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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 November 1944 to 30 November 1944, inclusive.

As November, 1944, began on the American Fifth Army front in Italy, troops of the 133rd Regiment of the 34th Infantry Division were continuing the alert reconnaissance and vigorous patrolling that had characterized their operations since the latter days of October. At that time the Regiment had gone into a defensive position after a period of violent fighting during which it achieved significant victories - notably the capture of strategic Monte Belmonte - against a trinity of hostility: an aggressive enemy who inflicted on us the greatest number of casualties in our history, rainy weather which hampered our observation, and muddy terrain which slowed our movement.

Now we were boldly probing the Germans' defenses, determinedly consolidating our gains, and constantly renewing our strength in preparation for future offensive operations.

[1 November 1944]

At 0430 hours 1 November Company L crossed its line of departure, attacking toward the church at Gorgognano (913333 - Map 1:25,000 Sheet 87 II SE Pianoro). Refer to October history for attack plans, in Operational Instructions No. 29. The church, in which a strong force of heavily armed Germans was entrenched, was situated on Hill 367, about 1,000 yards northeast of Monte Belmonte (904328 - same map reference as above). Fire from this strongpoint had been directed on our troops continuously. Wholly unsuccessful had been our repeated attempts to capture the stronghold, which was well defended by machine-guns and surrounding minefields and barbed-wire entanglements.

Harassed by enemy mortar and artillery, Company L forged ahead steadily until the leading elements were but 50 yards from their objective. Then, suddenly, a terrific concentration of enemy artillery and mortar shells fell on them, augment by heavy machine-gun and small-arms fire. This multi-barreled barrage effectively broke up our formation, the company withdrawing in confusion to the vicinity of Hill 368 (908328), east of Monte Belmonte. Another attack was planned for later in the morning, but was abandoned when it was decided that the unit was still too disorganized from the shelling to continue the assault. A platoon of Company E was attached temporarily to Company L in order to strengthen the latter group.

During the course of the day some 40 Axis soldiers surrendered to elements of the 168th Infantry of the 34th Division. The prisoners came from the church-strongpoint which had been Company L's objective. They said that there were more men at the church who wished to give up, and would, if a means of safely contacting our troops could be effected. Thereupon, at 1730 hours, a Company L combat patrol left its area to attempt contact. A German speaker accompanied the patrol. However, as the patrol approached the enemy's outpost line near the trail junction at 911333, 200 yards south of the church hill, our men received very heavy mortar and machine-gun fire, and were forced to return.

Shortly after midnight the scheduled relief of the Second Battalion by the Third was completed, units being in position as shown of Overlay No. 1.

This day First Lieutenants Fain E. Fairbanks and James M. Fletcher departed for five days' attachment to the 15th Air Force as observers. One 15th Air Force officer arrived at the Regiment to observe infantry combat procedures over the same period.

[2 November 1944]

The front was quiet through the hours of darkness, only patrol activity, both friendly and hostile, being engaged in. It rained heavily throughout a chilly 2 November. The Regiment remained on the defensive, the First Battalion, in conjunction with the attached 34th Cavalry Reconnaissance Troop, protecting the Division's left flank. Work on defensive positions continued. Rations were being brought up to our men in the lines by oxen over the mud-covered trails. Mule trains hauled ammunition to the guns.

Reconnaissance parties from Company A of the 100th Chemical Mortar Battalion arrived in our sector during the day, preparatory to relieving our attached platoon of Company A, 84th Chemical Mortar Battalion. The change was scheduled for the coming night. Two Axis soldiers were taken by patrols of the Reconnaissance Troop. The prisoners' unit was 2nd Company, 146th Regiment, 65th Infantry Division.

Late in the evening Annex "A" to Operational Instructions No. 29 was issued by the Regiment concerning defensive measures to be instituted by the reserve battalion. At midnight, positions of our troops remained unchanged.

Paid this day were members of the Second Battalion, and Regimental Headquarters, Cannon and Service Companies. Forty-six enlisted men and one duty officer from the Second Battalion traveled to the Fifth Army Rest Camp in Florence for a five-day stay. Four officers of the same battalion went to the Hotel Excelsior in Florence.

[3 November 1944]

The period of 3 November opened quietly, a few shelling reports coming from our observation posts and the battalions. Three patrols had been planned for the night, but the Third Battalion dispatched an additional one from Company I, whose assignment was to make contact between two widely separated platoons of that unit. This patrol, consisting of three enlisted men, surprised an enemy outpost and captured the two Germans manning it. While our soldiers were returning with their quarry, a mortar shell landed and exploded in their midst, wounding two of our men but leaving the prisoners unharmed. Almost simultaneously, the other member of the patrol stepped on an anti-personnel mine and suffered a serious wound. Again the Germans remained untouched, and seized the opportunity to escape. The three Company I men were evacuated through our medical channels.

