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The following file is the property of the 34th Infantry Division Association and Patrick Skelly, webmaster. Thanks to Patrick and the Association for allowing me to post them here.

 

History, 133rd Infantry Regiment, 34th Infantry Division

From 1 October 1944 to 31 October 1944, inclusive.

The month of September, 1944, had been a memorable one for the 133rd Regiment of the 34th Infantry Division, a time of historic accomplishment against a fiercely defiant adversary. In nine days of furious fighting during the month in which it observed the first anniversary of the landings at Salerno, the Regiment cracked through one of the most strongly defended sectors of the Germans' vaunted Gothic Line across the Apennine Mountains of Italy.

As October began the Regiment, emerging from Divisional reserve, continued its drive toward Bologna, gateway to the Po Valley. Weather, terrain, and the enemy were destined to constitutute a threefold menace to our forces the greater part of the period.

[30 September - 2 October 1944]

At 2030 hours 30 September the Divisional liaison officer had arrived at the Regiment's forward command post with Divisional Field Order No. 47, instructing us to enter the line on the right of the 168th Infantry of the 34th Division and attack northward at 0600 hours the following morning. (Refer to September history for pertinent field orders.) Attached to the 133rd Infantry for the coming action were: Company A, 757th Tank Battalion; one platoon of Company C, 804th Tank Destroyer Battalion; Company A, 84th Chemical Mortar Battalion; and Company A, 109th Engineer Combat Battalion.

According to plan, our Second Battalion attacked at 0600 Hours 1 October from the vicinity of Madonna dei Fornelli (812160 - Map Italy 1:50,000 Sheet 98-1 Loiano), passing through the Second Battalion of the 168th Infantry. The formation employed was a two company front, with Company F on the right, Company G on the left. Company G remained in reserve and the other two battalions stayed in place. The plan was for one battalion to advance at a time, the lead battalion being replaced by the Third as soon as the former tired, or if it was stopped by the enemy.

The companies met generally light opposition in the morning hours. Reaching Hill 617, immediately north of Madonna dei Fornelli, Company F encounter considerable small-arm fire and suffered two casualties. Company G had to work through extensive minefields.

Meanwhile, Major General Charles L. Bolte, commander of the 34th Division, visited the Regimental command post and conferred with the commanding officer of the Regiment, Colonel Gustav J. Braun. General Bolte imparted the gratifying news that the 133rd Regiment at that time was the leading element of the entire Fifth Army.

Out on the battlefield our troops continued a fighting advance, harassed by heavy mortar and some artillery fire. By noon they were clearing enemy out of houses at 814175, south of Cedrecchia, and taking several prisoners.

At approximately 1800 hours Company F approached Cedrecchia (814178), snaring a few prisoners on the outskirts. The town, well defended by barbed wire entanglements, and machine gun, mortar and artillery fire, was then raked by a platoon of Company C, 804th Tank Destroyer Battalion. The Germans replied with intense fire, and Company F suffered casualties. Unable to take the village without more support, the unit withdrew slightly, reorganized, and prepared to attack at 2300 hours. This assault was to be preceded by an artillery barrage augmented by fire from the tank destroyers and Company A of the 757th Tank Battalion.

During the day's fighting the Regiment had taken 22 prisoners of war. Company G captured 18 from 2nd Company, 142nd Reconnaissance Battalion, 42nd Infantry Division. Company F caught four, one each from the 1st, 2nd, and 11th Companies of the 10th Regiment, 4th Paratroop Division, and 2nd Company, 142nd Reconnaissance Battalion.

At 2300 hours, Company F again attacked Cedrecchia, with First Lieutenant Orva E. Morris in command. Captain Richard E. Waterman, the company commander, had been killed earlier in the day. Second Lieutenant Dean P. Hamilton, a platoon leader in the same unit, was wounded.

Wielding bangalore torpedoes, our troops blew asunder the protective wire around the town, and shortly after midnight were fighting the enemy in the houses. Vicious machine-gun, machine-pistol and other small-arms fire met them at every turn. By 0200 hours 2 October our soldiers were forced to relinquish their hold on the town.

Undaunted, we planned still another effort to take the strong-point, and in preparation the town was again raked by the tank destroyers. At 0300 hours, with Company E added, the battalion attacked. But it was not until 1445 hours, nearly 14 raging hours later, that Company F safely held Cedrecchia.

Throughout the intervening time the German resistance was determined and intense, featured by heavy small-arms fire of all types. Rain falling during the night obscured otherwise easily detected mines, and seriously hampered our troops. The rain, attended by mud and murky darkness, also interfered greatly with the movement of the tanks. These were used to enter Cedrecchia and to clean out machine-gun nests impeding our advance. Intermittent rainfall made daytime visibility poor and progress was very slow.

In the meantime, in order to increase our fire power on Hill 956 (Objective A) the Division had, at 0900 hours, attached the 135th Infantry Cannon Company of the 34th Division to us. A coordinated attack with two battalions abreast was decided upon (refer to Operational Instructions No. 23, this headquarters, and accompanying overlay). The Third Battalion was alerted. All heavy mortars in the Regiment were placed under a central fire direction center in order to take the best advantage of our fire power. For the same reason, the First Battalion's heavy machine-gun section was attached to the Second Battalion. Harassing artillery fires, to be lifted on call, were prepared by the 151st Field Artillery Battalion. The fires were to consist of 600 rounds of light, 300 heavy caliber an hour.

Enemy resistance mounted steadily through the morning and afternoon, and our Second Battalion suffered many casualties, chiefly from hostile artillery fire. Our troops were operating on rocky terrain which multiplied the deadliness of fragmentation.

On account of the Second Battalion's losses and resultant low strength, at 1545 hours Major Edward M. Fabert, in command of the First Battalion, was ordered to reconnoiter forward and be ready to enter the line within 24 hours. At the same time the Third Battalion, alerted previously, moved off through the leading elements of Company F, with two companies, L and K, in a column of companies. Company I remained in its assembly area, ready to jump off on order.

The attack proceeded along the lines planned. However, because of heavy shelling by the Germans, particularly self-propelled gun fire, our troops advanced but slowly. The widespread shelling continually tore communication wires. Little ground was gained the remainder of this rainy, foggy day and night.

Prisoners taken during the evening said that the enemy intended to attack from Hill 956 that night with 150 men, hour unknown. All our units were warned and our mortars combed the draws along the hill, but by midnight nothing untoward had developed. (Refer to Overlay No. 1 for disposition of our troops at this time.)

Twenty-three Axis soldiers were taken prisoner during the day, Company F capturing fourteen; E, four; G, four; and D, one. Enemy units involved were: 1st Company, 142nd Reconnaissance Battalion, eight prisoners; 2nd Company, 11; 2nd Company, 10th Regiment, 4th Paratroop Division, one; 4th Company, one; and 11th Company, two.

[3 October 1944]

By daylight of 3 October the weather had cleared. The air observer, whom inclement weather had grounded the previous day, rose skyward as dawn spread over our sector.

With supporting tanks following them, troops of the First and Third Battalions began moving forward at 0600 hours. At the same time, the Second Battalion, with two days hard fighting behind them, moved to a rear assembly area to rest, dry out and reorganize.

Reports from the forward attacking elements indicated that the Germans had withdrawn somewhat during the night. We were moving ahead steadily, with no opposition other than scattered artillery and mortar fire. An hour after the jump-off the First Battalion reported they had gained Hill 956 without contest. At 0800 hours they still had not contacted the enemy. Hostile artillery activity continued meager, our air observation post perhaps acting as a deterrent.

Once it became clear that the Germans were pulling back, our heavy mortar sections reverted to the battalions from central control.

