HISTORY OF THE 351ST INFANTRY REGIMENT FOR THE MONTH OF

June 1944

Submitted: 

7 July 1944

Attachments: 

          The battle of Santa Maria with its three days of bitter fighting which resulted in the 351st Infantry Regiment breaking through the fortified Gustav Line; the grueling pursuit of the enemy across rugged mountains from Spigno to Itri; the penetration of the vaunted Hitler Line and again the mountains; days without food; K rations; sleepless nights; mules; Goums; the many dead and wounded comrades who had fallen along the way --all seemed far away when the 351st Infantry was again ordered to engage the enemy and move from its concentration area near Tre Cancelli, Italy, east of Anzio, through Cisterna to an assembly area 3 miles SW of Cori.

 

          The Combat Team quartering party under command of Lt. Col. Drake, Regtl Ex. O., departed at once. After experiencing much difficulty in securing trucks, the combat team moved out at 0215 hours in order, Company C, 313 Med Bn., A-T Co., Cn Co., Co C, 313 Engr. Bn., 3rd Bn., 2nd Ba., 1st Bn. Upon arrival at new concentration area it was discovered that the Regimental area had been changed to a new location some two miles to the north. Troops were detrucked rapidly and marched after temporary halt to newly assigned area. At 0800 hours the Regimental Command Post opened in the vicinity of Cori. AT 1130 hours Major Beggs, Asst. G-3, arrived at the Command Post with instructions for quartering officer to leave at once for reconnaissance of new Regtl assembly area west of Rocca Massima. Lt. Col. Drake, was designated by the Regimental Commander for this mission and departed at once. At 1200 hours, Lt. Col. Davidson, Division G-3, visited the Command Post with instructions that the Regiment move to forward assembly area in rear of the 349th Infantry which was attacking Colle Casalupi, southwest of Valmontone, and be prepared to pass through the 349th Infantry, and continue the attack. Since this area was different from that then being reconnoitered by Lt. Col Drake, Captain (then 1st Lt.) Edmonson, departed at once with another quartering party for the newly assigned area. Trucks furnished by II Corps for the move were directed to the battalion areas by 1st Lt. Bodie, Regimental Liaison Officer. At 1400 hours Regiment moved out in the order, 3rd Bn. Regtl Hq., 1st Hn, 2nd Bn., A-T Co., Cn Co. The Regtl CP was established at 1600 hours on southwest slopes of Mount San Angelo. All battalions were closed in by 1630 hours in same general vicinity. The Regimental Commander received orders to report with S-3 to division CP vicinity Rocca Massima at once to receive orders. At the Division CP Major General Sloan directed that this Regiment less 1st Bn relieve the 338th Infantry now located abreast of and to left rear of our 349th Infantry, and launch an attack as soon as possible thereafter. The 1st Bn was to remain in present bivouac area as Division Reserve. The Regimental Commander and S-3 returned to Regimental CP where orders were issued for accomplishment of mission, to Bn commanders of the 2nd and 3rd Bns respectively. The 3rd Bn was directed to relieve the 3rd Bn, 338th Inf on its present position vicinity Colle Pastore and launch attack directly to the north in regimental zone of action. 2nd Bn was directed to relieve the 1st Bn, 338th Infantry, protect the left flank of the regiment and follow the 3rd Bn in the attack. Bn Commanders of the 3nd and 3rd Bns left at 2000 hours on hasty reconnaissance since relief was to be effected at nightfall. Regimental Commander and S-3 located with much difficulty the Regimental Command Post of the 338th Infantry and completed arrangements for effecting the relief of that regiment with Colonel Safay, Regimental Commander. Colonel Champeny and Major Hobson then joined the 3rd Bn as it was proceeding forward. The Bn commander of that battalion was forced due to shortage of time, to make a night reconnaissance of the Regimental zone of action with his company commanders prior to issuing orders for attack at 0400 hours.

 

          June 2, 1944: The relief of the 338th Infantry was completed at 0100 hours and 3rd Bn launched its attack on time. The Regimental Command Post was set up in the Command Post location of the 3rd Bn, 338th Infantry, in a deep cellar on Hill 506 which provided an excellent OP as well as CP. The attack launched with some apprehension due to the fact that the Regiment was known to be faced by elements of the vaunted Hermann Goering Division. These German soldiers were known to have a high morale in addition to being young, vigorous, fighting men. The attack of the 3rd Bn proceeded rapidly. Enemy machine gun nests and snipers were dealt with effectively by artillery fire and efforts of our own riflemen. Major Furr, Commanding Officer, 3rd Bn. received from one of his company commanders, an erroneous report that Hill 401 had been captured and proceeded at once to join that company. However, upon arrival on the objective, Major Furr with his Bn S-3 and Operation Sgt., instead of finding his company, discovered a group of 15 Germans. One of the Germans was immediately shot by Major Furr while at the same time the Bn S-3 and the Operations Sgt. opened fire, killing two others. The remainder of the Germans threw several hand grenades, wounding the Bn S-3 and the Operations Sgt., and fled. Company "I" arrived on their objective to find it already captured by the Battalion Commander. The 3rd Bn pushed forward aggressively all during the day, capturing and killing many Germans. Included among the captives were the Battalion Commander and the Battalion Surgeon of a Hermann Goering Battalion. One prisoner of war stated that 60% of his battalion were casualties due mostly to accurate small arms fire of our dough boys. Many of the Germans were killed by hand grenades thrown into dugouts in which they were trying to conceal themselves. Upon the capture of the initial objective, Mount Mezza Sebra, by the 3rd Bn, the regimental zone of action was widened to such an extent that it was necessary to employ the 2nd Bn (less one company in Regimental Reserve) abreast of the 3rd Bn. The drive continued unabated. 3rd Bn clearing the town of Carchitta while the 2nd Bn drove the Germans from the town of San Cesareo. Together the two Bns pushed across Highway 6, main supply route of the Germans from Rome, and gained high ground north of it. During this operation tanks from the 752 Tank Bn were employed effectively once they were able to overtake the fast moving doughboys. Several German tanks, self-propelled and 88mm guns were knocked out by direct fire of our tanks. Upon cutting Highway 6 at 1630 hours, the 2nd and 3rd Bns reorganized and established road blocks along Highway 6 and road north of and running generally parallel to Highway 6.

