Chapter XIX
Mountain And Plain
In readying itself for service in Italy the 370th Regimental Combat Team, commanded by Col. Raymond G. Sherman, went through a nearly complete reorganization before acting as the advance representative of the 92d Infantry Division overseas. The combat team was formed at Fort Huachuca on 4 April 1944, upon the return of the division from Louisiana.1 During the period of intensive training for its movement overseas, substandard men failing tests in the 370th were transferred out to other units and replaced by men with higher qualifications and capabilities. Many of these were volunteers. The combat team, consisting of the 370th Infantry, the 598th Field Artillery Battalion, and detachments from each of the special units of the 92d Division, including the headquarters company, sailed from Hampton Roads on 15 July 1944. Transshipping at Oran, it arrived at Naples on 30 July.2
The unit, secure in the knowledge that it was well trained, in excellent physical condition, and composed of the 92d Division's best cross section of men especially selected to introduce the division to combat, had high hopes and high morale.3 Its arrival in Italy produced flurries of excitement and anticipation among Negro service troops in the Mediterranean area equaled only by those produced by the arrival of the 99th Fighter Squadron and the 332d Fighter Group. For Negro service troops the 92d served as a symbolic antidote to the just completed conversion of the 2d Cavalry Division in their theater. They wished it well. Some, including men from former 2d Cavalry units, began planning ways and means of requesting transfer to the 92d.4
When the 370th Regimental Combat Team arrived in Italy, Fifth Army had reached the south bank of the Arno River. (Map 1) Its troops, disposed along an approximately thirty-five mile wide front extending east from the Tyrrhenian Sea, were resting and training in preparation for the river crossing. Fifth Army was now involved in regrouping, preparatory to an attack de-

MAP 1: The Area of Operations 1 September 1944- 24 April 1945

signed to cross the plain of the Arno and crack the Gothic Line on the southern slope of the Northern Apennines before winter caught the Allied forces in another mountain campaign. Between May and the end of July Fifth Army had lost veteran divisions amounting to about half its strength. If a major offensive were to be mounted, more troops would be needed. The arrival of the 92d Division in Italy was therefore more favorably awaited than the arrival of the gad in the South Pacific. Upon being given its departure date in June, Lt. Gen. Jacob L. Devers expressed himself and General Sir Henry M. Wilson as "delighted" to have the 370th and as many more units as could be spared. It would be put into action as quickly as possible.5
At the beginning of August, IV Corps on the left, under Maj. Gen. Willis D. Crittenberger, had the task of defending the greater part of the Fifth Army front while II Corps on the right prepared for an attack on the Gothic Line to follow an Eighth Army assault to the east along the Adriatic. The IV Corps held the western thirty miles of Fifth Army's front along the south bank of the Arno River. Its Task Force 45 was on the left and the 1st Armored Division was on the rights 6 Task Force 45, formed from antiaircraft troops of the 45th Antiaircraft Artillery Brigade and attached troops, was itself symbolic of the weakened infantry strength of Fifth Army. These antiaircraft units were equipped with infantry weapons on 26 July and, two days later, relieved elements of the 34th Division on the left flank of IV Corps. The antiaircraft units were still undergoing infantry retraining, rotating some elements in the front lines while others were given training in the rear. Task Force 45, as a task force and later as the 473d Infantry Regiment, had close relations with elements of the 92d Division. It described itself as "a polyglot task force of American and British antiaircraft gunners acting as infantry, with Italian Partisans, Brazilians and colored American troops fighting by their side . . . . [which] learned that different peoples can fight well together."7
When the 370th Regimental Combat Team arrived in the army area, the Fifth Army planned to attach it to IV Corps.8 The 370th was to move forward on IV Corps order as soon as equipped, and Fifth Army estimated this could be done by 25 August.9 Fifth Army headquarters did not expect the remainder of the 92d Division to arrive and be ready for use as a full division before December.
As the 370th Combat Team entered the army area, small groups of officers and enlisted men were attached to the 1st Armored Division's infantry battalions and artillery. One small group (twenty officers and twenty-three enlisted men) spent several days with the 85th Division for orientation.10 The

combat team was attached to IV Corps on 17 August and to the 1st Armored Division on 18 August. The first element of the 370th, the 3d Battalion, entered the line on the night of 23-24 August, relieving the 14th Armored Infantry Battalion near Pontedera. IV Corps was intensely interested in the efficiency of the movement of the 370th's units. "We are send [ing] a couple officers over to watch this 370th Inf on their move tonight," corps informed the 1st Armored Division. "We are not trying to watch on you, but are interested in the 370th as a unit."11 On the next night, the 2d Battalion, 370th Infantry relieved the 6th Armored Infantry Battalion south of Pontedera. On 26 August the 1st Battalion of the 370th moved up into a reserve position. With the 598th Field Artillery Battalion moving into position on 28 August, the 370th began its battle indoctrination.12 Key officers and noncommissioned officers of the relieved units remained in the line with men of the 370th for the first twenty-four hours. From the beginning of its operations, in marked contrast to its training history, the 370th Regimental Combat Team was in intimate contact with American white units, officers, and men.
The first of a series of distinguished visitors, including Prime Minister Winston S. Churchill, began to arrive early. Hardly had the 370th got into position when Brig. Gen. Benjamin O. Davis and the motion picture team filming Teamwork arrived for shots of the 92d Division "in action." Newspaper correspondents were anxious for news of the division. On 28 August, as the Eighth Army attack on the right of the Allied line was getting well under way, Lt. Gen. Mark Clark, the Army commander, visited the 370th Regimental Combat Team along with other units of the Fifth Army. General Clark was particularly anxious to welcome the 92d's troops for he understood that General Marshall desired to give them an opportunity to prove the ability of Negro troops in battle.13 General Clark asked one colonel if he was having any major problems. He replied that the only thing he had to complain of was the slowness of promotions for some of his officers. "Give me an example," the general said. The colonel turned, called a Negro first lieutenant commanding one of his companies, and said, "Here's a good example; this man is overdue for promotion." With that, General Clark turned to his aide, "borrowed" the captain's bars off his uniform, and pinned them on the lieutenant.14 Few actions in its career received more spontaneous approval or became more widely known among the men of the 92d and among Negro soldiers elsewhere. Few actions reinforced more strongly the belief that all problems within the division could be adjusted if higher commanders wished to and if they knew of their existence.

In the meantime, IV Corps was readying for its part in the Fifth Army's renewed offensive. IV Corps now assumed command of a larger sector extending inland fifty-five miles, nearly to Florence, thus enabling 11 Corps on its right to concentrate greater strength on a reduced front to break through the Gothic Line north of Florence.15 IV Corps would simulate a crossing in conjunction with II Corps and the British 13 Corps and be prepared, at any time after the initial attack, to follow up an enemy withdrawal across the Arno.16
To hold its extended line and to convince the enemy that the main attack was being mounted in its area, IV Corps received the 6th South African Armoured Division, retained the 1st Armored Division, and received the already famous Japanese-American 100th Infantry Battalion and the British 47th Light Antiaircraft Regiment to replace two antiaircraft battalions relieved from Task Force 45.17
The 370th Regimental Combat Team: The First Six Weeks
The 370th in the Pontedera area along the Arno began to feel its way into battle. During the night of 27 August its 3d Battalion command post was bombed by enemy aircraft; antipersonnel bombs caused several casualties. One platoon drove off two enemy patrols which attacked with machine gun support from across the river. The 598th Field Artillery Battalion's Battery C fired its first rounds into the enemy lines on the morning of 29 August. Combat patrols of the 370th joined with those of other units along the Arno in moving into the enemy areas across the river. One twenty-two man patrol from Company F, led by Lt. Jake Chandler and accompanied by newly promoted Capt. Charles F. Gandy, crossed the Arno on 30 August and proceeded to Calcinaia, where it destroyed a machine gun position and captured two prisoners, the first captured by Negro infantrymen in Europe.
If the situation were favorable after crossing the Arno, IV Corps was to occupy Mount Albano and Mount Pisano, the two major hills on the Arno Plain. Mount Pisano lay between the 370th's positions and Lucca. The 370th was ordered to join with other IV Corps units to cross the Arno at 1000 on 1 September. With its 3d Battalion on the left, its 2d Battalion-in the center, and its 1st Battalion on the right, the regiment (less Company C) crossed the river as ordered. By nightfall its battalions had moved two to three miles north of the river. Company C crossed with Combat Command B of the 1st Armored Division, to which it was attached. Sniper fire and mines caused only light casualties. By 0300, 2 September, the combat team's engineers had bridged the Arno with an armored force tread-way bridge. They and the 1st Armored Division engineers had already cleared mines and improved fords so that tanks might cross.
Combat Command A, 1st Armored Division, with the 370th as its infantry component and the 1st Tank Battalion in support, moved out toward Mount Pisano. The 3d Battalion, 370th Infantry, on the left, moved around the west side of the mountain and by 2200 on 2

29 August 1944.
September elements of the battalion reached the Serchio River at Pappiana, five miles north of Pisa. The 1st Battalion, on the right, its Company B riding on tanks of the 1st Tank Battalion, moved forward rapidly for six miles ground the east side of Mount Pisano to reach positions on the northeast slopes. The 2d Battalion, in the center, moved over mule trails directly into the mountain mass. The enemy showed no sign if offering more than local rear guard apposition. The troops moved so rapidly that by the time the 4th Tank Batalion got its three medium tank companies into position south of the river and registered their guns, it was unsafe to fire. Control of Mount Pisano was assured by the end of the day.
In the next three days the advance continued unchecked by an enemy who was withdrawing to his Gothic Line. The 2d Battalion, 370th Infantry, moved northwest across Mount Pisano on 3 September, reorganized, and attacked toward Lucca on the 4th. A platoon from Company F with tank support patrolled to Lucca, reconnoitered the west and south gates, and occupied them without opposition. At 0600, 5 September, two companies of the 2d Battalion continued toward the city. Company E entered

10 September 1944.
the town. Company F followed at noon. The 3d Battalion, in the face of small arms, machine gun, and artillery fire, cleared the road from Pisa to Lucca; the 1st Battalion reached positions north of the autostrada two and a half miles east of Lucca. On the left and right hanks of the 370th and Combat Command A, Task Force 45 and Combat combat B moved less rapidly. Task Force 45, including the 100th Battalion, was held up by extensive mine fields and combat Command B met stronger German rear guard action on the afternoon of 4 September.
IV Corps now regrouped its forces. It planned to make it appear that it was mounting a major attack to the northwest. Though maintaining contact with the enemy and preparing to follow up further withdrawals, the corps was not to advance in strength beyond the Pistoia-Bagni di Lucca-Lucca line.18 The 370th spent 6 September consolidating its positions around Lucca, the 7th in patrolling, and the 8th and 9th in moving forward into areas abandoned by the enemy. It moved up along the Serchio River, which bends west toward the sea at Lucca. Its mission, like that of the 1st Armored Division to which it remained attached, was to continue pressure on the enemy, preventing so far as possible his transfer of forces to the II Corps front.19