The two attacking battalions, ever abreast, kept pursuing the enemy toward Mount Venere (Hill 963, 809228). Harassing artillery fire grew in intensity, though neither of our units effected physical contact with the Germans.

By nightfall our troops had progressed well enough to enable our attached Company A of the 84th Chemical Mortar Battalion to move up to La Villa (815189). Our field artillery battalion, the 151st, made preparations to move ahead, and a reconnaissance party went forward to find a new location for the Regimental command post, to be established once Monte Venere was secured. It was the desire or higher headquarters that the hill be taken that night.

In response to that wish both the First and Third Battalions were ordered to keep moving all night, the Second to reconnoiter forward and to be prepared to move to a new assembly area near 812206. Thus, the latter unit would be in readiness to join her sister battalions should Monte Venere still be in enemy hands by morning. (See Overlay No. 2 for troop positions at midnight.)

Fourteen prisoners were apprehended during the day. Company B captured nine; Company A, one; and Company L, four. The captives were from the following units: eight from 1st Company, one from 4th Company of the 142nd Reconnaissance Battalion, 42nd Infantry Division; and one each from the 1st, 2nd, 9th, 11th, and 15th Companies of the 10th Regiment, 4th Paratroop Division.

[4 October 1944]

Meeting light resistance, Companies K and L advanced along the 34th Division's right boundary through the darkness of early morn, 4 October. Company B was being held up by a counter-attack, estimated to be one platoon strong. As a result, the gap between the First and Third Battalions had widened. It was therefore deemed advisable to employ Company I, which was in reserve, to fill the unprotected sector. As that unit assumed the lead in the battalion's left flank, Company K took the right flank and Company L blocked to the right and mopped up the rear.

At 0400 hours Major Fabert reported that his First Battalion was resuming the advance. Company C passed through Companies A and B to take the lead. Resistance was encountered almost immediately and mounted during the morning.

At approximately 0830 hours Major Fabert was wounded, whereupon Captain Richard F. Wilkinson, First Battalion executive officer, took command. (Captain Wilkinson was reassigned as executive officer when Major Linus T. Williams was placed in command of the battalion on 13 October.) First Lieutenant Wayne T. Patrick of Company C was slightly wounded as he went to Major Fabert's aid.

Meanwhile, the Second Battalion started moving to a more forward assembly area, near 808202. It had been alerted to go back into the line on order, as it seemed likely that Mount Venere would soon be taken. A plan for continuing the attack, using a Second Battalion company riding on a company of medium tanks, was formulated. (For complete plan refer to Operational Instructions No. 24, this headquarters, with overlay.)

By 1630 hours Mount Venere was ours, occupied by infantry and armor. Company F, selected to make the breakthrough to Monzuno (823247), rapidly climbed on tanks and headed for that German-held town. The First and Third Battalions followed plans outlined in the operational instructions mentioned above.

With Mount Venere in our hands, Colonel Braun moved his Regimental command post ahead. At 1900 hours he set up his headquarters at Le Croci (811202).

The outskirts on Monzuno were reached by Company F at 2000 hours, the rest of the battalion in its wake. At the same hour Company I experienced a strong counter-attack from its left flank, the enemy assaulting from Hill 927. After a sharp fire fight in which we suffered casualties, including the wounding of Second Lieutenant Clarence Spike, our soldiers drove off the Germans.

By 2220 hours Company F had fought its way into Monzuno. It entered the village with but one tank. The rain-soaked, muddy ground mired some and others were immobilized by enemy self-propelled and bazooka fire. Company E followed close behind, riding light tanks. Second Lieutenant Joseph C. Lassiter of that company was slightly wounded.

Shortly after midnight further plans for continuing the attack to the north were given to the troops in the form of Operational Instructions No. 25. Overlay No. 3 shows gains made by the Regiment during the day and troop positions at midnight.

In the last 24 hours we had taken 63 prisoners. Company C captured 49; K, three; I, four; F, two; Headquarters 2nd Battalion, five. Enemy units concerned were:

2 - 1st Company, 10th Regiment, 4th Paratroop Division

21 - 2nd Company, 10th Regiment, 4th Paratroop Division

15 - 3rd Company, 10th Regiment, 4th Paratroop Division

1 - 9th Company, 10th Regiment, 4th Paratroop Division

4 - 12th Company, 10th Regiment, 4th Paratroop Division

2 - 13th Company, 10th Regiment, 4th Paratroop Division

9 - 14th Company, 10th Regiment, 4th Paratroop Division

2 - 1st Bn Hq Company, 10th Regiment, 4th Paratroop Division

2 - Punishment Company, 10th Regiment, 4th Paratroop Division

2 - Evacuated by Medical Detachment

[5 October 1944]

By the wet dawn of 5 October our Second Battalion was prepared to move again, having cleared Monzuno of all enemy during the night and set road blocks around the town. After a half hour's artillery preparation the battalion jumped off at 0600 hours.

At the same hour the 135th Infantry's Second Battalion passed our command post, heading for Mount Venere in accordance with Divisional instructions to protect our rear by securing the hill and patrolling to the west and northwest. Attached to us now, in response to a request, was another platoon from the 804th Tank Destroyer Battalion.

Noon found our First and Third Battalions forging ahead steadily. Artillery and mortar fire featured the resistance, only scattered small arms [fire] being encountered. First Lieutenant John F. McLaughlin of Company H was killed this day. The Third Battalion was engaged this day in cleaning out pockets of enemy by-passed by the Second.

Increasingly bad weather became a serious problem now. Continual rain turned narrow, muddy trails into hazardous stretches of muck and slippery rock. All available men were set to work in an attempt to keep routes open. Mules had to replace vehicles for carrying supplies to the troops and for laying wire. Evacuation of the wounded, too, was impossible by vehicle. Part of our Service Company, cooks from the various kitchen trains, and all personnel of the Anti-Tank Company except the mine platoon were pressed into service as litter-bearers.

However, the inclement weather had little effect on the progress of our persevering soldiers. During the afternoon they advanced far enough to remove the need for security of Monte Venere by the 133rd's Second Battalion. The 168th, on our left, had also advanced slightly beyond the hill. A plan was therefore formulated for the employment of the 135th's unit on our right. (For plan see directive from this headquarters, dated 5 October.)

Later in the evening the Third Battalion of the 135th Infantry took over the positions of its Second Battalion. Thus, both units were now in a position to carry out plans which called for the 135th to pass through on our right the following morning.

General Bolte visited our command post during the day and expressed to Colonel Braun his satisfaction with the 133rd Infantry's going of the past two days. These advances had been achieved against a fiercely resisting foe, over extremely unfavorable terrain, and in spite of hampering weather and poor communications.

Several officers from the 92nd Infantry Division arrived during the day for the purpose of observing our combat procedure over a five-day period. During their stay they visited various units of the Regiment and were given every cooperation in their mission.

At midnight 5 October the positions of our troops were as shown on Overlay No. 4. Twenty-four prisoners were taken during the day. Company B captured four; C, five; E, three; F, 15; G, two; K, three; L, three; Headquarters Third Battalion, 12; Company G 135th Infantry, four. The number of prisoners by units follows. [None of the totals in this day's captures match, and are simply given as found in the original.]

