Operation Shingle (January
22, 1944), during the Italian Campaign of World War II, was an Allied amphibious
landing against Axis forces in the area of Anzio and Nettuno, Italy. The
operation was commanded by Major General John P. Lucas and was intended to
outflank German forces of the Winter Line and enable an attack on Rome. The
resulting combat is commonly called the Battle of Anzio.
At the end of 1943, following the Allied invasion of Italy Allied forces were
bogged down at the Winter Line, a defensive line across Italy south of the
strategically key objective of Rome. The terrain of central Italy had proved
ideally suited to defense, and Generalfeldmarschall Albert Kesselring had
proved more than able in exploiting it. A number of Allied proposals were
made to break the stalemate, but Winston Churchill's idea for "Operation
Shingle" was accepted by Franklin D. Roosevelt and Joseph Stalin. A
major attack in the South by U.S. Fifth Army and the British Eighth Army
would draw Germany's depleted forces away from the areas around Rome, and
from the hills between Rome and the coast. This would make possible a
surprise landing by the U.S. VI Corps under the command of Maj. Gen. Lucas in
the Anzio/Nettuno area, and a rapid advance into the Alban Hills to cut
German communications and "threaten the rear of the German XIV
Planners argued that if Kesselring (in charge of German forces in Italy)
pulled troops out of the Gustav Line to defend against the Allied assault,
then Allied forces would be able to break through the line; the planners felt
that if Kesselring did not pull troops out of the Gustav Line, then Operation
Shingle would threaten to capture Rome and cut off the German units defending
the Gustav Line. Should Germany have adequate reinforcements available to
defend both Rome and the Gustav Line, the Allies felt that the operation
would nevertheless be useful in engaging forces which could otherwise be
committed on another front. The operation was officially cancelled on
December 18, 1943. However, it was later reselected and executed.
Lucas did not have full confidence in either his superiors or the operational
plan. A few days prior to the attack, he wrote in his diary, "Unless we
can get what we want, the operation becomes such a desperate undertaking that
it should not, in my opinion, be attempted." and "[The operation]
had a strong odor of Gallipoli and apparently the same amateur was still on
the coach's bench." The 'amateur' can only have referred to Winston
Churchill, architect of the disastrous Gallipoli landings of World War I, and
personal advocate of Shingle.
Availability of Naval forces
One of the problems with the plan was the availability of landing ships. The
American commanders in particular were determined that nothing should delay
the Normandy invasion and the supporting landings in southern France (Operation
Dragoon). Operation Shingle would require the use of landing ships necessary
for these operations. Initially Shingle was to release these assets by
January 15. However, this being deemed problematic, President Roosevelt
granted permission for the craft to remain until February 5.
Only enough Tank Landing Ships (LSTs) to land a single division were
initially available to Shingle. Later, at Churchill's personal insistence,
enough were made available to land two divisions. Allied intelligence thought
that five or six German divisions were in the area.
Allied Force Composition
Allied forces in this attack consisted of 5 cruisers, 24 destroyers, 238
landing craft, 62+ other ships, 40,000 soldiers, and 5,000+ vehicles.
The attack consisted of three groups:
This force attacked the coast 10 km north of Anzio.
46th Royal Tank Regiment
2 Special Service Brigade (partial)
No.43 Commando (RM)
Northwestern U.S. Force
This force attacked the port of Anzio. There had been plans to use the 504th
Parachute Infantry Battalion in an airborne attack north of Anzio, however
these plans were scrapped.
1st Ranger Battalion
3rd Ranger Battalion
4th Ranger Battalion
509th Parachute Infantry Battalion (PIB)
83rd Chemical Battalion
93rd Evacuation Hospital
Southwestern U.S. Force
This force attacked the coast 6 km east of Anzio.
3rd Infantry Division
The Southern Attack
The Fifth Army's attack on the Gustav Line began on 16 January 1944 at Monte
Cassino. Although the operation failed to capture its target, it did succeed
in part in its primary objective. General Heinrich von Vietinghoff,
commanding the Gustav Line, called for reinforcements, and Kesselring
transferred the 29th and 90th Panzergrenadier Divisions from Rome. For more
details of this actions, look for informations about the Gustav Line.
