Today’s Funny for April 12: A Fairy Tale for Assertive Women

A Fairy Tale for Assertive Women

Once upon a time, in a land far away, a beautiful, independent, self-assured princess happened upon a frog as she sat contemplating ecological issues on the shores of an unpolluted pond in a verdant meadow near her castle.

The frog hopped into the Princess’ lap and said: “Elegant Lady, I was once a handsome Prince, until an evil Witch cast a spell upon me. One kiss from you, however, and I will turn back into the dapper, young Prince that I am and then, my sweet, we can marry and setup housekeeping in yon castle with my Mother, where you can prepare my meals, clean my clothes, bear my children, and forever feel grateful and happy doing so.”

That night, on a repast of lightly sauted frogs legs seasoned in a white wine and onion cream sauce, she chuckled to herself and thought: “I don’t think so.”

–Turok’s Cabana


The Old Farmer’s Almanac for April 12: THE MANY HOUSEHOLD USES FOR VINEGAR




Here are some of the many household uses for white vinegar—from cleaning to stain treatment to relieving insect bites. Vinegar is “wonder” product. Discover its common and surprising uses!


Vinegar is a common ingredient in countless homemade cleaners and is especially helpful for cleaning household appliances.

Here are some of the more uncommon uses:

  • Coffeepot: Bring a solution of 1 cup of vinegar and 4 tablespoons of baking soda to a boil in teapots and coffeepots to rid them of mineral deposits. To clean drip coffeemakers, fill the reservoir with white vinegar and run it through a brewing cycle. Rinse thoroughly by brewing two cycles with water before using.
  • Stovetop: A solution of vinegar and baking soda will easily remove cooking oil from your stovetop.
  • Oven: For a clean oven, combine vinegar and baking soda, then scrub.
  • Dishwasher: Use as a rinsing agent to get your glasses and plates clean. Once a year, pour a cup of white vinegar into an empty dishwasher, then run it for a short cycle to get rid of the lime and soap build-up.
  • Humidifier: Clean the filter on your humidifier by removing it and soaking it in a pan of white vinegar until all the sediment is off.
  • Tubs and Showers: Saturate a cloth with vinegar and sprinkle with baking soda, and then use it to clean fiberglass tubs and showers. Rinse well and rub dry for a spotless shine.
  • Shower Curtain: Use a sponge dampened with vinegar to clean shower curtains.
  • Toilet Bowl: Clean and deodorize your toilet bowl by pouring undiluted white vinegar into it. Let stand for five minutes, then flush. Spray stubborn stains with white vinegar, then scrub vigorously.
  • Windows: Clean windows with a cloth dipped in a solution of one part white vinegar and 10 parts warm water.
  • Fridge Odors: Rid your refrigerator and freezer of bad odors by cleaning the insides with a solution of equal parts vinegar and water, then wiping dry.
  • Clothes Odors: To remove smoke odors on clothes, hang them above a steaming bathtub filled with hot water and a cup of white vinegar.
  • Prevent Mildew. Wipe down surfaces with vinegar to clean and to prevent mildew.

When NOT to use vinegar:

  • Do not use vinegar on granite or marble countertops.
  • Avoid using vinegar where there is unsealed grout.
  • Do not use vinegar on wood surfaces or hardwood floors (or no-wax vinyl floors).
  • Never use vinegar on your cell phone or computer screen!

You’ll notice that baking soda is often used as a sidekick to vinegar.


  • Remove Bumper Stickers:  To remove bumper stickers from car chrome, paint on vinegar and let it soak in. Next, scrape off the stickers. Decals can be removed similarly.
  • Wipe down windows with diluted vinegar in winter to keep them frost-free.


  • Clothes: Vinegar naturally breaks down uric acid and soapy residue, leaving baby clothes and diapers soft and fresh. Add a cup of vinegar to each load during the rinse cycle.
  • Chewing Gum: To remove chewing gum, rub it with full-strength vinegar.
  • Paint Stains: Soak paint stains in hot vinegar to remove them.
  • Shoes: To remove salt and water stains from leather boots and shoes, rub with a solution of 1 tablespoon white vinegar and 1 cup water. Wipe over the stained area only, and then polish.


  • Insect Bites :Apply full strength vinegar to mosquito or other insect bites to relieve the itching. (Caution: Do not do this if the affected area is raw.)
  • Insect Repellant: Rub apple cider vinegar on your skin to repel insects.
  • Sprains: Place a vinegar-soaked brown bag on sprains to ease pain and aid recovery.
  • Shiny Hair: For brunettes, rinsing hair with vinegar after a shampoo makes hair shinier. Use one-tablespoon vinegar to one-cup warm water.
  • Loosen Jar Lids: Hold the jar upside down and pour warm vinegar around the neck at the joint between the glass and the top.
  • Garden Weeds: Spray directly on plants that you want to kill, especially weeds in cracks in your driveway! Spray on a dry, sunny day.
  • Dogs: Clean inside of dog’s ears with clean washcloth or rag dipped in a white vinegar solution (4 tablespoons water: 1 tablespoon vinegar)

The Old Farmer’s Almanac





It’s hard to think of a natural substance that serves such a wide array of everyday purposes as vinegar. While it might seem as if you can use vinegar on everything, it’s also acidic, which means that it can cause damage to your health and home if you use it improperly.

Here are things that you should NOT use vinegar for.


We’re huge fans of vinegar. It’s natural and non-toxic. It’s cheap to buy. It’s versatile.

People use vinegar (Note: not always safely or effectively) to clean windows (sinks, appliances, glassware, coffee-makers, dental retainers, etc.), remove stains, kill weeds, condition their hair, remove smelly-dog odors from fabrics, “age” wood, remove sticky labels, disinfect cutting boards and other surfaces, ease the pain of insect stings and sunburns, prevent fabric dyes from running, fluff up and stiffen egg whites, make cottage cheese from milk, soften fabrics, dry up pimples, lose weight, disinfect wounds, sanitizing fresh fruits and vegetables, and to prevent or treat diverse ills.

Not to mention its use in pickling, and its appeal as a flavoring ingredient in salad dressings, marinades, and cooked dishes, and as an ingredient in refreshing summer drinks or winter tonics (e.g., shrubs, switchel, fire cider).



Vinegar, whose name derives from the French vin aigre, meaning sour wine, is produced naturally through a two-stage process that starts when yeasts digest the sugars in fruits, grains (and sometimes vegetables) into wines, beers, or grain alcohols. Acetic acid bacteria, ubiquitous in the environment, further ferment the alcohol to vinegar.

Commercially available vinegars have been mixed with water or other liquids to contain between four and eight percent acetic acid—the Food and Drug Administration has a four-percent-minimum standard. The label must indicate the percentage of acetic acid.

So-called “horticultural” or “industrial” vinegars” typically contain between 20 percent and 30 percent acetic acid.

Most supermarkets and specialty food stores offer a wide array of vinegars, often named from the material first fermented into alcohol, but sometimes containing herbs, spices, fruits or other flavoring agents.

But all vinegars, by definition, contain some percentage of acetic acid, which is responsible for at least some of its effects. And some of these effects can cause damage to you, your pets, or the materials you’re working with. So heed the caveats.


Is Vinegar Safe to Eat and Drink?

Yes and no. First, we are only talking about white vinegar with 5% acetic acid, nothing more.

  • If it doesn’t irritate your digestive system, enjoy your 5% vinegars in pickles, tasty dressings and marinades, drizzled over cooked vegetables, and well-diluted in beverages.
  • But don’t start swigging undiluted vinegar! It’s still acetic acid. Especially undiluted, vinegar may harm mouth and digestive-system tissues, A tablespoon is enough for salad dressing or to flavor a quart of drinking water.
  • Children have suffered serious burns from drinking vinegar, and from vinegar compresses used to lower fevers or soothe sunburns.
  • Speaking of child safety: If you have children or child visitors, lock up household vinegars (including those stored under the sink with cleaning compounds).

Is Vinegar Safe for Home Remedies?

  • Before using vinegar as a do-it-yourself remedy, read this fact sheet from the National Poison Control Center.
  • No matter how many testimonials you read or hear about the miracles of vinegar, don’t use it to self-medicate without consulting your doctor. Vinegar may interferewith prescription or over-the-counter medications or supplements you take. Treating yourself for a serious medical problem before consulting your doctor may delay appropriate medical treatment.
  • For the same reasons, unless suggested by your doctor, stay away from acetic acid/cider vinegar tablets, widely promoted for weight loss.
  • Swabbing a small wound, pimple, or insect sting with household vinegar may help sanitize the area and relieve the pain, swelling or itching. Don’t use vinegar as a compressDon’t saturate any large area of skin with vinegar, and don’t cover a vinegar-treated area with a bandage.
  • Don’t use undiluted vinegar or use vinegar preparations to freshen your breath or whiten your teeth. Its acid may erode tooth enamel and injure sensitive tissues.
  • Forget the commercial hair conditioner and rinse with a few tablespoons of apple cider vinegar but dilute the vinegar in a quart or so of warm water. (The vinegar will remove the residues of hair-care products and close the hair cuticles, protecting them from splitting and giving your hair a sleek, well-conditioned look.)

Is Vinegar Safe as a Garden Herbicide?

Here’s the basic information for using strong vinegar to kill weeds. If you do choose to use it, store and handle it with extreme care.

  • Because most people think of vinegar as a common and benign pantry staple, someone might mistake the industrial-strength vinegar for the household product. So store the vinegar under lock and key away from kitchen staples, and post a warning sign on the bottle if the label doesn’t already contain one.
  • The much stronger acid content of weed-killing vinegars can cause severe burns and permanent eye damage. Wear chemical-resistant gloves, eye protection, long sleeves and pants before you load the sprayer and head to the garden.
  • Don’t spray when it’s windy; spray drift may kill desirable plants nearby. Point the sprayer nozzle away from you. Experts say vinegar works best for small, annual broadleaf weeds and recommend using vinegar sprays on small areas only.

Where is Vinegar Safe to Use and NOT Use for Cleaning?

Important caveat: If you do choose to use vinegar as a cleaning agent, never mix it with bleach, ammonia, or hydrogen peroxide because any of these mixtures will create toxic gases.

  • Vinegar can play an important role in the household laundry. Choose white vinegar(grain based) for all laundry and stain-removal purposes; apple-cider vinegar and other flavored vinegars may stain your clothes, rugs, curtains, etc.
  • A cup of white vinegar in the rinse cycle will dissolve the soap and detergent residues in clothes and in the machine, as well as brighten, deodorize, help soften, and remove many stains from clothes. It’s also safe for septic systems. Note: The user manuals of some new appliances (dishwashers and washing machines) may tell users to avoid vinegar, because it can pit the appliances’ synthetic rubber seals.
  • A mixture of half vinegar and half water in spray bottle is unparalleled for cleaning glass, appliances, ceramic bathroom fixtures, and running occasionally through your coffee pot to eliminate residues. But do NOT scrub stone, marble, or granite surfaces with vinegar solutions; it may be tempting but the acid wears down and etches the stone.
  • Don’t use vinegar on hardwood floors or wooden furniture, as it may damage the finish.
  • Experts also recommend against using vinegar to wipe down computer or smartphone screens, as it may damage their protective coatings.

Vinegar in Food Safety

  • Studies have shown that household vinegar is a pretty good antimicrobial wash for washing fruits and vegetables.
  • For sanitizing cutting boards and other food preparation surfaces, “heat ½ cup white distilled vinegar (5%) in a saucepan to 150⁰F or 66⁰C. Be sure and handle heated liquids carefully as they will be warm but not hot. Using a funnel pour the warm solution into a spray bottle. Immediately spray the cutting board, counter tops or other kitchen surfaces. Let solution remain on the surface for 1 minute and then wipe with a clean paper towel.”

Does anything here surprise you?  Please comment below!



“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.

–The Old Farmer’s Almanac




I’ve listed vinegar as one of my baker’s dozen of household essentials; I’ve extolled its virtues as a hair rinse (after a borax “shampoo”) and as a medium for extracting the culinary and healing essences of herbs.

Of course I use it for making pickles, dressing salads, and improving the flavors of everything from fruit pies to tomato sauces and soups. A bit of vinegar in the dough also helps tenderize pie crusts.

Cleans and deodorizes almost everything
Most of you already know that vinegar, sometimes in tandem with its alkaline companion baking soda, can accomplish the work of dozens of pricey, sometimes toxic, commercial household cleaning products for toilet, tub, windows, baseboards, and tarnished metals.

Vinegar by itself will remove scale from coffee pots and irons, freshen tub and sink drains (and sometimes unclog them). It will prevent colors from fading and help keep lint from sticking to clothing in the wash. It will remove sweat stains from most fabrics.

A vinegar soak removes wallpaper and its adhesive, bumper-sticker glue, and many other adhesives and varnishes.

As for bad smells in clothing, carpets, curtains, and upholstered furniture: a soaking with or in dilute vinegar will deodorize just about anything.

What is vinegar, anyway?
Vinegar results from a two-part fermentation process. During the first stage, a fruit juice or another sweet liquid is transformed by yeasts and bacteria into ethyl alcohol (wine, hard cider, etc.). Special bacteria then convert the alcohol into acetic acid, which gives vinegars their sour taste.

The vinegars commonly sold in food market are diluted with water to a standard proportion of acetic acid, generally four or five percent. Though stronger preparations are available for various uses, these industrial-strength preparations are dangerous and require special handling. I’ve never used them.

Vinegar for health and horticulture

  • Vinegar works as well or better than most commercial products as a disinfectant for washing produce, as well as for cleaning cutting boards and other food-preparation surfaces.
  • Applied full strength, cider vinegar will relieve and help prevent blisters from sunburns and minor burns.
  • A tablespoon of cider vinegar in water will soothe a sore throat or a queasy stomach.
  • Used full strength, commercial vinegar will kill weeds growing through cracks in paved areas such as patios and walkways. Industrial high-strength (up to 30 percent acetic acid) vinegars make effective natural herbicides but require special storage and handling.


Other interesting uses of vinegar

  • To remove the lines and needle holes left in fabric after ripping out a seam, moisten a cloth with white vinegar, place it under or over the fabric, and iron.
  • To thwart dog assaults on long runs or bike rides into unknown territory, carry a small (or large) spray bottle of diluted vinegar in a fanny-pack, backback, or bike water-bottle cage. Give Rover a good squirt  in the face when he jumps out from the bushes and lunges for your legs.
  • To cure organic meat. Scientists have found that vinegar and a natural source of nitrate can serve as curing agents for organic pork.

When to say no to vinegar
The unique chemistry of vinegar makes it a no-no for certain household jobs.

  • Mixing vinegar with chlorine bleach for disinfecting purposes creates toxic chlorine gas. Use one or the other.
  • Don’t wipe laptops, smart phones, and other digital appliances with vinegar, as it may damage protective coatings.
  • Using vinegar to clean marble and stoneware counter tops may cause pitted surfaces. Same goes for using it to clean “reactive” aluminum or cast-iron cookware.



“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.

-The Old Farmer’s Almanac

Holidays Around the World for April 12: Liberia National Redemption Day

Liberia National Redemption Day

April 12

On April 12, 1980, 13 soldiers stormed Liberia’s executive mansion, killing President William R. Tolbert and 26 other government leaders. Shortly after the massacre, 13 cabinet members were publicly executed. The soldiers were led by Samuel Kanyon Doe, a member of the ethnic Krahn tribe who immediately declared himself president of Liberia and set up a military regime called the People’s Redemption Council. He also declared that in the coming years April 12 would be National Redemption Day.

Doe associated his regime with redemption because he believed that as a member of Liberia’s long-repressed indigenous majority, he would lead a restructuring of the country’s power base. His rule, however, was not the welcome change that many anticipated. Instead, his regime was marred by corruption and severe political abuses from April 1980 until his death on September 9, 1990.

For Doe’s political opponents, National Redemption Day was a time to memorialize the many individuals who were killed during that tragic month in 1980. Today, many Liberians observe the anniversary by remembering the slain.

