The Salerno Landings: Operation Avalanche, 9 September 1943


Map Code: Ax00350

Diversionary landings to the south failed to lure significant numbers of German troops away from the west coast neat Salerno in Campania, southern Italy. Additionally, the Allies commenced the attack, on 9 September, without prior naval artillery bombardment, hoping to maintain the element of surprise. The main German defensive groupings were stationed a few miles inland, however mines laid along the beach meant that progress for the troops dropped there was treacherous. The northern shore of the landing zone met little German resistance and was taken easily, however the central and southern sectors were more heavily defended. Artillery support from naval forces in the bay provided covering fire for the landing troops, but in some instances resulted in unfortunate friendly fire. Once minesweepers had cleared the bay, battleships moved near to the shore to provide more accurate heavy covering fire. Luftwaffe raids became less frequent with the capture of Montecorvino airfield.

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