The landings began on January 22, 1944.
Although resistance had been expected, as seen at Salerno during 1943, the
initial landings were essentially unopposed, with the exception of desultory
Luftwaffe strafing runs.
By midnight, 36,000 soldiers and 3,200 vehicles had landed on the beaches. 13
Allied troops were killed, and 97 wounded; about 200 Germans had been taken
as POWs. The 1st Division penetrated 3 km inland, the Rangers captured
Anzio's port, the 509th PIB captured Nettuno, and the 3rd Division penetrated
5 km inland.
After the landings
It is clear that Lucas's superiors expected some kind of offensive action
from him, possibly even an assault on Rome. The point of the invasion was to
either divert German strength from the Winter Line, or take advantage of
German weakness in the rear areas. However, Lucas instead poured more men and
material into his tiny bridgehead, and strengthened his defences.
Winston Churchill was clearly displeased with this action. "I had hoped
we were hurling a wildcat into the shore, but all we got was a stranded
whale." he said.
Lucas's decision remains a controversial one. Noted military historian John Keegan
wrote, "Had Lucas risked rushing at Rome the first day, his spearheads
would probably have arrived, though they would have soon been crushed.
Nevertheless he might have 'staked out claims well inland'". As noted
above, Lucas did not have confidence in the strategic planning of the
operation. Also, his orders from Gen. Mark Clark told him to "land,
secure the beachhead and advance". With two divisions landed, and facing
two or three times that many Germans, it would not have been unreasonable for
Lucas to consider the beachhead insecure. But according to Keegan, Lucas's
actions "achieved the worst of both worlds, exposing his forces to risk
without imposing any on the enemy." Lucas was relieved of his command on
23 February, to be replaced by General Lucian Truscott.
Kesselring was informed of the landings at 0300 hours on January 22nd. At
0500 he ordered the 4th Fallschirmjäger and replacement units of the Hermann
Göring Division to defend the roads leading from Anzio to the Alban Hills. In
addition, he requested that OKW send reinforcements from France, Yugoslavia,
and Germany. Later that morning, he would order Generaloberst Eberhard von
Mackensen (14th Armee) and Gen. von Vietinghoff (10th Armee - Gustav Line) to
send him additional reinforcements.
The German units in the immediate vicinity had in fact been dispatched to
reinforce the Gustav Line only a few days earlier. All available reserves
from the southern front or on their way to it were rushed toward Anzio; these
included the 3rd Panzer Grenadier and 71st Infantry Divisions, and the bulk
of the Luftwaffe's Hermann Goering Panzer Division. Kesselring initially
considered that a successful defense could not be made if the Allies launched
a major attack on the 23rd or 24th. However, by the end of the 22nd, the lack
of aggressive action convinced him that a defense could be made.
The Wehrmacht's Fourteenth Army, commanded by Gen. von Mackensen, assumed
control of the defense on 25 January. Elements of eight German divisions were
employed in the defense line around the beachhead, and five more divisions
were on their way to the Anzio area. Kesselring ordered an attack on the
beachhead for 28 January, though it was postponed to 1 February.
Lucas initiated a two-pronged attack on 30 January. While one force cut
Highway 7 at Cisterna before moving east into the Alban Hills, a second was
to advance northeast up the Albano Road.
USS ANZIO is the twenty-second
vessel in the TICONDEROGA-class of Aegis cruisers and the fifteenth built by
Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagoula, MS. Her keel was laid on August 24, 1989
and she was launched on November 2, 1990. USS ANZIO's sponsor, Mrs. Lee
Baggett, wife of Adm. Lee Baggett, Jr., USN (Ret.), christened ANZIO on
November 10, 1990. USS ANZIO was commissioned in Norfolk, VA, May 2, 1992.
USS ANZIO deployed to the Mediterranean on October 20, 1994, as part of the
USS DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER (CVN 69) Battle Group for a six-month deployment.
