22 JANUARY - 25 MAY 1944

Book Cover Photo: Anzio Beachhead (22 January-25 May 1944)  


First printed by the Historical Division, War Department, for the American Forces in Action series, 1948

CMH Pub 100-10

For sale by the Superintendent of Documents, US. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 20402

Foreword to CMH Edition

Anzio Beachhead (22 January-25 May 1944) is one of a series of fourteen studies of World War II operations originally published by the War Department's Historical Division and now returned to print as part of the Army's commemoration of the fiftieth anniversary of that momentous clash of arms. These volumes, prepared by professional historians shortly after the events described, provide a concise summary of some of the major campaigns and battles fought by American soldiers. The skillful combination of combat interviews with primary sources, many of which are now lost, gives these unassuming narratives a special importance to military historians. The careful analysis of key operations provides numerous lessons for today's military students.

I am pleased that this entire group of studies will once again be available. I urge all military students and teachers to use them to enhance our collective awareness of the skill, leadership, daring, and professionalism exhibited by our military forebears.

Washington, D.C.
15 September 1989

Colonel, FA
Chief of Military History


In a nation at war, teamwork by the whole people is necessary for victory. But the issue is decided on the battlefield, toward which all national effort leads. The country's fate lies in the hands of its soldier citizens; in the clash of battle is found the final test of plans, training, equipment, and-above all-the fighting spirit of units and individuals.

AMERICAN FORCES IN ACTION SERIES presents detailed accounts of particular combat operations of United States forces. To the American public, this record of high achievement by men who served their Nation well is presented as a preface to the full military history of World War II. To the soldiers who took part in the operations concerned, these narratives will give the opportunity to see more clearly the results of orders which they obeyed and of sacrifices which they anti their comrades made, in performance of missions that find their meaning in the outcome of a larger plan of battle.

s/Dwight D. Eisenhower
Chief of Staff


Historical Division
Washington 25, D. C.
1 October 1947

Anzio Beachhead, fourteenth in the series of studies of particular combat operations, is the story of how VI Corps of the American Fifth Army seized and held a strategic position far to the rear of the main fighting front, in the Italian campaign of 1944. Since VI Corps included British as well as American units, and the high command in Italy was in British rather than in American hands, the battle to maintain the Anzio beachhead was an Allied rather than an exclusively American operation. Essentially, this narrative of Anzio is confined to the first six weeks of bitter struggle to hold the beachhead against German attacks designed to drive the Allied forces from their foothold, a period which ended on 3 Match. Thereafter, until the Allied offensive of May, the Anzio beachhead was a static and relatively quiet front. Then the beachhead forces spearheaded the drive that led to the capture of Rome. Only a sketch of this final and decisive phase of the Anzio operation is included in this narrative.

This study is based upon a first narrative by Capt. John Bowditch, III, prepared in the field from military records and from notes and interviews recorded during and after the operation by Captain Bowditch and by 1st Lt. Robert W. Kerner. Although as published this book contains no documentation, the original narrative, fully documented, is on file in the War Department. Captain Bowditch's manuscript has been revised and extended with the help of additional information, including that obtained from enemy records, in the Historical Division, War Department Special Staff, by Maj. Roy Lamson, Jr., and by Dr. Stetson Conn. The maps were planned by Col. Allison R. Hartman of the Historical Division, and they were designed and drafted by the World War I Branch of the Division. The photographs were selected by Capt. Robert L. Bedell of the Historical Division. In order that the more definitive history of this operation may be as complete and correct as possible, readers are urged to send all comments, criticisms, and additional data to the Historical Division, Department of the Army, Washington 25, D. C.


THE ANZIO LANDING (22-29 January) 1
       Plan for a New Offensive 3
       The Assault 11
       Expanding the Beachhead 18
THE ALLIED OFFENSIVE (30 January-1 February) 27
       Attack on Cisterna, 30 January 28
       Attack on Cisterna, 31 January-1 February 33
       Advance to Campoleone 36
THE ENEMY ATTACKS (3-12 February) 43
       Battle of the Campoleone Salient 44
       The Beachhead Defense 47
       The Factory and Carroceto 53
       Allied Counterattacks 62
       Preparing for the Attack 67
       The First Day, 16 February 70
       The Second Day, 17 February 75
       The Crisis, 18-19 February 80
       The Battle is Won, 19-20 February 85
VI CORPS HOLDS THE BEACHHEAD (20 February-3 March) 91
       The Battle of the Caves 92
       The 3d Division Repulses the Enemy 97
       The Problem of Supply 107
       Life at the Beachhead 112
       Casualties 116
       The Breakthrough, 23 May-4 June 116


1 Italian Front, 15 January
2 Allied Strategy in Italy, January 1944
3 The Landing, 22-23 January
4 Expanding the Beachhead, 24-28 January
5 Expanding the Beachhead, 29 January
6 Expanding the Beachhead, 30 January
7 Expanding the Beachhead, 31 January
8 Expanding the Beachhead, 1 February
9 Campoleone Salient, 3-5 February
10 Plan for Beachhead Defense, 5 February
11 The Factory and Carroceto, 7-8 February
12 The Factory and Carroceto, 9 February
13 The Factory and Carroceto, 10 February
14 Allied Counterattacks, 11-12 February
15 Enemy Offensive, 16 February
16 Enemy Offensive, 17 February
17 Enemy Offensive, 18 February
18 Enemy Offensive, 19-20 February
19 Regrouping of Forces
20 Holding the Beachhead, 28 February-3 March
21 The Breakthrough, 23-24 May
22 The Breakthrough, 25-26 May
23 The Breakthrough, 27-28 May
24 The Breakthrough, 29-30 May
25 The Breakthrough, 31 May-4 June


page updated 4 October 2002

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