 

          The 1st Platoon of Co. "G" under the command of 2nd Lt. Andrew Salynski, acting as advanced guard for the 2nd Battalion in the vicinity of the small town of San Cesareo, Italy ran into enemy resistance. This was reduced. Twelve German prisoners were taken and sent to the rear. During this action Private First Class Asa E. Farmer with his bazooka destroyed two German half­tracks, containing approximately twenty men. In order to completely destroy the personnel, Private Farmer threw a fragmentation grenade into the half-tracks.

 

          After reorganization, the 1st Platoon continued with the mission of entering the town of San Cesareo from the west and cleaning out the enemy. One German machine gun was encountered at the square and through the initiative of S/Sgt Roy A. Boetteger, was promptly knocked out by rifle fire.

 

          Again reorganizing the 1st Platoon moved out of town on to Highway 6. Here a road block was established by Lt. Salynski. The men took advantage of all protection and concealment afforded by several houses and stone walls in the vicinity. The large bend in the road was to be the center of all activity. An OP was established in the 2nd floor of a nearby building from which the entire platoon could be alerted at the approach of enemy vehicles. The enemy had no knowledge whatsoever of our being in position here.

 

          The first German vehicle to come down Highway 6 from the direction of Rome was a reconnaissance car containing four men. The 2nd squad under the able leadership of Cpl Edward J. Murphy opened fire on this car and slowed it down sufficiently to allow the bazooka team on the bend and the rifle grenadiers to demolish the vehicle killing all occupants.

 

          Almost simultaneously, a German sedan appeared from the opposite direction, containing three field grade officers and a non-commissioned officer as chauffeur. The 3rd squad under Private Felix P. Burakiewicz, opened up on them forcing the vehicle to crash into the platoon OP building. One of the officers attempted to get away and was promptly shot down by Lt. Salynski. Next a motorcycle from the same direction as the sedan came along and was destroyed by concentrated rifle fire from the 3rd squad. About twenty minutes later the first of five jeeps to be destroyed by this platoon approached from the direction of Rome. Private Francis G. Crites, with his BAR was instrumental in destroying this jeep along with its four occupants. The other four jeeps were completely destroyed with their occupants by the combined efforts of the entire platoon. Immediately thereafter, two motorcycles came down the road and were likewise destroyed. The last motorcyclist had just destroyed a bridge 200 yards southeast on Highway 6. Fifteen minutes later, the prime mover of a German 88 with its gun attached was captured in the vicinity of the bridge previously blown up. The driver and the assistant driver were wounded as they attempted escape.

 

          Approximately thirty minutes later a German half-track approached from the direction of Rome and again Private Farmer with his bazooka took careful aim and made a direct hit, blowing pieces of the half-track one hundred yards away and killing all occupants. Ten minutes later another half-track coming from the opposite direction was destroyed by Private Farmer. This time the half­track was forced into the platoon O.P. with all five Germans killed.

 

          Enemy mortar fire then began to fall on the 1st Platoon. All men took cover and remained in position while a messenger went back to the company commander, 1st Lt. William G. Hohenadel, in order to get more ammunition and report the general situation. Immediately after dispatching the runner an enemy machine opened fire from a building across the highway without doing any damage to the platoon. After locating the machine-gun from the O.P., fire was brought to bear on it by Sgt. John F. Ebel, and Lt. Salynski, and the gun was finally silenced. This gun was later proven to have been knocked out. Next, a light sedan came down the highway, observed the chaotic scene and surrendered without any fight.

 

          Two men were then sent back, as all bazooka and grenade launcher ammunition had been expended. The Cal .30 ammunition was also getting very low. A check of the platoon showed no casualties at this time. While awaiting the arrival of ammunition; four American tanks arrived and were fired on by German tanks. The American tanks went back into partial defilade and took up the fight. The 1st Platoon found themselves in the center of this activity. The tanks fought for about two hours until darkness fell. After dark, contact was made with the company O.P. about five hundred yards away in order to get relief. After having been relieved for two hours by "E" Company, the platoon returned to the same area and again took up their positions to remain until dawn. About 0700, 3rd of June, the 88th Division reconnaissance company arrived to take over.

 

          The regimental CP was established in an old factory building near Stazne di Zagorole, and Lt. Gillen, Liaison Officer was dispatched to guide the rear regimental CP to this location. As the CP personnel proceeded forward, they were subjected to heavy strafing attacks by enemy airplane as well as being fired upon indirectly by enemy 20 mm gun. At 0515 hours, Lt. Mayfield, Division Liaison Officer, arrived at the CP with Division Directive calling for attack west along, and to the south of highway 6, within a regimental zone of 3000 yards. The Division and Corps objective was the cutting on North South road via Tor Sapienza just east of Rome as well as seizing important bridges over the Aniese River. Time of attack was designated as 0530 hours with Line of Departure the north and south road running through San Cesareo. The 85th Division on the left was to attack abreast and simultaneously with us. Due to the fact that orders were received just 15 minutes prior to the time the attack was to be launched and also that the assault battalions were some distance north of their Line of Departure, displacement thereto incurring complete change in direction, it was impossible to launch the attack at the time designated. At 0630 hours, the 3rd Bn jumped off with 2nd Bn, which moved more slowly crossing the LD at 0700 hours.

