Salerno 64th anniversary 9/9
#1

The War Department published a series of books called "American Forces

In Action". From the foreword by Chief Of Staff G.C. Marshall:

 

"In the thick of battle, the soldier is busy doing his job. He has the knowledge and

confidence that his job is part of a unified plan to defeat the enemy, but he does not

have time to survey a campaign from a foxhole. If he should be wounded and removed behind the lines, he may have even less opportunity to learn what place he and his unit had

in the larger fight.

American Forces In Action is a series prepared...especially for the information of wounded men. It will show these soldiers, who have served their country so well, the part they

played in achievements which do honor to the record of the United States Army."

 

Published Aug 26, 1944, "Salerno" details 5th Army Operations from preparing for the invasion

to the Volturno.

 

Unfortunately, most people think that the only "D-Day" was June 6th, but our VI corps

guys know better. "D-Day" for the Salerno invasion was Sept 9th 1943.

 

"Ahead of VI Corps, the beaches of Paestum were dark & silent. Then a strident voice

over a loudspeaker, apparently from the landing area, called out in English, 'Come on in and give up. We have you covered.' Our troops came in. The 1st wave grated on all four beaches

at exactly H Hour, 0330."

 

We need to honor & remember all those that took part with 5th Army at Salerno:

VI Corps US: 36th division, 45th division, 3rd division, and 34th division

82nd Airborne division

10 Corps British: 46th division, 56th division, 7 armoured division, 23 armoured brigade

and also 1st, 3rd, and 4th Ranger Battalions (U.S.) and 2 & 41 Commandos(British).

 

Here are also some excerpts which detailing the bravery of the VI Corps Combat Engineers:

 

" While the 1st elements of the infantry combat teams were hurrying from the landing crafts to the dunes, engineers began their work of organizing the beachhead area for communication and supply, cutting gaps in barbed wire, and searching for mines.

The initial plans had directed that the 531st Shore Engineers... was to support the assault troops on the beaches. One company of Engineers was to work with each combat team;

one battalion in reserve was to be available for defense whenever needed.

 

Only veterans could have gone about their work coolly, handling supplies, setting up dumps,

and fighting off the enemy at the same time. First Lt George L. Shumaker, commanding

Co D, 531st Shore Engineers, led a small group of his men in an attack against the Tower

Of Paestum where enemy snipers were firing on Green Beach. With the help of several infantrymen, the party destroyed the machine guns and even drove off tanks hidden behind the building. Cpl. howard Tucker picked off the snipers. Shumaker was wounded in both arms;

but Tucker, Tec5 Nathan Perlman, and Sgt John Schneider carried on the fight untill all

the Germans in these positions were killed or captured.

 

In the construction of exit routes the engineers had one of the most dangerous tasks,

for the bulldozers were especially vulnerable tagets for enemy fire. Ignoring the shells

bursting aroundthem, Tec 5 Nolan Green and Pfc Clarence Taylor operated their bulldozer on Red Beach until an 88mm shell hit their machine and

killed both of them. Even on Blue Beach, where resistance was so strong that positions were abandoned the next day, engineers, under fire from artillery as well as from tanks within 200

yards of the shore, completed an exit route before they were forced to leave."

 

 

In the Salerno Campaign from Sept 9 to October 6th, 727 American soldiers were KIA,

2,720 wounded and 1,423 missing - 4,870 in total. The 36th ID and 45th ID incurred

most of the casualties in the beachhead fight. The British 10 Corps, delivering the mainthrust

on the left flank, suffered even more heavily with a total of 6,847 killed, wounded or, missing.

 

Because of the actions of all involved in the Salerno invasion, Italy south of the Volturno was

in Allied hands, meaning that our men & supplies could now come in through Naples,

our bombers could begin to fly missions over Europe from Italian airfields and because

the enemy was engaged in the Salerno campaign - they couldn't send reinforcements

to Sardinia & Corsica which fell to a French expeditionary force.

 

 

Saluting & remembering them all and what they did for us 64 years ago!

 

mary ann

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