before applying any salve. You don’t want to seal in an infectious agent.


“Living Naturally” is all about living a naturally healthy lifestyle. Margaret Boyles covers health tips, ways to avoid illness, natural remedies, food that’s good for body and soul, recipes for homemade beauty products, ideas to make your home a healthy and safe haven, and the latest news on health. Our goal is also to encourage self-sufficiency, whether it’s relearning some age-old skills or getting informed on modern improvements that help us live better, healthier lives.



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The Old Farmer’s Almanac for Mar. 28: HOW TO MAKE AN HERBAL TINCTURE





Herbal tinctures are age-old remedies that can help soothe and heal whatever might ail you. Here’s how to make herbal tinctures using plants from your garden.

Last week I came across some Internet sites about herb-based first-aid kits. In addition to standard items such as scissors, bandages, and sterile gauze pads, most sites recommended packaged dried herbs for tea, a collection of essential oils, herbal creams and salves and a few alcohol tinctures.

Serendipitously, although I’m a teetotaler, I was heading for town that day to buy a bottle of vodka to make a few tinctures to supplement my own first-aid supplies. Herbal tinctures are really easy to make.

A traditional herbal tincture is made by steeping herbs in high-proof ethyl alcohol (sometimes vinegar) to extract and concentrate their medicinal constituents—molecules that plants have manufactured for self-protection and that we humans expropriate for our own medicinal use.

Ethyl alcohol tinctures are generally intended for internal use. Herbs tinctured in rubbing alcohol (isopropyl), witch hazel, or oil are called liniments, and are intended for external use only.

Although you can tincture leaves or needles, flowers, roots, and barks, either fresh or dried, I make mine mostly from fresh leaves harvested from my gardens, lawns and nearby wild places. Today, I’m gathering burdock leaves and flowers, the plantain running amok on the lawn, and the lemon balm beckoning from the herb garden.


Depending on the condition being treated (or prevented), medicinal herbs can be brewed into teas or simmered into decoctions, mashed into poultices and salves, smoked (so their medicinal constituents enter the body through the lungs), or extracted into tinctures. Tinctures are generally taken internally a few drops at a time, several times a day, often in tea or juice. Some tinctures work well applied directly to wounds or skin infections.

Tinctures offer several advantages over other herbal formulations:

  • Alcohol generally extracts and concentrates more of the valuable medicinal compounds than water extracts (e.g., teas, infusions, tisanes).
  • In such concentrated form, tinctures are fast-acting.
  • Alcohol tinctures made with at least 80-proof ethanol don’t spoil, and they maintain their potency for a long time if properly stored. (Tinctures made with wine or vinegar won’t extract as many active phytocompounds, and they won’t last as long, although they can be enjoyed in salad dressings and marinades.)
  • Tinctures are portable and easy to tuck into a purse or traveling bag.


  • You’ll need to learn something, preferably a lot, about how, why, when, to use a particular plant tincture, and in what dose. Read books and articles, attend workshops, consult with local herbalists.
  • You need to be 100 percent certain you’ve properly identified the plant you plan to use. Do invest in some wild-plant field guides or join one of the local wild-plant identification workshops offered in your area.
  • Tincture only those plants you know haven’t been treated with pesticides.
  • Don’t use plants collected around the edges of commercially farmed fields or close to roadsides.


  • The plant parts you plan to tincture. To avoid diluting the alcohol with water, don’t wash them. (Roots are the exception; you may need to rinse or even scrub them lightly before chopping.) If the plant parts are already wet, lay them out and blot gently with a clean towel to dry them off. Discard any diseased or damaged material.
  • A bottle of 80-proof (or higher) ethyl alcohol. Many herbalists prefer vodka, because it’s relatively colorless, tasteless and odorless.
  • A glass jar with a tight lid. You don’t need large bottles for making an alcohol tincture; a tincture is a potent plant medicine administered only a few drops at a time. Start with small containers such as pint canning jars or empty peanut-butter or jam jars.
  • Some small, dark bottles for storing the decanted tincture(s). Storing them in the dark helps protect their potency.


Chop large leaves, flowers, or roots; leave delicate leaves and flowers whole. Then fill the glass jar loosely with the plant material, and add enough alcohol to cover the plant materials. Seal the jar tightly.

Label and date the jar. Include the plant parts tinctured and the type of alcohol used. Set the jar in a cool, dark place for a month or longer, shaking or stirring occasionally and adding more alcohol if needed to keep the plant materials covered.

Strain the tincture over a clean cheesecloth into a glass or ceramic container twisting the cloth to remove as much of the tincture as possible. Funnel the tincture into dark glass bottles and cap (or cork) tightly. Label and date each tincture and store in a cool, dark place.

You can increase the concentration of a tincture by straining out the original plant materials and adding fresh material.


Like any healing agent, herbal remedies in any form can pack a lot of power, which includes adverse reactions. Learn as much as possible about the herb you’re using before you try it. Your homemade tinctures don’t offer a standard “dose.” Begin with a new tincture by trying a few drops in warm water or tea, and work up slowly until you experience the desired results.

If you’re pregnant, nursing, taking prescription medicine, or suffering from a chronic illness, don’t start on an herbal remedy without consulting a health professional. Always include your use of herbs in the information you provide to your medical and dental professionals.


“Living Naturally” is all about living a naturally healthy lifestyle. Margaret Boyles covers health tips, ways to avoid illness, natural remedies, food that’s good for body and soul, recipes for homemade beauty products, ideas to make your home a healthy and safe haven, and the latest news on health. Our goal is also to encourage self-sufficiency, whether it’s relearning some age-old skills or getting informed on modern improvements that help us live better, healthier lives.

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Celebrations Around the World for March 28: Mi-Carême


Between March 8 and April 11; fourth Sunday in Lent

This break from the strictness of Lent has traditionally been observed in France, Belgium, and various islands of the French West Indies—including Guadeloupe, St. BarthÉlemy, and Martinique. In Paris, it is customarily celebrated with the FÉte des Blanchisseuses, or laundresses, who choose a queen from each of the various metropolitan districts. The district queens and the queen of queens chosen by them ride through the streets on a float, followed by their costumed courtiers and ladies-in-waiting. Then there is a colorful ball for the washerwomen that night.

In Belgium, Mid-Lent or Half-Vasten is the day when someone dresses up as the Count of Mid-Lent and distributes gifts to children.

French Government Tourist Office
444 Madison Ave., 16th Fl.
New York, NY 10022
800-391-4909 or 212-838-7800; fax: 212-838-7855
BkFest-1937, pp. 40, 121
FestSaintDays-1915, p. 52
FestWestEur-1958, p. 35

This Day In History for March 23: Constantinople Becomes Istanbul (1930)

Constantinople Becomes Istanbul (1930)

On this day in 1930, a law was enacted in Turkey, according to which the city of Constantinople was renamed Istanbul.

Namely, that city had many names throughout history. The Ancient Greeks called the settlement located at that spot Byzantion (Βυζάντιον), while the Romans called it Byzantium.

Later, the name Constantinople (after the Roman emperor Constantine, who transferred the capital from Rome to there) became dominant.

That name stuck for most of the Middle Ages, i. e. during the time of the Byzantine Empire.

It is interesting that the Ottomans did not prefer the name Istanbul after they conquered the city.

Namely, the name Kostantiniyye, a variant of Constantinople, was dominant during the Ottoman period.

In Slavic languages, the city was called Carigrad or Tsarigrad (City of the Emperor), while the Vikings called it Mikligarðr (The Big City).

Today, Istanbul is one of the cities which had among the highest number of names throughout history.

The current Turkish government often insists on the name Istanbul instead of the older names which were used or are still in use in foreign countries.



World War Two: Retaking Guam (4-18) Assault Completed 25-30 July

Late on the afternoon of 24 July, General Geiger issued his orders for the next day’s action—orders that contemplated a completion of the assault phase of the invasion of Guam. Commencing at 0700, 25 July, the 1st Provisional Marine Brigade was to press the attack against Orote Peninsula while the 77th Infantry Division (less the 307th Regimental Combat Team, in corps reserve) held the Force Beachhead Line in the southern zone. In the north, the 3rd Marine Division was to resume the offensive and seize the high ground overlooking the Mount Tenjo road. Efforts were also to be made to link the two beachheads by establishing firm contact between the Marine brigade or the Army division and the 3rd Marine Division.

On the receipt of this order, General Shepherd of the Marine brigade asked for a day’s postponement. His troops, he submitted, were greatly fatigued by four days and nights of steady fighting. Moreover, his 4th Regimental Combat Team had not been fully relieved by Army elements until midafternoon on 24 July and needed more time to move north and get into position to launch the attack on Orote. In view of these representations, General Geiger agreed to delay the assault on the peninsula until 0700 on 26 July.

