Anzio-A Sedentary Affair

by 1stLt John J. Tharp

In “Thinking Beyond the Beachhead” (MCG, Jan83), LtCol Michael D. Wyly cited the amphibious assault at Anzio as an example of what fate awaits an amphibious invasion force that fails to move forward rapidly. Anzio does indeed provide an excellent example of amphibious disaster that, when analyzed in the light of modern battlefield conditions, offers many insights into today’s amphibious operations. In fact, Anzio can offer as much to us today as Gallipoli did to the architects of our World War II amphibious doctrine.

It is somewhat ironic that Anzio and Gallipoli should both serve as paradigms of amphibious disaster, for both were primarily the product of Winston Churchill’s reluctance to leave military strategy to the military. It is also ironic that it was the Italian surrender, after the fall of Sicily, that made Churchill’s Italian campaign necessary. The surrender terms called for the occupation of Italy by Allied forces in order to prevent annexation by Germany. This meant that an Italian campaign would have to be fought.

German defenses of Italy consisted of a series of fortified lines running across the center of the peninsula. After the Salerno landing on 9 September 1943, the United States Fifth Army and British Eighth Army (from Messina) advanced slowly up the peninsula, fighting German rearguard units while the main body of German forces withdrew to the first and most strongly fortified of their positions, the Gustav line. This line traversed the peninsula south of Rome from the Tyrrhenian to the Adriatic, along the best natural line of defense. By late October, the Allied advance came to a standstill as the German forces dug in along the line. It was at this point that an amphibious assault at Anzio was first considered. The invasion force was to secure the Alban Hills, which dominated the southern approaches to Rome, in order to interrupt the German supply lines to the Gustav line. Upon securing the Alban Hills, the assault force would then link up with the advancing main body from the south and march to Rome. With D-day set for 20 December, the landing force, comprised of a single division, was to link up with the main armies breaking through the Gustav line in a matter of days. However, by the end of November, the Allied advance had stalled so completely that the early link up between assault forces and main army would be impossible, and the Anzio landing was temporarily scrapped.

At the Tehran Conference (28-30 November 1943), Churchill had convinced Roosevelt and Stalin of the need to widen the Italian campaign, pushing his “soft underbelly” thesis as the only viable option available to the Allies before the Normandy campaign could be mounted. The leaders had already agreed to postpone the Normandy invasion, Operation OVERLORD, until 1 June 1944 and so agreed that operations in Italy be given new life. The postponement of OVERLORD meant that more landing and assault craft could remain in the Mediterranean. British Gen Sir Harold Alexander, who had succeeded Gen Eisenhower as Supreme Allied Commander Mediterranean (SACMED), suggested to Churchill that strengthening the Anzio assault force to two divisions plus armor would enable it to operate independently of the Fifth Army long enough to allow the Fifth Army to break through the Gustav line. Thus, on 28 December Anzio was born again.

Dubbed Operation SHINGLE, the planning for the Anzio assault began immediately. The basic problem in conducting an amphibious assault along the west coast of Italy was noted by Gen Eisenhower when he stated: “If we landed a small force, it would be quickly eliminated, while a force large enough to sustain itself cannot possibly be mounted for a considerable period. . . .” The first mistake of Anzio was expecting too much of a small assault force. As Samuel E. Morison noted in his book Sicily-Salerno-Anzio: History of United States Naval Operations in World War II, “either it was a job for a full army, or it was no job at all; to attempt it with only two divisions was to send a boy on a man’s errand.” The Germans were believed to have the equivalent of four divisions available to defend Anzio, three of which could have been put into action within a week. How the Allied planners thought they could seize a sizable beachhead, cut vital enemy supply lines, seize strategic positions in the Alban Hills 25 miles inland, while protecting their own supply lines back to a beachhead, all in the face of superior enemy forces, was a mystery to MajGen John Lucas, VI Corps commander, who led the assault. Lucas saw no way to seize the Alban Hills without being cut off from the beachhead. Consequently, he made the establishment of a secure beachhead his first priority. LtGen Mark Clark, commander of the Fifth Army, to which VI Corps belonged, concurred with Lucas’ evaluation of the situation and framed his orders to Lucas accordingly. Both men had fears of another Salerno, where the German defenders nearly split the beachhead. Clark told Lucas before the Anzio landings not to “stick your neck out the way I did at Salerno.”