 

          The Battalions were generally abreast, 2nd Bn on left and 3rd Bn on right. The 1st Bn which had been in Division reserve was released to the Regiment at 2300 hours 2 June and had moved up during the night of 2/3 June to a position some 5000 yards south of highway 6. The 1st Bn was directed to close to 600 yards and follow the 2nd Bn protecting the flanks of the regiment. Both assault Bns moved forward aggressively meeting resistance from German armored elements and self-propelled guns. At this time it was noted that there had been some confusion in designating boundaries for the two other divisions participating in the attack. Our 2nd Bn which was using a power line within its zone found that a regiment of 85th Division (337th Inf) had the same power line within zone assigned to it. The 3rd Division had, through some mistake, been given boundaries almost identical with those assigned this regiment. As a result, after we had crossed the LD it was necessary for the 2nd Bn to sidestep in front of the 337th Inf., while our 1st Bn found itself following the 337th Inf and was forced to sideslip to the right thence to the left, in order to follow our 2nd Bn. Also the regiment was being followed by the 3rd Division which was deployed in attack formation. In spite of these complications the regiment was kept intact and under control while moving forward aggressively in the attack. The town of Colonna within the regimental zone was partly by-passed by 3rd Bn and the regimental staff with a portion of the Regimental I & R platoon, officially captured the town and were greeted by numerous Italian civilians who insisted all join in merry-making over bottles of Dago Red vino. The command echelon stopped momentarily along the road running just east of the town of Colonna to make radio contact with the leading battalions some 500 yards west. As this contact was being established, a terrific artillery barrage (direct fire) descended upon the command personnel. The barrage emanated from immediately in rear of the CP within regimental zone of action. Thinking that possibly during the rapid advance German 88mm guns had been by­passed to our right, all personnel moved west of the road, but artillery fire continued falling very close to all individuals, wounding the regimental commander in the shoulder. The CP again moved some 300 yards to the west to a house which promptly re­ceived direct hits from what seemed to be 3 inch tank destroyer guns or 75mm guns. After the house had received 4 such direct hits, all personnel took cover in a German dugout in a nearby field with the exception of the regimental commander and the artillery liaison officer, Captain Corcoran, who was frantically calling our own Division artillery, requesting that all artillery fires be lifted from Colonna, due to the fact that the fire was falling on friendly troops. In the meantime, Major Sadler, S-2, located on the ridge to our rear, an American tank battalion attached to 3rd Division (Howze Task Force) which had been delivering this demoralizing fire. After admonition by Major Sadler in no uncertain terms, the firing ceased. The regimental command post then moved at 1100 hours to a large villa on a ridge overlooking the Regimental zone of action, which made an excellent OP as well as a comfortable command Post. In the meantime, the rear regimental CP had been having difficulties as great as those experienced by the forward CP.

 

          At about 1000 hours a report came to the rear regimental command post located in Statz de Zagarola, Italy, that two wire­men from Regimental Headquarters Company had been wounded by enemy snipers only about 500 yards away from the CP. Captain Leo L. Sautter, Headquarters Commandant, immediately secured an M-1 rifle and taking four men also armed with M-1s with him, he went to the assistance of the wounded men. As he neared the spot where they lay, he observed that another group of wiremen were pinned down in an open field by enemy machine gun fire. Captain Sautter located the enemy machine gun position, but found that it could not be fired upon except from an exposed position. He then ordered his men to take cover and though exposed to enemy fire, he crawled to a point which commanded the machine gun position and opened fire. He killed six of the enemy thus silencing the gun and enabling his wounded men to be evacuated.

 

          The presence of a number of German snipers caused Captain Sautter to send a message back to the command post for more men. When he discovered a German armored car and two other machine guns, he sent a driver back to get a 50 caliber machine gun and a tank or armored car. In the meantime he observed a company of the 349th Infantry approaching and standing up in full view of the enemy, he signaled to the approaching company to prevent them walking into the fire of the machine guns and armored car. Unable to attract their attention, he ran down the slope to contact the company commander. While Captain Sautter was talking to the company commander, a sniper shot the lieutenant, wounding him seriously. Captain Sautter seeing no other officer in the vicinity, took command of the company reorganizing it, and had it in position or an attack when other officers of the 349th Infantry arrived. By this time two tanks requested by Captain Sautter arrived to assist the 349th Infantry in their attack and Captain Sautter and his men withdrew to the command post.

 

          Captain R. D. Brown, Regimental Adjutant, had gone forward in a jeep to assist Captain Sautter early in the fight but had run into a perfectly camouflaged German machine gun which opened fire at a range of about thirty yards. Two men in the jeep were killed and Captain Brown was wounded.

 

          Brigadier General Kendall visited the command post at 1130 hours and discussed the situation and plans with the Regimental commander, supervising the dressing of his wound, received by the previously described artillery barrage. The 350th Infantry which had been following to our left rear was ordered by Division to pass through our 2d Battalion once they were able to overtake it. The 1st Battalion was shifted from the left flank to the right flank and given the mission of following the 3d Battalion and protecting the right flank of the regiment. Both assault battalions progressed satisfactorily, capturing many prisoners of war and cleaning out machine gun nests and snipers. Both battalions were ordered by the regimental commander to push forward aggressively so as to obtain the regimental, division and Corps objective prior to daylight.

 

          It was the ambition of the regimental commander to keep the battalion moving at such a pace that the 350th Infantry would be unable to overtake it, in spite of the fact that this battalion was moving in the face of determined enemy resistance, while the 350th Infantry was merely marching in route column. Our hopes fell at 1900 hours when the 2d Battalion Commanding Officer, Major Shull, reported that the 350th Infantry had overtaken his rear elements. Luckily enough, the regimental commander was not convinced that such had happened and upon rechecking with Major Shull, found that the report was incorrect. The 350th was still some distance to our rear. The 2d Battalion then forged ahead with a renewed determination not to be overtaken.