Liberia Ministry of Information, Cultural Affairs and Tourism (MICAT)
110 United Nations Dr.
P.O. Box 10-9021
Capitol Hill, 1000
Monrovia, Liberia

This Day in History, April 12: Euro Disney Resort, Now Disneyland Paris, Opens (1992)

Euro Disney Resort, Now Disneyland Paris, Opens (1992)


Disneyland Paris, originally Euro Disney Resort, is an entertainment resort in Marne-la-Vallée, France, a new town located 32 km (20 mi) east of the centre of Paris. It encompasses two theme parks, many resort hotels, a shopping, dining, and entertainment complex, and a golf course, in addition to several additional recreational and entertainment venues. Disneyland Park is the original theme park of the complex, opening with the resort on 12 April 1992. A second theme park, Walt Disney Studios Park, opened in 2002. Disneyland Paris celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2017. In 25 years, 320 million people visited Disneyland Paris.[1] The resort is the second Disney park to open outside the United States following the opening of the Tokyo Disney Resort in 1983.


Walt Disney announced a €1 billion ($1.25 billion) bailout plan to rescue its subsidiary Disneyland Paris, the Financial Times reported on 6 October 2014.[2] The park is burdened by its debt, which is calculated at about €1.75 billion ($2.20 billion) and roughly 15 times its gross average earnings.

Until June 2017, Disney only held a majority stake in the resort, when they bought the remaining shares. In 2017, The Walt Disney Company offered an informal takeover of Euro Disney S.C.A., buying 9% of the company from Kingdom Holding and an open offer of 2 euros per share for the remaining stock. This brought The Walt Disney Company’s total ownership to 85.7%. The Walt Disney company will also invest an additional 1.5 Billion euros to strengthen the company.[3]


Seeking a location for a European resort

Following the success of Disneyland in California and Walt Disney World in Florida, plans to build a similar theme park in Europe emerged In 1972. Under the leadership of E. Cardon Walker, Tokyo Disneyland opened in 1983 in Japan with instant success, forming a catalyst for international expansion. In late 1984 the heads of Disney’s theme park division, Dick Nunis and Jim Cora, presented a list of approximately 1,200 possible European locations for the park. Britain, France, Italy and Spain were all considered. However, Britain and Italy were dropped from the list due to both lacking a suitable expanse of flat land. By March 1985, the number of possible locations for the park had been reduced to four; two in France and two in Spain. Both nations saw the potential economic advantages of a Disney theme park and offered competing financing deals to Disney.

Both Spanish sites were located near the Mediterranean and offered a subtropical climate similar to Disney’s parks in California and Florida. Disney had asked each site to provide average temperatures for every month for the previous 40 years, which proved a complicated endeavour as none of the records were computerised and were registered on paper.[4] The site in Pego, Alicante became the front-runner, but the location was controversial as it would have meant the destruction of Marjal de Pego-Oliva marshlands, a site of natural beauty and one of the last homes of the almost extinct Samaruc or Valencia Toothcarp, so there was some local outcry among environmentalists.[5] Disney had also shown interest in a site near Toulon in southern France, not far from Marseille. The pleasing landscape of that region, as well as its climate, made the location a top competitor for what would be called Euro Disneyland. However, shallow bedrock was encountered beneath the site, which would have rendered construction too difficult. Finally, a site in the rural town of Marne-la-Vallée was chosen because of its proximity to Paris and its central location in Western Europe. This location was estimated to be no more than a four-hour drive for 68 million people and no more than a two-hour flight for a further 300 million.

Michael Eisner, Disney’s CEO at the time, signed the first letter of agreement with the French government for the 20-square-kilometre (4,940-acre) site on 18 December 1985, and the first financial contracts were drawn up during the following spring. The final contract was signed by the leaders of the Walt Disney Company and the French government and territorial collectivities on 24 March 1987. Construction began in August 1988, and in December 1990, an information centre named “Espace Euro Disney” was opened to show the public what was being constructed. Plans for a theme park next to Euro Disneyland based on the entertainment industry, Disney-MGM Studios Europe, quickly went into development, scheduled to open in 1996 with a construction budget of US$2.3 billion.[6] The construction manager was Bovis.[7]

Design and construction

In order to provide lodging to patrons, it was decided that 5,200 Disney-owned hotel rooms would be built within the complex. In March 1988, Disney and a council of architects (Frank Gehry, Michael Graves, Robert A.M. Stern, Stanley Tigerman, and Robert Venturi) decided on an exclusively American theme in which each hotel would depict a region of the United States. At the time of the opening in April 1992, seven hotels collectively housing 5,800[8] rooms had been built.

An entertainment, shopping, and dining complex based on Walt Disney World’s Downtown Disney was designed by Frank Gehry.

With its towers of oxidised silver and bronze-coloured stainless steel under a canopy of lights, it opened as Festival Disney.[9] For a projected daily attendance of 55,000, Euro Disney planned to serve an estimated 14,000 people per hour inside the Euro Disneyland park. In order to accomplish this, 29 restaurants were built inside the park (with a further 11 restaurants built at the Euro Disney resort hotels and five at Festival Disney). Menus and prices were varied with an American flavour predominant and Disney’s precedent of serving alcoholic beverages was continued in the park.

2,300 patio seats (30% of park seating) were installed to satisfy Europeans’ expected preference of eating outdoors in good weather. In test kitchens at Walt Disney World, recipes were adapted for European tastes. Walter Meyer, executive chef for menu development at Euro Disney and executive chef of food projects development at Walt Disney World noted, “A few things we did need to change, but most of the time people kept telling us, ‘Do your own thing. Do what’s American’.”[10]


Unlike Disney’s American theme parks, Euro Disney aimed for permanent employees (an estimated requirement of 12,000 for the theme park itself), as opposed to seasonal and temporary part-time employees. Casting centres were set up in Paris, London, and Amsterdam. However, it was understood by the French government and Disney that “a concentrated effort would be made to tap into the local French labour market”.[11] Disney sought workers with sufficient communication skills, who spoke two European languages (French and one other), and were socially outgoing. Following precedent, Euro Disney set up its own Disney University to train workers. 24,000 people had applied by November 1991.[11]


The prospect of a Disney park in France was a subject of debate and controversy. Critics, who included prominent French intellectuals, denounced what they considered to be the cultural imperialism of Euro Disney and felt it would encourage an unhealthy American type of consumerism in France.[12] On 28 June 1992, a group of French farmers blockaded Euro Disney in protest of farm policies supported at the time by the United States.[13]

A journalist at the centre-right French newspaper Le Figaro wrote, “I wish with all my heart that the rebels would set fire to [Euro] Disneyland.”[14] Ariane Mnouchkine, a Parisian stage director, named the concept a “cultural Chernobyl”,[15] a phrase which would be echoed in the media during Euro Disney’s initial years.

In response, French philosopher Michel Serres noted, “It is not America that is invading us. It is we who adore it, who adopt its fashions and above all, its words.” Euro Disney S.C.A.’s then-chairman Robert Fitzpatrick responded, “We didn’t come in and say O.K., we’re going to put a beret and a baguette on Mickey Mouse. We are who we are.”[11]

Topics of controversy also included Disney’s American managers requiring English to be spoken at all meetings and Disney’s appearance code for members of staff, which listed regulations and limitations for the use of makeup, facial hair, tattoos, jewellery, and more.

French labour unions mounted protests against the appearance code, which they saw as “an attack on individual liberty”. Others criticised Disney as being insensitive to French culture, individualism, and privacy, because restrictions on individual or collective liberties were illegal under French law, unless it could be demonstrated that the restrictions are requisite to the job and do not exceed what is necessary.

Disney countered by saying that a ruling that barred them from imposing such an employment standard could threaten the image and long-term success of the park. “For us, the appearance code has a great effect from a product identification standpoint,” said Thor Degelmann, Euro Disney’s personnel director. “Without it we couldn’t be presenting the Disney product that people would be expecting.”[16]

Opening day and early years

Euro Disney opened for employee preview and testing in March 1992. During this time visitors were mostly park employees and their family members, who tested facilities and operations. The press were able to visit the day before the park’s opening day on 12 April.

On 12 April 1992, Euro Disney Resort and its theme park, Euro Disneyland, officially opened, on the same date that Mediaset’s La Cinq (unrelated to the resort) ceased transmissions.[17] Visitors were warned of chaos on the roads. A government survey indicated that half a million people carried by 90,000 cars might attempt to enter the complex. French radio warned traffic to avoid the area. By midday, the car park was approximately half full, suggesting an attendance level below 25,000. Explanations of the lower-than-expected turnout included speculation that people heeded the advice to stay away and that the one-day strike that cut the direct RER railway connection to Euro Disney from the centre of Paris made the park inaccessible.[14] Due to the European recession that August, the park faced financial difficulties as there were a lack of things to do and an overabundance of hotels, leading to underperformance.[18]

A new Indiana Jones roller-coaster ride was opened at Euro Disney in 1993. A few weeks after the ride opened there were problems with the emergency brakes which resulted in guest injuries.[19]

In 1994, the company was still having financial difficulties. There were rumours that Euro Disney was getting close to having to declare bankruptcy. The banks and the backers had meetings to work out some of the financial problems facing Euro Disney. In March 1994 Team Disney went into negotiations with the banks so that they could get some help for their debt. As a last resort, the Walt Disney Company threatened to close the Disneyland Paris park, leaving the banks with the land.[18]

Read more….


World War Two: Wakde-Sarmi; Lone Tree Hill and Beyond (AP-11)

The 6th Division’s 20th Infantry, together with the 6th Medical Battalion, the 1st and 51st Field Artillery Battalions, and miscellaneous other division units arrived at Toem on 11 June. The 1st Infantry and the 6th Engineers were already in the area and the rest of the division, including the 63rd Infantry and the 80th Field Artillery Battalion, began unloading on 14 June. With the 11 June convoy had come the division commander, Major General Franklin C. Sibert, and his headquarters. Under General Sibert’s command the TORNADO Task Force was to continue the drive westward toward Sarmi. The capture of Sarmi and the destruction of Japanese forces west of the Tor River were to be accomplished rapidly, for plans were already being made by ALAMO Force to employ the 6th Division in another operation which, scheduled for late July, involved seizure of an air-base site on the northwestern tip of the Vogelkop Peninsula.

The 6th Division Against Lone Tree Hill General Sibert assumed command of the TORNADO Task Force on 12 June. [n11-2] His first problem was to get the various units of the 6th Division unloaded. The division had been hastily and unsystematically loaded at Milne Bay, in eastern New Guinea, because the ships which were to carry it to Toem arrived at Milne Bay so late that comprehensive loading plans could neither be made nor executed. Moreover, the Toem beaches were mediocre, unloading and storing facilities inadequate, and lighterage was insufficient. Unloading therefore proceeded very slowly, and the 20th Infantry had to borrow many crew-served weapons from the 158th Infantry before it could relieve the latter unit at the Tirfoam.[n11-3]

[n11-2 On the same date Headquarters, 6th Infantry Division, began operating as Headquarters, TORNADO Task Force, in place of Headquarters, 158th Regimental Combat Team, which had held that role since it, in turn, had replaced Headquarters, 163rd Regimental Combat Team, on 25 May.]

[n11-3 Rad, TTF to ALAMO Adv Hq, Y-1117, 11 Jun 44, in ALAMO Adv Hq G-3 Jnl Wakde-Biak, 11-13 Jun 44; Ltr, General Sibert to General Krueger, 18 Jun 44, in ALAMO Rear Hq G-3 Jnl Wakde-Biak, 27-31 Jul 44. While in command of the TORNADO Task Force, General Sibert wrote almost daily personal letters to General Krueger.]

The Objective

General Sibert believed that it would be tactically and logistically unsound for his division to engage in offensive action until all its units were unloaded, settled, and acquainted with the combat area. Therefore he planned to have the 1st Infantry mop up south of Toem and Arare until unloading was complete, and he instructed the 20th Infantry to limit its action to sending patrols west of the Tirfoam to locate enemy defenses. After the 20th received its own equipment, it would push westward in conjunction with a series of battalion shore-to-shore movements along the coast toward Sarmi. General Sibert’s staff estimated that unloading, mopping up, and patrolling would be completed in time for the 20th Infantry to begin a major offensive on 1 July.

General Krueger would not sanction such a delay in initiating an advance westward. Surf, beach, and terrain conditions in the Toem-Arare area had proved unsatisfactory for the establishment of a staging base, but it was known that the shore of Maffin Bay afforded better conditions. General Krueger realized that quick control over the Maffin Bay area was necessary if the theater were to make any use of the Wakde-Sarmi region as a staging base. On 18 June he therefore ordered General Sibert to start an immediate offensive, and the latter accordingly changed his plans.

The 1st Infantry was instructed to relieve 20th Infantry elements at the Tor bridgehead, and the 20th Infantry was directed to concentrate at the Tirfoam in time to attack westward on 20 June. The initial objective was the Lone Tree Hill-Hill 225 area, but the advance was to continue until all Japanese in the coastal area between the Tirfoam and Sarmi town had been destroyed or dispersed inland.

The 158th Infantry had spent but four days in the vicinity of Lone Tree Hill and had not been able to explore the terrain thoroughly. Such information as the regiment had acquired was turned over to the 6th Infantry Division but proved sketchy and not altogether accurate. Beginning on 21 June, the 20th Infantry was to gain a new and more detailed picture of the Lone Tree Hill area.

At the top of Lone Tree Hill was a stretch of rough but generally level ground lying mostly along the western part of the hill. This flat ground, about 700 yards long north to south, was shaped like a crude dumbbell. At its northern end, the level area was about 300 yards wide. It narrowed at the center of the hill to less than 100 yards but broadened again on the south to a width of about 250 yards. There were many coral outcroppings, potholes, and small crevices, while on the north the hill terminated in a very rugged prominence called Rocky Point. This terrain feature, which extended into Maffin Bay from the central mass of Lone Tree Hill, was about 300 yards wide east to west. Its northern face was not as heavily overgrown as the rest of Lone Tree Hill. Although Rocky Point’s northeast slope was steep, foot troops could climb that face with more ease than they could approach the top of Lone Tree Hill from most other points.

A deep ravine ran southwest into the central mass of Lone Tree Hill from a sandy beach on the east side of Rocky Point. The floor of the ravine varied from 20 to 30 yards in width and its nearly vertical western wall was 40 to 50 feet high. Both sides were honeycombed with natural or man-made tunnels, caverns, and small caves, most of which were connected with each other by underground or deeply defiladed passages. Some caves reached a width of 40 feet, a depth into the hillside of 50 feet, and a height of 20 feet. The ravine terminated on the eastern slope of Lone Tree Hill in a steep grade at the narrow central portion of the hilltop.

East of the ravine and extending to the west bank of the Snaky was an oval-shaped, low, and generally flat shelf about 250 yards wide east to west and almost 450 yards long. Its eastern and northern sides lay about 20 feet above the surrounding sea-level plain. The approaches from the beach or the Snaky River were very steep and in places were sheer, low cliffs. On its southwestern side the shelf led to precipitous grades reaching to the top of Lone Tree Hill. South of the narrow section of the hilltop plateau these grades flattened into a wide draw with gradual slopes.

West of Rocky Point was a beach not more than twenty feet deep, behind which was a vertical rock and clay ledge varying from three to five feet in height. Between the ledge and the western face of Lone Tree Hill was a heavily forested swampy area extending more than 300 yards inland. The western face of the hill was an almost vertical cliff, 60 to 80 feet high, and was rock-faced but covered with heavy jungle undergrowth. The steepest part, about 700 yards long, gave way at the southwest corner of Lone Tree Hill to less precipitous heavily forested slopes extending through the defile between Lone Tree Hill and Hill 225.

Lone Tree Hill contained a veritable maze of Japanese defenses. There were many caves and bunkers on the western cliff—positions which were hidden from ground observers by tall trees or undergrowth on the cliff face. There were also a few pillboxes or bunkers in the swampy area between the cliff and the beach west of Rocky Point. Two 75-mm. field pieces, defiladed by rocky outcroppings, were emplaced by the enemy on this beach. On the face of Rocky Point and on the rocky shore below were other defensive positions and at least one other artillery piece. In the ravine east of Rocky Point were five 75-mm. mountain guns hidden in various caves or crevices. Although none of these guns could be traversed, they were so emplaced that they covered most of the northwestern, northern, and northeastern land and sea approaches to Lone Tree Hill.

