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avenue, ofilpPrtlach toward Rome. Without a str.l.tegy to tum !he Gul:lav Line's wcstern nank, American AnnyWQtlld face anou.:ran.t\l()W; and bloody mountain

AJ Allied forces slowly approached the Gu."IaY Line, the CNsUI regions W($\ of Rome quIckly be·

came the Germans· principal

This area was

CI)n(ldered 10 be I prime landing

for an Allied

HQ.Ull- espccially one designed 10 sup. pon offerl$ivc operations ;dong the Gust.v Line·' western sector. Funhermore. given its poIiticli and religious significance, German COOimt or kome en·

sured [tlly's membership in the

alliance. There·

fore. its milil.lrY occupation wu critical to both Allied and German commanders.

During the initial daY' ...f JanulrY 1944 inu:lllgence sources indiu\cd iII"1 impending Allied amphibious assault. (7) They could nol. pinpolnt:lll exact location. Consequently. defen.\ivc


specQcd up all along the awl.. with

particular emphaslsliven 10 Rome'$ adjarxnt comal arelS. Hy June: 1944, four Tellllt A"",y divisions wen: headed tow;ud or Icx:alcd ncar Rome, ...·hile an

airhnme corps was positioned to the city's ca.",.

Wh ile !he Gennartll Slrcngthened their coal;ull defen.(;ve positions. the American Fifth Army com


for I two-phase offcnsive open


l ion. During pIwe one. American forces would COIl duct a Iklibo.:ntc suppaning auack across !he Garigli ano Rl vcr. This allack would iflCOf}lOnle Allied !>Irength to draw in the German and thus open up the enemy·s relr arcu. TCserves decisively enpgcd along theGarigliano River, Allied fon:cs woulellaurlCh thci r main asurprise amphibiou! landing at the twin rcson !Owns

of Ando and Neuul"lO.

The amphibious Issault W;L\ designed La CUI vital Genn;m lines ofcommunication ED the Gusuv Line·s southern kdor and secure high_spoed IYl:nUC or

appI"OaCh. InlO Romc. Upon ronf'ont:ln& large scale auackllO their fronl and rcar, Gcnnan defenses were expecllxl 10 disintegrate. Such a response allow American fonx:s 10 break through the Gustav Lire,

link up with assault npidly towlrd Rome.

nonh of AlIlia. and move

Uy 16 January German Allied plans to alUlCk acrtlss the Garigliano Rivcr. (8)

Based upon urlic.

of an impending am·

phiblous HQ.ull and CUrTCnt e.Ilim:ues of available


\ho:;Gcnn¥lS began Immediate ptCp;u;I

lions to counler.tct two simultaneous attacks. (9) All



Army reserves wcn: commilled 10

cilhcr Romc's Line:'I800lhern

co3Stal areas or the Gustav Additionally. planned movc

m(fliSof flOOlllne combat units to n:.. rest areas 1I-"tR:

ClIl 18 January 1944. the American Fifth Anny

ini!iated offcnsive operations at the Garigliano River. Aftc. crossin&. Allied forces atlacked a wide froot and gained immediate succus. Within one day. the wnu:m scctorofth::Gustav Line bcgiW\ IOcrurntlic. ( 10) Faced willt the immediate a"lIlapsc of itssouthcrn defense, the Gennan lIigh Command Wis fon:ed to

Dcspitt: the lIln:at of an Allied Invasion along

ttaly"s c:cntnl or ,.,nhcrn roast. Geon... """y em.." Csent a1llvailab1efon:es 10 !he southern fronl. By the

evening of 2 1 Jaooary the JSI Paroc/tiUC CO'lJ$ and two 1'(JlIurGrcMllitr divisions---{he 19t1t and 30111- had moved from Rome to River's 1m· mediate north....-c5l 111is K!ion stripped pcrsonroc:l from the QOaSIlioc west or Rome. leaving only sm3l1 Ict:urity clcmcnu 10 defend. I se<.:l0< rcarly 100 miles

long. (\I)


weakening !heir

coastal defensive elpahllitics. the Ccnnans believed

that the quickly

Gusuv U oc'.\ npid rcinfon:cment would














ralioru: for and. thereby. ol)l:l1Ilioli.

any Allied amphihioWi

'Thr: llOJX:d·for n:pricvc did no! occur,


the Allied anny·s VI Corps 1lSSauhed the Arulo allll Ncttuno al 0200 on 22 1anuary 19-14. (12) With only IWO undermanned hllIalions positioned. 10


twenty_seven attacking ballalion.!;,lnl

lial German resistance COfl\;su:d of IIClItu:red mIOCI, s[XIraclic sniper fire, and intt:nniuent indin:cl fire . ( 13) Asthc VI Corps ITOOpSpushcd slowly inland. the U.S. air foree.\ provided air C(lvcr and ;ut.ackw Ger· man resupply routes to Anlio·, south. no<th, and cl$I.. Given the Genn:ll\t· n:acl;on In the GarigHano River offeru;\ve and the effectiveness of Allied air interdlc·

tion erfons. !he eocmy was fealve Ikfcn:s;ve OflCralions for



fony ·

eight hours.. (14) Compk:tc succcn was clearly within American commllllder·s group. Rather than n"inl.llining offensive action during

crilieal period, Allied

occupied I sm:tJ1

beachhead and prepared for an :IIItiCipated (;cnnan counlenllack. In ract, before 2$ 1anuary, VI Corps elirected subonlinalc elements to be,in esWlIishi", Strong Ikfensivc positions. ( 15) This eautious str.llCgy

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