 

          At 0400 hours by way of SCR radio, the regimental commander was notified that both assault battalions were on objectives, vicinity of Tor Sapienza, 4000 yards east of Rome, and that important bridges over the Aniene River had been seized before the Germans were able to demolish them. The Regimental Command Post displaced at 0530 hours to a position southwest of Sapienze directly in rear of leading battalions. The objective which the regiment had anxiously been awaiting, the city of Rome, was now close at hand. From our positions, we could see the towering buildings of the city. If the orders had not been such that we were required to stop on this objective, the regiment could have entered Rome early on the morning of 4 June with less resistance than was later encountered on the afternoon of 4 June when our 1st Battalion did enter the city. Both battalions reorganized and were resupplied while the 1st Battalion closed to positions 1000 yards to right rear of 3d Battalion. At about 0830 hours orders were received from Major General Sloan through Lt. Mayfield, Division Liaison Officer, to push forward at once with one battalion utilizing motorized elements along highway 101, enter Rome and seize important bridges over the Tiber River. One platoon of the 88th Reconnaissance Troop was attached to the regiment for this operation. The regimental I & R platoon together with part of the platoon of the 88th Reconnaissance Troop moved forward rapidly along highway 101 towards Rome to be followed by Company "C" which was motorized, by prime movers of the regimental anti­tank company. Led by Captain Meeks, Commanding Officer, Anti­Tank Company and Captain Williams, the Commanding Officer of the 1st Battalion, Company C entered highway 101 vicinity Sapienza at 0930 hours, proceeding rapidly to join the I&R platoon. The 1st Battalion of the 350th Infantry with tanks attached (a special task force with the same mission as that given the 1st battalion) followed in rear of our 1st battalion. The Regimental I & R platoon met considerable resistance from a German strongpoint on ridge line approximately one mile east of Rome, just north of the suburb Centocelle. The platoon left their vehicles and proceeded forward on foot in an effort to reconnoiter the terrain and determine the strength, location and armament of the strong point. In the ensuing action, Lt. McClure, I & R platoon leader, was killed, by cross-fire from two German machine guns. Thus ended the career of one of the most fearless fighting men of this organization. Almost single-handed in the preceding day's action he had captured approximately 50 Germans. In accomplishing every mission to which he was assigned, he proceeded with utter disregard for his own personal safety. His death was indeed a great loss to the regiment.

 

          As Captain Meeks and Captain Williams, Commanding Officers, Anti-Tank Company and 1st Battalion, respectively, leading Company C, rounded a curve near the German strongpoint mentioned above, they were fired upon by machine gun which punctured the tires and radiator of their "jeep". The startled driver braked the vehicle so suddenly that Captain Williams, riding in the rear seat, did a complete somersault in the air, landing on his feet in the road­way. Needless to say, all other occupants of the vehicle dis­mounted rapidly, taking cover in the ditch to the right of the road. Just as the last man cleared the "jeep", an 88mm shell demolished it. The ditch on the right of the road proved to be poor cover as machine gun and sniper fire came uncomfortably close to all individuals. Noticing better defilade to the left of the road, all dashed across, miraculously escaping injury from the hail of machine gun fire.

 

          Meanwhile, Company C in the 1-1/2 ton trucks had been greeted with the same hail of machine gun and 88mm fire. However, in spite of the exposed position of the trucks, the men detrucked rapidly, in good order with very few casualties. (One killed). Company C was held up by enemy resistance. The 1st battalion, (less company C) under command of the battalion executive officer, Captain Carmon, following Company C, moved to the west of Company C and went around this resistance. The 1st battalion accompanied by several Tank Destroyers and three tanks, then moved promptly into the city of Rome, arriving at 1530 hours, the first Infantry to enter the city.

 

