§824 The Allied Armies from North Africa to Austria in WWII (1941-1945): V-48.

V-48 (§824):

After the great affliction of the sceptre,
Two enemies shall be defeated by them:
The army of Africa shall come to aim for the Pannonians,
By sea and land shall be horrible events.

(Apres la grande affliction du sceptre,
Deux ennemis par eulx seront deffaictz:
Classe d’Affrique aux Pannons viendra naistre,
Par mer & terre seront horribles faictz.)

NOTES: Hutin’s comment: « Les opérations militaires en Afrique du Nord (Seconde Guerre mondiale) ? [The military operations in North Africa (WWII) ?] » (Hutin, 1972, p.216) may make us catch a glimpse of the true theme of the quatrain: After the British fighting alone against the Nazis, the Allied victories in North Africa lead to the liberation of Italy, British 8th Army of North Africa attaining Friuli-Venezia-Giulia via Sicily, Calabria and the Adriatic coast and US 5th Army reaching Brenner Pass via Salerno and Rome, both immediately in front of South Austria (cf. Hart, 1971, p.524-525 Chart: The Slow Advance through Italy; p.676 Chart: The Allies Meet).

The sceptre: The King George VI of the UK = the head of London (le chef de Londres) (§796, X-66) = the head of the Britannic Isle (le chef de l’isle britannique) (§823, V-34).

Les Pannons (The Pannonians): = Les habitants de la Pannonie (The inhabitants of Pannonia), Pannonia being « a region of ancient Europe. It corresponds to a part of Low-Austria [Austria beneath the Ens], to a part of Hungary, to a part of Slavonia, and to a part of Austrian Croatia. Different nations inhabited it. Their principal cities were Vindobona [Vienna], Carnuntum, ... » (Bescherelle). Cf. Duby, p.25, Chart B. In this quatrain, the term seems to indicate the Austrians (the Nazis in Austria), for whom the Allied forces from North Africa via Italy aimed in 1943-1945 in order to strike them.

Naistre: « naistre, pointer, poindre.» (Godefroy); Pointer: = « Frapper de la pointe d’une arme; piquer avec (une arme).» (Petit Robert); Pointer: = « - v.t. diriger, - SYN. → braquer. – v.i. = se pointer (vers) – se pointer v.pr. se diriger (vers).» (Ibuki); Poindre: = « V. tr. Piquer, Blesser; V. intr. Apparaître, Commencer à apparaître.» (Petit Robert); The specific usage of the term naistre in such a context seems to involve that it has a double meaning as defined lexically: to strike (frapper de la pointe d’une arme) and to aim for (se diriger vers).

After the great affliction of the sceptre: = In the islands so horrible a tumult, They shall hear tell of nothing but a military intrigue: So great shall be the insult of the predators, That they shall come to fall into line with the grand alliance (§807, II-100): « Throughout 1941, Britain fought on against the Nazis. The chief threat to Britain at this stage in the war lay in the Battle of the Atlantic – German attempts to cut off the country’s seaborne supplies of food and war material. In May, the German battleship Bismarck sortied into the Atlantic. After sinking the Royal Navy battle cruiser HMS Hood, Bismarck was tracked down, halted by torpedoes dropped from Swordfish aircraft, and then sunk by British battleships. The British and Canadian navies were less successful at protecting merchant convoys against German submarines, however, and losses were soon mounting. The British people felt the effect of this in reduced food rations. Britain did not hesitate to ally itself with the Soviet Union, despite Prime Minister Winston Churchill’s strong dislike of Soviet communism. But the British really needed the US to enter the war. President Roosevelt made no pretence of neutrality. In March, he introduced Lend-Lease to supply Britain with military equipment paid for by the US government. In August, Roosevelt and Churchill met at Placentia Bay in Newfoundland, Canada, where they agreed the Atlantic Charter, a statement of joint war aims embodying liberal democratic principles. At the Arcadia Conference in Washington at the end of the year, Britain and the US agreed a military strategy that gave priority to defeating the Germans. The two countries also agreed to unify their military command under the Combined Chiefs of Staff.» (DKHistory, p.392-393).

Two enemies shall be defeated by them
: The Germans and the Italians (Two enemies) are expelled out of North Africa by the British Eighth Army (by them) commanded by Montgomery: « 1942 AUGUST 5 North Africa – Churchill visits 8th Army; decides to replace Auchinleck. AUGUST 7 Gen. Gott, 8th Army CinC designate, killed when plane shot down. AUGUST 18 Gen. Alexander appointed CinC Middle East, in place of Auchinleck; Lt.-Gen. Montgomery replaces Ritchie as General Officer Commanding 8th Army. NOVEMBER 2 ALLIED VICTORY AT EL ALAMEIN. Op. Supercharge: 8th Army compels Axis army to withdraw from Alamein Line and pursues it to Tobruk (Nov. 13), Benghazi (Nov. 20) and El Agheila (Nov. 24). DECEMBER 13 Rommel retreats from El Agheila as 8th Army resumes advance. DECEMBER 14 Rommel skillfully evades 8th Army trap at El Agheila (Dec. 14-18).» (Argyle, 1980, p.102-116); « 1943 JANUARY 12 North Africa – Montgomery sends ‘Personal Message’ to men of 8th Army, calling for supreme effort to drive Italians from Tripoli – their last African stronghold: ‘Our families and friends... will be thrilled when they hear we have captured that place’. Leclerc’s Free French now in complete control of S. Libya (Fezzan). JANUARY 15 Sea War: Med. – ‘Inshore Squadron’ of British Mediterranean Fleet delivers supplies to 8th Army, advancing along N. African coast (Jan. –Feb.). JANUARY 16 North Africa 8th Army and Free French, advancing from S. Libya, join forces. JANUARY 23 8TH ARMY CAPTURES TRIPOLI. JANUARY 27 Churchill arrives in Cairo for talks with Alexander. FEBRUARY 4. 8th Army enters Tunisia. FEBRUARY 9 Sea War: Med. – First of 7 troop convoys leave S. Italy with powerful reinforcements for Axis forces in Tunisia (Feb. 9- March 22): Malta-based RAF aircraft sink 10 ships; specially laid minefields and British subs. also score numerous successes (3 subs. lost). MARCH 6 North Africa BATTLE OF MÉDENINE: in his last battle in Africa, Rommel attacks 8th Army but is defeated with heavy losses from antitank guns. MARCH 9 Von Arnim succeeds Rommel in Tunisia; Rommel leaves Africa. MARCH 20 BATTLE OF MARETH: (March 20-28). 8th Army attack Axis forces holding the ‘African Maginot Line’, along Tunisia-Libya border. NZ Corps makes flanking attack. MARCH 23 Germans counterattack at Mareth; 8th Army withdraws. MARCH 28 8th Army captures Mareth; Axis forces abandon Mareth Line... MAY 6 FINAL BRITISH OFFENSIVE IN TUNISIA. 1st Army, reinforced with 7th Armd. and 4th Indian divs. from 8th Army, smashes through Medjerda Valley defences, in Medjez-el-Bab sector; Axis forces stunned by 600-gun preparatory barrage and ceaseless daylight bombing raids. MAY 7 British occupy Tunis. MAY 12 END OF ALL ORGANIZED AXIS RESISTANCE IN TUNISIA. Col.-Gen. von Arnim surrenders to British forces. 150,000 (approx.) Axis troops captured since April. MAY 13 Surrender of Marshal Messe, cdr. of Italian 1st Army. MAY 16 Gen. Alexander informs Churchill: ‘Sir, it is my duty to report that the Tunisian Campaign is over.’ JUNE 12 Occupied North Africa – King George VI arrives in Morocco.» (Argyle, 1980, p.118-131).