Meanwhile, the 22nd Marines (less 2nd Battalion) was directed to capture all unseized ground between Agat Bay and Apra Harbor across the narrowest portion of the peninsula’s neck. The 4th Marines was to remain in its current bivouac area and prepare to relieve its sister regiment on order.

While the marines were thus preparing for the final drive against Orote, General Bruce ordered the 77th Division to straighten and improve its defensive lines and take precautions to disperse and camouflage its gun positions. The two infantry regiments on the line (305th and 306th) were to mop up within their defense sectors and carry out security patrols beyond their front lines. On 26 and 27 July, two battalions of the 306th Infantry pushed in a southeasterly direction beyond the Force Beachhead line. Advancing against neligible opposition, they reached Maanot Pass -Mount Lamlam road south of Road Junction 370 and dug in about 1,500 yards from their line of departure. The 305th Infantry extended its right flank and tied in with the new position of 306th. Two of the Army field artillery battalions (304th and 305th) would continue to support the two Army infantry regiments on the line, but the other two (306th and 902nd) were placed in general support and ordered to start moving toward the base of Orote Peninsula and prepare to fire in advance of the marines next day.

Preparations for the Assault on Orote 25 July

Jumping off at 0800 behind a fifteen minute air and artillery attack, the 22nd Marines got an early foretaste of the rigors that still lay ahead before the Japanese garrison on Orote could be subdued.

From Neye Island and from the airfield near the end of the peninsula, artillery rained down on the column of the 1st Battalion as it tried to make its way along the coast of Agat Bay to Dadi Beach, while to the north the 3rd Battalion ran into a hive of concrete pillboxes supported by well-camouflaged machine gun nests. Enemy tanks appeared at intervals throughout the day to obstruct the attack. By noon the 1st Battalion, 22nd, was so depleted that it had to be replaced by the 1st Battalion, 4th Marines. Nevertheless, by nightfall the Americans’ front line had been pushed ahead to extend across the narrow neck from Dadi Beach to a point just east of the thick mangrove swamp that lay inland of Apra Harbor.

On the 24th the 307th Infantry landed near Agat. The two other Army regiments on the line consolidated their positions and tied in together by nightfall in the vicinity of the reservoir on Maanot Ridge. Little enemy opposition was encountered, except for some light mortar fire that fell into the ranks of the 2nd Battalion, 305th, in the early evening. Contact with the 22nd Marines was established during the afternoon, and later Company F of the 307th Infantry was attached to the 305th for the purpose of maintaining contact with the brigade on the left. Meanwhile, an outpost of the 2nd Battalion, 22nd Marines, made contact with a patrol from the 9th Marines at the bridge that crossed the Big Gautali River. Thus for the first time in six days of fighting a link, although a feeble one, was forged between the northern and southern beachheads.

The Fight in the North 25 July

In the zone of the 3rd Marine Division, the prospect on the morning of 25 July was still the same. The 9th Marines on the right faced little opposition and fairly easy terrain; the other two regiments were up against the enemy’s only remaining organized defense line (except for Orote Peninsula), which was drawn up along the hellish approaches to the Chachao-Alutom-Tenjo mountain system. In view of the punishment suffered during the preceding days by the 3rd Marines, one battalion of the 9th Marines was attached to the 3rd Marines early in the morning.

During the day the 9th Marines on the right, with the support of the antiaircraft batteries emplaced on Cabras Island, pushed up the coast line of Apra Harbor as far as the high ground overlooking the Aguada River, This advance so lengthened the division’s lines that during the afternoon General Turnage ordered the 9th Marines to pull back about 1,500 yards to the north of the Laguas River. The movement was completed by noon of the next day. In the division center, the 21st Marines jumped off in the direction of Mount Tenjo, but the way was barred by heavy enemy artillery, machine guns, and mortars well emplaced on the reverse slopes of the ridge that crossed the marines’ line of advance.

By nightfall the regiment was still short of the Mount Tenjo road. On the left, the 3rd Marines, fighting against moderate opposition, captured a stretch of the Mount Tenjo road in the morning. Ahead of them lay Fonte Plateau. Tanks were requested but were slow in arriving, so Lieutenant Colonel Robert E. Cushman, commanding the 2nd Battalion, 9th Marines, which was attached to the 3rd Marines, decided to take advantage of the few remaining hours of daylight and advance without them. As night closed in, this one battalion had succeeded in gaining a foothold on the slopes leading up to Fonte, By that time the division lines had been stretched more than 9,000 yards. The regiments and battalions had almost no reserves to call on, and even division had only one depleted battalion in reserve. Should the enemy choose this time and place for an organized counterattack, the situation for the marines could hardly have been worse. Unfortunately, the Japanese did so choose.

Japanese Counterattack 25-26 July

In fact, General Takashima had been planning and preparing for a full-scale counterattack for several days. Units that had remained in the Agana and Tumon Bay areas even after the American landings were withdrawn to the line facing the 3rd Marine Division. Commander Tamai on Orote Peninsula was notified to launch an offensive in co-ordination with the main attack in the north. [N4-18-9] Detailed orders with accompanying maps and overlays were issued to subordinate commanders. Takashima set up his command post in a cave about 325 yards west of Fonte. In preparation for the attack, General Shigematsu, commanding officer of the 48th Independent Mixed Brigade, moved his command posts to Mangan Quarry, about 540 yards west of Fonte, and Colonel Hiko-Shiro Ohashi assembled the 2nd and 3rd Battalions of his 18th Infantry Regiment in the hill area south of Agana.

[N4-18-9 In spite of the heavy American bombardment, Takashima still had good communications with the isolated garrison on Orote.]

According to the plan issued by General Takashima, the 48th Independent Mixed Brigade would attack on the right against the 3rd Marines, who were drawn up before the Fonte Plateau. Simultaneously, the 2nd and 3rd Battalions of the 18th Infantry Regiment (from right to left) would come down from the hills and attack toward Asan Point and the mouth of the Nidual River in the sector held by the 21st Marines. On the Japanese left, another unit, probably part of the 10th Independent Mixed Regiment, was to push down the valley of the Tatgua River against the 9th Marines. At the same time the force on Orote Peninsula was to launch a drive to the east in co-ordination with the main attack.

On the marines’ left the attack first fell on the 2nd Battalion, 9th Marines, which had succeeded the day before in establishing only the most precarious of footholds on the western slopes of Fonte. Seven times during the night of 25-26 July the Japanese rolled down from the plateau and seven times they were repulsed. By morning the battle here was over, but not before Colonel Cushman’s battalion had suffered over 50 percent casualties. In exchange, approximately 950 of the enemy were killed in this single segment of the front.

In the center of the line, Major Chusha Maruyama’s 2nd Battalion, 18th Infantry Regiment, struck the lines of the 21st Marines in mass and penetrated as far to the rear as the battalion command post and the perimeters of the mortar sections. There, those Japanese that had survived the first onslaught were eventually eliminated with the help of engineers, cooks, clerks, communicators, and any other miscellaneous troops the regiment could throw into the fight.

About the same time Major Setsuo Yukioka’s 3rd Battalion, 18th Regiment, also hit the 21st Marines, locating and fully exploiting an 800-yard gap that lay between that regiment and the 9th Marines to its right. Here, in the high ground overlooking the Nidual River, the Japanese set up machine gun emplacements that could rake the flanks of both of the Marine regiments with deadly accuracy. Part of the attack through the gap got as far as the division hospital area. Doctors, corpsmen, and pajama-clad patients set up a makeshift line around the hospital tents and held fast until reinforcements arrived in the morning to put the remaining Japanese to rout. Meanwhile, the division artillery regiment (12th Marines) was busily engaged in hand-to-hand combat with numerous small suicide squads that had infiltrated the rear on 25 July and had timed their attacks with that of the main offensive. All morning the artillerymen beat off these desperate Japanese, some of whom had packs of TNT strapped to their backs, others of whom were loaded with magnetic mines. Around noon, when the fighting had let up, some fifty or sixty dead Japanese were located in the area of the 12th Marines alone. Not until early afternoon were the Japanese machine gun positions that had been emplaced in the gap between the two Marine regiments finally overrun. By that time the attack had spent itself, and the few surviving Japanese were fleeing into the hills.

Meanwhile, on Orote Peninsula, Commander Tamai, according to order, had launched his attack against the 22nd Marines. Starting about 2230 a horde of drink-crazed Japanese, mostly naval personnel, armed with anything from rifles to ball bats, swarmed through the mangrove swamps to fall upon the lines of the 22nd Marines. Artillery pieces of corps, brigade, and the 77th Division almost immediately commenced fire and kept up at a rapid rate for the next two hours. Pack howitzers were dragged to within thirty-five yards of the infantry front lines to fire point blank at the onrushing enemy. “Arms and legs,” reported one observer, “flew like snowflakes.”