2 - Hq Company, 10th Regiment, 4th Paratroop Division

1 - 1st Company, 10th Regiment, 4th Paratroop Division

3 - 2nd Company, 10th Regiment, 4th Paratroop Division

3 - 10th Company, 10th Regiment, 4th Paratroop Division

6 - 11th Company, 10th Regiment, 4th Paratroop Division

1 - 13th Company, 10th Regiment, 4th Paratroop Division

1 - 14th Company, 10th Regiment, 4th Paratroop Division

3 - 15th Company, 10th Regiment, 4th Paratroop Division

8 - Punishment Company, 10th Regiment, 4th Paratroop Division

1 - 1st Company, 11th Regiment, 4th Paratroop Division

2 - 2nd Company, 11th Regiment, 4th Paratroop Division

9 - 4th Company, 11th Regiment, 4th Paratroop Division

3 - Hq Company, 142nd Recon Battalion, 42nd Infantry Division

1 - 1st Company, 142nd Recon Battalion, 42nd Infantry Division

1 - 3rd Company, 142nd Recon Battalion, 42nd Infantry Division

5 - 4th Company, 142nd Recon Battalion, 42nd Infantry Division

1 - 2nd Company, 4th Engineer Battalion

[6 October 1944]

At daybreak 6 October all our troops were meeting ever stiffening resistance: they did not advance appreciably through the night.

Supply and evacuation difficulties had grown in severity since midnight and became even more critical as the day wore on. Rain fell almost continuously. Our one attached Company A of the 109th Engineer Combat Battalion was hard pressed to maintain trails treacherous even under normal conditions. No more engineers were available for our use, as bad roads were general in this region.

So serious was the situation in our sector, however, that at 1430 hours Division's G-3 formed a provisional engineering company composed of all men from the entire division who could be spared from their usual duties. This group was to work on the road from Madonna dei Fornelli (812160) to La Croci (811202), our attached engineers taking care of road maintenance the rest of the way from La Croci to Monzuno (823247).

Soldiers of the 133rd Infantry fought alone this day in the entire rugged sector, for at a suggestion from Division elements of the 135th Infantry had not been committed, as previously planned. Nevertheless, at the end of this day we had won ground in the face of strong opposition on a wide front. The First and Second Battalions, in particular, weathered heavy artillery, mortar, self-propelled and machine-gun fire besides small arms. The latter unit experienced a number of casualties. Among those wounded in the day's action were First Lieutenants Turney E. Sharrar, Company K; Stanley J. Vengen, Headquarters First Battalion; and Alfred W. Kirchner, Company E. Second Lieutenant Harry C. Young, Company B, was killed.

Positions of our forward elements at 2400 hours were as shown on Overlay No. 5. A total of 12 prisoners were taken. Company F got seven from 2nd Company, 11th Regiment, 4th Paratroop Division; Company G, two from 2nd Company, ZBV, 7th Battalion[, 4th Paratroop Division]; and Company B, one from 1st Company, 10th Regiment, 4th Paratroop Division.

[7 October 1944]

At 0110 hours 7 October Company B reported that it had cut the road at 802269, but had been forced to withdraw because of friendly artillery fire falling short. This was lifted and our troops immediately returned to the point, establishing a road block. The Second Battalion continued to move up the road in the eastern part of our sector toward Hill 520. The Third Battalion, Company I leading, advanced toward Hill 401 (815275).

Reaching Ca dei Marsarini (825265) at 0630 hours, Company I received very heavy small-arms fire from its left, in addition to heavy artillery and mortar fire which fell not alone on the Third Battalion, but over the entire sector. Hill 520, a German strong-point, was being fired upon by our 151st Field Artillery Battalion. The Second Battalion was approaching the eminence from the south.

Since dawn the atmosphere had cleared, and enemy artillery was very active, the Second Battalion especially undergoing concentrated shelling throughout the day. Our men advanced doggedly in the face of this fire, and by 1830 hours were able to report that the strong-point was safely ours and that they were going ahead.

In the early evening plans were completed for the relief during the night of our Second Battalion by the Second Battalion of the 135th Infantry. The latter organization was to pass through our right and attack northward in the morning. Our own troops were to persist in their advance until 2000 hours, than stop and hold and be relieved in place. The First and Third Battalions were to continue to keep pushing.

At 2130 hours The Third Battalion encountered stiff resistance at 817272. Companies I and L were still locked in a fierce rifle battle an hour later and had captured 19 prisoners.

Overlay No. 6 indicates the position of our troops at midnight. Twenty-six Axis soldiers were apprehended during the period. Company I took 18; L, one; G, three; E, two; H, one; Headquarters First Battalion, one. Following is the number of prisoners according to outfit.

6 - 1st Company, 10th Regiment, 4th Paratroop Division

1 - 2nd Company, 10th Regiment, 4th Paratroop Division

3 - 3rd Company, 10th Regiment, 4th Paratroop Division

4 - 10th Company, 10th Regiment, 4th Paratroop Division

2 - 14th Company, 10th Regiment, 4th Paratroop Division

1 - 15th Company, 10th Regiment, 4th Paratroop Division

1 - 2nd Company, Signal Battalion, 4th Paratroop Division

1 - 3rd Company, Signal Battalion, 4th Paratroop Division

5 - 1st Company, ZBV, 7th Battalion, 4th Paratroop Division

2 - 4th Company, ZBV, 7th Battalion, 4th Paratroop Division

[8 October 1944]

A few minutes after midnight, as 8 October began, the Germans launched a small counter-attack against Company I. The raid was kept under control and Companies I and L continued to move slowly forward, meeting determined resistance from enemy shooting from houses along the road. These our men cleared out as they moved ahead. Shortly after 0300 hours the Germans essayed another onslaught, but within an hour Company I repulsed them and once again won control of the situation.

Meanwhile, at 0120 hours, we were notified that our Second Battalion had been completely relieved by the 135th Infantry's Second Battalion, and was starting back to its assembly area near 829251.

Firm resistance from the Prato-Bologna road, where the enemy was dug in, was reported by the Third Battalion. Company I, which had been absorbing the brunt of the Germans' fire in this sector became involved in fire fight after fire fight. The troops progressed slowly.

In the late afternoon a platoon of tanks from Company B, 757th Tank Battalion, was sent to our First Battalion. We could have used still more armor, however, as one company of tanks had been detached from us. Our other tanks remained mired in gluey mud, or could not maneuver into forward positions because of impassible trails.

A plan was drawn up in the evening calling for Companies A and C to advance northward up the Prato-Bologna road [now, and perhaps even then, Highway 325], Company C leading. Previously Company B, at a suggestion from the Divisional commander, had started toward the bridge at 795268 with the mission of securing it, seizing ground across the stream for 200 or 300 yards, and holding it until arrival of troops of the 6th South African Division on our left.

At 2140 hours Company B sent word that it was at the bridge and expected to win the high ground to the north within two hours. These new troop dispositions of the First Battalion left its rear unprotected from the left. To remedy this lack Company F, in reserve with its battalion, emerged and took over positions vacated by the First Battalion.

As midnight loomed, men of the Third Battalion were contesting every inch of ground with a stubborn, frequently fanatical foe. By day's end Company A held two prisoners from 3rd Company, 11th Regiment, 4th Paratroop Division, while Company C had captured seven from 15th Company, 10th Regiment, same division.

[9 October 1944]

Over night the situation changed radically in respect to the Third Battalion's opposition. It consisted only of light mortar and assault-gun fire and desultory small-arms resistance as our troops moved forward into 9 October. (see Overlay No. 7 for troop positions at midnight.)

Company C resumed the advance shortly after 2400 hours, followed by Company A. The former met fairly determined resistance, composed of enemy artillery, mortar, self-propelled, machine gun and small arms. By 0630 hours Company I had secured Hill 401. Company L neutralized houses at 815267 and was working around them to the left. The sole opposing fire at this time came from mortars and assault guns.

Communications to the forward elements of the First Battalion were out, but it was learned that they were making progress slowly toward their objective, Vado (814289), situated on the Prato-Bologna highway. At 0900 hours the Third Battalion was receiving a great deal of long-range small-arms fire from that direction.

