§839 Desolation of Côte d’Azur and Italian coasts in WWII (1940-1945): II-4.

II-4 (§839):

From Monaco till near Sicily
All of the coasts shall be desolate,
There shall be no suburb, city, nor town
That shall
[not] be pillaged and bombed.

(Depuis Monech jusques au pres de Secile,
Toute la plage demourra desolée,
Il ny aura fauxbourg, cité, ne vile
Que par Barbares pillée soit & vollée.)

NOTES: This quatrain is just parallel to the preceding quatrain X-60 (§838), where it is said that « I deplore Nice, Monaco, Pisa, Genoa, Savona, Siena, Capua, Modena, Malta, The top being blood and blade as gifts, Fire, warfare, unhappy people, Naples »; « II-40 (1940-1945) Die Kämpfe im zweiten Weltkrieg zwischen den Achsenmächten und den Vereinten Nationen brachten den Küsten Italiens schwerste Verheerungen (The battles in the Second World War between the Axis Powers and the Allied Nations devastated the Italian coasts heavily).» (Centurio, 1953, p.49).

Monech: = Monech (II-4, III-10, IV-37, IV-91, VI-62, VIII-4, X-23) = Monaco.

Secile: = Secile (II-71, III-25) = Secille (I-11, II-16, IX-42) = Sicile (VIII-81, VIII-84) = Sicille (V-43) = Sicily.

Barbares: = Combatants in general of war. The words: Barbare, barbare, barbarique, etc., signify principally in Nostradamus « what is not civilized, gives a shock, is contrary to the rules, to the taste, to the usage, has the cruelty of the barbarian » (Petit Robert). In fact, of their 25 examples in all, 17 (68%) are such, only 7 (28%) refer to « Islamic, Arab » (III-97, VI-21, VI-75, IX-42bis, IX-94, X-61) and only one to the particular Italian family: Barbarin (VIII-49).

Par Barbares pillée soit & vollée: ­= Par Barbares [ne] soit pillée & vollée, according to the context.

Vollée: Past participle in the feminine of « VOLER (To fly). II. V.tr. (XIIe, « chasser en volant (Transitive verb, to chase in flying) ». Vx. Poursuivre ou chasser (une proie) en volant [Archaic word, To pursue or to chase (a prey) in flying].» (Petit Robert), which represents modern air raids; « JULY 19 [1943] Air War: Europe FIRST ALLIED RAIDS ON ROME. 158 B-17s and 112 B-24s attack Lorenzo and Littorio marshalling yards. Marauders, Mitchells and Lightnings later hit Ciampino Airport. Only 5 planes lost. Sea War: Med. German and Italian minelayers begin intensive operations around Italian coast.» (Argyle, 1980, p.136);

« AUGUST 31 Nelson and Rodney shell Italian coast near Reggio di Calabria. SEPTEMBER 12 U-boats commence ops. off Salerno bridgeheads: but sink only 3 ships during numerous attacks.

«« Anzio 22 January-25 May 1944 Intended as a daring outflanking move that would open up the way to the capture of Rome, the Anzio landings degenerated into World War II deadlock: the Allies unable to drive forward from their bridgehead and the Germans without the means to push the invaders back into the sea… It was only the slow, relentless pressure applied on land and in the air throughout Italy that forced the Germans to give way.» (Grant, 2011, p.861).

Near Sicily
: = Reggio di Calabria; « AUGUST 17 [1943] 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. AUGUST 31 Nelson and Rodney shell Italian coast near Reggio di Calabria. 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).» (Argyle, 1980, p.138-139); « Italy’s terrain was ideally suited to defence against an invader moving northwards: narrow coastal plains in the east and west, cut by many rivers, flanked the central north-south Apennine Mountains up almost the whole spine of the country. Fighting the length of Italy against such natural obstacles, expertly exploited by the Germans, would be costly and slow. It was decided that the only way to overcome these defences was to outflank them in depth, landing troops as far up the coast as air cover would allow. On 3 September, the British XIII Corps crossed the straits of Messina (Operation ‘Baytown’), landing near Reggio Calabria… » (Brayley, 2002, p.20); « SEPTEMBER 8 Diplomacy SURRENDER OF ITALY. SEPTEMBER 10 Italy – British capture Salerno. Germans occupy Rome and disarm Italian forces in the N. SEPTEMBER 12 U-boats commence ops. off Salerno bridgeheads: but sink only 3 ships during numerous attacks.» (Argyle, 1980, p.135-140).