The marines here, and in the zone of the 1st Battalion, 4th Marines, which was guarding the regimental boundary, fought off those Japanese that had escaped the barrage of heavy shells with rifle, hand grenade, and bayonet. The American lines held, and by daylight it was apparent that the attack had failed. Not as well organized as Takashima’s counteroffensive against the 3rd Marine Division, and more nearly similar to the traditional and suicidal Japanese banzai charge, Tamai’s counterattack suffered besides from the fact that the marines in this zone were in better position to resist and were backed by the major part of American artillery on the island.

All together on both fronts, the Japanese lost an estimated 3,500 men in the night counterattack of 25-26 July. In the north, three whole battalions were virtually annihilated. Up to 95 percent of all commissioned officers in the sector defense forces were killed, according to later Japanese testimony. Among these was General Shigematsu, who lost his life on the 26th while futilely trying to rally his decimated brigade around Fonte Plateau. Also numbered among the dead were Colonel Ohashi, commanding officer of the 18th Infantry Regiment; Lieutenant Colonel Ichiro Kataoka, commanding officer of the 10th Independent Mixed Regiment; and Majors Maruyama and Yukioka, commanders of the 2nd and 3rd Battalions, 18th Infantry. Over 90 percent of all Japanese weapons were estimated to have been destroyed or captured. Radio communications between units on the island, which had remained surprisingly good in spite of the heavy American bombardment, were almost completely knocked out.

On their part, the marines had suffered heavily too, especially the 3rd Marine Division. Between 25 and 27 July, the division reported 166 killed in action, 645 wounded in action, and 34 missing in action, mostly as a result of the Japanese counterattack.

At his command post back of Fonte, General Takashima stayed in ignorance of the outcome of the attack until morning of the 26th. After dawn survivors of the holocaust gradually straggled back to headquarters, and the full story of the failure was pieced together before noon. On the basis of these reports, the island commander decided that all hope of expelling the Americans from Guam was lost. The only recourse left to him, as an officer in the Imperial Japanese Army and a man of honor, was to retire with his remaining troops into the interior of the island and inflict as many losses on the Americans as possible until he himself should go down in the inevitable defeat.

The Capture of Orote

Notwithstanding the counterattack of the previous night, the 1st Marine Provisional Brigade was prepared on the morning of 26 July to jump off on time in the attack on Orote Peninsula. Behind it was the greatest array of artillery pieces yet mustered for any single attack since the beginning of the operation on Guam. Three battalions of General Spalding’s 77th Division Artillery were in position and ready to fire along with four Marine battalions from III Amphibious Corps and the 3rd Marine Division. Lieutenant Colonel Leo B. Burkett’s 902nd Field Artillery Battalion first opened fire at 0645 in deep support of the Marine infantrymen and all together during this preparation phase fired a thousand rounds. From 0800 to 0830, the 305th and 306th Field Artillery Battalions, commanded respectively by Lieutenant Colonel Edward B. Leever and Lieutenant Colonel Jackson B. Serfas, joined in the fire. Some batteries fired as many as two rounds a minute per gun. On General Bruce’s order, all Army artillery pieces were to direct their fire at least 1,000 yards in front of the advancing marines. Closer support bombardment was delivered by Marine artillery as well as by naval planes and by the 90-mm. guns of the 14th Marine Defense Battalion based on Cabras Island.

Jump-off hour for the brigade was 0700, with the 22nd Marines on the right, 4th Marines on the left. Enemy artillery fire delayed the 22nd Marines for an hour, but the 4th Marines got under way on time and made rapid progress against light resistance.

In fact, progress on the left was so rapid that the regiment’s right flank soon became exposed. In view of this, Lieutenant Colonel Alan Shapley, commander of the 4th, requested permission to shift to the right and take over part of the 22nd Marines zone. The brigade commander agreed, and shortly before noon the regimental boundary was laid down at the Agat-Sumay road. On the right, Colonel Merlin F. Schneider’s 22nd Marines found the going harder. Not only was the unit blanketed by heavy enemy mortar fire but, because most of its front line was blocked by the wide mangrove swamp lying inland of Apra Harbor, all forward movement had to be confined to a narrow corridor along the Agat-Sumay road. By nightfall the regiment’s left flank had reached Road Junction 15 and tied in with the 4th Marines. The rest of the line was bent back to the east of the mangrove swamp.

The next morning the attack jumped off at 0715, Once again progress on the right was delayed because the 22nd Marines were compelled to channelize all troops and supplies along the road inland of the mangrove swamp. This narrow corridor had been mined with aerial bombs and was covered by automatic weapons located in well-camouflaged pillboxes. By midafternoon, Colonel Schneider’s men had worked their way through the bottleneck, but only to come up against a series of pillboxes and dugouts on the ridge east of the old prewar U.S. Marine barracks. Late in the afternoon marines on the front lines were rewarded with signs that Japanese organized resistance was beginning to crumple.

The first harbinger of the breakdown of enemy organization occurred when a lone Japanese officer rushed out and attacked an American tank with his sword. Shortly afterward, another officer, waving a huge battle flag, marched his men up the peninsular road straight into American fire and to certain annihilation. Then, about two hours before dark, after an intensive bombardment by American artillery and naval guns and aircraft, the Japanese in front of the 22nd Marines broke and ran—a rare occurrence in the Pacific war. This proved to be the turning point in the battle for Orote Peninsula. Although it was too late in the day for the marines to capitalize fully on this retreat, the 22nd Regiment was able before dark to push forward and set up a line within 300 yards of the old Marine barracks. The 4th Marines on the left had made somewhat slower progress during the day, and a gap existed between the two regiments when they dug in for the night. Fortunately, the Japanese were in no position to exploit the gap.

On 28 July the 22nd Marines swept through the barracks ground and on to the outskirts of the village of Sumay. There, they were halted for the night while demolition teams searched the rubble-littered streets for mines that the Japanese had laid in great numbers. On the left, Colonel Shapley’s regiment was forced to make its way more slowly through dense scrub growth that concealed several coconut log pillboxes. Marine tanks were called in, but could make little headway because the heavy underbrush restricted observation and frequently made it impossible to fire without endangering friendly troops.

In the face of this difficulty General Shepherd, early in the afternoon, put in a call to 77th Division headquarters for Army medium tanks to reinforce those of the brigade. The request could not be honored in full since only the light tanks of Lieutenant Colonel Charles W. Stokes’ 706th Tank Battalion had landed. Five of these from Company D were immediately organized into a platoon under 2nd Lieutenant Charles J. Fuchs and dispatched to General Shepherd, who routed them to the 4th Marines sector to support an attack ordered for 1600. There, they were joined by two Shermans from Headquarters Company, 706th Tank Battalion, which had since come ashore. Two more platoons of Marine mediums were meanwhile shifted from the zone of the 22nd Marines to join the scheduled tank-infantry attack on the brigade left.

Promptly at 1600 Colonel Shapley launched the assault along his whole regimental front. All up and down the line the tanks moved forward cautiously, followed at short distances by the Marine infantrymen. In their zone, the seven Army tanks covered about three hundred yards of front, often firing at ranges of ten to fifteen yards at the reinforced log pillboxes that barred their path. The light tanks of Company D alone expended about 10,000 rounds of .30-caliber ammunition, 100 rounds of high explosive, and 20 rounds of canister. They were credited with the destruction of four pillboxes, numerous dugouts, and about 250 Japanese.

Before this massed Army-Marine armored attack Japanese defenses collapsed, and the infantrymen rushed on and set up their night positions just short of the airfield. One of the strongest enemy defensive lines on the peninsula had been established there to protect Orote field. After the battle, some 250 pillboxes and emplacements were counted in the area taken by the 4th Marines and their supporting tanks. 29 July saw the end of the battle for Orote, except for minor mopping-up activities. Once again tremendous Army and Marine artillery fire, supplemented by naval gunfire, pounded the tip of the peninsula in preparation for the infantry assault Again the seven Army tanks, this time assisted by six M10 tank destroyers as well as the brigade’s own mediums, led the assault By 1400 Orote airfield had been overrun with little opposition, and an hour later the 4th Marines took over the entire brigade zone, the 22nd Marines mopping up Sumay and the cliffs bordering Apra Harbor. The platoon of Army tanks, accompanied by Marine infantry, was dispatched to the tip of the peninsula. On discovering only two live Japanese in the area, they reported back and were released to their parent division.24

Orote was now, to all intents and purposes, secured. An estimated 2,500 Japanese had been killed in the process. In exchange, the American attackers had lost 115 killed in action, 721 wounded, and 38 missing.

On the afternoon of the 29th, with appropriate ceremony, the American flag was raised over the skeleton remains of the old Marine barracks. “Under our flag,” said General Shepherd, “this island again stands ready to fulfill its destiny as an American fortress in the Pacific.” Before the general’s words could be fully realized, however, the marines and soldiers of the III Amphibious Corps would have more than a week of fighting ahead.

