A follow-up attack early the next morning encountered light opposition. They discovered that the position, although formidable, was not without its weaknesses. No such order came, and the men dug in for another night, enduring more sniper and mortar fire and awaiting a counterattack that thankfully never came. These mountains made excellent defensive positions and provided observation of the entire area. As the resupply effort went on, Frederick’s intelligence officer, Lieutenant Finn Roll, interrogated 43 Germans taken prisoner atop La Difensa. They reached the enemy bunkers and dropped grenades into the firing embrasures. By The Braves’ scores were literally off the charts – the average score for the unit itself was 125 percent. Williamson’s 2nd Regiment reached the base of the cliffs on the northeastern side of Monte La Difensa by 10:30 pm; now it was time to begin climbing. Fully half the German force was killed, and seven were captured. The local reserve for these units was the 115th Reconnaissance Battalion. The Allies made progress, but it was tough going. Interlocking machine gun and mortar positions were dug into the rock, making them impervious to artillery fire. Another story stated the Germans would feign surrender with submachine guns concealed behind their backs. Blankets and medical supplies added more weight. Others claim he was escorting some men who had already surrendered. Unfortunately, the Germans actually still had a presence on the northwestern side of Camino and were using it to direct fire on the 1st SSF. He later wrote, “There was only one sector on which we could move in strength; that was on either side of Mount Camino, beyond which lay the Liri River Valley leading to the Italian capital. The combat echelon included the Force Headquarters and three regiments of two battalions each. The Force reorganized and consolidated its position on la Difensa in anticipation of the German response. The organization and history of the First Special Service Force is described in a separate article on this website. The rounds striking the new target, Monte Remetanea, caused echoes that further stifled the noise of the Allied climbers. Its mission was to take la Difensa on Dec. 3 and then press forward and take Monte la Rementanea. At about 8:35 am, Frederick was given a message from a British liaison officer stating that the adjacent British 169th Brigade had taken several hills including Monte Camino. MacWilliam, at the head of the 1st Company, had just given the order to move out. Other Force men struggled to bring the last of the wounded down the mountain. The original plan called for the Force to promptly exploit the success with an attack on la Rementanea. Still, he stayed in command of his men despite serious wounds. They had been disappointed in the Aleutians but now had the chance to prove their unit and themselves worthy of the effort that had gone into creating it. It acknowledged the difficult conditions under which the unit fought and congratulated them on a mission well accomplished. Minimum passing grade was 75 percent. One soldier recalled, “I looked back just in time to see them disappear—it was just a red mist.” The rest of the staff was wounded, blast and shrapnel pelting the entire group. They’re good weapons, if you know how to use them.”. The second message was from Lt. Gen. Mark Clark, commanding the Fifth Army. Each man carried a packboard on his back, loaded with jerrycans of water, packages of rations, and heavy burdens of ammunition. I just dropped one right down on his head. The  1st SSF men lacked cover and had no choice but to push on or be destroyed by mortar fire. In its first real battle, the First Special Service Force’s reputation as an extremely capable and hard-hitting raiding force for mountain operations was made. As they were preparing an assault line, some men tripped over loose stones placed there by the Germans to provide a warning. In front of the Gustav Line another defensive work called the Bernhardt Line was quickly formed; along with delaying actions along the Volturno River, this promised to delay the Allied advance until the Germans were ready for them. he said his name was John Stempian. On Monday, Dec. 6, in tidy, precise penmanship and punctuation, Frederick wrote a dispatch to his command post. Guides from the 142nd Infantry Regiment met them and led them into the forested terrain beyond the village. The attack was stopped at the mid-way point by a desperate German defense. Two pairs of men were selected to take the ropes up the cliffs. One captain recalled, “His indifference to enemy fire was hard to explain, as there were times when a heavy barrage of mortar fire would send us scurrying for cover only to come back and find him smoking a cigarette—in the same position and place we had vacated in a hurry.”, The 1st SSF men grimly held on; a lieutenant remembered sharing his foxhole with an enemy soldier. Before long the second wart was in their hands, but tragically Boyce died just as his men completed the task. Instead, he stayed at the summit, tending to the injured there. Though participants later said that it appeared as if “the whole mountain was on fire,” the results would prove mixed. Behind them the rest of the force waited farther to the rear; the 2nd Regiment was the spearhead. In fact, I think that any Alpine climber would have examined the place doubtfully before attempting to scale it. Lieutenant Colonel Thomas MacWilliam, the 1st Battalion commander, now sent his 1st Company, under Lieutenant C.W. The Fifth Army’s left flank was secure, but it was a costly victory. The unit was originally assigned to conduct large-scale guerilla operations in occupied Norway. There have been countless thousands of published works devoted to all or of it. He took two lead scouts from the 1st Company—Staff Sgt. All that could be seen in the distance were the stuttering flashes of artillery fire. From September to the winter of 1943, the Allies struggled to move up the mountainous boot of Italy toward Rome and points north. Monte La Difensa (también conocido como Colina 960) era uno de los picos que formaban la masa de la colina Camino que formaba el "poste de entrada" de la izquierda que dominaba el Mignano Gap, clave para la ruta del Quinto Ejército de los EE. Operation Raincoat, the allied attack on the Mt. The Battle for Monte La Difensa, which took place between 3 December and 9 December 1943, occurred during Operation Raincoat, part of the Battle for the Bernhardt Line during the Italian Campaign in World War II. The men took cover in the trees and undergrowth, hiding themselves as best they could. Overall, Monte La Difensa appeared to be a natural fortress, almost impregnable as it towered over the Allied lines. As a result, the force’s command post, aid station, and supply points all took fire to varying degrees. Many more were captured; one 1st SSF captain personally took 19 prisoners. Now, and for the first time, the unit with the misleading name of the First Special Service Force (FSSF) was going to see combat. We are receiving much machine gun and mortar fire from several directions … Men are getting in bad shape … I have stopped burying the dead … German snipers are giving us hell and it is extremely difficult to catch them.” He concluded by writing, “I am OK, just uncomfortable and tired.”. He wanted whiskey and condoms sent to the top of Monte La Difensa, reportedly causing some to wonder what kind of party was happening far above them. Before the Force could be deployed, McNair insisted that it prove it was up to AGF standards. The Battle for Monte La Difensa, which took place between 3 December and 9 December 1943, occurred during Operation Raincoat, part of the Battle for the Bernhardt Line during the Italian Campaign in World War II.. Monte La Difensa, (also known as Hill 960) was one of the peaks forming the Camino hill mass which formed the left-hand "gatepost" dominating the Mignano Gap, key to the U.S. Colonel Frederick soon arrived as well and told Thomas to wait until more men and ammunition could be brought up. The next morning, the 1st SSF’s attack was again delayed, but a trio of patrols went out to gain more information in the hopes the attack could proceed that afternoon. As the artillery crashed and thundered above, the men of the 2nd Regiment slowly made their way up the mountain, trailing each other in single-file columns along the trails discovered earlier by the scouts. The now hidden soldiers rested and waited through the day; to pass the time they cleaned their weapons, ate cold rations, and awaited the coming of nightfall so they could prove the trust placed in them was well deserved. Rothlin, and Captain Stan Waters’ 2nd Company to take out the remaining nests. It was excellent conditioning. Elsewhere, 1st SSF men hunted for the few remaining snipers who still plagued them; most of the snipers were lone soldiers cut off from their comrades. Clark also praised the 1st SSF for doing so well in its first combat action.

monte la difensa

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