The Salerno Invasion

The "surprise invasion" at Salerno, Italy took place on September 9th 1943. My dad went in to the beach with the 143rd Inf. Reg. in the 2nd wave. His lieutenant took half the platoon in one LCI and my dad took the other squad in his LCI. At dawn they landed in front of the ruins of Paestum, which was a pre-Roman Greek colony. Knocked out German machinegun nests were 20 yards off the shore line, maps and grenades still littered the emplacements as my father went by. The Texas 36th Division was the first American outfit to invade European soil. They were the spearhead of the 5th Army...9 months before Normandy! The Germans were awaiting the invasion with crack divisions out of Africa and Russia such as the Herman Göring Division, Paratroopers, 16th Panzer, 15th Panzergrenadier, 26th Panzer, 29th Panzergrenadier, etc. This invasion was the baptism of fire for the Texans. They were going up against well tested and battle hardened veterans of the Russian front. Eventually the Texans prevailed, but the Germans extracted a terrible toll. center>



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