The availability of landing craft dictated the timing of the landing. OVERLORD would begin to draw landing craft away from the Mediterranean by the end of February. Thus, SHINGLE would have to begin at least a month before, in late January. Lunar and hydrographic considerations determined the exact date, 22 January. A night landing was decided upon in order to maximize surprise and to enable the landing forces to seize as large an initial beachhead as possible. With less than a month to plan the assault, there was barely enough time for a rehearsal. Gen Lucas insisted on one but it did little to raise his expectations for the operation’s success-it was an unmitigated disaster. However, there was no time for another.

SHINGLE was to be preceded by a renewed offensive along the main front, which began on 12 January and reached its peak on the 20th. The Fifth Army made little progress, but did force Gen Albert Kesselring, commander of the German forces in Italy, to commit two divisions of reserves from the Anzio vicinity. This meant little, however, because Kesselring, expecting an amphibious landing somewhere along the coast, had designed his defenses, with the exception of the frontline units, as one large mobile reserve. When the Allied assault began, the reserves would move rapidly to surround the beachhead, and as soon as enough troops had been massed, they would drive the invaders back into the sea. Thus Kesselring had only tripwire defenses along the coast, and Anzio and nearby Nettuno were garrisoned by only three engineer companies. Most of these were captured in their sleep by the Ranger force that took the port.

Though neither Clark nor Lucas expected it, total surprise was achieved because Luftwaffe reconnaissance planes could not reach the area after the successful bombing of the airfield at Perugia, and the Allies had gone to great pains to create a diversionary attack at Civitavecchia, north of Rome. The landing itself went like clockwork, despite the horrendous rehearsal. Rockets showered the beaches minutes before the landing craft roared in. The British landing at Peter Beach, six miles northwest of Anzio, encountered no opposition other than the sandbars and soft sand of the beach. On X-Ray Beach, four miles southeast of Anzio, the 3d Division (U.S.) landed with similar ease. By 0800 the Rangers reported the port secure, and by noon the British and American units had linked up, establishing the beachhead’s perimeter. By midnight, 90 percent of the assault convoy had been unloaded, including 36,000 men and over 3,000 vehicles, and a beachhead 15 miles wide and 7 miles deep was established, all at a cost of only 14 killed. Gen Lucas’ first priority was defense of the beachhead and port, however, and he went on the defensive almost immediately, expecting an imminent German counterattack.

Although the landing was virtually unopposed, Kesselring took little time to begin his defense. He gave the codeword for an assault on Anzio, “Case Richard,” sometime during the morning of the 22d. German intelligence knew that the Allied assault was only a two-division force and was nothing to cause a hasty withdrawal of forces from along the main front. Kesselring brought down Fourteenth Army headquarters from Rome, under Gen Eberhard von Mackensen, to coordinate the fight against the Anzio landing.

Gen von Mackensen’s first step in containing the invasion was to ring the beachhead with antiaircraft units from Rome using them as antitank batteries. Units were then fed into this perimeter as they arrived on the scene. By the morning of the 23d the flak batteries had arrived, along with elements of the 3d Panzer Grenadier Division and a regiment from the 15th Panzer Grenadier Division. By the 26th Gen von Mackensen had assembled six divisions around the beachhead. Allied patrols met initial resistance on 23 January. On the 25th the British took the agricultural center of Aprilia (known as “the Factory”) and 3d Division controlled the Mussolini Canal, but the weak patrols could gain no further ground against the rapidly building German defenses. Allied patrols were never able to reach the towns of Campoleone or Cisterna, which were considered intermediate objectives in the “advance” on the Alban Hills.

