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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 December 1944 to 31 December 1944, inclusive.

In the month of November 1944, the 133rd Infantry Regiment of the 34th Infantry Division had conducted successfully an active defense of its sector on the American Fifth Army front in Italy. As December began, we were steadily continuing this defense, At the same time, our troops trained, strengthened their positions, husbanded their ammunition, and regrouped in an overall plan for future offensive operations.

[1 December 1944]

During 1 December, after a quiet night of normal artillery and patrol action, preparations were begun for replacements of elements of our Regiment by elements of the 362nd Regiment of the 91st Infantry Division. This relief, scheduled for the coming night, was part of an extensive regrouping plan conceived by higher headquarters preparatory to a concerted push along the entire front (Refer to Operational Instructions No. 34). Briefly the scheme was as follows:

Our Third Battalion, less Company K, was to be relieved in place by the First Battalion of the 362nd Infantry. Company K was to remain in position. The relieved units of our Third Battalion were to replace our First Battalion, less Company C, thus widening the Third Battalion's front.

The Third Battalion was to retain control of this sector until 0600 hours 3 December, at which time command of our original sector would pass to the 91st Division. Simultaneously, the two left-flank companies of the battalion were to be attached to that organization. The elements of the battalion which were situated east of Highway 65 were to be attached to one of our sister regiments, the 168th, the unit on our right.

Our Second Battalion, currently our reserve battalion, was to be attached to the 168th Infantry also, the attachment being effective at 0600 hours 2 December. Our Cannon and Anti-Tank Companies were to be relieved by the corresponding companies of the 362nd Infantry the night of 2-3 December. Anti-Tank Company would join our First Battalion and Regimental Headquarters Company, with the Regimental command post, in an area just south of Loiano (865235 - Map 1:25,000 98 I NW). Our Company C, to be relieved by a company of the 362nd's Third Battalion the following night, was to join the rest of its battalion in the assembly area at Loiano.

Completion of this plan, consequently, would leave our Second and Third Battalion on the line, under other control, while the remainder of the Regiment entered Divisional reserve.

In the anticipated offensive, the mission of our two active battalions would be to hold the present front line until the two attacking Regiments of the 34th Division, the 135th and the 168th, had secured their first phase line. At any time thereafter the 133rd Infantry was to be prepared to pass through or around the 135th and attack northward. (Front line on 1 December: from Gruppi (864306 - Map 1:25,000 98 I NW) to Lucca (868312 - Map 1:25,000 87 II SW) to Giuarduzza (872315 - Map 1:25,000 87 II SE) to 100 yards below Casa Canovetta (876322 - same map) then across Highway 65 to escarpment at 880321 (same map), 200 yards southeast of Casa Canovetta.)

During the day reconnaissance was made by elements of the 362nd Infantry in preparation for the night's regrouping. The relief, started early in the evening, was completed without incident by 2330 hours. Some units reported receiving a degree of long-range machine-gun harassing fire. At 2400 hours the weather was cool and clear, following a day of chilling rain.

[2 December 1944]

Throughout the early morning hours of 2 December the front remained generally quiet, although our patrols were active (see Patrol Report No. 10. Map references for all patrols during the month: 1:25,000 87 II SE and 87 II SW).

Cannon Company was relieved during the day and attached to the 168th Infantry. At about 1700 hours our Second Battalion, now under control of the 168th, began the move to the latter's sector to undertake the relief of elements of that Regiment. The relief was completed without incident by 2200 hours. Our First Battalion spent the day cleaning up, and making habitable its mud-ridden area near Loiano.

This cool, cloudy day five officers departed for a brief stay at the Hotel Excelsior in Florence.

[3 December 1944]

Our patrols were active again in the hours of darkness (refer to Patrol Report No. 11). By 0100 hours of 3 December all elements of the First Battalion had been relieved, as had been Anti-Tank Company. At 0600 hours the commanding officer of the 168th Infantry assumed command of the sector. An hour later the Regimental command post closed out at La Guarda (867277 - Map 1:25,000 98 I NW) and moved four miles back along Highway 65 to Loiano.

During the day the commanders of Anti-Tank Company and First Battalion units were instructed to arrange training schedules for the next six days. The programs, calling for a minimum of three hours' training daily, were to stress the importance of all personnel being able to use all infantry weapons.