The Capture of Fonte and the Force Beachhead Line

Whipped though they were and in retreat after their full-scale counterattack, the Japanese in the north were still capable of putting up a strong rear-guard defense while the main body of Takashima’s troops prepared to retire into the interior. In their favor, of course, was the fact that that they still maintained possession of the high ridge from Fonte south through Mount Alutom, Mount Chachao, and Mount Tenjo. Fonte Plateau, in particular, was the site of an enemy strongpoint that Takashima refused to yield without a battle.

Here, in a hollow depression atop the plateau, lined on all sides with cave emplaced machine gun positions, the Japanese chose to make the advance of the 3rd Marines as costly as possible. The 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marines, and the 2nd Battalion, 9th Marines, would spend three bitter days of fighting before the left flank of the corps Force Beachhead Line could be secured.

On the morning of 27 July the attack was first delayed when shells and bombs delivered by American air and artillery fell behind the Marine front lines. Then a force of about 150 Japanese came out of the hills and launched a banzai charge. Once these men were disposed of, the two battalions moved out and by late afternoon reached their day’s objective—the power line that stretched across the forward slopes of the plateau. By the following evening the two battalions had pushed up to the rim of the plateau and on the 29th cleaned out most of the remaining enemy positions in the depression on top.

Sometime on the previous day American machine gun fire had killed General Takashima just as he was about to evacuate to the rear. This left only one Japanese general officer alive on Guam—General Obata, Commanding General, 31st Army, who had only recently arrived from the Palaus and who, up to this time, had exercised no control over the island’s defenses. To him fell the hopeless task of reorganizing the remaining Japanese forces defending Guam’s interior against the invaders.

During these three days (27-29 July) the 21st Marines in the division center had kept abreast of the units struggling on Fonte, while on the right the 9th Marines had been assigned the task of capturing Mount Alutom and Mount Chachao. On 28 July Major John Lovell’s 3rd Battalion, 307th Infantry, which on the 26th had moved north along the Old Agat Road to the vicinity of Piti and was then attached to 3rd Marine Division, reversed its course and attacked south on the 9th Marines’ right, over the same ground it had covered two days before. As the marines pushed their way up the slopes leading to the mountain peaks, they soon spotted elements of the 77th Division atop Mount Tenjo to the south. Meanwhile, General Geiger had moved the boundary between the Marine and Army divisions north so that it ran along a trail leading east from the Old Agat Road through Agafan to the junction of the road between Mount Tenjo and coastal ridge overlooking Harmon Road.

Mount Chachao. This shift of the original boundary line between the 3rd Marine Division and the 77th Infantry Division so as to include Mount Tenjo in the latter’s zone had been suggested by General Bruce. He wanted to get his troops on the high ground so that they could work along the ridges rather than push ahead along a line abreast and get trapped in the ravines. Also, to prevent the piecemeal commitment of his division and to preserve its integrity, he wanted to be given the job of capturing Mount Tenjo. The boundary change meant in effect that the 3rd Marine Division’s right flank would orient its movement to the south while the 77th Division pushed north to establish firm contact along the Force Beachhead Line.

On the 28th the 3rd Battalion, 9th Marines, supported by heavy artillery and tank fire, fought its way to the top of Mount Chachao and annihilated an infantry company that had been left behind in the general Japanese withdrawal. At the same time the 1st Battalion, 9th Marines, and the 3rd Battalion, 307th Infantry, moved south against light opposition and by 1745 were in contact along the new division boundary with those soldiers of the 77th Division that had meanwhile been moving northwest of Mount Tenjo.

The men who were sighted on Mount Tenjo on the morning of 28 July were members of Company A, 305th Infantry. General Bruce ordered the 305th Infantry to send a company to reconnoiter the approaches to Mount Tenjo. If Japanese were not encountered in great number, Lieutenant Colonel Charles F. Learner’s 2nd Battalion, 307th Infantry, was to occupy the mountain, while Colonel Landrum’s 1st Battalion, 305th, was to take and hold the high ground from Cotal south to Inalas. Once Tenjo was in American hands, Colonel Chalgren’s 3rd Battalion, 305th, was to send out patrols to the north and establish contact with the right flank of the 3rd Marine Division.

At 0500 on 28 July, Company A, 305th Infantry, moved out of its assembly area toward Mount Tenjo. The men encountered no resistance on the way except for occasional sniping, and reached the summit at 0815, There they remained until midafternoon, when they were relieved by Learner’s battalion. While it was waiting, Company A suffered a mishap of a sort that was occurring with alarming frequency on Guam. American planes came up out of the sea and bombed and strafed their own infantrymen. Only the quick thinking of Private First Class Benno Levi, who rushed out from cover under fire to spread identification panels, saved the unit from possible disaster.

With the 2nd Battalion, 307th Infantry, in firm possession of Mount Tenjo, Chalgren’s 3rd Battalion, 305th, according to plan pushed north to establish contact with the southward moving soldiers attached to the 9th Marines. At last, after eight days of fighting, the northern and southern beachheads were firmly joined.

Reconnaissance of Southern Guam With the repulsion of Takashima’s big counterattack and the launching of the drive on Orote Peninsula on 26 July, General Geiger could safely predict a rapid push to the Force Beachhead Line and the termination of the first phase of the battle for Guam. Before initiating the second phase, it was necessary for him to have reliable information as to where on the island the remaining Japanese had withdrawn. All indications pointed to northern Guam as their most likely destination. It was clearly the most logical course for the Japanese command to have taken. Southern Guam was a mass of jungle and mountain, serviced only by roads and trails not wide enough or hard enough to permit the passage of large numbers of troops and vehicles. It was known that before the American invasion few troops had been stationed in the southern area. From captured documents and interrogations of prisoners of war, it appeared almost certain that the enemy troops were moving north toward Mount Barrigada.

Nevertheless, before the corps commander could finally decide to commit his forces to a northern drive, simple military caution demanded a reconnaissance of the southern section. The reports obtained through aerial reconnaissance were inconclusive since the island’s dense jungle made camouflage and concealment of enemy positions and troop movements too easy. Ground reconnaissance was the only alternative.

The task fell to the 77th Infantry Division, which had already been conducting limited reconnaissance. General Bruce had prepared an extensive patrolling plan for covering the southern half of Guam, but it first had to be cleared through corps in order to prevent interference from friendly air, naval, and artillery bombardment. Once the clearance was received Bruce assigned the mission to the 77th Reconnaissance Troop, which for the past few days had been guarding Maanot Reservoir.

Five patrols, each consisting of five men and each accompanied by a native guide, were ordered to leave from Road Junction 370 early on the morning of 28 July and to penetrate inland south and east up to seven miles. Patrols Able and Baker were to proceed directly east to the coast and return. The other three, Patrols Charlie, Dog, and Easy, would move directly south along the ridge below Alifan, Charlie toward Mount Lamlam, Easy to Umatac, and Dog along the coast below Facpi, each patrol was to exercise discretion about its own movements. Each was to report by radio every two to three hours and call for artillery support if needed. [N4-18-33]

Pushing off on order early on the morning of 28 July, Patrol Able got less than half way to Ylig Bay when two of its members as well as the native guide came down with fever and had to return. Consequently, Patrol Baker took over responsibility for the entire area from Ylig Bay to Talofofo Bay. As Patrol Baker started out toward Talofofo, the men sighted a few Japanese, but stayed out of their way and went on to spend the night in a cave overlooking the eastern coast. The next morning they moved north along the coast for about four and a half miles to Ylig Bay, where they were greeted by Chamorros who informed them that the Japanese had all moved north except for groups of less than platoon size that were still roaming around the southern jungles. With this information, Patrol Baker returned to headquarters.

Meanwhile, Patrols Charlie and Dog reached the slopes of Mount Lamlan, but turned back on receiving rifle fire. Patrol Easy went on to Umatac on the west coast below Facpi Point, found little evidence of enemy activity, and came back on up by the coastal road. Later, on 30 July, two other patrols from the reconnaissance troop (Fox and George) were sent out to reconnoiter Pago Bay and the southeast tip of the island. Both reported negative results. The reports brought back by the patrols confirmed General Geiger’s assumptions: no organized enemy resistance could be expected in southern Guam, the main body of the Japanese had retreated to the north, and it was in this direction that the next American attack would have to be launched.

[N4-18-33 The account of the reconnaissance of southern Guam is derived from the following sources: 77th Reconnaissance Troop AAR Guam, pp. 1-2; AFAS, Guam, pp. 57-63; Lieutenant Colonel F. C. Bridgewater, “Reconnaissance on Guam,” The Cavalry Journal (May-June, 1945), pp. 46-48.]

