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Dated:  Nov 23, 2010

Winter in the Apennines

Rest & Relaxation
Touring the Cities

   This page contains a selection of photos that relate the winter months of 1944.  Some books refer to this period as "the Winter stalemate".  Winter is usually a time of inactivity during war.  However, remember that the Germans launched their big offense in Europe, which was called "the Battle of the Bulge".  In the same month, the Germans launched an attack on the west coast of Italy against the 92nd Division.
    In general, the winter of 1944 was a time to allow units to be pulled out of the front lines and sent on R&R--rest and relaxation.  One special place used for R&R was at Montecantini Rest Area, which used to be Mussolini's resort.  During these months, reinforcements were brought in to build units up to strength.  Many new units arrived from several Allied countries in preparation for the big Spring offensive attack.

     These photos were taken during the winter months of December, January and February 1945.  Some were taken by Sgt. Cole while serving in Italy with the 328th Field Artillery Battalion, 85th Division, 5th Army.  The 328th FA Battalion spent  time moving their artillery around to confuse the enemy.  In December, they moved to provide assistance to the 92nd Division that was under a counter-attack.  Sgt. Cole spent Christmas Day, 1944, in Lucca, which was closer to the west coast and out of the mountains.  He may have been there for several weeks.

  Return to:  Photos- Main Menu        Sgt Cole & Buddies        Po Valley & Alps

Front Line Defenses
Sgt Cole - dugout in Lucca
Sgt. N.F. Cole and buddy in a dugout.  Since Italy had few trees,
the rocks and caves were the next best thing.  This could be
near Lucca
British AA gun
"British troops shooting a German gun using Italian shells".
Sgt Cole took several photos of this anti-aircraft gun.  Probably January 1945. 
Hiway 65 in the Apennine Mts
Heavy snow in the mountains on Hiway 65. 
  (Compare this photo to sketch, below.)
CP in Winter
 Front Line outpost calling on the radio.

Trying out the new Winter Parker
Goofing around with the new Winter Camo coat
along with heavy gloves and Shoe Pac boots.
Photo identified as Sgt. Cole, Sgt Davis & Leo Blais.

Wearing the liner for the Winter Coat
Sgt Cole and Sgt Davis wearing the liner for the coat.
Photo appears to be taken at Lucca during December 1944.

Touring Florence
Private McCloud and 3 friends of the
310th Engineer Battalion posing for photo at
San Pietro's Cathedral in Rome .
MG bunker
Mike Stefanski of the 338th Regiment,
Heavy Weapons platoon.
For more photos of these two units, see 310th Engineers or  338th Regiment.
A Selection of Photos
Photos taken between Rome and Bologna during the time the soldiers were on leave or just holding their positions.
Newsphoto of French troops in Rome
 French Troops in Rome -  June 18th, 1944
The famous French Battalion "Pacifique" marching past the monument of King Victor
Emmanuel II.  This was a news release photo from Allied Forces HQ.
Several photos were taken of troops parading around the Piazza Venezia, a central point in Rome.
News Photo from my collection.

Soldiers on Leave at Montecatini
Montecaniti Rest Area - The GI's went on leave at Mussolini's old resort area.
This photo shows some GI's getting their shoes shined while on leave.
The GI's are wearing the short "Ike" jacket with all their ribbons and patches.

Castel del Rio
Castel Del Rio - This photo was apparently taken in this mountain village soon
after it was shelled by German artillery.  In the foreground there appears  to be
some damaged trucks and several Medical vehicles parked under a Medic flag.

IL Giogo Pass

Il Giogo Pass - This pass over the Apennine Mountains was the scene  
of heavy fighting at the GOTHIC Line.
(Compare this sketch to the actual photo, above.)

  Florence (Firenze) - Located on the Arno River, the British entered it on August 5, 1944.  The Germans evacuated the ancient city without very much destruction but they blew many of the bridges to cover their escape.  Florence was one of the cities that was accessible to GI's on leave.
Destroyed Bridge in Florence
Ponte Vecchio Bridge in Florence
 Ponte Vecchio Bridge - The oldest bridge across the Arno was spared demolition
by the Germans.  The nearby buildings weren't so lucky.

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