This day Lieutenant-Colonel Walter J. Skelly was placed in command of the First Battalion. Major Linus T. Williams, erstwhile commander, became executive officer of the unit, relieving Captain Richard F. Wilkinson, who was named assistant Regimental S-3. Second Lieutenant James R. Roskelly and 17 enlisted men left for a two-week course at the Mine Warfare and Demolition School in Caserta.

[4 December 1944]

On 4 December a demonstration of the 4.5 caliber rocket gun was given at Santa Agata, south of Firenzuola, for members of the Anti-Tank Company. Future plans called for the possible employment of anti-tank men in the use of this new weapon. A school for flame throwers in the 109th Engineer Combat Battalion area was attended by two Company L soldiers. This team was to demonstrate with the flame thrower against a pre-designated target to the company front at H-hour of the coming offensive. The First Battalion and Anti-Tank Company commenced their scheduled week's training period. Company D gunners began manning their .50 caliber machine guns as an anti-aircraft measure.

Just before dark several rounds of long-range artillery fell within a few hundred yards of the First Battalion's area near Loiano.

This day Major Walter D. Hewitt replaced Major Jacob R. Magnani as executive officer of the Second Battalion. Major Magnani was leaving for the United States on rotation. Captain Fred R. Edgar, Regimental chaplain, traveled to the Fifth Area rear command post in Florence to attend a one-day instructional conference for chaplains. He was to attend similar sessions on 11 and 18 December. To the Fifth Army Rest Camp in Florence went 42 enlisted men and a duty officer, all from the First Battalion. This day, also, troops of that unit were paid.

[5 December 1944]

During the night the 135th Infantry entered the line on the left of the 168th Infantry. At 0600 hours 5 December our Second Battalion and those troops of the Third Battalion east of Highway 65 - Company L and elements of Company K - became attached to the 135th Infantry. For operational and administrative convenience the 135th attached the Third Battalion members to the [133rd] Second Battalion.

American Red Cross workers visited First Battalion companies during the day, serving coffee and doughnuts. Our soldiers played the Victrola and read the magazines which the Red Cross girls brought with them.

This day Major James R. McClymont, Captain Clayton K. Horton, and 66 enlisted men returned from temporary duty in the United States. Major McClymont resumed his [post as Regimental S-2, relieving Captain William M. Joost, who became Second Battalion S-2 on 8 December. Captain Horton resumed his duties as commanding officer of Regimental Headquarters Company, relieving First Lieutenant Edward B. Edwards, who was named executive officer.

[6 December 1944]

On 6 December another demonstration of the 4.5 caliber rocket gun was held for personnel of Anti-Tank Company, and school was again conducted for the flame thrower team from Company L.

Our Company E, on the line with the 135th Infantry, picked up two Axis deserters from 2nd Company, 147th Regiment, 65th Infantry Division, and captured three enemy belonging to 1st Company, 1059th Regiment, 362nd Infantry Division.

[7 December 1944]

Dawn of Pearl Harbor Day, 7 December, came in on a high wind which for the next 48 hours required constant tightening of the pyramidal tent ropes in the First Battalion and Anti-Tank Company areas. Despite the gale, our units continued their training activities.

Four officers motored this day to the Hotel Excelsior in Florence for several days pleasure.

[8 December 1944]

Chilling rain joined the whipping wind on 8 December. Training schedules were now interrupted by the terrific storm. The soldiers had to spend most of the day re-pitching tents which had blown down, and in digging ditches to drain water from the mud-engulfed region.

Advance information was received from Division that Companies I and K possibly would be moved in the near future, and we were instructed to reconnoiter for an area for these units. One officer and 22 enlisted men from Anti-Tank Company departed for II Corps Headquarters to attend a 4.5 rocket gun school.

Forty-one enlisted men traveled to Florence for five days' rest.

[9 December 1944]

The First Battalion, less Company D, was attached to the 168th Infantry at 0600 hours 9 December preparatory to relieving the right sector of the 168th on the night of 10-11 December. During the day orders were received from higher headquarters for Anti-Tank Company to furnish one three-quarter-ton truck and driver, one supply sergeant, and one telephone operator to act as part of a headquarters for the II Corps rocket school.

Our Company K was relieved by Company B of the 362nd Infantry, and Company I was relieved by Company K of the same organization, relief being complete by 2000 and 2100 hours, respectively. Our Companies I, less one platoon, and K closed in their reserve area at 872230, some 1,100 yards southeast of Loiano, at 2300 hours.