Salerno: « Salerno 9-16 September 1943 The signing of the armistice between Italy and the Allies on 3 September 1943 might have seemed to support Churchill’s claim that Italy was the “soft underbelly of Europe,” but the fierce and intelligent resistance displayed by the Germans at Salerno was a portent of things to come. While Field Marshal Montgomery’s British Eighth Army had an easy, unopposed landing at Reggio di Calabria, the Allied amphibious assault against mainland Italy in the Gulf of Salerno did not go as planned. Under the command of Lieutenant General Mark Clark’s U.S. Fifth Army, the landing force was drawn from the British X Corps, which would hit the beaches at Salerno, and the U.S. VI Corps, acting as a flank guard and landing farther to the south. The X Corps troops faced little resistance as they reached the beaches on 9 September 1943, but once ashore they came under sustained attack from the German XIV Panzer Corps. The U.S. VI Corps faced similar problems, unable to push forward from its beachhead. When, on 12 September, the Germans mounted a concerted counterattack, it seemed possible that the Allies might lose their tenuous hold on the Italian mainland. But the arrival of reinforcements-including a parachute drop by two battalions of the U.S. 82d Airborne Division-and the mass redeployment of Allied airpower to the Salerno front turned the tide. On 16 September the Germans disengaged from the battle and began to withdraw to a specially prepared defensive line farther north; meanwhile, U.S. troops on the right of the beachhead made contact with units from the Eighth Army advancing from the south. As the Germans fell back, the Allies occupied the key port of Naples.» (Grant, 2011, p.858).

« SEPTEMBER 17 Italy - Patrols of Allied 5th and 8th Armies link up near Agropoli, S. of Salerno. SEPTEMBER 18 5th Army captures Battipaglia. Germans retreat from Salerno bridgehead. SEPTEMBER 27 8th Army captures Foggia, with vital airfields and marshalling yards. SEPTEMBER 29 5th Army captures Castellamare and Pompeii (ancient ruins slightly damaged).» (Argyle, id., p.140-141).

Naples: « At nightfall on 30 September [1943] troops of 10 Corps were surrounding Mt. Vesuvius. Naples was within our grasp, and at 0930, 1 October, armored patrols of the King’s Dragoon Guards entered the city. Naples had paid a very heavy price. Allied air raids had destroyed most of the harbor installations, and the damage was augmented by German destruction. In an attempt to deny dock and harbor facilities to Fifth Army the enemy scuttled ships at the piers and sunk others in the harbor; the pipelines had been ripped up and the unloading machinery systematically destroyed. Between Allied bombings and German demolitions the docks and storehouses along the waterfront of Naples were left a mass of ruins, crumbled stones, and fire-twisted steel. In addition the Germans had done their utmost to wreck all public utilities, including electricity, transportation, and water. On 14 October unloading of American supplies was stopped at the Salerno beaches and was transferred to Naples; at this time 10 Corps was unloading at Naples, Torre Annunziata, Castellammare, and Salerno.» (Starr, 1986, p.36).

Cancello-ed-Arnone: « The capture of Naples gave us a much-needed port, but mere possession of the city itself did not constitute a fulfillment of the Fifth Army objective. The airfields at Capodichino and Pomigliano were not yet in Allied hands, and the enemy must be driven well away from Naples harbor. Troops of Fifth Army, accordingly, did not pause with the capture of the city. Though the usual delaying tactics of the Germans were in evidence along the entire front, Fifth Army drove to the Volturno River in the next five days. Advance elements of 10 corps reached the river on 5 October at Cancello-ed-Arnone, and on the following day the 56 Division occupied the town of Capua.» (Starr, id., p.36-37).

« OCTOBER 29 Italy – Port of Mondragone captured by 5th Army.» (Argyle, id., p.142-).