On 25 January Gen Alexander suggested to Gen Clark that an attack against Velletri be made, since the 45th Division (U.S.) was soon to be landed at Anzio in reserve. Gen Lucas agreed to go on the offensive on 30 January when the 45th Division was due to land. Gen von Mackensen was also waiting for enough troops to go on the offensive, which he was planning for 1 February. Both generals planned the same attack-along the Albano road that linked Anzio with the Alban Hills, running through the Factory and Campoleone.

Lucas managed to attack first. The British 1st Division’s advance up the Albano road began favorably, but the rugged terrain and soggy ground bogged down the tanks of the 1st Armored Division (U.S.). Without armor the British could not crack the German defenses at Campoleone and halted late in the afternoon of the 31st, occupying a salient south of the Campoleone station some 7,000 yards deep and 3,500 yards wide. The 3d Division, attacking Cisterna at the same time, depended on a successful infiltration by three Ranger battalions. The Germans ambushed the Rangers and blew the bridges across Cisterna Creek, however, and 3d Division was unable to advance beyond the Mussolini Canal. Gen Alexander, under great pressure from Churchill to maintain the offensive, did not like the situation. A German counterattack seemed imminent, however, so he and Clark acquiesced in Lucas’ request to go on the defensive.

Gen von Mackensen wasted little time switching over to the offensive. On 2 February he began attacking the flanks of the British salient. The typical German attack was a thrust at the flank of a British unit. The terrain and night fighting were well suited to the German tactics of infiltration and isolation and the frontlines along the salient became extremely fluid. By 4 February the British were being forced to conduct a fighting withdrawal, finding their positions infested by German units. Counterattacks by the 1st Armored Division could not stem the German advance. The 5th of February was perhaps the nadir of the Anzio campaign as lines were being pushed back rapidly. Gen Lucas, in his obsession to hold the beachhead, ordered intermediate and final beachhead defenses prepared. Construction of these lines took every available man from behind the lines and many more from the front where they were badly needed.

The British managed to hold their line intact during their withdrawal and, with the help of intensive artillery action, stopped the German advance about a mile north of the Factory. Gen von Mackensen switched the attack to the Cisterna front during the morning of 5 February and nearly broke through to the intermediate line of defense. MajGen Lucius K. Truscott, commanding 3d Division, decided that a strong forward defense was the only way to hold off the Germans. Gen Truscott counterattacked, regaining his original positions, and set to work restoring his frontline units to full strength and leaving the preparation of other defensive lines to the clerks and cooks in the rear.

After Gen Truscott’s successful counterattack, Gen von Mackensen switched the offensive back to the 1st Division. At 2100 on 7 February the Germans opened up an attack all along the 1st Division’s front. They were most successful on the left flank where they succeeded in pushing the British from their positions along Buon Riposo Ridge. Elsewhere the British defenses fell back slowly but intact. The Factory was overrun by noon of the 9th. The German advance was stopped here as Lucas brought up the 45th Division from reserve. A two-pronged counterattack against the Factory nearly dislodged the Germans, but it proved too small and was repulsed.

Phase one of the German offensive ended with the capture of the Factory. For the next three days fighting was limited to active patrolling as Gen von Mackensen marshaled all his forces for the drive through the beachhead. The Allies dug in feverishly. German prisoners captured in the first offensive informed the Allies that the major drive of the German offensive would be launched on 16 February, and true to their word German artillery opened up along the Albano road on the morning of the 16th. Against six German divisions, Lucas had the 45th Division astride the Albano road, 3d Division and Special Service Force on the right flank (along the Mussolini Canal), the British 56th Division on the left flank (the Molleta River), and 1st Division (British), and 1st Armored Division (U.S.), considerably weakened, in reserve.

