“where the fleet goes, we’ve been”
Probably there is no more eloquent phrase to describe the work of the
minesweepers during the wars. Every military amphibious operation must
be preceded and associated with a mine clearing operation.
For Operation Shingle it was the same: during the day preceeding the landing,
two fleets of minesweeper patrolled incessantly the waters off the landing
beaches; they created two safe channels for the landing parties. Many
mined areas were left intact to act as a defense against possible sea
By the 31st of January, when the majority of the American minesweepers
left the area, a total of 34 mines had been removed over an area of 82
square miles. Despite the fact that on the 4th of June the Allied forces
entered Rome, the deadly minesweeping work doesn’t cease. Minesweeping
continued until the 5th of August and involved at least 2 AM Units and
6 YMS Units daily.
The first ship to be sunk in Anzio waters was a minesweeper, the USS Portent
(AM-106) during the landship operation of 22th january 1944. The fate
decreed that also the last would be one of her sister ship: USS Swerve
(AM-121) on the 9th july of 1944.