The other patrols, instructed to reconnoiter enemy positions and to determine the condition of roads and trails for possible use by armor, in two cases reported running into machine-gun fire before reaching their goal, in the third encountering similar fire beyond the patrol objective.

During the night harassing fire was directed into enemy territory by our .50 caliber machine-guns.

Dawn of 3 November was accompanied by rain and ground fog. It had not rained in the hours of darkness, consequently some of the roads, although in poor shape, were passable to peeps.

At 0855 hours the First Battalion reported a self-propelled gun firing into its sector, and requested tank destroyer fire to knock it out. However, as there were no tank destroyers in position to fire on the gun's suspected location, our Anti-Tank Company, supporting the First Battalion, was alerted to be on the watch for it.

The Third Battalion was planning another attack on the Gorgognano church, jump-off time was set at 2230 hours. The plan, approved by Colonel Gustav J. Brain, Regimental commanding officer, was as follows: Company I to attack the knob 400 yards northwest of the church, two platoons of Company K to assault and seize the church and cemetery to the rear. Company L was to take over Company K's positions so as to leave the latter unit intact. In order to facilitate and supplement communications, the following flare signals were to be employed: defensive fires for Company K, one amber cluster; on objective, one green cluster; raise artillery fire; one white cluster or parachute.

Captain William M. Joost, Regimental S-2, prepared patrol plans for the night, the units involved being the 34th Cavalry Reconnaissance Troop and our Company C. The patrols were to reconnoiter for enemy the trails and draws to the northwest, and to ascertain their suitability as possible routes of advance.

At 1550 hours Divisional G-3 telephoned, advising us to be prepared for a new main line of resistance to include the church at Gorgognano. This new sector was to be developed with mines and barbed wire, and we were to be ready to build 12-man shelters. Complete execution of these plans depended on the success of the Third Battalion's coming attack.

Just at dusk our supporting element of the 804th Tank Destroyer Battalion observed considerable enemy around the church, so they shot direct fire at them. Artillery was also placed on the area. At 2155 hours Company A of the 100th Chemical Mortar Battalion belatedly reported that its platoon was in position to fire, but that its ammunition was limited on account of difficulty in bringing it up. Captain Earl W. Ralf, Regimental S-3, ordered that every effort be exerted to get the shells to the mortars.

At 2240 hours the patrol of the 34th Cavalry Reconnaissance Troop returned with the information that trails were narrow and muddy, and that artillery was bursting over the town of Barchetta (888328), 1,200 yards west of Monte Belmonte. The patrol encountered no enemy.

The Third Battalion reported that at 2200 hours its attacking troops had left their company areas between Hills 368 and Casa Trieste (896325), south of Monte Belmonte. The next report, at 2335 hours, revealed that although our men were absorbing persistent machine-gun and mortar fire, they were moving forward steadily. The period closed with our troops assailing a stubbornly resisting foe who nevertheless was not stemming our advance. Positions of our units were unchanged, except for the attacking elements. (See Overlay No. 2 for enemy dispositions as of 3 November. Map reference: 1:25,000 Sheet 87 II SE Pianoro. Pertinent to the overlay is memorandum dated 3 November, Subject, "The Enemy Situation".)

Three enlisted men were sent to a NATOUSA [North African Theater of Operations, United States Army] signal school this day.

[4 November 1944]

On 4 November, in the hours closely following midnight, there was a great deal of enemy flare activity. In the Third Battalion's sector, immediately after a German white flare arose, an intense artillery barrage from hostile guns landed at the rate of approximately three rounds every minute for ten minutes. An enemy searchlight, used as a blinker, also was observed.

A report from Third Battalion headquarters at 0220 hours placed Company K near its objective, but the troops were locked in a fierce struggle marked by close-in fighting with hand grenades. At 0430 hours Company I was on its objective at 908335, about 500 yards northwest of the church. Our men had taken four prisoners after a sharp fire fight, were well organized, and were prepared to hold the ground won.

Company K, after having engaged the Germans almost continuously for five furious hours, at one time pushing close enough to the church to fire rifle grenades into it, had been compelled to withdraw by blast after blast from assault guns and mortars. With two prisoners of war in tow, our valiant but battle-spent soldiers returned to their initial positions. They told of having seen many Germans around the church, victims apparently of our shelling.

At daylight visibility was limited but, although our troops had disengaged, hostile machine-gun fire continued to be heavy, as did harassing artillery and mortar.

The First Battalion, which had not participated in the attack toward the church, had patrolled aggressively through the night and harassed the enemy with mortars and .50 caliber machine guns.