A plan was now formulated to use both the First and Second Battalions in the advance on Vado. Company C, with one platoon riding on tanks, followed by Company A, was to advance up the highway. Company L was to take over the positions of these units, while Company K would work around to the right through the 135th Infantry's sector, and then head for Vado from the southeast.

That plan was executed insofar as the First Battalion was concerned when it jumped off at 1600 hours. The attack formation: one platoon of infantry, one platoon of tanks carrying infantry, then the balance of the foot troops with tanks, bringing up the rear. In order to avoid the confusion that would ensue should Company K soldiers become mingled with the 135th men, or become engaged by the Germans while in that sector, it was decided to hold back Company K until after 2300 hours, when our sister regiment was scheduled to move out.

Just before midnight Company B troops reported that they had engaged in a fire fight at the bridge (795268) they were endeavoring to secure, and that the Germans facing them were digging in.

Over the 24-hour period Company L took two prisoners, one from 9th Company, 10th Regiment, 4th Paratroop Division, and one from 12th Company. Company F snared one from 15th Company, same regiment and division.

[10 October 1944]

After midnight, on 10 October, our troops continued moving unopposed up the Prato-Bologna highway until the enemy were engaged in houses along the highway at the 281 northing. Shell craters in the road has compelled the tanks to stay behind.

When the 135th Infantry on our right pushed off at midnight, it almost immediately met heavy resistance from Hill 446. As a result, our Company K could not go through the 135th Infantry's positions as planned without possibly being fired on in the darkness by that regiment's troops. Company K therefore remained in place, intending to move as soon as the 135th gained sufficient ground.

By dawn, however, the 135th Infantry had registered no advance; instead, it was locked in a fire fight with the Germans. Thereupon our Company K was ordered to start forward, keeping to the left of the 135th. By 0745 hours Company K had made reconnaissance forward preparatory to advancing northward. Company C was on the highway at the 281 northing, clearing houses in that area.

In a telephone conversation at this hour, Division's G-3 informed our S-3, Captain Earl W. Ralf, that the regiment would be relieved under cover of darkness during the coming night. That information was relayed to the battalions. They were instructed to leave one staff officer, one officer per company, and one non-commissioned officer per platoon in the line with the new forces for 12 hours after the change had been effected. All our men were to be relieved in place and all our ammunition dumps would be taken over by the incoming troops. The units about to relieve us were the 6th and 14th Armored Infantry Regiments, part of Combat Command "A" [of the 1st Armored Division].

At 1045 hours G-3 again called, stating it was very important that the Regiment take Hill 375 (820282) as soon as possible. Company I was chosen for this mission, for Company K men were unable to advance forward on account of the nature of the terrain, several deep ravines barring their path. After reconnaissance, Company I found a suitable route to the hill and moved ahead.

Company C, meanwhile, was fighting in Ca Valle (813281). Our soldiers were taking prisoners, but had to scour each building before they could advance beyond the village.

At 1830 hours Company I reached the southern slopes of Hill 375. But, like the troops of Company K previously, Company I was now confronted by canyons and abrupt escarpments. It could pursue the enemy no farther along this line. Neither was the terrain favorable for the relief of our men by the armored infantry regiments in the night. It was therefore decided to pull the company back to the 278 northing. There it would be more accessible to the relieving troops.

All preparations were made during the evening for the approaching retirement from the line. By midnight the First and Third Battalions were ready to turn over their sectors to the armored infantry organizations. The Second Battalion, in Regimental reserve, had already started assembling.

Four Axis soldiers were taken prisoner this day: three by Company C, one by Headquarters, Third Battalion.

[11-16 October 1944]

Relief of the Third Battalion was completed by 0135 hours 11 October, of the First by 0415 hours. Our troops moved to assembly areas as shown on Overlay No. 8. At 1400 hours Colonel Braun established his Regimental command post in the hillside hamlet of Vergiano (829200).

On 12 October, the Regiment's second day of Divisional reserve, a three-day mule pack and knot-tying school was begun for mess and supply personnel. The Regimental intelligence and reconnaissance platoon reconnoitered the rest area's road net, reporting all places needing repair.

Although there was no formal training schedule for the four-day reserve period, our soldiers spent their time wisely. They took hot showers at the 34th Division Bathing Unit and Clothing exchange, donned fresh underclothes and uniforms, secured badly needed haircuts, cleaned their equipment, caught up on their correspondence to loved ones at home, ate hot food regularly, refreshed their minds by reading, enjoyed motion pictures and band concerts, and embraced every opportunity to rest and relax in anticipation of their imminent return to combat. On 13 October 35 enlisted men and one duty officer motored to the Fifth Army Rest Center in Florence for a five-day stay, while four officers went to the Florence Rest Hotel for the same period. On 14 October the troops were paid.

That same day operational instructions were received from higher headquarters for the Regiment to move to an assembly area east of Highway 65. The Second Battalion arrived in its area at 2300 hours. Following reconnaissance, a forward party led by Colonel Braun established a Regimental command post at 884258 at 1430 hours 15 October. The First Battalion reached its area at 0245 hours 16 October, the Third at 0430 hours (Refer to Overlay No. 9 for location of assembly areas. Map references: Italy 1:25,000 Sheet 98-1 NE Monterenzio and Italy 1:25,000 Sheet 87-II SE Pianoro.)

After daylight we received orders from Division to move the Regiment forward again to suitable areas and to prepare to attack with one battalion by the morning of 17 October. A night jump-off was suggested.

Company B, 757th Tank Battalion, and one platoon of Company C, 804th Tank Destroyer Battalion were attached to us for the coming operation. The 151st Field Artillery Battalion again was in direct support of the Regiment.

At 1400 hours Colonel Braun established his Regimental command post at a more forward location, Rantigola (907285). Meanwhile, the Second Battalion began moving to its forward assembly area, near Rantigola, at 1630 hours. During the morning Major Timothy F. Horan, commanding officer of the Second Battalion, and Captain William M. Joost, Regimental S-2, went up in the air observation plane to study the terrain.

The plan of attack was as follows: the Regiment was to attack in a column of battalions initially, Second Battalion spearheading. The First Battalion was to follow closely and be ready to enter the line on the right of the Second as soon as Mount Belmonte (Divisional Objective 2) was taken. The Third Battalion, in Regimental reserve at La Casona (905277), was to be prepared to pass through either battalion on order of the Regimental commander. Our sector in this operation lay between the 91st Infantry Division on the left and the 85th Infantry Division to the right. (For detailed information read Operational Instructions No. 26, this headquarters, with overlay.)

Close air support was extended our troops during the afternoon, enemy territory to our immediate front, and Monte Belmonte being bombed and strafed again and again by our fighter bombers. The planes dropped incendiary and flame-throwing bombs as well as heavy explosive.

H-hour for the Regimental attack was set for 2000 hours. The Second Battalion crossed the line of departure, at the 30 northing, on time. The troops passed through elements of the 363rd Infantry [91st Infantry Division] on our left, then cut back northeastward into our own sector and headed for Mount Belmonte. The battle formation initially: two companies abreast, F on the left, G on the right, E following.

Although the troops made no physical contact with the enemy, hardly had they stepped out for Mount Belmonte when an intense mortar and artillery concentration fell on Company F. Captain James N. Dickson, the commanding officer, was severely wounded, dying the same day upon admittance to the evacuation hospital. While the company, which had experienced several other casualties from the barrage, was being reorganized, Company E passed through it. First Lieutenant Ralph Lager was placed in command of Company F.

At approximately 2200 hours the First Battalion was ordered to close up right behind the Second, preparatory to cutting to the right and continuing the attack northward, on the right and even with the Second.