By that evening, the Germans had driven a gap between regiments of the 45th Division in the center of the line. The next day Gen von Mackensen poured everything he had into the gap, and by the morning of the 18th he had driven the Allies back to the final defense line of the beachhead. The weakened 1st Armored Division was brought up from reserve to help man the line and every piece of available artillery bombarded the German wedge. The Germans continued to press forward, however, until the afternoon of the 19th, when their advance abruptly stalled. Gen von Mackensen had run out of reserves to hurl against the Allied line. Counterattacks later that day recaptured some of the ground lost to the Germans.

Despite their heroic stand, the Allied forces were extremely discouraged. The Germans had pinned them in for a month. The weather was miserable, there was not a dry place on the entire beachhead, and Lucas’ defense-mindedness had been debilitating to morale. The soldiers at the front were not the only ones dissatisfied with this state of affairs. Churchill had been pressing Alexander to remove Lucas since the early days of the operation. Complained Churchill, “I had hoped we were hurling a wildcat onto the shore, but all we got was a stranded whale.” By this time both Gens Alexander and Clark were inclined to agree that Lucas’ caution was excessive and replaced him on 23 February with Gen Truscott, who had been appointed deputy corps commander a week earlier as a prelude to the change.

Adolf Hitler was enraged by the failure of the Fourteenth Army to cut out the “abscess” at Anzio, and ordered another offensive, this time against the Cisterna sector. While the bulk of the German forces had tried to penetrate 1st Division’s lines, 3d Division, along the Cisterna front, had plenty of opportunity to solidify its defenses and was ready when the Germans attacked on 29 February. After four days of futile and halfhearted efforts to crack 3d Division’s lines, Gen von Mackensen ended the offensive and ordered his troops to dig in.

In March and April a stalemate settled over the beachhead as both armies sought to regroup and resupply. This was becoming increasingly difficult for both. The German supply lines were battered constantly by the Allied Air Force’s Operation STRANGLEHOLD, and VI Corps faced supply problems due to preparations for Operation OVERLORD. Action during these months was limited to active patrolling and artillery duels. By this time Allied forces numbered 6 divisions and 90,000 men facing a comparable number of Germans.

During the lull, Gen Truscott prepared plans for the breakout. He presented Clark and Alexander with four options. Clark favored Operation TURTLE, an advance on Rome via the Alban Hills, but Alexander approved only Operation BUFFALO, a drive through Cisterna, up through the Lepini Mountains into Cori and to cut Highway 6 at Valmontone. Clark suspected Alexander of directing the American divisions away from Rome in order to allow the British to enter the capital first, and told Truscott to keep Operation TURTLE ready in reserve. In fairness to Clark, TURTLE was not without tactical merit, but his obsession with being the first to enter Rome was undoubtedly the primary reason he favored the plan, as later events indicated.

None of Truscott’s plans could go into effect until the main offensive in the south began. Finally, on 11 May the decisive battle for the Gustav line began. On 14 May the French Expeditionary Corps made the first breakthrough. By the 16th, the British Eighth Army had crossed into the Liri Valley, and on the 17th Monte Cassino, stronghold of the line, fell.

Alexander ordered the breakout from Anzio for 23 May. The 3d Division and 1st Armored Division were to take Cisterna. The 36th Division was then to pass through and cross the valley below Velletri. The 36th and 3d Divisions would then advance together to Valmontone. The assault on Cisterna was a two-pronged attack that surrounded the town on 24 May and stormed it on the 25th. Gen von Mackensen, believing that the breakout attempt would be directed up the Albano road to Campoleone, kept his main forces opposite the 45th Division, which did its best to make the Germans feel that they were absorbing the brunt of the Allied offensive. On the 25th Anzio ceased to be a beachhead as elements of the 1st Armored Division ran into patrols from the II Corps, Fifth Army near Borga Grappa.

