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Two Sangro River towns fall before Eighth Army's advance

Il corrispondente americano Edward Kennedy (1905-1963).

Algiers, November 24.

Stabbing forward over rough terrain through six intervening towns and villages, Eighth Army troops have seized the two Sangro River towns of San Angelo and Alfedena near the center of the Italian line, virtually clearing the approaches to the Germans' main defense system along a 45-mile stretch to the Adriatic Sea.

Gen. Sir Bernard L. Montgomery's fighters plunged 10 miles due west from Castiglione to capture San Angelo on the east bank of the Sangro after routing the enemy from Capracotta, Castel Del Giudice, Cianni and Martano, a head-quarters announcement said today San Angelo, whose full name is San Angelo Del Pesco, is 28 miles inland from the Adriatic.

In a final advance into the burning town of Alfedena, fired by the Nazis two days previously, the Eighth blasted its way through the stoutly defended villages of Montenero Val Coccinara and Bocca. Alfedena, 45 miles from the eastern end of the battle line, is on the very backbone of Italy, near the sources of the Sangro and Volturno Rivers, which flow in opposite directions.

Although the Germans still held difficult heights east of the Sangro between San Angelo and Alfedena, the two wedges, driven to the stream by Montgomery's tropps guaranteed that the enemy soon would be forced back across the Sangro along ist entire length. Only then would the Allies be in position for a major assault against the Nazis' winter line from the Adriatic to the Tyrrhenian Sea.

The capture of Alfedena placed the Eighth Army astride a fork of a main north-south road where it splits into two highways, one running on each side of the main range of the Apennines and both leading to a main lateral road to Home. The distance by road from the Eighth Army's most advanced unit to Rome is well over 100 miles, compared to the 80 miles which separate Lieut. Gen. Mark W. Clark's Fifth Army from the Italian capital by the Appian Way.


Weather Slows Operations

Stormy weather still curtailed operations along the lower reaches of the Sangro near the Adriatic and put a damper on Allied air operations throughout Italy.

Heavy artillery duels raged on the Fifth Army front in the Venafro-Pozzilli area.

Widespread and active patroling continued along the entire Fifth Army front as both sides probed each other's positions.

It was officially disclosed for the first time that the U.S. Thirty-sixth or Texas Division has been in action as part of the Fifth Army since September 9, when it was first to hit the beaches at Salerno. The division brought a Lone Star flag along and carried it into battle. It was disclosed yesterday that an other famous unit, the Canadian "Princess Pats.", was fighting with the Eighth Army.

Edward Kennedy


Fonte: E. Kennedy, Two Sangro River Towns Fall Before Eighth Army's Advance, in «The Washington Post», XXIV:633, Washington, 25 novembre 1943.


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