SOURCE: Campaign in the Marianas; BY: Philip A. Crowl (United States Army Center of Military History)

World War Two: Retaking Guam (4-19) Pursuit to the North – Japanese Withdrawal

World War Two: Retaking Guam (4-17) Fight for the Beachhead

World War Two: Sicily (2-20)Brolo – Naso Ridge – Braia

Only along the north coast was the German withdrawal at any time seriously threatened. For that matter, the entire German northern and central sectors almost fell prey to another American amphibious end run, an operation that for a short time altered Hube’s carefully conceived timetable for the evacuation of Sicily. 

[N2-20-1 The account of the battle at Brolo and along the Naso ridge line, unless otherwise noted, is based on the reports of operations and journals of the units involved; Truscott, Command Missions, pp. 234-40; Morison, Sicily-Salerno-Anzio, pp. 203-05; Rpt, USS Philadelphia to CinC U.S. Fleet, 22 Aug 43, sub: Opns From 10 to 18 Aug 43, in 6-1.1008/43; Major James L. Packman, The Operations of the 2nd Battalion (Reinforced), 30th Infantry Regiment in the Amphibious Attack on Brolo, 11-12 August 1943 (Fort Benning, Georgia, 1950); MS #R-144 (Bauer), pp. 60-63; Taggart, ed., History of the Third Infantry Division, pp. 68-7 I; Prohme, History of the 30th Infantry Regiment, pp. 65-70; White, From Fedala to Berehtesgaden, pp. 34-37; Bradley, A Soldier’s Story, pp. 158-59. See also, comments of Truscott and Bernard on this MS. The account of the Brolo landing from the enemy side is based principally on Fries in MS #T-2 (Fries et al.), supplemented and corrected by entries in OKH, Tagesmeldungen West; OB SUED, Meldungen; IT 99C; Faldella, Losbareo; and German and Italian maps for the days in question. The units participating in the amphibious landings as part of Bernard’s task force were later awarded the Distinguished Unit Citation (WD GO 44, 30 May 44). Bernard was awarded the Silver Star.] 

After relieving Colonel Bernard’s battalion at the Rosmarino River on 8 August, Colonel Sherman’s 7th Infantry had pushed on east along Highway 113 against steadily stiffening German resistance. By the evening of 10 August, after being knocked back once, the 7th Infantry gained a foothold across the Zappulla River just south of the highway crossing. The opposing 71st Panzer Grenadier Regiment pulled back up the slopes of the Naso ridge roughly in line with Cape Orlando. It had been unable to delay the 3rd Division advance until 12 August, as originally contemplated. 

The new German defensive line looked as formidable as that at San Fratello, but Patton, Bradley, and Truscott were not disposed to pick at this line. Even as the 7th Infantry fought to cross the Zappulla River, Truscott sent Johnson’s 15th Infantry inland to cross the river south of Sherman in order to gain the ridge below Naso and roll up the German line. This was to be the division’s main effort. General Patton, however, had another idea on how he could more quickly reduce the Naso ridge position.

 Wanting desperately to get to Messina ahead of the Eighth Army and “trying to win a horse race to the last big town,” Patton called General Bradley to his command post on 10 August and ordered an amphibious end run for the next morning. The maneuver was to be similar to the one executed three days before. Patton had wanted to launch the operation on the morning of the loth in conjunction with the 15th Infantry’s turning movement, but a Luftwaffe attack the evening before had sunk one of the LST’s earmarked to lift the task force. This setback, together with the 7th Infantry’s trouble at the Zappulla, induced the Seventh Army commander to call off the operation for twenty-four hours. [N2-20-3] Now Patton was in no mood for another postponement, and he left no doubt in Bradley’s mind of this fact.

[N2-20-3 Seventh Army G-3 Jnl, entries 83, 8 Aug 43and 68, 10 Aug 43. The LST sunk was the same one that had previously been damaged, but hold nevertheless participated in the San Fratello landing.] 

Patton was not the only American who was keen on beating Montgomery into Messina. Of late, several unfortunate remarks had allegedly been made by the British Broadcasting Corporation (the BBC ) -the going on the Seventh Army front had been so easy that the troops were eating grapes and swimming while the Eighth Army was fighting hard against strong German opposition. Because the BBC was the principal radio service heard by all the troops in Sicily, Americans were quite upset by the disparaging comments. 

Many an American, like Patton, wanted to get to Messina ahead of the British in order to give the lie to these remarks. Besides, the Seventh Army’s capture of Palermo, its rapid and successful dash across western Sicily, and its entire conduct thus far in the campaign had whetted American appetites for the greater prize: to beat the proud and vaunted Eighth Army to Messina. The success of the Seventh Army had, for the first time, enabled Americans in the Mediterranean theater to hold their heads high among British and other Allied soldiers, who had been somewhat doubtful of the American soldier’s ability after Kasserine. General Truscott, initially at least, agreed with the plan. He apparently felt that the flanking 15th Infantry could occupy the Naso ridge on the evening of 10 August. This would put the 15th in position to link up quickly with the amphibious task force.

 But the 15th Infantry did not get to the Naso ridge on the loth. Although one battalion progressed as far as the little town of Mirto, overlooking the river, enemy fire from across the way forced a halt and delayed the arrival of the other two battalions. Not until 2100 did the last of the battalions close in the new area. In addition, the lack of roads prevented artillery units from displacing forward to support a further advance. These factors, and the rough terrain, prevented any move by the 15th Infantry across the Zappulla River that evening.

 With things not working out as he had planned, Truscott wanted to postpone Bernard’s landing for another twenty-four hours. When the Bernard task force had been established, General Keyes had assured Truscott that the force would be entirely under Truscott’s command and that he would have the responsibility for the timing of any operation involving the force. A delay, Truscott believed, would permit both the 7th and 15th Infantry Regiments to get into better positions from which to move forward to effect a quick link-up with the seaborne forces. As the situation on the evening of 10 August appeared to him, Truscott doubted that the two regiments could get through the Naso ridge positions fast enough to save Bernard’s small force from the expected German reaction. 

When General Keyes arrived at the 3rd Division’s command post that evening to see how the planning was coming along, Truscott informed the deputy commander of his desire to postpone the end run. Knowing full well Patton’s intense feeling, Keyes replied that he doubted whether the army commander would agree to any postponement. Furthermore, Keyes said, Patton had arranged for a large number of correspondents to accompany Bernard’s force, and Patton would not relish having to tell the writers that the end run had again been delayed. Patton wanted no unfavorable publicity for the Seventh Army. 

Nevertheless, Truscott picked up the telephone and called General Bradley. He explained the situation to the II Corps commander and his desire to postpone the landing. Bradley agreed, and tried to get Patton to agree. But his plea fell on deaf ears. Patton insisted that the landing proceed as scheduled. Shortly thereafter, Keyes called Patton and stated that Truscott did not want to carry out the landing. Truscott, called to the telephone, tried to explain his reasons for wanting to delay, but Patton was in no mood to listen. “Dammit,” Patton said, “The operation will go on.” In the face of this bald statement, what could Truscott do? He issued orders to Bernard to load his force for the landing. 

Link-up. This was what worried Truscott. How to effect a quick link-up became the Major problem at the 3rd Division’s command post the evening of 10 August. At the time Patton brusquely concluded his telephone conversation with Truscott, no 3rd Division battalion was within ten miles of Bernard’s objective Monte Cipolla, a steep hill about midway between the Naso and Brolo Rivers which dominated the coastal highway and the ground to the east and west.5 The coastal highway constituted the 29th Panzer Grenadier Division’s main escape route to the east, and Truscott knew that German reaction to Bernard’s landing would be swift and heavy. Accordingly, the 3rd Division commander committed every element in the division, including the recently attached 3rd Ranger Battalion, to break through the Naso ridge line defenses. From left to right he deployed the remainder of the 30th Infantry, then the Rangers, then the 7th Infantry, and, finally, the 15th Infantry. 

Even as General Truscott prepared his link-up plan, the bulk of the 29th Panzer Grenadier Division continued to hold its portion of the Tortorici line. Farther to the south, the 15th Panzer Grenadier Division was holding the 9th Division at bay along the Simeto River, although it was then in the process of pulling back into Randazzo. 

Immediately in the rear of General Fries’ main line of resistance along the Naso ridge, a fairly strong German force was stationed in and east of the town of Brolo maintaining guard along the north coast against the kind of landing the Americans had made at San Fratello. Under Colonel Fritz Polack, it consisted of the 29th Artillery Regiment, containing the regimental headquarters; the headquarters of the regiment’s antiaircraft artillery battalion with two 20-mm. four-barreled antiaircraft guns; and parts of the 1st Battalion, 71st Panzer Grenadier Regiment. Polack had located his headquarters on the northeastern slopes of Monte Cipolla; the bulk of his troops stretched eastward along the coast from Brolo. 