The general advance of Fifth Army toward the Gothic Line began the morning of 10 September. The 370th Infantry's 2d Battalion, on the left, crossed the Serchio River and moved north, along its west bank. The 1st Battalion, on the right, moved north over the plain along the east side of the Serchio. The 3d Battalion remained in reserve. On 12 September positions were improved. Company A, riding on tanks, was involved in a fire fight at Ponte a Moriana. The next day all battalions moved forward again. The 1st Battalion reached Segromigno, three miles east of the Serchio; the 3d, pulled out of reserve, moved with the 2d up the river's west bank. The combat team had now reached the foothills of the Northern Apennines, and the plains of the Arno and the Serchio were left behind.
The 1st Armored Division pushed forward again on 17 September, with the attached 370th's 2d and 3d Battalions attacking northward through the hills on the west side of the Serchio. With the II Corps' breakthrough of the Gothic Line at 11 Giogo Pass on 18 September, Fifth Army alerted the 1st Armored Division for movement to the II Corps front in case a rapid push into the Po Valley developed. Combat Command A was relieved from the division preparatory to movement to the Florence area on 21 September. The 370th assumed control of the former Combat Command A zone and the combat team, released from that command's supervision, was on its own.
Between then and 26 September the units regrouped as elements of the 370th took over from elements of the 1st Armored Division. The 6th Regimental Combat Team of the newly arrived Brazilian Expeditionary Force moved between the 370th's left flank and Task Force 45, which lost the 100th Battalion. The remainder of the 1st Armored Division, less Combat Command B, was released to II Corps, with responsibility for the division zone passing on 25 September to the newly created Task Force 92 (provisional) under Brig. Gen. John E. Wood, assistant division commander of the 92d, in Italy heading an advance observer's group from the 92d Division. In addition to the 370th Regimental Combat Team, Task Force 92 included Combat Command B of the 1st Armored Division and Troop D, 81st Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron. Task Force 92's front now extended twelve miles, from Monte Conservo on the left to Monte Mitoia on the right.
When patrols of Task Force 92 made no contact with the enemy on 26 September, all elements moved forward, continuing the next day for a distance of four to five miles up the Serchio valley. The 3d Battalion, on the left, after fire fights all the way, reached positions near Bargo a Mozzano west of the Serchio River. The 1st Battalion, following Highway 12 on the east side of the Serchio valley, advanced to within a mile of the junction of Lima Creek and the Serchio River. The 2d Battalion, on the right, reached forward positions in the mountains east of the Serchio overlooking Lima Creek, near Bagni di Lucca. On 28 September, a patrol of the 2d Battalion entered Bagni DI Lucca.
The next morning, 29 September, Combat Command B was relieved and Task Force 92 assumed responsibility for the full sixteen miles running from the Brazilian Expeditionary Force zone just west of the Serchio valley to a line run-

Ding north from Pistoia. On the last day of the month, the 3d Battalion, 370th Infantry, crossed the Lima River and entered La Lima where Highway 66 joined Highway 12.
At the end of the month, the 370th Regimental Combat Team had advanced approximately twenty-one miles with the 1st Armored Division and IV Corps, had lost 8 men killed in action, including its executive officer, had 248 sick, wounded, or injured, and 23 missing and captured-a total loss of 279. Although it had encountered no strong resistance from the enemy, it had advanced beyond the Gothic Line in its sector and cut off Highway 12, the enemy's main east-west route of communications opposite the IV Corps front. Its men had advanced under both small arms and heavy artillery fire, had bested the enemy in small fire fights, had engaged in three river crossings and had begun to operate in the hill country of the Apennines. The 370th had worked well with the white troops of the 1st Armored Division and had shown improvement in its own increasingly independent operations. The combat team as a whole was losing the uncertainty that was at first evident. It had developed some good leaders and was on the way to developing assured team work in its smaller elements.
There were some signs from the beginning that the 370th's units, though willing, were neither the most thoroughly trained nor the most thoroughly motivated troops. More than a sea voyage was needed to bridge completely the gap between Fort Huachuca and the plain of the Arno. "They are not aggressive but will go willingly anywhere their officers take them; they will stay where led," General Wood concluded after the first few days on the Arno Plain.20 After the first three weeks General Wood was still of the opinion that "in combat missions they will go wherever led. They will stay as long as their leaders, anywhere." Many of the faults they then showed were those common to new troops: in the first few days they caused more damage to each other than to the enemy; jittery guards and patrols were likely to fire at "any noise or anything which moves, to challenge and fire at about the same time." Discipline slackened, with men reasoning that saluting, sanitation, maintenance, and police were not important in the combat zone.21 But the performance of the 370th in the first few days, while not without a number of incidents which "would have been avoided by more seasoned troops," the IV Corps chief of staff observed of a report from 1st Armored Division, "was on the average as satisfactory as might be expected from a similar untried and inexperienced unit. There is no question of their will to learn, alertness and attention to duty; the nervousness exhibited is natural and may well be overcome in time." 22
There were signs as well that the men of the 370th were learning battle lessons. "At first, when coming under artillery fire," General Wood observed, "there was a tendency to leave the danger area by withdrawing-to the rear. Quickly they learned the advantage of getting out of the fire by going forward-so as to go

through an area registered on only once." They were also learning that a great deal of fire can do relatively little damage.23 But there was another side to developments in the combat team: officers and staffs were relaxing their own requirements as well as their standards of expectation. Command posts were poorly organized and operated in the first few weeks; initially staffs did not operate as trained. But progress was being made "with the possible exception of some junior officers and NCOs in the proper appreciation of their responsibility for requiring what their men-would cheerfully give if they know it is expected." In September there was nothing serious enough to be pessimistic about; the combat team showed every sign of building a "splendid record of accomplishment." 24
The combat team commander, Colonel Sherman, thought, too, that the first few weeks showed promise. During this period his men were convinced that their combat team was far superior to the opposing enemy. A high esprit de corps developed .25 While no determined resistance had been met, men had reacted well in fire fights and to phosphorous bombings; they had gone in to clear areas of snipers and machine guns when the opportunity offered .26
Shift to the Sea
On 1 October the Fifth Army line, from the sea to the IV Corps boundary, consisted of Task Force 45, the Brazilian Expeditionary Force, Task Force 9.2, Combat Command B of the 1st Armored Division, and the 6th South African Armoured Division. These units were directed to continue pressure on the enemy while II Corps made the main attack. Task Force 92 was in its zone east of the Serchio River, straddling Highway 12. The 3d Battalion, 370th Infantry, moved up Highway 12 on 1 October, passing through La Lima and occupying Cutigliano and positions a mile north of the town. The 2d Battalion continued to La Lima. On the afternoon of 2 October elements of Task Force 92, on corps order, began to move to the coastal sector to exchange zones with Task Force 45, continuing until the arrival of Headquarters, 370th Regimental Combat Team, which, on 5 October, took command of the right sector of the coastal zone. Task Force 92, now consisting of the 370th Regimental Combat Team and 2d Armored Group (made up of Task Force 45's 434th and 435th Antiaircraft Artillery Battalions supported by the 751st Tank Battalion and the 894th Tank Destroyer Battalion) took over control of the entire coastal sector along Highway I , running from Forte del Marini on the coast due east and southeast to the Brazilians' Serchio valley sector.
The western sector of the Fifth Army line along whose left flank Task Force 92 was now disposed faced about six constantly narrowing miles of coastal plain on the extreme left and almost impassable hill masses for the remainder of its extent on the right.
The coastal plain between the mountains and the Ligurian Sea, growing narrower as it approaches Massa and La Spezia, the next towns beyond, consists

for the most part of reclaimed swamps and bogs across which run numerous canals and streams. North of the Magra River, which enters the sea beyond Massa, the mountains reach the sea. Off La Spezia, at the northern end of the plain, lay Punta Bianca, armed with heavy coastal guns trained on the plain. These guns were capable of firing beyond Massa to Forte dei Marmi. Northward through the plain ran Highway I, the main north-south coastal road connecting Leghorn, Pisa, Viareggio, Massa, and La Spezia.
The mountains, rising abruptly from the plains, are the Northern Apennines, sometimes called the Apuan Alps. Their rocky- ridges range from 1,500 to 9,000 and sometimes 6,000 feet in height. The slopes facing southwest toward the 370th's troops were generally steep. Those to the northeast on which the enemy operated were longer and more moderate. The mountain ranges, broken into a number of individual peaks, pockets, ridges, and spurs, and cut by swift mountain streams and deep gorges, afforded the enemy excellent defensive positions as well as full observation of troops on the slopes and lower approaching hills and on the coastal plain itself. Few secondary roads usable by military vehicles existed and those that did were marked by twisting curves, steep grades, and narrow bridges. They were readily blocked either by the enemy or by landslides and mud when the fall rains set in.
With the exception of the plain itself, the only route north in this sector lay along the narrow, winding thirty-five mile long valley of the Serchio River and Lima Creek, flowing south through the heart of the Northern Apennines. Between the Serchio valley and the coastal plain the main chain of the Apuan Alps barred the way with thirteen miles of massive, wild, and increasingly rugged mountains. To the east of the Serchio valley rose further mountains, cut by streams and gorges. The enemy could control the Serchio and Lima valleys, with their olive groves, vineyards, and small towns, by the use of minimum forces, for the disadvantages lay with troops attacking up the steeper cliffs from the south. By placing his positions just over the crest line of the mountains, the enemy could guard all approach routes with little trouble.
Across the coastal plain between Massa and La Spezia, turning south along the coastal mountains and across the Serchio valley, the Gothic Line curved in a generally southeastern direction across the Italian peninsula. In the Serchio valley and to the east of the river, the enemy withdrew through his well-prepared, mutually supporting, concrete pill boxes, gun emplacements, bunkers, trenches, and mine fields which made up his Gothic Line. On the west coast, German forces held their Gothic Line positions, thereby protecting their port at La Spezia and the right wing of their Ligurian army.27
IV Corps planned to have elements of Task Force 92 attack on 6 October in the direction of Massa, with the hill mass Mount Cauala-Mount Castiglione as the initial objective. (Map 2) Armored elements, with engineers attached, would push forward on the coastal plain preceding the 370th's attack. Upon arrival in the Massa area, the Brazilian Expeditionary Force would be brought

in on the right of the 92d Division's forces. The two divisions, both absorbing their new elements as they became available in the theater, would be filled and prepared for further army missions upon their arrival at La Spezia.28
Maj. Gen. Edward M. Almond, recently arrived in Italy preceding the 92d Division Advance Detachment, reached Task Force 92's Viareggio headquarters on the afternoon of 5 October, assumed command at 1800, and issued his Field Order I at 2000. His plan called for an attack the following morning with the two battalions of the 370th Infantry present taking Mount Cauala, the first of the series of heights guarding the southern approach to Massa. Mount Cauala stood northeast of the village of Ripa and west of Seravezza across the Sera River. The 2d Armored Group on the left would provide a diversionary attack

in the coastal plain, geared to the advance of the 370th. With Mount Cauala secured, the Task Force would take the hills beyond, move up the coast along Highway I, capture Massa, and proceed to La Spezia.29
Bowed Before Massa
At 0600 on 6 October with the 1st and 2d Battalions of the 370th attacking abreast toward Mount Cauala and the 434th and 435th Antiaircraft Artillery Battalions of the 2d Armored Group providing a diversionary effort on the left flank between Highway 1 and the sea, the drive for Massa began. In a downpour of rain, slogging through "literally a sea of mud," 30 the 370th advanced about a mile while the 2d Armored Group on the left flank, initially suffering setbacks by enemy counterthrusts, made little progress in the face of harassing artillery fire. An enemy smoke screen further hampered the advance. The next day the attack resumed, with Company A pushing up the south end of Mount Cauala by 0900 while Company C tried and failed to cross the swollen Sera River. Hampered by small arms fire, Company A continued slowly up the steep rocks of the hill. By evening, when Company A was about halfway up Mount Cauala and the remaining units back in the towns were at the foot of the mountain, the attack was halted.
The next day the 370th, battalions abreast, started up the mountain again and was driven back by mortar and artillery fire on the upper slopes. On 9 October, two companies of the 2d Battalion started up the less precipitous east side under cover of darkness at 0300. By 0830, taking ten prisoners on the way up, they were at the top of the mountain. By noon heavy machine gun and mortar fire had pushed them about one third of the way back; by late evening the two companies, under fire from both flanks and from the front and believing they were in danger of being cut off from the rear, withdrew without orders to Seravezza.
The pattern for future 92d Division operations had begun. Evidences of a growing malaise within the combat team began the first day of the attack toward Massa, on 6 October. They continued to manifest themselves through the month as one after another of the combat team's units went up the slopes of Mount Cauala and neighboring heights and came down again for an infinite variety of reasons, only a few of them definitely connected with the increased tenacity of the enemy, who had decided to defend this end of the Gothic Line vigorously.
On the first day of the attack, two of the companies of the 1st Battalion failed to carry out their missions not through enemy resistance but through poor organization and control. In the case of one company the day got off to a bad start through a failure in communications. Company B was to move out upon the cessation of an artillery preparation scheduled for 0600. At that time the unit was in its assembly area a mile and a half away. It was ready to move but it received no orders to do so until 0620. It was therefore unable to take advantage of the artillery preparation. As the company advanced in column of platoons with officers forward, enemy