[10 December 1944]

Early in the evening of 10 December, Regimental Headquarters Company mess was interrupted by light shelling of the area. There were no casualties. Shortly afterward, at dusk, enemy planes flew over the Regimental sector. Met by concentrated anti-aircraft fire, they neither bombed nor strafed in our area.

At 2130 hours Company A relieved Company L and one platoon of Company I. Following the change, Company A platoons were situated at 874322, 876322, 877321, and 878319, immediately below Casa Canovetta. Companies C and B relieved, respectively, Companies I and B of the 168th Infantry at 2320 hours.

It was a day of rain and fog, and the night was cold.

This day Mr. James H. Smith became attached to the Regiment as field director for the American Red Cross, relieving Mr. Frederick O'Hair, who in turn transferred to Fifth Army Headquarters. Second Lieutenant Milton R. Ford of the 15th Air Force arrived to observe infantry action in our sector.

[11 December 1944]

As of 11 December, units of the Regiment other than those remaining under our control were deployed as follows: First Battalion, less Company A, attached to 168th Infantry; Second Battalion, Cannon Company, and Companies A and M, all attached to 135th Infantry.

During this day our troops under Regimental control continued their training activities. Many soldiers availed themselves of the facilities of the nearby 34th Division Bath Unit and Clothing Exchange.

German artillery and mortar harassing fires were light against our forward elements; rear units received the usual amount of medium-caliber shelling.

Overlay No. 1, showing roads and friendly and enemy minefields in the sector, was issued this day.

Five commissioned officers, one warrant officer, and one non-commissioned officer returned from temporary duty in the United States. Major Jack T. Rush was assigned to our organization as Regimental surgeon, replacing Captain Alex Brown, who left for the United States for assignment as hospital cadre.

[12 December 1944]

Throughout a misty 12 December our units encamped around Loiano carried on their training schedule. Companies I and K fired small arms on an improvised range.

Second Battalion soldiers, on the line, apprehended three suspected enemy agents, and turned them over to the 135th Infantry.

Late in the morning of this day 42 enlisted men and a duty officer departed for a few days' relaxation in Florence. Four officers traveled to the Hotel Excelsior there.

[13 December 1944]

At 0930 and 1030 hours on 13 December an orientation film, "Britain, Our Ally", was exhibited in the Third Battalion area. At 1415 hours Lieutenant-Colonel Walden S. Lewis, Regimental commanding officer, spoke to commissioned and non-commissioned officers of the Third Battalion. Companies K and L fired M-1s, Browning automatic rifles, and carbines on the range.

The volume of German harassing artillery shells was moderate at the end of the day, in contrast to the fire during the afternoon. At midnight a light, wet snow was falling.

Troops of the Third Battalion were paid this day.

[14 December 1944]

On 14 December Company I fired automatic rifles and Company K shot automatic rifles and carbines on the range. Company I fired light machine guns on a 1,000 inch range. These units also test-fired bazookas.

The Germans continued to carry out their daily harassing program. An increase in their artillery fire was noted toward the latter part of this cool, dampish day.

Major Edward M. Fabert, who had been wounded and evacuated in October, returned from the hospital and was reassigned as executive officer of the Third Battalion. Major Merton E. Church, acting executive officer, was assigned to the Regimental Headquarters staff.

Issued this day for the Regimental commander by the Regimental S-2 was a memorandum revealing that from 26 September 1943 [the landing at Salerno] to 6 December 1944 the 133rd Infantry captured 1,734 German and Italian prisoners of war. (Memorandum, presenting statistics in detail is [not] attached herewith.)

[15 December 1944]

On 15 December Companies K and L received further instruction in the effective use of the light machine gun. Company I fired rifle grenades and rockets on the range.

One platoon of Company E, attached to the 135th Infantry with the Second Battalion, engaged in battle with a 10-man enemy patrol which launched a raid against our group's position at Poggio di sopra (897327 - Map 1:25,000 87 II SE), west of Monte Belmonte. A brief fire fight resulted in the capture of one German and in several casualties among the hostile forces. Subsequent interrogation of the prisoner, whose unit was 6th Company, 147th Regiment, 65th Infantry Division, revealed that the raiding party's mission had been to investigate the house at the coordinates given above. Later in the day another Axis soldier was taken by Company F. His unit was 7th Company, 146th Regiment, 65th Infantry Division.

