NORTH FROM ROME
Rome was free! The 36th drove through the city and
headed northward as enemy rear guards fell back to hastily prepared positions. Early on
the morning of June 5, the 142nd Infantry was fired upon at a turn in the road five miles
outside the Italian capital. The enemy delaying force, with several anti-tank weapons and
supported by strong mortar and artillery fires, presented a formidable obstacle. The
Germans quickly forced a struggle. The 3rd Battalion was brought up hurriedly from the
rear and deployed for the attack. Companies K and L, with I and M laying down a base of
fire, fought until late afternoon before the block was wiped out. Immediately following,
the 141st and 143rd, along with elements of the 1st Armored Division, passed through the
142nd to follow up the rout.
|Through the Lake Bracciano-Manziana sector, the
Division plodded on, coping with sporadic resistance as Germans vainly attempted to delay
our troops. Swinging west toward the coast, the "Texas" Division mopped up
German remnants in its path to Civitaveechia, important Italian port which had fallen the
same day to the 34th Division. Continuing north to Tarquinia, the 361st Infantry, attached
to the 36th, met and overcame bitter German opposition. By June 12 the 142nd and 143rd had
established a bridgehead over the Albegna River before Grosseto, following hard fighting
that had centered around the hills overlooking Magliano. Three days later the large town
of Grosseto fell.
In the days that
followed, more towns and villages were liberated and the enemy was driven backward another
55 miles. Piombino marked the goal of the 29-day advance which had covered a road distance
of 240 miles and had netted 5,000 enemy prisoners
At a turn in the road just outside Rome the Germans hastily set up
this block with many A-T guns. A day-long battle wiped it out.
The prisoner toll mounted again and dust became thicker. Germans also slaughtered
thousands of horses.