The army of Africa [British 8th Army] shall come to aim for the Pannonians: « 1943 JULY 10 Sea War: Med. ALLIES INVADE SICILY (Op. Husky): Armada of 3,000 ships lands 12 divs. of 8th Army (Montgomery) and US 7th Army(Patton). Naval forces – 6 battleships, 2 carriers, 18 cruisers, 7 subs. and 210 other warships – escort invasion fleet and bombard coastal defences and communications. AUGUST 17 Sicily END OF SICILIAN CAMPAIGN. Americans and British enter Messina. Axis forces evacuated: 39,569 Germans and 62,000 Italian troops, with all their equipment and supplies, transported across Strs. of Messina in small craft. SEPTEMBER 3 Sea War Med. INVASION OF CALABRIA (S. Italy): 13th Corps (8th Army) crosses from Sicily to Reggio di Calabria preceded by 900-gun barrage (Op. Baytown). SEPTEMBER 8 Diplomacy SURRENDER OF ITALY. SEPTEMBER 10 Italy – British capture Salerno. Germans occupy Rome and disarm Italian forces in the N. SEPTEMBER 11 British 8th Army capture Brindisi. SEPTEMBER 17 Patrols of Allied 5th and 8th Armies link up near Agropoli, S. of Salerno.» (Argyle, 1980, p.135-140).

« On September 3 [1943], the invasion was opened by Montgomery’s Eighth Army crossing the narrow Straits of Messina, from Sicily, and landing on the toe of Italy. That same day the Italian representatives secretly signed the armistice treaty with the Allies. But it was arranged that the fact should be kept quiet until the Allies made their second and principal landing – which was planned to take place on the shin of Italy, at Salerno, south of Naples. At midnight on September 8 the Anglo-American Fifth Army under General Clark began to disembark in the Gulf of Salerno – a few hours after the B.B.C. had broadcast the official announcement of Italy’s capitulation.» (Hart, 1971, p.452-453);

The army of Africa
[US 5th Army] shall come to aim for the Pannonians
: « 1943 JANUARY 5 North Africa US 5th Army formed in Tunisia under Lt.-Gen. Mark W. Clark.» (Argyle, 1980, p.118); « SEPTEMBER 9 Sea War: Med. ALLIES LAND AT SALERNO: US 5th Army (Lt.-Gen. Mark Clark) and British 10th Corps land at Salerno, S. of Naples (Op. Avalanche).» (Argyle, 1980, p.139).

« By January, 1944, the most pessimistic American predictions seemed to have come true. The British Army, which had crossed from Sicily and fought up the toe of Italy was on the Adriatic side, and the American Army under Mark Clark, which had captured Naples, was on the Mediterranean side. These two armies were designated the 15th Army Group and were under the overall command of General Sir Harold Alexander. The opposing German army, under Field-Marshal Kesselring, had made maximum use of increasingly difficult mountainous countryside as it fought a series of bitter delaying actions back to the immensely strong Gustav Line – a line of massive steel and concrete fortifications and minefields ranging across Italy from the Mediterranean coast 40 miles north of Naples to Ortona on the Adriatic coast. Winter set in early in 1943. As the year declined, the soaring 6,000 foot mountain spine down Italy was thickly blanketed with snow, and the Allied advance became bogged down barely 70 miles north of Salerno, before the Gustav Line. The way out of this stalemate seemed fairly obvious – to make a landing in force farther up the coast. But the conquest of Italy was a low-priority operation, and there was a great shortage of landing craft to put the tanks, guns and men ashore. The inadequate fleet that had been allocated for Sicily and Salerno was anyway under orders to return to Britain for the Normandy invasion. By the year’s end Operation Overlord had also drawn away seven experienced British and American divisions and the great leaders whose names had featured prominently in the African and Sicilian victories – Eisenhower, Montgomery, Patton, Air-Marshal Tedder and Admiral Cunningham. At this point Winston Churchill intervened. He insisted that a ‘wildcat’ should be flung ashore north of the Gustav Line ‘to tear out the heart of the Boche [German]’. And he got this way. A plan with the code name ‘Shingle’ was quickly developed. It prepared for a landing at Anzio, which lay some 60 miles behind the Gustav Line and gave easy access to Route 6. The Anzio invasion was mounted from an American base, although it had been Churchill’s original intention that his ‘wildcat’ should be an all-British animal. The two divisions selected for the landing were the American and the British. The special troops aiding these divisions were also half British (the 2nd Special Service Brigade of two Commandos) and half American (a formation of Rangers and a parachute regiment). Behind them, at Naples, waited the American 1st Armoured Division and 45th Infantry Division to follow up as soon as the landing had been consolidated.» (Maule, 1972, p.296-299).

