The reality of war. This headless German soldier was someones son, brother or father. Let us remember that war is simply death and destruction for all.
AMCHITKA TO KISKA
AN INVASION WITHOUT AN ENEMY
Frederick right, talking with General Mark Clark and Corps Commanders etc. for the breakout to Rome. Rather than use the bulk of his forces to cut off the German 10th Army retreating before the British Eighth Army, Clarke decide to make a "bee" line to Rome. This left the under-equipped FSSF and a small assignment of units to slow down the bulk of that Army tanks and all. This resulted in severe casualties in the Force to include Major Sector.
Below- Highway No#6 in foreground. Exploding shell center 2 June 1944. Drive to Rome!
Bill Bennett's 2nd Regiment Supply HQ 17 February 1944.
A posed photo showing members of the Force racing past a burning Tiger tank within the city of Rome. Rome was defended by a rearguard of the German 1st Parachute Division. Below the Force marches towards the Coliseum.
Looking west at Borgo Sabotino (Gusville) and Prostitute Road 3 May 1944
Below- Member of the 15th Panzer Grenadier Division maintaining his concealed and reinforced foxhole. Italy 1943. Bundesarchiv. 101l-307-0757-20 Schmidt
Palazza Venezia taken by Herb Langdon from Victor Emmanuel Monument captured by 6th Co. 2nd Regt. on 4 june. Benito Mussolini frequently spoke from balcony on left.
The same day the Force landed on Kiska it received word from the War Department to return to the US immediately for transport to Britain. However Churchill's request was overturned and the Force ultimately shipped out for Italy.
DEADLY - German paratroops with mortar. The German's were masters with the mortar. Bundesarchiv 101l-304 6635 38 Funke
Note: To LEFT are photos of the T-15 Weasel on the beach at Kiska, in depot in Canada and below center is a Company of the 87th Mountain Infantry Battalion. Also note the mule. Mules became indispensable in the mountains of Italy.
Looking south from Mount Arrestino at former beach head. Littoria to left. 26 May 1944.
Major Stan Waters, center, at Anzio
2nd Regiment Aid Station as part of 2nd Regiment CP on top of Difensa as well as positions around Difensa. Dr. George Evashwick is seen treating a wounded Force man. Also Evashwick and Williamson talking with a wounded Lt. Col. Bob Moore. Note that this is during the heat of the battle and Williamson is not hiding in a cave nor does it appear evident that he is in any distress. It is also curious that Medical Officer Evashwick, beside him, says nothing in the inquiry into what happened the morning of 3 December. The same morning this photo was apparently taken. This photo was hidden among Frederick's belongings and only came to light after his death and the selling of his estate. It also clarifies that Moore's 2nd Battalion did indeed run into heavy resistance on the 3rd.
Photos below from FSSF veterans Herb Langdon, Lynwood Johnson and Douglas Atkinson
2nd Pl 4th Prov Co 2nd Regt in bivouac area. C.H. Prestwich standing stipped to waist KIA 1 June 1944. T.C. Potenza stansing on right KIA October 1944. F.S. Schmidt second from right row KIA 26 Ausgust1944.
The Canadian Commander Colonel Donald Dobie Williamson who planned the overall Difensa operation being Commander of the attacking 2nd Regiment. His co-Commander, who would turn out to be rival, Frederick ultimately claimed Williamson lost his nerve during the attack. Please read the story (above left) for the truth. There is as much evidence to suggest that Williamson was deliberately kicked out of the Force than there is evidence that he neglected his duty on Difensa.
Looking South at 2nd Regiment Bivouac area. House is 2nd Regiment HQ.
2nd Pl 4th Co 2nd Regt in Bivouac. 5 February 1944
This odd mixture of British and enemy POW's are looking across to Monte Camino (Center), Monte Remetania (left) and Monte La Difensa (right) . Note the height of Camino and how any observer on that peak could look right down into the bowl of Difensa.
The photos below are of members of the Canadian 13th Infantry Brigade, 87th Mountain Battalion and 1st Special Service Force.
Members of the Force with white and dark painted faces. Note man bottom right with FSSF patch on forearm.
27 May 1944 Mule train passes through column on trail between Rocca Massima and Artena.
3rd Regiment Executive Officer Major John Sector. Sadly he would be killed during the desperate fighting for Artena. Medical Officer George Evashwick was severely wounded in the same action.
Note: Oddly trimmed down ATF-9 canvas patch worn by the above Canadian from the 13th Brigade.
Anzio 15 February 1944. Pilot Bran Rimmer, Free French Officer Brassard, Herb Langdon and Ida ???
These are men of Colonel Williamson's 2nd Regiment at the airfield on Adak waiting for a call to board their C-47 transports just in case they were required as vital reinforcements. Despite being suiting up complete with winter white parachute packs, the call never came. They wear the Jacket Field OD, Mountain Trousers and Jump Boots. All have V-42 tied to their lower leg. They wear the Helmet Steel "Parachutist" M-1 and the ATF-9 reflective patch on both sleeves with the FSSF patch below the ATF-9 patch on the left sleeve only.
Cooks HQ complete with pots and pans Anzio March 1944. As Napoleon said, an army marches on its stomach !
This Canadian ? Force officer at Anzio oddly wears a British tankers helmet. Note crossed arrows on collar.
