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pI'OVidcd Gcnn;m commanders with ;unple time to

rush troops 10 pR:vml

the bcKhhead and fully uncIcrute enemy adv;an«S. (16) Thn:c

days afll:r the Amio

the

p.:In:d and JUtprised Gcnn;m Anny bcg;m demonstrat·

ini: violenl and

rcs;SL:tIlCe. The Allied VI Corpli

hJd lOA the initiative-lIS kty elemenllo a rapld and decisive victory. (17)

In;m

10 pn:vcnt funher Allied advances,

the Gcnnans began

;m cncrgellC defenslV(: worb

pmgram.

beJChhcad ",illl intmock(:d

5tlOOgpoint dcfcmivcp05itions, thcyllcvelopcd main line of n:sisulJlce (MLR) which pIIslle"d throogh the

M Cistema and Campoloono::. FurthennOrt:.10 oold the Allies as far south oftile MLR as possible. the Clennans occupied and fortified positiOl1.'l their main defense and the forwanJ edte of !he baltle ltu. During this defensive opo::1'lIIIion the Germans recognized the value of masonry fannhouses. bam!. and silos.. Madllne gun positions wert: placed inside IlU(h 5tructures., when: they enjoytd c.oncrt:\c prolIX' tion against artillcry. rocket-propelled gn:nzlcs. and small anns fin:. Tosupport these ImproYlsed bunkcrs,

fighling positions were cmplaced around their immediate exterior. The reJ;uli was I vcry formidable defense. In fact. tanks, tank destroyer'1l. anddim;t hilS

from heavy

would prove 10 be Lhconlyerfce

tive weapons

il. (18)

GiVQ1 the increasing

of Gcnnan po5i.

tions. further Allied

along the VI

front were negligible from 26 Illrough 29 Janult}'.

During thi5 inte",11

to break through the

enemy·' toughening dcfense repeatedly met with dc lerm ioed and highly effective ThiS inabil· ity to seize additional terTitOf)' prompted the Allics vigorously 10 execute oomhat patrols to !Carcl! for Gennan defemive weakJlCSSC$, Unfortul\3tdy. ra!her than dl'"-CO'o"ering ero::my limitations. American recon naissance elemenlS i(k:nlirlCd extensive defensive activity. In fact. across !he 3d Dlytsion·s eru.in: fron(. theGcnnans were reinforcing and expandingui!i;\inll

rmitioru;. (19)

Faced with cominual1y I:ruwing enc:my sln:ngth. tim Id All ied leaders finally were ",iUing 10 atllKk eight days after the initial amphibious assaulL l1leir bn::ak.

out plan called fora

nlgln advance apinst

I

cqui"almt

enemy

fOll%.

From

the

ecnterofthe Allied bcxhhud. the Rrltish lSi Infwry

.,-,d

United States

ht AnnOl"C4 DiviSion were 10 push

forwanilO

Albano.

Simultaneously.

on

the

cutcm

(right)

Hank.

the

Ameri ca n

3d

Division

was

10 sci70C

"

Cl<;\ema di Linorla. cut HIghway 1, and be prepm:d 10 mO'IC toward Velklri. Acting as the VI Corp;' secu· rilY elcmcllI, the U.S. 45th Infantry Di"ision 'NQUld be

for beachhead Located founeen mllu JI(lJ1hcl!i;\ of AII7.io, tCma'5 pmdmlty 10 major transportation nctwot1ts made it a natural tarect fOf invading forces. (20) Specifically, tWO prinelpal (lennan !!lJpply routes passed throuGh or were adJacent to thc city. RuMing nonh to VdkLri lflii !OIIthcnt lIong the IlaliiU1 COIlSt. IlighWllY 7 biscctcd Cistema. To the city·s immedi;ue soulll. the main rail line betWCCJ1 Rome and Naples ran

through Cistema·s train

By

therefon:. the Allied forces would block a principal

enc:my line of communication to the

Line.

In addition 10 ilS Slr.ltcgle ImpoJ1, Cislcma lactical value. Only lWO main rwds ran inlO and out ofthe AI\1.10 beachhead.; QroCof these passctllllrough CiJICma. Furthermore, via. ,unKed road from Cisterna, the AIb.1ra:c Mountains and the cily ofeori were toth Immediately

Since 22 January these tWO

roulinc:ly had

been used by German forward observer.; 10 L:trget

Allied fort;es. Given lhelle factol"!;.

occupa.

tion would provide VICorps with access toboth hi,h· speed avenues of apflroach lind dominanttc.nin. 1lIc Gcnnam also rccocni1ed Cistcma's LaClicll

and

imporunoc:. (2 1) Thus. QnCe the invasion signific;ull upendllures of manpower and

C:O:lUipo'llCnI '""'"' III<JC:ated 10 the city·s defenses. A'I grongp;>int in the ()c:nnan·, MLR. the city itself Wall

heilvi1ydefended bycICml"lltsofthe II and 161h PIlfIZU DM,iQfl1.

Got., Ing Gcnnan

units abo occupied forward defensive positions th3t

coye red of approach.

mounted and dismQUnted a",nll«

8 y211 January!Wcrclc..en ballalion5: wen: defend

inll in dcpIh within the immediate vicinity of the city. EqulPJlCd with iI vast and devw;uing of fire power. Gcnnan defmtkrs enjoyed cltCCl1em fields of fire across virtually CQVcTlcu telr.lln. High..r.pccd .venllQ of awn»ch linked forward positiOll!i 10 ar mon:d reinforcements. lhcn:by ensuring the potential for 1'lIIpid and violent CQI.InteratL:ICks. Finally. within

their

defmsi..e JeClOt!l, direct and indirt:ct

fire ilSSClS possessed cleilriy ldentirocd and rt:gisteR;d target refcl"l'IlCe points. In efrca. Gennan defenders had lraru:fonned (,1stema'l nanking and southern apprmches into a gauntlet of deadly engagcmcnl at e.u.

Tn dcfeat the GenniU1s' defel1SC. the U.S. 3d

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