First Battalion observers, with the 168th Infantry, spotted enemy at various points during the day, among the places being the church and cemetery at Gorgognano (913334 - Map 1:25,00 87 II SE), 1000 yards northeast of Monte Belmonte. Eight Axis soldiers were cutting trees near the road by the church, long an enemy stronghold, and seemed to be repairing the road there. Company D harassed by long-range fire the church, cemetery, and the town of Poggiolo, 800 yards west of Gorgognano.

Hostile harassing artillery increased in the rear areas as the day progressed. A light mist pervaded the air as the day ended.

[16 December 1944]

Through a cool, hazy 16 December the Germans confined their artillery efforts principally to the harassing of forward elements, with some emphasis on medium-caliber harassing of rear areas adjacent to Highway 65.

As on previous days, our units under Regimental Control around Loiano engaged in training activities. Company I men concentrated on the light machine gun and the 60 millimeter mortar. Company H troops fired light machine guns on the 1,000 inch range, and Company L soldiers fired M-1 rifles.

Division informed us during the morning that our Third Battalion, less Company M, would be attached to the 135th Regiment as of 0600 hours the following day for the purpose of relieving our Second Battalion, less Company H. Upon completion of the relief, Company H would be attached to the Third Battalion. The remainder of the Second would move to Montecatini Terme, Fifth Army rest city 25 miles west of Florence. Arrangements were made between the commanding officers of the 133rd and 135th Infantry for this relief to take effect the night of 17 December.

This day 42 enlisted men traveled by trucks to the Fifth Army Rest Camp in Florence for five days' pleasure.

[17 December 1944]

Late in the afternoon of 17 December the Third Battalion began its scheduled replacement of the Second Battalion in the manner prescribed by Division the day before.

Enemy artillery harassment of our rear areas steadily diminished in volume this day. Artillery and mortar harassing fires against our elements on the line continued relatively light.

[18 December 1944]

By 0115 hours of 18 December relief of the Second Battalion by the Third was absolute, the latter unit assuming responsibility for the sector at that time. Thereupon, the Second Battalion (less Company H, which stayed on the line), entrucked for Montecatini Terme.

Hostile artillery activity again was negligible. Light harassing of our forward positions was the extent of German action.

First Lieutenant Herbert J. Tregre, Second Lieutenant Paul E. Heinemann and 17 enlisted men departed this day for a two-week course at the Mine Warfare and Demolition School in Caserta.

[19 December 1944]

Anti-Tank Company soldiers continued training on 19 December. Very light artillery and mortar fire dominated the scheme of German harassing efforts. Harassment of our forward areas was conservative. At the close of the period the weather was moderately cold, with dense fog.

[20 December 1944]

On 20 December the commanding officers of the 133rd and 135th Infantry visited our First Battalion's forward command post at 909310, near Sassolungo (Mat 1:25,000 87 II SE), 1,800 yards south of Monte Belmonte.

A Company C patrol, consisting on one officer and eight enlisted men, left at 2100 hours, its mission to knock out an enemy machine gun at 919330, about 1,500 yards east of Monte Belmonte. The soldiers proceeded to a point north of houses at 917323, some 1,400 yards southeast of Monte Belmonte, when they were fired upon by light and heavy mortars. They nevertheless continued up the valley and encountered intense machine-gun fire from point 919331, about 1,300 yards east of Monte Belmonte. Unable to proceed farther, the group returned.

Friendly aircraft flew patrols over our front lines during the night.

This day 42 enlisted men and one duty officer traveled to Florence for a five-day stay at the Fifth Army Rest Camp.

[21 December 1944]

On 21 December Operational Instructions No. 35 were issued, concerning relief of the Third Battalion by the Second, which was resting at Montecatini Terme. The front was quiet, patrolling and artillery exchanges again dominating the activity.

[22 December 1944]

During the morning of 22 December, Division cancelled the proposed relief of the Third Battalion by the Second, which was to have taken place on the night of 23-24 December. The Third Battalion was ordered to stay in place; the Second to stay in Montecatini Terme until the morning of 25 December, when it was to displace forward. Later in the day the time of departure was set ahead to the morning of 26 December.

In response to a call from Divisional G-3, our request for signals to be listed on the proposed color scheme of signals during the coming operation were sent to Division. The requests were as follows: 1. Objective taken. 2. Mark forward positions. 3. Counter-attack. 4. Enemy armor attack. 5. Smoke signal for marking targets for air support.

