OUR ARRIVAL AT THE VOLTURNO did not end the Italian campaign; hard winter months of mountain fighting still lay ahead (Map No. 18, page 91). By 6 October, however, the Fifth Army under General Clark had achieved its first objective. Together with their British allies, Americans had again successfully stormed enemy-held beaches, this time on the coast of Europe. They had beaten off determined German counterattacks by a stubborn defense in which the infantry, the artillery, the engineers, and all the other arms had added new laurels to American battle records. When the enemy finally admitted failure and withdrew before the flanking threat of the Eighth Army, American and British divisions swept forward rapidly from the plains up into the mountains. Despite every obstacle of nature and the enemy, they had pushed on to their goal.
The Salerno campaign was not won without its casualties, and the American units in the Fifth Army had paid for their success. From 9 September to 6 October, 727 American soldiers were killed in action, 2,720 wounded, and 1,423 reported missing—a total of 4,870. Most of these casualties were incurred by the 36th Division and the 45th Division in the beachhead fight. The 36th Division alone, during the period 9-20 September, lost 267 killed in action, 679 wounded, and 984 missing. The British units in 10 Corps, delivering the main thrust
on the left flank, suffered even more heavily with a total of 6,847 killed, wounded, and missing. The Germans likewise paid a heavy price, and enemy divisions retreated to the Volturno with their strength far reduced.
While the Fifth Army stood poised at the Volturno for the next blow, the full meaning of the Italian invasion became clearer. All Italy south of the Volturno was in our hands. Supplies and men
could now pour in through Naples, and our bombers could soon fly missions over Europe from Italian airfields. Absorbed in the Salerno campaign, the enemy could not send reinforcements to Sardinia and Corsica, which fell to a French expeditionary force. Allied control of the central Mediterranean was nearly complete. The outer ramparts of Hitler's Fortress Europe were crumbling under the blows of two Allied armies in Italy.
|INSIGNIA OF ARMY,CORPS, AND DIVISIONS AT SALERNO.
Insignia of U.S. Ranger Battalions, Commandos, 23 Armoured
|VI Corps||36th Division||45th Division||82d Airborne Division||34th Division|
|10 Corps||56th Division||46th Division||7 Armoured Division||3d Division|
page created 23 July 2001
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