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May 25, 2014

May 25, 1944 - The Breakthrough at Anzio

Seventy years ago the Allies were bogged down positions along the "Gustav line" in Italy. The Anzio (and Nettuno) landings in January were conceived as a way to bypass the German lines and bust through on to Rome, but from January until May they were only able to hold the beachheads. The stalemate was broken with Operation Diadem under a new commanding general of VI Corps, Lucian Truscott. On May 25 Cisterna fell to the American 3rd Infantry Division and the Allies finally broke the stalemate in Italy.

In 2 weeks the Allied Armies would launch their most daring assault from the north, at Normandy.

Landing_at_Anzio.jpg


This morning I visited with an elderly gentleman at church that I have known for 22 years. He told me 70 years ago he enlisted in the Marine Corps, at age 17. I asked him if he had a note of permission from his parents and he said "no, I lied about my age."

I asked him what he did as a Marine and he said "we were training for the invasion of Japan." It never came to that but I could not help thinking if it had, I likely would not have met him.

"Where do we get such men? They leave this ship and they do their job. Then they must find this speck lost on the sea. When they find it they have to land on its pitching deck. Where do we get such men?"

RADM Tarrant, from James Michener's "The Bridges at Toko-Ri"

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posted by Dave In Texas at 02:37 PM

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