During the day work was carried on in improving established positions and constructing new ones. Overhead shelters were built, reinforced with sandbags and timber. Firm gun emplacements were erected. Gaps in the line were to be closed up with protective wire and mines. Plans were instituted also for the relief in place of the First Battalion by the reserve battalion, the Second. The relief was to take effect the night of 5-6 November.

In the afternoon we received an operational memorandum from higher headquarters concerning the relief of the entire Regiment on 11 November. We were scheduled to enter a rest and training area for approximately nine days. (Refer to Operational Memorandum No. 1, this headquarters, dated 7 November.)

Early in the evening an enemy plane strafed in our rear areas. At midnight the weather was clear, as it had been for the past 48 hours, and as it was to be for the remainder of our operations in this region for the month. Roads in the sector had already improved appreciably.

Positions of our troops at 2400 hours were as shown on Overlay No. 3. Seven Axis soldiers were apprehended during the day, four by Company I, two by Company K, and one by Company C. One prisoner belonged to 1st Company, two to 5th, three to 10th and one to 11th Company, all of 71st Regiment, 29th Panzer Grenadier Division.

[5 November 1944]

Other than the usual shelling reports, from midnight to dawn of 5 January the front-line units had little to report in the way of hostile activity. A eight-man Company C patrol, whose mission had been to knock out a machine-gun nest located at 898335, about 1,000 yards northwest of Monte Belmonte, returned at 0525 hours. The men had been stopped and prevented from accomplishing their assignment by heavy mortar and artillery fire. Repeatedly they had attempted to plunge ahead, but as repeatedly were forced back.

A 10-man Company K patrol had had the mission of contacting Company I, then to proceed to the house at Casa Sevizzano (904336), 1,000 yards northwest of Gorgognano, and capture or kill any enemy in the building. This patrol, too, was unsuccessful: machine-gun resistance from the point was vicious and persistent even after our men returned intense fire.

During most of this clear, sunny day there was little enemy activity. The Germans continued their customary daylight artillery program. Its scale was somewhat reduced, perhaps because our air observer was on the job searching for enemy gun positions.

At dusk our adversaries stepped up their artillery shelling. The road running from Casa Trieste to the Gorgognano church received a heavy concentration, as did the area in the neighborhood of the Regimental command post at Casola (895295 - Map 1:25,000 Sheet 98 I NE Monterenzio). One shell scored a direct hit on the First Battalion rear command post at Ca di Bortignano (882299 - same map reference as above). One man was slightly wounded, most of the personnel having left the building 20 minutes before, bound for the Regimental reserve area near Sassi (894290 - same map reference as above).

At 2345 hours a patrol from the 34th Cavalry Reconnaissance Troop reported in. Its mission, beginning at 1930 hours, had been to reconnoiter northeastward to Hill 361, 1,700 yards southwest of Monte Belmonte, and then 400 yards further to point 887327, near Barchetta. The soldiers ran into machine-gun and mortar fire, but persisted in their observation for more than an hour, and heard vehicular movement near Zula (884333), 2,000 years west of Monte Belmonte.

The First Battalioneers, relieved in place by the Second Battalion after dark, moved into pyramidal tents at Sassi. The area was mud-ridden and the weather was cold, but the tents were equipped with stoves, three hot meals a day were served, and the soldiers enjoyed motion pictures in the afternoons. During the four-day reserve period the men received beer and other canteen rations and Thanksgiving cards, took hot showers at a nearby bath unit and clothing exchange, and cleaned their equipment. Positions of all our troops at 2400 hours are outlined on Overlay No. 4.

At a simple field ceremony near Sassi this day, Major-General Charles L. Bolte, commanding general of the 34th Division, presented six Silver Stars and six Bronze Stars to members of the Regiment.

[6 November 1944]

Considerable enemy activity was reported from midnight on into 6 November. The 34th Cavalry Reconnaissance Troop observed movement to its front, and our artillery and mortars fired into the draws ahead. At 0230 hours the Regimental Intelligence and Reconnaissance Platoon, whose observation post was situated on Monte Belmonte, reported hearing vehicular traffic north of the Gorgognano church. The Third Battalion patrolled alertly through the night, employing reconnaissance and contact patrols from all three rifle companies. The Reconnaissance Troop's positions were probed constantly; time and again the group was compelled to call for artillery concentrations to supplement its own mortar fire.

Dawn ushered in a day that was to be clear and bright. The drying effect of the sun steadily improved the roads. Arrangements with the 109th Engineer Combat Battalion were completed during the day for the laying of anti-personnel mines along our front. Corrugated sheeting was made available for the construction of shelters for front-line positions.

At 1804 hours the tempo of enemy activity increased on the 34th Cavalry Reconnaissance Troop's front. Three German tanks demolished the building at Casa Torriani (883323), about 2,000 yards southwest of Monte Belmonte, in which some of the unit's personnel were housed. Eight men were wounded, one listed as missing, and one was buried in rubble. As these casualties greatly reduced the strength of the troop's outpost platoon, a squad from our Company F was sent immediately to its assistance.