« The plan was straightforward: the British, American and French assailing the Gustav Line were to exert themselves to the utmost to break through and engage the enemy so heavily that any reserves would be drawn into the battle and thus diverted from Anzio. When the enemy was compelled to send back troops to seal off the Anzio force, the Allies expected to break through. The assault on the Gustav Line opened on January 17. That night the British 10th Corps launched a powerful attack across the lower Garigliano River, while the Free French Expeditionary Corps pushed into the mountains north of Cassino. The next day, the American 2nd Corps launched an attack upon the River Rapido. The Allies hoped to force a breach through the enemy fortifications within 48 hours, so that an armoured spearhead could thrust out along the road to Rome. If thing went right at Anzio, this spearhead would be met by the advanced guard of the landing force, surging up to the Alban Hills from the beachhead. The British wrested a small bridgehead from the enemy and after two days had enlarged it into a four-mile salient, but they could go no farther. The French managed to dent the line to a depth of several miles. The Americans, after suffering terrible losses, crossed the Rapido upstream from the planned bridgehead. But nowhere did the Allies seriously breach the Gustav Line or break into the Liri Valley. Thus, the Anzio force was on its own from the moment it landed. The invasion fleet of 253 vessels, carrying 36,000 men with their tanks, guns and supplies, put out from Naples during the afternoon of January 21, swinging southwards past Capri to confuse any enemy spies. At nightfall it turned to head for Anzio, and the first wave of landing craft surged in at 2 a.m. Complete surprise was achieved, and with the dawn the whole landing operation was in full swing...» (Maule, 1972, p.299-300).

« 1944 MAY 11 Italy 5TH AND 8TH ARMIES ATTACK GUSTAV LINE (Op. Diadem) on 48-km front. During the previous 8 weeks 8th Army has been secretly transferred from the Adriatic sector to Cassino. 8th Army secures bridgeheads over R. Rapido and 5th Army over the Garigliano. Americans capture the much-contested Damiano Hill; French capture Monte Faito (777 m). Gen. Alexander issues Order of Day to Allied Armies: ‘We are going to destroy the German armies in Italy... no armies have ever entered battle before with a more just and righteous cause.’ MAY 12 Germans launch fierce counterattacks along Gustav Line. MAY 14 French break through at Monti Aurunci, N. of Gaeta. MAY 15 Germans begin withdrawing from ‘Gustav’ Line to ‘Adolf Hitler’ (‘Dora’) Line, immediately S. of Rome. MAY 17 Kesselring orders evacuation of Cassino garrison. MAY 20 Allies attack ‘Dora’ Line; Canadians break through, May 22. MAY 25 Allied column, from Anzio meets US 2nd Corps (5th Army) near Latina. 8th Army crosses R. Melfa in strength. MAY 30 5th Army breakthrough ‘Adolf Hitler’ Line at Valmontone. June 1 8th Army captures Frosinone. JUNE 3 German forces evacuate Rome. JUNE 4 ALLIED 5TH ARMY ENTERS ROME. JUNE 15 8th Army breaks through at Arezzo and reaches R. Arno (July 15-16). 5th Army approaches R. from SW. Italian Govt. returns to Rome. JULY 17 8th Army crosses the Arno. JULY 18 Polish troops of 8th Army take Ancona. JULY 19 Leghorn captured by 5th Army. JULY 24 Americans reach Pisa. SEPTEMBER 2 5th Army captures Pisa. 8th Army breaks through Gothic Line near Rimini. SEPTEMBER 8 5th Army launches major attack on Gothic Line. SEPTEMBER 26 8th Army begins crossing R. Uso (ancient Rubicon). » (Argyle, 1980, p.155-169).

« On October 2 [1944], Mark Clark’s renewed offensive towards Bologna opened, this time along Route 65. All four divisions of his 2nd Corps were thrown in, but the defending Germans fought with such tenacity that during the next three weeks the American advance averaged no more than a mile a day, and on October 27 the offensive was abandoned. By the end of October, the Eighth Army advance had also petered out, after only five more rivers had been crossed, and the Po was still fifty miles distant. The only notable changes of the period were command changes. Kesselring was injured in a motor accident and replaced by Vietinghoff. McCreery replaced Leese – who was being sent to Burma – in command of the Eighth Army. Towards the end of November, Maitland Wilson was sent to Washington, and succeeded by Alexander, while Mark Clark took over the Army Group in Italy. The Allied situation at the end of 1944 was very disappointing in comparison with the high hopes of the spring, and the summer. Although Alexander still showed optimism about an advance into Austria [to aim for the Pannonians], the slow crawl up the Italian peninsula made such distant horizons appear increasingly unrealistic. Maitland Wilson himself admitted as much in his report of November 22 to the British Chiefs of Staff. The disbelief, and discontent, of the Allied troops was manifested in a growing rate of desertions. A final Allied offensive in 1944 sought to gain Bologna and Ravenna as winter bases. The Canadians, in the Eighth Army, succeeded in capturing Ravenna on December 4, and their success led the Germans to send three divisions to check the Eighth Army’s further progress. That seemed to offer the Fifth Army a better chance. But this was forestalled by an enemy counterattack in the Senio valley on December 26 – prompted by Mussolini with the idea of emulating Hitler’s counteroffensive in the Ardennes, and largely carried out by Italians who remained loyal to him. This attack was soon, and easily, stopped. But the Eighth Army was now exhausted, and very short of ammunitions, while the Germans were known to have strong reserves near Bologna. So Alexander decided that the Allied armies should go on the defensive, and prepare for a powerful spring offensive.» (Hart, 1971, p.541-542).