At 1800, 10 August, Colonel Bernard’s troops completed loading near Caronia and put to sea-one LST, two LCI’s, and six LCT’s covered by the Philadelphia and six destroyers. At 0100 the next morning ( 11 August) the small task force arrived some three thousand yards off the landing beach, and the troops quickly loaded in LCVP’s and Dukws for the final run-in. Thus far, Colonel Polack’s beach defenders showed no sign of having discovered the amphibious force.

 The terrain in the landing area was dominated by Monte Cipolla, the base of which lies some 450 yards inland from the beach, the top of which-divided into two’ small knobs-reaches an altitude of some 750 feet. The slopes are precipitous, and the northeast nose-on which Polack’s headquarters was located-constituted the only usable approach to the knob nearest the beach. The terrain inland from the beach rises in terraces to the base of the hill. The terraces themselves are stone-faced, and many other stone fences and drainage ditches crisscross the area. Covered with lemon trees, this area was soon to be called “the flats.” 

Parallel to the beach and only a hundred yards inland, a thirteen-foot railroad embankment, through which ran several small underpasses, extended east and west bisecting the flats, while the coastal highway, another three hundred yards inland, skirted the base of Monte Cipolla. 

Colonel Bernard’s plan for the operation was fairly simple. He planned to land Company E and the naval beach marking party at 0230 in the first wave. The rifle company was to destroy any beach defenses, clear the lemon grove between the railroad embankment and the highway, and block the entrances to the beach from the east and west. Fifteen minutes later, the tank platoon and the platoon of combat engineers were to land: the tanks, to reinforce Company E, the engineers, after assisting the tanks ashore, to make ready to receive the two self-propelled artillery batteries scheduled to land in the fourth wave. In the third wave, due to land at 0300, Bernard put his headquarters and the other three lettered companies of the infantry battalion. 

Companies F and G were to make their way up Monte Cipolla, with Company F to occupy the knob nearest the coast. After landing, Company H was to send one section of machine guns to each of the rifle companies and a section of 81-mm. mortars to each of the two companies on the hill. Finally, at 0315, the two field artillery batteries, the naval gunfire liaison officer, and fifteen mules (the battalion’s ammunition train) were to land. 

The artillery batteries were to go into position in the lemon grove in the flats with Battery B firing to the west, Battery A to the east. Once established on their objectives, the units were to dig in, block any German attempt to withdraw to the east from the Naso ridge, and defend until relieved by the main portion of the 3rd Division. 

The final run-in to the beaches started at 0210. At 0243, thirteen minutes late, the first wave touched down. Company E streamed from its five LCVP’s and splashed ashore against no opposition. Quickly cutting passages through a double-apron barbed wire fence twenty yards inland, the rifle company crossed the railroad embankment and paused briefly to reorganize. Pushing on, the company soon cleared the lemon grove, capturing ten Germans in the process without having to fire a shot. As one rifle platoon and the weapons platoon swung to the right to block the Naso River crossing, the remainder of the company turned to the left to block the railroad and highway bridges across the Brolo River. 

The second wave landed almost on the heels of the first. Although the tanks moved quickly up to the railroad embankment, intending to go through the several underpasses to support Company E, the passageways proved too small. As the tank platoon leader dismounted to search for a way around the obstacle, an Engineer officer appeared and offered his services in seeking a way either around or over the embankment His offer accepted, the Engineer officer rushed off one way, to the east, while the tank platoon leader headed in the other direction.

Right on schedule, part of the third wave-Companies F and G in LCT’s landed, followed in another fifteen minutes by sixteen Dukws carrying the rest of the wave: Bernard, his headquarters, and Company H, which promptly dispatched its sections to support the rifle companies. The Dukws continued inland following the two rifle companies until they, too, had to halt because of the railroad embankment. At 0330, the fourth and last wave touched down; by 0400, Bernard’s entire force was ashore without loss. By this time, Company E was in its blocking positions. 

Companies F and G reached the highway without incident at 0345. At the railroad, the Engineer officer returned to the tanks and reported that he had found a way around the thirteen-foot high embankment, via the Brolo River bed. The tank officer had not yet returned, so the Engineer officer offered to guide the two artillery batteries into position. His offer was accepted and the artillery pieces started to move slowly toward the east. The tank commander returned about this time and said that he, too, had located a bypass route, via the Naso River bed, and he started his tanks moving toward that exit. 

Even as the tanks and artillery pieces began moving out, half of Companies F and G crossed the highway and began ascending Monte Cipolla by its northeast nose, close to the junction of Highway 113 and the secondary road which wound inland to the small mountain town of Ficarra. Thus far, not a shot had been fired. Colonel Polack’s coast defense units showed no signs of having discovered the landing.

 A German motorcycle, apparently heading for Naso, suddenly came roaring down the highway. Freezing in place, the Americans allowed the. motorcycle to pass. They then continued crossing the highway and ascending Monte Cipolla’s slopes. The element of surprise still might have been maintained had not a German half-track approached from the west. Seeing troops on the road, the driver halted his vehicle. As he rose from his seat to see whose troops these were, some twenty anxious American riflemen opened fire. The driver slumped back in his seat, dead. Seconds later, a small sedan with two occupants pulled up behind the half-track. A German officer stepped out to see what had happened. A well-placed bazooka round exploded the car, killing the officer and wounding the driver. 

The noise of the rifle fire and the exploding of the bazooka round woke all Germans in the neighborhood, including Colonel Polack and his headquarters troops on Monte Cipolla. Gathering fifteen men around him, Polack opened fire on the leading elements of Companies F and G. Machine guns in Brolo began to fire seaward, while other machine guns and the 20-mm. guns located on high ground east of Brolo opened up on the landing beach. By the light of flares, Polack’s men delivered accurate machine gun fire that cut down several of the Americans. But the rest pushed on, grabbing at long shoots of grass and small bushes to pull themselves up the steep slope. 

Seeing that his headquarters personnel could not stop the Americans, Polack gathered up the unit’s classified documents (including Hube’s evacuation order of 10 August) and made his way down the far slopes of the hill into Brolo. Here, from a nearby switchboard, he called General Fries and informed the division commander of the situation. For the first time, Fries knew that the bulk of his division was in danger of being cut off. He ordered Polack to attack the American beachhead as soon as possible, using the elements of the 1st Battalion, 71st Panzer Grenadier Regiment, the antiaircraft unit, and a few German tanks located east of Brolo. 

Companies F and G managed to reach the top of Monte Cipolla at 0530; within thirty minutes both companies were dug in. Down on the flats, however, the artillery and tanks were having a difficult time trying to get into position to support the rifle companies. Three of the tanks bellied trying to cross ditches on the beach side of the railroad; the last two were damaged trying to knock down stone fences. Though the tanks could be used as fixed guns, their inability to maneuver made them practically useless in the action that was soon to follow. The artillery batteries were more fortunate, and though they had difficulty traversing ditches and terraces, they managed to get around the embankment and into firing positions before daylight in the lemon grove north of the highway. 

With the coming of daylight, Polack’s men in Brolo turned their guns from the beaches and began sweeping the eastern slopes of Monte Cipolla. Bernard’s men soon found it hazardous to make the long climb down to the beach, and those on the beach found it equally hazardous to climb up. Some fifteen men-mainly communications personnel and ammunition bearers-were killed during the course of the early morning trying to work on the slopes of the hill. The battalion’s mule train carrying badly needed ammunition from the Dukws up to the machine guns and mortars on top of the hill lost all but two of its fifteen animals to the German fire. From this time on, ammunition resupply was hazardous, spotty, and largely unsuccessful. 

Trying to aid Bernard’s men, the Philadelphia had opened fire shortly after 0530 at prearranged targets in the area, and then shifted her fires under the shore party’s direction to Polack’s units massing to strike back at the seaborne force. To the west, General Fries had ordered the 6th Company, 15th Panzer. Grenadier Regiment (then deployed in a reserve position near Naso), to attack the American beachhead from the east. He also ordered a smaller German force at Ficarra to attack the Americans he now knew to be on Monte Cipolla. 

The first German ground reaction noted by Bernard’s companies came at 0700 when the Germans from Ficarra sent two reconnaissance vehicles down the secondary road to probe the American lines. Company G allowed the two vehicles to come close, opened rapid fire, set the vehicles on fire, and scattered the occupants. Shortly thereafter, the main German force of thirty men began working their way down the Brolo River bed. Again Company G allowed the Germans to come close before opening fire. Dropping in mortar concentrations and opening up with the heavy machine guns, Company G proceeded to decimate the German force. The survivors beat a hasty retreat up the river bed, dragging their wounded with them. 

