The Battle of Anzio: Reflecting on the Division’s World War II legacy
Reported By RET B.Lambert
3rd Infantry Division Soldiers landed at Anzio Beach in Italy, Jan. 22, 1944 during Operation Shingle.
One of the bloodiest and most drawn-out battles experienced by the United States Army of the Second World War: The Battle of Anzio-Nettuno will forever live in infamy in the hearts of those that engaged in it. The 3rd Infantry Division was fully committed to this Battle, from start to finish, for over four months.
During the second world war, the 3rd ID experienced more casualties than any other United States Army Division, as they had the most engagements against Axis forces.
After months of preparation in North Africa, the 3rd ID had developed into one of the finest fighting forces of the United States Army. The famed “Truscan Trott” was mandated by Division Commander, Major General Lucian King Truscott Jr., for all Soldiers serving in the division. The Truscan Trott consisted of marching at a pace in full kit at four miles per hour. This was heavily criticized by many leaders at the time, but the conditioning prepared the Soldiers for the harsh conditions and ultimately to them being successful in their mission.
During the early morning hours on Jan. 22, 1944, 3rd ID was the spearhead for the landing on the Anzio beachhead and was a central part of Operation Shingle. This operation was the allied plan to move in swiftly and capture Rome, however, the battle would drag on longer and cost more than anticipated. After initially not encountering resistance from the Nazi forces during the landings, 3rd ID would move further inland and initiate brutal fighting with the Nazi forces.
The initial landings did not involve heavy fighting, however, it was the first day of one of the war’s most important battles. The 3ID experienced heavy casualties, but eventually emerged victorious in the annals of Military History. The Battle of Anzio is mostly overshadowed in history by the more famous Allied Normandy landings (Operation Overlord). On June 5th, 1944, the Allies had captured Rome which effectively ended the battle and further liberated the Italian peninsula from Axis oppression. The details of the bloody fighting in the Italian countryside during these months are some of the most brutal experienced in the Second World War.