ANZIO 1944: THE BELEAGUERED BEACHHEAD. In January 1944, the Allies decided to land at Anzio in order to overcome the stalemate at Cassino. This amphibious landing has become one of the most controversial campaigns of World War II. Questionable decisions by the Allied leadership led to three months of World War I-style trench warfare, and the entire beachhead suffered from continuous German observation and bombardment. Vividly describing each thrust and counter-thrust, this book takes us through the agonizing struggle as each side sought to retain or regain mastery. It shows how Anzio proved to be a stepping stone not only to Rome but also to the liberation of Italy.
Superbly illustrated history detailing the strategies, tactics and battle experiences of the opposing forces. Full color battlescenes, 3-dimensional "bird's eye view" maps, photographs, and battle maps.
from 'Origins of the Battle':
The Anzio amphibious landing of 1944 was one of the most controversial Allied operations in Europe in World War II. Although intended to break the stalemate in the Italian theater by making an end run around the German Gustav line defenses near Cassino, instead Anzio itself became a stalemate. Churchill famously remarked, "We hoped to land a wildcat that would tear out the bowels of the Boche. Instead, we have stranded a vast whale." The Anzio operation presents a classic study of ambitious political objectives doomed by limited military resources. Grim memories of the nearly disastrous Salerno landings haunted the Allied commanders, and instead of a bold advance after the initial landing in January 1944, they consolidated the beachhead to await the inevitable German counter-attack. The beachhead survived three violent attacks in February, the largest German counter-attacks in the west until the Ardennes offensive ten months later. By March, Anzio had degenerated into an agonizing stalemate. Ironically, an operation that had been launched to redeem the Gustav line operation in the end depended on a successful conclusion of the Cassino breakthrough before the bridgehead could be exploited. To further add to the controversy of the operation, Gen Mark Clark decided to focus the advance out of Anzio in the direction of Rome rather than eastward to trap the German forces retreating from the Cassino sector. Rome fell to the Allies on 4 June 1944, but it was a bitter victory that was quickly forgotten when the main Allied campaign opened in Normandy two days later.
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