artillery fire fell. Almost immediately contact between officers and platoons and among platoons was lost. The men became disorganized. "Things became a befuddled mess," the first sergeant said.31 The company commander, a platoon leader, and eighteen men proceeded through enemy wire, but the rest of the unit moved back when machine gun fire fell, leaving the leading group forward. The first sergeant personally contacted each platoon in search of the platoon leaders. He was informed that they were all forward. The sergeant, in the absence of orders from his officers, rounded up one and a half squads of the 1st and 3d Platoons and part of the mortar section, organized these men into a defensive position, and sent a runner back to the battalion with information of his position. The next morning the company commander, who had spent the night forward, returned to his unit. A few hours later the remaining officers, who had spent the night back at the assembly area after being told vaguely by a chaplain that the company was dug in forward, rejoined the unit with about two dozen men. "I don't think sufficient information was disseminated and understood by all noncommissioned officers, which fact, coupled with a loss of control, particularly in the 1st .Platoon, caused the affairs in question," the first sergeant observed.32 Company B resumed the attack two mornings later. Two new officers were added, but, in the course of four days, four officers, including the company commander against his will and the two new officers, were evacuated, two for hysteria and two physically ill.
The second company had greater difficulties. On the first day, ordered to cross the Sera River and attack Mount Cauala, it moved out, crossed the river, and advanced to the enemy's wire entanglements where Lt. Alonzo M. Frazier, the leading platoon's commander, was mortally wounded. Lieutenant Frazier refused a medical corpsman's offer to take him to the rear and ordered the aidman instead to return to the rest of the platoon and have it come up and cover the wire gap. The aidman could locate only three sergeants and one private. These five started back. One was wounded on the way up the slope. The rest of the platoon was by now starting back across the river at the base of the hill. The remainder of the company, then under heavy fire on the far side of the river, did not advance at all. The company's attack the following day made no headway. On the third day, when the attack was again ordered, the men of the company refused to move, declaring that they were being made "human targets." The battalion commander assembled them and got them started, but as soon as they came under fire, the attack ceased. The company commander crossed and recrossed the Sera repeatedly trying to get his men forward, but without success.
After the failure of three daylight attempts to take Mount Cauala, a night attack was decided upon. On the night of 9-10 October the company moved out in heavy rain with all officers forward. The company got through enemy wire

without a shot. When well into position, it encountered light fire, perhaps from a machine gun, a machine pistol, and a rifle, and the company streamed back through the wire and back across the Sera River despite the efforts of its officers to control it. By morning, ten men and two officers remained dejectedly alone, across the river, opposite their objective. The company was rounded up and reorganized. Again, on the night Of 12 October, when other units, using scaling ladders, had again taken Mount Cauala, this company had been able to get no more than thirty men started. Mount Cauala was lost again.
The pattern for the combat career of the 92d Division emerged in these and in subsequent actions in the month of October. It repeated itself as one after another of the units of the combat team became involved in similar occurrences. General Almond placed part of the blame for these original failures on battalion command, but the problem soon showed itself to be broader and deeper than any individual's responsibility. It was a problem in faith and the lack of it -the wavering faith of commanders in the ability and determination of subordinates and enlisted men, and the continuation in the minds of enlisted men of training period convictions that they could not trust their leaders. Disorganization born of desperation soon manifested itself throughout the task force. There was no question of the lack of some individual heroism and courage among the men and officers of the task force. When four companies, using ladders to scale the cliffs, took Mount Cauala again in the early morning hours of 12 October, two of them and two reinforcing companies were forced off by dusk. But the remaining two, Companies F and I, stuck to their positions though pinned down. Captain Gandy, commander of Company F, though mortally wounded, led the stand until 0300 the following morning when the units withdrew on regimental orders. A platoon of Company L, under Lt. Reuben L. Horner, fought off eight enemy counterattacks on Mount Strettoia while awaiting support from another unit that failed to locate it. This platoon remained until it used all its ammunition. "During my period of observation, I have heard of just as many acts of individual herosim among negro troops as among white," declared the 370th's new executive officer, Lt. Col. John J. Phelan, a veteran of six months in the Italian campaign brought in to replace the regiment's original executive officer who was killed early in September. "There is no reason to believe that there is any greater lack of individual guts among them," he told the division commander. "On the other hand, the tendency to mass hysteria or panic is much more prevalent among colored troops." 33 As he moved about the combat team's front, helping battalion and company commanders get their men started back up first one slope and then another, first across one creek and then another, he felt that he had gathered enough impressions to support this point of view. But the basis for the "tendency to panic" was not understood. Later explanations on the grounds of low test scores and poor motivation alone do not withstand close examination. A simpler basis-an all pervading lack of trust, beginning in the training

period and now confirmed, flowing positively downward, upward, and laterally among command, commanded, and soldiers on the same firing line, accompanied by a failure in the communication of will-was apparently overlooked. This basic disbelief in the good conscience and the will to do on the part of command toward men and men toward command and both toward each other was a marked feature of the career of the 92d, especially its infantry, where belief in the importance of mission in the face of danger and belief in the reliability of both orders and fellow soldiers was of the utmost importance. It was not long before neither the men nor the officers of the division were convinced that a given job would be done and, in some instances, that it was worth the trying.
Among officers the opinion held by Company C's commander (a Negro officer) after his fourth attempt to get his men up Mount Cauala was growing: "They will not stay in their positions unless constantly watched and give as their reason for leaving the fact that the men next to them will leave anyway so there is no reason for them to stay .... The few good officers and noncommissioned officers in the company are not able to carry the load placed on them, no matter how hard they work. Morale is bad and I dread to make a night move, because so many of the men can slip away." 34
Enlisted men had two approaches: what was the purpose of going up and holding a hill when there were only more hills and more Germans beyond and no one would tell them why? What was the purpose of one company's trying to scale and hold a hill when another had just been driven off? Men were willing to believe the worst, even that they were deliberately sent forward to be killed. Before leaving their battalion command post, the men of one platoon asked why they should have to occupy a hill that another company could not or would not hold. "It must be a suicide job," one said. "I hear that hill is just covered with our dead men," added another.35 On the way out this platoon met men returning from the hill. "I asked one of the 'C' Company men why they had left the ridge," a sergeant reported, "and he told me a lot of exaggerated stories. I then spoke to my men and told them if they were going up on that ridge it would be best to do so at night, when some of the men asked me why we could not wait until morning. Then the rest of the men started going into the buildings. I went into one of the buildings and sat down."36 When the platoon leader asked-his men why they did not follow when ordered, one man replied "We would like to know more about the situation." The platoon leader repeated all that he knew but the men again refused to follow.37 The platoon leader went to the company for information and advice. Plaster falling from the ceiling in a nearby church with a sound like small arms fire added further fears to the situation. The men decided that the noise 

came from approaching Germans and moved to buildings farther back.
The next morning, the platoon leader gathered his men and tried to move them out; some were eating and continued to do so, paying little attention to commands. The platoon leader, followed by a few men, moved toward the river. But the only attempt at clarifying the situation for the remaining men backfired when an officer strange to the unit arrived with assertions that no one believed. "The men seemed scared to death, so I began to talk to them with the idea of bucking up their nerve," this officer, the white commander of another company, declared. "I stated that there were no Germans up on the hill and it was just a matter of walking up there and digging in. I offered to go up there to prove this. With that a soldier turned to me with a sneer on his face and said, 'Shit.' I immediately told the soldier if he ever said that to me again, he would get a carbine slug in his head. I meant every word of the above statement . . . ."38 While officers and men were engaged in fruitless disputation, orders came from regimental headquarters to place the platoon in arrest. The men were disarmed and arrested, the first of several groups to be so arrested. But because of the confusion surrounding these events, when orders had come from several sources and the willfully disobedient were difficult to separate from those who were awaiting clarified orders, courts-martial charges against many of these men would not hold.
Despite the evidences of disintegration, the situation did not yet seem hopeless. Some units were still performing well, but the possibilities of their continued good performance were lessened by their growing belief that men on the immediate right and left, when next one looked, might be back at the bottom of a hill or across a river where the day's action had started. "I think it is too early to definitely state whether or not negro troops could be made combat soldiers," Colonel Sherman, the 370th's commander, observed in mid-October when commenting on one of the questions continually asked higher commanders of the 92d. "Results so far- many satisfactory and many unsatisfactory- are, to my mind, inconclusive at the present time." 39
Colonel Sherman divided the 370th's combat career up to that point into two parts: the period from arrival to 4 October, when the combat team began its move to Viareggio, and the period from 4 October to 20 October. In the first period, he reasoned, the original high morale, the excitement of entering battle, the excellent weather, and the comparatively easy pursuit of the enemy across the Arno Plain had accounted for the team's excellent results. By the beginning of the attack toward Massa, "the romance had worn off." Operations were over much harder terrain, in much worse weather, with the daily rains turning colder and the mud getting deeper. Combat by then was an old story. Officers and men of the combat team had come to know each other's capabilities well. They could now be divided into two types: officers and men who got results and those of a poorer type who

spent their time "sitting around and hesitating to do anything." The majority of the outstanding officers and men became casualties quickly, often through the negligence and unreliability of the others. Units that took and held the crags of Mount Cauala were driven off; losing men and officers, when reinforcing units failed to arrive. This the men of the 370th well knew. The 370th's units could ill afford to lose as many small unit commanders as they did. As a result, Colonel Sherman felt, "Morale went down, esprit de corps departed, determined resistance on the part of the enemy began, difficult terrain was encountered, and so the natural result was that combat efficiency was lowered."40
"Whether all white officers would improve the action of enlisted troops is questionable," Colonel Sherman continued in answer to another of the questions frequently asked higher officers of the division. "However I believe from the standpoint of the officers only, that it would be better if all officers were either all colored or all white."41 The executive officer, Colonel Phelan, while observing that there were leadership disadvantages in both- arising in Negro officers from the greater paucity of officer material and in white officers from a diminishing incentive "that arises from wanting to gain the respect of his men . . . he doesn't care as much as a white officer leading white troops or vice-versa"- decided that "A good officer seems to achieve better results regardless of race."42 Until now "ineffectiveness on the part of certain officers and Non-commissioned Officers," Colonel Sherman felt, "has been overcome by the excellent work of the outstanding officers, both colored and white, who have not only carried their own load but, in addition, the load of those ineffectives above mentioned, with the result that a high casualty rate exists among the efficient leaders and conversely a low rate among the ineffectives."43
To bolster crumbling units and to try out officers in new positions where they might obtain better results, officers were transferred among platoons, companies, and battalions with such frequency that at times men were barely aware of who their current commander was. Action to correct deficiencies, especially in leadership, by the reduction of noncommissioned officers and the shifting of officers from one unit to another was doomed to failure, for the supply of better material was limited. Enlisted replacements were few and those who did arrive seldom provided better material. Many of those arriving were AWOL's from the East Coast Processing Center 44 and rehabilitees from the African Disciplinary Barracks. Most of them, unhappy to find themselves in a front-line regiment, "growled a good deal." It became easy for the older members of the combat team to listen to their gripes.45
Though the 92d Division later esti-