          Our reception was tremendous. The streets were jammed with the exulting Italian populace. In spite of the occasional skirmishes with German snipers, it was almost more difficult to advance through the throngs of grateful Romans than against enemy resistance. Vino offered in glasses, in pitchers, in bottles, and even in kegs was plentiful on every hand. Vehicles were completely covered by Italians who clamored aboard for the triumphal procession. Kisses were freely bestowed by both male and female citizens and suffered or enjoyed by the recipient accordingly. Long concealed American and Italian flags made their appearance as if by magic, and the Italian Carbinieri, emboldened by the presence of friendly troops, hunted down Germans and Fascists alike. This city has been touched lightly by the war. There are few scenes of devastation such as we have seen in most Italian cities evacuated by the Germans, nor does the appearance of most of the people indicate such hardships as were suffered by the people of southern Italy. Nothing was too good for the American soldier in Rome today. Though our troops were quite naturally pleased with their reception, nothing could distract them long, from their primary objective, to catch and destroy the fleeing Germans. Since our mission was to seize three bridges over the Tiber River and continue to the north­west to seize high ground beyond Rome, we were not able to tarry within the city of Rome to enjoy the revelry. At 0100 hours, 1st battalion reached Ponte Milvio, the bridge over the Tiber which had been designated for this regiment to cross. The regimental command post was established in a park near this bridge at 0100 hours. Detachments from Company "A" were placed on the Ponte Milvio to protect it from sabotage. The 1st Battalion followed by the 2d Battalion then continued across the bridge and after a short rest, both moved down highway 2 at about 0530 hours. As the 1st battalion moved down a slope approximately 1-1/2 miles from the Tiber river along highway 2, they were greeted by heavy machine gun and small arms fire. Company B was sent to the east in an attempt to outflank this resistance which was holding up the advance of the battalion, but ran into heavy machine gun and sniper fire, and was unable to execute the maneuver. 2d Battalion about 600 yards to the rear had halted behind the first hill mass. Orders were promptly issued by the regimental commander for the 2d Battalion to take up the attack to the north in regimental zone of action, the 1st battalion to follow the 2d battalion. The 2d battalion advance to the north on a broad front, using tanks, and cut the road at Castle-Giubbileo-Sepalcra. From this point, the regimental commander and members of his staff were able to observe the enemy taking up delaying positions to our front. Through Captain Corcoran, Artillery Liaison Officer, heavy artillery concentrations were placed upon the Germans, killing many and causing the remainder to abandon their positions and withdraw rapidly to the rear. Tank destroyer units were brought up and placed direct fire upon parked enemy vehicles. At 1630 hours the 2d battalion reached the objective, taking up positions north of the road. The 1st battalion took up positions just south of the road. 3d battalion remained in division reserve in the vicinity of Rome. Lt. Mayfield, Division Liaison Officer, reported with the information that the 3d battalion had been released to regimental control and was moving forward by marching, also that the regiment would be relieved by 349th Infantry on this position. Lt. Farley was dispatched to meet the battalion and indicate to them their assembly area in rear of regimental objective. The regiment rested and resupplied during the remainder of the 6th and 7th of June. The regiment was prepared to move forward in the afternoon of the 7th of June, by motor shuttle to an assembly area immediately in the rear of the 350th Infantry. 3d battalion was designated as part of a special motorized force, (Ellis Task Force) which included the 91st Reconnaissance Squadron, 756th Tank battalion and 804th Tank Destroyer battalion. This force moved forward at 1415 hours, 7 June, to seize and occupy division and corps objectives in the vicinity of Orte and Loriano. At 1600 hours the regiment received orders to move forward by shuttle and relieve the 350th Infantry at its present position. Quarter­ing parties and battalion commanders moved at 1700 hours to make reconnaissance and arrangements for relief~ At 1800 hours, 2d battalion moved out on the first shuttle and relieved the 1st battalion, 250th Infantry in the vicinity of Monterosi, Italy. The 1st battalion on the 2d shuttle completed the relief of the 2d battalion 350th Infantry in the vicinity of Monterosi, Italy at 0130 hours. The regimental command post was established in Monterosi. The 3d battalion continued as part of the Ellis Task Force. Lt. Richart, Battalion S-2 with two riflemen, while on road reconnaissance, surprised a group of 100 Germans which included six officers, marching down the road. Pointing the light machine gun mounted on the jeep at the group, Lt. Richart stated in English that they were all surrounded and demanded that they surrender. Fortunately one of the German officers understood English. In the meantime one of the riflemen with Lt. Richart, spoke the same message in German. The Germans were convinced, and Lt. Richart with his riflemen took the entire group prisoners without firing a shot. At 2205 hours, 7 June, 2d battalion was alerted for motor movement to join the Ellis Task Force upon orders from division headquarters. Trucks for this motor movement were spotted in the battalion area by 0600 hours 8 June. Brigadier General Kendall and Brigadier General Kurtz, arrived at the command post at 1000 hours and conferred with Colonel Champeny. Previous to their arrival, the regiment had been ordered to entruck Company F in preparation for movement forward. General Kendall gave further details for this movement, specifying that one platoon, Company F move to Sutri and Company F (less one platoon) to Cappranissa. One platoon of machine guns from H joined Company F to provide additional fire power. At 1440 hours, Major Lowenberg, 82d Fighter Unit, 15th Air Force visited the command post and re­quested permission to move to the front to observe the action there. Permission was granted by the regimental commander and transportation was furnished Major Lowenburg. He was sent to Major Furr, Commanding Officer, 3d battalion. At 1930 hours he returned to the command post after having witnessed the destruction of many Germans as well as having obtained a much clearer picture of the life of an infantryman. At 2115 hours, 2d battalion was ordered to move to the vicinity of map coordinates 5920 and join the Ellis Task Force in that vicinity.

 

          9 June 1944: At 1300 hours Brigadier General Kendall, Assist­ant Division Commander visited the command post and indicated the new boundaries of II Corps. Upon close observation, it was noticed that the 88th Division was pinched out of the operation and that the French Expeditionary Corps would relieve the II Corps on a narrower Corps frontage.

 

          10 June 1944: At 0930 hours, message was received from Divis­ion releasing both the 2d battalion and the 3d battalions to re­gimental control. Transportation was immediately dispatched to 3d battalion while 2d battalion was ordered to return to its area in the vicinity of Monterosi in transportation now with them. Orders were received at 1000 hours to dispatch a quartering party at once to Ostra Lido southwest of Rome to reconnoiter bivouac area to be occupied by the regiment during the coming rest period.

 

          Shortly after the quartering parties departed, another message was received from division stating that the area vicinity of Ostra Lido was unsuitable as a rest area. Major Sadler, S-2 was dis­patched at once to endeavor to retrieve the regimental quartering parties. However they had reached their destination before he overtook them and were on their way back, having received information concerning change in orders at the proposed bivouac area. The 2d battalion closed in new battalion area at 1325 hours. The 3d battalion due to extreme congestion of traffic on roads caused by the moving up of the 6th South African Armored Division, did not close in new area until 2400 hours.

 

          Sally, the German radio propaganda girl, announced in her regular daily broadcast, that the 85th Division were a bunch of good boys, but the 88th Division fights like blood-thirsty cut­throats.

 

          11 June 1944: At 1005 hours all organizations of the regiment were ordered to turn in all ammunition except that necessary for guard and anti-aircraft protection, this being in prepara­tion for movement to rest area. At 1400 hours, Colonel Champeny and Major Hobson, attended a meeting with the Division Commander at the Division Command Post located at Formello. During the course of this discussion Major General John E. Sloan commended the regiment highly for its work in the offensive. He stated that the division had received many commendations which have been for­warded to lower units and which must reach the men in order that they might know their work was being appreciated greatly. He stated that utmost efforts should be made in selecting at once, officers and men for promotions and decorations. The regiment was singularly lauded by the General for its march from Mount Civita across the mountains to Itri, declaring it as outstanding and that the operation in taking Mount Civita was in itself a "max". The following specific points were stressed by General Sloan as lessons to be learned from experiences in the offensive:-1­Reorganization; 2-Swift movement; 3-Maneuver-use of troops; 4­battalion commanders must learn to handle task forces; 5-Regiments must not be road bound; 6-Tanks should be out front whenever possible; 7-Communications-radios did not function properly; 8­Speedier staff work in transmitting orders from higher echelons to lower echelons; 9-Maximum use of fire power; 10-0rientation of new officers and men with the standards of the 88th Division; 11-Cooperation of the tanks, artillery and infantry. The Division Commander stated that Rome was not open for passes as yet. However, the Army commander desires that all men know that they will be permitted to visit Rome as soon as possible. It was the desire of the Division Commander that the top men be rewarded by being given first opportunity to visit Rome on pass. Other points to be stressed during the rest period included the maintenance of motor transportation, care of men and weapons, sanitation, anti­malarial practices and venereal prophylaxis. Men will be stripped for action by doing away with all unnecessary issue equipment.