YANK Magazine of this date contained a four page feature article, with photographs and drawings, about our First Battalion. Written by Master Sergeant Joe McCarthy, YANK staff correspondent, and entitled "Iron-Man Battalion", the story recounted some of the achievements of the unit and its members, pointing out that "The 1st Battalion of the 133rd Infantry was the first U. S. line outfit to land in Europe and it's still battling the Germans." The text of that article is online here.

Five officers motored to the Hotel Excelsior in Florence for a few days' respite from combat duty.

[23 December 1944]

On the morning of 23 December the Company L two-man flame-thrower team left our command post for the command post of the 135th Infantry. This team was to be used in conjunction with the jump-off of that Regiment.

Both our Battalions on the line, the First and the Third, reported that they had experienced marked enemy patrol activity to their front through the night. Each unit had suffered two casualties from hostile artillery and mortar harassing fire. The Third Battalion received small amounts of large-caliber artillery estimated to be 170 millimeter, and some rocket-gun fire.

Overlay No. 2, serving as annex to Overlay No. 1 dated 11 December, was issued indicating additional enemy minefields.

This day a mimeographed Christmas message from the Regimental commander was distributed to every member of his command.

Fifty enlisted men, two lieutenants, and one major arrived this day as infantry replacements.

[24 December 1944]

Shortly after midnight, on 24 December, the Third Battalion reported that throughout the preceding 24 hours it had absorbed the usual volume of harassing mortar and artillery fire. Some enemy patrol activity in the large draw north of Casa Torriani (884323), 2,000 yards west of Monte Belmonte, was noted during the hours of darkness, but no large-scale activities of any kind developed. In the early evening hostile movement was heard in the vicinity of Zula (884333), 1,900 yards above Casa Torriani. Nothing untoward occurred as a consequence, however. Only normal harassing and interdictory fires were reported from the First Battalion sector. Our customary security and reconnaissance patrols were active in both battalion sectors.

This day 42 men traveled in trucks to Florence for a few days' pleasure at the Fifth Army Rest Center there.

[25 December 1944, Christmas Day]

Our soldiers awoke on Christmas Day to find a soft blanket of snow over the mud through which they had slogged for the last three months and more. The atmosphere was clear and crisp.

This day, in response to a request from Division, a report was submitted concerning the number of days that this Regiment had faced the enemy in Italy. The report revealed that to date the 133rd Infantry had been on the line in the Italian campaign a total of 252 days. This total represents actual combat days, exclusive of any kind of reserve status.

At 1930 hours Company A was relieved by a company of the 135th Regiment and departed for Montecatini Terme. At the same hour, a Second Battalion quartering party arrived at the Regimental command post, seeking as assembly area to be occupied by that unit upon its return from the rest city.

At about 2000 hours German airplanes were active above the sector. A few sticks of bombs were dropped and several areas were strafed, but no casualties or damage were reported.

Imbued with the spirit of Christmas, on this holy day many of our soldiers attended religious services, and presented gifts of food, candy, cigarettes and soap, selected from packages from home, to needy civilians. Mess personnel served delicious turkey dinners, with all the traditional trimmings, to every soldier not actually on the line.

[26 December 1944]

Company A arrived in Montecatini Terme at 0300 hours 26 December. At 0700 hours the Second Battalion left that city preparatory to relieving our First Battalion, under control of the 168th Infantry.

At 1305 hours telephonic orders were received from Division that the First Battalion was to assemble near Loiano, Company A to rejoin it on the morning of 27 December. Corrected Operational Instructions No. 35 were issued concerning the Divisional reserve status of the Regiment. Trucks were ordered to Montecatini, there to be ready to move Company A at a moment's notice. At 1700 hours orders were received from Division that Companies D, M, and Cannon were to remain attached to the 135th Infantry. The Third Battalion was to be removed from control of the 135th the night of 27 December.

Our Second Battalion's relief of our First was completed by 2200 hours. At 2230 hours our Company A was replaced by Company K of the 135th Infantry.

Around midnight a German patrol infiltrated to the left of Company I's positions at di Sopra (866311 - Map 1:25,000 87 II SE), 2,500 yards southwest of Monte Belmonte. The Germans suffered two dead and one captured after hitting our minefield there and being met with our rifle and machine-gun fire.