mated that many of its replacements, especially those from the 972d Infantry, were well trained, the replacement system in the United States, geared as it was to loss replacements for white but not Negro units, was unable to supply Negro infantry replacements in bulk. A new program expanding the training of Negro replacements in the United States was begun, but these men would not be available for several months to come. The IV Corps had already begun to worry about replacements for the division while it was still on its way to the theater. Until Negro replacements were available, the division, no matter what its efficiency, could not be used for strong offensive operations. Should it suffer heavy losses it had neither a reserve nor a replacement pool to draw upon. Not much could be expected from the overstrength of the 92d Division for, in addition to the 1,300 qualified replacements, the overstrength contained half of the division's Q-minus men from Fort Huachuca- the psychologically rather than physically unfit men of the casual camp- and 225 East Coast Processing Center AWOL's. All of the thousand-odd Q-minus men would have been included but for the War Department's desire to relieve the division of too many potential courts-martial candidates.46
The Full Division Arrives
In the meantime, through October, the remaining units of the 92d Division were entering Italy, bringing with them, in addition to the Q-minus and East Coast Processing Center men, all of the other accumulated problems of Fort Huachuca and the training period. The remaining regiments of the division had suffered somewhat, inevitably, by the "selection out" of some of their best men for the 370th Regimental Combat Team. With the 92d were officers who, in August and September just before departure, had tried desperately to be relieved under the rotational policy for white officers with Negro troops, only to be met with indignant denials that the division had knowledge of any such policy-the month for departure was no time to encourage an exodus of even unwilling officers.47 One unit, the engineer battalion, had had a typical morale-breaking ruckus illustrative of the depth and complexity of interpersonal and inter-group relations within units of the division.
The morale of this battalion came forcibly to divisional attention when, shortly after arriving in Italy and before joining the division, an unknown assailant shot an officer who lay asleep in his tent. No amount of querying could uncover the assailant's identity nor could responsibility for the weapon involved be fixed. The investigating officer, considering that there must be some truth in the many accounts so often repeated to him, summed up a "most unpleasant situation" which, he considered, "would seriously impair the effectiveness of this organization in combat:"
The EM dislike their officers; the officers dislike each other; and they all seemingly dislike their Bn Commander. Now to analyze that statement. Most of the EM have no confidence in their officers which, justi-

fled or not, is bad. They say that there are very few actual Engineer trained officers amongst them; most of the officers originally being commissioned in other branches of the service. The men don't feel these officers are fit to lead them into combat. One officer, a Co commander, is intensely disliked by his men and some of the members of his CO have threatened to kill him. One reason for the personal dislike is that this Officer is alleged to have said he is half white and when his men learned of this, why their feelings mounted. The men believe they have been unfairly treated and cite the following examples. While at Cp Patrick Henry they were under the impression that some of them at least were to be allowed three day passes. Instead they were put to work clearing fallen trees and other debris, which resulted from a severe storm which had swept the Area. When many of the men under the impression that their passes were ready for them, reported to their Orderly Room dressed to leave, they found no passes and, when they further discovered that the Bn Comdr and their CO Comdr were absent on pass, why there was a most ugly atmosphere. On the transport coming across, the Engr Bn performed all the fatigue details aboard ship and had no further relaxation. Even NCO's were used on these details. The men could not understand why, with other units aboard the transport, they were the only persons used for this work. It was reported that a party was proposed by the Bn Cmdr for the men but they refused to attend. The statement was made that the NCO's feel reluctant to properly perform their duties because for almost any reason and often w/o apparent cause, they are reduced to the grade of Pvt. Consequently, feeling that at any time they may be one themselves, the NCO's don't handle Pvts as an NCO should. The temper of the men aboard the transport was not bettered when they would read various items in the ship's paper concerning the Bn Comdr or Bn Executive Officer.48
Since their arrival in Italy so many additional incidents indicative of poor leadership and command had occurred in this unit that the investigating officer recommended the relief of the battalion commander. The commander not only was not relieved; he remained to command a task force in one of the 92d Division's more disastrous ventures.
Arriving with the full division were the remaining staff officers, many of whom were thought by junior officers of the 92d, white as well as Negro, to be less than the best in judgment, knowledge, and will.49 Staff officers, as they arrived, were oriented in some cases by spending a few days with veteran divisions to the east of Task Force 92, rotating headquarters staff assignments in the meantime.
As the staff assumed its permanent size and form, it developed standard procedures for operating. The general staff briefed General Almond twice daily on the situation, at 0745 and 1700. After the morning briefing, the staff held a planning conference in which new plans were discussed and presented by G-3. The plans included those for "power patrols" as well as major operations. Most plans of a comprehensive nature were made far in advance so that, if corps or army called for plans for limited attacks which had to be ready in minimum time, the 92d was' ready for every "logical objective on the whole front of approximately 18.9 miles." Plans, when approved and ordered executed, were transmitted to troops in operations instructions usually issued after the 1700 conference, attended by the

executive officer of each unit as well as the staff. At the conclusion of these conferences, General Almond issued oral instructions to the units through their executive officers; these were then issued by G-3 as operations instructions as of 1800. When drafts of the instructions were approved, each unit received the appropriate paragraphs by telephone to avoid delay in transmission. For major operations, participating units were given specialized instructions, sometimes down to the tank each infantryman was to ride in an approach to an objective. But seldom did small units and individual soldiers know what was planned for units or men to their immediate right or left, nor did they know what the general plan intended to accomplish. Alternatives, when provided, were usually completely unknown. So secret were the over-all plans of the 92d Division that in the G-3 section only the chief worked on them. When the division made its February 1945 attack after long and detailed planning, not even the assistant section chiefs in G-2 and G-3 knew that the attack was going to be made until a few hours before troops crossed the line of departure.50 In most operations detailed plans down to the platoon level were prescribed by division headquarters, giving subordinate units an opportunity to complain that the 92d's staff stifled all unit initiative.51 The staff contended that, since the division was disposed over so large a front and since the staff had responsibility for and knowledge of both the entire front and the capabilities of division small units and individuals, such detailed planning and supervision were necessary.52 General Almond himself moved about his broad front with rapidity and thoroughness, endangering his own life several times as he went into division outposts. So rapid and all-inclusive were his movements that his G-3 section found that recording his whereabouts was one of the major difficulties in keeping its journa1.53
The German command opposing soon got the impression that the 92d Division's forces were plan-bound. They would adhere strictly to plans formulated before the attack, never deviating from them. The Germans found that the scout and shock undertakings of the division were well prepared and carried out, showing good results. The frontline troops of the 92d were vigilant and in readiness for defense, but the German command considered the division, whose combat efficiency and training it judged inferior to that of other American divisions, to have made poor utilization of its terrain, to have irresolute command, and to lack tenacity. After observing the division's limited objective attacks, and learning that it was not backed by strong reserves, the German command was certain that the 92d's was a holding role only and that no strong attack would develop in its sector.54
As they arrived in Italy, the remaining

units of the 92d Division prepared for entry into the line upon call. The 371st Infantry arrived at Leghorn on 18 October and began to relieve the 370th Infantry on 31 October. The 365th Infantry arrived between 29 October and 8 November, its first element entering the line on 8-9 November. The last units arrived on 22 November.
At the beginning of November, the mission of the 92d Division, now under Fifth Army control (Task Force 92 ceased to exist on 6 November) , was to command its coastal sector and prepare its remaining elements for action. It was to "hold maximum enemy force in coastal area; continue to exert pressure, occupying any areas the securing of which is deemed within its capabilities" and protect the left flank of Fifth Army. That army had failed to break through to Bologna as hoped. The 92d Division's own organic elements now held the approximately twenty-mile-wide line from the sea to Barga. This, with IV Corps' line to the right, was, as General Clark described it, "the formidable half of the line that we had decided not to attack." 55 Fifth Army as a whole went into a period of active defense preparatory to resuming the offensive aimed at the Po Valley. This offensive, in conjunction with an Eighth Army attack, was tentatively planned for about 1 December.56
Neither this nor later Fifth Army offensives proposed for the winter materialized. The 92d Division's main mission remained the same throughout the winter. Though limited local attacks, generally in not more than company and battalion strength, were attempted and though one larger scale attack was tried in February, the division's primary mission remained defensive. The 92d planned limited objective attacks hoping to raise morale and efficiency through a successful action on its mountain front. Further unsuccessful actions, it was recognized, would damage rather than aid morale.57 Local attacks in regimental and battalion sectors in the late fall were not promising affairs. At the end of November the 365th Infantry, just getting fully into the line, had not yet participated in more than small local patrol actions but enough had occurred in the six of his nine infantry battalions already committed to limited objective attacks for General Almond to report to General Clark that "in every case the `melting away' tendency had been evidenced in some degree." No disaster had occurred, principally because of the defensive attitude of the enemy. In artillery, communications, supply, medical service, and troop movements, his troops had performed excellently, but his rifle units were not measuring up. Battle experience gained in attacks so far was no compensation for the loss of key leaders incurred. General Almond was not yet willing to offer final conclusions on the battle efficiency of his division. He still hoped to weld a strong force from his now fully deployed regiments. But his view at the end of November was hardly optimistic.58

A Fourth Hand
While the 92d Division was shuffling its troops about, reorganizing again and again its weaker units, transferring officers back and forth among units, and conducting formal investigations of its infantry units' activities, all in an earnest attempt to solve its internal problems, IV Corps and Fifth Army were concerned about maintaining the division's strength so that it could continue to hold its western end of the Fifth Army's lines. For further bolstering the numerical strength of the division, Fifth Army and the theater considered the use of Negro troops in other units, including air base security battalions.
Scattered over Italy with the Fifteenth Air Force was the 366th Infantry, with all Negro officers. It could furnish an additional regiment, in reserve or as a replacement pool, for the 92d Division. The 366th, not long after its arrival in Italy in May 1944, had been considered for infantry rather than air base guard duties at a time when the Fifth Army needed additional infantry strength for the assault on Rome. General Devers offered the 366th to Fifth Army on 30 May. Lt. Gen. Ira C. Eaker was reported to be "very favorably impressed with the colonel who is in command. He is reluctant to lose the unit, but he will concur." 59 A Fifth Army G-3 officer flew to Bari to check on the status and training of the unit and found that, because it had not been sent for combat duty, it was short of equipment. But, he reported, "the younger officers are very keen for combat," and he was very favorably impressed with them. The commanding officer of the 366th, while apparently not too overjoyed at the thought, was not seemingly antagonistic. He believed, however, that it would take him a week or ten days to get ready to move and that he should have two weeks' training before fighting.60 The deputy G-3 recommended that the regiment be obtained by Fifth Army. Its release to the staging area at Naples was requested.61 But General Devers decided that since it would not be ready for combat in the near future and since General Eaker required it for anti-sabotage duties, the offer should be withdrawn.62
The 366th continued to guard Air Forces installations for Fifteenth Air Force Service Command. Its elements were spread from Sardinia to the Adriatic coast. It had heard "rumors" in May that it would see action with the Fifth Army,63 but by fall belief in these rumors had largely disappeared. The regiment maintained high morale, which it attributed to "Pride of organization, and its commander, the fact that the men know this regiment passed its combat training tests and the organization is still intact after other units have been demobilized to form Port Battalions and other types of service units." 64 Its venereal rate was low, both for the theater and for a Negro unit- 30.3 per 1,000, caused by nine new cases in June.

