Chapter 4: The Spear Strikes

Updated: Jul 5

ITRI-VALMONTONE (pp. 18-19)


Doughboys move up on the road to Rome.

Having smashed the German defenses at SANTA MARIA the next regimental objective was MOUNT LACIVITA, with the First and Third Battalions vigorously pushing forward against intense artillery, but light infantry resistance. Colonel Champeny was quick to sense a possible breakthrough and accordingly he ordered the advance to be pushed with utmost determination. The terrain north of SPIGNO is as high and rugged as is to be found in Italy, and it was directly over the crest of this mountain barrier that the 351st launched its spearhead attack. With the incomparable French Goumiers on their right the doughboys of the 351st Infantry fulfilled the highest expectations predicted by General Clark at CARINOLA. Mount PASSABBRA, Mount SAN ANGELO, Mount RUAZZO, Mount PERETTA and Mount GRANDE fell to the regiment in five days of skirmish and maneuver. So rapid was our pace and so relentless our pursuit that the German never had opportunity to regain his balance. The First Battalion scored a first by overrunning a complete German pack artillery battery, and morale soared among the men who were used to grinding assaults in the face of organized resistance. Far ahead of the 85th Division in the coastal sector, our troops received artillery fire from the left flank on many occasions. At no other time has the regiment had such a grandstand seat to watch German Artillery batteries in action, Allied naval units shelling the coast, and aircraft strafing and bombing the plains below. This was a perfect breakthrough.


The story of this advance is not complete without a word of praise and commendation for the service and supply units who struggled over slippery mountain trails with mule trains bringing shoes, ammunition, and rations for the G l's up front. The Medical Detachment worked wonders in care and evacuation of the wounded, while Anti-Tank Company stored its weapons, rolled up its sleeves, and carried supplies to the rifle battalions. Many a soldier will remember how his shoes wore out completely in ten days of scuffling over the rocky mountains, and sore feet and aching backs were common to all. But it was well worth the price of discomfort, for the Germans sullenly withdrew along the coast under the threat of the fighting 351st Infantry's dangerous attack.


The regiment continued its drive from 21 to 31 May by continuing the rapid maneuver and pursuit, occasionally fighting stiff local actions-battles which never made headlines, but which were certainly important to the heroic men who fought and died. ITRI, Mount VALLONA, Mount PASSIGNANO, MONSICARDI, Mount CHAIVINO, Mount PIZZUTO, SEZZE, Mount SAN ANGELO, Mount NERO, and other peaks on the right flank of II Corps were mileposts in the long trek to Rome. For a few hours the regiment rested inside the old Anzio beachhead, but the weary troops had hardly filled their helmets to wash and shave when the order to load-up came through. Moving by truck through CORI to VALMONTONE, the 35lst relieved the 338th Infantry of the 85th Division and initiated a drive to cut Highway 6.

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