« The three months’ pause since the close of the Allies’ autumn offensive had brought a great change in the spirit and outlook of their troops. They had seen the arrival of new weapons in abundance – amphibious tanks, ‘Kangaroo’ armoured personnel carriers, ‘Fantails’ (tracked landing vehicles), heavier-gunned Sherman and Churchill tanks, flame-throwing tanks, and ‘tank-dozers’. There was also plenty of new bridging equipment, and huge reserves of ammunition. In Mark Clark’s Army Group (entitled the 15th) the right wing, facing the German 10th Army, was formed by the Eighth Army under McCreery, and comprised the British 5th Corps (of four divisions); the Polish Corps (of two divisions); the British 10th Corps, now almost a skeleton consisting of two Italian combat groups, the Jewish Brigade, and the Lovat Scouts; and the British 13th Corps which was really the 10th Indian Division. The 6th Armoured Division was in Army reserve. To the west was the Fifth Army, now commanded by Truscott, which comprised the American 2nd Corps (of four divisions), and 4th Corps (of three divisions), with two more divisions in Army reserve. They included two armoured divisions, the 1st U.S. and the 6th South African. The aim, and primary problem, of the Allied planners was to overrun and wipe out the German forces before they could escape over the River Po. The Allied offensive was to be launched on April 9... The Allies’ three armoured divisions, in two sweeping moves, had cut off and surrounded most of the opposing forces. Although many Germans managed to escape by swimming that broad river, they were in no condition to establish a new line. On the 27th the British crossed the Adige and penetrated the Venetian Line covering Venice and Padua. The Americans, moving still faster, took Verona a day earlier. The day before that, April 25, a general uprising of the partisans took place, and Germans everywhere came under attack from them. All the Alpine passes were blocked [to aim for the Pannonians] by April 28 – the day on which Mussolini and his mistress, Claretta Petacci, were caught and shot by a band of partisans near Lake Como. German troops were now surrendering everywhere, and the Allied pursuit met little opposition anywhere after April 25. By the 29th the New Zealanders reached Venice and by May 2 were at Trieste – where the main concern was not the Germans but the Yugo-Slavs.» (Hart, 1971, p.671-674); « LAST BATTLES IN ITALY After the capture of Rome in June 1944, Allied troops had been taken from Italy for the invasion of southern France. The remaining Allied units continued a slow advance into early 1945. In April they renewed their attacks, now with more success. German forces in Italy surrendered on 2 May, and on 4 May the advancing Allied troops linked up at the Brenner Pass [to aim for the Pannonians] with US Seventh Army coming down through Bavaria.» (Sommerville, 2008, p.195).

« Fifth Army’s long thrust straight north from the Apennines to Lake Garda and thence across the top of the valley to the east and west had first split the German armies in Italy in two and then slammed in their faces the door of retreat to the Alps. During that same period three other nearly separate drives were in progress: on the east the British Eighth Army chased the Germans north along the Adriatic coast; on the west the 92d Division pursued along the Ligurian coast to Genoa; and south of the Po the Brazilian 1st Division and for a while the 34th Division rounded up enemy forces caught in the Apennines. The latter project was completed successfully by the 29th [April 1945], and on the next two days the Brazilian 1st Division fanned out to Alessandria and Cremona... On 3 May the 85th and 88th Divisions sent task forces north over ice and snow three feet deep to seal the Austrian frontier and to gain contact with the American Seventh Army, driving southward from Germany. The 339th Infantry under Lt. Col. John T. English reached Austrian soil east of Dobbiaco at 0415, 4 May; the Intelligence and Reconnaissance Platoon, 349th Infantry, met troops from VI Corps of Seventh Army at 1051 at Vipiteno, nine miles south of Brennero. The 338th Infantry came up Highway 12 later in the day and placed a frontier guard at Brennero on the Austro-Italian frontier. To the west the 10th Mountain Division reached Nauders beyond the Resia Pass on the 5th and made contact with German forces which were being pushed south by Seventh Army; here a status quo was maintained until the enemy headquarters involved had completed their surrender to Seventh Army. On the 6th the mountain troops met the 44th Infantry Division of Seventh Army. Inasmuch as Eighth Army had met Marshal Tito’s forces on 1 May at Monfalcone and the 473d Infantry had encountered French troops on 30 April near Savona on the Italian Riviera, the Allied armies in Italy had now made complete contact with friendly forces on the western, northern, and eastern frontiers of Italy and controlled all major routes of egress... Though the Fifth Army’s zone of occupation in northern Italy included all of the large cities in continental Italy except Venice and Trieste, very little trouble arose in the area... Only in the Trieste area did real trouble arise. The problem of relations with Yugoslav forces was handled by Eighth Army and by higher headquarters, but required the use of Fifth Army troops. The 91st Division moved to Venezia Giulia on 4 May, the 10th Mountain Division on 19 May, and II Corps on 21 May. During the week 14-21 May, 5,300 tons of ammunition were placed in the Udine area, enough to support 2 infantry divisions, 2 tank battalions, 2 tank destroyer battalions, 2 155mm howitzer battalions, and 1 155mm gun battalion for 5 days. When our general line was advanced to the east on 22-23 May, a flare-up of Yugoslav protests and threats ensued and resulted in a alert for the 85th Division. By mid-June the situation had quieted down, and the 85th Division was relieved from its alert status on 14 June. An agreement had been reached by this time establishing a general line of demarcation along the Isonzo River; joint American and British occupation continued in the area west of the river.» (Starr, 1986, p.436-441).

By land shall be horrible events
: Above mentioned.

