Retrospect of the Anzio breakthrough

Retrospect of the Anzio breakthrough: On June 3, 1944, Company B led an attack toward a road junction south of Genzano. There were three tanks that were racing through the roads that swept up the hill on our left. They suddenly returned to us for these were being shelled by 155 long Toms. The artillery fire must have been directed by the pilot of the Piper Cub flying above. The commander of the tanks told us to get under cover. He called division Hq to have the artillery fire stopped. Half an hour passed. Division replied, “No artillery is being fired your way.” However, the artillery was still coming in. Our company commander came up to ask why we were not moving up. I told him the crossroads were being shelled by our own artillery. He didn’t believe me and said it was the enemy’s shells. I told him no, it was was[sic] firing from our left rear. The tank commander verified me and told our captain that it was a 155 Artillery Battalion. They were trying to get to the observer in the Piper Cub flying overhead to stop the fire. Message was sent to Hq, who ordered “A” Company to take it from the right.

Meanwhile, the artillery slackened. One platoon of “A” Company moved in to take the road junction. We were asked to move through. Just then, the friendly artillery opened up again and the Company A platoon caught hell. After that, the tank commander finally received word that the artillery fire was from the 45th Division on our left rear. The firing would be stopped. I saved my platoon from destruction. When we moved up through the crossroad, we saw four dead and many casualties in the woods to the right.

Although Dr. Thomas Murphy states in his book, Ambassadors in Arms, that the 100th suffered the following casualties: 15 killed, 3 wounded, 1 missing in action, most of these were from the 45th Artillery Division. These mistakes were due to lack of communication between divisions and the failure of the 45th Division to fire within their sector when the front was so fluid.

That night, we rested to the west of Lanuvio. The next day we started on the long walk to Rome. We skirted Lake Nemi, went through Genzano, Arricia, then Abano. From the slopes of Albano, we could see Rome. We were the first outfit on Highway 7, the road to Rome. There, I was stopped by a jeep. My eyes popped, for there was a two-star general right at the front. He was Major General Harmon of the 1st Armored Division. He informed me that there was an anti-tank gun down the road that he wanted cleared out.

While we were waiting, Captain Pye and Captain Kim came rushing up. “Takata, what are you waiting for?”, they wanted to know. I pointed to MG Harmon. Their eyes widened.

After the anti-tank gun was knocked out, we continued down Highway 7. The tanks with 2nd Battalion of 135 ON, went rushing by. Every vehicle on wheels were rushing by at a great speed. It seemed we were in greater danger from the traffic than the enemy. Finally, they pulled us off Highway 7 to go to Vallersuello. When we reached there, we saw the sign “10 miles to Rome”. Beyond Highway 6, another stream of tanks were rushing to Rome. Alas, we were not to see Rome itself, but only the outskirts.