By midnight our soldiers had not yet come to grips with the Germans. Because of the region's wilderness and highly uneven topography the troops experienced difficulty in orienting themselves in the darkness. During this and subsequent nights numerous II Corps searchlights played against the clouds. The diffused illumination they afforded, similar to moon light, aided to some degree the advance of troops in the Corps sector and helped vehicle drivers negotiate the tortuous roads. (Refer to Overlay No. 10 for troop positions at midnight.)

[17 October 1944]

The Second Battalioneers, Monte Belmonte bound, pushed through the night against withering enemy machine-gun and rifle fire. By the dawn of 17 October they were near the crest of Hill 401 (904328), the high southern portion of the Mount Belmonte ridge. (Map Italy 1:25,000 Sheet 87-II SE Pianoro.) They were, too, at the beginning of a day of bitter fighting and grievous losses.

With only a precarious grip on their objective, our soldiers endured murderous salvos from enemy tanks supporting German infantry on the crest of the hill. The German foot soldiers fought fanatically at close range, assaulting from the front, the right, and the right rear.

Wheel-anchoring mud had prevented our anti-tank guns from being brought up to aid our men. Neither could our attached tanks and tank destroyers maneuver forward. The 168th Infantry was apprised of our situation in the hope that its tank destroyers might be able to fire into our sector on the havoc-creating German armor. The First Battalion had now pulled up close behind the Second, and was preparing to advance in its own sector. The battalion commander, Major Williams, was ordered to secure the bridges immediately, set up road blocks, and then continue northward.

The plight of the Second Battalion soldiers rapidly became desperate. When, shortly before noon, they reported their suspicion that the Germans were about to launch a counter-attack in force supported by Mark VI tanks and half-tracks, our artillery was brought down on the enemy positions. Disastrously for our men, an enveloping fog hid the Germans from observation. Under its cover they pushed so close to our lines that our artillerymen did not chance firing close. to the lines lest the shells prove fatal to our own infantrymen.

Out of the mist surged the enemy raiders, surprising and surrounding advance elements of Company G. The Germans captured four officers, well over a score of enlisted men, and inflicted considerable casualties. The officers were First Lieutenants James H. Furey and Thomas D. Harmon and Second Lieutenants Sidney L. Farr and Rea W. Orr. At the time of the attack Captain Allen W. Sudhowt, commanding Company E, and 20 soldiers were cut off from their unit by the enemy. During the rest of the day our artillery had the effect of pinning down our own troops as well as those of the enemy. After nightfall, their positions highly insecure, Captain Sudhowt and most of his men managed to infiltrate back to the main body of the Second Battalion. Listed as "missing in action", however, were Second Lieutenant John Martin and First Sergeant Charles A. Beekman.

At the time of the counter-attack Company G was at 902328. It was the Regimental commander's opinion that it would be impossible for the Germans to attack with tanks in any direction but the north or northwest, trailwise, for the hill was unsuitable for the use of tanks except on trails. Mines were therefore laid to protect our sector against armor approaching from those directions. As anti-tank guns could not be pulled into position by motor, oxen and block-and-tackle were used in an attempt to get them into firing position.

Late in the afternoon Company B, gaining point 907318 after a fighting advance, received intense mortar and artillery fire. First Lieutenant George B. Slater, commanding officer, was killed and a litter squad lost. Second Lieutenant James E Von Eper immediately took temporary command of the unit. Captain Harold J. Turner was later placed in full command.

During the evening a platoon of Company A, 109th Engineer Combat Battalion, was attached to the Regiment to work on the almost non-existent roads. As in our breakthrough of the Gothic line, not only were we pitted against a powerful adversary, but once again were we confronted with serious problems of supply and evacuation on account of weather and terrain conditions. Steep, precipitous trails turned into treacherous stretches of mud, greatly hindering men and vehicles. Mules had to be resorted to again for hauling supplies. Kitchen staffs and personnel from the Anti-tank and Service Companies were recruited as litter bearers.

At midnight 17 October positions of our troops were as depicted on Overlay No. 11. The Third Battalion was enroute forward between Bigallo (898293) and the front lines. It was to go into action to the right of the Second Battalion, the First entering Regimental reserve.

Three prisoners were bagged over the 24-hour period. Company G caught two from 1st Company, 71st Regiment, 29th Panzer Grenadier Division. Anti-tank Company took one from 8th Company, 67th Regiment, 94th Infantry Division.

Appendix "B" to G-2 Intelligence Summary No. 275 of the 34th Division, this date, revealed that during the period 8 September 1944 - 14 October 1944 the 133rd Infantry took 575 prisoners of war.

Thirty-five enlisted personnel and one duty officer were given passes this day for a five-day vacation from combat at the Fifth Army Rest Center in Florence.

[18 October 1944]

The Second Battalion, attempting to move forward again at 0400 hours 18 October, at once drew heavy fire, especially from self-propelled weapons to its right and right rear. By that hour the Third Battalion was directly behind the Second and about to cross eastward to come even with that unit. The First Battalion had occupied the high ground north of Zena River. There it remained in reserve, at the same time securing bridges and road blocks in the area.

Dense fog made visibility exceedingly poor the greater part of the day. The attacking battalions encountered formidable resistance, featured by 170 mm guns, mortars, self-propelled and machine guns and small arms. They could gain no ground against the relentless opposition. German Mark VI tanks were observed at various points. Enemy strongpoints were reported at 906316 (Castel di Zena), 901321, and several other points.

At noon hostile infantry movement was detected at Hill 368 (908328) and armored vehicles were heard moving at the same spot. To preclude the possibility of another counter-attack, intense mortar and artillery fire were concentrated on that coordinate. The barrage apparently was effective, for nothing further developed.

It became evident at 1500 hours that our operations this day had bogged down. Our forward elements were unable to orient themselves in the wild country, reporting their positions as further ahead than they actually were. It was consequently decided to hold the troops in place, resupply, reorganize, and launch an attack at 2200 hours on Mount Belmonte.

A coordinated plan had been drawn up, employing the Second and Third Battalions against Hills 401 (904328) and 368 (906328), respectively, when the Regimental commander received orders from the Divisional commander at 1600 hours to make a night attack and seize, occupy and hold Castel di Zena. This hilltop stronghold was in [the] possession of a large number of enemy fortified by armor. Heavy fire against our troops was continuous from this strongpoint. Second Lieutenant Sidney Goldstein, a Company A platoon leader, was wounded in the day's fighting.

The First Battalion, advancing on a two-company front, was to be sent on the mission. As the Regiment would then lack a reserve unit, the battalion was to go back into reserve as soon as the castle was taken.

The First jumped off on time, at 2020 hours, with Company A on the right, Company B on the left. At 2330 hours, the Second Battalion having completed resupplying its companies, both it and the Third moved out. At 2400 hours, latest reports placed the troops in positions shown on Overlay No. 12.

The prisoner of war report for the day credited Companies F and G with one captive each. The enemy were from the 1st and 6th Companies, 71st Regiment, 29th Panzer Grenadier Division.

[19 October 1944]

Radio messages from the battalions between midnight and daybreak of 19 October indicated that they were progressing slightly in the face of powerful, sustained resistance. An extremely active enemy was using a very heavy caliber artillery with devastating effect, in addition to mortar, machine gun and small arms. Our gain in most instances was from 200 to 300 yards.

At 0800 hours the First Battalion reported a great volume of hostile fire from the vicinity of its objective, Zena Castle. This resistance, never slackening in fury through the day, succeeded in blocking the repeated attempts of our troops to advance. The volume of mortar and artillery fire from the fortress equaled that which we directed on it. Engulfing mud and the cut-up terrain were added serious obstacles to our progress.