Truscott’s successful advance toward Valmontone was interrupted on 25 May by Clark, who ordered VI Corps to shift its attack to the northwest and Rome. Campoleone fell on 30 May after hard fighting in the Alban Hills, and Lanuvio fell on 3 June. The Germans were being pushed back along the entire front, and late in the afternoon of 4 June tanks from the 1st Armored Division rumbled into Rome. Clark had managed to add his name to the select list of conquerors of the eternal city.

In the end, Anzio was of great strategic value to the Allies for, along with the main front, it helped occupy more than 20 German divisions that might otherwise have been sent to Normandy or Russia. More important to us today, however, are the tactical lessons learned from Anzio and their relevance to modern amphibious warfare.

Anzio’s greatest lesson is its reemphasis of Nathan B. Forrest’s recipe for success on the battlefield: “to get there first with the most men.” After the initial landings at Anzio, Allied forces were neither. The assault force of two divisions proved entirely too small, and Lucas’ determination to secure the beachhead cost him the opportunity to exploit the extremely successful landing by seizing objectives inland.

Being first necessitates being fast. Mobility has become increasingly important on the modern battlefield with the trend toward mechanization, the development of the helicopter, and the exponential growth in electronic warfare capability. Maneuver warfare has now become the buzzword among tacticians. The concept of maneuver warfare has been expressed in the Boyd theory of conflict. William S. Lind explained the Boyd theory in a 1980 GAZETTE article like this:

. . . in any conflict situation all parties go through repeated cycles of observation-decisionaction. The potentially victorious party is the one with an observation-decision-action cycle consistently quicker than his opponents (including the time required to transition from one cycle to another).

The advent of modern battlefield information systems makes it even more important to be the first side comprehending the battlefield situation. Once this is accomplished, true maneuver warfare is made possible. Successful maneuver warfare forces the enemy into a maelstrom of problems, threats, challenges, and changing situations so rapidly that the enemy cannot adequately respond. Gen Lucas failed to grasp the essence of maneuver warfare at Anzio by being unaware of the local situation. A patrol sent to Rome would have discovered that the city was undefended and the rear of the Gustav line lay exposed. Virtually any offensive action immediately after the landing would have kept the Germans off-balance, disrupted their supply lines, and prevented them from threatening the beachhead by taking the battle elsewhere. Gen Lucas failed to adequately consider the options in between the extremes of a mad dash to the Alban Hills or an excessively cautious defense of the beachhead. He could have challenged the Germans by fortifying any number of objectives en route to the Alban Hills. Cisterna and Campoleone certainly could have been taken on the first or second day of the landing. Lucas’ expectation of a violent German counterattack at the beachhead became a self-fulfilling prophecy: by holing up at the beachhead he gave the Germans no choice but to attack him there.

Today, it is likely that an amphibious assault will encounter defenses superior in weaponry, manpower, or both. The goal of an amphibious assault is to land where the enemy is not, but even if this goal is achieved, as it was at Anzio, it is still likely that the assault force will quickly have to face large concentrations of enemy forces, as VI Corps did at Anzio. Tactics must then be formulated to keep the enemy off balance with rapidly changing, fluid battlefield situations that will prevent the kind of bottling up of the landing achieved by Gen von Mackensen at Anzio.

The presumed superiority of the defense has led some to regard the amphibious assault as an anachronism. The development of the doctrine of vertical envelopment with its use of helicopter assaults to the rear of the objective area was a partial response to these doubts. It breathed new life into amphibious doctrine and, in fact, divided modern amphibious warfare from that of World War II.

