This provided a natural defensive barrier, securing Naples, the Campanian plain and the vital airfields on it from German counterattack. Having driven the German and Italian troops from North Africa and Sicily, the Allies decided to invade Italy in September 1943. [17] A U.S. Army Ranger force, under the command of Lieutenant Colonel William O. Darby, consisting of three U.S. Ranger battalions (the 1st, 3rd and 4th) and two British Commando units, under Brigadier Robert Laycock (consisting of No. Meanwhile, on the Adriatic Coast, the Eighth Army advanced to a line from Campobasso to Larino and Termoli on the Biferno river. The entire Fifth Army, now consisting of five American and three British divisions, reached the line of the Volturno River on 6 October. By the end of the month the southern part of Italy was under Allied control, including the strategically important airfield at Foggia. The main invasion force landed around Salerno on 9 September on the western coast in Operation Avalanche, while two supporting operations took place in Calabria (Operation Baytown) and Taranto (Operation Slapstick). The success of the 10th Army in inflicting heavy casualties, and Kesselring's strategic arguments, led Hitler to agree that the Allies should be kept away from German borders and prevented from gaining the oil resources of the Balkans. On the left, meanwhile, a battle raged for the terraced hill of San Martino and the church perched on top. The main landings (Operation Avalanche) were scheduled to take place on 9 September, during which the main force would land around Salerno on the western coast. The arrival of the British battleships HMS Warspite and Valiant, with 38 cm (15 in) guns, off the beaches provided the Allied troops with a morale boost, although Valiant was not required to shoot and Warspite's 29 rounds were awe-inspiring but a minor contribution to the 2,592 naval rounds fired that day. The U.S. Rangers met no opposition and with support from the guns of HMS Ledbury seized their mountain pass objectives while the Commandos, from No. At the same time British X Corps made good progress; they pushed through the mountain passes of Monti Lattari and captured a vital bridge over the Sarno River at Scafati. There were no Germans in Taranto and so disembarkation was unopposed. (Under the armistice Italian units ceased combat and … Three NCOs who led the mutiny were sentenced to death but the sentence was not carried out and they were eventually allowed to rejoin units. Over the next three days both sides built up their strength but on 13th September the Germans counter-attacked in the region of Battipaglia, with the intention of dividing the British and American forces. Part of 46th Division, the Brigade attacked on X Corps left, nearest to Salerno itself, while 56th Division (including 2/4th Hampshire) landed on the right. [26] Meanwhile, Balck's XIV Panzer Corps was positioned to face possible landings from the sea with 16th Panzer Division in the Gulf of Salerno, the Hermann Göring Division near Naples and the 15th Panzergrenadier Division to the north in the Gulf of Gaeta.[27]. Although the Americans favored Napoleon's maxim that Italy, like a boot, should be entered from the top, the range limits of Allied fighter planes based in Sicily reduced Allied choices to two landing areas: one at the Volturno River basin and the other at Salerno. Since X Corps' main line of thrust was to be north towards Naples, he decided to move the VI Corps left hand boundary north of the Sele river and move the bulk of Major General Troy Middleton's U.S. 45th Division into the gap. Operation Avalanche, or the battle of Salerno (9-18 September 1943) was the main part of the Allied invasion of the Italian mainland, 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.. A night drop of 600 paratroops of the 509th Parachute Infantry Battalion to disrupt German movements behind the lines in the vicinity of Avellino was widely dispersed and failed,[57] incurring significant casualties. Serle's House It was believed a quick invasion of Italy might hasten an Italian surrender and produce quick military victories over the German troops that could be trapped fighting in a hostile country. The next stage of the Italian campaign became for the Allied armies a grinding and attritional slog against skillful, determined and well-prepared defenses in terrain and weather conditions which favoured defense and hampered the Allied advantages in mechanised equipment and air superiority. The Italians capitulated just as the Allies advanced on mainland Italy following their successful invasion of Sicily, codenamed Operation Husky.Some landings on the mainland were unopposed but in the case of Operation Avalanche, the landings at Salerno, there was strong opposition. "Nothing Goes Right in Italy", in Fawcett, Bill, ed. This would reduce the amount of shipping capacity needed to supply Allied forces in the Middle East and Far East,[3] at a time when the disposal of Allied shipping capacity was in crisis,[4] and increase British and American supplies to the Soviet Union. Bremner of the 5th Battalion: ‘Sergeant Bremner’s company was held up by heavy machine-gun fire and sniping. The Regimental History recounts one of the many displays of gallantry by the Hampshires, that of Sergeant A.R. Having defeated Axis forces in Sicily, the Allies turned their attention to mainland Italy. The navy protested that reversing the landing process would be impossible, since loading beached landing craft would make them heavier and unable to withdraw from the beach. The arrival of the 7th Armoured Division finally turned the tide. [9] Salerno was chosen because it was closer to air bases, experienced better surf conditions for landing, allowed transport ships to anchor closer to the beaches, had narrower beaches for the rapid construction of exit roads, and had an excellent pre-existing road network behind the beaches. April: Communist policy announcement made in Salerno. He was leading his section on the right of the company, and inspite of heavy fire, he went on, killed two snipers with his tommy-gun and located a machine-gun.

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