THE DAYS OF OUR HISTORY: 22 JANUARY 1944 - OPERATION SHINGLE
The landing of Anzio, the Operation Shingle, was decided at Casablanca on 25th december
of 1944: a Christmas of war for a decision that should have changed the destiny of the war in
Europe. It was one of the most dared and rash blows every organized by the Allies during the II
World War but destined, unfortunately, to transform itself in a large strategic humiliating defeat
and in a blood bath.
The unquestioned protagonists of the landing were the LST (Landing Ship Tank), special ships similar
to small oil tankers with flat fund and the bow cuts off so that when they touched the shore they
could open their large doors unloading their load of trucks, weapons and troops.
Their large presence was dued
to Churchill. Since June 1940 he pressed the Unite States to build large ships capable to land
on beaches unloading armaments with any weather.
A lot of LST sailed from the port of Pozzuoli the night of 18th january ’44. The convoy
was formed from Liberty ships, LST, tank ships, support ships and submarines; they sailed for
two days going towards the French coast. In the night of 20th, they inverted their route converging
off Sardinia with a big fleet coming from Tunisia. In the night of January, 21 they reassembled
close the island of Ponza with English and american ships sailed from the port of Naples.
Let's us rapidly explain the background events that showed the name of Anzio all over the world.
German forces sent out an order of evacuation on the 23rd September of 1943. The cities of Nettunia
and his neighborhoods had to be evacuated within twenty-four hours. Whoever will be caught in
the “verboten” zones will be immediately executed. All the citizens were forced to
leave their houses. Some of them went in Rome and in the country of the Castelli. Optimist ones
and those wich did not want to leave their houses or that believed obstinately in a war flash,
wmoved themselves in the pine forest of the Campana, giving life to a shanty town; a new crowded
and despaired country.
In the city remained only two or three persons, essential for the supply of water and electric
energy. Their were controlled by a vanished and badly matching Vehrmacht garrison. They were witnesses
of an event that caused so much hope and much illusions! To the Campana, the news of the Allied
invasion arrived after long hours of uncertainties and perplexity. The most elderly remember still
today to have believed in a first moment to an unexpected nocturnal thunderstorm. That night,
on the West, the sky was clear and starry while flashes, thunders and rumbling arrived from East.
With the first lights of the morning, men in caki uniforms and shoot in the hands, appeared between
the pine rows.