The previous day the Regimental commander had ordered all civilians evacuated from the Regimental forward area (see memorandum dated 5 November, subject, "Evacuation of Civilians from Battle Area"). This day and the following two days some 350 men, women and children were collected at the command post and sent by trucks to Loiano (865236 - Map 1:25,000 Sheet 98 I NW Loiano) for further disposition.

Plans were prepared during the day for the Third Battalion to attack the Gorgognano church again, after midnight.

Fifty enlisted men and two duty officers departed for five days' relaxation at the Fifth Army Rest Center in Florence. Two First Battalion officers, Captain Richard F. Wilkinson and First Lieutenant Allen B. Russell, flew to Rome for a five-day stay at the Hotel Excelsior. The airplane in which they traveled had been placed at their disposal by Lieutenant-General Mark W. Clark, Fifth Army commander.

[7 November 1944]

At 0120 hours 7 November Company K, attacking toward the Gorgognano church according to plan, was receiving machine-gun and mortar fire from that enemy strongpoint. At 0427 [?0327?] hours our soldiers ran into a minefield at the foot of the church hill. Withering machine-gun fire was directed at them from across the field. Heavy mortar fire, most of it coming from 911348, 1,700 yards north of the church, precluded any progress to the right or left. By 0415 [?0515?] hours, although our Cannon Company had aimed heavy concentrations on that point, it became evident that our attack had failed. The thickly-sown mine-field, the murderous machine guns and the deadly mortars all operated against any further advance by our men. Neither were their positions - by 0530 hours a portion of our forces had gained the west slope facing the church - tenable, for they could not dig in on the rocky hillside. Our artillerymen could not fire on the Germans entrenched in the church because our own infantrymen were too close to it. By dawn Company K had returned to its starting point.

Second Battalion units patrolled widely during the night, to the front and both flanks. At 0616 hours the Regimental observation post spotted an enemy gun flash at 924337, about 1,200 yards northwest of Gorgognano, and called for our air observer to watch that point. Artillery and mortar duels featured the activity of the remainder of the day. Early in the evening Anti-Tank Company forces reported more than a little activity around Zula, Maltempo (896337), and Barchetta.

At 1800 hours Regimental Operational Instructions No. 30, concerning counter-attack measures, was issued.

Troops of the First Battalion, in reserve, were paid this day. Four officers motored to the Hotel Excelsior in Florence for a five day vacation from combat.

[8 November 1944]

The period of 8 November was one of unusual stillness. Anti-personnel mines were installed in front of Company I by our engineers. Continuing to improve its defenses, the Third Battalion constructed dugouts and gun emplacements with timber, sandbags, and galvanized sheeting.

The Regimental commander placed Lieutenant-Colonel Rudolph D. Zobel in command of the Third Battalion, and Lieutenant-Colonel Sarratt T. Hames, acting commanding officer, returned to his post of Regimental executive officer. Lieutenant-Colonel Frank A. Reagan, former Third Battalion commander, had been evacuated on 30 October on account of illness.

At about 1615 hours a German self-propelled gun fired at one of our tanks below Gorgognano which had previously been knocked out. At 1730 hours the enemy laid down an artillery-impelled smoke-screen in front of the 91st Infantry Division sector, to our left, and at 1812 hours one was spread before our own positions. The reason for these screens did not develop.

[9 November 1944]

The Germans continued to be noticeably dormant in our sector after midnight, on 9 November. Our patrols were active throughout the night, drawing some machine-gun fire but not contacting the enemy directly. There was a degree of mortar and artillery harassing fire.

The Second Battalion took prisoner one soldier who deserted his unit, 5th Company, 71st Regiment, 29th Panzer Grenadier Division.

Operational Instructions No. 105 arrived from Divisional G-3, changing our boundary. Effective 1700 hours this day, the Regiment would be relieved of the Gorgognano church area, it being given to the 168th Infantry, on our right flank.

Arrangements were made with the 135th Infantry, which was to replace us on the nights of 10-11 and 11-12 November, to trade all weapons and ammunition except personal weapons and basic loads. Issued during the day, relevant to the relief, were Operational Instructions No. 31, with overlay (also indicating boundary change) and march table, and Training Memorandum No. 13, the latter outlining the training program to be followed by our troops in the Fifth Army "rest city" of Montecatini Terme, near Florence.

By the end of this day all civilians had been evacuated from our sector, their absence contributing to the convenience of military operations.

The normal amount of harassing self-propelled, mortar and artillery shells fell among our troops during the night, with little effect. Extensive patrolling was engaged in by companies of the Second and Third Battalions. As on the previous night, they drew ineffective machine-gun and mortar fire.