[27 December 1944]

At 0100 hours 27 December the Regimental commander led a small command post group forward to Casola (894295 - Map 1:25,000 98 I NE), about 3,500 yards south of Monte Belmonte. Arriving at 0300 hours, the party established a forward command post in preparation for relieving the 135th Infantry and taking over control of that Regiment's sector (refer to Operational Instructions No. 36). Full command of the sector was assumed by the commanding officer of the 133rd Infantry at 1730 hours.

The following units were attached to the Regiment upon our taking charge of the sector: one platoon of Company B, and Company C less one platoon, 757th Tank Battalion; one platoon of Company C, 804th Tank Destroyer Battalion; and one platoon of Company B, 100th Chemical Mortar Battalion.

Our Companies K, E, H and Anti-Tank relieved, respectively, Companies A, B, H and Anti-Tank of the 135th Infantry between 2015 and 2100 hours. At 2400 hours our Company F was moving forward, Company G, currently our reserve company, moved slightly to the rear. Our First Battalion moved in on an assembly area near Sadurano (886292 - Map 1:25,000 98 I NE), 900 yards southwest of Casola. Refer to Overlay No. 3 for troop dispositions at 2400 hours.

This day four officers traveled to Florence, one to Rome for a brief "vacation".

[28 December 1944]

Company F closed in on its forward position at 0345 hours 28 December; all units were now in their new areas and our relief of the 135th Infantry was complete.

On account of the present disposition of our active units, Major Timothy F. Horan, head of the Second Battalion, assumed command of Companies E, G, K and M, while Lieutenant-Colonel Rudolph D. Zobol of the Third Battalion took charge of Companies F, L, I and H.

The assistant Regimental S-3, following Divisional Instructions, made a reconnaissance of a proposed assembly area for the Regiment in and around the village of Piancaldoli (948170 - Map 1:50,000 98 I), five miles east of Highway 65 and seven miles southeast of Loiano.

During the period no apparent change was detected in the enemy's intentions in our sector, nor in the scheme of his harassing program, which again was on a restricted scale. German medium-caliber artillery harassed rear areas again.

For the night's patrol activities see Patrol Report No. 2, dated 29 December. Issued late in the evening were Overlay Nos. 4, 5, 6 and 7 showing, respectively, positions of our 81 millimeter mortars with concentrations, artillery and Cannon Company defensive fires in our sector, fire plan of heavy and light machine guns, and fire plan of our 57 millimeter anti-tank guns.

Forty-two enlisted men, accompanied by a duty officer, departed this day for five days' pleasure in Florence.

[29 December 1944]

At 0935 hours 29 December, Division informed us that the relief of the Regiment would begin this night, our organization to move to the Piancaldoli area. Company A of the 109th Engineer Combat Battalion and Company A of the 109th Medical Battalion were to be attached to the Regiment.

Issued this day were Overlay Nos. 8, 9 and 10 showing, respectively, our troops positions as of 0300 hours, positions of our 60 millimeter mortars with concentrations, and locations of our ammunition dumps.

At 1930 hours Divisional Operational Instructions No. 122 were issued, pertaining to the relief (see Regimental Operational Instructions No. 37). By 2030 hours 30 December elements of the 88th and 91st Infantry Divisions had assumed full control of the sector. For positions of our troops at 0315 hours 30 December see Overlay No. 11.

[30 December 1944]

Shortly before dawn of 30 December soldiers of our Third Battalion reported that what they believed to have been a German patrol had accidentally set off one of its own mines at 891327, about 1,000 yards west of Monte Belmonte. Several days previously a prisoner captured by anther unit of the Division said that the Germans had lost sketches to a number of their minefields. As a result, they had suffered several casualties. The incident reported by the Third Battalion tended to bear out the captive's story.

This day and night our various companies were in the process of moving to assembly areas in the vicinity of Piancaldoli. The Regimental command post at Casola closed out at 2100 hours and opened in Piancaldoli at 2330 hours. A snowstorm whitened the earth again during the morning and afternoon. By nightfall roads were slick and packed hard, making vehicle movement a matter of some risk.

During this period, as in the recent past, enemy activity consisted primarily of medium-caliber artillery harassing fires in our rear areas. Harassing of forward positions was light.

For location of our troops at 2400 hours refer to overlay No. 12.

[31 December 1944, New Year's Eve]

By 0200 hours of 31 December all units of the Regiment except Company I, Cannon and Service Companies, and a section of heavy machine guns from Company H had closed in the new area. Cannon Company arrived at 1100 hours.