During that deployment it took part in operations conducted in the
Mediterranean Sea, Indian Ocean, Arabian Gulf, Adriatic Sea and Black Sea.
Upon relieving the GEORGE WASHINGTON Battle Group, DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER and
its support ships began operations in the Arabian Gulf region which included
support for Operations Southern Watch and Vigilant Warrior. Steaming into the
Adriatic, the battle group participated in peacekeeping and
sanctions-enforcement operations including Deny Flight, Provide Promise and
Sharp Guard. On the diplomatic front, the battle group helped reaffirm ties
with traditional allies and foster new friendships with emerging nations
through more than 96 bilateral and multilateral military exercises and
exchanges with 20 nations. USS ANZIO returned home in mid-April, 1995.
Following successful live missile firings and testing of the U.S. Navy's
Cooperative Engagement Capability (CEC) by USS ANZIO and USS CAPE ST. GEORGE
(CG 71), near the AEGIS Combat Systems Center, Wallops Island, VA, the CEC
received final approval for fleet tactical use, on September 30, 1996.
USS ANZIO departed on May 23, 1997, and took part in Exercise BALTOPS '97 in
the Baltic Sea, from June 16 to 27, 1997, joining 47 other ships from 12
European nations in the Partnership for Peace exercise. During that exercise,
USS ANZIO served as the flagship, for the Commander of Cruiser Destroyer
Group Eight, who commanded the exercise.
As part of the USS DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER (CVN 69) Carrier Battle Group (CVBG),
USS ANZIO, along with the USS SAIPAN (LHA 2) Amphibious Ready Group (ARG),
took part in Joint Task Force Exercise 98-2 from April 27 through May 13,
1998. The exercise took place in waters off Virginia and North Carolina, as
well as the Puerto Rico operating area. The exercise involved more than
10,000 service members from the Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force and
incorporated the third in a series of Navy "Fleet Battle
Experiments". This particular exercise was called Fleet Battle
Experiment Charlie (FBE-C) and featured two amphibious assaults one in Camp
Lejeune, NC, and the other at Roosevelt Roads, Puerto Rico. Following the
exercise, the DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER (CVN 69), USS ANZIO, USS CAPE ST. GEORGE
(CG 71) and USS SUPPLY (AOE 6) were to depart the exercise area and proceed
directly on deloyment, thus enabling the Navy to maintain its current tasking
of providing a two-carrier presence in the Arabian Gulf. The units were to
return home six months after the JTFEX 98-2 start date.
On 26 June 1998, with the USS DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER Carrier Battle Group, USS
ANZIO conducted a routine, previously scheduled deployment to the
Mediterranean and Black Seas. The DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER Battle Group arrived
in the Mediterranean on June 20. Units of the DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER Battle
Group participated in 14 exercises during their deployment to the European
Theater of operations, including several NATO and multinational exercises
throughout the Mediterranean and Black Seas. USS DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER (CVN
69), USS CAPE ST. GEORGE and USS ANZIO operated in the Adriatic sea in
support of NATO's operation "Joint Forge", "Deliberate
Forge" and the continued Stabilization Force (SFOR) - contributing to
the secure environment necessary for the consolidation of peace in Bosnia and
While deployed with the USS DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER Battle Group for a routine
six-month deployment, USS ANZIO took part in a French-sponsored bilateral
carrier battle group exercise, FANCY '98, scheduled from September 24-29,
1998, in the Western Mediterranean. Seven ships from the French FS FOCH
carrier battle group and six ships from the DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER carrier
battle group conducted at sea and overland combined air, surface and
As part of the USS DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER battle group, USS ANZIO participated
in a series of increasingly demanding exercises and operations. The training
culminated in Joint Task Force Exercise 00-1 held in December 1999. However,
because it was unable to complete live-fire training with ground spotters,
and thus complete training prior to deploying on February 18, 2000, USS ANZIO
had to perform its Naval Surface Fire Support training at the Cape Wrath,
Scotland training range. This came as a result of the Navy training range at
Vieques, Puerto Rico, being closed since April. The use of the range at Cape
Wrath was a unique circumstance demonstrating cooperation with British allies
who operate the range. Working through heavy seas and high winds, USS ANZIO,
as well as the USS CAPE ST. GEORGE (CG 71) and USS MAHAN (DDG 72) were able
to complete their training and attain certification in naval surface fire
support. The training at Cape Wrath was performed with ground spotters for
directing fire. However, the training lacked the coordinated live-fire
exercises with Marines ashore, which is a hallmark of the training received
at the Navy's Atlantic Fleet Weapons Training Facility range on Vieques. The
ships and squadrons returned home in August.