 

          12 June 1944: At 0330 hours, Lt. Mayfield, Division Liaison Officer reported to the regimental command post with final approval on location for regimental bivouac area southeast of Rome in the vicinity of Lake Albano. Quartering parties were directed to move out immediately with regimental mine platoon in order to clear any mines which might be discovered in bivouac area. Lt. Colonel Drake, departed with these parties at 0930 hours. The greater part of the day was spent by the men in taking showers and care and cleaning of equipment with short exercise periods and hikes.

 

          13 June 1944: At 0945 hours, Movement Memorandum from the Movement Control Officer, Headquarters, 88th Infantry Division ~as received. The 351st Infantry was to proceed along route 2 through Rome, thence along highway 7 to bivouac area. II Corps furnished 1282-1/2 ton long wheel base vehicles in 9 serials, departing at 1200--1245--1330--1415--1500--1545--1630--1715-­1745--hours. A march table was prepared and submitted to all units. At 1250 the command post at Monterosi was closed and march command post established. At 1530 hours, new command post in vicinity of Lake Albano was opened. This command post was probably the best yet occupied by regimental headquarters since it consists of a large villa which although located in zone of heavy fighting, it miraculously escaped damage. Plumbing and lighting fixtures were in good condition. At 1940 hours, the regiment closed into the new bivouac area and that fact was reported to ACofS, G-3. Training Memorandum No. 11, Headquarters 88th Infantry Division, was received and action taken to comply with same at once. Until the 19th of June, the regiment would rest, reorganize and resupply, with particular attention being given orderly arrangement of bivouac areas, police, sanitation, and malarial and venereal disease control. Maximum number of pass privileges would be extended to both officers and enlisted men during this period; passes to be issued on a priority basis to those most deserving. After 19 June, training will be continued daily between hours of 0700 and 1500, Sundays and holidays ex­cepted, with particular emphasis on these subjects: a. Attack training; b. Correction of errors made in combat; c. Physical conditioning; d. Discipline and courtesy; e. Infantry-Tank­Artillery coordination; f. Care of weapons and equipment; g. Specialist training; h. Motor maintenance; i. Instruction of backward men; j-Special schools in tactics for all officers and platoon sergeants; and k.-Special instruction of staff officers. Bath schedules were to be arranged to insure each man getting at least two hot showers per week. In order to be prepared for any possible contingency, one battalion in the Division would be kept constantly alerted and would be designated as the alert battalion.

 

          A message was transmitted to all battalions and special units to submit training schedules by 1800 hours, 14 June for period of one week-schedules to be based upon the training prescribed in the Training Memorandum 11, Headquarters 88th Infantry Division.

 

          14 June 1944: At 0918 Major General John E. Sloan, Commanding General, 88th Infantry Division, visited the command post for conference with the regimental commander. During the conference, General Sloan stated that in addition to the training directed in Training Memorandum No. 11, Headquarters, 88th Infantry Division instruction and practical work would be given in the attack of a fortified position. This training had been directed by the Commanding General, of II Corps. General Sloan was in a very good mood and commended the regiment on its work. At 1400 hours all officers were assembled at the regimental command post for a conference with the regimental commander. The regimental commander reviewed the extensive operations from Santa Maria Infante, to Monterosi, Italy in great detail, pointing out mistakes made and calling attention to corrections which would be applied in future operations. In addition to this, he covered quite completely all points taken up by General Sloan in his meeting of 11 June. Emphasis was placed upon the indoctrination of new officers and men in the standards expected of men in the division. At the conclusion of this conference, the regimental commander requested that all company commanders having new officers assigned, to their companies, bring them forward for introduction and brief talk with the regimental commander. Throughout the day all organization were engaged in reorganization, resupply and organization of bivouac areas and bathing. During the afternoon it was learned that 200 men would be granted all day passes to Rome on the 15th of June. This news was received with great enthusiasm by all individuals due to the fact that although this regiment was the first to enter the Eternal City, it had not been given the opportunity to enjoy it.

 

          15 June 1944: At 0630 hours the 1st convoy of 200 men and 20 officers left the regimental area for a one day visit to Rome. Edd Johnson, was news correspondent of the Chicago Sun, visited the command post for a conference with Major Hobson, Regimental S-3. Lt. Bodie and Lt. Gillen were placed in charge of plans for the recreation and entertainment of the men of the regiment. Lt. Bodie was in charge of movies and U.S.O. shows. Lt. Gillen in charge of arranging for convoys taking the men and officers on pass to Rome and swimming in nearby Lake Albano, and to shower units on schedule. Lt. Mayfield, Regimental Liaison Officer to Division, returned to the regiment for duty during the rest period. The work in the battalions consisted of improvement and policing of bivouac areas and continued reorganization and re­supply of equipment. The first movie in several weeks was enjoyed by the men of the regiment in an outdoor theater centrally located in the regimental bivouac area.

 

          16 June 1944: Lt. Col. Furr, Major Shull, and Captain William battalion commanders and Major Hobson, Regimental S-3, and Captain Blanch, Regimental Communications Officer, left for a well deserve rest at Sorrento, Italy. Captain Edmonson, Assistant S-3, called a meeting of battalion S-3's to discuss plans for the training of the regiment during the following week. Overlays of the bivouac area and training area of the division were distributed. The regiment received its quota to Irving Berlin's original show "This Is The Army" which was being presented at the Royal Opera House in Rome, by an all G.I. cast. The Division Commander announced that rotation of men and officers of the division to the United States would begin immediately and requested recommendations for the month of June. This announcement was received with great enthusiasm by all members of the regiment. An order was received by the re­giment to reorganize during this rest period under Table of Organization 7-11 dated 26 February 1944. Orders were issued to effect reorganization.

