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InfanU)' Division planned 10 inc:orpor.llc !he nighl infillr.lllon of a ligluly anne(] commando force and Iht filq!OWCr ofIWO infanuy regimtnlS. To be $U«Cssfut !hi: opemion required three events 10 occur: !he undelec1ed infilmtion of IWO hamJion-sI1.e clemen!$, !he eity'$ rapid seizure hy lightly armed soldiers, and lhe successful penelratlon of enemy defensive p:>Silions by n::lnfortlng units, During Ihc formulillion oflhc plan, heavy n::1iance was pIKed upon inpul by Allied intelligence expens, (22)

ile ir

incurn:clly ponTlYcd

enemy wenglh:! and pl)nibLe rour.;cs uf IICtiun, In fleL, aLllICldng Alliro forres were expected to "be cap;ableofkizing [CiSleITI,1Jwithoul much d;HicuIty,.. (23) By lMsing ill task organinlion and ucculionon such el'1'Ol'leOUS assessmc:nts. !he division', final l1tack plan was fundamcmally n.",'Cd, Specifically, il failed 10COOCalllltc suffieicl1l mass II eriliul poi..s and did not proo.oidc JodcqIlalC tcchniqucslO a"l$Ure surprisc.

'The 3d Infantry Division'$ aU.:ICk

C1I!Wslcd

RangerForce (ProvIsIonal), 7th and

InfanU)'

and 504th Parachute Ihttallon,

(24) AS the division's main errOrt, lhe: Ranger Force would begin crossing lhe linc: ur departure (t D) al OIOOOll301anuary 1944, Movingalongan infiltralion roule and direclion ufBUK k , !he Rangers would lhe to-..nofCi5Icma anddear!heConca· FaminamORI' Cistema Road. One hour .flcr !he RlingeT¥' lim clements eroued lhe LD, th.: tWO inflnlry n::giments IIJ1d the: pIf3dlute baualion \lIQUId 13uocl1 supponina IUackt. 'Thei. rcspc:ctivt missOonol Ctllliled cUllins Hi,hway 7 oorthwest and souti.::asI of CiSICfTIIo, as well as JCiling vlriQuS bridtc!lllong the Mus-solini Can;d, By dawn Cisterna was to be COOUtllkd by !he

Rangers, ""hile ill other missions wen: to be

no

than noon. Once all objectIve, wen::

KCured,the 3d

wuto he: pn:pared toconllnuc:

and sc17.c!he high ground neart/1e IOwns of Vellelri and COri,

Berure Lhc: auack !he Ranger commander 0'1:an lzed hi, OIllanic and 31lachcd ISSCIS inlO five distlnel clCmCllI!, (2') 11.:: fora: 's main erron consisted oflhe I" 11-.1 3d B1tl.talions, Moving in a column formation alucli a single: IUIIlc, !he lWO battalions "would utili7.e

draimgc dilches \0

the:ir movements"

and

infiltralt i..o Cislema's sou!hl:m oul5kins, Upon reactling!he \OW1I the 1st B.laliun wouLd assaull and sebe Cistema. 'The 3d Batbolion would proo.oicle lIIp port and be pn:pared to seize the obp;tivc should the IA IbtlOllion f;til. Once Cisltma was cleared the IWO Nll;1[lcru would eslOlblish a hasty defense oncnlCd

"

from the nonhwe:lt lU oonhc:IISt, One hour afler the main crfon bepn en>ssing the

LD, the:

Foo;e would in;liale I SUpponins

allXl; consisting of the 4th Ballal;on and an anached mineswcepins pany. This ek:mcm \lIQUId advil/'lCe aIons!hl: COnn·Faminamon.-CistclTl,1 Road and cleat this mute of all enemy forc;:es. mines, and obsIaclcs.. Upon rexhing CislelTl,1, the 4th Ballalion WOUld OriCflI

haslY 10 reinforce

positicru in the south and be prepared

tWO

N italiolili in !he nonh,

Assoon as!he COncl·Faminamona·Cisteml Road wlS clCllrcd, CannonCOfI'lpany and a pJ;alOOO from !he 601S! Tank DestrOyer BII\;1[!on would move inlo CiS1CITl,1. 'Thei. miuinn wu lO eover the: IO...,,'S hi&h· speed avenues or IflPtOiCh and,!hI:n:by, C$ilblish.

hasiy lIlIimnor defense

potential enemy

coumerallacks, Given the Rangers' lad of heavy weapons, such fin:poWl:'r :lUgmenution would 'ignifi

enhan!:e !he Amcric3ns ' CIlpKily \0 defend l8ainstmnon:dencmy rum:l, (26) Conversely. since this antiarmoruset was not \0 participate in CistelTl,1's actual seizure, olttxking RIllI:CI'!I would have a se

verely limited capability for

defending

Gennan tank.s and self·propelled gUllS, (27)

1l1mughoui the execulion ur the main and suJ>

porting

element!: oflhe i3d Chemical Morur

Banalion would provide indirecl lire support to the three Range. hall:llioos, To u.eCUle this mission, monar would travel bc:hind the supporting al lack and C:Slabiish liring positions from which Lhcy

could provide immediale

fire.. In addition

10 lhe crews that crossed the LD, addiliuc!al morw ISSCtS ....ere located within !he Rlllger Force', assem

If lhe nc:cd 1I'05C, these tubes could n::infon:c: the- indin;(;( r,n:: proo.oidcd by the ;altxk's prim3ry support dement,

During the ca.ly momin, hours 0(30 January the 3d Division's :mack began with;1[1elemenu: erossing

the: LD at theit prescribed

From then on,

however, things began 10

very wfOll"

'The 7th and

13th Infantry RegimenlS had each planned 10 initiale their n:5pective aUacks by infilll1l1inS one battalion towan:ltheir n:gimenlal objectives, Before daylight these infiltrating fo= were 10 be followed up by fCslment '$ n:maining infantry boltlallons and alUChcd anno. support. UnfortunMCly,juS! nonh of!he LDthc infillratlng Ntialions flIn hllo WOOl IIJ1d 5lubbom German rui51ancc:. 'Thei. covcrt movement!: suddenly were uansformed imo intense firefiSht!: with all com·

panles heavily engaged,

In an effon tu Iven I lactical dlsastc:r, the two

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