Work on the roads leading to the front lines was speeded up in an effort to make them passable for anti-tank guns and armor. By mid-morning the guns were only as far up as Bigallo (898293 - May Italy 1:25,000 Sheet 98-I NE Monterenzio). As it became clear that the roads would not be ready by nightfall for the armor to move up, plans were laid to use them in conjunction with our Cannon Company, furnishing indirect fire during the night.

At 1800 hours a terrific enemy artillery and mortar barrage fell on Companies K and L, killing First Lieutenant Emmanuel Nathan, commanding Company K, and wounding First Lieutenant Richard D. Johnson of Company L. German tanks then rushed up to within 100 yards of our troops and fired directly into their positions. The companies suffered heavy casualties and scattered, but were soon reorganized. Company I, meanwhile, commanded by Captain Harvey J. Brodsky, wiped out two machine guns and took two prisoners on the road to Casa Trieste. Without armored support, however, the unit could not hold the ground won, and by morning had returned to its starting point at 894315.

German resistance this day and the preceding night was greater than at any other time in recent operations. We sent barrage after barrage of artillery over the lines, but the enemy returned round for round.

In the afternoon one platoon of Company A, 804th Chemical Mortar Battalion, had been attached to the Regiment, with orders to go into position near Zenarella (907300). By early evening a platoon of guns from our Anti-Tank Company had been worked up as far as Querceta (894306).

As soon as their men were supplied, at 2330 hours, the Second and Third Battalions attacked in unison. Immediately they engaged the enemy in sharp exchanges of machine-gun and small-arms fire. Second Lieutenant Meyer Kasten, a Company B platoon leader, was listed as missing in action this day. Our positions at midnight are shown on Overlay No. 13. Companies E and L each caught two Axis soldiers in the day's operations. Two of the prisoners belonged to 3rd Company, two to 4th Company, 71st Regiment, 29th Panzer Grenadier Division.

[20 October 1944]

Violent, heightened opposition was encountered by our troops throughout the 24 hours of 20 October. All our attempts to win Zena Castle failed. The battle-scarred soldiers engaged the Germans continually in furious fire fights, often at hand-grenade range. Bitterly our men fought against numerous, cunningly placed machine guns. German tanks were exceptionally active,as were their assault guns. The 133rd Infantry was combatting possibly the greatest German artillery and mortar strength yet massed against any portion of the Fifth Army front in the Italian campaign.

By nightfall trails were still not in condition for use by our armor, so activity of our Second and Third Battalions was confined to reconnaissance and combat patrolling in the hours of darkness. During the night the First Battalioneers again endeavored to seize Castel di Zena from the south. They reached a point 400 yards from the fortress before they were beaten back by the entrenched German defenders.

For positions of our troops at midnight refer to Overlay No. 14. In the last 24 hours only two prisoners were captured, both by Company I. Their unit was the 4th Company, 129th Reconnaissance Battalion, 29th Panzer Grenadier Division.

[21 October 1944]

Early on the morning of 21 October a plan was formulated to attack Zena Castle following the firing of white phosphorus by our Cannon Company, the 151st Field Artillery Battalion, and our attached platoon of Company A, 84th Chemical Mortar Battalion. The assault began at 1015 hours, Company C leading, B in its wake.

Company C was very near its objective when friendly aircraft, flying a mission with their target 3000 yards to the front of the castle, dropped bombs in and around the fortress. The bombs inflicted casualties on some of our men. Information given to us later revealed that the target of the planes was to have been marked with white and violet smoke. Presumably several fliers had mistaken the smoke from our white phosphorus for the smoke marking our target.

As a result of this mishap Company C became slightly disorganized. Company B was sent in immediately to take the castle. It accomplished this important mission with dispatch, seizing the objective at 1215 hours. The Second Battalion, in the meantime, occupied houses at Casa Trieste, Casa Ghisia, and San Giorgio, taking several prisoners.

In the afternoon an attack for the following morning, with important Mount Belmonte again the objective, was planned. (For details see Operational Instructions No. 27, this headquarters, with overlay.) As all three battalions were committed, Companies B and C were withdrawn from Castel di Zena and placed in reserve. Company A took their place. Every effort was exerted to get armor to get armor to the front for the coming attack. Partial success had been achieved by late evening, six tanks being in position to support the infantry, three tank destroyers ready to furnish anti-tank protection.

At midnight positions of our troops were as shown on Overlay No. 15. Among those wounded during the day was Second Lieutenant James J. Hallal of Company K.

To the Fifth Army Rest Center in Florence went 36 enlisted men this day for a five-day respite from action.

Over the 24-hour period 14 Axis soldiers were apprehended, 11 by Company E, two by B, one by A. Prisoners and their units were: one, 15th Company, 71st Regiment, 29th Panzer Grenadier Division; two, 4th Company, 142nd Reconnaissance Battalion, 42nd Infantry Division. [The other Axis unit(s) were not identified in the history.]

[22 October 1944]

At 0600 hours 22 October, after our troops had maintained patrol pressure on the enemy through the night, the Third Battalion resumed its Drive toward Mount Belmonte. The attack made some progress in the face of stubborn resistance, our soldiers advancing slowly against varied artillery and small-arms fire.

Company L, in the lead, was held up for some time by anti-personnel minefields at 905325, as were the escorting tanks by anti-tank fields in the same vicinity. To aid the advance of our soldiers, our attached chemical mortarmen heavily smoke-screened the area running generally northeast from Casa Comino (902326) to the crest of Hill 401, high point of the Belmonte feature. Among those wounded in the day's fighting were First Lieutenant Charles R. Pettijohn, commanding Company K, and Second Lieutenants Raymond C. Semerly of Company G and Lyle E. Dallman of the Medical Detachment. First Lieutenant Wilmer C. Cooling became commanding officer of Company K.

Higher headquarters instructed us during the evening to be prepared to relieve one battalion of the 363rd Infantry [91st Infantry Division], the unit on our left flank, the night of 23-24 October. On the night of 24-25 October we would relieve another battalion of the same regiment.

Plans to take over their sector were initiated at once, calling for the replacement of the two battalions by two companies of this Regiment.

The road network in the Regiment's sector is shown on Overlay No. 16. Positions of our troops at midnight were as shown on Overlay No. 17. Throughout the night to dawn they forged ahead steadily albeit slowly against sustained fire of every kind and hindering minefields. One prisoner was taken, Company K getting him from 1st Company, 71st Regiment, 29th Panzer Grenadier Division.

[23 October 1944]

Daybreak of 23 October found Company L clearing mines, Company I protecting the left flank, Company K spearheading the attack. An initial artillery preparation blanketed the enemy's main line of resistance and then our troops followed a creeping barrage toward Mount Belmonte. Heavy hostile fire of all types fell on the companies as they doggedly advanced. Company L reported coming on a new type mine, described as being four inches wide, five inches thick, 36 inches long, and marked "R-43".

At this time our armor support consisted of about one tank per company and only two tank destroyers. Enormous labor had to be expended on route maintenance in order to get armor to the front over the weakening, muddy trails and through overflowing creeks and streams.

On account of the very great importance of the Belmonte feature to the Fifth Army scheme of maneuver, every effort was to be made this day to win the objective. Staggered frequently by the Germans' powerful blows, the Third Battalioneers nevertheless pushed relentlessly forward with ever increasing momentum.