Its relations with the air units with which its detachments worked and with other Allied troops adjacent the nearly two dozen airfields that it was guarding were good. The 366th found softball exhibitions a key to good relations with foreign units. It taught New Zealanders to play ball; twenty-five New Zealand officers visited regimental headquarters for a smoker; and a group of South African officers and enlisted men demonstrated rugby for the regiment in return for its softball demonstrations. The Fifteenth Air Force complained in June that not all of the 366th's duties were being fully carried out, but by September the regiment had begun to accumulate commendation's for the work of its detachments. The Fifteenth Air Force then noted perceptible improvement in the regiment's performance of its duties.65
With the regiment dispersed over so great an area and performing static duties, control and continued training were difficult. When General Davis, visiting the unit in September, expressed surprise that it had combat as a secondary mission, the regimental commander told him that "the regiment does not possess at present the combat efficiency attained while in the United States. Six months of guard duty have dulled the combat keenness so essential to success in battle. Continued performance of the primary mission will nullify completely the reduced combat efficiency now possessed by the regiment."66 Its intelligence and reconnaissance platoon, for example, had not trained since February. The regimental commander hoped that the unit could be assembled for three months of intensive training. In September, fifteen company grade officers attended a three-week leadership and battle training course from which they reported learning more than they ever had before, but otherwise the unit continued its guard duties until 28 October when Fifth Army relieved it from its Fifteenth Air Force assignments and alerted it for movement to Leghorn for attachment to the 92d Division. "Morale ran high," the unit reported, ". . . because there was anticipation that this unit would fulfill its primary mission, that of combat . . . ."67 Thus, the 92d Division gained a fourth regiment.
The 366th arrived in Leghorn on 26 November and, upon arrival, was attached to the 92d Division. The division issued training orders and inspected and quizzed the men and officers of the regiment. It determined, for training purposes, to attach units of the regiment to its own elements, despite the concern of the 366th's commander that the regiment be given additional training and that it retain its integrity. On 30 November, the fourth day after arrival, the first of the 366th's units, Company E, entered the line attached to the 3d Battalion, 371st Infantry, then on the coast. The 366th Intelligence and Reconnaissance Platoon was attached to the division's reconnaissance troop on the following day. Its B Company was attached to the 3d Battalion, 371st; its 2d Battalion, less Company E, moved into

the 370th's forward positions in the Serchio valley on 2 December; its I Company went to the 371st Infantry on 5 December, its cannon company to the 370th Infantry and its antitank company to the 371st Infantry on 9 December; and its K Company to the 370th on II December. Its 1st Battalion, operating directly under the division and not under regimental control, relieved the 3d Battalion, 371st Infantry, in the coastal sector on 12-13 December.
In the meantime, the initial units of the 366th committed had already come under the same influences that had marked the initial efforts of the units of the 92d's regiments. The division requested an investigation of the circumstances of one company's entrance into the line and another's initial fire experience, which involved a withdrawal through the lines of an adjacent unit of the 371st, as suggested by that unit. This, the 371st's commander felt, "was more than offset by the commendable action of the company commander in organizing maneuver against an enemy machine gun. Captain Dabney was wounded during the action. The platoon which lost contact showed considerable spirit. They killed several of the enemy, including a German officer, captured 12 prisoners, and withdrew in fair order through the lines of our 3d Battalion." 68
The 366th's commander, whose headquarters had been visited daily by the 92d's commander or members of his staff inquiring and checking on the regiment's training and efficiency, now asked for relief from his command. 69 He was evacuated for physical disability and the regiment's executive officer, Lt. Col. Alonzo Ferguson, was made commander, regimental headquarters taking control of the 1st Battalion's sector on 15 December.
With the arrival of the 366th Infantry the 92d Division was able to free some of its elements for use in other parts of the Fifth Army line where, in addition to receiving further indoctrination from more experienced units, they could ease the relief and rest problem for veteran white units in the line. The 365th Regimental Combat Team 70 on 3 December went to the eastern end of the Fifth Army line where it was attached to the 88th Infantry Division in its sector on the right of the II Corps line in the Apennines south of Bologna. The 88th Division was thus enabled to rest battalions of its 349th Infantry, to which the 365th was attached, and whose sector it later controlled.71 The 3d Battalion of the 371st, relieved from attachment to the

370th Regimental Combat Team, replaced the 365th in the coastal sector, operating as a task force under divisional rather than regimental control. After the 2d Battalion, 366th Infantry closed into Barga for attachment to the 370th Infantry on 3 December, the 370th's 3d Battalion moved to the east to Castel di Cascio, where it was attached to the 6th South African Armoured Division's 11th Armoured Brigade on the IV Corps front. On 7 December the battalion relieved the Imperial Light Horse Kimberley Regiment in the line. The 370th Infantry now controlled but one of its own battalions, for its 2d Battalion was operating in the Gaggio Montano sector with the Brazilians, who were still planning to attack Mount Belvedere. On 18 December the 370th's 2d Battalion returned to its control.
These piebald command relationships were typical of the employment of the units of the 92d Division. Within battalions and regiments, attachment of small units back and forth for rest and adjustment of the lines was common so that, in addition to being spread over a front longer than that of other Fifth Army divisions, the development of command control, esprit, and discipline within elements of the division was hampered by the frequent and continuous parceling out of units first to one and then to another command.
First Reports
In Washington, the first reports of the 92d Division's career were reaching the War Department. Early in November, Truman Gibson, on behalf of the Advisory Committee for Special Troop Policies, asked Maj. Oscar J. Magee of the Intelligence Division, Army Service Forces, then about to depart on a mission to Italy, to bring back factual data on the progress of the division. Major Magee, after visits to Allied Force Headquarters, Fifth Army, and the 92d Division between 15 November and December, returned with his impressions.
The 92d at this time was carrying out its assigned missions, maintaining pressure so that the enemy could not shift forces elsewhere and protecting the left flank of the Fifth Army. As a result of its recent arrival, small losses of materiel, and favorable coastal position in the line, it was "very possibly" the best fed, clothed, and equipped division in the Fifth Army. Its combat capabilities were still in process of being ascertained. "Generally speaking," Magee reported, "the work of the various components of the Division has been satisfactory since arrival overseas, with two exceptions: infantry patrol and assault . . . . In regard to assault by the infantry and observance of the rule `Close with the enemy and destroy him with cold steel' the 92d has yet to prove its courage and tenacity. Too frequently the infantry `melts away' under fire and an abnormal number of men hide in cellars until they are routed out by their officers." The infantry, he declared, was being "nursed along" to give it confidence, but, to date, results had been disappointing. General Almond believed the "true evaluation" of the Negro soldier's capabilities would have to await the end of the war, but Major Magee was of the opinion that it would be obtained "if and when the Division is fiercely attacked by or is thrown into an all-out offensive

against German-not Fascist-troops." Efficiency and morale, he continued, were not appreciably affected by racial problems: "Racial sensitivity is strongly evident in the typical Negro officer, while distrust of a Negro's capabilities is present but less evident in the typical white officer." But, Major Magee felt, these attitudes did not affect the work at hand. No report of racial discrimination within the division should be accepted as "the true reason for any tactical or administrative action taken by the divisional leadership," he concluded. Complete trust should be placed in the "integrity, ability and impartiality of the Generals and policy-making officers whose decisions affect the 92d Infantry Division." Gibson, the report concluded, should accept "the informal invitation of Lt. Gen. Mark W. Clark, delivered through me, to `Come and see us.' 72
General Clark, reflecting reports from the 92d Division to him and to his officers, reported shortly thereafter in similar vein. Allowing for the short period of actual combat, "they have performed excellently in supply and administrative matters and in such tactical operations as do not require sustained demonstration of initiative and aggressiveness on the parts of junior leaders and of the rank and file," he wrote General McNarney. The division's commander and his senior subordinates found it necessary "to lead and supervise their troops much more in detail than is normally the case." General Clark felt that the division had been well prepared for commitment; it entered combat "under no handicaps." It was true that the division's combat experience was still too brief for conclusive impressions. Its combat value still had to be demonstrated: "It is my intention to give the division increasing opportunity to assume combat responsibility and to demonstrate its ability to carry a full load in offensive operations. A further report on this subject will be submitted on the basis of future experience," he concluded. General McNarney, forwarding this report, concurred.73
Gibson, in sending Major Magee's report to Assistant Secretary McCloy, noted the tendency of reports on Negro soldiers to try to "prove one of two ultimate facts: either on the one hand that Negroes are no good as soldiers or on the other that they are excellent." Working toward conclusions instead of developing the full facts was a major fault of reports, making them of little value to the Army "unless the easy way out is taken of assuming that Negroes have inborn and hence incorrectible racial deficiencies that make their military use impossible." The Magee report, while revealing, omitted "most of what he [Magee] developed with me in a four hour conversation," Gibson continued. Magee reported to Gibson orally but not formally that the white officers in the 92d Division "generally disliked their assignments, had no confidence in their men and believed that the `experiment' of using Negroes in combat would fail." One key staff officer told Major Magee that although there had been many examples of individual heroism on

the part of Negro officers and soldiers in the 92d, it was his belief that "the Negro generally could not overcome or escape his background of no property ownership, irresponsibility, and subservience. The Negro is panicky and his environment has not conditioned him to accept responsibilities." Said another field grade staff officer: "I don't like my assignment because I don't trust Negroes. White officers who work with them have to work harder than with white troops. I have no confidence in the fighting ability of Negro soldiers." And a third declared that "the gird Division was the first out, the 2nd Cavalry Division the second, and now the 92nd Division is at bat with one strike already against us."
Gibson declared that he did not believe that these attitudes were consciously developed or viciously applied, but the report on them
. . . more than justifies [they trip because they show the nature of the problem ahead and the necessity of exercising great care in evaluating all reports from this and other Negro organizations. In the instant cases, the conclusions reached completely overlooked the effect on the men of the attitudes of the officers. Soldiers generally know how their officers feel. If they know that their officers dislike them, have no confidence in them or feel that they will not stand up under combat, the likelihood is that they will fail .... The problem is one of getting in the whole story and not the segments that go to prove a conclusion. Enough exists in any Negro unit to prove just about anything." 74
Serchio Valley Counterattack
In the meantime, the 92d Division was planning further assaults on the enemy in conjunction with Fifth Army's proposed December offensive toward Bologna. Christmas Day was to have seen the launching of a general attack. The 370th Infantry, with the 2d Battalion, 366th, attached, was to attack east of the Serchio River to secure Lama Di Sotto. Company E, 366th, and Company F, 370th, were to be the assault units. But, from mid-December, German troop movements, repairs to roads and bridges in the upper Serchio valley, and the statements of prisoners foretold a German offensive in the west, opposite the 92d Division's lightly held line. At least one German division, the 148th Grenadier, and two Italian divisions were known to be in the area; as many as five German divisions might be based in the La Spezia region. With the port of Leghorn as an objective, such an attack, coinciding with the German counteroffensive at Bastogne then under way in the European theater, could be profitable to the enemy.
As protection against the expected counteroffensive, Fifth Army on 23 December ordered the 339th Regimental Combat Team of the 85th Division to move to IV Corps. The 337th Regimental Combat Team of the same division and the 19th and gist Brigades of the 8th Indian Division were shifted from reserve and British 13 Corps, the 337th being attached to the 92d Division and the Indian units placed under the 92d's operational control.75 Supporting units, including the 84th Chemical Battalion, the 755th and 760th Tank Battalions, and three American battalions and two British regiments of artillery were ordered to the Lucca area. By