By sea shall be horrible events: In addition to the items above quoted, « 1942 AUGUST 10 Sea War: Med.OP. PEDESTAL. 14-ship British convoy leaves Gibraltar for Malta under heavy escort – only 4 transports and burning tanker Ohio reach Malta. From Aug. 11-14 they are battered by Axis aircraft, subs. and motor torpedo boats. Ships sunk: carrier Eagle, cruisers Cairo and Manchester, destroyer Foresight and 7 merchant vessels. Ships badly damaged: carrier Indomitable, 2 cruisers, 1 destroyer and 7 merchant vessels. 2 Italian subs. rammed and sunk by British destroyers. AUGUST 13 Cruisers Bolzano and Muzio Attendolo are torpedoed by British sub. Unbroken, off Lipari Is. NOVEMBER 7 U-boats and Italian subs. attack Allied Task Forces engaged in Op. Torch (Nov. 7-15): 7 transports sunk and 3 damaged; destroyers Martin and Isaac Sweers (Dutch) sunk. 5 U-boats and 1 Italian submarine lost. NOVEMBER 27 SCUTTLING OF FRENCH FLEET. German plan to capture fleet intact at Toulon is foiled by Admiral de Laborde, who orders all crews to destroy their ships.» (Argyle, 1980, p.102-115); « 1943 JANUARY 8 Sea War: Med. – British Force K (2 cruisers, 4 destroyers) harries last convoys between S. Italy and Tripoli, sinking 14 ships of all sizes (nights between Jan. 8-9 and 20-21). JANUARY 22 Force K bombards Rommel’s retreating forces E. of Tripoli. FEBRUARY 1 Cruiser–minelayer Welshman sunk by U-617 off Crete. U-118 lay minefield in Strs. of Gibraltar (4 ships sunk, 3 damaged). MARCH 8 HMS Lightning sunk by German MTB S.55. MARCH 24 Sub. Thunderbolt sunk by Italian corvette. MAY 1 Italian and German vessels lay minefields off W. coast of Greece, Sicily and Sardinia – 3,156, 1,036 and 4,248 mines resp. (May 1- July 20). JULY 16 Carrier Indomitable hit by Italian torpedo planes. Italian sub. Dandolo torpedoes cruiser Cleopatra. Night engagements off Sicily between German and British MTBs with Italian cruiser Scipione Africano: 5 German boats damaged and MTB 305 sunk. JULY 19 German and Italian minelayers begin intensive operations around Italian coast. AUGUST 31 Nelson and Rodney shell Italian coast near Reggio di Calabria. SEPTEMBER 8 Surrender of Italian fleet: 5 battleships, 8 cruisers and 11 destroyers leave their bases for Malta (Sept. 8-9). SEPTEMBER 12 U-boats commence ops. off Salerno bridgeheads: but sink only 3 ships during numerous attacks. DECEMBER 12 British destroyers Tynedale and Holcombe sunk by U-593 (Dec. 12 and 13). DECEMBER 21 Old German cruiser Niobe sunk by British MTBs (night Dec. 21-22). 1944 JANUARY 22 Sea War: Med.ANZIO LANDINGS. Allied 5 Corps lands near Anzio and Nettuno, S. of Rome (Op. Shingle) in bold attempt to outflank Germans at Cassino. Landing craft equipped with rocket launchers deluge the weak defences.» (Argyle, 1980, p.102-148).

Classe d’Affrique aux Pannons viendra naistre: = The army of Africa shall come to appear in Austria (the Pannonians), the French verb naistre having among others the meaning of
apparaître (to appear) as seen above. This reading well fits with the successive operations of the US Seventh Army from North Africa via Sicily, southern Italy, southern France, northern France and Gernany to Austria: « The original idea of “Torch” was to have two landings, thus requiring two major ground forces, one British, the other American. Lieutenant-General Sir Harold Alexander was initially selected to command the British part, then Lieutenant General Bernard L. Montgomery; but when these two were assigned to the Western Desert, Lieutenant-General Kenneth Anderson was given the job. For the American ground force commander, Marshall unhesitatingly accepted Major-General George Patton. Flamboyant in his personal life style, Patton was a thoroughly professional soldier. Older than Eisenhower and Clark, he had served with Pershing in Mexico and in France. He had become America’s foremost tank protagonist in World War I by organizing and leading a brigade of light tanks in the St. Mihiel battle and the Meuse-Argonne offensive, where he was wounded. In 1941, he took command of the 2nd Armoured Division, was soon advanced to head I Armoured Corps, and in 1942 was in charge of the Desert Training Centre where infantrymen, tank crew, gunners, and others learned the techniques of battle. Patton was aggressive, and experienced in combat, and he would soon become known as America’s best fighting leader. At the end of July, Marshall summoned Patton from the south-western part of the United States to Washington to start planning for “Torch”. Early in August, Patton’s headquarters, known variously as I Armoured Corps, Provisional Task Force A, and finally Western Task Force, was set up in the War Department directly under Marshall’s Operations Division… Not until early September was agreement finally reached that “Torch” would consist of three major landings. The Western Task Force was to be wholly American in composition. Patton would command the ground troops, Vice-Admiral Henry Kent Hewitt, a solid, no-nonesense sailor, the ships. They would sail from Hampton Roads, in Norfolk county, Virginia, and come ashore near Casablanca in French Morocco... Patton, who had read the Koran during the voyage, issued a circular to his men. “The local population,” he said, “will respect strong, quiet men who live up to their promises. Do not boast nor brag, and keep any agreement you make.” To his officers he said, “There is not the least doubt but that we are better in all respects than our enemies, but to win, the men must KNOW this. It must be their absolute belief. WE MUST HAVE A SUPERIORITY COMPLEX!” …. The hope of securing a quick cessation of French resistance, not only to facilitate the landings but also to enhance the subsequent operations into Tunisia, had worked. The French had fought bravely despite their outmoded weapons and equipment. Many were wounded, and more than 650 were killed in the fighting. They could with honour enter into the Allied camp and join in the continuing struggle to liberate Europe from the power of Nazi Germany. Finally, “Torch” was the first of a series of large-scale coalition amphibious landings – Sicily, southern Italy, southern France, Normandy – that would lead the Allies to the final battle with the enemy.» (Bauer, 1979, p.294-299);

« 1943 The Seventh Army was the first U.S. Field Army to see combat in WWII and was activated at sea when the I Armored Corps under the command of Lieutenant General George Patton was re-designated July 10, 1943. The Seventh Army landed on several beaches in southern Sicily and captured the city of Palermo July 22 and along with the British Eighth Army captured Messina Aug. 16. During the fighting, elements of the Seventh Army killed or captured more than 113,000 enemy soldiers.