On the hilltop plateau Japanese defensive positions included log and earth dugouts which, presenting low silhouettes and covered with undergrowth, were very difficult to locate. Atop the hill rough holes were also dug under or between the roots of large trees. Some of these defenses were arranged in lines across the ravine and wide draw leading to the hilltop from the northeast and east, respectively. One of the most troublesome installations was a Japanese observation post at the northern part of the hilltop plateau. This post, about one hundred feet off the ground in the branches of a huge tree, was sturdily constructed and cleverly camouflaged. It had withstood air, naval, and artillery bombardments aimed at Lone Tree Hill prior to 20 June. From the post the Japanese could observe movements along the main road to the east of Lone Tree Hill, the entire beach area from Sarmi to Arare, and maneuvers on most of the hill itself.

Information available to the TORNADO Task Force on 20 June indicated that Lone Tree Hill was defended by 700 to 800 Japanese. Most of these troops were believed to be members of the 3rd Battalion, 224th Infantry, plus a few men and weapons of 36th Division artillery—75-mm. mountain guns. The strength estimate was reasonably accurate—there were actually near 850 Japanese on the hill—but it did not take into account the Japanese south of Lone Tree Hill on Hill 225 and the eastern nose of Mt. Saksin, from which enemy troops could move rapidly to reinforce Lone Tree Hill and from which they could defend the southern approaches to that hill. Moreover, there were elements of many more 36th Division units in the immediate Lone Tree Hill area.

Command in the area was exercised by Headquarters, Right Sector Force, now under Colonel Matsuyama of the 224th Infantry who, as his regiment arrived west of the Tor, took over the sector command from Major Matsuoka. By 20 June the troops on Lone Tree Hill proper comprised the 1st Battalion, 224th Infantry, less one company; the remnants of Captain Saito’s 300-man company of 3rd Battalion, 224th Infantry, riflemen and 36th Division artillerymen (Captain Saito had long since been killed); probably a company from the 3rd Battalion, 223rd Infantry; elements of the 16th Field Airdrome Construction Unit; 36th Division artillery weapons and crews; and, finally, a few men of antiaircraft and service units who had been armed as auxiliary infantry. South of Lone Tree Hill, on Hill 225 and the eastern nose of Mt. Saksin, were emplaced most of the rest of the 224th Infantry, the bulk of the 16th Field Airdrome Construction Unit, probably another company of the 223rd Infantry, and an antiaircraft battery converted to infantry. The total Japanese strength in the Lone Tree Hill-Hill 225-eastern nose area was probably at least 1,800 men. The 1st Company, 224th Infantry, down to about 30 men, was initially left east of the Tor to conduct reconnaissance and guerrilla warfare around the TORNADO Task Force beach positions, but moved across the river sometime after 20 June to rejoin the rest of the Right Sector Force. Two companies of the 2nd Battalion, 224th Infantry, were between the Tirfoam and the Tor, with instructions to harass the Allied line of communications along the coastal road west from the Tor.

About the same time that Colonel Matsuyama assumed command of the Right Sector Force, the Yoshino Force and the new Yuki Group were apparently disbanded as such and combined to form a new Central Sector Force under Colonel Yoshino, the commander of the 223rd Infantry.

Colonel Yoshino’s new sector ran west from the west side of Lone Tree Hill to the old western boundary at Sawar Creek, where the Left Sector Force, still under General Yamada, took up. Except for the one or two companies assigned to the Right Sector Force, Colonel Yoshino’s entire 223rd Infantry was assigned to the Central Sector Force. Also under his command were various artillery, antiaircraft, and service units, including whatever was left of the 103rd Field Airdrome Construction Unit. The remnants of the 51st Field Road Construction Unit, formerly attached to the 224th Infantry, were sent to the area of the Left Sector Force. The bulk of Colonel Yoshino’s troops were on the western slopes of Mt. Saksin, although some were in defensive positions along the coast immediately west of Lone Tree Hill. The strength of the force was about 2,000 men.

To the Top of Lone Tree Hill

The attack west from the Tirfoam River jumped off on schedule at 0800 on 20 June. The 1st Battalion, 20th Infantry, moved along the main coastal road. The 3rd Battalion followed closely, while the 2nd remained in reserve at Maffin No. 1. Shortly after 1200 the 1st Battalion, having encountered no opposition, reached the Snaky River. Company B pushed on toward the village at the entrance to the defile between Lone Tree Hill and the eastern nose of Mt. Saksin. This advance was greeted by a hail of fire from Japanese automatic weapons emplaced in the defile—fire reminiscent of the opposition encountered by Company B, 158th Infantry, at the same place more than three weeks earlier.

The 20th Infantry’s Company B tried to outflank the enemy position to the south but was halted by intense Japanese machine gun fire. Tanks sent forward to aid the infantry were unable to reach the enemy guns because the terrain was impassable to tracked or wheeled vehicles, which could scarcely negotiate the rough road, let alone the thick jungle and rising ground to the south. Late in the afternoon Company A was sent forward to Company B’s position, but both units encountered heavy fire and soon lost contact with the rest of the 1st Battalion.

The two companies remained for the night in an isolated perimeter near the village and about 400 yards west of the main body. The 3rd Battalion had moved north off the coastal road during the morning, and late in the afternoon it had established a perimeter extending south 200 yards from the beach along the east bank of the Snaky River. The battalion had encountered little opposition during the day, but patrols which had crossed the Snaky before dark reported finding many Japanese defensive positions on the eastern slopes of Lone Tree Hill. A gap which existed between the 1st and 3rd Battalions was partially filled just before nightfall by elements of the 2nd Battalion, which were sent forward late in the afternoon. Casualties during the day were four killed and twenty-eight wounded.

The 1st and 3rd Battalions, 1st Infantry, moved across the Tor River in the morning of 20 June and took over the positions in the vicinity of Maffin No. 1 vacated by the 20th Infantry. The 2nd Battalion, 1st Infantry, assumed responsibility for the protection of the bridgehead across the Tor. The regiment was to remain east of the Tirfoam in reserve on 21 June while the 20th Infantry moved on against Lone Tree Hill.

Operations of the 20th Infantry during the morning of 21 June consisted principally of patrolling designed to locate enemy strong points on and around Lone Tree Hill. The 1st and 3rd Battalions undertook most of this scouting while the remainder of the 2nd Battalion, together with the regimental Antitank Company, closed up on the 1st. Companies A and B moved south of the main road through the defile toward Hill 225, and both units encountered strong opposition. By the end of the day the 1st Battalion’s positions were essentially the same as they had been in the morning, except that Company B was south of the road and about 600 yards distant from the rest of the battalion.

The battalion’s mission was primarily defensive: to probe Japanese defenses on the southern side of Lone Tree Hill and protect the south flank of the 2nd and 3rd Battalions as the latter units assaulted the hill. Patrols of the 3rd Battalion reached the northeast face of Lone Tree Hill during the morning and observed enemy activity on the rough beach below Rocky Point. Other patrols, working toward the eastern slopes of the hill, brought back negative reports which contradicted those obtained at dusk the previous afternoon. However, as a result of these negative reports, it was decided that the 3rd Battalion should attack in force during the afternoon. At 1345, after a fifteen minute artillery and 4.2-inch mortar preparation, one company moved across the Snaky River, immediately finding the twenty-foot cliff along the eastern side of the shelf which lay between the Snaky River and the central mass of Lone Tree Hill. The morning patrols had not, apparently, reported the existence of this cliff, and naturally it was not known that Japanese defenses were established along it. Machine gun and rifle fire from the 1st Battalion, 224th Infantry, soon pinned down the 3rd Battalion’s leading platoon.

The company commander quickly sent part of his unit northward to find the Japanese left flank. Moving around the northeast end of the shelf, this group discovered the beach entrance to the deep ravine between the western side of the shelf and Rocky Point. Progress into or across the ravine was impossible in the face of the intense Japanese small arms fire which greeted the advancing American unit. Company B, 6th Engineers, then in the forward area to cut a road from the mouth of the Snaky River to Rocky Point, was brought up to the ravine to help clean out caves and crevices with flame throwers and demolitions, but could not reach the enemy positions through the continued machine gun, mortar, and rifle fire. Infantry bazooka squads also tried to blast the Japanese out of their caves but failed when their ammunition ran out. Since there was no time to bring additional rockets forward before dark, all elements of the 3rd Battalion and the engineer company were withdrawn to the east bank of the Snaky River for the night. The 20th Infantry was to continue the assault on the morrow with the 3rd Battalion moving against Lone Tree Hill from the northeast, the 2nd Battalion in reserve, and the 1st Battalion remaining in its holding position.

American casualties during the day were two men killed and twenty-four wounded. Initially it was thought that some of these casualties had been caused by friendly mortar fire covering the 3rd Battalion’s patrolling.

Later investigation proved, however, that the losses had been caused by enemy fire. Japanese artillery and mortars usually remained silent throughout the fighting on Lone Tree Hill except when American mortars and artillery began firing. The psychological effect of this trick on the troops of the 6th Division was obvious, and for a long while they thought that part of their losses resulted from friendly fire. It is probable that many Japanese were killed during the day but, because of the confused nature of the fighting along the cliff on the eastern shelf and in the ravine, the 3rd Battalion could attempt no estimate of Japanese losses in its zone. The 1st Battalion estimated that its patrols south of Lone Tree Hill had killed about thirty-five of the enemy.

Task force artillery and the 20th Infantry’s 81-mm. mortars fired on Lone Tree Hill intermittently throughout the night, concentrating on the Rocky Point area. Operations on 22 June started at 0800 when eighteen Wakde-based P-47’s strafed Lone Tree Hill, dropped full belly tanks, and set them afire. The air action, which ceased at 0820, was followed by an intense artillery concentration, of ten minutes’ duration, fired by two 105-mm. and one 155-mm. howitzer battalions. The artillery sent 720 rounds of 105-mm. ammunition and 360 rounds of 155-mm. shells into an area 400 yards wide and 600 long on the northeast side of the hill.

Infantry action started about 0830 with Company K, two platoons abreast, leading the advance and Company I following close behind. Company K approached the hill from the northeast and from a point on the beach just west of the deep ravine. Only scattered rifle fire marked the first part of the ascent, for the Japanese were stunned by the weight of the preparatory air and artillery fire. About 1115 the advance platoons had to seek cover from enemy light mortar, machine gun, and rifle fire, most of which seemed to originate in caves and crevices along the sides of the ravine. Company I, which had been waiting in reserve on the beach, was now dispatched up the hill to reinforce Company K. The combined fire power of the two units was sufficient to drive the Japanese back into their caves, and the assault companies reached the top of Lone Tree Hill just south of Rocky Point at 1240.

Company L, about 0930, had begun an attempt to reach the top of the hill from the southeast corner. The company passed through 1st Battalion units near the village at the entrance to the defile and pushed northwestward. Japanese infantrymen were seen moving about near the village, and Company M’s 81-mm. mortars were called upon to protect Company L’s rear by lobbing shells into the hamlet. Four tanks were also brought forward along the main road to aid in clearing the village and the ground between the settlement and Company L. Since marshy terrain and heavy undergrowth prevented the tanks from accomplishing their mission, Company F was called forward and attached to Company L to protect the latter’s flanks and rear.

Together the two companies tried to force their way up the southeast slope of Lone Tree Hill, but they were subjected to intense machine gun and rifle fire from the northwest, west, and southwest. The two units thereupon withdrew from that face, moved back to the eastern edge of the oval shelf, and marched north to the point at which Companies K and I had started up the hill. Company F followed K’s route to the hilltop, meeting little opposition on the way. Company L pushed across the ravine about 200 yards south of F’s line of march and, since the Japanese remained hidden in the ravine’s many caves, had little difficulty reaching the top of the hill. By 1500 Companies F, I, K, L, and part of Company M had established a common perimeter near the north end of the hilltop.

The 2nd Battalion, 20th Infantry, relieved during the morning by the 2nd Battalion of the 1st Infantry, had been sent forward about 1400 to complete the occupation of Lone Tree Hill. Following the route employed by Companies F and L in the forenoon, the battalion (less Company F) moved across the southern end of the shelf and along the southeastern slope. Advancing cautiously through heavily forested, tangled terrain, at 1700 the battalion reached the head of the wide draw which led to the narrow central part of the hilltop. Little opposition was encountered and the battalion moved up the hill and along the hill crest to a point about 400 yards south of the 3rd Battalion.

Increasingly strong enemy opposition made it impossible to close the gap between the two before dark. Hasty positions were set up for the night defenses. Despite the fact that part of Company K had been temporarily pinned down by enemy fire during the morning, neither that unit nor Company I had had any real difficulty reaching the top of Lone Tree Hill. Companies F and L, after they had changed their direction of attack, had also made their way to the top against negligible opposition, and the 2nd Battalion had been delayed more by the terrain than by enemy action. For the second day in succession the task force commander had reason to believe that the Lone Tree Hill area was not strongly held, and he expected that the hill would be secured shortly.

The 3rd Battalion, during the afternoon, found indications that the Japanese had other plans. The battalion perimeter was within sight of the enemy’s observation post, which was almost continuously manned although four or five Japanese were shot out of it in the course of the afternoon. So close was the observation post to the 3rd Battalion’s perimeter that friendly artillery was unable to fire on it, but well-directed enemy artillery fire, which harassed the 20th Infantry’s rear installations, indicated that the Japanese were putting their observers to good use. There was also some reason to suspect that the many caves and crevices along the ravine and Rocky Point contained numerous enemy troops who had apparently deliberately permitted the 3rd Battalion to reach the top of the hill without offering serious battle. The suspicion proved well founded.

About 1730 approximately two companies of Japanese, under the personal leadership of Colonel Matsuyama, poured out of hidden positions on Rocky Point or in the ravine and fell upon the 3rd Battalion’s perimeter with suicidal fury. Confused fighting, sometimes hand-to-hand, continued well into the night, until it was thought that every Japanese soldier in the northern section of Lone Tree Hill must have been killed.

Although the 2nd Battalion’s positions were not attacked, the unit could not move to the 3rd Battalion’s aid. Such a maneuver would have been foolhardy in the darkness and tangled undergrowth, and the 2nd soon found that it, too, was surrounded. Thus, by 2400, the Japanese had completely reversed the tactical situation atop Lone Tree Hill. Early in the afternoon the 20th Infantry had been at the Japanese rear. Now the enemy was at the 20th Infantry’s rear, had isolated both the 2nd and 3rd Battalions of that regiment, and had cut all lines of communication to the base of the hill.

Casualties on the 22nd could not be counted because of the confusion resulting from the night attack. However, it was estimated that about 30 Americans had been killed and another 100 wounded, most of them in the 3rd Battalion, before the enemy attack waned at midnight. There were but 40 known Japanese dead, the majority of whom had been counted by 1st Battalion patrols on the southern side of Lone Tree Hill. The number of the enemy killed by the 3rd Battalion after 1730 could not be estimated, but it is known that Colonel Matsuyama was wounded during the action.

Holding Lone Tree Hill

The 3rd Battalion expected that the enemy withdrawal during the night presaged reorganization for another attack. This expectation was correct, for Colonel Matsuyama did have plans to continue the attack. On the 22nd the two companies of the 2nd Battalion, 224th Infantry, which had been east of the Tirfoam, had arrived to reinforce him, as had the 7th Company of the same regiment, previously on detached duty at an inland post.

Action on the 23rd began at dawn when Japanese troops, some of whom were using American weapons and wearing parts of American uniforms, attacked the 2nd Battalion, 20th Infantry, from the deep ravine. The battalion initially held its fire, thinking that the enemy force might be a friendly patrol, and the Japanese were able to advance to within fifteen yards of the battalion lines before being recognized. It was an hour before the results of this error could be corrected—an hour during which both the 2nd Battalion and the Japanese suffered heavy losses. The hour ended with an enemy retreat.