Christmas Day both of the Indian brigades had arrived. The 92d Division returned to IV Corps control.
Movement into the 92d Division sector at the time was no lark; the 760th Tank Battalion, which had been in Italy since the first campaign, described it as
. . . the "grimmest" move thus far made. The roads that it was necessary to cover were covered with snow and ice, the weather was extremely cold, and the total distance covered was 124 miles . . . . Several tanks "fell out" en route due to mechanical failures and one tank, commanded by Lieutenant John E. Visher, plunged off of the road into a flooded area and became completely submerged in water. Numerous vehicles had considerable difficulty in moving from the bivouac area because of the extremely muddy condition.76
In the 370th Infantry sector astride the Serchio, tanks of Company B, 760th Tank Battalion, moved into position, with one platoon on each side of the

river, to support the 92d Division's proposed Christmas Day attack. The 370th's Company G at Calomini, west of the Serchio on the left flank, was attached to the 1st Battalion in preparation for the attack; Company E of the 366th was attached to the 2d Battalion, 370th, east of the Serchio for the same purpose. The 92d Reconnaissance Troop at Bebbio and the 2d Battalion, 366th (less Company E), at Barga remained on the right flank east of the Serchio. The 370th's 2d Battalion (less Company G) moved into Sommocolonia, northernmost of the 370th's outpost towns, on the morning of the 24th. (Map 3)
The Christmas Day attack was called off on Christmas Eve. Antitank and machine gun fire placed on enemy positions on Christmas night brought an intense reaction from the enemy on the east bank of the Serchio. The 3d Battalion reported unusual patrol activity. Sommocolonia received some artillery and mortar fire but enemy patrols were not active and there was no close contact between elements of the 370th and the enemy. The regiment's 2d Battalion was pulled back under cover of darkness, leaving only one platoon of the 366th's Company F and a platoon of Company H in Sommocolonia. At four in the morning of the 26th the 370th's units moved to high ground west of the Serchio and south of Gallicano with the mission of digging a main defensive position across the mountain mass at that point as directed by division headquarters.
Shortly after the 2d Battalion, 370th, began its movement, the 1st Battalion at Molazzana on the west bank received machine gun fire and, at 0450, the small garrison at Sommocolonia on the east bank came under small arms and artillery fire, lasting until 0500. Half an hour later an enemy squad north of Sommocolonia engaged partisans in a fire fight. By 0700 enemy troops appeared at Molazzana and against Company G at Calomini. At 0730 Sommocolonia was surrounded by Austrian and Italian troops, some of whom were dressed as partisans. Companies A and C in Molazzana beat off repeated attacks in their area; Company G at Calomini retained possession of the town although the enemy captured a machine gun and mortar section which had been supporting the company.
The main attack, originally against Molazzana west of the Serchio, shifted late in the morning to Sommocolonia, when enemy troops moved down the draws from the vicinity of Bebbio, held by the 92d Reconnaissance Troop. The regiment ordered the reconnaissance troop to withdraw to prepared positions near Coreglia.
As the situation at Sommocolonia worsened, Lt. Graham H. Jenkins called for reinforcements at 0735. The battalion ordered a platoon of Company E to Sommocolonia. Jenkins reported fighting from door to door, and requested mortar and artillery fire, informing his battalion, "Don't worry about anything," -his men would hold. 77 Lt. John Fox, forward observer of the 366th Cannon Company, adjusted fire until it was directly on his own observation post. "That round was just where I wanted it. Bring it in 6o more yards," he called. The Germans were at his door and, he reasoned, the only way to halt

them was to call for fire on his own position. He then called for a smoke screen to cover the withdrawal of the remaining troops. No further word came from Fox.78 His body was discovered in the demolished observation post days later.
Efforts to reinforce Sommocolonia failed. Partisans fought the enemy in the streets, but some of the troops of the 366th, who were inside houses and unable to distinguish partisans from similarly dressed enemy, held their fire until too late. At 1145 the Sommocolonia force was ordered to withdraw but it was now surrounded. Unable to extricate itself, the force was directed to hold until dark. One officer and seventeen of the 70 men in Sommocolonia escaped as directed; the others became casualties.
German fire was now falling on the regimental and battalion command posts. The IV Corps commander, General Crittenberger, with members of his staff, arrived at the 370th's command post in the afternoon, discussed the situation with Colonel Sherman, approved steps taken by the regiment, and informed the regimental commander that the 8th Indian Division was on its way to take up defensive positions behind the 370th's lines. The 2d Battalion, 366th, was reinforced by Company F of the 370th, which was withdrawn from the west bank of the river when the main attack shifted to the 366th's sector.
The 370th, certain that its positions could be held, tried to obtain the services of a battalion of the 19th Indian Brigade, which had been motorized by the regiment on corps orders for use on the regimental right flank to prevent further encirclement. The 370th had understood that the Indian troops were available for its use. Though released to the regiment by the 92d Division, the Indian battalion's commander insisted that he was still operating under his brigade; his brigade commander declined to allow his troops to be so used until directed to do so by IV Corps. The corps amended orders so that the battalion would remain under control of the 19th Indian Brigade with the mission of reinforcing the right flank of the 370th, but, with valuable time lost in jurisdictional argument, the Indian battalion could not be in position before dark.
In the meantime, Company G, 366th, on the left flank of the forces on the east bank of the Serchio, came under an intensive shelling, became disorganized, and left a gap between the river and Company F, 366th, on Barga ridge. By six in the evening, a German company was reported to be moving through this gap; by 1930 it was reported within 500 yards of the regimental command post, whereupon all command post personnel, including cooks, clerks, and staff officers, and a platoon of Company F, 370th, hastily organized under the regimental executive officer, moved out to meet the attack. Three tanks were attached and ordered to fire down the river road. The force found no trace of the enemy.
The withdrawal of Company G on the east side of the river left the right flank of the forces on the west side uncovered. The 370th ordered its 1st Battalion, on the west bank, to fall back to high ground by dawn, evacuating Gallicano in the process. The battalion of the 19th Indian Brigade and one company of the gist Brigade arrived in the evening and were attached to the 370th,

the battalion going into previously reconnoitered positions on the right flank, the company being directed to link the 92d Reconnaissance Troop in Coreglia with the 2d Battalion, 366th. By mistake the company took up positions to the rear of its intended position and therefore no link was provided. Bridges into Barga were ordered destroyed, but demolitions, later found to have been faulty, did not blow. On the west side of the river action was subsiding; Company G, 370th, in Calomini reoccupied its heavy weapons positions after pinning down the enemy with machine gun fire. The enemy retreated.
To prevent the enemy attack from developing into a further threat to Leghorn and the Fifth Army's supply lines, the 1st Armored Division moved from II Corps to the Lucca area on Fifth Army orders. The 34th Division's 135th Regimental Combat Team was attached to IV Corps and moved to the Viareggio area. The 85th Division (less the 339th Regimental Combat Team) was already in the Lucca area. It was not yet certain that the Serchio valley attack would not develop in strength and that it would not be accompanied by a co-ordinated attack down the coast from La Spezia. Both II and IV Corps had then to readjust the positions of their divisions in line, interrupting the schedules of their units preparing for the attack on Bologna.
The next day, 27 December, the enemy resumed his attack. The 92d's forces were now assisted by a fighter-bomber group from the XII Tactical Air Force which bombed and strafed Gallicano, Vergemoli, and Sommocolonia. By l000 German troops in white winter uniforms were in Tiglio; the 2d Battalion, 370th, with a company of the 1 9th Indian Brigade attached, moved east to cover the threat. The 2d Battalion, 366th, which had taken up its new line south of Barga ridge during the night as ordered, but which lacked intrenching tools to dig in fully-none were available in the valley-now became disorganized and withdrew under enemy pressure. Between its command post at Pedona and Barga only two platoons of Company E remained. One of the battalion's 57-mm. guns, abandoned in Barga, was now turned against it by the enemy. Men from the battalion were straggling back along the roadway; all available officers of the 370th went out to gather them up and return them forward.
The battalion was practically destroyed. Men remaining were reorganized on bluffs in the rear of Pedona where the enemy advance halted. The west bank of the river remained quiet except for sporadic enemy fire.
At about 1300, Maj. Gen. Dudley Russell, commander of the 8th Indian Division, arrived at the 370th's command post, now moved to Osteria. He informed the regimental commander that he was taking command of the entire Serchio sector and directed that troops of the 370th Infantry and attachments, including the 2d Battalion, 366th, withdraw from the east bank through the lines of the Indian troops, then in position behind the combat team, and move to the west bank of the Serchio to reinforce the 1st Battalion, 370th. At 1530 orders were issued, and troops of the combat team moved through the lines of the 8th Indian Division and crossed to new positions on the west bank of the Serchio, where the 1st Bat-

talion had been out of communication with the rest of the regiment as a result of the removal of its command post. The 8th Indian Division later decided to retain the 598th Field Artillery Battalion on its east side of the river. The field artillery, throughout, had stood firm in its positions.
The 370th Infantry formally went under operational control of the 8th Indian division on 29 December. Patrols probing forward found few Germans remaining in the area overrun by the enemy. Fighter-bombers continued to attack enemy positions in the Serchio valley. Barga was cleared by Indian troops on the 29th, Sommocolonia on the 30th, and the last day of the year patrols to Gallicano and Molazzana on the 370th's west bank and in Bebbio on the east bank met only feeble small arms resistance. But that the attack was over was not certain. On 3o December the combat elements of the 85th Division went on a two-hour alert in case either the 92d or the 8th Indian Division was again attacked.79 By t January the lines were practically restored.
Winter Defense
Through January the 92d Division, like others on the Fifth Army front, continued an active defense of its lines. At the end of December, the 758th Tank Battalion, a Negro unit that had been associated with the 92d Division in its training at Fort Huachuca, arrived, and on 29 and 30 December its companies were attached to the 760th Tank Battalion. On 5 January the 135th Regimental Combat Team left the 92d Division's area to return to the 34th Division. The 365th Regimental Combat Team returned to the 92d Division from the II Corps front the following day and went into positions in the Serchio valley sector. The valley reverted to the control of the 92d Division on 10 January following the departure of the 8th Indian Division, which went into army reserve at Pisa. General Wood took over operational control of this sector.
On 9 January Fifth Army announced the postponement of further large-scale offensives by the 15th Army Group. It directed its units to prepare for the resumption of offensive operations on or about I April. In the meantime, units of the army were to train and rest in preparation for a spring offensive. The IV Corps, holding its seventy-five-mile long front with the 92d Division, the Brazilian Expeditionary Force, and the equivalent of one combat team (Task Force 45), was directed to plan a limited objective attack with its available troops to improve positions, especially in the 92d Division sector.80 Throughout the period the Fifth Army's units were to continue to harass the enemy in order to prevent the withdrawal of German units from the IV Corps front.
The 92d Division's patrols at times reached the tops of hills in the Mount Strettoia ridge, and went into the heavily mined area north of the Cinquale Canal, sometimes taking prisoners and holding ground but as often returning without accomplishing their assigned tasks. Infantry weapons shoots, in which all infantry weapons were simultaneously fired into enemy positions at prearranged times, successfully harassed the enemy. Division engineers im-

near Viareggio, 10 January 1945.
proved roads and built a cableway from the Serchio valley up into the mountain positions of the 370th Infantry. Known as "Sherman's Skyway," the cable supplied troops located on nearly inaccessible mountain peaks and crags. The 92d Provisional Mule Pack Battalion, organized with Italian mule drivers, helped ease the mountain supply problem. This unit grew to a strength of 15 American enlisted men, 600 Italians, 372 mules, and 173 horses. The division's paper, The Buffalo, was published on its own presses throughout the combat period. Beginning II December 1944, the division G-4 Section issued L's Bells, a supply bulletin emphasizing conservation, improvisation, and the proper use of equipment. Units were rotated between the line and rest areas and given detailed command inspections, scheduled from February on, before their return to the line.
February Attack
In early February 1945, the 92d Division prepared for a co-ordinated limited attack, similar in objective to that originally planned for the end of December.