[10 November 1944]

The morning of 10 November brought a warm sun which melted the light snow that had fallen overnight. Our air observer took advantage of the excellent visibility, cruising the sky and scanning the terrain for enemy gun positions.

Final arrangements for our relief by the 135th Infantry were completed this day. Each of our battalions was instructed to leave behind one officer per battalion and one non-commissioned officer per company for 24 hours to help orient the replacing unit. Elements of the 109th Engineer, 757th Tank, and 804th Tank Destroyer Battalions were notified that they would be detached from us coincident with the relief, and attached to the 135th Infantry. The 109th Medical Battalion was to accompany us to the rest and training area. Our Company F completed relief of the 34th Cavalry Reconnaissance Troop at 1735 hours.

Enemy planes hummed over our command post at 1740 hours. They strafed rear areas, but no resultant damage was reported.

The front was quiet this night. Scattered machine-gun and self-propelled fire landed around the road block at Casa Trieste maintained by Company E, plus the normal volume of artillery harassing fires.

[11 November 1944]

A listening post set up by Company G remained at point 897330, just west of Monte Belmonte, during darkness. Returning at dawn of 11 November, the soldiers reported no signs of remarkable enemy activity. Daylight missions were flown by American fighter-bombers over our immediate front. They bombed and strafed targets northwest of Monte Belmonte. First Lieutenant Paul W. McGinnis of Anti-Tank Company was wounded in the day's actions.

By 2300 hours 11 November the Regiment had been entirely relieved, without incident, by the 135th Infantry, the command of the sector passing to the latter organization at that time.

[11-19 November 1944]

So, on this Armistice Day, most auspiciously, the 133rd Infantry entered a period of rest and training with which to afford our battle-weary troops relaxation and instruction in agreeable portions. No training of any kind was to be carried on during the first four days in Montecatini Terme. For the training program followed from 16 November to the end of the period, refer to Training Memorandum No. 13, issued 9 November; Annex "A" to that memorandum, issued 14 November; and Overlay No. 5 showing mines, firing ranges, and training areas, also dated 14 November.

Montecatini Terme, some 25 miles west of Florence on Highway 66, is a resort city famed in peacetime Italy for its hot mineral waters. Now utilized by the American Fifth Army as a rest and training center for its combat troops, the city was formerly used for the same purpose by the enemy, and to house their wounded. Its stately bathing establishments, attractive parks and gardens, wide, tree-lined avenues and many hotels and shops, intact if somewhat shabby in appearance from lack of care in recent years, provided a novel, restful setting for the leisure-time activities of our combat troops.

The 200 hotels and pensions in the resort served as billets for our infantrymen, and they reveled in the uncommon experience of sleeping, often on soft beds and cots, in rooms with running water and electric lights. Indoor toilets were also a welcome change from straddle trenches. The weather during the nine-day "vacation" was, with the exception of one moderately rainy day, clear and pleasantly cool.

A variety of diversions and services were placed at the disposal of our soldiers. They embraced eagerly every activity.

Dances, arranged by First Lieutenant Wilbur R. Irwin, special services officer, were enjoyed nightly by one unit or another. These affairs were replete with personable Italian girls residing in Montecatini Terme and neighboring towns, music played by the 34th Division Band or by local orchestras, and liquid refreshments. The dances offered both enlisted men and officers delightful moments of feminine companionship and rousing good fellowship. The pleasure derived from motion pictures and stage presentations, shown every afternoon and evening in four theaters, also had a salutary effect on the morale of our troopers.

Many soldiers spent some of their leisure hours strolling or riding in carriages through the charming parks and broad avenues of the city, and gazed upon the beautiful mountains of Valdinievole to the north. Stores which dotted the resort were well patronized by American soldiers shopping for Christmas gifts to send to relatives and friends in the United States. Those who made purchases had their presents wrapped at the American Red Cross Club. Housed in a spacious building, the club provided various facilities and pastimes, among them a tailoring shop, reading, writing and game rooms, a snack bar, and movies and stage shows.

Religious services were held daily for the spiritual well being of our soldiers. On 19 November Captains Bernard E. Burns, Fred J. Edgar and Wilbur J. Kerr, Regimental chaplains, and a Jewish chaplain from Fifth Army conducted rites in memory of members of the Regiment who have died in their country's service. Christmas cards, for mailing to the States, were distributed to the troops on 17 November.

Happily, in view of the pride our men habitually take in their appearance, bathing and clothing exchange opportunities were plentiful. In addition to showers, hot sulphur baths were available in great number. The soldiers took particularly full advantage of the latter, enjoying the novelty of soaking and cleansing their bodies in huge tubs of hot mineral water. Clothing exchanges were operated in conjunction both with showers and baths. Every barber shop in the city always had a waiting line.

