Vet recalls intense fighting in Italy
#21

Talking about our howitzers. When the Germans counterattacked at Salerno if it hadn't been for the 151st. Field Artillery the Germans would have drove the 36th Divn. back to the beach. That's history, not say so.

 

I'll quote you some History to support your point.

First two quotes are from the US Army history series, volume entitled "Salerno to Cassino".

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. This piece then had to be manhandled back to its firing position. Brig.-Gen. 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."

 

{Footnote on page 145}

Between 9 and 17 September, the 151st Field Artillery Battalion expended 10,500 rounds, over 2,500 shells more than the total fired by the battalion during the entire Tunisia Campaign. {It continues to state} Engineers performing as infantrymen were the 531st Engineer Shore Regiment; the 2n Battalion, 337th Engineer General Service Regiment; the 111th and 120th Engineer Combat Battalions; and the 36th Engineer Combat Regiment.

 

Quote from "Calculated Risk" by Gen. Mark Clark

Under great difficulties, heavy weapons were being landed by dawn. Ducks brought in 105-mm howitzers of the 133rd Field Artillery Battalion, and the 151st Field Artillery Battalion landed at 6 a.m., just in time to beat off a dangerous German tank assault on the beachhead. The veteran 531st Shore Engineers began organizing the communication and supply lines, and bulldozer men, ignoring a steady fire which inflicted many casualties among them, built exit routes for vehicles to move from the beaches through the sand dunes.

 

Quoted from "Salerno; A Military Fiasco" by Eric Morris

However, before General Walker could get down to his job, he had further ordeal to face. The Germans launched another tank attack. At about 1145 hours, 13 Panzers -- Mark III's and Mark IV's -- came down Highway 18 from the north and moved against Casa Vannulo and the divisional command post itself.

{Then it describes how a bazooka team was deployed to slow down the tanks--this was a new weapon for the Germans. Then a company of old French 75mm cannons of 1914 vintage were deployed---not exactly an anti-tank weapon.}

Fresh support arrived in the form of a 105 mm howitzer belonging to the 151st Field Artillery. This gun was towed into action by a DUKW, and it deployed on the track that led from the higway to Casa Vannulo. The combined fire of the howitzer and Wittaker's 75mm broke up the panzer assault; five tanks were destroyed, and the remainder beat a hasty retreat.

 

Last, from "The Texas Army" by Robert L. Wagner

During the morning hours several tank attacks were sustained by the 36th Division infantry. These were beaten off by bazooka and naval gunfire. At 10:20 a.m. near the 142nd CP, an enemy attack of twelve to fifteen tanks developed. As luck would have it, a 105mm howitzer, pulled by a 2-1/2 ton DUKW suddenly appeared from the beaches. The gun was quickly wheeled into position, naked of concealment, and proceeded to knock out 5 tanks, one after another. This one gun largely succeeded in breaking up the attack. When daylight had arrived, the Air Force joined in.

{Of course this Texas historian is too proud to say this gun was part of the 34th Division.}

 

Hope that history helps. ;)

Steve

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Messages In This Thread
Vet recalls intense fighting in Italy - by Custermen - 04-28-2006, 06:29 PM
Vet recalls intense fighting in Italy - by WATSON - 05-09-2006, 05:45 PM
Vet recalls intense fighting in Italy - by WATSON - 05-10-2006, 11:47 PM
Vet recalls intense fighting in Italy - by WATSON - 05-11-2006, 05:52 PM
Vet recalls intense fighting in Italy - by WATSON - 05-11-2006, 06:01 PM
Vet recalls intense fighting in Italy - by WATSON - 05-12-2006, 12:01 AM
Vet recalls intense fighting in Italy - by WATSON - 05-12-2006, 11:39 PM

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