Landings at Anzio 17 January–26 May 1944


Map Code: Ax00746

The Allied landings on the marshland south of Rome on 22 January were virtually unopposed and quickly secured a beachhead, but US Major General John Lucas did not exploit their element of surprise and drive directly on to Rome, preferring instead to consolidate his forces at Anzio. This gave the Germans, under Field Marshal Albert Kesselring, time to reinforce the defensive Gustav line. By 30 January, when Lucas launched a two-pronged British/American attack on Campoleone and Cisterna, the Germans had mustered over 100,000 men, and both assaults failed. Kesselring counterattacked the Allied beachhead on 1 February, sparking a fierce, month-long battle for control of the Campoleone Salient. By the end of February the two sides had fought each other to a standstill, having together sustained losses of over 40,000 men. Under pressure from Churchill, Lucas was replaced by US General Lucian Truscott, while Kesselring began organizing a new ‘Caesar C’ defensive line south of the Alban Hills, through Valmontone and across Italy to Pescara.

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