The Battle Of Salerno Essay, Research Paper
THE BATTLE OF SALERNO American and British strategies for defeating the Germans differed. Americans thought an attack across the English Channel, through France and into Germany was the quickest way to victory; however, the British thought that an attack on the Mediterranean was the best. The British and Americans both agreed that the best way to defeat the Germans in Italy was to neutralize the Fascist ally. Winston Churchill, Britain’s Prime Minister, convinced President Franklin D. Roosevelt to commit American forces to campaign in North Africa and Sicily. The Allied forces suffered significant losses after fighting in Sicily and were unable to recover in time for Salerno. On July 26, 1943, General Dwight D. Eisenhower was given the “go-ahead” for the planning of Operation AVALANCHE, a plan for the invasion of the Italian mainland. The basic plan called General Montgomery’s British Eighth Army to cross the Strait of Messina from Sicily onto the “toe” of Italy. From there, General Montgomery’s troops would advance northward as quickly as possible. One week later the American Fifth Army was to land on the west coast of Italy at Salerno. Salerno is 30 miles southeast of Naples and 180 miles north of Montgomery’s landing place. One German division was sent to defend against the Allied landing at Salerno. Other Germans were to be deployed once their need became evident. The Germans had great military skills and were efficient. Fighting along the beaches near Salerno was bitter and desperate. Americans held off the German counterattacks with assistance of nearby Allied warships and fighter planes based in Sicily. On September thirteenth, and again on the fourteenth, the Germans came very close to driving the Allied troops back into the sea. Allied reinforcements were poured into the narrow beach head by boat and more parachuted from airplanes.
By September fifteenth, General Clark’s Allied force built up strength equal to that of the Germans. Clark continued to receive reinforcements. Kesselring’s German forces did not receive any reinforcements. General Montgomery advanced toward the southern tip of Italy, threatening the rear of the German forces around Salerno beach head. The Germans began to withdraw. On September sixteenth, the advancing Eighth Army met the forward troops of the Fifth Army southeast of Salerno. The invasion of Salerno was now a certain success. The Allies learned that they would need to fight very hard to defeat the Germans in Italy. BIBLIOGRAPHY Blumeson, Martin. Salerno to Cassino (United States Army in World WAR II). Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1969. Dupuy, Trevor Nevitt. The Military History of World War II: Volume 3 Land Battles: North Africa, Sicily, and Italy. New York: Franklin Watts, Inc., 1962. Pp. 68-71. Wallace, Robert. World War II – Time Life Books – The Italian Campaign. Virginia: Time Life Books, 1978. P. 48. Hart, Sir Basil Liddell. World War II: An Illustrated History. Toronto: Purnell Reference Books, 1977. P. 1441