Designed to improve the division's positions, the attack was planned to seize the Strettoia hill mass, which dominated the coastal plain north of the Cinquale Canal, and to advance the Serchio valley positions to the Lama di Sotto ridge, overlooking the town of Castelnuova di Garfagnana two miles beyond.
The Serchio valley attack began on 4 February, with the 366th Infantry (less its 3d Battalion, then in the coastal sector between Highway 1 and the sea) on the west side of the river and the 365th Infantry on the east. Units of both regiments moved forward. The 366th occupied Gallicano and the 365th reached the foot of the Lama di Sotto ridge.
The main offensive began the next day. The 366th moved into Calomini and toward Vergemoli. Units of the 365th attacked toward Lama di Sotto, occupying the town of Lama, and taking Hill gob and Mount Della Stella and holding them against strong enemy counterattacks. Advances continued the following day but, on the night of 7-8 February, the 2d Battalion, 286th Grenadier Regiment of the 148th Division counterattacked. The first counterattack, launched before dawn in company strength, was beaten off but another, in the evening, in which the entire German battalion participated, overran the town of Lama, took Mount Della Stella, and pushed the 365th's troops back 500 yards.
On the same night, the 92d Division's coastal attack got under way. The 370th Infantry moved up from reserve on the night of 7-8 February to attack the Strettoia hill mass between the 3d Battalion, 366th on the left and the 371st Infantry on the right. The 366th's 3d Battalion; Company C, 760th Tank Battalion; a platoon of tank destroyers from the 701st Tank Destroyer Battalion; and the 27th Armored Field Artillery Battalion of the 1st Armored Division, operated as Task Force 1 under the command of the 92d's engineer officer. Task Force 1 was to advance along the beach from Forte del Marmi to the Cinquale Canal, cross the canal at its mouth, and then turn inland toward Highway 1 The 370th Infantry, with its left flank on the highway and its right flank in the mountains, was to attack in column of battalions. Its leading battalion would take the first hill objective, the second would pass through to the next, and the third would pass through both to the third hill. The idea was to maintain momentum, to have troops available to counter enemy reaction, and to have the strength available to hold ground as seized, thus avoiding repetition of previous experiences of the regiment when ground, though taken, was not held by attacking troops. The left flank force on Highway 1, consisting of a company of light tanks, a company (-) of medium tanks, a platoon of tank destroyers, and attached engineers for clearing mines and filling obstacles, plus the 370th's especially trained volunteer "raider" unit made up of sixty men and three officers, was to make a diversionary attack. On the right of the 370th, the 371st was to attack in zone, keeping contact with the 370th on its left. The whole was to be a frontal assault across the entire twenty-odd miles of the 92d Division's zone.
At 0600 in the coastal mountains and a half hour later in the Sera valley zone of the 37 1st the main attack began. Gains were made all along the line. The 371st, finding its zone heavily

mined, was slowed down and stopped after about Boo yards. The 370th's leading battalion sent companies up the first two heights by noon and began organizing these positions. Tactical planes of the 86th Fighter Squadron supported the attack by bombing and strafing enemy positions in the hills and at Punta Bianca. But by 1730, a mortar and artillery barrage, causing three officer as well as enlisted casualties, resulted in a disorganized withdrawal by the company on the farther hill just as a reinforcing company was coming up. The reinforcing company met the withdrawing troops head on. Some of its elements continued to their objective, while others joined the disorganized elements of the original company, whose remaining men were then ordered off the hill. A third company, ordered to join and extend the positions of the elements still on the hill, met the men ordered down, became disorganized themselves, and started withdrawing as well. The snowball grew and by night only one of the hills was still held. There, too, troops were confused and wavering.
On the coast, the 3d Battalion, 366th Infantry, moved out into the sea and across the mouth of the Cinquale Canal on medium tanks of the 760th Tank Battalion as planned. The battalion advanced 500 yards north of the canal and turned inland toward a coastal road paralleling Highway 1. Two tanks were disabled almost immediately by mines, blocking the movement of tanks following. Engineers could not bridge the canal and clear the mine fields because of heavy and accurate artillery fire trained on the area from coastal guns at Punta Bianca. Tanks attempting to break through the field to the road lost four more vehicles to mines. Machine gun and mortar fire further slowed progress, but by evening the entire force had reached the north side of the canal and one company of the 1st Battalion, 370th Infantry, was crossing to reinforce the infantry. The 366th's 3d Battalion had suffered heavy casualties including Maj. Willis Polk, its commander.
On the following day, the attack resumed. The 370th and 371st made limited gains which were held against enemy counterattacks throughout the day. The 371st's high straggler losses prevented the following up of advantages gained the day before. The 370th Infantry spent the day trying to reorganize two of its battalions. It sent the remainder of its 1st Battalion on division orders to reinforce the task force in the coastal plain which, with the heights not taken, continued to suffer heavily from concentrated enemy fire from enemy positions in the hills as well as from the heavy artillery at Punta Bianca.
The beachhead now extended about 1,000 yards north and about 600 yards inland from the canal. Supporting tanks were forced to remain near the beach itself to avoid mines. Enemy counterattacks at dawn and midday were beaten off but a third, in the late evening, pushed the forces back. The remainder of the 1st Battalion, 370th Infantry, was ferried over the canal on tanks. Three light tanks of the 758th Tank Battalion fell into deep craters in the bed of the canal during the crossing and were drowned out. Supporting fighter-bombers were unable to fly because of the weather.
On the 10th, the forces in the Serchio valley, having held off counterattacks, moved to regain the ridge northeast of

Lama, attacking with two battalions of the 365th Infantry on the right and the 2d Battalion, 366th, on the left. Despite heavy enemy artillery fire, troops of the 365th's battalions re-entered Lama, captured fifty-five prisoners, and went onto parts of the ridge. But the Germans renewed their pressure and infiltrated into Lama before nightfall. Three additional enemy counterattacks the next day-one company withstood eight in all-were beaten off but a fourth caused some withdrawals.
In the heavily mined Strettoia-Sera sector, the attack also resumed on the 10th. The 3d Battalion, 371st Infantry, was now attached to the 370th Infantry. When units of the 370th again became disorganized, the 371st troops attacked through them to seize one hill and part of another. Elements of the disorganized battalions of the 370th were rounded up during the day. By 1500 a detachment made up of men of two companies, organized and led by Lt. John M. Madison, moved up the first and then the second hill, capturing seven prisoners and two machine guns, and taking its place as left flank protection for the 3d Battalion, 371st. The 371st troops to the east contended with further counterattacks from the 285th Regiment, 148th Grenadier Division, and elements of the supporting Kesselring Machine Gun Battalion.
On the coast, where Task Force I was still attempting to break through to Highway I, elements on tanks moving toward strongpoints met intense automatic fire. An attack by a squad against the point from which the fire came forced the enemy to withdraw. Supplies, previously limited to small ball ammunition and some food, now came in larger quantities, although the supply route, exposed to hostile observation and artillery fire, was still hazardous. All supplies had to be hand-carried across the canal in the absence of a bridge. The force across the Cinquale Canal had stood for forty-eight hours when an enemy attack pushed it back to a new defense line.
During the night of 10-11 February, with a heavy artillery barrage, much of it from Punta Bianca, falling on the new defense line across the canal, with a strong counterattack in progress against troops of the 371st and Lieutenant Madison's lone 370th detachment, with the 365th asking for the removal of the 2d Battalion, 366th, from its area where its own troops were holding off further counterattacks, and with the 2d and 3d Battalions of the 370th still not reorganized, General Almond decided to halt the attack.
By the morning of the 11th, troops north of the Cinquale Canal had withdrawn, according to orders received the night before, to points south of the canal. Crews burned the three stalled light tanks and destroyed the crippled medium tanks with gunfire from the remaining few operational tanks. The seventy-hour stand had cost the 760th Tank Battalion sixteen medium tanks; the 758th Tank Battalion had lost four light tanks; and the 27th Armored Field Artillery Battalion two medium tanks. The 3d Battalion, 366th Infantry, lost 2 officers and 31 enlisted men killed, 10 officers and 177 enlisted men wounded, and 48 enlisted men missing. It captured 74 prisoners.81

The 371st, which was still holding approximately 800 yards in advance of its line of departure, north and west of Mount Cauala, was counterattacked frequently for the next three days by troops of the 285th Regiment. During the attack, the 371st lost 4 officers and 17 men killed, among whom was the commander of its 3d Battalion, and 4 officers and 104 men wounded and missing. The 365th Infantry, also holding ground against counterattacks, had I officer and 52 enlisted men killed and 8 officers and 241 enlisted men wounded in this its first offensive action. The 370th, whose lines were generally the same as when the attack began, lost 15 officers, 3 of them killed in action, and 197 enlisted men, 13 of whom were killed in action, and took 55 prisoners, mainly from the 281st Regiment, 148th Grenadier Division.
The result of the 92d Division's attack was that the lines of the division retrained approximately the same. It had again lost a disproportionately high number of officers, including two battalion commanders and a number of its better small unit leaders. But the total impact was much greater. Neither the division nor its supervising headquarters now believed it capable of strong offensive action. Only the commander of the 365th felt that his unit had done well, but even he was not convinced of the potential value of his troops.82
Reorganized Again
In 15th Army Group's planning for the spring offensive, scheduled to start in early April, it was important that the Fifth Army be able to maintain "an offensive attitude" on the west coast and be capable of capturing La Spezia "at the proper time." The early February attack by the 92d Division convinced the army group that the division, as organized, could not accomplish these tasks.
At the same time, with further reductions in 15th Army Group's strength, the 92d could not be replaced.83 Continuing investigations of the more abortive actions in the division's career, now available in detail with recommendations for action, included recommendations that certain of its battalions, including one of the 370th's and two of the 366th's, not be used again for offensive action unless urgent military necessity required it.84 Fifth Army planners determined, moreover, that without regard to efficiency the 92d Division, along with the Brazilian Expeditionary Force and the new Italian (Legnagno) Group, could only be considered defensive units because of the scarcity of replacements for them. For white American infantry units, enlisted and officer replacements would be available in quantities to meet estimated needs. Replacement stocks of American Negro troops would not be

adequate to maintain the 92d Division in any sustained offensive.85 Neither on 1 March nor 1 April would sufficient Negro replacements be available to keep both the 92d Division and the 366th Infantry up to tables of organization levels for more than a few days in an offensive, although there should be enough replacements to maintain these units through limited operations of the type engaged in before February. If current shortages in the 366th Infantry were filled, not more than three to four hundred Negro infantry replacements all together would be on hand on 1 March.86 As it developed, on 1 April there were 2,000 Negro replacements available for the entire 92d Division, in contrast with the 1,200 replacements available for the 442d Infantry alone.
General Marshall, in Italy with General Clark at the time of the February attack, made
. . . a dicker-a wager with Clark: that he could take those three regiments of the 92d Division and form one regiment out of them, take the one regiment made up of AAA troops who had already been converted to infantry and I would bring back the Japanese regiment, the 442d from Southern France. He was to put the Negroes in front and the Japs in reserve behind them. The Germans would think the Negro regiment was a weak spot, and then would hit the Japs. The Japanese regiment was spectacular . . . .87
The 15th Army Group and Fifth Army began to plan the reorganization of the 92d Division. Lt. Gen. Lucian K. Truscott, Jr., the Fifth Army commander since General Clark had assumed command of the 15th Army Group, orally directed the division to plan for a reorganization of this type.
The 92d Division proposed that the 366th be removed from the front lines and disposed of as higher headquarters might direct; that the 371st Infantry relieve the 366th and 365th in the Serchio valley; that the 473d 88 be attached to the 92d for immediate use in the coastal sector; that the 442d Infantry, upon arrival, be attached and held in a training area south of Viareggio and that it be supplied with organizational equipment turned in by the 366th Infantry; that the 370th Infantry be relieved from frontline duty upon attachment of the 473d and that it be reorganized in a rear area by transferring into it the more outstanding officers and men from the other two organic regiments of the 92d Division; that the 365th Infantry be moved to an area south of Viareggio to act as a