Anzio and Nettuno: « 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); « 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. 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 20 Allies attack ‘Dora’ Line; Canadians break through, May 22. MAY 30 5th Army breakthrough ‘Adolf Hitler’ Line at Valmontone. JUNE 3 German forces evacuate Rome. JUNE 4 ALLIED 5TH ARMY ENTERS ROME. JULY 19 Leghorn captured by 5th Army. JULY 24 Americans reach Pisa.» (Argyle, 1980, p.155-169).

and Pisa: « Now the 34th Division was ready to pivot to the left and take Leghorn. The 135th infantry had been pushing slowly northwest over hilly country toward the port; on the 18th [July 1944] the 363d Regimental Combat Team returned to the 34th Division as Task Force Williamson under Brig. Gen. Raymond Williamson to execute a double thrust at Leghorn with the 135th Infantry. The latter continued its attack toward the southeastern part of the city while the 363d Infantry came in from the east, reaching the outskirts before midnight. At 0200, 19 July, the 3d Battalion, 135th Infantry, entered Leghorn after a brief skirmish with an enemy rear guard outside the city. The 2d battalion and the 1st and 2d Battalions, 363d Infantry, arrived a little more than two hours later. There was little fighting in the city, but it was found to be heavily mined and booby-trapped; almost all the port facilities were destroyed, and the harbor was partially blocked by sunken ships. In compliance with a corps order to advance the line completely to the Arno the 34th Division, now under Maj. Gen. Charles L. Bolte, moved forward again on the 22d. The engineers had thrown bridges over the numerous canals north of Leghorn, and the troops reached the Arno without trouble. While the 442d and 168th Infantry came up on the right, the 363d Infantry entered Pisa at 1330, 23 July. The enemy had destroyed all bridges over the Arno and was content to hold the north bank. The rest of IV Corps was by this time already on the river. The 91st Division immediately to the right of the 34th Division had met stubborn German resistance in the first few days of its advance up the Era River valley, by 0800, 18 July, the advance guard of the 361st Infantry had reached Pontedera on the Arno. The division had closed up to the river by the 23rd. The other division in the line, the 88th under General Sloan, had taken over from the left elements of the 1st Armored Division on the 8th and likewise met considerable opposition in the first few days. To obviate attacking the high-lying town of Volterra our artillery and chemical mortars smoked it, and the division encircled it on the 8th, thus forcing the enemy to withdraw. At Laiatico, a small hilltop town eight miles northwest of Volterra, the Germans elected to make a stand before the 351st Infantry on the 11th, but in a second attack we took the town by a double envelopment which netted approximately 400 prisoners. Enemy resistance then slackened , and the division reached the high ground overlooking the Arno on the 18th. Since the FEC was somewhat behind IV Corps, task Force Ramey patrolled the east flank of the corps after 9 July, at first only with armor and then with some additional infantry from the 88th Division. The enemy had apparently expected the 1st Armored Division to continue the advance in this zone and had mined and booby-trapped almost every trail, but by methodical sweeping the force had gained the Arno by the 23d.» (Starr, id., p.290-291).

La Spezia and Genoa: « JUNE 11 [1940] Air War – 36 Whiteleys (1 lost) bomb Turin and Genoa (night June 11-12) after refuelling stop in Channel Islands.» (Argyle, 1980, p.33); « FEBRUARY 9 [1941] Sea War: Med. – Bombardment of Genoa: HMS Renown, Malaya and Sheffield fire 300 t. of shells, inflicting heavy damage on merchant shipping and the city, with many casualties. Italian Fleet and shore batteries taken by surprise and further confused by thick mist and mis-identification of Vichy French convoy.» (Argyle, id., p.33); « OCTOBER 22 [1942] Air War: Europe – RAF launches series of DEASTATING RAIDS ON THE TURIN-MILAN-GENOA ‘TRIANGLE’ (Italian equivalent of the Ruhr) with night attack by 100 Lancasters on Genoa. 6 heavy night raids on Genoa and 7 on Turin by year’s end. Both industrial production and civilian morale affected.» (Argyle, id., p.109); « OCTOBER 23 [1942] Home Front: Italy – King Victor Emmanuel and Queen Elena visit Genoa – still burning from previous night’s bombing.» (Argyle, id., p.110); « APRIL 24 [1945] Italy La Spezia naval base captured by 5th Army. Germans abandon Genoa, scuttling 40 warships and many merchant ships in harbour.» (Argyle, id., p.184).