A local photographic studio was reserved for personnel of the 133rd Infantry. Many soldiers posed for their portrait and mailed copies of it home to their loved ones. Sports equipment was available for use by all units. Dental and eye clinics were prepared to serve any man requiring treatment. A shoe repair section was open to all units.

On 12 November fourteen officers went to the Excelsior Hotel in Rome for a five-day stay, four officers traveling to the Hotel Excelsior in Florence for the same period. On 14 November troops of the Second Battalion were paid. Four officers motored to the Excelsior Hotel in Florence on 17 November. Duck-down, slide-fastening mountain sleeping bags were issued to the troops this day.

Highlight of the Regiment's sojourn in Montecatini Terme was the visit on 16 November by Lieutenant-General Mark W. Clark, Fifth Army commander. At a formal decoration and promotion ceremony at which he honored many members of his command, General Clark presented awards to the following soldiers of the 133rd Infantry:

- Oak Leaf Cluster to the Distinguished Service Cross to Colonel Braun;

- Distinguished Service Crosses to Staff Sergeant William H. Eastland and Private Edwin J. Lemke; and

- Silver Stars to Captain Cleo W. Buxton, First Lieutenant James E. Henderson, Sergeant Chester S. Gutkowski and Private First Class Clarence E. Dickison.

General Clark also presented a combat promotion as first lieutenant to Second Lieutenant Edgar A. Lyon and a combat appointment as second lieutenant to Staff Sergeant Robert C. Osborne.

Two days later, on 18 November, Major-General Charles L. Bolte, 34th Division commander, presented 27 Bronze Stars to men of the Regiment.

This same day Lieutenant-Colonel Frank A. Reagan became commanding officer of the Regiment, Colonel Gustav A. Braun having been appointed assistant commander of the 34th Division the day before. Previously, on 12 November Captain Louis F. Kaleita, First Battalion S-1, was named Regimental S-1. He replaced Captain Donald L. Nabity, who was leaving on rotation to the United States.

A pre-Thanksgiving dinner, with turkey and all the trimmings, was served to the troops on 19 November.

A number of war correspondents and photographers spent several days in Montecatini Terme, gathering material for stories about individuals and units in our organization, Among the public relations figures present were Master Sergeant Joe McCarthy, editor-in-chief, and Sergeants Jack Scott, staff correspondent, and Steven Derry, staff photographer, of "Yank" magazine; Messrs. William King and Henry W. Bagley of the Associated Press; Sergeant Robert Fleisher, "Stars and Stripes" staff writer; Messrs. Alan Fisher and Frank Norall of the Coordinated Inter-American Affairs Commission; Mr. Joseph Hallawell of the British Broadcasting Corporation; and several correspondents from the Fifth Army Public Relations Section; and photographers from the Army Pictorial Service.

[20 November 1944]

Its soldiers greatly refreshed in mind and body, their morale high, the Regiment began departing from Montecatini Terme the morning of 20 November, bound for relief of the 361st Regiment of the 91st Division. (Refer to Operational Instructions No. 32, this headquarters, with overlay and march table. Map references for new sector: 1:25,000 87 II SE Pianoro, 87 II SW Sasso Bolognese, 98 I NE Monterenzio, and 98 I NW Loiano.) Lieutenant Colonel Reagan established his Regimental command post at La Guarda, 100 yards left of Highway 65 (867277 - Map 98 I NW). The Third Battalion went into Regimental reserve in the same village, from which all civilians had been evacuated.

[21 November 1944]

Between 0900 and 1100 hours on 21 November Company B, whose First Battalion had entered the line under cover of darkness the night before, came under extremely heavy artillery fire, suffering five dead and 10 wounded. Among the soldiers killed were Private Harold Latty, holder of the Distinguished Service Cross for his extraordinary heroism on the Anzio-Nettuno beachhead last May, when he and Corporal Norris P. Nelson, also cited, held off an estimated battalion of Germans with but two machine guns.

[22 November 1944]

At 0600 hours 22 November the Regimental commander assumed full control of the sector, relief of the 361st Infantry being absolute by that hour. Positions of our troops are shown on Overlay No. 6. Two Company A men were wounded at 0545 hours above di Sopra (876311 - Map 87 II SE Pianoro). A three-man enemy patrol crept up from the right and threw hand grenades at them.

During the day observation posts were established and our front line units further organized and strengthened their positions in preparation for the accomplishment of the Regiment's mission, that of carrying on an active defense of the sector.

Training Memorandum No. 14 was issued, outlining the training to be conducted during the current period of active defense. All units were instructed to submit by 24 November overlays, sketches and explanatory notes relative to troop disposition and materiel.