At 0800 the 2nd Battalion was instructed to make contact with the 3rd, clear the Japanese from the rest of the northern section of the hilltop plateau, and form a two-battalion’ perimeter. Moving north along the hill crest soon proved impracticable, for the Japanese held strong positions in the 400-yard interval which still separated the two battalions. The 2nd Battalion therefore decided to bypass the opposition. The unit marched back down the hill, crossed the oval shelf, and turned north along the west bank of the Snaky. About 250 yards south of the beach, the battalion turned west and, at 1000, was held up by enemy fire from the same twenty-foot-high cliff which had stalled the 3rd Battalion’s attack on 21 June.

The 2nd Battalion then withdrew from the cliff north to the beach east of Rocky Point and reorganized. At 1120 the movement up Lone Tree Hill was resumed, this time along the same route employed by Companies I and K on the previous day. The advance was opposed by enemy machine gun, mortar, artillery, and rifle fire, but the 2nd Battalion, with Company G suffering especially “heavy casualties,” slowly fought its way upward by fire and movement. At 1400 the leading elements began reaching the top of the hill, but it was not until 1630 that the battalion had assembled in an organized perimeter. The new position was just northwest of the 3rd Battalion’s lines, overlooked the west cliff of Lone Tree Hill, and apparently was not connected with the 3rd Battalion perimeter. The latter unit had held and strengthened its positions during the morning while it sought cover from continuous Japanese mortar and rifle fire and awaited the arrival of reinforcements before beginning mopping-up operations.

The 3rd Battalion had received few supplies since reaching the top of Lone Tree Hill on 22 June. The unit had run out of water, and only a heavy rainfall during the night of 22-23 June had prevented thirst from becoming a major problem. To relieve this situation Company L, 1st Infantry, was ordered to take ammunition, water, and rations to the hilltop plateau. The company received the order late on 22 June but managed to move only as far as the northeastern corner of Rocky Point before dark. At 0800 the next morning the relief company started up the hill, meeting little opposition until it reached the top of Rocky Point. There it was pinned down as Japanese forces moved in behind it to cut the line of communication down the hill. Company L soon ran out of ammunition for, in addition to the supplies, the men had carried to the hilltop only their loaded weapons, with no extra ammunition. Despite help from elements of the Antitank and Service Companies, 20th Infantry, Company L was able to maintain only intermittent contact with the 3rd Battalion, 20th Infantry.

It was not until late afternoon, after the 2nd Battalion, 20th Infantry, had arrived atop Lone Tree Hill that Company L, 1st Infantry, was relieved. By that time the company had suffered many casualties and had lost much of the matériel it had been carrying up the hill. Neither the 2nd nor 3rd Battalions, 20th Infantry, received appreciable amounts of supplies during the day, and only the heroic efforts of small volunteer groups kept these units supplied with enough food and ammunition to carry on the fight.

The 1st Infantry, to support the operations of the small carrying parties, sent two machine gun platoons and two 37-mm. antitank guns forward to the foot of Rocky Point. With this cover the supply groups managed to fight their various ways up and down the hill and evacuated 300 wounded men during the day.

The evening of 23 June brought another 224th Infantry counterattack which was aimed at both the 2nd and 3rd Battalions’ perimeters. These attacks came from the east side of Lone Tree Hill, the Japanese apparently having moved around the north side of the hill along Rocky Point. The initial assault culminated in a bayonet charge, which was repulsed by rifle and machine gun fire with heavy losses to the Japanese. Despite this defeat, small groups of the enemy continued suicidal attacks throughout the night of 23-24 June.

It would probably have been much easier to bypass Lone Tree Hill, isolate it, and starve out the Japanese garrison, but there were two reasons why General Sibert did not do so. First, as long as the Japanese held Lone Tree Hill, which dominated the Maffin Bay area, the shores of that bay could not be safely employed for a staging area. Second, operations from 20 to 22 June had apparently convinced the task force commander that Lone Tree Hill was not strongly held, and he had therefore ordered the frontal assault. That this estimate was in error was realized when dawn of 23 June brought with it the information that the 2nd and 3rd Battalions of the 20th Infantry were cut off atop Lone Tree Hill. When the hill had still not been captured by dark on 23 June the general decided to outflank it by a shore-to-shore maneuver and then continue the attack from both west and east. He ordered the 1st Infantry, reinforced by the 6th Reconnaissance Troop, to seize the beach just west of Rocky Point on the morning of 24 June. The regiment was to clean out the western side of Lone Tree Hill and prevent any more Japanese reinforcements from reaching it.

For the shore-to-shore maneuver, the 1st Infantry chose Companies K and I. Company K boarded ten LVT’s at the beach near the Tirfoam River and moved to the west side of Rocky Point. The LVT’s were protected by the 6th Reconnaissance Troop aboard thirteen LVT(A)’s armed with 37-mm. guns. Both groups of amphibian vehicles were fired on by Japanese 75-mm. guns emplaced on Rocky Point, but Company K made a safe landing at 0900 hours. Attempting to move inland, the company was immediately pinned down on the narrow beach by enemy fire of all types which originated along the west face of Lone Tree Hill and Rocky Point.

The LVT’s, again protected by the LVT(A)’s, made a return trip with Company I, 1st Infantry, which landed on the right of Company K at 1200. About 1330 four tanks of Company C, 44th Tank Battalion, transported by LCT’s, arrived at the hard-pressed beachhead, which was subjected to ever increasing machine gun and rifle fire. Upon their arrival the tanks covered the evacuation of wounded and the landing of supplies by firing on Japanese positions in the swampy woods between the beach and the west cliff of Lone Tree Hill.

One LVT, loaded with wounded men, was sunk about 175 yards off Rocky Point by Japanese 75-mm. fire. All the men were rescued by an LVT (A), which succeeded in silencing the enemy artillery weapon. Companies I and K were unable to make any progress inland. Japanese defensive positions in the swampy woodland, occupied by elements of the 223rd Infantry, prevented an advance. The four tanks attempted to move off the beach to attack these positions but found that they could not negotiate the low clay and rock bank behind the shore line. The tanks remained on the beach for the night to protect the exposed infantrymen, but the 6th Reconnaissance Troop returned to the vicinity of the Tirfoam River mouth at darkness.

On top of Lone Tree Hill during the day the 2nd and 3rd Battalions, 20th Infantry, in the face of enemy mortar, rifle, and machine gun fire, began to clear the Japanese from the many caves and crevices on Rocky Point, the deep ravine east of the point, and the hilltop plateau. For the mission of clearing Rocky Point, assault teams were formed by personnel of the Antitank Company, Headquarters Company of the 2nd Battalion, Company H, and a few men from Company F. Elements of the 3rd Battalion, 1st Infantry, including most of Company L, also were engaged in the mopping up. The assault teams were armed with a variety of weapons, including flame throwers, bazookas, rifle grenades, hand grenades, BAR’s, TSMG’s, high explosives, and even gasoline. While this action continued, the 2nd Battalion, 20th Infantry, aided by Company L of the 1st Infantry, secured the supply route up the hill.

By nightfall there were definite signs that Japanese resistance in the northern section of Lone Tree Hill was weakening, and during the night of 24-25 June there were no major counterattacks, although harassing mortar, grenade, and rifle fire continued. Headquarters of the 3rd Battalion, 20th Infantry, and Company M of the same regiment moved across the Snaky River in the afternoon and established a perimeter on the beach at the east side of Rocky Point, from which Company M’s heavy weapons could aid in the mopping-up operations.

Despite the weakening of Japanese resistance, the 2nd and 3rd Battalions, 20th Infantry, and Company L, 1st Infantry, continued to suffer heavy casualties during the day. At dusk 2nd Battalion effectives numbered only 330 men, and the 3rd Battalion had only 322 effectives left. The losses of Companies I and K, 1st Infantry, could not be ascertained because not all the wounded and dead had been evacuated and because communications had broken down at intervals throughout the day. However, it was known that at least 9 men had been killed and 37 wounded, and that the dead included 2 Company K officers.

The next day, 25 June, the 2nd and 3rd Battalions, 20th Infantry, now reinforced by both Companies L and M, 1st Infantry, and Company B, 6th Engineers, continued clearing Rocky Point, the deep ravine, the northern part of the hilltop plateau, and the eastern shelf, where a few scattered Japanese still held positions along the twenty-foot-high cliff. Flame throwers, demolition charges, bazookas, and hand grenades all proved successful in eliminating Japanese resistance and sealing or clearing caves and crevices.

The task was easier on the 25th, for the Japanese slowly gave up the fight and were killed or sealed off in their caves. Casualties continued to mount—the 2nd Battalion, 20th Infantry, had only about two hundred effectives by the end of the day—but many of the losses were not due to Japanese action.

Many men were evacuated over the now secured supply route to the top of the hill as they fell from exhaustion or became sick. On the beach west of Rocky Point Companies I and K, 1st Infantry, had little success in expanding their beachhead. The tanks proved useless in the area and were therefore withdrawn to Maffin No. 1. The two infantry companies, pinned down during the morning, kept up a continuous mortar barrage against Japanese positions in the swamp to the south, against the western cliff of Lone Tree Hill, and, when certain such fire would not endanger troops atop the hill, against the northwest comer of Rocky Point. This mortar fire, coupled with the operations on the plateau, began to have the desired effect during the afternoon, and Companies I and K were able to push their defenses beyond the narrow beachhead slightly southward and westward and toward the shore beneath Rocky Point. Once or twice during the afternoon, patrols were able to reach the top of Lone Tree Hill from the northwest corner of the point and established contact with 20th Infantry units.

Late in the afternoon Company M, 1st Infantry, operating from the east side of the point, managed to push a patrol around the shore to establish contact with Company K. Though Companies I and K could find little tangible evidence of the results of their operations, they had actually wiped out the 223rd Infantry’s defense force in the area just west of Lone Tree Hill. By dusk on the 25th, it had become obvious that the combined efforts of the 3rd Battalion, 1st Infantry, and the 2nd and 3rd Battalions, 20th Infantry, had either cleared out the northern half of Lone Tree Hill or had forced the Japanese to withdraw. The latter conclusion was the more nearly correct. The 36th Division decided on 25 June to withdraw the bulk of the Center and Right Sector Forces west of the Woske River and establish new defensive positions, thereby keeping the 223rd Infantry, the bulk of which had not been committed to action in the Lone Tree Hill area, more or less intact. Only the remnants of the 224th Infantry were to remain east of the Woske, and they were to withdraw into rough terrain southwest of Mt. Saksin.

At nightfall on the 25th, General Sibert estimated that his three forward battalions had lost approximately 140 men killed and 850 wounded and evacuated, including those who had to be sent back to the rear because of wounds, sickness, heat exhaustion, or psychoneurotic disorders. Known Japanese dead in the northern part of the hill numbered 344, but it could not be estimated how many more had been thrown over the west cliff, sealed in caves, or carried off by withdrawing remnants of the Japanese defense force. According to Japanese sources, the Japanese had lost about 500 men killed and another 300 wounded in the Lone Tree Hill-Hill 225-Mt. Saksin area. By noon on 25 June it was apparent to General Sibert that only mopping-up operations remained to be accomplished on and near Lone Tree Hill. For all practical purposes, that area had been secured.

Final Operations in the Wakde-Sarmi Area Mopping Up by the 6th Division As the 2nd and 3rd Battalions, 20th Infantry, were in no condition to undertake the mopping up, General Sibert decided to relieve those two units with the 3rd Battalion, 63rd Infantry.14 The latter unit and the 3rd Battalion, 1st Infantry, were to clear the Lone Tree Hill area and all enemy west to the Woske River and inland for a distance of 800 yards. The 1st Battalion, 20th Infantry, was to continue its holding mission south of Lone Tree Hill and, in co-operation with the 1st Battalion, 1st Infantry, was to clear the defile, Hill 225, Mt. Saksin, and Hill 265, which lay about 1,000 yards southwest of Hill 225. The relief of the 2nd and 3rd Battalions, 20th Infantry, was accomplished by 1500 on 26 June. To that time the regiment had lost 83 men killed, 484 wounded, and 10 missing. The unit estimated that it had killed 781 Japanese, by far the majority of them in operations on Lone Tree Hill during the period 22 through 25 June.

On 27 June the 3rd Battalion, 63rd Infantry, began mopping up on the top of Lone Tree Hill. These operations proved more difficult than anticipated, for a few Japanese machine gun nests were still active on the southern section. But by dusk on 30 June, no more live Japanese were to be found. On the same day the 1st Battalion, 20th Infantry, pushed through the defile south of the hill and found only a few stragglers in its zone. A continuous perimeter, running from the western exit of the defile north along the main road to the beach, was now established around Lone Tree Hill.

During operations at the Lone Tree Hill area from 20 through 30 June, American losses were approximately 150 killed, 550 wounded, and 400-500 evacuated from the forward area as a result of sickness, noncombat injuries, and combat fatigue. During the same period, the TORNADO Task Force claimed, 942 dead Japanese were actually counted in the area from the Snaky River west to the Woske and from the beach to the southern slopes of the defile, and the TORNADO Task Force estimated that 400 more had been sealed in caves at Lone Tree Hill. How these casualties were divided among the Japanese units is impossible to ascertain, but it is probable that at least 750 of the dead were members of the 224th Infantry and most of the rest from other units of the Right Sector Force. The 16th Field Airdrome Construction Unit, for instance, had been practically wiped out, as had the two companies of the 223rd Infantry which had been placed under Colonel Matsuyama’s command. That over 1,300 Japanese were killed in the coastal area from the Tor to the Woske by 30 June does not appear to be an exaggerated claim.

Although clearing enemy forces from the Lone Tree Hill area practically assured the security of the Maffin Bay staging area, General Sibert believed that in order to make the region entirely safe, it would be necessary to drive the enemy out of the terrain between the Woske and Tor for a distance of at least 3,000 yards (about one and three-fourths miles) inland. Operations for this purpose began on 1 July when the 1st Infantry extended the perimeter along the coast to the Woske. On 4 July elements of the 63rd Infantry occupied Hill 225 and on the next day seized the crest of Mt. Saksin.

Both these terrain features were found to contain numerous well-organized, strong defensive positions, all of which had been abandoned. Hill 265, southwest of Hill 225, proved a tougher nut to crack because of Japanese opposition and terrain difficulties. But on 8 and 9 July the 1st Battalions of the 1st and 63rd Infantry Regiments finally secured the hill crest, which had been held by elements of the 224th Infantry. With the fall of Hill 265, the last enemy strong point in the Maffin Bay region had been taken.

Meanwhile, the remaining Japanese forces were busily withdrawing west of the Woske. On 12 July General Sibert sent a reconnaissance in force (comprising Company A, 1st Infantry, the 6th Reconnaissance Troop, and elements of Company C, 44th Tank Battalion) across the river. This force moved rapidly beyond Sawar Drome and across Sawar Creek, which lay a little over three miles beyond the Woske, At the banks of Metimedan Creek, about 1,500 yards beyond Sawar Creek, the force was halted by Japanese fire from positions held by the Left Sector Unit and the 3rd Battalion, 223rd Infantry, along the Metimedan and from highlands beyond that stream. The 6th Division group returned to the Woske before dark, there to receive the welcome news that elements of the 31st Infantry Division were about to reach Maffin Bay to relieve the 6th Division.

The End of the Operation

When General Krueger chose the 6th Division to seize an air-base site on the Vogelkop, he decided to retain one of the division’s regimental combat teams at Wakde-Sarmi as a reserve. But even if this combat team were not required on the Vogelkop, it would hardly suffice to defend the Maffin Bay-Wakde area and, at the same time, undertake the offensive patrolling necessary to maintain contact with Japanese forces in the area and to keep those forces away from Maffin Bay. Both the 25th and 33rd Infantry Divisions could be moved to Maffin Bay, but neither could arrive by 15 July, when the 6th Division had to start loading for the Vogelkop operation. However, the 31st Infantry Division, which was scheduled to stage at Hollandia for another operation in September, could be moved to Maffin Bay by the 15th. General Krueger therefore recommended that the 31st Division (less the 124th Regimental Combat Team, at Aitape) be sent to Maffin Bay. General MacArthur quickly approved this proposal.

The 31st Division began unloading at Maffin Bay on 14 July and by the 18th, when the division commander, Major General John C. Persons, assumed the position of Commander, TORNADO Task Force, all the 6th Division, with the exception of the 20th Regimental Combat Team, had been relieved. The latter unit remained attached to the 31st Division until 21 August and left the area for the Vogelkop on the 26th. The remainder of the 6th Division began leaving on 27 July. Except for the 124th Regimental Combat Team, the 31st Division closed in the Wakde-Sarmi area by 15 August.

