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Anzio Nettuno 1944 (Hardback)

Military > By Century > 20th Century WWII

Imprint: Casemate Publishers
Series: Die Wehrmacht im Kampf
Pages: 192
ISBN: 9781636241913
Published: 15th December 2023

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The Allied amphibious operation codenamed Shingle was launched in late January 1944. It was opposed by German forces in the area of Anzio and Nettuno. Success depended on the element of surprise, and the speed with which the invaders could build up strength and move inland. This was understood by General Mark Clark, commander of the US Fifth Army, but not fully understood by his subordinate commanders.

 

This German account focuses on the landing at Anzio as it was the only one that failed to achieve its objective of smashing the German defense and achieving operational freedom of movement. The battle lasted over six weeks, with mistakes made by leadership on both sides, and consequently also great sacrifice by solders on both sides. But the operation was not a German success either, and attempts to prevent the creation of a strong bridgehead failed. Ultimately the Allies would reach Rome, and the Allies applied lessons from this battle to facilitate the success of Overlord, launched five months later.

 

While not complete, as the author did not have access to some of the war diaries of higher levels of German command, this is still one of the best German accounts of Operation Shingle and is here translated into English for the first time.

 

This is a small, neatly presented book reprinted from the 1962 original by the Association of The US Army. It was written by Jorg Staiger, one-time CO of II Bn, 26 Panzer Regiment and a veteran of the battle, as part of the 'Die Wehrmacht im Kampf' series that was written in the 50s and 60s by German commanders as NATO and the West tried to take the best defensive lessons from their WW2 foes. This is the first English translation and while it reads well, it still suffers from the slightly stilted feeling that results from converting German into English.

As hinted at earlier, the book reads a little like an after-action report from the German perspective (and a rather self-justifying one at that), slightly anodyne with no hint of the personal, no specific combat examples etc that would have done much to bring things to life. To be fair, I guess that wasn't the 1962 brief. There are no photographs for the same reason, but there are well drawn (German) maps, although they would have been better in an A4 book format than A5. The index is also rather thin.

It's a difficult book to classify and doesn't read like a more popular history in say, the way a Holland or a Hastings would today. That said, it deserves a place in the canon.
In full here: https://www.arrse.co.uk/community/threads/anzio-nettuno-a-battle-of-leadership-mistakes.317824/

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