1st Regiment approaches Artena behind wooded hill on left. Valmontone hidden by haze in right background 27 May 1944
2-3 Personnel near Borgo Piave. L to R standing, Rex Atwell, Angel Chavez, Walter Bogu, Colin D'Entremont,. Seated: Willis Brown (cook), larry Irving, William Copeland. Note German helmet being worn.
Memorabilia of US Nurse Lt. Elizabeth Bymers who served in North Africa and at Anzio. She collected badges from men that passed through hospital in the Beach Head.
NOTE: This patch was created primarily to prevent friendly fire incidents as had occurred previously during the invasion of ATTU. It was not actually intended to be a formation badge despite it's later use by occupation troops. There are three known original types. The example above on a fine weave canvas (with both paper and plain back), below left on coarse weave canvas and below right the thick medium printed version of the above (plain back) for the rain coat. Note the rain coat version was to be glued on as seen in the photo to the right. Embroidered types only began to appear shortly before the original occupation force left the island. By that time the Force was on it's way to Italy.
Looking south at Cori 26 May 1944.
Force bivouac March 1944
Akehurst at the end of the war while CO of the Algonquin Regiment. Note that he wears the Algonquin Regiment cap badge on a maroon beret.
Field Mass by Father Essig April 1944
Looking south from 6th Co 2nd Regt. HQ at Artena under shellfire 29 May 1944. This is where Major Sector was killed.
L to R George Evashwick, Bob Moore, T/4 Peebles (behind Jeep) and Stan Waters.Driver and dog blackie in background.
11 March 1944 2nd Platoon, 4th Company, 2nd Regiment. House on left Regimental HQ, house on right Battalion HQ. Note positions dug into reverse slopes.
The Force propaganda sticker Das Dicke Ende Kommt Noch! or The worst is yet to come ! was in retaliation for the above German propaganda leaflets pointing out to the men of the Anzio Beach-Head that they were surrounded.
Photos of Sgt. Peter Moerbeek who originally joined the 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion in the summer of 1942 and then transferred to the FSSF in January 1943. He fought under Lt. Col. Ralph Beckett with the 2nd Company at Hill 720 and was also wounded. He survived to fight at Anzio but was wounded again during the drive on Rome. He was then evacuated on 24 June 1944 to the UK. Note, above right, that he wears both the US Asiatic Pacific and European Theater medal ribbons. These were actually entered into his service book. Several photos of wounded and repatriated Canadians show the wearing of US medal ribbons. However this was short lived. Also note below on the ship back to Canada that he wears his US Parachute Badge as a cap badge. Courtesy John Moerbeek
Looking east at Rocca Massima 26 May 1944.
After their first operation along the southwestern portion of the Winter Line, they were now assigned to take a series of hills to the northeast of Mignano in order to help the Fifth Army close along the Rapido River and the Gustav Line. The main operations were around Hill 720, Monte Majo and Vischiataro. It was Lt.Col Cookman Marshall's 1st Regiment that was assigned to take Hill 720. Lt. Col. Ralph Becket commanded 1st Battalion while Lt. Col. Jack Akehurst commanded 2nd Battalion. Jack ( actually his given name is John) was severely wounded by friendly fire on 720 and also later during the drive to Rome. He was ultimately wounded three times in the war.He is pictured left and right of his memorabilia. (above) Despite actually having Studebaker Weasels sent to Italy, the Mountain passes were more suited for the stubborn mules or a mans back. Two of the units that fought the closest with the FSSF was the 142nd/143rd Infantry Regiments of the 36th "Texas" Division. One man, Floyd H. Mellott Jr. fought alongside the Force at Difensa and was later killed around Monte Majo. His officially named Purple Heart is right.
BELOW- Looking north from assembly area toward battle in progress. Cisterna, a place of disaster for the Darby's Rangers, to right 23 May 1944.
17 February 1944 view from 2nd Regiment bivouac area. Smoke in distance is from crashed Liberator bomber.
The photos above and left from the Library and Archives DND 1967-052 Collection show the use of Panther tank turrets as stationary field artillery along the Adolph Hitler Line. Also an enemy machine gun nest. These are the obstacles that Canadians of the 1st Canadian Corps ran into during the breakout through the Gustav Line and Hitler Line 24/28 May on their drive up Highway #6 to Rome. The British Eighth Army was to link up with forces breaking out of the Anzio Beach Head.
1st Regiment HQ being dug March 1944, Colonel Marshall left, Akins and ? Marshall was killed during the later fighting for Rome.
John Diggins taking a rest.
You will note by this map that the popularized attack on La Difensa has inadvertently hidden the actual objective of the FSSF on 3 December 1943. It was Monte Remetanea. In conjunction with the 142nd Infantry of the 36th Division, they were to seize Remetania and therefore get in behind and opposite the enemy route of egress from Monte Camino, the main obstacle in the way of seizing the main objective of the entire operation Rocca d' Evandro by the British. Rocca is seen in 2014 left.
Column resting on trail between Rocca Massima and Artena 27 May 1944.
Force dead buried on top of Difensa. Sadly one of those killed was Lt. Col. Tom MacWilliam (left). He was leading his 1st Battalion of 2nd Regiment to their main objective Monte Remetania when he was struck down by mortar bomb fragments likely directed from enemy positions on top of Monte Camino.