The two regimental combat teams of the 31st Division, the 155th and the 167th, which operated at Wakde-Sarmi had no previous combat experience but received much valuable training in a series of patrol actions, company-sized scouting missions, and battalion reconnaissance’s in force. General Persons wanted to mount an offensive to drive the Japanese from a main line of resistance which they had established in the low hills between Metimedan Creek and Sarmi, but the demands for labor at the Maffin Bay staging area and the necessity for committing many troops to the defense of that area made it impossible to assemble sufficient strength for such an attack. Then, by the time the 6th Division’s requirements had been met, the 31st Division itself had to begin preparations for another operation. The 31st Division therefore had to confine itself principally to its patrolling missions, both west and east of the perimeter.

Patrols east of the perimeter were sent out to hunt down stragglers from the Japanese Hollandia garrison, and most of them, comprising armed natives of the Wakde-Sarmi area, were led by a Dutch officer, 1st Lieutenant C. J. Sneeuwjagt. Meanwhile, work went on at the Maffin Bay staging area, and during the period 18 July-31 August there was unloaded at Maffin Bay a daily average of 2,500 tons of various supplies. During the same period the 31st Division lost 39 men killed, 195 wounded, 34 injured, and 3 missing. The division killed 294 Japanese, found 497 dead, and captured 14 others.

Since the 31st Division would need protection as it staged for its mid-September invasion of Morotai Island, northwest of the Vogelkop, General Krueger recommended to General MacArthur that a regimental combat team of the 33rd Infantry Division (another unit without combat experience) be moved from eastern New Guinea to Maffin Bay. The theater commander approved this suggestion, and the 123rd Regimental Combat Team, under Brigadier General Donald J. Myers (also assistant division commander), arrived at Maffin Bay on 1 September. The next day General Krueger declared that the Wakde-Sarmi operation was over.


All elements of the 31st Division left Maffin Bay early in September and on the 25th of the month the TORNADO Task Force was disbanded as such, Headquarters, 123rd Regimental Combat Team, assuming all operational and administrative duties in the area. Late in September the Allied Air Forces began to close out the Wakde Island air base and to move its men and equipment forward until, by December, the Wakde field was relegated to the status of an emergency strip.

In October, command of all American forces left in the Wakde-Sarmi area passed from General Krueger to the recently established U. S. Eighth Army, which was commanded by Lieutenant General Robert L. Eichelberger, formerly the commander of the RECKLESS Task Force and I Corps. The 123rd Regimental Combat remained in the region until relieved by a composite battalion combat team from the 93rd Infantry Division on 26 January 1945. The 93rd Division elements undertook some local security patrolling, but their main mission was to speed the evacuation of remaining supplies from the Maffin Bay staging area. This job was finished by 6 February, when all the remaining troops left the mainland for Wakde Island. One company of the 93rd Division remained on Wakde, sending a few amphibious patrols to the mainland, until the first week in October 1945. Then the company—the last American troops in the area—left to join its division in the Philippines.[n11-20]

The Results of the Wakde-Sarmi Operation Though the importance of the Wakde-Sarmi operation cannot be measured in terms of casualties, the casualty figures are of interest. From 17 May through 1 September American losses in the area were approximately 400 men killed, 1,500 wounded or injured in action, and 15 missing. [n11-21] During the same period about 3,870 Japanese had been killed in the area and 51 Japanese had been taken prisoner. How many more of the original Japanese garrison of some 11,000 had died of sickness and starvation, or had been buried in caves at Lone Tree Hill, could not be determined. It was estimated, however, that as of 1 September only 2,000 effective Japanese combat troops were left in the Wakde-Sarmi area. [n11-22] Much more important than of ending certain requirements for historical records. Again, this termination coincided with an administrative change in the area concerned, for on 1 September General Myers assumed the duties of Commander, TORNADO Task Force, in place of General Persons.

[n11-20 368th RCT Opns Rpt, 5 Jan 44-1 Sep 45, pp.3-9; 368th Inf Opns Rpt Maffin Bay, 19-24 Mar 45, pp. 1-3. One other infantry unit also spent a little time at Maffin Bay. This was a battalion of the 136th Infantry, 33rd Division, which spent about a month, September-October 1944, working as a labor organization at the Maffin Bay staging area. ]

[n11-21 TTF G-3 Per Rpt 107, 1 Sep 44; TTF G-1 Per Rpts 15 and 16, 30 Aug and 5 Sep 44, respectively; TTF G-1 Sum, 18 Jul-1 Sep 44, p. 2. The G-1 and G-3 figures do not agree and cannot be reconciled. Furthermore, various sets of G-3 figures are mutually irreconcilable as are different sets of G-1 figures. The figures given in the text are the author’s approximations from the sources cited.]

[n11-22 ALAMO Force, G-2 Wkly Rpt 57, 30 Aug 44, copy in G-2 DofA files; Ltr, Persons to Ward, 6 Nov 50; 123rd RCT Opns Rpt Maffin Bay, 1 Sep 44-27 Jan 45, p. 2. The last ALAMO Force figures for Japanese casualties (from ALAMO Force G-2 Wkly Rpt 61, 4 Oct 44, copy in G-2 DofA files) are 3,963 Japanese killed and 55 captured. In addition, according to various sources, there were 2 Korean, 2 Javanese, 1 Chinese, and 36 Formosan prisoners. Total known casualties were thus 4,059; Colonel Yoshino, Colonel Matsuyama, and General Yamada.]

The enemy casualties was the fact that two reinforced Japanese regimental combat teams had been destroyed as effective fighting forces and eliminated as a threat in the Southwest Pacific. In return for their losses, the Allies had obtained a valuable staging and air-base site. The Wakde Island airdrome quickly proved its value by enabling the Allied Air Forces to support not only operations within the Southwest Pacific but also those in the Central Pacific. The Fifth Air Force flew bombardment missions from Wakde against Biak, Noemfoor, enemy installations on the Vogelkop, Halmahera, Morotai, and, in the Central Pacific Area, against the Palaus and other islands in the Carolines. Fifth Air Force planes and Seventh Fleet land-based reconnaissance bombers from Wakde made substantial contributions to the success of the Central Pacific’s mid-June invasion of the Marianas by striking enemy air and fleet installations in the Palaus and reporting the movements of Japanese fleet units within flying range. Since the Japanese fields on Biak were not captured in time for Southwest Pacific aircraft to undertake from that island any missions in support of the Mariana operation, the Wakde field had to carry a far greater load than was originally intended for it. Finally, from Wakde, Seventh Fleet PB4Y’s initiated the first regular air reconnaissance of islands in the Philippines since early 1942.

The Fifth Air Force controlled operations from Wakde until late August, when the Thirteenth Air Force took over the field. The latter unit afterwards supported the mid-September invasions of Morotai and the Palaus with numerous bombing and reconnaissance missions from Wakde.

For ground forces, the Wakde-Sarmi area proved equally valuable. In operations there the 6th Infantry Division, the 31st Infantry Division (less one regimental combat team), the 123rd Regimental Combat Team of the 33rd Infantry Division, part of the 158th Regimental Combat Team, and innumerable attached units received their first combat experience. The value of the area for training was thus obvious, but the region was equally valuable as a staging base. The whole or parts of five different task forces—sent to Biak, Noemfoor, the Vogelkop Peninsula, and the Philippines—were staged from the Arare-Toem beaches or the shores of Maffin Bay. Had available assault shipping been used for long trips from eastern New Guinea bases to objectives beyond Wakde, the pace of operations in the Southwest Pacific would certainly have been slowed. Instead, many units were moved to Maffin Bay by noncombatant vessels, picked up there by assault ships, and taken on to new objectives to the north and west, the nearest of which was Biak Island. survived the war, but what happened to General Tagami cannot be ascertained from available documents.

Source: Approach to the Philippines: BY; Robert Ross Smith (United States Army Center of Military History)

World War Two: Biak: The Plan, the Landing, the Enemy (AP-12) May 1944

World War Two: Wakde-Sarmi: Lone Tree Hill; The Initial Attacks (AP-10)

World War Two: Italy; Salerno-The Landings (ISC-2-6)

The Last Few Miles of Sea: The darkened ships of the Allied assault convoys, maintaining radio silence, reached their destination near the Salerno beaches after dark on 8 September. At 2300 the call to general quarters sounded. Soon thereafter ships’ winches began to move landing craft into position for their descent into the water. Troops placed ammunition, weapons, and radios inside the craft, collected their packs and individual equipment. and awaited the signal to depart. In the first minute of 9 September, loudspeakers called boat teams to their stations. Soon afterward assault craft and landing nets were lowered, and the men clambered from the transports into the boats “with the usual orderly confusion.”

The Americans wore wool uniforms. Each man had a full canteen hanging from his cartridge belt. On his back he carried a light pack with his toilet articles and mess kit, two chocolate bars known as D rations, and one boxed K ration meal. Each rifleman had two extra bandoleers of ammunition. Blanket rolls and one suit of fatigues he had left with his company supply sergeant aboard the transport, to be brought ashore later.

The first boat waves pulled away from the transports and headed for the rendezvous area three to five miles offshore.

As they arrived, the craft formed behind the faint red taillights of wave-leaders’ boats, which had navigational equipment, and began to circle slowly. The moon had set and the night was pitch black. Water gently slapped the sides of the boats. The smell of diesel oil was in the air. Despite the smooth sea and slight wind, a good many soldiers were seasick. It took about three hours to get all the assault troops and their equipment to the rendezvous area. Behind them came more craft and DUKW’s carrying tanks, guns, heavy weapons, artillery and antitank pieces, crews, and ammunition. At 0200 on 9 September, in the Northern Attack Force area, enemy shore units opened fire on the ships carrying and supporting 10 Corps. The warships replied with a steady bombardment.

Darby’s Rangers

Among the 10 Corps forces, the U.S. Ranger battalions, which were to land on the northernmost beaches at the extreme left, were experienced in amphibious operations. Their commander, Colonel Darby, had, as he later said, got “together with the Navy and decided that we had to have closer cooperation and closer communications than ‘we had ever had before, because we had another situation of finding a bad beach in the darkness.” A British destroyer was to render direct gunfire support for the Rangers, and because it was to deliver fire over the heads of his troops, Darby was concerned about maintaining good signals between ship and shore. He told the destroyer captain he would feel more comfortable if he knew that his own radio operator and his own radio set were on the bridge of the ship during the landings. The sympathetic captain obliged.

Rangers climbed into British LCA’s while the craft were still on the transport davits and hanging over the sides of the ships. When a boat was full, a sailor called “Off gripes,” and released the brakes on the davits. The LCA then fell about eight feet into the water with a resounding splash.

When all the LCA’s were in the water, they came alongside the destroyer and moved forward in two columns, Darby in the leading boat with the flotilla commander. Abreast of the bridge of the destroyer, Darby “hollered up.” “Are you there?” the destroyer captain shouted back. “We are here,” Darby said. “Let’s go.” Locating a beach in the dark is not easy. “You don’t see very much,” Darby later explained. “Your compasses, no matter how many times you swing them, in a small craft are practically worthless after 35 soldiers with helmets and rifles and everything else that contains metal get into the boat.” Because the destroyer had a relatively firm base and a good compass and had made sightings and corrections, Darby had arranged to have it guide the flotilla to the beach, agreeing beforehand that no matter which way his own compass was pointing he would not change course. “There was one little beach we had to hit, and we just had to be right if our landing was going to be successful.

So the destroyer paced the boats until they were about a mile offshore. Then the destroyer captain shouted down: “Continue on your course.” The landing craft went in and hit the correct beach at 0310, the appointed time, twenty minutes before the main assault of 10 Corps was scheduled to go ashore. Five minutes after the Rangers touched down, naval groups in the northern area opened an intensive 15-minute preparation of gun and rocket fire in support of the major assault at H-hour, 0330, landings that would, as could be seen from the flashes of fire coming from shore, be opposed.

In the American rendezvous area the boats had ceased circling. Assuming a V-formation, they followed a control vessel to the line of departure a mile and a half offshore. Four scout boats, one for each battalion landing beach, had taken a radar fix on Monte Soprano, the most conspicuous landmark, and had preceded the assault boats shoreward. Each had located his area, had determined the exact center of it, and had anchored there about 1,000 yards offshore. At 0310, H-hour minus 20 minutes, each began to show seaward a steady directional light colored red, green, yellow, or blue to correspond with the designated beach. Ten minutes later each scout boat began to blink seaward every five seconds in order to guide the waves of assault boats toward land. The assault waves of each beach were to pass the scout boat by splitting equally on the two sides of it.

After the assault waves were on shore, the scouts were to locate and mark suitable landing points for LST’s and LCT’s. Rocket boats – LCT’s converted to mount rocket projectors-had preceded the assault waves, passed the scout boats, and gone in closer to shore. Deployed abreast, fifty yards a part, the rocket boats, equipped with barrage rockets, smoke floats, smoke generators, and .30 and .50-caliber machine guns, were to hold their fires before daylight unless they were discovered and fired upon. In that case, they were to fire until the first-wave was 100 yards from the shore line.

In the 36th Division zone, where two reinforced regiments were landing abreast, each regiment employed two reinforced battalions abreast. The 141st Infantry on the right (south) had two rifle companies from each assault battalion and engineer obstacle-removing teams in the first wave, going ashore in 24 LCVP’s (12 on Yellow Beach and 12 on Blue Beach) . The second wave, scheduled to land seven minutes later, had the reserve rifle companies, mine detector personnel, shore engineers, and a reconnaissance party in 12 LCVP’s (6 to a beach) . Eight minutes later a third wave was to land the heavy weapons companies, battalion headquarters, medical personnel, and mine detector beach party in 12 LCVP’s. Fifty minutes after H-hour, bulldozers, 40-mm. guns, .50-caliber machine guns, 75-mm. self-propelled guns, and several jeeps were to go ashore in 12 LCM’s. Sixty-five minutes after H-hour, the reserve battalion was to start landing in waves. At H plus 140 minutes, or on call, depending on the situation, antitank weapons, tanks, and field and antiaircraft artillery were to go ashore in LCVP’s and LCM’s. As soon as mines and obstacles were cleared, estimated to be around H plus 100 minutes, DUKW’s carrying artillery pieces and ammunition were to landed. LST’s, the planners estimated, could probably beach five or six hours after the initial landings.

Each assault battalion of the 141st Infantry had attached platoons of the Cannon Company, the Antitank Company, and the 111th Engineer Battalion, as we)) as a detachment of the 36th Cavalry Reconnaissance Troop. The 131st Field Artillery Battalion was in direct support. The 3rd Battalion, 351st Engineer Shore Regiment, with attachments, was to open and stock Yellow and Blue Beaches so that supplies could be drawn by daylight; it was to have roadways ready for vehicular traffic two hours after H-hour.

The 142nd Infantry was landing special beach-clearing detachments in 6 LCVP’s (3 on Reel Beach and 3 on Green) along with the first wave of assault rifle companies. Reserve and heavy weapons companies and shore engineers, in that order, were then to land in LCVP’s and LCM’s. The reserve battalion was to start landing an hour later. Twenty DUKW’s carrying field artillery and antitank pieces were to land in the fifth wave an hour and a half after H-hour. Reconnaissance troops, tanks, and more artillery pieces were then to go ashore.

The 143rd Infantry, initially in reserve, was to land two battalions in the following sequence: assault infantry troops, reserve rifle companies, heavy weapons and command, supporting and antitank weapons, and vehicles; the reserve battalion was to debark on call in waves similarly organized and in whatever boats became available.

Command posts were located aboard various ships, the VI Corps headquarters having provided men to operate message centers and radio sets in conjunction with naval personnel. There was to be radio silence until H-hour. Ten minutes later, company commanders would land. At the same time, a Navy beach signals team was to establish a radio station on shore. Five minutes later a communications team was to set up a radio station in the naval gunfire control net, an engineer shore company communications team was to establish another radio station, and infantry battalion headquarters were to set up their radio nets. Regimental communications, the engineer shore battalion radio operators, and Navy beach signals personnel were to be ashore completely an hour and a half after H-hour. Two hours after the initial landings the air support party was to go ashore.

