May dawned bright and clear and found the men of the 133rd Infantry relentlessly pursuing the disorganized and fleeing enemy forces.
[1 May 1945]
May Day found the Regiment well in the heart of the Po Valley, in the vicinity of Busto Garolfo (010747, Map Italy, 1/50,000, Sheet 44 I, Busto Arsizio).
The advent of May brought with it rumors to the effect that the thoroughly beaten enemy in Italy had capitulated, more particularly the German 75th Corps and the German 34th Infantry Division.
[2 May 1945]
It was not until 2 May 1945 that confirmation of this news was received in the mountain village of Arborio (J6271, Map Italy Road, 1/200.000, Sheet 4) and was no longer a rumor but fact and one which was received quietly by the men of the 133rd Infantry.
This day the German armies surrendered in Italy. It marked the period of a long, long trail which stretches far back into Africa, some 2500 miles and 30 months ago. During that time there have been mountains, deserts, rolling flat land, scorching heat, bitter cold, snow, ice, and sleet to plague the men in the unit as well as long, drawn out fanatical enemy resistance.
Several thousands of our buddies who once wore the patch of the "Red Bull" are sleeping their eternal sleep in cemeteries stretching from Oran to the Swiss and French borders. These men are not present to give thanks with us that the long trail in Italy has drawn to its end. However, their deeds and contributions to the cause of our arm will never be forgotten by those of us who came through to this point.
In addition, there are those who were so unfortunate enough as to fall by the wayside seriously wounded and are now sitting on the sidelines. Though not present with us today, those of our buddies who have spent hellish months as prisoners of the enemy have more than earned their share of thanks that the people of the liberated nations bestowed upon the victorious Allied Forces.
To these we offer our whole-hearted thanks for their heroic performances and the sacrifices they made in the cause of Democracy and freedom for mankind. Kef-el-Amar, Sbeitla, Hajeb-el-Aioun, Fondouk, Hill 609, Eddekhila, Tunis, Bizerte, Raf Raf, Amphibious training at Arzew, Battle Inoculation (after a six-month campaign) near Slissen, the soft, cool sands and cork-oak near Ain-el-Turck, waterproofing vehicles and loading for a combat amphibious landing, if necessary, in the Gulf of Salerno.
As we sailed past the cliffs and casino at Canastel and left the Oran Harbor behind, we knew that the African chapter of our Odyssey had ended. Then came Salerno, landing on the beaches in assault boats, two or three days in a mosquito infested bivouac and then back to the, by now, old business of chasing Krauts. Few of us at that time realized how long, grueling, and bloody the chase was to be. Up through the rough, rugged, sometimes almost precipitous terrain of Italy's boot to our first real contact with the enemy near Benevento, on out across the Calore River and up to the notorious Volturno which has become both a legend and a nightmare to the men of the Regiment.
Across the Volturno a second time and out on to the famous "Pool Table" near San Angelo d'Alife, where the Regiment suffered heavy casualties from a combination of a fierce enemy counter-attack and from shells from our own artillery and tank destroyers falling short and landing among the troops. Superb leadership on the part of the officers of the battalions quickly restored the situation and the mission was accomplished. San Angelo d'Alife, the hills before the now widely cussed Volturno River, across the river for a third time and up into the cold mountains again and head on into the enemy's Gustav Line defenses.
Cassino, a three weeks that are still a nightmare to those of us who remember them. Then an all too short rest and another boat trip. As we sailed out of Naples harbor, aboard an LCI [Landing Crafty Infantry], bound for the Anzio Beachhead, we knew that another phase had passed and that soon we would be pushing again. Anzio - flat-land, perfect enemy observation, no one daring to move during daylight hours; Lanuvio, the Alban Hills, and then Rome, the eternal city. Just a glimpse of the most storied places in the world and off on a wild foot race after the broken and retreating elements of the enemy armies.
Civitavecchia, Tarquinia, San Vincenzo, Cecina, mountains again and then the Arno River and the famous leaning tower of Pisa across the river. Back again north of Florence and into the hall of the well-prepared Gothic Line defenses. On and on and finally grinding to a halt on Mount Belmonte, the farthest point of penetration by any Fifth Army unit in the fall offensive about 10 miles south of the promised land of the Po Valley. Here came a long winter of active defense and as spring came on, the tension in the air bespoke all too well of the coming attack.