Savona: « My next job was to prepare the preliminary groundwork for a defensive wall along the beach as well as defensive bunkers in the hills facing the Mediterranean coast. The work proceeded feverishly day and night while we played hide-and-seek games with the American fliers. They made a habit of coming over from Corsica at least seven times a day on their bombing runs to the Savona port area, which the Nazis used to supply troops in the south by way of motor barges travelling at night. Sometimes the Americans dropped a bomb on our job.» (Wygoda, 1998, p.95-96).

« A few weeks later [about the middle of March, 1944] I was approached by two armed men who introduced themselves as members of the Comitato di Liberazione Nazionale (Committee of National Liberation). It was the first time I had ever heard that name, but I understood its meaning… I was to become known as “Enrico.”» (Wygoda, id., p.108-109).

« Although we were under the overall command of the Committee of National Liberation, we had plenty of latitude, and I had full freedom of action, including the power over life and death. No one ever questioned my authority in matters of command. Still, in cases dealing with the Fascists, I always saw to it that impartiality was the rule rather than the exception; for such cases we had a duly instituted court of law staffed by attorneys and some young students of law at the University of Genoa. But I reserved the exclusive right to deal with the Nazis myself. As far as the Nazis were concerned, I had not a shred of pity left. I knew only to do with Nazis what the Nazis had done to innocent people all over Europe for the last several years. I had witnessed many of their actions personally, and I knew there were important differences between us. I did not kill indiscriminately. I never tortured anyone.» (Wygoda, id., p.129).

« In March 1945, I received a message to meet with our Allied agent at my convenience, but as soon as possible, to receive some secret information that he had to turn over to me personally. Our contact man with the Allied authorities, Piero, was an employee of the British Military Mission in eastern Liguria. I met with him halfway down the mountain the following day. The information I received was that the Nazis had supposedly agreed to surrender on April 25, and my group was to be ready to march down to the cities on that date... On April 25, the signal to liberate Savona came as scheduled. The day I had long wished for was finally at hand. The Nazis showed sense in surrendering immediately to the partisan security units, which had orders not to harm those who surrendered. But the diehards of the decomposing establishment-such as the Fascists and the Blackshirts-attempted to resist. They were too slow to realize that it was all over for them, and they barricaded themselves in the upper floors of downtown office buildings. Such obstacles were quickly overcome, however, and soon the Fascists inside the city were securely under lock and key.» (Wygoda, id., p.133-136).

: represents, by metonymy, Côte d’Azur: « Allied landing on Provence August 15. When the Allies have decided to accomplish well the Operation Overlord, namely a landing on the coasts of Normandy, they were anticipating a second operation, complementary to the first and less important, which would be the Operation Anvil (renamed Dragoon the 1st August 1944). It was planned to gain a foothold on the south coast of France, to take Toulon and Marseilles, to push on toward the north in order to link with the troops that should have landed Normandy. It is a classical manœuver of pincers. The American and British staffs fixed, cleared of the constraints of war in Italy since the fall of Rome (June 4), the day of landing on 15 of August. The total plan was to be executed by the VIIth American Army, which General Patch commands. The theater of operations was situated between Cavalaire and Agay, at the foot of the Maures and of the Esterel. In the midst of the Allied forces, the French troops, Army B of General de Lattre de Tassigny, occupied a principal place. They were supported by a navy task force of 2000 vessels, among which were found the French units. They had a mission of fighting in the second echelon and of taking Toulon and Marseilles. The attack of August 15 was a success. The Germans had no more means of resisting at the same time the two invasion armies. The exploitation following the attack was equally an exceptional success. Toulon was liberated from 23 to 27 August, twelve days earlier than the Allied staff’s prevision; Marseilles during 28-29 August, twenty-six days earlier than scheduled.» (Kaspi, 1980, p.442-443); « The invasion of southern France, Operation Dragoon... The landings of 151,000 Allied troops along the Côte d’Azur from Nice to Marseilles were practically unopposed, the major port of Marseilles was secured and the invasion provoked a rapid German withdrawal from central and south-western France.» (Beevor, 2010, p.445); « After the success of the Allied landing in Provence, the Germans give orders of general retreat on 19 August 1944. Cities uprise of themselves in order to make the Allies come to help them and to prevent the Germans from effecting destructions. Cannes and Antibes are thus liberated on 24 August, Nice on 28.» (Kaspi, 1980, p.444).
© 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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