For almost an hour the situation remained fairly quiet. Then, the 6th Company-about one hundred strong-made its effort down the Naso River bed, marching boldly forward. Engaged by Company H’s machine guns, the Germans stopped and began deploying. But before they could get into an extended formation, Company H’s mortars opened fire, and round after round dropped in on the German company. Trapped between the high banks of the river, the Germans broke and ran. The Americans estimated they killed and wounded at least seventy of the attacking force. This thrust proved to be the last German attack from the south, and this sector remained fairly quiet until after darkness fell.

 General Fries, nevertheless, continued his effort” to knock Bernard’s men off their lofty perch.” Placing heavy fire on all points on the hilltop and on the slopes of the hill, the German commander at 0900 started a truck-borne infantry column another of his reserve units-eastward from Cape Orlando toward the Naso River. Fries was deliberately weakening his Naso ridge positions in attempts to open a way to the east. He had to regain control of the coastal highway if he expected to get the bulk of his division out of the American trap.

 The Philadelphia spotted the German column and opened fire, knocking out several vehicles and forcing the rest to leave the highway. Continued firing scattered the German infantrymen. Thirty minutes later, an artillery forward observer on Monte Cipolla spotted two German tanks with some infantry on the highway, also moving toward the Naso River. Bringing Battery A in on the target, the forward observer forced the tanks to leave the road well before they could reach the river, and the German infantrymen to seek shelter north of the highway. 

By this time, Bernard’s 81-mm. mortars, because of the mule train’s failure to get up the hill, were low on ammunition and could fire only harassing missions in support of the artillery batteries. Bernard’s firepower was reduced even further when, at 1025, the Philadelphia and her covering destroyers set a course for Palermo. 

Having attended to all the prearranged targets and having received no more requests for fire after the shoot on the truck convoy, Admiral Davidson figured that his task had been accomplished and that the two field artillery batteries could handle any further German threat. Thus far, only four enemy aircraft-Italian torpedo-bombers had made any sort of threatening gesture toward the American warships, but Davidson felt that the longer he lay off Brolo the greater the danger that enemy air would strike at his ships. Since he was assured of Allied air cover only until 1200, Davidson thought it wise to have the protection of the shore-based Allied antiaircraft guns at Palermo. 

To the west and across the Naso ridge, the units of the 3rd Division which General Truscott had so carefully lined up the preceding evening had started their attacks to break Fries’ hold and link up with Bernard’s force. In his command post on the eastern edge of Terranova, Truscott anxiously awaited the outcome of the drive. 

Having committed everything he had to the effort, there was nothing more he could do but wait. Leaving nothing to chance, Truscott had dispatched a liaison officer, Captain Walter K. Millar, with a powerful jeep-mounted radio, to go along with Bernard’s force. Through this radio, Truscott hoped to keep track of the situation at Monte Cipolla. Throughout the early morning, starting at 0600, Millar’s messages were most reassuring, and General Truscott began to feel better even though the progress of his other units up the Naso ridge was slow in the face of extensive German mine fields and of light to heavy German fire.

 The German division was in a bad way. By noon, Fries had pulled the bulk of the 15th Panzer Grenadier Regiment back behind the Naso River. Near the coast, the 71st Panzer Grenadier Regiment was caught between the 7th Infantry on the west and Bernard’s battalion on the east. Whereas the 15th Panzer Grenadier Regiment had a relatively free and protected route to the rear from the Naso ridge-by moving cross-country through Ficarra to San Angelo di Brolo (on the first defensive phase line as laid down by General Hube )-the northern German regiment had only the coastal highway for withdrawal. Fries ordered the regiment to fight to open a way to the east by falling back off the Naso ridge, first behind the Naso River, then behind the Brolo River, and then to Piramo, the northern hinge of Hube’s first phase line.

 With these orders Lieutenant Colonel Walter Krueger, commanding the 71st, began assembling what troops he could spare to try to force a passage along the highway. Krueger also turned one of his attached field artillery battalions around and began firing to the east.

 Colonel Polack continued his efforts to assemble his scattered units for an attack against the American beachhead. By 1100, Polack managed to get together two infantry companies mounted on personnel carriers plus several tanks, brought them into Brolo, and began probing toward Company E along the Brolo River. Polack’s assembling of troops did not go unnoticed on Monte Cipolla. Company H’s mortars began firing slowly on the town. Battery B joined in, but, because of the short range, encountered some difficulty in placing effective fire on the town. Polack sent snipers and machine guns into the buildings overlooking the river to keep up a steady fire on the single American rifle platoon guarding the highway bridge. At 1140, seriously worried by this new German threat, Bernard began relaying messages by radio through Company E to Captain Millar requesting an air strike and naval gunfire on Brolo. Twenty minutes later, Bernard asked for long-range artillery support: the 3rd Division had some attached 155-mm. guns (Long Toms) that could reach Brolo, although the town was at the extreme range of these guns. 

Bernard’s first message caused a stir at Truscott’s command post in Terranova. The 3rd Division commander did not know that Admiral Davidson had withdrawn the warships and he could not understand why Bernard was asking for naval support.

Thinking that Bernard’s shore fire control party’s radio had gone bad, he got several of his staff officers to telephone urgent messages to Seventh Army for naval and air support. These requests had just gone out when Bernard’s second message came in. Truscott ordered the 155-mm. guns though firing at the maximum range-to open fire on Brolo. At the same time, he renewed the requests for naval and air help. Word on the naval support was slow to arrive, but Seventh Army stated that the XII Air Support Command had promised an air mission, although it could not give a specific time when the mission would be flown or the number of planes to participate. General Truscott was really worried now-his forward units were still moving slowly up the Naso ridge, but they were still some hours away from a linkup. He knew Bernard’s force was too small to beat off a serous German counterattack. 

Actually, help was already on the way. Just as Admiral Davidson’s warships were about to enter Palermo harbor, the Admiral received word from TF 88’s liaison officer at the Seventh Army of Truscott’s urgent request for gunfire support. Turning the cruiser back to the east, taking two destroyers along to cover, Davidson sped back along the coast, and shortly after 1400 began firing on Polack’s troops in and around Brolo. By this time, Bernard was adjusting the 155-mm. guns on Brolo. And just as the Philadelphia opened fire, the air strike materialized in the form of twelve A-36’s that dropped bombs on Brolo and on the area just east of the town. Thirty minutes later, twelve more A-36’s zoomed in over the area and strafed the German assemblage. 

The combination of American fires proved too much. Polack’s men scattered, trying to avoid the rain of American shells. Three German tanks remained in Brolo, however, huddled near the stone buildings, and escaped damage. Unfortunately, at just this moment, the shore fire control party’s radio link with the Philadelphia stopped functioning. Not wanting to fire on targets without shore control, and since friendly air seemed to have the situation well in hand, Admiral Davidson at 1505 withdrew his warships a second time and turned again for Palermo.

 Now a new threat to Bernard’s beachhead appeared. On the west side of the Naso River, Colonel Krueger had managed to get together a battalion of infantry for an attack across the river. The rest of his regiment he left in position to delay any American attack from Naso or Cape Orlando. At about the same time, General Truscott left his command post to visit his forward regiments; he wanted personally to urge them on with all possible speed. Truscott, because of the German mines and demolished roads, could reach only the 30th Infantry which was then trying to cross the coastal flats into Cape Orlando. From Colonel Rogers’ command post, Truscott called Colonel Sherman and told the 7th Infantry commander to forget the town of Naso and push forward as quickly as possible on Rogers’ right. 

The 1st and 3rd Battalions, 30th Infantry, began crossing the Zappulla River at 1420 under a smoke screen laid down by supporting chemical mortars. The 1st Battalion soon ran into terrain that was heavily mined and booby-trapped, and moved only slowly through the coastal flats toward Cape Orlando. The 3rd Battalion also was slowed by much the same type of obstacle, but it managed to keep pace with the 1st Battalion. The 7th Infantry renewed its attack at 1500 straight up the west slopes of the Naso ridge, but its advance, too, slowed in the face of extensive mined areas. Along the ridge, Colonel Krueger’s remaining defenders strengthened the mined areas with sporadic artillery fire, frequent periods of heavy small arms fire, and with just enough infantry action to keep the American units from rushing quickly forward.

Within the beachhead, the situation worsened by the minute. After the withdrawal of the American warships, and the ending of the air strike, the three German tanks that had taken shelter in Brolo, supported by a few infantrymen, started toward the eastern end of the highway bridge. The one American platoon guarding the bridge crossing managed to drive off the German foot soldiers, whereupon, the tanks halted just at the river’s edge and opened fire on this annoying group of Americans. At the same time, Polack’s 20-mm. guns (undamaged by either the naval or air strikes) resumed heavy firing on the flats and on Monte Cipolla’s slopes. From the west, Krueger’s field artillery battery joined in. On Monte Cipolla, Bernard rushed off another message to General Truscott: “Repeat air and navy immediately . . . Situation still critical.”