1944 In March, Lieutenant General Alexander Patch was assigned to command the Seventh Army which moved to Naples, Italy. In August, Seventh Army units assaulted the beaches of southern France in the St. Tropez and St. Raphael area. Within one month, the Army employing three American Divisions, five French Divisions, and the first Airborne Task Force had advanced 400 miles and had joined with the Normandy forces. In the process, the Seventh Army had liberated Marseilles, Lyon, Toulon, and all of Southern France. The Army then assaulted the German forces in the Vosges Mountains, broke into the Alsatian Plain, and reached the Rhine River after capturing the city of Strasbourg.

1945 During the Battle of the Bulge, the Seventh Army extended its flanks to take over much of the Third Army area which allowed the Third to relieve surrounded U.S. forces at Bastogne. Along with the French First Army, the Seventh went on the offensive in February of 1945 and eliminated the enemy pocket in the Colmar area. The Seventh then went into the Saar, crossed the Rhine, captured Nürnberg and Munich, crossed the Brenner Pass, and made contact with the Fifth Army – once again on Italian soil. In less than nine months of continuous fighting, the Seventh had advanced over 1,000 miles and for varying times had commanded 24 American and Allied Divisions.

In May 1945, after the surrender of Germany, the U.S. Army occupied the Grafenwoehr Training Area.
» (US Army Europe, 2000);

« To Winston Churchill, the Balkans and, in particular, Italy were the German and Italian enemy’s “soft underbelly.” For him and the British Imperial General Staff it seemed self-evident that once the enemy was driven out of North Africa, the island at the top of the “boot” of Italy should be the Anglo-Americans’ next object. For Churchill, Sicily and then Italy were the easiest means of gaining an entry into Hitler’s vaunted “Festung Europa.” The Italians were warweary and reluctant soldiers and Germany’s weakest ally on the Continent. Knock them hard in Italy, he reasoned, and Mussolini, the Italian dictator, would be toppled. Besides, the invasion of Europe through Normandy was still a year away. What was one going to do do with the victorious Anglo-American troops in North Africa? Churchill told the House of Commons: “We have to fight them somewhere, unless we are just to sit back and watch the Russians.” By the summer of 1943, with the Axis defeated in North Africa, “Operation Husky” as the plan for the invasion of Sicily was code-named, had been approved both in Washington and London.» (Whiting, 1999, p.17-19);

The army of Africa shall come to appear in Austria
: « 1943 JULY 10 Sea War: Med. ALLIES INVADE SICILY (Op. Husky): Armada of 3,000 ships lands 12 divs. of 8th Army (Montgomery) and US 7th Army (Patton). Naval forces – 6 battleships, 2 carriers, 18 cruisers, 7 subs. and 210 other warships – escort invasion fleet and bombard coastal defences and communications. JULY 22 Palermo captured by US 7th Army.» (Argyle, 1980, p.135-136).

« While Overlord ultimately succeeded in defeating Army Group B, it failed to provide usable ports as quickly as the Allies had hoped. Eisenhower therefore convinced himself that he must have Marseilles, which is bigger than most of the Breton ports and all of the channel ports except Antwerp. Marseilles also had the advantage of being about 159km nearer to the German frontier than, say, Cherbourg. It could offer an entry point to those forces still in America and unable to enter Europe via the channel ports; the only potential alternative was Bordeaux and that would have meant diverting forces from Normandy. Eisenhower also liked the idea of stretching the German Army from the North Sea to Switzerland. It seemed to him that Dragoon would also make better use of those American forces currently stuck in a slogging match in Italy and bring the French Army, re-equipped by America, back into the field. Ike and Marshall had won the day and Anvil now became Dragoon, employing the troops of General Alexander Patch’s US 7th Army from Italy and General Jean de Lattre de Tassigny’s French II Corps, his units having been built up in North Africa following the invasion there. The landings were scheduled for 15 August, ten weeks after D-Day. There would be no turning back.» (Tucker-Jones, 2009, p.73).

« 1944 AUGUST 15 Op. Anvil/Dragoon: ALLIED 7TH ARMY LANDS IN S. FRANCE between Nice and Toulon; airborne forces land behind beachhead. 1,300 planes hammer weak German defences.» (Argyle, 1980, p.165); « Allied landing in Provence August 15. The whole plan should be executed by the American 7th Army, which commands General Patch. In the heart of the Allied army, the French troops, the Army B of General de Lattre de Tassigny holds a capital place…» (Kaspi, 1980, p.442-443); The Operation Dragoon(August 1944):
« TORCH, the Anglo-American landings against French North Africa in November 1942, was followed by HUSKY, the assault against Sicily in early July 1943, and the invasion of southern Italy in September… During a series of Allied strategic planning conferences in 1943, the invasion of southern France, ANVIL emerged as a possible complement to the cross-Channel attack against northern France, now code-named OVERLORD and finally projected for 1944. Taking place either just before or during OVERLORD, ANVIL would weaken the overall German defenses in France or prevent the Germans in the south from reinforcing those in the north. Throughout the fall and winter of 1943 the U.S. Seventh Army headquarters based on Sicily thus drew up plans for a one-, two-, or three-division assault on the French Mediterranean coast, using what amphibious lift remained after all OVERLORD needs had been met. During the winter of 1943-44, Eisenhower, commanding the Allied forces in the Mediterranean, had left to take charge of the Allied expeditionary armies assembling in England for OVERLORD. Shortly thereafter, Lt. Gen. Jacob L. Devers, who had headed the American effort in Britain, moved to the Mediterranean to become deputy theater commander under its new British chief, General Sir Henry Maitland Wilson. There Devers, another Marshall protege like Eisenhower, pushed preparations for ANVIL. As drawn up by General Patch's Seventh Army staff, the nucleus of ANVIL would consist of the U.S. VI Corps under Maj. Gen. Lucian Truscott with the U.S. 3d, 36th, and 45th Infantry Divisions. As shipping schedules and the situation ashore allowed they were to be followed by seven French divisions under the overall command of General Jean de Lattre de Tassigny. As the American divisions had significantly more combat and amphibious experience than their French counterparts, many of which were colonial units only recently organized in French North Africa, it seemed logical for Truscott's forces to make the initial assault. In fact, the officers and men of both the American corps and its three divisions probably constituted one of the most experienced teams in the Allied camp, in contrast to the many green American divisions that went ashore at Normandy. Most were veterans of the North African, Sicilian, and Italian campaigns who had long become accustomed to working with one another. Their teamwork would prove vital to the success of the ensuing campaign. The relationship of the Seventh Army with the French command and the higher Allied theater headquarters was also critical. Here de Lattre agreed that, for the duration of the campaign in the south, his forces, which included two corps and one provisional army-level headquarters, would remain subordinate to Patch's Seventh Army and Wilson's Mediterranean command. It was understood however, that once the ANVIL forces joined Eisenhower's Normandy-based armies, these arrangements would change. At that time de Lattre would establish an independent command for all French combat units, while Devers would head another new headquarters, the Sixth Army Group, to control de Lattre's First French Army and Patch's Seventh, all under the overall command of Eisenhower. Both Eisenhower and Wilson approved of the agreement in July. Other elements of the ANVIL order of battle included an ad hoc airborne division, the Anglo-American 1st Airborne Task Force, under Maj. Gen. Robert T. Frederick; the Canadian-American 1st Special Service Force, an experienced regiment-size commando force; and various French special assault detachments. Air support would generally stage out of Corsica, about 100 miles away, supplemented by naval aviation from several escort carriers operating offshore. The latter vessels, together with supporting warships and the entire amphibious assault fleet, were under the control of Vice Adm. Henry K. Hewitt, U.S. Navy, the veteran commander of the Western Naval Task Force.» (Clarke, 2003).