Coxswains and crews of the landing boats had been thoroughly briefed on the appearance of the beaches and the locations of the landing sites. Having studied beach sketches, models, aerial mosaics, oblique photographs, and information obtained from submarine reconnaissance, they knew the silhouette of the shore line and its conspicuous landmarks-Monte Soprano and Monte Soltano, the heights around Agropoli, the flat plain of Paestum, houses and towers, and the mouths of streams flowing into the gulf, all of which helped to identify the beaches on which they would try to place the troops confided to their care.

The beaches on which the 36th Division was to land were near the ancient town of Paestum. originally a Greek colony settled in the 6th century B.C. Twenty-five hundred years later only the ruins of several Doric-columned temples still stood, hauntingly graceful and aloof. In striking architectural contrast. Blunt ramparts or what remained of a city wall, 5,000 yards long and in some places 50 feet high, constructed of large stone blocks, probably Etruscan in origin, would offer cover and concealment to defenders armed with machine guns. A medieval stone tower nearby would give good observation of the beaches and the plain.

Very close to H-hour, 0330, 9 September, the LCVP’s comprising the first waves of the assault regiments grounded on the dark and silent beaches south of the Sele River. As the troops stepped into the shallow water along the shore line, the portents for success seemed good-the weather was excellent, the sea was calm, and. in contrast with the rumble and flash of gun and rocket fire on the beaches to the north, the shore was quiet. But the hope that jubilant Italians would welcome the Americans with open arms quickly vanished. Flares suddenly illuminated the beaches and enemy fire from machine guns and mortars began to rain down on the invaders.

The Initial American Waves

Exactly what happened on the Salerno beaches during the hour and a half of darkness between H-hour and daybreak is confused and obscure. Yet one thing is clear-the troops met more resistance than did the soldiers who had invaded North Africa and Sicily. Not all the initial waves of the American assault south of the Sele River hit their assigned beaches on schedule. Enemy fire disarranged the assault waves and prevented an inland advance in the orderly manner prescribed by the plans.

On the extreme right of the landings the 1st Battalion, 141st Infantry, came ashore about 500 yards south of its designated Blue Beach. The first two boat waves moved across the beach without interference and eventually worked their way slowly about a mile to the railroad near the Solofrone River. The third wave met German fire so intense that it and subsequent waves were Immobilized on or near the beach.

The 3rd Battalion on Yellow Beach ran into German fire from the beginning. Despite the bullets and shells, small groups of men moved inland. Approximately 400 yards from the shore they met enemy defenders.

In the 142nd Infantry zone the 2nd Battalion on the right on Green Beach and the 3rd Battalion on Red encountered enemy flares and machine gun fire immediately upon landing. A rocket boat off Green moved to within 80 yards of the shore line and fired salvos of three to four rockets in the pattern of an arc at a range of about 750 yards. After the boat fired 34 rockets over the heads of troops pinned down on the shore, all enemy fire in that sector ceased for a brief interval, then resumed in noticeably less volume and intensity. During the lull infantrymen began to move inland.

On all the beaches, as enemy guns fired and boats grounded, men stumbled ashore in the darkness. Scared, tense, excited, some soldiers blundered across the loose sand. Others ran for cover across the open ground to the dunes. Some threw themselves into shallow irrigation ditches or huddled behind rock walls in the fields. Still others sought the scant protection afforded by scattered patches of scrub.

From the massive heights that loomed over all the beaches, and from Monte Soprano in particular, came the flashes and sounds of the enemy fire. Flares of all colors illuminated the sky, while the crisscrossing tracers of machine guns flashed over the beaches, the heaviest concentrations coming from the right near Agropoli. Some boat pilots who judged the fire too strong for them to land their troops turned around and headed back toward the ships until intercepted by control vessels and sent again to shore.

Landing craft struck by enemy fire burned near shore or drifted helplessly. Equipment floated in the water. Radios were lost in the surf. Men swam for shore as boats sank under them. As a 60-mm. mortar squad debarked, the gunner tripped on the ramp and dropped the piece into the water; machine gun fire scattered the men in the darkness; individuals joined whatever unit happened to be near them. An 81-mm. mortar platoon came ashore intact but without ammunition; the boat carrying its shells had sunk.

Somehow m the melee of boats and men and weapons, soldiers found their wits, exercised self-discipline, manhandled ammunition, set up mortars, fired their pieces, got on with their jobs. Some began to clear the beaches of mines and wire; others, their rifles blazing, headed inland to root out the German defenders.

Staff Sergeant Quillian H. McMichen, hit in the chest and shoulder by machine gun bullets before his assault boat grounded on the beach, found the ramp stuck. Despite his wounds, McMichen kicked and pounded the ramp till it fell. Then he led his men to a firing position on the beach where he received a third and fatal wound.

In the sand dunes, Sergeant Manuel S. Gonzales crept under machine gun fire toward an enemy weapon. A tracer bullet creased the pack on his back and set it afire. Slipping out of his pack, he continued to crawl even after grenade fragments wounded him. At last he was close enough to toss hand grenades into a German machine gun position and destroy the crew.

Private J. C. Jones gathered a few disorganized men around him, led them against several enemy machine guns, and took them inland to his unit’s objective. Sergeant Glen O. Hiller, though painfully wounded, refused medical treatment in order to lead his squad across the sand. Most infantrymen worked their way in small groups toward a railroad running parallel to the beach a mile and a half inland. It was a good landmark, one that could not be mistaken even in darkness, and there men found and rejoined their units and leaders counted and organized their troops. To get to the railroad across the sand, the dunes, small swamps, irrigation ditches, rock walls, and patches of trees proved an individual adventure for each soldier, a hazardous journey under the fire of enemy machine guns, mortars, and artillery pieces.

Lieutenant Colonel Samuel S. Graham, a battalion commander who arrived on the beach ahead of his troops because they were delayed by disrupted boat schedules, organized about seventy men and led them inland to clear enemy machine gun and mortar positions. Sergeant James M. Logan, lying on the bank of an irrigation canal, killed several Germans coming through a gap in a rock wall 200 yards away. He then dashed across open ground, seized a machine gun position after destroying the crew, swung the gun around, and opened fire on the enemy.

Meeting the Americans, and the British as well, on the beaches of Salerno were troops of the reconstituted 16th Panzer Division, the only fully equipped armored division in southern Italy. Not quite at full strength, the division had 17,000 men, more than 100 tanks, and 36 assault guns organized into four infantry battalions, one equipped with half-tracks for better support of tank attacks, and three artillery battalions. Morale was good. Shortcomings were lack of combat experience, a shortage of gasoline, which restricted training of tank crews, and a long front of more than twenty miles.

[NOTE: Staff Sergeant Quillian H. McMichen, Sergeant Manuel S. Gonzales, Sergeant Glen O. Hiller, and Lieutenant Colonel Samuel S. Graham were awarded the DSC; Sergeant James M. Logan was awarded the Medal of Honor.]

The 16th Panzer Division had deployed its strength in four combat teams, each composed of an infantry battalion augmented by tanks and artillery; three were in position two or three miles from the coast and ready to launch counterattacks; one was in division reserve.

Nearer the shore line, the division had constructed eight strongpoints between Salerno and Agropoli, each manned by a platoon of infantry supported by heavy machine guns, mortars, and antitank and antiaircraft pieces, all designed to bolster the coastal defenses earlier manned by Italian troops. When the Italian coastal units left their positions upon news of the surrender, German troops came up to take over six Italian coastal batteries, but no continuous defensive system existed along the beaches. Deprived of Italian support and guarding an excessive length of coast line, the division was at a disadvantage.

The defenses in the immediate landing areas were not well organized. There were no mine fields in the surf and the few mines along the beaches were scattered. Barbed wire obstacles were scanty, most of them single-concertina double apron type. Some trip wires existed. A few machine guns covered the most likely landing spots. Italians or Germans had felled a grove of small pine trees near the tower of Paestum to create a field of fire. Several artillery pieces inland covered the plain, the beaches, and the water approaches.

About two companies of infantry occupied the VI Corps beaches. They withdrew soon after the landings and offered little resistance at close range. They saw the mass movement of American troops from beach to railroad as a skillful maneuver, a deliberate bypass of the strongpoints near the shore. Unable to muster enough strength to block the landings, the 16th Panzer Division sought to delay the Allies and disrupt the schedules of the amphibious operation.

German tanks got into action only after daylight. They worked in small groups, supported by infantry units usually no larger than platoon size. A lone tank, reaching the shore line shortly after dawn, fired on approaching craft. Antiaircraft guns on LST’s, machine guns on landing craft, and men on the beaches took the tank under fire and soon drove it off. Other tanks spotted on the road behind the dunes were also fired upon.

It was the individual American infantryman who kept the German tanks at bay during the early morning hours of 9 September. Corporal Royce C. Davis destroyed a tank after crawling under machine gun bursts to a place where he could use his rocket launcher effectively. He pierced the armor, then crept beside the disabled and immobile vehicle to thrust a hand grenade through the hole and destroy the crew. Sergeant John Y. McGill jumped on a tank and dropped a hand grenade into the open turret. Private First Class Harry C. Harpel kept at least one group of tanks from reaching the beach when, under enemy fire, he removed loose planking of a bridge across an irrigation canal and rendered it impassable.

The reserve battalions of the assault regiments came in after daylight-the 2nd Battalion, 141st Infantry, around 0530, fifty minutes behind schedule, on Yellow Beach; the 1st Battalion, 142nd, an hour later in some disorganization on Red. Two battalions of the reserve regiment, the 143rd, landed on Red Beach between 0640 and 0800, the third battalion coming ashore later that morning. While infantrymen fought off tanks at close range with bazookas, grenades, machine guns, and a few pieces of regimental cannon, American tanks and artillery were trying to get ashore.

[NOTE: Corporal Royce C. Davis and Private First Class Harry C. Harpel were awarded the DSC, posthumously.]

Tanks and artillery were scheduled to be on the beaches before daylight, but they had difficulty landing because work to open the beaches was delayed. Enemy fire had scattered the landing craft carrying reconnaissance parties of the 531st Engineer Shore Regiment (Lieutenant Colonel Russel S. Lieurance) that had accompanied the early assault waves, and as a result, mine-clearing teams, road construction crews, and equipment did not land as units. It was necessary to round up the men and organize them, in some cases to keep them from joining infantrymen in search of the enemy, before the beaches could be cleared to receive the heavier weapons and equipment. This, plus enemy fire on boat lanes, prevented tanks and artillery from landing as early as had been hoped. A group of about sixty DUKWs carrying artillery pieces, ammunition, and troops arrived off Green Beach around 0500, but because enemy fire on the beach and on the nearby water area made landings impractical, the DUKW’s stood offshore out of range. Thirty minutes later, naval control vessels signaled them to go in anyway. About thirty DUKW’s went in under smoke laid by support boats and troops ashore, but the smoke also obscured landmarks and hampered the visibility of the crews.

About sixty DUKW’s scheduled to land at Yellow and Blue Beaches remained offshore for the same reasons. When the beach-master on Red noticed these craft, he called to occupants of a small boat, who delivered a message to divert the DUKW’s to Red. By this time, around 0530, approximately 125 DUKW’s were circling or lying off Red Beach. These came ashore sporadically and in small groups. Some delays occurred because many DUKW’s were low in gasoline and had to refuel.

The result was a piecemeal landing of artillery. Some howitzers and crews were ashore two and a half hours after the first wave, but not until afternoon was most of the division artillery on land. The 131st Field Artillery Battalion landed at various times during the day on Yellow Beach and supported the 141st Infantry. The 132nd Field Artillery Battalion went ashore on Green, starting at 0730, and took up positions on Yellow Beach until noon, when it moved to positions north of Paestum in support of the 142nd Infantry. The 133rd Field Artillery Battalion began to move ashore on Red around noon and went into positions with mixed equipment, then moved north of Paestum in the early afternoon, leaving three pieces detached for antitank protection of the division headquarters. The 155th Field Artillery Battalion (155-mm. howitzers) landed on Green during the afternoon and went into position 2,000 yards north of Paestum for general support.

The tank landings were also disorganized. A company of the 751st Tank Battalion (Lieutenant Colonel Louis A. Hammack) , which was to have landed a platoon before daybreak to support a flying column movement to Agropoli, saw the LCM’s carrying the platoon make two unsuccessful efforts to land on Blue Beach.

At 1500 the first tank of this contingent got ashore on Red Beach and four more came ashore around 1730. Another platoon had better luck-one tank landed on Red at 0830, another on Blue at 0930, three on Red between 1000 and 1330, and three more after nightfall. Six LCT’s carrying tanks of the 191st Tank Battalion and moving toward Blue Beach about 0630 were struck by enemy shells, four receiving direct hits. The LCT’s turned back to sea. One tank was burning; fortunately it was next to the ramp, and the tank behind it pushed it over the ramp and into the gulf. This damaged the ramp, and several feet of water flooded the boat. For almost five hours the six LCT’s circled aimlessly. Finally, at 1100, they approached the shore and beached their cargoes.

With neither division artillery nor tanks in support, the infantry during the first four hours of the landing depended to a large extent on a few 40-mm. antiaircraft guns, which came ashore about daylight, and on the regimental cannon companies. Antiaircraft units coming ashore on D-day were the 630th and 354th Coast Artillery Battalions, a battalion of the 213th Coast Artillery Regiment, and a battery of the 505th Coast Artillery Regiment. A detachment of the 102nd Barrage Balloon Battery raised its balloons against low-level strafing; enemy artillery destroyed at least one balloon while it was being inflated shortly after dawn.

Three 75-mm. self-propelled howitzers of the 141st Infantry had started ashore as part of the third boat wave. Naval control vessels turned back the landing craft carrying one cannon, but two grounded on the beach. One howitzer immediately struck a mine and was disabled. The other pulled into a defile on the dunes. Enemy machine gun fire that swept the defile from both flanks put the gun sight out of commission. 1st Lieutenant Clair F. Carpenter ran across the beach, took the gun sight from the disabled cannon, and brought it back under fire to his own weapon. As Corporal Edgar L. Blackburn tried to fix the new sight in place, machine gun fire cut him down. Carpenter then tried to adjust the sight but was severely wounded. The piece remained out of commission for the rest of the day.

Fortunately, other howitzers of the regimental cannon companies managed to get ashore in operational condition. At least one crew found itself not far from some enemy tanks. Unloading the piece and setting it in position without cover or concealment, the men opened fire at once.

The 151st Field Artillery Battalion lost a 105-mm. howitzer and forty rounds of ammunition when a DUKW was accidentally rammed at the rendezvous area and sunk. The men clambered aboard other DUKW’s, and the battalion headed for shore, making its first landing at 0725. As the pieces were unloaded, they went to positions; no attempt was made to organize them according to battery. Since the infantry was requesting immediate supporting fires, an improvised battery, reinforced by three pieces of another battalion already ashore and equally unorganized, went into firing positions just forward of the dune line, in a grove of trees near the south wall of Paestum. Around 0930, this battery fired on enemy tanks and helped repel a counterattack.

By this time the commanders of the assault regiments were ashore, having arrived about daylight, after a two-to-three-hour voyage from transport to beach. On Yellow and Blue Beaches Colonel Richard J. Werner, commanding the 141st Infantry, found his 1st Battalion pinned down and isolated on the right, his 3rd Battalion on the left several hundred yards inland, and his reserve battalion advancing along the regimental left flank against heavy enemy fire. Estimating that he lacked the firepower to eliminate the Germans on his front, Werner requested the naval gun observer on the beach to call in naval fires. The officer could not make radio contact with the ships, either because they were too far out at sea or because his set failed to operate effectively.

The regiment was still without naval fire support or even naval contact at 0730, when German troops and about eight tanks attacked into the gap that separated the 1st Battalion from the rest of the regiment. About five Mark IV tanks overran a rifle company of the 1st Battalion. Men who took cover in ditches were unharmed as the tanks rolled over them; those caught in the open fields were run over or shot.