This day Staff Sergeant Edward G. Ness of Company L and Sergeant John P. Monahan of Company K appeared on the Fifth Army Radio Hour. Both soldiers had been recommended for an award for outstanding achievement in combat. Four officers motored to the Excelsior Hotel in Florence for five days' recreation.

Work on shelters and gun emplacements was continued through the night by our two battalions on the line, the First and the Second, and a trip minefield was laid in front of Company A's positions.

[23 November 1944]

Except for continual artillery duels, the front was relatively quiet in the daylight hours of 23 November. At 1830 hours a five-man Company C reconnaissance patrol set off to check a building at 877326 on Highway 65. The group advanced to within 50 yards of the house and then drew machine-gun fire from three points. On returning the men were shelled by mortars, but experience no casualties.

At 2000 hours an 18-man Company C patrol, reinforced by a light machine-gun squad and led by Second Lieutenant Reginald P. Ballantyne left our lines on a foray into enemy territory. The groups' mission was to proceed along Highway 65 to Canovetta (877323) and take prisoners if possible. The soldiers reached Canovetta without incident, but on arriving were at once engaged in a fire fight by a force estimated at 25 Germans. Our patrol inflicted several casualties on the hostile soldiers before retiring. No prisoners were take. One of our men was wounded slightly. For detailed account of this raid see Patrol Report No. 2, dated 24 November. (Map References for all patrols: 1:25,000 87 II SE Pianoro and 87 II SW Sasso Bolognese.)

On this Thanksgiving Day troops of the Third Battalion, in reserve, enjoyed a turkey dinner.

[24 November 1944]

The usual amount of harassing artillery fire was received during the night, but no other activity was reported until just before dawn of 24 November. At 0545 hours a nine-man patrol penetrated Company C's positions at Giurduzza (871315). The raiders were dispersed by small-arms and mortar fire, one of the Axis soldiers deserting to our side. His unit was 7th Company, 12th Regiment, 4th Paratroop Division. The Regimental sector was fairly quiet from then until the middle of the morning, when Company B engaged the Germans to its front near La Fabbrica (875317). Our forces routed the enemy with small-arms fire, aided by Company D's mortars. The remainder of the day was calm, except for the customary artillery exchanges.

After dark, a field of 30 trip flares were laid in front of Company C's area to protect the line from infiltration and hostile patrols.

The latter part of the evening brought an increase in enemy activity. Two machine guns opened up on Company A positions, and Company C became a target of German tanks. The machine guns, pinpointed by our observation posts at 877326 and 879327, were take under fire by our attached platoon of Company B, 100th Chemical Mortar Battalion. The mortarmen silenced the guns.

The Second Battalion's sector, on the left of the First's, was dormant throughout the period, but contact by patrols was maintained.

From this day on our soldiers were instructed to husband their ammunition and to police up carefully any found in the sector, as a shortage of all types was developing.

There appeared in the "Stars and Stripes" of this day a feature story about Private Edwin J. Lemke of Company E, who a week before had been presented with the Distinguished Service Cross by General Clark for his heroism near Castagnetta last June, when he rescued a squad of his unit by killing five heavily armed Germans.

[25 November 1944]

At 0130 hours on 25 November the 151st Artillery Battalion fired an intense concentration on the reported position of the enemy tank which had been firing into Company C periodically for the past two hours. Our shelling silenced the gun in short order. Outside of artillery duels and normal patrolling, there was no other activity in the night.

The Third Battalion, still in reserve at La Guarda, continued its training program. Emphasized was the necessity of every infantryman being able to use every infantry weapon. Small-unit tactics also were stressed. A .50 caliber machine-gun group, formed to enlarge the number of soldiers capable of handling this piece, carried on a separate training schedule. In their leisure hours the troops attended movies, shown in a large tent.

At noon a very heavy fog filled the air, visibility dropping to the zero point, In the afternoon and evening hostile artillery grew in intensity, but after midnight the amount of harassing fire of all types was normal in volume. First Battalion listening posts reported hearing machine guns firing from the vicinity of 876322, below Canovetta.

[26 November 1944]

During a cloudy, misty 26 November our front-line troops worked on their defenses, continuing to improve and construct shelters, emplacements and similar installations. Our reserve battalion, the Third, carried on its training activities.

This day 34 enlisted men, accompanied by a duty officer, departed for five days' pleasure at the Fifth Army Rest Center in Florence, Bill Mauldin, cartoonist and creator of the "Stars and Stripes" feature "Up Front", began a three-day stay with First Battalion units, gathering material for his famous cartoon series.

[27 November 1944]

A rainy night passed without incident. At daylight of 27 November a dense fog clung to the valleys.

During the day, in response to the request of higher headquarters that the Regiment engage in more active and numerous patrols than heretofore, instructions were given the battalions for the proper conduct of their patrol program. (Refer to Regimental Operational Instructions No. 33.) Also issued were plans for the employment of the reserve battalion of the Regiment as a counter-attacking force. (See Overlay No. 7.)