« MARCH 29 [1945] Western FrontUS 7th Army captures Mannheim and Heidelberg.» (Argyle, 1980, p.181).

« On April 15, Eisenhower announced his final strategy for what was left of the Third Reich. According to the dictates laid down by the new plan, Devers’ Sixth Army Group [including among others the US Seventh Army] would drive south and southeast into western Austria, making its main efforts at first on the right wing of the Seventh Army. For the first time since its creation, the US Seventh Army was being granted maximum resources; and Patch knew why. His army would be advancing into the rugged mountains of Bavaria and Austria.» (Whiting, 1999, p.196).

« APRIL 19 Western Front – US 1st Army captures Leipzig. 7th Army troops break through medieval walls of Nuremberg and eliminate fanatical SSgarrison.
APRIL 20 Western Front – ‘Stars and Stripes’ raised over rostrum of Nuremberg Stadium – scene of Nazi Party rallies. Lattre de Tassigny’s French 1st Army execute rapid advance along Neckar Valley, trapping German forces in Black Forest.
APRIL 21 Western Front –French occupy Stuttgart.
APRIL 22 Western FrontUS 7th Army captures bridge over Danube at Dillingen. Patton drives towards Regensburg.
APRIL 30 Western FrontMunich captured by US 7th Army.» (Argyle, 1980, p.183-184).

« The news of the fall of Nuremberg must have pleased Eisenhower, who was in London that day. Even in Nuremberg, most German civilians and ordinary soldiers were only too glad to surrender; the Germans were sick of war. In addition, his Intelligence had heard that there was a German resistance group in Munich, the place where Hitler had founded his Nazi Party, prepared to revolt and take the city over in order that it would not suffer the same fate as Nuremberg. But with one problem apparently solved, another was looming up in the Seventh Army area. In that same week that Nuremberg fell, General Patch had his 63rd, 100th and 44th Infantry Divisions, plus the 10th Armoured attacking towards Stuttgart. The drive was supposed to be coordinated with de Lattre’s First French Army coming up through the Black Forest. Once Stuttgart was taken, it would be administered by the US Military Government, as the Swabian city would be part of the post-war American Zone of Occupation. But urged on by de Gaulle, de Lattre was driving all out for Stuttgart, for French prestige demanded that the major city of the area should be taken by a French Army. But that was not Eisenhower’s only problem. Unknowingly, the French were endangering a highly secret American project. It was the so-called Alsos Group, whose job it was to capture German scientists and material relating to German nuclear fission. By now the team, which had assessed information and documents captured by the T-Force [sent in to Strasbourg by General Devers to supervise the change of control of the city from German to French hands] at Strasbourg University the previous November, knew that the remaining German center for research into the production of an atomic bomb was located at the small town of Hechingen, 50 miles southwest of Stuttgart. It had been the plan of the Alsos team to accompany General Brooks’ VI Corps in its drive to cut the roads south of the city. Then it would make a dash for Hechingen, for Eisenhower ordered that on no account should the German scientists and their research data fall into French hands. Just like his political masters, he wanted the atom bomb being prepared for the war against Japan to remain a monopoly of the Anglo-Americans. On April 19, Eisenhower heard from his Intelligence sources that de Gaulle had ordered de Lattre to take and hold Stuttgart “until such time as the French Occupation Zone had been fixed in agreement with the interested governments”. Now, on the same day Eisenhower heard the good news from Nuremberg, it was followed a little later by the bad news that de Lattre captured Stuttgart. What was the Alsos team going to do? The thought of the French obtaining the key nuclear fission information and capturing the chief German scientists must have sent a shiver down Eisenhower’s spine. He knew General Groves, who was in charge of the gigantic US atomic research project that had been working on the bomb since 1942, distrusted the French nuclear scintests intensely. He felt leading researchers, such as Madame Joliot-Curie, whom he thought was a Communist, would simply hand over the captured German materials to the Russians on a silver platter… Under the command of Colonal Boris Pash, the Alsos team, reinforced by combat engineers from the Seventh Army, and several British specialists, set off to cross French territory without French permission and reach the German scientists at Hechingen. Pash, a bold and imaginative civilian-soldier, bluffed his way across the first bridge in his path, which was guarded by de Lattre’s soldiers. He made a long speech to the officer in charge, about how proud General Devers was that the French had captured this particular bridge and how Devers was sure they would hold it against all odds. Then while his interpreter translated the speech into French, he quietly led the rest of the column across. Before the French tumbled to the fact that they had been tricked somehow or other, the Alsos team had vanished down the road. A little later, Pash was caught up by a French officer in a vehicle. He thought the Americans were heading for Sigmaringen, where General Petain and the rest of the Vichy Government which had fled France the previous year had their residence. Pash assured the Frenchmen eloquently that he was not about to butt into their affairs. The capture of Petain and his traitors was strictly a matter for the French. Pash was allowed to continue. The miles passed as the column rallied down the white dusty spring roads through half-timbered villages which had yet to see an Allied soldier. Within sight of Hechingen, Pash stopped for a while and signaled to the nearest French Headquarters that the French should stay out of the area for a few hours, “because it is soon to be subjected to a heavy bombardment by American artillery.” On the morning of April 24, while the French hesitated, Colonel Pash and his men moved into Hechingen. There was a short small arms fight which lasted about an hour and then the town was American. Hastily the Alsos team started to search for the precious research documents and, more importantly, the German research scientists. They didn’t have to search for long. Under the leadership of Professor von Weizsäcker, a relative of a recent German President, they were only too eager to change sides. Just like Wernher von Braun, the scientist whose rockets had killed some 16,000 Londoners that winter, they were attracted by the land of Uncle Sam and all the goodies it could offer. They were spirited out from underneath French noses and were on their way to America within the month. Now Germany’s remaining cities began to fall to the Seventh Army just like the “61-minute” street barricades, which attempted to stop the victorious Americans’ progress. “Sixty minutes to build them,” the GIs sneered, “and one minute to knock ‘em down!” » (Whiting, id., p.203-206).