At 0815 hours Company I called for a 10-minute pre-assault artillery concentration on its objective, houses at 897328, on the western slope of Mount Belmonte. Forty-five minutes later the company reported, "Objective taken". Company K swept up the crest of Belmonte's peak, Hill 401. Immediately Company E was ordered to move forward to help secure this vital objective bindingly. Company K continued to clear the hill of enemy, rounding up 39 prisoners in the process. All the companies consolidated their gains, and at 1645 hours it was officially reported to Division that Mount Belmonte was in our hands and secure. Among the day's casualties were First Lieutenant Wilbur G. Brown of Company K and Second Lieutenant Ray J. Fritz of Company I, both wounded.

As Mount Belmonte was so important to Fifth Army's tactical plans, Colonel Braun employed every measure to assure its retention by his 133rd Infantry troops in the event of a German counter-attack in the night. Anti-tank protection was arranged and mines were laid on possible avenues of approach for hostile armor (see Overlay No. 18, Map Italy 1:25,000 Sheet 87-II SE Pianoro). Artillery defensive fires were projected, with seven battalions of artillery placed at our disposal.

In the evening the Third Battalion dug in on the reverse slope of Hill 401 extending southward to Casa Comino. The men had fought valiantly all day long and welcomed the opportunity to stop for the night. In a telephone call Colonel Braun commended Lieutenant-Colonel Frank H. Reagan, Third Battalion commander, on the "good job" he and his troops had done that day.

The Second Battalion closed up behind the Third preparatory to passing through its left in the morning. At daybreak the attack was to continue northward with two battalions abreast.

By 2245 hours elements of the First Battalion had completed the relief of the 363rd Infantry's First Battalion. Our Company A was relieved at Zena Castle by elements of the 168th Infantry. At midnight positions of our soldiers were as outlined on Overlay No. 19.

Company K's 39 prisoners, the total for the day, came from the following enemy units: 12 from 2nd Company; five, 3rd Company; five, 4th Company; seven, 9th Company; two, 15th Company; two, Headquarters, First Battalion; all of the 71st Regiment, 29th Panzer Grenadier Division. Six were evacuated by our Medical Detachment.

Four officers motored to the Florence Rest Hotel this day for a brief "vacation".

[24 October 1944]

No counter-attack transpired during the night and our troops resumed their advance shortly after dawn on 24 October. Throughout the day and well into the night they fought against mounting resistance, over the roughest kind of terrain and though hampering minefields. Despite these obstacles our soldiers gained some ground and Company L took 14 prisoners. First Lieutenant Cletus H. Willkom was among those wounded in the day's action.

The Regiment's immediate goal now was the capture of the entire Mount Belmonte hill mass, after which all indications pointed to a change from offensive to holding tactics.

Visibility became poorer as the day wore on. Roads were in deplorable shape, muddy and slick. As always under such circumstances, matters of supply, evacuation and communication were difficult of solution. Removal of the wounded from the field of battle was becoming a particularly grave problem. The Anti-tank Company men who had been litter-bearing were now needed to man their guns, and all surplus Service Company and kitchen train personnel were already engaged in that merciful task.

In the afternoon of this day the Regimental command post shuttled to a new location, opening headquarters at Casola (894295 - Map Italy 1:25,000 Sheet 98-I NE Monterenzio) at 1500 hours. Company A completed its scheduled relief of the Third Battalion of the 363rd Infantry just before midnight.

Overlay No. 20 shows the position of our troops at the close of the 24-hour period. A unit breakdown of Company L's prisoners places three in 1st Company, two in 3rd, one in 4th, two in 6th, and six in 15th Company, 71st Regiment, 29th Panzer Grenadier Division.

[25 October 1944]

German artillery activity demonstrated a definite rise at the advent of daybreak 25 October, at which time the Third Battalion resumed its advance. Company G had gained some 400 yards during the night. Strong enemy opposition slowed the troops, as did the wet, soft earth. Hostile small-arms fire varied in intensity this rainy, misty day, but artillery, mortar, and self-propelled gun fire was uniformly heavy throughout the sector. At 1000 hours Company I was within 100 yards of its objective, part of the Belmonte mass at 908334, when a concerted shelling by German tanks forced our men back some 200 yards. The rest of the day they repeatedly attempted to push ahead, supported by fire from Company L.

Our troops reported the appearance of a new type of nebelwerfer (multi-barreled mortar), or possibly a new type rocket shell. The German missile was described as akin to the nebelwerfer in that the shell had a great concussionary effect, but not a large fragment dispersal. In flight, the shell produced more of a coughing than a screaming sound, in that respect being unlike the nebelwerfer, or "screaming meemie".

Captain Richard T. Kilpatrick, commander of Company L, was wounded in the day's operations. First Lieutenant Leo D. Dyer was placed in charge of the company.

Company G captured the five enemy taken during this period. Two were from 3rd Company, 129th Reconnaissance Battalion, one from 1st Company, 71st Regiment, both of 29th Panzer Grenadier Division, and one was evacuated. See Overlay No. 21 for troop dispositions at 2400 hours.

Five members of the 92nd Infantry Division, two officers and three enlisted men, arrived this day to observe the 133rd Regiment's combat methods. Thirty-six of our enlisted men, accompanied by an officer, traveled to Florence for a short stay at the Fifth Army Rest Center there.

[26 October 1944]

Extensive close-in security patrolling was carried out through the night in a steady rain which was to continue uninterruptedly day and night for the remainder of the month. At 0430 hours 26 October Company I took up the attack again, occupying the knoll at 908333 and sending a combat patrol toward the church northeast of Gorgognano (910334 - Map Italy 1:25,000 Sheet 87-II SE Pianoro), as did Company L. Both patrols were forced to withdraw in the face of heavy fire of all types, but not before bagging several prisoners. Second Lieutenant Vance B. Engram, Company I platoon leader was wounded.

The rain turned into a steady downpour. Torrents of water washed over roads and trails, making all routes practically impassable. Administrative units of the Regiment as well as front-line outfits were victims of the wretched weather. Illustrative was the experience of the Regimental S-1 section. In a matter of minutes their tents, situated on low, soggy ground at Fornace (902277 - Map Italy 1:25,000 Sheet 98-I NE Monterenzio), were flooded to a depth of a foot. Regimental Adjutant Captain Donald L. Nabity and his personnel hauled by hand all their personal and sectional equipment, including canvas, to higher ground 200 yards away. Vehicles in the area either were mired or awaiting repairs, predicaments which prevailed generally in our sector.

At 1930 hours it was reported that a Company G outpost, attacked by a superior force of enemy, had been forced to withdraw from buildings at 898332, northwest of Mount Belmonte. Our outpost drew back in good order, with no casualties, bringing three captives with them. Artillery was brought down immediately on the houses. It was planned to harass this point all night and send a force out at dawn to retake the buildings.

Troop dispositions at the end of the period are outlined on Overlay No. 22. Seventeen enemy soldiers were captured during the day, Company G getting eight; L, five; I, four. Two prisoners belonged to 4th Company, five to 7th Company and five to 11th Company, 71st Regiment, 29th Panzer Grenadier Division. Three were from 6th Company, two from 15th Company, 15th Regiment, same division.

[27 October 1944]

The front was relatively quiet during the hours of darkness, except for enemy harassing artillery fire and scattered machine-gun fire across the entire sector. Rain drizzled steadily through a dense fog. A thick mist at dawn of 27 October continued to render visibility zero. Our troops maintained pressure on an alert enemy throughout the day. The Third Battalion met resistance in the form of concentrated machine-gun and self-propelled fire from the vicinity of the Gorgognano church. Enemy mortar and artillery fire, the battalion reported, was heavier than ever this day. The Germans' volume of fire was, in fact, greater than our own supporting fire.

Company G attempted to recapture the houses at 898332 which its outpost had had to relinquish the night before. Our soldiers engaged in a violent fire fight with Germans in a building at that point, finally being compelled to pull back slightly.

