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ANZIO, a town on the west coast of Italy, thirty-three miles south of Rome, became a battleground in the spring of 1944 during the Italian campaign of World War II. The Germans under Field Marshal Albert Kesselring stubbornly defended southern Italy between Naples and Rome in the fall of 1943. General Mark Clark of the Fifth U.S. Army and General Sir Harold Alexander of the British army planned an Anglo-American amphibious invasion at Anzio to loosen the German grip on the mountainous terrain around Cassino, precipitate a battle for Rome, and compel the Germans to retreat to positions north of Rome.

The operation was risky because the Anzio forces would be isolated in German-held territory. Under pressure from Prime Minister Winston Churchill, who wished to capture Rome before the cross-Channel invasion into Normandy, the Sixth Corps under General John Lucas landed British and American troops at Anzio and neighboring Nettuno against virtually no opposition on 22 January 1944.

The Germans rallied quickly, penned the invaders into a small beachhead, and almost drove the Anglo-American force into the sea. The Allies held their precarious positions for four months, amassing forces for a spring offensive. On 11 May 1944 Alexander broke the Gustav Line, and Clark's units linked up with the beachead

fourteen days later. The Sixth Corps, now under General Lucian Truscott Jr., joined the main forces, and Allied troops entered Rome on 4 June, two days before the cross-Channel attack.


Blumenson, Martin. Anzio: The Gamble That Failed. Philadelphia: Lippincott, 1963.

D'Este, Carlo. Fatal Decision: Anzio and the Battle for Rome. New York: Harper Collins, 1991.

Vaughan-Thomas, Wynford. Anzio. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1961.

MartinBlumenson/a. r.

See alsoGustav Line ; Monte Cassino .

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Anzio (än´tsyō), Lat. Antium, town (1991 pop. 33,497), in Latium, central Italy, on the Tyrrhenian Sea. It is a seaside resort with a fishing industry. A Volscian town, it was captured by Rome in 341 BC and became a favorite resort of the Romans. Nero and Caligula were born there; among the ruins of Nero's villa two famous statues, the Apollo Belvedere and the Girl of Anzio, were found. Anzio declined in the Middle Ages, but it revived c.1700 and became a residence of the popes. During World War II, Allied troops landed (Jan., 1944) at Anzio and nearby Nettuno to draw German forces from Cassino, thus effecting a breakthrough (May, 1944) to Rome.

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Anzio ★★ The Battle for Anzio; Lo Sbarco di Anzio 1968

The historic Allied invasion of Italy during WWII as seen through the eyes of American war correspondent Mitchum. Fine cast waits endlessly to leave the beach, though big battle scenes are effectively rendered. Based on the book by Wynford Vaughan Thomas. 117m/C VHS, DVD . Giancarlo Giannini, Robert Mitchum, Peter Falk, Arthur Kennedy, Robert Ryan, Earl Holliman, Mark Damon, Reni Santoni, Patrick Magee; D: Edward Dmytryk; W: H.A.L. Craig, Frank De Felitta; C: Giuseppe Rotunno; M: Riz Ortolani.