Full Version: This Day in History - Italy March 12, 1944
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1944 : Germans slaughter Italian civilians


On this day, German occupiers shoot more than 300 Italian civilians as a reprisal for an Italian partisan attack on an SS unit.


Since the Italian surrender in the summer of 1943, German troops had occupied wider swaths of the peninsula to prevent the Allies from using Italy as a base of operations against German strongholds elsewhere, such as the Balkans. An Allied occupation of Italy would also put into their hands Italian airbases, further threatening German air power.


Italian partisans (antifascist guerrilla fighters) aided the Allied battle against the Germans. The Italian Resistance had been fighting underground against the fascist government of Mussolini long before its surrender, and now it fought against German fascism. The main weapon of a guerrilla, defined roughly as a member of a small-scale "irregular" fighting force that relies on limited and quick engagements of a conventional fighting force, is sabotage. Aside from killing enemy soldiers, the destruction of communication lines, transportation centers, and supply lines are essential guerrilla tactics.


On March 23, 1944, Italian partisans operating in Rome threw a bomb at an SS unit, killing 33 soldiers. The very next day, the Germans rounded up 335 Italian civilians and took them to the Adeatine caves. They were all shot dead as revenge for the SS soldiers. Of the civilian victims, 253 were Catholic, 70 were Jewish and the remaining 12 were unidentified.


Despite such setbacks, the partisans proved extremely effective in aiding the Allies; by the summer of 1944, resistance fighters had immobilized eight of the 26 German divisions in northern Italy. By war's end, Italian guerrillas controlled Venice, Milan, and Genoa, but at considerable cost. All told, the Resistance lost some 50,000 fighters-but won its republic.

Marion, on this date we, (34th I.D.) was at ANZIO and I think we made the break thru in May 1944. Check me out on this. Kinda like to know so I can say something at the reunion. I'mm going to print the above and take it with me and show it, bet it'll raise some eyebrows! Rocky

Yup, the breakout was on May 25th, 1944. Take a look at this photo. It's from Al Kincer, of the 48th Combat Engineers. That's his jeep in the lower right hand corner, named Betty.




Here is picture of Co. B 48Engrs at Anzio link up. WE met at Borgo Grappa. Gen Clark shaking hands with Lt. Buckley. Pancho Savala with back to camera, Capt Sousa just pass Buckley with his Staff Sergeant. The Jeep in the picture is mine "Betty" by name.



Today is that beloved anniversary once again. A big day in the Italian campaign!