At noon the Regimental command post was visited by Major-General Charles L. Bolte, Divisional commander, and Colonel Gustav J. Braun, assistant Divisional commander, who discussed with the Regimental commander a proposed defensive set-up. The 34th Division proposed to occupy a secondary defense line in the new region, the Regimental sector being outlined on Overlay No. 13.

In the afternoon the Regimental commander and the Regimental S-2 reconnoitered the site of the planned defensive line, preparatory to beginning work on positions, emplacements, trenches, observation posts, and other installations.

During the early evening the commanding officers of all our units and the commander of Company A of the 109th Engineer Combat Regiment conferred with the Regimental commander on the forthcoming defensive alignment. Missions were assigned to each unit (see Overlay No. 13).

At 2300 hours Company I and the section of Company H's heavy machine guns joined the Regiment. Service Company, the only unit not having closed in the area as yet, was to arrive within the next two days. Dispositions of all units and the position Service Company was to occupy are depicted on Overlay No. 14.

As the troubled year of 1944 ended, the weather was clear and bracing. Our soldiers celebrated New Year's Eve with modest parties, in which they sang songs, partook of delicacies they had received from home in recent weeks, and drank liquid refreshments made available to them by the Regiment at a modest charge. No enemy action of any kind disturbed our troops as they eagerly interred the old year and hopefully greeted the new.

[Summary]

In the month of December a record number of non-commissioned officers won combat appointments to second lieutenant. A round dozen were elevated: Ronald C. Davis, Sylvester Decker, Arnold Luzom, Howard M. Dickinson, Jack H. Remund, Donald H. Dearborn, Roy M. Ramsdal, Harvey D. White, Lawrence E. Hartzell, John Decker, Walter L. Ranard, and Louis F. Provino.

First Lieutenant Henry O. Wylegala received a combat promotion to captain, and Second Lieutenant Ralph H. Little became a first lieutenant.

Thirty-nine enlisted men and four officers departed in December for temporary duty in the United States. Twenty-four enlisted men and four officers left the Regiment for the United States on rotation.

As in November the defensive nature of our operations in December kept our casualty figure low. We suffered 70 casualties, fiver fewer than in the previous month. Eleven men were killed in action, three listed as missing, and 56 wounded or injured.

On 1 December the Regiment had an effective strength of 136 officers, two warrant officers, and 2,741 enlisted men. On 31 December our effective strength was 142 officers, three warrant officers, and 2,549 enlisted men as replacements[sic]. Thus, our strength experienced a drop of 185 members.

In the year 1944 the 133rd Infantry fought 171 miles up the Italian boot, from the Radicosa Mountains below Cassino to less than 11 miles south of Bologna. After Cassino we embarked for Anzio, where we resumed our offensive. Our fighting miles since the start of the Italian campaign in September, 1943, number 251 as of 31 December. Memorable in peril and hardship among the places we had battled for and wrested from a stubborn adversary were Benevento, Alife, San Maria di Oliveto, Lanuvio, Cecina, Montepiano, Monte Venere, Monzuno, and strategic Monte Belmonte. The Regiment played a vital role in the struggle for Cassino, in the liberation of Rome, and in the successful breaching of the Gothic Line across the Apennines.

In 1944 the 133rd Infantry experienced a total of 4,038 casualties: 694 dead, 352 missing, 2,992 wounded or injured. For the Italian campaign available figures show a total of 4,539: 805 dead, 358 missing, 3,376 wounded or injured. (Some of those missing in action may later have been listed as dead or captured, or returned from straggling.) Our greatest number of casualties, 709, occurred in October 1944, in the fighting around Monte Venere and Monte Belmonte, where the weather and terrain were highly unfavorable and the enemy resisted with concentrated ferocity.

Since the start of the Italian campaign soldiers of the 133rd Infantry have been awarded four Congressional Medals of Honor, 22 Distinguished Service Crosses, one Legion of Merit, 158 Silver Stars, one Soldier's Medal, 263 Bronze Stars, and more than 20 Division Citations. On 1 December 1944 it was announced that our organization had been designated a Combat Infantry Regiment, and as such was entitled thenceforth to fly the Combat Infantry Streamer on its colors and guidons.

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

For the Regimental Commander:

s/Louis F. Kaleita

LOUIS F. KALEITA

Captain, Infantry

Adjutant


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