Helicopters bring the flexibility and mobility required to realize the principles of maneuver warfare to the battlefield. But, it would be a mistake for the Marine Corps to put too much emphasis on the helicopterborne portion of the amphibious assault. Anzio vividly demonstrated the need not only for mobility, but also of the need for muscle. Vertical envelopment’s critical weakness is the limited payload of helicopters. Any landing force larger than a Marine amphibious unit necessitates a surface assault of some sort. Since helicopters cannot supply a large landing force with either the artillery, armor, ammunition, or food necessary to conduct sustained combat operations, helicopterborne forces cannot operate independently for prolonged periods of time. Moreover, once the helicopters depart, these forces lose their tactical mobility. The original doctrine of vertical envelopment as developed by the Hogaboom Board called for approximately a 70/30 ratio between surface and helicopterborne forces in an amphibious operation. However, several new factors must be figured into the equation that may require a rethinking of certain aspects of the amphibious assault.

Vertical envelopment creates difficulties for the enemy’s defense against amphibious invasion, but if it is relied on too heavily, the enemy’s tasks will be made easier. The proliferation of very capable air-defense weapons will greatly complicate helicopterborne portions of the assault and helicopter attrition could be quite high in a mid- to high-intensity air defense environment. The Marine Corps needs to recognize this threat and formulate either a hardware or doctrinal response.

There are other weaknesses that need to be addressed. For example, there is a need for a greater ability to resupply and build up the beachhead. The decline of the United States’ amphibious lift capability has long concerned the Marine Corps. Today the Navy could not land or support a force even the size of the original Anzio force-two divisions. The American Merchant Marine will be of some help, but its decline has exceeded that of the Navy. The ability to provide naval gunfire has also declined, though the recommissioning of New Jersey, Iowa, and Missouri should help. The Navy is also deficient in minesweepers. With only 25 minesweepers in service, any assault force faces a serious danger from mines, which are a cheap, effective defensive measure. They were a continual hazard at Anzio, where they sank at least four ships.

Part of “the most” that never arrived at Anzio was close air support. The vast majority of sorties flown by the Allied air forces during the four month campaign were part of Operation STRANGLEHOLD, a strategic bombing campaign designed to cut the German supply lines and to isolate the battlefield. STRANGLEHOLD did do a great deal to hamper the German resupply efforts, but it failed to isolate the battlefield, as evidenced by Gen Mackensen’s rapid buildup of forces around the beachhead. Close air support (as we know it today) during the initial phases of the assault might have helped Lucas expand the beachhead much more rapidly. Fortunately, the validity of the Marine Corps’ concept of air power in direct support of ground operations has been accepted in the United States Armed Forces, and current amphibious doctrine places great emphasis on receiving such close air support. Again, however, it may be unwise to place too much emphasis on this facet of the assault.

As noted by Capt J.D. Williams, Canadian Armed Forces, in his article, “Role of the Fighter Aircraft on the Modern Battlefield, (MCG, May84, p.86) fighter aircraft could enter as many as nine surface-to-air missile (SAM) engagement envelopes en route to the battlefield. Granted this is a “high intensity” European-Warsaw Pact scenario, but the worldwide proliferation of these weapons will force the Marine Corps to deal with a SAM threat in many possible theaters of operation. Connected to this, as Capt Williams points out, will be the devastating psychological impact of losing aircraft in close air support missions. At Anzio it was artillery, not aviation, that provided VI Corps with its most effective fire support. Close air support is no substitute for firepower organic to the ground units. In many ways it is much less effective and can only complement and not replace artillery and armor.

As previously noted, Lucas’ major mistake was failing to seize the initiative and exploit his initial tactical advantage. His caution serves to highlight two other facets of the amphibious assault that have not received enough consideration, reconnaissance and leadership. Counterreconnaissance and countersurveillance are the keys to thwarting counterattacks against an amphibious landing. They would certainly have helped VI Corps. More aggressive patrols would have been able to report to Lucas just how weak the enemy forces were during the first days of the assault. Reconnaissance-in-force can help gather intelligence, foil enemy intelligence, and guard the flanks of the main forces.