 Again, Admiral Davidson was flashed the word that his guns were needed at Brolo; again, the XII Air Support Command promised another air strike, again without mentioning numbers of planes or time of mission. Before either Davidson’s warships or Allied planes could come to Bernard’s aid, the three German tanks crossed the Brolo River. The platoon of American infantrymen scattered, most moving toward the beach to join with the other platoon at the railroad bridge. As the tanks waddled slowly down the highway, Battery B tried to engage them with direct fire, but a high wall near the bridge not only limited observation but also prevented the howitzers from opening fire. German infantrymen, who crossed behind the tanks, turned to engage the Americans near the railroad bridge. The tanks continued moving slowly along the road, seemingly intent on going through the American beachhead.

 Battery B tried to displace to positions from which it could fire on the tanks, but the Germans spotted this movement. In the ensuing fire fight, the tanks knocked out two of the American guns and two ammunition half-tracks. The exploding ammunition drove the Battery B crews from their other two guns, although one crew returned to its vehicle and moved it onto the highway, just around a bend in the road. No sooner had it gone into position than the lead German tank rounded the bend. The American artillery crew fired first, and missed. Then the tank fired, and also missed. The second rounds from both vehicles, fired almost simultaneously, struck home. Both the tank and the self-propelled gun started to burn furiously.

From Monte Cipolla, Company F, overlooking the fight below, sent a shower of rifle fire on the other two German tanks without much effect. Company H’s mortars and machine guns remained silent, hoarding their few remaining rounds for a last-ditch stand.

 On the right, Battery A had finally managed to maneuver its guns into position to fire on the last two German tanks. The battery set one on fire, whereupon the last turned and trundled slowly back to the east. Before recrossing the river into Brolo, the tank paused for a brief moment to destroy the unmaned but still serviceable Battery B howitzer. The German infantrymen followed the tank back across the river.

 Worried about Company E, Bernard started Company F down Monte Cipolla to take over the Brolo River defenses, telling Company F’s commander to send what he could find of Company E to the Nasa River to defend from that direction. One platoon of Company E was still in position there, and Bernard hoped that by consolidating the remnants of Company E into one group, he could use it to hold on to the highway crossing. Became of continued German fire, Company F’s progress down the hill was slow, and it was almost 1600 before the company debouched on to the flats and moved to the river line. 

Unfortunately, Company F’s arrival in the flats coincided with the promised air strike. Seven A-36’s swept in low over Monte Cipolla at just about 1600. Apparently not fully oriented to the ground, the pilots dropped two bombs on Bernard’s command post, killing and wounding nineteen men, and the rest on Battery A’s howitzers. Though Company F was unscathed, when the smoke cleared the infantrymen discovered that the four remaining artillery pieces had been destroyed. 

With nothing left to support the two companies in the flats, Bernard ordered everybody up onto Monte Cipolla. Bernard figured the time had corne to make his last-ditch stand. The Philadelphia arrived back on the scene just as Bernard finished ordering everybody up out of the low ground. Seeing the vessels, an officer from the shore fire control party commandeered a Dukw to take him out to the cruiser to get supporting fires. Through some misunderstanding, three of the other Dukws (all loaded with ammunition) followed. 

An artillery officer took a fifth Dukw to recall the three carrying ammunition. Thus, practically all of the task force’s remaining ammunition supply headed out to sea. The Dukws managed to make the cross-water run successfully. After taking the men aboard, the cruiser began firing on Cape Orlando, Brolo, and the highway east of Brolo. Admiral Davidson did not want to bring the fires in any closer to Monte Cipolla.

 After about fifteen minutes of naval fire, just before 1700, eight German aircraft struck the three American warships. In a brisk thirty-minute fight which featured violent evasive actions by the ships, near from German bombs, and the appearance of friendly aircraft, only one German plane managed to make its escape. The cruiser claimed five of those shot down. Again, Admiral Davidson decided to withdraw his warships. He was still devoid of communications with Bernard’s force; his ships were still prey for enemy air attacks. He could see nothing that he could do to ease Bernard’s situation. Again, the warships set a course for Palermo, this time going all the way. 

Company F, with men from the engineer platoon and the artillery batteries, got back up on Monte Cipolla before complete darkness set in. Bernard expended the last of his mortar ammunition in a concentration on a suspected German assembly area across the Naso River. This he followed with rifle and machine gun fire on the bridge to cover Company E’s disengagement. The latter unit, still badly disorganized, began dribbling in to Bernard’s command post a short time later. Some of the company never made it to the hill, but dug in on the flats for the night, fighting as best they could with rifles and hand grenades against the retiring German columns. Bernard passed the word for the units on Monte Cipolla to break into small groups and move back toward the 3rd Division’s lines as soon after daybreak as possible. 

By 1800, the 71st Panzer Grenadier Regiment was in control of the highway and a narrow stretch of land on each side. Glad to have opened an escape route, it paid little attention to Company E’s survivors still in the flats. At 2200, Colonel Krueger began withdrawing his units to the east, taking with him his vehicles. Krueger made no attempt against Monte Cipolla. 

At his command post in Terranova, General Truscott was becoming increasingly worried about Bernard’s small force. Captain Millar, before ascending Monte Cipolla, had sent one last message just before 1800 to General Truscott and then destroyed his radio set. Only part of the message (which asked again for naval support) got through; General Truscott felt that the small American force had been overrun before the complete message could be dispatched: he could see “the final German assault swarming over our gallant comrades.” To add to his worries, both the 7th and 30th Infantry Regiments reported they had lost contact with their leading battalions; the units had outrun their communications with the regimental command posts. 

Unknown to General Truscott, both regiments by 2200 had gained the Naso ridge and were even then starting down the eastern slopes to link up with Bernard’s force. By this time, the bulk of Colonel Krueger’s regiment had made good its escape to the east, past the trap which had been so neatly set but which could not be held. 

The 1st Battalion, 30th Infantry, crossed the Naso River and entered the flats. Men from Company E leaped from their hiding places to greet the relieving force. Patrols were immediately dispatched to Monte Cipolla to locate Colonel Bernard, who, hearing the sounds of firing which marked the approach of the bulk of the division, rescinded his previous instructions for the men to make their way to the east after daybreak. At 0730, 12 August, Bernard made contact with a 1st Battalion patrol. His force-minus 177 men killed, wounded, and missing-came down off the hill. 

The 3rd Battalion, 30th Infantry, moved through to take up the pursuit of the 29th Panzer Grenadier Division, which had been forced to give up its portion of the Tortorici line twenty-four hours ahead of time. For a short while, this withdrawal had posed a threat to General Rodt’s evacuation of Randazzo. But the 29th was able to slip into position in front of Patti, where Rodt’s escape route from Randazzo came out to the north coast. Here, aided by the terrain, Fries was not only able to gain back the day he had lost, but to hold open Rodt’s escape route as well. 

Except for forcing General Fries to give up the Naso ridge a day ahead of time, no mean feat considering the natural defensive strength of the position, Bernard’s landing accomplished little. But the operation had come close to trapping a large part of the 29th Panzer Grenadier Division, and had come even closer to rolling up the whole northern sector of Rube’s defensive line. It was only because Bernard’s force was too small, and because continuous air and naval support was not available, that Rube’s entire northern flank was not rolled up and cut off from Messina. If a stronger force had been landed-at least anReT-and if continuous naval and air support had been provided, General Fries could hardly have cleared a way out of the trap along the coastal highway.

 Operations against the rear of the German defensive line undoubtedly would have eased the way for the bulk of the 3rd Division, and would have made for a quicker link-up. Pressure from front and rear might have so hampered Fries’ regiments that probably few if any of the Germans could have made their way to the east. With Fries’ division out of the way, advance east along Highway 113 might have been virtually unopposed. 

In conjunction with American advances from Randazzo, General Truscott might have effectively severed General Rodt’s withdrawal routes to Messina. This, in turn, might have led to a rapid dash into Messina where at least a part of the Hermann Gӧring Division could have been prevented from making good its escape. 

As it turned out, the 29th Panzer Grenadier Division, which suffered about the same number of casualties as the 3rd Division, made good its get-away. It managed to withdraw most of its heavy equipment to Rube’s first phase line just east of Piraino–three miles from Brolo thus holding open Rodt’s escape route to the north coast. If the German division’s morale was damaged by this second American amphibious end run-and it must have been-its physical capability for fighting more delaying actions was only slightly weakened.

SOURCE: Sicily and the Surrender of Italy: BY; Lieutenant Colonel Albert Nutter Garland & Howard McGaw Smyth (United States Army Center of Military History)

World War Two: Sicily (2-21) End of the Campaign: The Race to Messina

World War Two: Sicily (2-19) Axis Evacuation