Allies Free Rome

U.S. #2838f from the “1944: Road to Victory” World War II sheet.

On June 4, 1944, Allied troops entered Rome, Italy, freeing it from German control.

Although Italy had surrendered on September 3, 1943, Germany was determined to fight for control of the Italian mainland. In a series of head-on assaults the Allies slowly battled their way up the Italian peninsula to Monte Cassino, 75 miles south of Rome. There, held at bay by General Kesselring’s German forces, Allied troops struggled to break through the Gustav (Winter) Line.

U.S. #2838f – Allies Free Rome Silk Cachet First Day Cover.

British Prime Minister Winston Churchill then proposed Operation Shingle, which called for landings at Anzio, Italy. With the support of President Franklin Roosevelt, General George Marshall moved forward with the plan.

Item #M94-6 – Paris and Rome Freed by Allies First Day Maximum Card.

The landing at Anzio occurred on January 22, 1944, and initially met little resistance. By midnight, 36,000 men had come ashore and occupied the beach some two to three miles deep.

Item #4902580 – Paris and Rome Freed by Allies First Day Proofcard.

The Germans soon learned of the Allied landing and within two days had a force of 40,000 men in defensive positions ready for battle. The Allies launched their attack on January 30, gaining ground up the Via Anziate, but failing to take the town.

By early February, the German forces outnumbered the Allies over 100,000 to 76,400. The Germans began their attack on the Allies on February 3. After several days of fighting the Germans managed to push the Allied forces back. Another German assault at the end of February ended in a stalemate, and they decided to hold off their offensive operations until spring.

In the meantime, the Allies began planning two operations – Buffalo and Turtle, which would trap the German Tenth Army and allow the Allies to advance toward Rome. The operations were underway by the end of May, with the American forces taking Cisterna on the 25th. The Allies managed to destroy the German line by June 2. The Germans retreated north and the Allies entered Rome on June 4, 1944.

Item #20002 – Commemorative cover marking Mark Clark’s 88th birthday.

General Mark Clark, who was at the forefront recalled, “There were gay crowds in the streets, many of them waving flags.… Flowers were stuck in the muzzles of the soldiers’ rifles and of the guns on the tanks. Many Romans seemed to be on the verge of hysteria in their enthusiasm for the American troops .…” The fall of Rome marked the final phase of the war. Two days later, Eisenhower’s forces landed in Normandy. And within the next six weeks, American bombers were able to hit targets in eastern Germany for the first time since the war began.

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  1. That was my Dad. Private Edgar Moore Coleman (1909-1990). A proud moment for him and his “buddies”. All passed on now.

  2. My Uncle, James L. Carpenter (1920 – 2002), was there during the Italian Campaign. After attaining the rank of Staff Sergeant, he was awarded a direct commission on battlefield in Italy, and took command of a Platoon of 60 men. He ultimately served as Unit Commander. He was awarded battle star for Tunisian, Naples-Foggia, Rome-Arno, North Apennines, and Po Valley campaigns.

  3. I was at Fort Jackson SC doing combat training. This was welcome news as it showed us that we
    were making progress. But the big day was just three more days was D day. We enter the combat
    after D day.

    1. There aren’t many of you WWII veterans left. God bless you! Thank you for your sacrifice and service to our country, to freedom, to the world.

  4. My Dad, Lewis Gibson Keel, helped provide naval support off the coast of Anzio on the destroyer escort Herbert E. Jones DE-137. I was very proud of him for his service.

  5. One can imagine the welcome that the Allies received. Good triumphs over evil! Thank goodness for the sacrifices made by the brave forces that stood up to the nazi’s.;

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