Gen Lucas can hardly be blamed for failing to dash to the Alban Hills. His orders were unclear, his tasks extremely difficult, and his superiors uncritical. Lucas was a conservative soldier, and given the uncertainties and difficulties he faced, he chose conservative tactics. Some of the blame should lie with Lucas’ superior, Gen Clark, who chose the wrong man for the job. With the growing need for mobility and the emphasis on maneuver warfare, amphibious operations will require audacious, daring officers who are willing to take the initiative and think creatively. There are serious questions about whether the current officer evaluation system, with its emphasis on a clean slate rather than on quality of performance is capable of producing such officers. Unfortunately, many of our best potential combat leaders cannot survive the “paper bullets” of peacetime. Perhaps the Marine Corps should look at ways to restructure the officer selection system to ensure that leadership in the United States military continues to be as superior to that of the Soviet Union as we claim-and hope-that it is.

Gen Lucas might have been less cautious had he been given enough troops to accomplish his mission. The Anzio planners did a poor job in analyzing the operation’s requirements based on what we now call METT-mission, enemy, terrain, troops and fire support. There were different interpretations of VI Corps’ mission; the enemy’s defensive capabilities were underestimated; the problems posed by the various terrain of central Italy and the Italian winter were not considered adequately, and the forces and supporting materiel available to VI Corps were in high demand elsewhere and so were only available for a limited period. Careful consideration of METT has become even more crucial to success in today’s high-technology combat environment, where the increased accuracy and lethality of modern conventional weapons greatly reduce the time available to react and adapt to unanticipated battlefield situations.

A final tactical lesson from Anzio lies in the fact that most of the battles took place at night. German tactics of night infiltration and maneuver greatly disrupted Allied operations throughout the Anzio battle. In that connection, the Marine Corps must prepare its forces to fight offensively and defensively at night in order to maximize the effectiveness of its maneuver and counterintelligence tactics. Given the capabilities of modern defensive weapons, an invading force may well have to operate at night. The Marine Corps will have to be better prepared and equipped for night combat than were the troops at Anzio.

Much of the Marine Corps’ institutional life since the end of World War II has been spent defending its raison d’etre-the amphibious assault-against critics who claim that such operations are no longer possible. The Marine Corps has given such critics more attention than they deserve, for the question of the feasibility of amphibious operations is largely irrelevant-the Nation must be able to assault successfully by sea in order to guarantee its security. Tomes have been written on the simple fact that the United States is a maritime nation; it always has been and it always will be. The capability to conduct amphibious operations is an indispensable facet of the seapower upon which the economic and political security of our Nation rests. The Marine Corps must therefore continue to improve and adapt its amphibious doctrine in accordance with historical performance and analysis of the realities of modern warfare.

Most of the historical analysis of Anzio centers around the question of which was more important, establishing the beachhead or driving forward to the Alban Hills. In answering this question, the Marine Corps should remember the painful lessons of Operation SHINGLE. It stands to remind us of the fundamental importance of offense, maneuverability, and mass. Had SHINGLE’S planners emphasized these principles from the outset, the Anzio campaign might have been much more successful.

The concept of maneuver warfare offers promise with its emphasis on both mass and mobility. The realization of such a concept of fighting, however, is not without problems. For instance, the logistical necessitities of maneuver warfare require (among other things) a beachhead secure and large enough to handle the logistics operations as well as an amphibious capability large enough to support the invasion force. However, the Corps can and must overcome these constraints, and in conducting a forcible entry, it must avoid the same mistakes made by Gen Lucas at Anzio. A secure beachhead operation is not an end unto itself; it is a means of accomplishing the mission-to locate, close with, and destroy the enemy.

Quote to Ponder:


“Instead of blaming people, mistakes should be an occasion for careful examination of work habits. A Marine is not necessarily a bad or inferior person because he or she makes mistakes. He may be doing things the wrong way because no one has taken the trouble to teach him better.”

-SgtMaj Melvin Bray

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