Relief at the success at Anzio
23rd January 1944: Operation Shingle is considered "a marvel of coordination between the Army and the Navy"
On the Anzio landing beaches, the Allied commanders were still congratulating themselves on how smoothly the operation had been achieved. This opinion was shared by the men on the beaches and those moving inland as quickly as they could.
US journalist Don Whitehead1 was amongst them. He had gone in with the second wave - characteristic of a man who earned the nickname ‘Beachhead Don’ because he liked to stay close to the frontline troops.
We’ve got to root the bastards out with mortars and even bayonets and it will be a hard job.
If they were now mightily relieved that they had not had to fight to get onto the beach, it was because this had come as a complete surprise to them. They had been briefed for a tough fight. Whitehead got this despatch out within 24 hours of landing:
At the Fifth Army Beachhead. South of Rome, January 23
Next morning our ship steamed out to sea to convoy with the invasion fleet and steamed toward Rome. Everyone spent most of the day sleeping or lounging in bunks, resting for the test ahead because we thought this would be the toughest landing any of us ever made.