In mid-2000, USS ANZIO took part in one of the largest NATO (North Atlantic
Treaty Organization) exercises Dynamic Mix 2000. The purpose of Dynamic Mix
2000 was to enhance U.S. military force warfighting and interoperability
skills and to develop a common understanding of NATO operational procedures
that could apply to future NATO warfighting missions. NATO forces that
participated in the operation included military elements from Belgium,
Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, The Netherlands,
Portugal, Spain, Turkey and England.
In late September 2000, USS ANZIO took part in Underway No. 10", one in
a series of tests leading to the Cooperative Engagement Capability (CEC)
Operation Evaluation (OPEVAL) scheduled for Spring 2001. The CEC system
provides the capability to cooperatively engage targets by a warship using
data from other CEC-equipped ships, aircraft, and land-based sensors, even in
an electronic-jamming environment. It also provides a common, consistent and
highly accurate air picture, allowing battle group defenses to act as one seamless
system. The test, off Wallops Island, VA, simulated missile firings from some
of the Navy's most technically advanced ships against unmanned drones.
USS ANZIO left its homeport of Norfolk, VA, on May 21, 2001, and took part,
in the Baltic Sea, in the 29th annual maritime exercise Baltic Operations
(BALTOPS) 2001. With naval vessels and over 40 aircraft of 14 nations taking
part, the exercise is intended to improve interoperability with Baltic Sea
nations and Partnership for Peace countries by conducting a peace support
operation at sea. The operation involved exercises in gunnery,
replenishment-at-sea, undersea warfare, radar tracking, mine countermeasures,
seamanship, search and rescue, and maritime interdiction operations.
Additionally, the nations conducted personnel exchanges amongst the ships so
that officers and sailors could see how their contemporaries from other
navies live and operate.
In summer of 2002, ANZIO and CAPE ST. GEORGE returned to the Baltic Sea for
BALTOPS 2002. The exercise was concluded with a 4-day port visit to Kiel,
Germany from June 21-24.
On 9 January 2003 Anzio was pre-deployed in support of Operation Iraqi
Freedom. Ordered first to the eastern Mediterranean Sea for the initial phase
of President George W. Bush's Shock and Awe strategy, during which the US
Navy deployed to obliterate and defeat the Iraq military before ground forces
were sent in. Once the Anzio completed her mission in the eastern
Mediterranean, she forward-deployed to the Persian Gulf. Once the Anzio
arrived in the Gulf, she had marked her 45th straight day at sea. In the
Gulf, the Anzio continued carrier-flight support operations and coastal
surveillance. After President Bush announced major combat had concluded in
the Iraq War, on 1 May 2003, the Anzio was relieved of its duties, returning
home on 3 July 2003 after over 200 days at sea.
In 2004, Anzio participated at the annual Fleet Week in New York City. In
January 2007, the warship was sent to the coast of Somalia to conduct
antiterrorist operations as part of the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower task force.
On 16 February 2007, Anzio was awarded the 2006 Battle "E" award.
The Anzio was docked and a participant for 'Windjammer Days' in Boothbay
Harbor, Maine, 25 June-26, 2008.
Anzio has served as the flagship of the horn of Africa international
anti-piracy Combined Task Force 151. On or around October 14, 2009 a team
from the cruiser working with US Coast Guard personnel seized a skiff
carrying an estimated 4 tons of hashish worth an estimated $28 million about
170 miles southwest of Salalah, Oman. The boarding team destroyed the drugs
by dumping them into the ocean and released the skiff's crew.