« But the Seventh Army was not finished with the French – yet. As the GIs of Patch’s army battled their way through the Alpine passes into Austria, intent on linking up with Truscott’s Fifth Army advancing up to the Brenner Pass from Italy, de Lattre had plans of his own for his First French Army. For the most part, Patch’s men were hampered more by the weather than the Germans, though here and there the SS were still capable of fierce resistance, slugging it out to the last man in the wet snow and bitterly cold sleet which fell on those first days of May in the mountains. Indeed it was the weather which really delayed General Dean’s 44th Division, leading the way. On the same day that the 103rd Division linked up with men of the 88th Infantry coming up from Italy, General Dean’s 44th Division halted. His progress was stopped by weather and a German detachment staunchly defended the serpentine mountain road ahead. The fact encouraged de Lattre to race ahead and try to take the key town of Landeck before the Americans. If the French could succeed, it would at long last bring about the surrender of the Nineteenth German Army, which he and Patch had been fighting since the previous August. Unaware of what was going on, General Dean, who would one day spend three years in a Korean POW camp and win himself the Medal of Honor, was now approached by five Austrian partisans of the “Free Austria” movement. Austria, which produced Hitler (an Austrian citizen until 1928), Adolf Eichmann, the executor of the “Final Solution,” and Ernst Kaltenbrunner, the head of the Gestapo, had suddenly discovered it was anti-Nazi all along. “Free Austrians” had abruptly started to appear from the woodwork everywhere. These particular five volunteered to lead a battalion of Dean’s 44th over a secondary road through the mountains and on to Landeck. Thus it was that emissaries of the German Nineteenth Army, now commanded by General Brandenberger, a veteran of the attack in the Ardennes the previous December, met the men of the 44th to arrange a surrender and not de Lattre... At approximately 2:30 p.m. on the afternoon of that May 5, the two sides signed the terms of the unconditional surrender. All German troops still remaining in the Austrian-Czechoslovakian region right up to the Swiss border, three armies in all, including Seventh Army’s enemy, the German Nineteenth Army, would cease fighting on the morrow. » (Whiting, id., p.215-218).

« LAST BATTLES IN ITALY After the capture of Rome in June 1944, Allied troops had been taken from Italy for the invasion of southern France. The remaining Allied units continued a slow advance into early 1945. In April they renewed their attacks, now with more success. German forces in Italy surrendered on 2 May, and on 4 May the advancing Allied troops linked up at the Brenner Pass with US Seventh Army coming down through Bavaria.» (Sommerville, 2008, p.195).

« Fifth Army’s long thrust straight north from the Apennines to Lake Garda and thence across the top of the valley to the east and west had first split the German armies in Italy in two and then slammed in their faces the door of retreat to the Alps. During that same period three other nearly separate drives were in progress: on the east the British Eighth Army chased the Germans north along the Adriatic coast; on the west the 92d Division pursued along the Ligurian coast to Genoa; and south of the Po the Brazilian 1st Division and for a while the 34th Division rounded up enemy forces caught in the Apennines. The latter project was completed successfully by the 29th [April 1945], and on the next two days the Brazilian 1st Division fanned out to Alessandria and Cremona... On 3 May the 85th and 88th Divisions sent task forces north over ice and snow three feet deep to seal the Austrian frontier and to gain contact with the American Seventh Army, driving southward from Germany. The 339th Infantry under Lt. Col. John T. English reached Austrian soil east of Dobbiaco at 0415, 4 May; the Intelligence and Reconnaissance Platoon, 349th Infantry, met troops from VI Corps of Seventh Army at 1051 at Vipiteno, nine miles south of Brennero. The 338th Infantry came up Highway 12 later in the day and placed a frontier guard at Brennero on the Austro-Italian frontier. To the west the 10th Mountain Division reached Nauders beyond the Resia Pass on the 5th and made contact with German forces which were being pushed south by Seventh Army; here a status quo was maintained until the enemy headquarters involved had completed their surrender to Seventh Army. On the 6th the mountain troops met the 44th Infantry Division of Seventh Army.» (Starr, 1986, p.436-439).
© Koji Nihei Daijyo, 2019. All rights reserved.


Koji Nihei Daijyo

Author:Koji Nihei Daijyo
We have covered 143 quatrains (§588-§730) concerning the World Events in the 19th century after Napoleonic ages [1821-1900] in the Prophecies of Nostradamus, and 218 in the 20th [1901-2000] (§731-§948).

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