After our men withdrew, leaving an outpost near the house, a German tank appeared and opened fire on the structure. Apparently its crew believed that the building was now held by us. Some enemy ran out in great disorder. Our artillery at once bore down on the house and tank with effect. However, an estimated 40 Germans remained in the house. Our men received heavy fire from that point and from the northeast every time they tried to advance. Company C received considerable mortar and assault-gun fire at 892395 and First Lieutenant Harry W. Raypole was wounded.

Positions of our troops were the same at the end of the day as they were the previous midnight, no ground having been gained.

In the last four days of October the Regiment remained in a largely defensive position, keeping contact with the hostile forces, and constraining them by means of alert reconnaissance and aggressive combat patrolling. The front was comparatively quiet during this period, although the Regiment's rear areas, especially across Highway 65, were shelled constantly by the enemy.

Rain and mud continued to constitute twin threats to movement and communication. As previously, rations often had to be hand-carried up and over slithery trails too treacherous even for mules.

[28-30 October 1944]

Between dusk and midnight of 28 October the Third Battalion was relieved, going into Regimental reserve around Sassi (894290) and Bigallo. The First and Second Battalions and elements of the 34th Cavalry Reconnaissance Troop displaced to the right to take over the Third's sector (see Operational Instructions No. 28, this headquarters). For troop locations at midnight refer to Overlay No. 23.

A prisoner taken on the twenty-eighth identified a hitherto unknown enemy unit on this front, the 65th Infantry Division, although the Regiment had fought against it on other fronts. Prisoner of war count for the day was seven. Company L got four from 8th Company, 15th Regiment, 29th Panzer Grenadier Division; Company I one each from 4th and 10th Companies of the same regiment and division; and Company K one from 5th Company, 147th Regiment, 65th Infantry Division.

On the afternoon of the 29th of October the 34th Cavalry Reconnaissance Troop, which had been screening from the left, was attached to the Regiment for the protection of our left flank.

Company A took the day's total of three prisoners. Two were from the 1st Company, 142nd Reconnaissance Battalion, 42nd Infantry Division; one from 6th Company, 147th Regiment, 65th Infantry Division. At midnight the positions of our troops were the same as the night before.

Thirty-five enlisted men from the Third Battalion went to the Fifth Army Rest Center in Florence for five days' relaxation.

Late in the evening of 30 October two Company F patrols, engaged by the enemy, withdrew intact with one prisoner from 10th Company, 71st Regiment, 29th Panzer Grenadier Division. Other patrols contacted hostile forces in the night, but did not engage them in combat. During the evening two platoons of Company A were relieved in place by elements of the 34th Cavalry Reconnaissance Troop. (See Overlay No. 24.) Positions of all other units remained the same.

This day Lieutenant-Colonel Reagan, Third Battalion commander, was evacuated on account of illness. Lieutenant-Colonel Sarratt T. Hames, Regimental executive officer, assumed command of the battalion.

[31 October 1944]

During the pre-dawn hours of 31 October there was a degree of enemy infantry activity on the extreme left flank in front of elements of the 34th Cavalry Reconnaissance Troop. Artillery was directed on the draw running from northest[?] to southwest to their front and small-arms fire was exchanged. The enemy movement was broken up and nothing further developed. We continued heavy harassing fire, however.

Plans were instituted in the morning for another attack on the church near Gorgognano (see Operational Instructions No. 29, this headquarters). Company L, in Regimental reserve with its battalion, was to be employed for the operation. The troops were to cross the line of departure at 0430 hours, 1 November, having established an observation post in the castle at Zena.

The second Battalion was to support the attack with mortar fire. Communication was arranged between our attached tank unit and those of the 168th Infantry on our right, so that they might also support the attack by direct fire on the church-strongpoint. Company E was to be prepared to take over the church area and hold it with one platoon after it had been won.

At midnight, all positions were unchanged, except that of Company L, sent forward from its rear assembly area.

As the month ended the weather was as inimical as ever to our operations. Rain was falling torrentially and roads were in an altogether wretched condition.

[Summary]

During the month of October four enlisted men received combat promotions to second lieutenant. They were Staff Sergeants Joseph E. Dennis, Warren B. Finger and Richard C. Reitler, and Sergeant Everett G. Horne.

Nine officers of the Regiment received appointments from second lieutenant to first lieutenant. They were Wilmer C. Cooling, William Fruehling, James A. Gray, Arthur S. Meli, Thomas C. Moss, Charles W. Seebeck, Oliver P. Watson, Cletus H. Willkom, and James E. Roskelly.

First Lieutenants Cleo W. Buxton and Richard T. Kilpatrick received captaincy appointments.

On 31 October, at an informal ceremony, Major-General Charles L. Bolte, commanding general of the 34th Division, presented one Silver Star, 16 Bronze Stars, and a Division Citation to members of the Regiment.

Twenty-three enlisted men and three officers left the Regiment for temporary duty in the United States this month, while 26 enlisted personnel and two officers went to the United States on rotation.

So the 133rd Infantry Regiment [ended] the month of October, 1944. For 31 days of almost continuous rainfall our troops fought successfully a bold and well armed enemy, amidst hindering mud and tiring mountains.

Not only was the 133rd Infantry pitted against the elements, the terrain and the battlewise German foot soldiers, but our troops also had to contend with possibly the most formidable artillery and mortar strength yet arrayed against any portion of the Fifth Army front in the Italian campaign. The Germans did not merely match our shells round for round: often they exceeded our shelling in volume.

Our sector was practically devoid of even fair routes in good weather. The abnormally poor weather in October made existing roads and trails impassable most of the period. The [report of] vehicles wrecked or mired mounted daily. Mule trains did yeoman service, but even they could not cope with steep, slippery stretches, so rations and ammunition frequently had to be arduously hand-carried. The highly unfavorable weather and terrain also posed grave problems in respect to the evacuation of the wounded and to wire communications.

The engineers who labored mightily in keeping all possible routes and bridges open despite earth-weakening rainfall and overflowing creeks and streams; the indefatigable "medics" and litter-bearers who braved enemy fire and the worst of weather time and again on their errands of mercy; the wiremen whom enemy shelling could not prevent from repairing vital lines; the mechanics who kept our vehicles operating as well as they did; the drivers and supply personnel who, under the most adverse conditions, furnished our front-line soldiers with food and clothing and ammunition - all the men behind the fighting men played an important, indispensable role in the advances of the month.

But the very greatest measure of credit for our victories goes perforce to the men who fought it out and sweat it out "up front". Through miring mud and driving rain they battled forward slowly but relentlessly against a fierce, often fanatical adversary. The ground we won, we won dearly - our casualties were high - but we pushed the enemy back irrevocably and so did our part in bringing a victorious peace nearer for those who live on.

What our brave soldiers endured to achieve their successes can perhaps be best appreciated in the light of the following cold but graphic figures:

During the month the Regiment suffered 709 casualties, the greatest in our history. Of those, 126 were killed in action, 157 missing, and 426 wounded. Five officers lost their lives, six were listed as missing in action, and 20 were wounded.

On 1 October the Regiment had an effective strength of 165 officers, five warrant officers, and 3234 enlisted men. On 31 October we had an effective strength of 149 officers, six warrant officers, and 2675 enlisted men. During the month we received seven officers, one warrant officer, and 177 enlisted men as replacements. Thus our strength experienced a drop of 574 men.

As of 31 October 1944 the 133rd Infantry had been overseas two years, nine months, and 16 days.

For the Regimental Commander:

s/Donald L. Nabity

DONALD L. NABITY

Captain, Infantry

Adjutant


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34th Infantry Division 133rd Infantry Regiment Rifle Company 1st Battalion A World War II 2 Italy