By Sgt. George Aarons

YANK Staff Correspondent

ANZIO BEACHHEAD, ITALY—If the soldiers of 1st Lt. George D. Krasevac’s patrol hadn’t been so hungry, they might have cleared up all the Krauts on their sector of the beachhead. As it was, they had to be content with 20 Germans killed and 130 prisoners captured.

Just after sunrise, Lt. Krasevac took a combat patrol of 20 men to attack a part of Krauts believed to be about the same strength. The Krauts were occupying four farmhouses a mile and a half down the road. It was arranged for the supporting artillery to keep the Krauts occupied until the patrol arrived.

Anzio machine gun patrol

An American machine gunner fires at German positions in Anzio

Finding transport hard to get, the boys rounded up a donkey cart to carry their bazookas, mortars and heavy machine guns. As they set out, they could hear the artillery pounding away as ordered.

When he reached his objective, Lt. Krasevac notified the artillery by walkie-talkie to cease fire. Then he set up his own guns from the donkey cart and sat down to wait for his scouts to report. They returned shortly with the news that the enemy, infiltrating through the night, had brought in hundreds of men instead of the expected 20.

Lt. Krasevac, who figures that one American can whip 10 Krauts, felt that his patrol still had the advantage, so he gave the order to open fire. The bazookas whooshed, the machine guns sprayed and the mortars thumped their heavy charges into the farmhouses, scaring hell out of the Krauts, who were not expecting a daybreak like that.

Convinced that they were fighting the whole U.S. Army, the Germans came tumbling out of the ditches and from behind haystacks, gathering in bunches to be taken prisoners. As soon as a sizable number had been rounded up, Lt. Krasevac detailed one of his men to take them to the rear on the double.

anzio captured german patrol

German soldiers surrender to American GI’s in Anzio

Then the lieutenant turned his attention to the farmhouses and quickly smothered them with his bazookas and mortars. Some of the Krauts came streaming out the front door with their hands up. Others tried to sneak out the rear, where the patrol picked them off.

When the patrol reached the farmhouses, the hungry Yanks found that the Germans had prepared breakfast. Food was cooked and waiting for more than 100 men. The captured meal, all the men on the patrol agreed, tasted better than any food they had ever eaten.

For More on the Battle of Anzio See:

The Rock Of Anzio: From Sicily To Dachau, A History Of The U.S. 45th Infantry Division

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