Anzio: Operation Shingle and Rome

Discussion in 'Italy' started by JhpN, May 17, 2013.

  1. JhpN

    JhpN Member

    I am reading a book on Anzio at the moment. Despite the fact that i am enjoying this book, i would like to hear the opinions of others.
    Was it strategically sound?
    Was it helpful to the Allied causein Italy?
    Did it affect the German war machine in such a way as to make it strategically justified?
    Who is to blame for the slow advance inland and retreat due to German counter-attacks? Is it just General Lucas?
    I have not formed my own opinion of this campaign and so i would like to know what my fellow members think.
  2. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran


    Gen Lucas gets the blame for not taking the high ground - against the advice of the two British Div Commanders - as he had been told by Gen Clark 'not to stick his neck out " - as he had done at Salerno......

    was it strategically sound - might have been had they stuck to the plan - it STILL would have been useful to the Allies - IF - US Gen. Clark had - again - stuck to the plan to attempt to cut off the two German armies at Valmontone - instead he

    turned left to capture ROME alleging that the British were trying to get there first - which was a nonsense as the ROME area had been allocated to the US 5th Army long since then - shades of Patton's race to Messina......the fundamental

    problem in the Allied camp was the fact that the US strategy was predicated on the Capture of PR targets - Palermo - Messina - Naples( the British captured that one to Clark's fury ) - Rome - Florence - Paris et al whereas the British concept

    was to weaken the enemy by killing their armies- and thus making the D Day campaign the easier - which it did eventually as we kept some 48 enemy divisions in Italy and the Balkans away from both Russia and France - so the Italian

    sideshow did a bigger job than has ever been recognised - unfortunately the costs were high at Sidi Rezigh - Gazala - El Alamein - Mareth - Wadi Akirit - Enfidaville - Longstop - Medjez - Primosole - Catania - Ortona - Cassino - Liri Valley -

    Anzio - Gothic Line et al - but equally - we killed a lot of the enemy......and we won ...I think ....!

    Roxy likes this.
  3. JhpN

    JhpN Member

    Thank you Tom, that has made it very clear for me. :)
  4. minden1759

    minden1759 Senior Member


    The fundamental problem with Anzio was that too few troops were put ashore in the opening days and therefore the risk of reaching and securing the Alban Hills without being pushed straight back into the sea were very high indeed. The source of the problem was the priority allocated to Op OVERLORD - what General William Jackson called 'the tyranny of Overlord'.

    As a result, Lucas opted to land and consolidate which meant that when he was ready he was completely surrounded by Germans. his two breakout plans - one by 1 BR Inf Div and one by 3 US Inf Div were utter failures.


  5. ropey

    ropey Member

    I think Martin Blumenson's analysis was correct in that it was "a gamble that failed". The only way for it to succeed with the small numbers involved was to try to shake the confidence of the German high command such as they would fall back from the Gustav Line, so essentially a bluff. This required a bold stroke at great risk: a risk that Lucas wasn't prepared to take. Many would agree with his decision, but what would Patton have made of the situation? Would fortune have favoured the bold?

    It's all in the realms of 'what-if' but Kesselring had dealt with the worst the Allies had thrown at him so far very calmly and efficiently. Is there any reason to believe that he would not have done the same here? If he wasn't panicked the outlook for a greatly extended beachhead would not have been good, although some of the favourable ground would have been lost to them as well. Could Lucas have plugged the Valmontone gap and defended against attacks from the north? Dunno...

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