After the jump-off, came Bologna, Modena, Reggio, Parma, and patrols to the river. Then came storied Mantova, the gateway to the Brenner Pass and swiftly on westward to Brescia, Bergamo, Milano, Gallarate (J946872, Map Italy, 1/50,000, Sheet 44 I), and on to our present location Avigliana (H820330, Map Italy, 1/100,000, Sheet 55), just west of Turin. Today marks the end of a slashing, hard driving campaign which lasted only sixteen days and destroyed the will to resist of two powerful enemy armies. Today, the men wearing the "Red Bull" can look back proudly on a longer period of time of actual contact with the enemy than any other division.
[3-7 May 1945]
With the war in Italy at an end, there was still the task of rounding up stragglers and preventing their infiltration north to Germany, Austria, France, or Switzerland. With this end in view, road-blocks were established and screening operations were performed in our sector. The nights of the 3rd and 4th May 1945 the 133rd Infantry concentrated in the vicinity of Gallarate. There was no report of enemy contact or resistance and the Partisans turned over any PWs encountered to our units.
Our routine motor patrols continued to thoroughly cover the area on 4 May 1945. On 5 May 1945 a fifteen-man patrol from each rifle company of the Second Battalion was sent to check the airport east of Olleggio (J822815, Map Italy, 1/50,000, Sheet 44 IV) for possible groups of enemy, mines, and equipment. No enemy were encountered and all mines and equipment found had been burned or otherwise destroyed. A total of 976 prisoners were taken today and 131 the previous day, many of which had been turned over to us by Partisan units operating in our sector. The PWs continued to trickle into our cages and on 6 May 1945, 231 were admitted and on the following day, 7 May 1945, a mere 24 were apprehended.
[8 May 1945]
V-E Day, 8 May 1945, the day for which the world had waited so long has arrived. Nazi Germany had surrendered unconditionally and a long bitter struggle had come to a climax. However, men are looking at this historic day in a much [more] sober and serious fashion than might be expected. They all realize that there is still a bitter war to be waged on the other side of the world; they realize that until this score which now plagues the Pacific is wiped from the face of the Earth there can be no "peace in our time". Today one war is passing into the eternal twilight of history, but over the horizon the baleful glare of the "Rising Sun" still casts a menacing shadow across the hope of peace and tranquility among freedom-loving men. Whether or not the men wearing the "Red Bull" will clash with the sons of the "Rising Sun" is a matter which only history will reveal to us. However, if such should be the case, it is not being overly proud to reach the conclusion that any enemy we may encounter in the Pacific will fear and respect us as much as those who have barred our path in the past.
[9-11 May 1945]
The 9-10-11 May 1945 passed without any unusual incident other than 145 prisoners were apprehended on the 9th, 2 an the 10th, and 1 on the 11th.
[12 May 1945]
On 12 May 1945 Training Memorandum No. 3 was issued inaugurating a training schedule for all battalions and special companies and will operate on a six-day week basis. The morning is to be devoted to such subjects as military courtesy, dismounted drill, hygiene, police of the area, calisthenics, and inspections; while the afternoon hours will be devoted to organized athletics and recreation. It is hoped that an intramural program will be started which will stimulate interest and activity on the part of the many ball teams of the 133rd Infantry.
With the Regiment located in and around the town of Gallarate, deep in the foothills of the Alps, conducted tours of the lake region have been instituted and have met with great success. Returning GIs are amazed at how little the war has touched Switzerland and the northern part of the Po Valley.
[13 May 1945]
Today, 13 May 1945, orders were received from higher headquarters that we were to be ready to move at a moment's notice, and once again the Regiment was alerted. Operational Instructions No. 41 was issued giving further instructions on the forthcoming relief of the 34th Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron.
[14-15 May 1945]
By 1130 hours 14 May 1945, the Third Battalion had completed the relief of the 34th Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron, and the first units of the Regiment were on the move by the next day.
