battle of salerno
While Fifth Army had made it ashore, its problems were just beginning. During the course of the fighting that day, Clark had received a call from General Dawley. The Allies were ashore, and their position in Italy would never again be seriously threatened. Could it have gone differently? While the line held—barely—Avalanche had failed. The tendency has been to blame Clark for all this, especially for the decision he and his staff made to go in without a preliminary bombardment. German losses in all this were terrific, and by September 14 pressure against the beachhead was slackening perceptibly. The Germans spent September 12 sending out reconnaissance patrols to probe the Sele gap. The entire army was jittery. Operation Avalanche seemingly had it all: initiative, supremacy at sea, dominance in the air, and a clear advantage in numbers. They have faced accusations of cowardice and dishonour ever since. A few American witnesses claimed they saw German tank commanders from the 29th Panzer-grenadier dismounting and consulting their maps. The German commander, Field Marshal Albert Kesselring, was content to fight a defensive war of attrition, and the Allies were content to attack his defenses frontally. As attitudes have changed in the last few decades, however, people have become more understanding about the psychological effects of war on those who take part in it. For their part, the Allies had hoped to use the surrender of Italy to make quick gains in the peninsula, perhaps driving up to the Po River in northern Italy, but that hadn’t worked either. An officer of the Hermann Göring Division called it “especially unpleasant,” and XIV Panzer Corps commander Hermann Balck complained in his memoirs of naval gunfire “to which we had no answer.”. He spent the 2008–09 academic year teaching at the United States Military Academy at West Point; he is currently a history professor at the University of North Texas. By late afternoon, German tanks had broken into the clear and were heading for the sea. As reserve commander if Clark was incapacitated, Patton was briefed on the operation on September 2. Three sergeants were sentenced to death; the rest of the men to between seven and 12 years penal servitude. It was only through the chance intervention of the Adjutant General, Sir Ronald Adam - who later referred to the affair as 'one of the worst things we have ever done' - that all the men's sentences were suspended. Vietinghoff was dumbfounded. Indeed no trained officer on either side needed more than a glance at the map to spot the problem areas. The Allies, with their naval supremacy, could land anywhere they wished. “Nothing,” Dawley answered. Louisa May Alcott, novelist (Little Women). In the end, however, the Germans, too, were unable to seal the deal and found themselves dragged into a defensive war of attrition in Italy—the last thing an outnumbered Wehrmacht needed by this point in the war. The existence of a gap that divided the invasion force, therefore, was not a blunder by Allied planners, something that smarter minds might have avoided. The World War Two soldiers involved in the famous mutiny at Salerno were treated harshly by the authorities. Dagmar (Virginia Ruth Egnor) actress, model, television personality (Dagmar's Canteen, Broadway Open House). War is a strange endeavor, one in which “everything is very simple, but even the simplest thing is difficult,” as the great Prussian philosopher Karl von Clausewitz once wrote. The invasion of Italy offered challenges to both sides. Following the uprisings, the sailors were given a wage increase and the king pardoned the mutineers. Governments also tend to regard it with displeasure, and the British government's Incitement to Mutiny Act of 1797, and Incitement to Disaffection Act of 1934, were both designed to prevent civilians from inciting members of the armed services to mutiny (the Incitement to Mutiny Act was only repealed in 2000). Now, find a nearby beach broad enough to land two army corps abreast. His blog, Front & Center, can be found here. Landing in Calabria and south of Salerno… Operation Avalanche, or the battle of Salerno (9-18 September 1943) was the main part of the Allied invasion of the Italian mainlan d, and saw a joint Anglo-American force land in the Gulf of Salerno, where it had to fight off a severe German counterattack before the position was fully secured. Read more. The real problem at Salerno was not the lack of Allied bombardment. Instead, here is a second challenge to the reader: Take another U.S. Army commander—Patton or Omar Bradley or Courtney Hodges or anyone else you like. While all six were under strength (the 15th Panzergrenadier had only seven tanks and the 26th Panzer Division had none at all), they were all tough, with hard-charging commanders who were veterans of the murderous fighting on the Eastern Front in 1942. To Vietinghoff and the other German commanders it must have seemed like a master schooling a novice in some arcane martial art. At Salerno, General Clark had two corps in the initial landing: British X Corps on his left, led by Lieutenant General Richard L. McCreery, and U.S. VI Corps on his right, under Major General Ernest J. Dawley, containing a single infantry division in the initial landing—the 36th “Texas” Division, formed from units of the Texas National Guard—with the 45th Infantry Division in the floating reserve. The death penalty in Britain for treason was abolished, and replaced by life imprisonment, by Section 36 of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998. It was yet another way of war for which the Wehrmacht could not formulate an effective response. BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. At the same time, waves of Allied aircraft from Sicily and from five British aircraft carriers prowled the skies over the beachhead relentlessly. It all added up to some bad math for the Allies: three Allied divisions against six German. HistoryNet.com is brought to you by Historynet LLC, the world's largest publisher of history magazines. You get a beach with a meandering river right down the middle of it. Howard "Howie" Mandel, Canadian comedian, actor (St. They had already staged two opposed landings, in North Africa and Sicily, and knew that the big one, the cross-Channel invasion, was going to take place in 1944. They were arrested and shipped back to North Africa for court-martial. Mutineers have sometimes succeeded in their aims. Losses were heavy, and the loss of cohesion was total. You get a landing between Salerno and Paestum. Would your man have done any better? Neither side won any real operational advantage, but they did manage to kill each other en masse. Such complexities tend to make everyone look pretty bad at times and, whatever historians may say, no one ever really becomes an expert at waging war.
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