Infantrymen with bazookas and the crew of a 40-mm. antiaircraft gun depressed for ground fire fought the Germans effectively. A group of soldiers nearby who had very early captured three Italian railway guns and who planned to use them had to destroy the weapons because they could not defend them. In the midst of the action an hour later, two 105-mm. howitzers of the 131st Field Artillery Battalion came ashore and gave the regiment its first artillery support. [n2-6-13] The 3rd Battalion S-3, Captain Hersel R. Adams, assumed leadership of a scattered rifle company, organized an attack against the tanks, and helped beat off the Germans. [n2-6-14] Finally, around 0800 the naval gun observer made radio contact with the ships. The first naval shells arrived about fifteen minutes later. The naval gunfire, artillery shelling, and infantry rockets began to take effect. Two of their tanks destroyed, the Germans withdrew to the hills east and south of the landing beaches. The 2nd and 3rd Battalions of the 141st Infantry then advanced to the railroad in strength.

[n-2-6-13 Private Richard Ferris, who remained at his artillery piece though wounded and who was killed when struck by a second shell fragment, was posthumously awarded the DSC.]

[n2-6-14 Captain Hersel R. Adams was posthumously awarded the DSC.]

Despite the advance, German artillery fire continued to fall on Blue and Yellow Beaches so intensively that later landings there were halted and the boats were diverted north to Green and Red. Efforts to restore communication with the isolated 1st Battalion on the right still proved unavailing. Enemy machine gun and artillery fire formed a barrier in the gap that prevented patrols from getting through. Naval observation planes dispatched at 1430 to locate the German gun positions were unsuccessful.

Pinned down in flat terrain cut by shallow irrigation ditches bordered by bushes and trees, reduced to crawling and creeping, the men of the 1st Battalion through a long day awaited the coming of darkness and the protection of night. Only small groups could maneuver, and the most they could do was to try to get within grenade range of machine gun positions. Hills a mile away dominated the ground to the immediate front and on the right, and at least a battery of four guns and two 75-mm. mortars covered the area. Cut off, the beach behind them closed, the men of the battalion fought inland in groups of two and three, trying to knock out about eight German tanks that seemed to be running up and down the front most of the day.

In the 142nd Infantry zone, where enemy fire was somewhat less intense though constantly a problem, Colonel John D. Forsythe, the regimental commander, found a more encouraging situation. The 3rd Battalion on the left had advanced to the railroad, then beyond it to the highway, and still farther to its initial objective, Hill 140, where around 0730 the men began to dig defensive positions. The 2nd Battalion, after partially clearing resistance in Paestum, moved beyond the railroad and established hasty defensive positions along La Cosa Creek.

German machine gun crews remaining in and around Paestum later harassed troops coming ashore to such an extent that Colonel William H. Martin, commander of the reserve regiment, the 143rd Infantry, dispatched a rifle company to clear the town while the regiment assembled and organized at the railroad. Paestum was clear by midmorning, the regiment organized by noon. But Martin held up an immediate move inland because of reports that German tanks were concentrating nearby for an attack.

Prompt action by the 151st Field Artillery Battalion dispersed this tank attack. A battery recently arrived on shore sited a piece on a beach exit road to obtain an emergency field of fire. Because trail spades could get no purchase in the hard surface of the road, each round fired drove the gun into the ditch. The piece then had to be manhandled back to its firing position. Brigadier General Miles A. Cowles, the division artillery commander, helped the gun crew. “He shifted trails with the efficiency of a finished cannoneer,” the sergeant later remarked, “the highest priced number five man” the sergeant had ever commanded and also one of the most dexterous and cooperative. By this time the division commander, General ‘Walker, had established his command post ashore. He had arrived on Red Beach about 0700 and had been rather disappointed-no roadway had yet been prepared, his two personal vehicles had been destroyed by mines while being driven over the sand, and he had no way to get word to LCM’s, still loaded and moving aimlessly offshore, to come in and land. A little after 0700 Walker reported to General Dawley, the corps commander, that heavy enemy gunfire was preventing not only the landing of vehicles but also the clearing of beaches.

[n2-6-11; Near the beach General Walker passed several abandoned German radio sets from which emerged the sound of voices. These sets may have given rise to the fanciful story that Germans on the beaches greeted the initial assault waves with the words carried over loudspeakers: “Come on in. we have you covered.” (AMERICAN FORCES IN ACTION, Salerno: American Operations from the Beaches to the Voltumo (Washington, 1944) , p. 19; Fifth Army History, Part I, p. 32.) Or perhaps the story originated from the sight of American beach personnel using loudspeakers to direct incoming landing ships and boats. (See photo in Salerno: American Operations from the Beaches to the Volturno, p. 24.) See also Interv, Westover with Walker, and General Walker’s Comments Relating to Salerno.]

Concerned by this unfavorable report, the first direct word he had received, Dawley urgently requested naval fire

support. The beach engineers were also having a difficult time: they were shorthanded because special attached units were not ashore until late afternoon and in some cases after dark; and they lacked sufficient equipment, for example, the first bulldozer on the beach took a direct hit and was put out of commission, and enemy fire had destroyed three bulldozers by 1000. Yet the engineers had Red Beach open by midmorning, and landing craft were disgorging men and materiel in a steady stream.

At his headquarters in a group of buildings called Casa Vannula and located north of Paestum, General Walker emphasized to his subordinate commanders that it was essential for the units to seize and secure their initial objectives. He was also concerned about antitank defense. Battalions were moving toward and in some cases had reached their initial objectives, and General Cowles’s central antitank warning system, which tied in the reconnaissance troop, the artillery battalions, and the tank units with the division artillery headquarters, was working well. In midmorning, for example, when headquarters personnel spotted a small group of German tanks on the north flank and flashed the warning, artillery elements that had recently landed and were moving up from the beaches immediately positioned their pieces and opened fire, dispersing the tanks.

Naval gunfire was by then adding its power. Destroyers had come a few miles closer to shore and were firing in response to requests from combined Army-Navy artillery observer-spotter parties on the beach. Other spotters in the air coordinated the shelling.

By noon the development of the beachhead in the VI Corps area was progressing well. German artillery continued to fire on the beaches, and a few German planes appeared from time to time to bomb and strafe the beaches and shipping in the gulf. The 1st Battalion, 141st Infantry, on the right was still isolated, and two of the four landing beaches could not be opened. Yet men and materiel were coming ashore in substantial quantities, and control and discipline were bringing order to the amphibious landing.

Despite the satisfactory progress, the commanders aboard ships in the gulf knew little of the situation ashore. Communications between shore and ship were poor, and few details reached Generals Clark and Dawley. Receiving a distorted picture from fragmentary reports and from what the returning wounded told them, their concern intensified by their inactivity, their impatience heightened by their inability to influence the action directly, Clark and Dawley came to believe that the situation ashore was much worse than it actually was. “Hewitt and I on bridge,” General Clark wrote in his diary, “-helpless feeling-all out of my hands until we get reports.” The enemy seemed to be opposing the landings on all beaches, enemy tanks were active, and hill-emplaced artillery was firing into boat lanes. As late as noon Dawley received word that beach mines and enemy artillery were still preventing vehicles from coming ashore in sufficient numbers and that shore fire control parties had still not established adequate communications. So far as Dawley could tell, conditions in the beachhead were precarious.

The American Beaches

Like most military forces, who have a tendency to overestimate the numbers, experience, and weapons of the enemy, the Germans at Salerno first felt overwhelmed by the invasion. They were also shaken by the Italian surrender. At the same time, they were beset by other difficulties.

The Allied invasion, occurring as it did entirely in the 16th Panzer Division sector, came as a surprise to the Germans, and the absence of effective communications among the command echelons handicapped their reaction to the landings. German commanders were often out of touch with each other. When using the Italian civilian telephone system, they were uncertain whether the lines were altogether secure. Furthermore, saboteurs cut a few cables. When the Germans turned to radio transmission, they found that atmospheric disturbances, especially at night, frequently interrupted their messages.

At Tenth Army headquarters, Vietinghoff had yet to receive his full complement of signal personnel because his command had been activated so recently; he lacked the signal regiment normally assigned to an army headquarters, and his communications troops were poorly trained, without experience, and overworked. Kesselring was wholly occupied by developments in the Rome area resulting from the Italian surrender and had little time to guide Vietinghoff. Vietinghoff realized as early as 0800, 9 September-four and a half hours after the initial landings at Salerno-that the extent of the Allied effort made another major invasion farther north unlikely, but in the absence of word from Kesselring he had to make a hard choice in terms of conflicting orders: was he to withdraw to Rome or repel the invasion? Deciding for the latter, he ordered the XIV Panzer Corps to make a “ruthless concentration of all forces at Salerno” and drive the Allies into the sea. At noon OB SUED approved his course of action.

The XIV Panzer Corps commander, Generalleutnant Hermann Balck, was acting for General der Panzertruppen Hans-Valentine Hube, who was on leave. Balck had telephone contact with neither Tenth Army nor OB SUED) and only tenuous radio contact with either. Consequently, several hours usually elapsed before he could receive instructions or approval of an action, and most of his decisions were independent. What concerned him most of all was the absence of reliable intelligence. Without information on the location and movement of Allied convoys, without knowledge of other actual or potential landings, he felt too insecure, despite Vietinghoff’s clarion call, to denude some sectors of his large defensive area in order to reinforce his troops at Salerno.

Thus he ordered the 15th Panzer Grenadier Division to assemble a regimental combat team containing most of the division’s tanks and an artillery battalion, concentrate the troops along the two sides of the Volturno River, and be ready for possible commitment against landings at the mouth of the Volturno or in the Hermann Gӧring Division’s sector immediately to the south. When the 16th Panzer Division commander, Generalmajor Rudolf Sickenius, became alarmed at 0800 of D-day by the rumor of landings near Castellammare, on the northern shore of the Sorrento peninsula, and sent an urgent call for help, Balck reacted cautiously. Unsure of the scope of the Allied landing, he hesitated to change his dispositions. All he felt he could do was order the Hermann Gӧring Division to send its reconnaissance battalion at once to Nocera, ten miles north of Salerno, and to prepare to dispatch a reinforced regiment later if necessary. This order had no immediate effect on the action.

The 16th Panzer Division thus fought alone, taking the full force of the invasion. The six Italian coastal batteries it had manned were soon silenced by naval gunfire. Spread thin over a large area, the division launched small counterthrusts by tank-infantry teams. In many instances groups of five to seven tanks worked without supporting infantry and, so it seemed to the Americans, without reference to an over-all plan or a single coordinating agency. Such piecemeal efforts were ineffective. Had the Germans been able to use their armor in mass very early in the day, they could have caused the Allies serious trouble. The terrain, crisscrossed by irrigation and drainage canals and obstructed by fences and walls, imposed caution on the German tankers, who were generally inexperienced, and increased tank dispersal, as did the Allied artillery fire, the high-velocity fire from tanks in hull defiladed positions, the infantry rocket launchers, naval shelling, and air bombardment.

Although the higher terrain gave the Germans observation of much of the beachhead, it also forced them to counterattack downhill in full view of Allied observers. Even the weather was a problem-the first shot fired at a German tank usually raised a great cloud of dust that enveloped the tank and blinded driver and gunner. Their eyes, in effect, shot out, the tanks were easily destroyed or dispersed. By the end of the first day of action, only thirty-five tanks of the 16th Panzer Division) about one-third of those in operation at the beginning of the day, were still in condition to fight.

The German predicament was far from apparent to the Allied commanders aboard ships in the gulf, where destroyers dashed about laying smoke, small boats darted about delivering messages, and landing craft nosed up to shore, opened their mouths, and threw down their ramps “like the lower lip of a giant Ubangi.” To the observers who had no military responsibilities, “D-Day was beautiful. The air was soft and the skies were clear, except when the [German air] raiders came, and then the sky was pockmarked with ugly black bursts where shells from our anti-aircraft guns exploded.” But to General Dawley, who was still without adequate reports from the beachhead, the situation was full of frustration. Unable to restrain his concern and impatience, he departed his ship at 1300 to make a personal inspection of the beach in the company of his G-3.

At 1000 Admiral Hewitt had sent a message to General Dawley ordering him to take command of the troops ashore because seaward communication from the 36th Division was unsatisfactory. Dawley went ashore without receiving the message. Around noon Hewitt sent another message directing Dawley to remain aboard ship in order to confer with General Middleton, commander of the 45th Division, on the early commitment of one of Middleton’s follow-up regiments. This second message arrived at the corps command post aboard ship before the first one, around 1500, but Dawley was by then on the beach. When Hewitt’s 1000 message arrived at 1520, Dawley’s G-2 carried the messages ashore. Dawley then began an immediate inquiry to determine frontline and flank locations of his own troops and identifications of hostile forces with a view to assuming command.

Despite General Dawley’s efforts to get information back to General Clark, Admiral Hewitt, and his own headquarters that afternoon, those aboard the ships in the gulf continued to have only the vaguest notion of what was happening ashore. Most of the un-loadings seemed to be taking place over Red Beach. The enemy continued to shell all beaches. German tanks seemed to appear frequently around Paestum. The USS Savannah was furnishing fire support to the forces on Blue Beach. Enemy air activity was harassing in nature as though to test the Allied cover strength.

Since clear weather at high altitudes permitted incoming aircraft to be spotted, Spitfires intercepted and turned back several formations; but a haze at lower levels aided the enemy, and low attacks and beach strafing were nuisances. The Germans directed much of their air effort against vessels at anchor-fourteen attacks recorded in one 8-hour period though damage was slight. Hewitt appealed to General House for increased air raids on airfields around Naples, Benevento, and Foggia.

On shore, the operation in the VI Corps area went well during the afternoon of D-day. Along the water’s edge, Brigadier General John W. O’Daniel, attached from the Fifth Army to the 36th Division, had been supervising landing operations on Red and Green Beaches since about 0430, and had done much to bring about order. Although Blue Beach remained closed most of the afternoon, Yellow Beach, closed during the morning because of enemy fire, was opened soon after noon, and about 1300 two LST’s pushed up to shore under cover of smoke and began to discharge materiel. Enough supplies were getting ashore, but boxed ammunition and baled rations lined Red and Green Beaches. Landing craft sometimes found it difficult to locate space on which to let down their ramps. A few destroyed craft blocked boat lanes. Many crews had to clear the boats of cargo themselves, thereby delaying their return to the transports for additional loads. Stocks placed on the beaches could not be moved inland quickly because of a shortage of DUKW’s and trucks.

Tanks, coming in piecemeal throughout the afternoon, were on hand in sufficient numbers to be organized and employed as units. Around 1430 the 751st Tank Battalion began to exercise central control over the armored elements; most of the tanks were being used for antitank protection, many in hull-defiladed positions on the north flank. De-waterproofing was difficult in many cases; shrouds on many tanks had to be pulled off by other tanks or cut with an axe.

Vehicles of the 601st Tank Destroyer Battalion began to land on Red Beach around 1630. After dewater proofing, some moved south to support the 141st Infantry, others moved north to the Sele River. The 645th Tank Destroyer Battalion disembarked in the early evening, then moved north to take positions astride Highway 18 to help cover the gap between the VI and 10 Corps. Liaison parties controlling naval gunfire were operating with the battalions of the 36th Division Artillery, the artillery headquarters, and a few light planes that had managed that afternoon to get off the improvised flight decks ingeniously constructed on several LST’s.

Tactical aircraft patrolled the assault area throughout D-day and forayed inland to intercept enemy planes, bomb airfields, and attempt to disrupt communications. Admiral ‘Willis’ cover force alone maintained an umbrella of eight planes constantly aloft over the beach-head from 0550 to 1915. There were no missions undertaken in direct close support of the ground troops, though an air support party at the 36th Division command post was in contact with General House’s XII Air Support Command headquarters aboard Admiral Hewitt’s flagship.

The first detailed report of conditions ashore reached shipboard headquarters a little after 1700. The news was good. Intelligence officers had expected the Germans to destroy the bridges across the drainage canals and streams, to place mines along bypass sites and fords, and to block the roads.30 Instead, beach engineers reported no wire obstructions hindering unloadings, exit roads generally in good condition and usable, drainage ditch bridges for the most part intact. Steel matting was in place for roadways and supply dumps.