 

          17 June 1944: Colonel Arthur S. Champeny, left by plane for Cairo, Egypt early this morning for a well earned rest. The pass quotas for one day passes to Rome were doubled today and a group of 110 enlisted men went to Foro Mussolini, 5th Army rest Camp on the banks of the Tiber in Rome for a four day period. Six officers of the regiment left for the Hotel Excelsior in Rome, which has been converted into a 5th Army Officer's area near Albano which was well patronized and enjoyed by the men of the regiment. Lt. Elton H. Mayfield, Regimental Liaison Officer to Division, was awarded the Bronze Star for exceptionally meritorious service in combat during the period 16 April 1944 to 8 June 1944. Lt. Mayfield's determination and resourcefulness in carrying out his duties as Liaison Officer between Division and Regiment are well known to all of us. He made many trips over the most difficult mountainous terrain oftentimes under fire, to carry orders from the division commander to the regimental commander, when all other means of communication was not successful. Lt. Mayfield's award was well deserved.

 

          18 June 1944: There was no training schedule today although a 100% Ordnance inspection was made by all units. Both Protestant and Catholic services were held by all units of the regiment by the regimental and battalion chaplains. Passes for enlisted men and officers to Rome were continued. Many officers and men were able to attend services in the beautiful churches of the Eternal City. At 2145 hours a directive was received from division alert­ing the regiment for a move to a new area and all units were noti­fied immediately.

 

          19 June 1944: Lt. Mayfield returned from division with maps and an overlay of the new regimental area, located north of Civitavecchia. Orders were received that henceforth, gas masks will be kept so as to be available to all personnel within 30 minutes. In combat, gas masks will be worn at all times. An immediate check of all chemical warfare equipment was ordered. At the same time a meeting of all 1st Sergeants was held at the Service Company area, with the regimental personnel officer to discuss means of improving administrative procedure, particularly with reference to battle casualty reports. The daily drill schedule will run from 0700 hours to 1500 hours. The remainder of the day to be spent in athletics, recreation and care of bivouac areas and equipment.

 

          20 June 1944: At 0600 hours, quartering parties from all units and the entire Anti-Tank Company left for the new bivouac area near Civitavecchia. The Anti-Tank company accompanied the quartering party for the purpose of sweeping any uncleared terri­tory in the bivouac area for enemy mines. All company commanders, 1st Sergeants and the personnel officer and adjutant attended a meeting conducted by Colonel Watkins, inspector General, NATOUSA, concerning means of reporting battle casualties more promptly. Colonel Watkins cleared up several points concerning recent changes in morning reports and battle casualty reports with which the companies had been concerned. He also outlined the procedure which should be used in getting reports on casualties to higher headquarters promptly. Lt. Colonel Wilder, Division Chemical Officer, visited the command post to discuss passive air defense and bomb reconnaissance and regimental S-3. Major General Sloan visited the regimental command post during the afternoon and ordered that the training schedule be extended from 1500 hours to 1630 hours daily with one third of the training to be night training hereafter. A showdown inspection was ordered for Sunday 25 June. All passes were cancelled until further notice.

 

          22 June 1944: Regular training schedule carried on through­out the day. Showers were scheduled between 0800 and 1100 hours continuing the regular schedule of showers which had been main­tained during the rest period. March tables for the move to Tarquinia were prepared and distributed to all units.

 

          23 June 1944: The regular training schedule was maintained throughout the day, in addition to preparation for the move to Tarquinia. The first unit to move was regimental headquarters and headquarters company, which left the area at 1745 hours. The remainder of the regiment followed on schedule the last unit clear­ing the regimental area at 2315 hours. The Headquarters Detachment arrived at the new area at 2140 hours, and established the new command post. Shortly afterwards, Colonel Arthurs. Champeny, Regimental Commander returned from his trip to Cairo, Egypt. Colonel Champeny was in excellent spirits and expressed himself as having enjoyed the six day excursion thoroughly. Battalion commanders were made responsible for the police of their respective battalion areas, following the departure of their units. Captain Edmonson, Acting S-3, and Captain Byron, Regimental Surgeon, remained behind to check the condition of the areas by daylight on the morning of the 24 June. A detail also remained to correct any deficiencies found at that time.

 

          24 June 1944: By 0135 hours the regiment had closed into the new bivouac area. Most of the morning was spent in organizing and policing the new bivouac area. Lt. Colonel LaMotte, G-1, and Major Beggs, Assistant G-3, visited the regimental command post and remained for lunch with the staff. Captain Edmonson and Captain Byron arrived at the new command post after making the final inspection of the regimental area in Albano with a report that the area was left in excellent condition. Colonel Champeny, Regimental Commander, attended a meeting at 1600 hours with General Sloan, Commanding General, 88th Infantry Division. At 2000 hours a meeting of battalion staff officers and special unit commanders with Colonel Champeny was held at the regimental command post to discuss means of correcting deficiencies noted by General Sloan, and to establish a training schedule. Reveille was to be at 0530 hours; breakfast was to be at 0545 hours; drill call at 0730 hours, with all policing and inspections completed prior to that time; recall was to be at 1630 hours with a complete personal inspection of all men at 1700 hours followed by a 1/2 hour period of instruc­tion in military courtesy, discipline, habits, etc. At 1830 hours to 1930 hours, instruction in these subjects was continued for all replacements in the regiment, and for any other men needing such instruction. During the same period a school in close order drill was to be conducted by Lt. Colonel Drake, Regimental Executive Officer for all officers of the regiment. Colonel Champeny further outlined tactical moves that were expected to be used in future operations. Second Lieutenant Arthur S. Johnson reported to regimental headquarters to replace Second Lieutenant Robert E. Bowker, who had been ordered to division on detached service.