The Regimental C.P. moved into Avigliana (H820330, Map Italy, 1/100,000, Sheet 55 Susa), and the Special Companies: Anti-Tank Co, in San Bernardino; Cannon Co, in Grignetto; and Service Co, in Avigliana. The Second Battalion continued 25 miles along Highway 25 and moved into the town of Susa (H540400, Map Italy, 1/100,000, Sheet 55 Susa), where two of the Companies, E and F, set up road blocks on the Franco-Italian border on Highway 25 and Highway 24. Company G of the Second Battalion was bivouaced in the town of Oulx (H4031, Map Italy, 1/100,000, Sheet 55 Susa).
[16 May 1945]
The First and Third Battalions moved today, 16 May 1945, and billeted in an Italian barracks compound near the town of Rivoli, about ten miles west of Turin on Highway 25. Daily contact patrols have been organized and contact is being made with the 168th Infantry on the left and with the 81st Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron on the right and with our Second Battalion established in Susa.
Athletic, recreational, and special services have been set up and complete athletic schedules are beginning to take shape. Day-passes to the city of Turin have been authorized for 10% of the command, and full advantage is being taken of this opportunity to see one of the largest and finest cities in Italy.
[17 May 1945]
Today, 17 May 1945, marked the end of a long series of consecutive days of PW-taking. Since 19 April 1945 we have not failed to take a prisoner every day and the total taken for the entire Italian campaign was 8,583.
[18 May 1945]
On 18 May 1945 a parade was held in the First and Third Battalion area and the Division Commander, Major General Charles Bolte, presented 36 awards to deserving members of the Regiment.
[19-29 May 1945]
19-30 May 1945 was a period the likes of which this Regiment has not seen in some time. It was exceptionally quiet, with the patrols doing the routine patrolling and, in general, continuing their mission in this sector.
Rest camps have been set up at Venice, Alassio, and Stresa in Italy, and at Nice and Cannes in France and are still in operation as are the day-passes. Swimming at Lago Grande, near the town of Avigliana, goes on every afternoon with the maximum number of troops enjoying the sun and the water. Already men having over 85 points have started to move out for the States, and men with less than the critical score have been trained to replace the key men who will go home under this new point system.
[30 May 1945]
Company I of the Third Battalion traveled to Anzio as the representatives of the 133rd Infantry for the Memorial Services on May 30. The trip to the well-remembered battleground brought back many memories to the veterans who had survived the 43 days and nights of intensive air raids, the Anzio Express, night patrols, constant booming of the big guns (both theirs and ours), water-filled foxholes, excellent enemy observation, sleepless nights, treacherous minefields, and finally the long-awaited breakout on the morning of 23 May 1944. No more appropriate place could be found to pay tribute to our fallen comrades who gave the "last full measure of devotion" to the ideals and freedoms for which we all fought, than this now famous battlefield whose sufferings and terrors can only be fully appreciated by those of us who were there.
Impressive Memorial Day Services were held on 30 May 1945 in the area near the First and Third Battalions. A review was held by the First and Third Battalions, Special Companies, and part of the Second Battalion. The troops were presented to Lt. Col. Reagan, the acting Regimental Commander, by Lt. Col. Horan, Second Battalion Commander. Chaplain Kerr gave the Invocation. Lt. Col. Reagan said a few words that the Regimental Commander wished passed on to the Regiment. Chaplain Edgar gave the main address. His main theme was "These Dead Shall Not Have Died In Vain". He reviewed the history of the United States, and how we had other wars, and men had given their lives for what they thought was right. He urged that we who are living dedicate ourselves to making a world such as these men gave their lives for: that their sons, daughters, sisters, brothers, and relatives might have a better place in which to live. Chaplain Kerr ended the ceremony with the Benediction which was followed by Taps played by members of the 34th Infantry Division Band and a sharp volley from a rifle squad. Lt. Col. Reagan gave the order, "Pass In Review", and one of the smartest looking Regiments of this war marched in review.
The month of May passed without any exceptional incidents and at the close of the period found the morale and spirit of the men at a new high.
For the Regimental Commander:
s/Donald V. Allgeier
DONALD V. ALLGEIER
1st Lt., Infantry