In September 1943, in the first weeks of the Allied campaign to liberate Italy, an Anglo-American invasion force of over 80,000 men was nearly beaten back into the sea by the German defenders in a ferocious ten-day battle at Salerno, south of Naples. This is the story of the tense, bitter struggle around the Salerno beach-head which decided the issue and changed the course of the campaign - for those ten critical days the fate of Italy hung in the balance. Using documentary records, memoirs and eyewitness accounts from all sides, Angus Konstam recreates every stage of the battle at every level as it happened, day by day, hour by hour. His painstakingly researched account offers a fresh perspective on a decisive battle that has been neglected by British and American historians in recent years, and it gives a fascinating insight into the realities of warfare in Europe 60 years ago.
9th September 1943
The main invasion at Salerno by the United States Fifth Army began on the 9th September, and in order to secure surprise, the decision had been taken to assault without preliminary naval or aerial bombardment. However, tactical surprise was not achieved, as the naval commanders had predicted.