Soon afterward, Dawley sent word to Clark that supply operations over Green Beach, like those over Red and Yellow, were going well. More important, the 36th Division was holding positions along the line set as the objective for daylight, 10 September. At 1800 the corps G-2 reported that the 36th Division had no contact with German troops. The division had made good progress that afternoon. The 143rd Infantry, in the center, advanced to Monte Soprano and took the western slope of the nose, part of Monte Soltano, and the village of Capaccio. The 142nd Infantry on the left was in the foothills below Albanella. Only on the right the 141st Infantry was still virtually immobilized, but after darkness it too would push forward and find evidence-in burned and wrecked vehicles, in supplies hastily abandoned of a precipitous German withdrawal. If there was any cause for concern, it was on the left, where the division had not established its flank firmly on the Sele River-a gap of seven miles remained between American and British forces.

More than satisfied by the developments, General Walker made a formal request at 1740 for a regiment of the 45th Division-part of the floating reserve-to land during the night on Red Beach. Its general area of operations, he suggested, should be on the 36th Division left, specifically between the Calore and Sele Rivers. Generals Dawley and Clark approved at once and Clark decided soon after to send the 179th Infantry ashore. At 2045, General Clark informed General Alexander that the entire 36th Division, including its attachments, was ashore.

The Results of the First Day

North of the Sele River the 10 Corps had had very little difficulty landing and had secured the beaches by 0445. But as the troops began to move inland they met bitter resistance from German tanks and infantry. On the right flank, the 56th Division (Major General G. W. R. Templer) received a strong tank attack, which naval gunfire helped to break up. Patrols then advanced into Battipaglia, but German troops soon drove them out. An attempt to take the Montecorvino airfield failed. Yet the British threat in the Battipaglia area affected other parts of the beachhead. It prompted Sickenius to divert units of his 16th Panzer Division from both north and south flanks to hold the town. Loss of Battipaglia and its commanding ground would give the Allies good access to the interior and deny the Germans control of the road net immediately behind the front. In the left portion of the 10 Corps area, the 46th Division (Major General J. L. T. Hawkesworth) beat back recurring counterattacks, partially surrounded the Montecorvino airfield, and moved toward Salerno under heavy fire.

Commandos and Rangers

By the end of the first day the main forces of 10 Corps had secured a shallow beachhead, but, like VI Corps, had been unable to establish a flank on the Sele River. The gap between British and Americans was sharply defined on the evening of 9 September, when the Germans destroyed the bridge across the Sele on Highway 18, the coastal route.

A gap also separated the two divisions of 10 Corps from the Commandos operating on the left in the Sorrento peninsula. The Commandos had landed unopposed at VietrisuI Mare, but German troops quickly infiltrated the town and placed mortar fire on the beach, thereby delaying the landing of several subsequent assault and support waves. Against determined opposition, the Commandos, aided by Rangers, expanded their beachhead, fought into Salerno, and established a tenuous hold over the city.

On the left of the Commandos, the 4th Ranger Battalion had landed on the Maiori beach without opposition. After crossing the small beach and scaling a high sea wall, the men found Maiori empty of Germans. “While one company formed a perimeter defense, two companies moved off to probe the winding coastal road toward Salerno to the east and Amalfi to the west. Resistance along the road was slight-a German officer courier on a motorcycle, a concrete pillbox protecting a small roadblock force on a sharp bend, a naval observation post near a hairpin tum, and an undefended roadblock at Minori.”

The 1st and 3rd Ranger Battalions came ashore and pushed inland up the narrow mountain road to Monte di Chiunzi. After destroying two German armored cars with bazooka fire, Rangers seized the ground commanding the Chiunzi pass at the top of the mountain without further opposition. By dawn of D-day, 9 September, they held firmly the peaks on both sides of the pass, with a breathtaking view of the Bay of Salerno behind them and excellent observation of Highway 18, the main artery leading north to Naples. These positions, as well as others plugging the coastal road to Amalfi, secured the left flank of the Fifth Army.

The invasion, from most indications at the end of the day, was a success. Despite the more or less normal confusion of an amphibious operation, troops had scrambled ashore and gained lodgment. Intelligence officers judged the initial resistance to have been heavy though of brief duration. The enemy had soon withdrawn from the beaches. Though some beaches still remained under direct artillery fire, the greater part of the shore line was usable for landing additional troops and supplies.

How difficult were the landings? For any man coming ashore on a hostile beach under fire, particularly during the hours of darkness, a landing is difficult. News of the Italian surrender had relaxed tensions among the troops on the convoys and, despite warnings from commanders, the general belief had persisted among the soldiers that the landings would be purely routine. Thus any opposition was disconcerting.

Perhaps the best way of judging the actual difficulty of the invasion is by the number of casualties sustained. The 36th Division incurred approximately 500 casualties, relatively few for an opposed amphibious assault, particularly since the infantry components were over strength and the division was augmented by the attachment of numerous units. The dead accounted for about 20 percent of the casualties. Very few men drowned.

It was the lack of communications between shore and ship and the resulting absence of precise information for most of the day that made the higher echelons of command uneasy, and this contributed to shipboard impressions that the Salerno invasion was inordinately difficult. With the shore obscured first by darkness and later by smoke, rumors were rife, and the sketchy reports did little to dissipate the natural concern of those who could do little to help. The most critical moments on shore for the Americans probably occurred during two serious German tank attacks. One came at 1120 and employed 16 Mark IV tanks, of which 6 were destroyed, and another was launched somewhat earlier with 13 Mark IV’s. The rest seemed to be small probing attacks, hastily conceived and poorly executed. Antitank weapons and naval gunfire had arrived in time, and a coordinated antitank defense was functioning in the VI Corps area by midmorning, The bazooka turned out to be, as one regiment reported, “a really great defensive weapon,” accounting for at least seven tanks, even though a majority of the operators had fired only a few rounds in training and even though some men became excited and forgot to arm the bazooka shells, The rifle grenade was not particularly effective against tanks but was used with good effect against machine guns and strongpoints.

[n2-6-37 According to regimental records, the 141st Infantry lost 51 killed, 121 wounded, 31 missing; the q2nd Infantry had 32 killed, 109 wounded, 8 missing. Regimental . Sep 43.]

The naval arrangements for debarking and assembling the boat waves and getting them away from the transports had been well carried out. True, many waves did not arrive at the proper places or on schedule; landing craft and DUKW pilots were often cautious to the point of milling around aimlessly offshore; and naval shore fire control parties, landed very early to observe and direct gunfire before artillery and tanks arrived in large numbers, did not get into operation immediately; but these were unfortunate and not disastrous circumstances. Sea mines, both actual and suspected, had at first hampered naval operations and delayed gunfire support-it was necessary to sweep areas in the gulf before cruisers and destroyers could approach close enough to shore to fire effectively. Mines also inhibited the movements of landing craft and LST’s and prevented the transports from coming close in to reduce the length of boat voyages from ship to shore. The distance between transports and shore, in some instances about ten miles, led to long trips by DUKW’s and boats and retarded the build-up. At the end of D-day the transports of the Southern Attack Force were only partially unloaded.

Late in the afternoon of 9 September Allied reconnaissance pilots reported an ominous development. They had observed enemy units moving north from the toe of Italy toward Salerno. German reinforcements could be expected at the beachhead during the night. These were the troops of the LXXVI Panzer Corps from Calabria.

To Vietinghoff it seemed that his 16th Panzer Division had contained the Allied troops in a constricted beachhead. If the reinforcements arrived quickly the invasion might yet be repelled.

The battle at Salerno was still to come. Taking place on the extensively cultivated but thinly settled plain, an area devoted to truck gardening and the raising of cereals on the low ground and to the growing of grapes in the foothills of the mountains, the battle would decide whether the Allies had come to southern Italy to stay.

In North Africa on the first day of the AVALANCHE landings, General Eisenhower had only the most meager reports from the beachhead. He knew by noon there was sharp fighting on the 10 Corps front; he had no news at all from the VI Corps. Confident of the eventual success of the operation, he was nevertheless concerned by the movement of German troops north from Calabria. General Montgomery had promised to advance up the peninsula as fast as he could. But extensive demolitions by German rear guards, it was apparent to Eisenhower, would prevent Montgomery from helping Clark “for some days.” During those days, in Eisenhower’s opinion, would come the critical period of AVALANCHE.

Seeing his major task as the need to match the German reinforcement by accelerating Clark’s build-up, Eisenhower offered Clark the 82nd Airborne Division at noon of D-day, provided a feasible plan could be devised to use it. Eisenhower would have available the next morning, 10 September, some LCI (L) ‘s from Malta; the craft had a lift capacity of 1,800 troops with light equipment and could be used to send reinforcements to Clark. Perhaps some of the 82nd paratroopers could be transferred from Sicily to the beachhead. The main problem, in Eisenhower’s eyes, was assault shipping; if he had enough lift to put one more division into the beachhead immediately, he believed he could almost guarantee success at Salerno. But if the enemy appreciated correctly the slowness of the immediate Allied follow-up, “we are in,” he informed the CCS, “for some very tough fighting.” He could expect no help from the Italian Army. AVALANCHE would be “a matter of touch and go for the next few days.”

“While I do not discount the possibility of a very bad time in the AVALANCHE area,” Eisenhower reported to his superiors, he remained optimistic. My belief is that the enemy is sufficiently confused by the events of the past twenty-four hours that it will be difficult for him to make up a defensive plan and that by exploiting to the full our sea and air power, we will control the Southern end of the Boot to include the line Naples-Foggia within a reasonable time. Our greatest asset now is confusion and uncertainty which we must take advantage of in every possible way.


General Eisenhower hoped that Operation SLAPSTICK, the quick movement of British paratroopers in cruisers to Taranto, would promote additional confusion and uncertainty among the Germans. The decision to execute SLAPSTICK, made in the early days of September, was in the nature of an afterthought, and, as General Alexander later remarked, the code name well illustrated the ex tempore nature of the planning. Despite the suddenness of the decision to launch the operation, the reasoning behind it was complex and the action exerted a considerable influence on the development of the campaign in southern Italy.

Suggested by the Italians during the surrender negotiations, SLAPSTICK was planned to take advantage of the fact that few German troops were in the heel, though the Allied commanders had expected the area to be well defended because of its strategic proximity to Yugoslavia. If the Allies could quickly seize the major port of Taranto, together with the excellent harbors of Brindisi and Bari on the east coast, with little expenditure of men and equipment, they would gain another complex of entry points to the Italian peninsula that would facilitate the general build-up.

They would then have two independent lines of communication in Italy, one based on Salerno and Naples for the Fifth U.S. Army, a second based on the other side of the Italian peninsula for the British Eighth Army. Supporting General Montgomery’s Eighth Army from Taranto and east coast harbors would eliminate the problems of relying on the minor Calabrian ports, which had limited unloading capacity and would necessitate long overland truck hauls from the toe.

The resources for SLAPSTICK were fortunately at hand. First, the Italian armistice, which included the surrender of the Italian Fleet, made it possible on 7 September to divert four cruisers from guarding the Italian warships to transporting the paratroopers. Second, since the shortage of air carriers in the theater made it impossible to use the 1st British Airborne Division in AVALANCHE, its troops were available, and General Alexander alerted Major General G. F. Hopkinson, the division commander, to be ready to make what was hoped would be an administrative rather than an assault landing. Third, a reservoir of additional strength could be drawn upon to build up the forces in the heel: the British 78th Division was in Sicily and free for commitment; the 8th Indian Division was in the Middle East and already loading on ships for a scheduled movement to Italy on 25 September; and other divisions in the Middle East and in North Africa could be sent to the heel if the Allies controlled a complex of ports capable of receiving them. Fourth, a headquarters was available to command a large number of troops.

When Montgomery’s Eighth Army secured easy lodgment in the toe after crossing the Strait of Messina on 3 September, 10 Corps was definitely committed to participate in the AVALANCHE landings. At that time the amphibious operation at Crotone was canceled. This left the British 5 Corps headquarters unemployed and, consequently, free to exercise control over the Allied combat troops that might be committed in the province of Apulia. Eventually, after advancing beyond the toe, Montgomery’s Eighth Army would be established in Apulia, but until then Lieutenant General Sir Charles Allfrey’s 5 Corps headquarters would be ready to take responsibility for whatever operations developed in the area remote from both Salerno and Calabria.

For these reasons, 3,600 troops of the 1st British Airborne Division sailed in light cruisers and mine layers, preceded by mine sweepers, to Taranto and entered the harbor on 9 September, the day of the Salerno landings. No German forces were in the city, and the Italians manning the port defenses gave the arrivals a friendly welcome. The only untoward incident was the tragic sinking, with heavy loss of life, of the British mine layer H.M.S. Abdiel, which struck a mine while waiting to be unloaded.

The port of Taranto was in excellent condition, and British troops immediately began to organize its facilities. The 1st Airborne Division moved off in search of Germans and two days later occupied the port of Brindisi without opposition.

Unfortunately for General Eisenhower’s hope, SLAPSTICK created little confusion and uncertainty for the Germans. The lack of opposition in the heel and along the east coast had resulted from an independent decision made by the commander of the 1st Parachute Division, the only German unit in Apulia.

With Kesselring busy putting down the Italian show of force at Rome and Vietinghoff occupied by meeting the Allied landings at Salerno, the division commander, Generalmajor Richard Heidrich, acted on his own initiative. Since his forces were dispersed over a wide area and there were several points of entry vulnerable to Allied invasion, and since two of the division’s infantry battalions were detached from his control, he concluded he would be unable to offer effective resistance anywhere against what would obviously be superior invading forces. He assembled his troops and insured their security by withdrawing, though he maintained light contact with the British troops and delayed them where he could.

To those engaged at Salerno, SLAPSTICK was far less important than the progress of General Montgomery’s Eighth Army, which was moving slowly up the toe, retarded by demolitions, skillful German delaying action, and the nature of the country itself. If, as seemed likely, the Germans escaped the Eighth Army advance, moved quickly out of the toe, and reached the Salerno area in time to reinforce the defenders, the Fifth Army was in for real trouble.

SOURCE: SALERNO TO CASSINO; by Martin Blumenson (United States Army Center of Military History)

World War Two: Italy; Salerno-Beachhead: German Build-up (ISC-2-7)

World War Two: Italy; Salerno-The Opposition: The Germans In Italy (ISC-5)

Inspiration of the Day for April 12th: Eating Right to Feel Better




Eating Right to Feel Better


What we eat and drink can have a powerful effect on our mental clarity, focus, mood, and stress levels.

At its simplest, food is fuel. Though our preferences regarding taste and texture can vary widely, we all rely on the foods we eat for energy. Most people are aware that it is vital we consume a diverse assortment of foods if we aspire to maintain a state of physical well-being. However, the intimate connection between diet and our mental well-being is less understood. Just as the nutritional components in food power the body, so too do they power the mind. Some foods can impair cognitive functioning and sap our energy while others heighten our intellectual prowess and make us feel vigorous. What we eat and drink can have a powerful effect on our ability to focus, mental clarity, mood, and stress levels.

Food allergies, which don’t always manifest themselves in forms we recognize, can also play a significant role in the maintenance of mental health. Thus, for most of us, even a simple change in diet can have a profoundly positive impact on our lives. Taking the time to explore whether anxiety, muddled thoughts, or inexplicable tension can be linked to a food allergy or food sensitivity can empower you to treat your symptoms naturally. The benefits of a healthier, more personalized diet are often felt immediately. Sugar, saturated fats, wheat, and dairy products are frequently allergens and can stress the body. For people that are allergic, consuming them can cause imbalances in the physical self that have a negative effect on the body’s ability to nourish the brain. Water, fiber, nuts, unprocessed seeds, raw fruits and vegetables, and vegetable proteins, on the other hand, support physical and mental functioning by providing those nutrients we do need without additional substances we don’t.

A balanced, natural diet can ease mood swings, panic attacks, anxiety, and mild depression. Intellectual clarity and agility is improved when the mind receives proper nourishment. Even those individuals who are blessed with the ability to consume almost any food can benefit from a healthier and simpler diet. Since the mental and physical selves are closely bound to one another, we must feed each the foods upon which they thrive.

–Daily OM