 

          25 June 1944: A showdown inspection was held by all units during the morning. All excess equipment was turned in to regimen­tal-S-4 for disposition. Barracks Bags were to be supplanted by officer's field bag for carrying personal equipment of enlisted men. At 1330 hours a meeting of all officers of the Division with General Sloan, Division Commander was held. The General dis­cussed proposed changes in tactical plans for future offensives and commended all units of the Division for their recent per­formance. He especially commended the 3d battalion of this regiment for its aggressiveness. He also commended Captain William M. Thompson, 3d Battalion Chaplain, both for his work in the campaign, and for devoting several days of his rest period to visiting wounded men of this organization and carrying mail and news of the outfit to them. The General reported an increase in the rate of malaria in the division and called for enforcement of countermeasures. Another point emphasized by the General was the necessity for improvement in maintenance of motor vehicles and in the display of military courtesy. Following the meeting with General Sloan, a meeting of regimental, battalion and company commanders, 1st Sergeants and personnel officers of the division was held with a representative of Fifth Army Casualty Report Section, Major Hallow. The purpose of the meeting was to impress even more than had been done by previous meetings the necessity for immediate accurate reports of battle casualties.

 

          26 June 1944: Lt. Colonel William E. Boyd and Lt. Colonel Harry M. Whitington were attached to the regiment per VOCG. Colonel Champeny, Regimental Commander went to division headquarters for a meeting with General Sloan and the two new battalion commanders. A meeting of all battalion commanders, regimental S-3, and S-4 with Colonel Champeny was held to discuss recommendations for the composition and equipment of a battalion mountain combat team. It was recommended that the following units be attached to an infantry battalion: (1) At least one battery, preferably one battalion of pack artillery; (2) One platoon of combat engineers with necessary mules for rations and equipment; (3) One Chemical Mortar Company: (4) At least 40 litter bearers with officer and non-commissioned officer personnel and with mules for rations and equipment; (5) 150 mules for the initial battalion train. Changes in communications recommended were: (1) 24 hour air O.P. assigned to the battalion (2) Pigeons maintained by resupply by air O.P.; (3) Artillery Liaison Officer with radio operators and mules to carry radios; (4) Battalions should have 8 SCR 300 radios with 2 extra for use with heavy weapons company. Recommended changes in weapons: (1) Light machine gun with standard light weight mount to replace heavy machine gun; (2) three 81mm mortars to be carried, with 25 pack boards for carrying ammunition; (3) two 60 mm mortars to be carried in each rifle company.

 

          27 June 1944: Brigadier General Kendall, Assistant Division Commander, visited the command post to discuss training plans with Colonel Champeny. Major Betts, Assistant G-3 visited the command post for discussion of Infantry-Tank-Artillery cooperation. He informed the regimental commander that Company C, 760th Tank Battalion would be attached to the regiment for training, commencing Saturday 1 July 1944. Shortly afterwards the Commanding Officer, Company C, 760th Tank Battalion reported to Colonel Champeny for a discussion of the proposed plans. Major General Sloan, Command­ing General, 88th Infantry Division, visited the command post at 1630 hours, after a tour of the regimental area and expressed his satisfaction at the condition of the area and training. He also discussed Infantry-Tank-Artillery coordination with Colonel Champeny. A message of the regiment would be resumed 28 June 1944.

 

          28 June 1944: Brigadier General Kendall visited the command post and discussed training of the regiment. A division formation was massed at 1600 hours for the presentation of awards by the Division Commander. The Silver Star for Gallantry in Action were presented to Captain Garvin C. McMakin, 1st Lt. Stanton D. Richart, T/Sgt. James A. Kirby and Private Jose C. Orona, Awards of Silver Stars to 1st Lt. John M. Weston, Private First Class Richard NMI Zippel, Private First Class Henry NMI Dombrowski and Private Rogers C. Hall could not be made since Lt. Weston was missing in action and the remaining three were still hospitalized as a result of wounds. The Regimental Commander presented the Bronze Star ribbon for heroic or meritorious achievement to the following officers and men of the regiment: 1st Lt. Emmet B. Lyle, 1st Lt. Byron H. Groesbeck, T/Sgt. Fields H. Church, Pfc Lloyd NMI Marshall, Pfc. George E. Rowe, Pfc Frank J. Masin, Pfc David A. Luna, Pfc Tidolo Munoz, Pvt. Lawrence A. Schiavoni, and Pvt. Leon C. Herell. Awards of the Bronze Star approved by the Division Commander to 1st Sgt. Daniel D. Boone, 1st Lt. Jasper K. Parks, S/Sgt. W. A. Trapp could not be made due to the fact that they were still hospitalized. Announcement was made of posthumous awards to 1st Lt. Robert J. Murphy, Tec 4 Charlton NMI Williams, and Private Max NMI Cohen. Announcement was made of award to Sergeant Peter NMI Szmenciak, who was missing in action.

 

          29 June 1944: Captain Edmonson and the regimental liaison officers attended a meeting at division headquarters called by Lt. Colonel Davidson, G-3, to effect a more efficient liaison organization in the division. A meeting of battalion S-3's, battalion commanders and the Regimental Commander was held with the Regimental S-3 to discuss training program for the following week. Captain Brown, Regimental Adjutant, who had been hospitalized due to wounds received 3 June 1944, returned to duty, bear­ing his twice punctured helmet as a souvenir of his experience.

 

          30 June 1944: Captain Corcoran, Liaison Officer, 913th Field Artillery Battalion, who was attached to this regiment during the past operations, inspected the artillery range with Captain Edmonson, Acting S-3. Lt. Colonel Miller, Commanding Officer, 913th Field Artillery Battalion, called at the regimental command post for a conference with Colonel Champeny.

 

          The month of June has seen the fall of Rome, the first of the three major Axis capitols to succumb, an event in which this regiment played a major role, being the first infantry unit to enter the Eternal City. The spirit of the men and officers of the 351st Infantry remains at a high level, and training for expected future operations, together with past accomplishments, has engendered a feeling of calm confidence in anticipation of our next engagement with the enemy.

 

 

          ARTHURS. CHAMPENY

          Colonel, 351st Infantry

          Commanding.

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