Here is a continuance of the chronicle of Dad's ship and the activities during WWII.
On June 27th, we left Pozzuoli for Nisida, a rugged promontory that separates Pozzuloi Bay from Naples Bay. Nisida had a fine long beach, ideal for LCIs and LSTs to beach on,
and was used as a troop embarkation point. A staging area was in nearby Bagnoli. We picked up 200 troops of the Third Division and left for Anzio. The front was then some miles north of Anzio. On June 28th, we tied up bow-on to a battered breakwater and the troops went ashore and took trucks north to the front. Anzio was a medium-sized town before the war but was thoroughly destroyed during the months of the "Anzio Beachhead". The town showed he effects of total war. There was not one whole building to be seen anywhere. No Italian civilians were in town; all that remained was rubble and dust and quiet. There was ammunition strewn throughout the town - you could walk down the street and pick up clip after clip and belt after belt of .30 cal., .50 cal., and 40mm ammunition. We about doubled the ships supply of .30 caliber shells. The fields around town were still mined and contained some bodies of decaying German soldiers. We understood that every day some Italian would try to cross a field and be blown to bits. Tanks and planes littered the landscape and land mines were still piled high along the sides of the roads. I talked with one Army officer who said the Germans were forcing captured Poles, Russians, French and Czechs to fight on their side. There were many such troops on the Italian front, but mostly Russians and Poles. He said the Poles fought like fiends, even in hand to hand combat, while the others gave up easily. Especially the Russians who always fired over the Americans' heads. He also said that whenever the Americans took a hill from the Germans they could count on a German counter-attack in fifteen or twenty minutes.
We returned to Pozzuoli and stayed there from July 2 through July 10. For the first few days, every morning the radiomen and signalmen from all the ships would have a half-hour drill to sharpen their technique.
July 11 we took 187 Brazilian troops aboard and, together with nine other LCIs, got underway to Civitavecchia, the port for Rome. On the way, we watched 15 waterspouts form and fade. Arrived on July 12th. The town was rubble. We hear that the German railroad cannon, Anzio Annie, was captured at Civitavecchia. It was something like WWI's Big Bertha. It had a barrel 90 feet long and was used by the Germans to lob shells into our lines at Anzio from long range.
We got underway for Pozzuoli in the afternoon. On the way, we sighted a mine and exploded it with rifle fire. Arrived in Pozzuoli on July 13.
Paul, you mentioned that we arrived in the Mediterrean on your Dad's birthday. What was he then? Nineteen. My 23rd birthday was the day we left Birzerte. The gentleman sending me this information is now 90.