This day four officers went to the Hotel Excelsior in Florence for a brief rest from combat.

[28 November 1944]

At 0100 hours, on 28 November, First Battalion positions received a terrific shelling. Over the next half-hour the Germans raked our line from 872315 to 878316 with more than 200 rounds of mixed caliber artillery, self-propelled and mortar shells. In order to forestall or slow up an enemy attack should this barrage prove to be a pre-assault concentration, our troops employed light and heavy mortars to comb all draws, ravines and likely hostile groupings to their front.

Then, almost in their own barrage, the Germans launched a strong infantry assault against the left flank platoon of Company B. Defensive fires were quickly brought down on the raiders, but they persisted in their attack for a furious hour before our infantrymen, led by Second Lieutenant Albert C. Mostrom, succeeded in throwing them back. The Germans wielded many rifle grenades and potato mashers.

At about 0430 hours a 10-man raiding party hit Company A's right flank platoon. The Germans, firing machine pistols and rifles and hurling grenades, were successfully beaten off by our soldiers under the leadership of Staff Sergeant Joseph Trevino, acting platoon leader. Our losses in these two engagements were few.

Several times this day hostile aircraft flew overhead; at 1720 hours an enemy plane strafed in the neighborhood of 863281, some 200 yards north of La Guarda.

During the evening relief of the Second Battalion by the Third was begun, and completed by 2100 hours.

A marked increase in the intensity of enemy artillery over that of the preceding day had been noted in the last 24 hours.

[29 November 1944]

Around 0500 hours on 29 November a great concentration of enemy artillery, mortar, and nebelwerfer (multi-barreled mortar) shells, estimated at 500 rounds, crashed in the town of Livergnano (Map !:25,000 98 I NE Monterenzio), 2,200 yards northeast of La Guarda. The greater part of the night, however, was quiet in our sector.

Continuing rain during the day turned trails into morasses of mud. There was a lull in activity, normal harassing fires breaking the stillness from time to time. At midnight most units reported light artillery fire, the sector being calm generally.

This day Lieutenant-Colonel Walden S. Lewis assumed command of the Regiment; Lieutenant-Colonel Reagan became executive officer.

Second Lieutenant Warren B. Finger departed for a week's attachment to the 15th Air Force as an observer.

[30 November 1944]

After a night marked by increased patrol activity by our troops (see Patrol Report No. 8, dated 30 November), but uneventful otherwise, a Regimental party left of the morning of 30 November to reconnoiter for an assembly area. We had been informed by Division that the Regiment would be partially relieved by the 362nd Regiment of the 91st Division beginning the night of 1-2 December. we were to take over part of the sector to our right. Reconnaissance parties from the 362nd Infantry, in turn, arrived in our sector to reconnoiter areas for which they would be responsible after the relief. Only normal artillery action, friendly and enemy, was reported as the month ended.

This day soldiers of the Second Battalion and the special units were paid for the month. Thirty-three enlisted men and one officer traveled to the Fifth Army Rest Camp in Florence for five days' relaxation.

[Summary]

In the month of November a record number of enlisted men were appointed to second lieutenant. They were Staff Sergeants Wendell L. Blythe, Marvin B. Gephart, James O. Lovelace, Robert C. Osborne, Gordon O. Palm, and Russell E. Saunders; and Sergeants John H. Anderson and Robert C. Burdick.

Three officers of the Regiment, Second Lieutenants James J. Hallal, James E. Van Eper, and Edgar A. Lyon, received combat promotions to first lieutenant.

Forty-one enlisted men and three officers departed in November for temporary duty in the United States. Twenty-five enlisted men and five officers left for the United States on rotation.

The month of November, in sum, was a period during which the 133rd Infantry conducted successfully an active defense of its sector on the Italian front. In anticipation of a Fifth Army offensive in the near future, we steadfastly improved our positions, resolutely repelled enemy attacks, and engaged in profitable reconnaissance and forceful patrolling.

The nature of the month's operations, largely defensive in character, kept our casualties low. We suffered 75 casualties. Of these 13 were killed in action, eight missing, and 54 wounded.

On 1 November the Regiment had an effective strength of 149 officers, six warrant officers, and 2675 enlisted men. On 30 November our effective strength was 136 officers, two warrant officers, and 2741 enlisted men. During the month we received four officers and 170 enlisted men as replacements. Thus, our strength experienced an increase of 49 men.

As of 30 November 1944 the 133rd Infantry had been overseas two years, 10 months, and 16 days.

For the Regimental Commander:

s/Louis F. Kaleita

LOUIS F. KALEITA

Captain, Infantry

Adjutant


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