Chapter 17: Spearhead Sunday Punch

(MOUNT CAPRA, pp. 50-51)


As the Second Battalion drove up the forward slopes of Mount CAPRA it came under heavy friendly artillery fire from the left rear and was forced to halt its attack. Colonel Miller immediately took steps to contact the 337th Infantry of the 85th Division on our left and have the artillery fire lifted in order that we might advance. German defense stiffened in the area of Mount CAPRA on the 19th and early 20th, with elements of the 157th Division, 8th Mountain Division, and 1st Parachute Division attempting to get set to stop our advance.

351st Medics follow the doughboys toward Mount Capra.

With the Second Battalion executing a holding attack on Mount CAPRA, the Third Battalion drove around the right flank and penetrated well in rear of the enemy. The Second then followed, while the First Battalion mopped op the mountain, itself. Throughout the action heavy concentrations of artillery and tank fire were placed on the hill, killing a large number of Germans. Doughboys of the First Battalion had a field day in capturing over four hundred prisoners during the day, and by nightfall the roads behind the 351st became clogged with large groups of German soldiers moving toward the PW cages. The battle at Mount CAPRA marked the end of fighting in the Northern Apennines and opened the way to the flatlands of the Po Valley. In comparison with the bloody yard-by-yard fighting of 1944 our losses were amazingly light; but it was in many cases due to the magnificent aggressiveness of the hard-charging riflemen that their casualties were held to a minimum, for the Germans never had the chance to regain their balance.

From: 351st Infantry Regimental Information and Education Office (1945). History of the 351st Regiment, World War II.