training replacement regiment for the division; and that all division elements (less the 371st, which was to continue to hold the Serchio River sector attached to Task Force 45) be moved west into a narrower sector. All of this was to be done without mentioning the transfer of units to and from the division. Attached units would wear Fifth Army insignia until a later date. When thoroughly assimilated, the two attached regiments would be assigned to the 92d Division.89
The reorganization of the 370th Infantry would be bound to affect the combat efficiency of the other two regiments, General Almond said in acknowledgement of concern about them expressed by Maj. Gen. Alfred M. Gruenther, Chief of Staff, 15th Army Group. But, General Almond declared, "upon studying the matter, I do not believe it will be as serious as Gruenther visualizes," for in the two remaining regiments many first sergeants, senior noncommissioned officers, and officers would remain undisturbed since all could not be utilized in the reorganized 370th. Moreover, General Almond observed:
Considering the characteristics which have manifested themselves in the infantry combat activities of this Division, I do not visualize that the combat reliability of the newly vitalized 370th Infantry will be greatly raised. I had no part in the decision in this matter, but you may rest assured that I and all those here concerned will do everything in our power to get the best available men into this regiment and to develop the material to its utmost capabilities. I do think that the divisional potentiality will be greatly increased by the use of the 442d and 473d Infantry Regiments, and I do not visualize appreciable difficulties in their employment with our troops. I believe that the plan herewith recommended reduces the political publicity aspects of this readjustment to the minimum. In my opinion there need be no discussion of the changes in location of troop units. These are normal and have been a part of my plan for rotation of units since early November. There will necessarily be comment on changes in personnel assignments, especially key officers, but I propose to make this a gradual change over a period of three weeks.90
The plan, as outlined, was modified by General Truscott: The 473d would be attached to the 92d Division in its present Cutigliano sector on the division's right to avoid comment on its replacing Negro units in the coastal sector. The 365th Infantry would subsequently move to the east to the Cutigliano sector, gradually relieving the 4734 and the 366th Infantry in the Serchio valley. The 365th's employment where enemy forces were scarce was considered preferable to its use as a replacement regiment for the 92d. The 371st' Infantry would assemble for employment elsewhere under army control as soon as practicable. In the meantime the 92d Division's left flank could be held by the 371st and attached troops to mask the planned use of the 442d and 4734 in attack. Such an attack would have to employ the reconstituted 370th, "at least in part," as well as supporting troops, General Truscott recommended, "otherwise, we are bound to occasion comment and draw unfavorable publicity, at least in the Negro press." The 366th could then be detached from the con-

trol of the 92d Division. It could be converted into a general service engineer unit "without occasioning any comment whatever," for the need for engineers had been amply demonstrated by the conversion of antiaircraft units, the use of Italian engineers, and the employment of civilians. Possibly the designation "366th Infantry" might be preserved. By organizing two general service regiments all personnel of the 366th could be used, thereby avoiding returning any to replacement depots from which they might be routed back individually to the 92d Division.91
In approving the plan 15th Army Group directed that the reorganized 92d Division be prepared for a limited objective attack in the coastal sector at the earliest practicable date and that, for security reasons, no publicity at all be given to the reorganization of the division.92
By 1 March the exchange movements between the 365th Infantry and the 4734 Infantry had been completed. The 366th Infantry had been withdrawn to the Viareggio area where, in training, it was designated a reserve regiment with the 92d Division asking that its final disposition be effected as soon as possible to avoid further speculation.93 The 370th Infantry was in the midst of reorganization. Beginning 24 February and ending 17 March, 62 officers were transferred out and 70 transferred in; 1,264 enlisted men and 1 warrant officer were transferred out and 1,358 enlisted men and 1 warrant officer were transferred in, giving the 370th a total strength of 139 officers, 3 warrant officers, and 2,800 enlisted men. During these changes, Truman Gibson, in response to General Clark's invitation and Assistant Secretary McCloy's recommendation, visited the division.
The Gibson Visit
Arriving on 26 February, Gibson went directly to General McNarney's Mediterranean theater headquarters where, after discussions of field commanders' recommendations that the 92d Division be taken out of the line, he was shown the latest reports on the division's career in combat. Some information on the 92d's reverses had already reached the United States through newspaper correspondents. The December counterattack was the main news of the day from Italy. The New York Times' Milton Bracker, after reporting the halting of the February attack, observed that the official report from 15th Army Group was "unusually detailed and candid." He concluded that the army group was trying to solve its public relations problem on the division "in view of the super-sensitivity of some Negro papers at home, which have unquestionably tended to overemphasize the division's accomplishments . . . ." Negro correspondents in the theater as well as their white colleagues, Bracker continued, were sometimes embarrassed by their papers' handling of dispatches. "The general feeling here today was that the Fifteenth Army Group was taking no chances on

the distortion or false play of the story of the Ninety-second's operation," he reported.94
Gibson, after visiting Generals Clark, Truscott, and Crittenberger, visited the 10th Mountain Division's sector, Leghorn, and Viareggio, and the 92d Division with Maj. Gen. Otto L. Nelson, the deputy theater commander. He talked with about eight hundred officers, "hundreds" of enlisted men, and, then, with the higher commanders of the 92d Division. Reports shown to him, he observed to General McNarney, placed complete responsibility for the 92d's performance on Negro officers and enlisted men, failed to examine any underlying causes, made it seem that "everything possible had been done for the Division and yet, notwithstanding this, complete failure had resulted." He set out therefore to determine not only the facts but, where possible, the reasons behind these facts.
Gibson felt that no extended discussion of certain facts was necessary. One of these was "melting away":
It is a fact that there have been many withdrawals by panic stricken Infantrymen. However, it is equally evident that the underlying reasons are quite generally unknown in the division. The blanket generalizations expressed by many, based on inherent racial difficulties, are contradicted by many acts of individual and group bravery. In the 365th Regiment, before large numbers of men were transferred to the 370th, certainly the generalizations do not hold.
Other facts which he regarded as similarly in no need of extended discussion were: the "unsatisfactory promotion policy" for Negro officers, mentioned by both white and Negro officers, and the racial attitudes of the command, expressed by those white officers who commented upon it as one in which "any type of close association with Negro officers is discouraged." This policy was symbolized, Gibson felt, by the establishment of an officers' club in the attached white 894th Tank Destroyer Battalion whose rules of attendance by invitation only were intended to exclude Negro officers.95
Many officers of the 92d Division attributed the high rate of straggling to the deficiencies of replacements. Though the division, which pointed out that straggling had begun early in October before replacements began to arrive, disputed the accuracy of this view, Gibson suggested that the sufficiency of the retraining of replacements, most of them in low AGCT classes, could be at fault. An appeal to racial pride might be included in the battle indoctrination program of the 92d, since this had proved successful in the two artillery battalions commanded entirely by Negro officers. Promotions should be placed on a merit basis solely. Greater attention should be given to the "little things which always must be carefully considered in Negro units since they very often inflame attitudes that have been developed by conditions over which the Army has had no control."96 Gibson found that the shifts of officers in the reorganization of the 370th Infantry, in which all of the Negro company commanders had been replaced by white

officers, had been interpreted to mean that the division had no confidence in Negro officers; at the same time, no reclassification proceedings were pending.97 He found little softening of the 92d Division's internal tensions as a result of its entry into combat. He observed:
It would appear that relatively isolated incidents have been permitted to develop which have resulted in having Negro officers and many of the enlisted men feel that the command is not interested in the success A the division and that decisions have been made so as to purposely reflect discredit on Negro officers and enlisted men. Nothing, A course, could be further from the truth; General Almond and all of his officers are intensely interested in turning out an efficient division from the material that was assigned them to work with. Unfortunately, the pattern of incidents overseas rejects closely the situation which General Davis and I found to exist at Fort Huachuca in 1943 . . . . 98
To this, Gibson reported, must be added the large percentage of Class IV and Class V AGCT men in the division -originally 90 percent 99-most of whom came from civilian backgrounds where there was little opportunity for "an inculcation of pride in self or even love of country." Most of these men received their early military training under conditions which retarded the development of a combative spirit. "No similar situation has ever existed in any white unit," he said. With closer attention to instilling a sense of pride and co-operation with appeals to racial pride as pointed out in ASF Manual M-5, a project in which the 92d Division's Negro field grade officers would be happy to co-operate- the division might yet be brought to a fair efficiency. Correction of the promotion policy, the discriminatory policy symbolized by the separate officers' club, and a revision of the training schedule for replacements might help. The lesson of the 92d for the future employment of Negro troops lay in recognizing correctable deficiencies rather than in forming generalizations from the career of this particular unit, Gibson concluded.100
On 14 March Gibson said much the same in a press conference arranged in Rome by the public relations officer of the theater at the request of war correspondents in the area. "I agreed to participate in the conference only after being advised by officers of the theater command that there would be no objection to my engaging in a frank discussion of conditions as I observed them during my visit to the 92d Division," Gibson later told Assistant Secretary McCloy. "The fact that the reporters knew of the failure of the Division but not the underlying reasons therefor was largely responsible for my decision to talk to the reporters," he continued.101 Gibson's views had to be taken "most seriously because he is the official representative of the War Department and is a Negro," the New York Times' correspondent reasoned. "He also is the first Government official to make a candid

publishable appraisal of the situation," this dispatch continued.102
But Gibson's "candid" appraisal of the situation and the heavy emphasis of the press on his figures on low literacy and on "melting away" brought down upon him the wrath of a powerful portion of the Negro press at home, already smarting under the Times correspondent's surmise that its emphasis on the 92d Division's accomplishments and its "super-sensitivity" had brought forth the 15th Army Group's detailed account of the February attack and embarrassed their own correspondents. It did not matter that Gibson had said: "If the division proves anything, it does not prove that Negroes can't fight. There is no question in my mind about the courage of Negro officers or soldiers and any generalization on the basis of race is entirely unfounded"; nor that, after admitting that there had been "more or less panicky retreats, particularly at night when the attitude of some individual soldiers seemed to be `I'm up here all alone; why in hell should I stay up here? ' " he had added that "not all straggling and running has happened in the Ninety-second Division." Negro papers adopted a stand ranging from calls for Gibson's immediate resignation to a quiet plea that the Gibson analysis be looked at more closely for the profits which might be derived from it. "Somebody's Gotta Go!" the Chicago Defender editorialized: "Negroes have fought bravely and valiantly in all American wars without the generalship of Truman K. Gibson Jr. . . . Yet no sooner does Truman Gibson Jr. come upon the scene, the Negro troops start `melting away' in the face of the enemy . . . . It is enough our boys have to fight Nazis and Dixie race haters without having to face the venom and scorn of 'Uncle Toms.'" 103 To the Michigan Chronicle, the Gibson statement was "The Gibson Folly;" to Congressman Adam Powell's New York People's Voice it was a "smear" on the 92d.104 To one columnist the Gibson report and the state of affairs in the 92d Division was nothing that should not have been expected in light of Army policies: "Gibson knows all these things and knew them when he stayed on and succeeded William H. Hastie when the latter could no longer stomach Army jim crow policies. He has been an appeaser and one of the NOUVEAU Uncle Toms since taking office. He should resign at once." 105
Two others of the larger papers, both with their own correspondents in Italy, took the interview more philosophically. "What Mr. Gibson said about the 92d is not new," the Baltimore Afro-American informed its readers. "Those newspapers having correspondents with the division had such reports long before Mr. Gibson went overseas. The men in the line are certainly in a better position to know the facts than are armchair warmers back home." "The term [melting away] may prick us painfully,"

the Norfolk Journal and Guide observed, "but Mr. Gibson might not have been as wrong as some would like to believe that he was. According to news reports, at times certain units of the division, or its attached units, have 'melted away' before enemy pressure just as units of white divisions have frequently 'melted away.' Situations arise on battlefields where it seems the only thing left to do, especially to inexperienced troops. Army news releases, however, carefully refrain from the use of such terms as 'melting away.' Instead, the official communique would read that 'our troops withdrew to lines they could better defend,' or something of that tactful nature." 106 The Afro-American had earlier given its advice to the soldiers and called for a new commander for the 92d Division: "[Gibson] didn't bite his tongue on his tour of the war front last week . . . . The Afro advises all soldiers overseas to fight the enemy and let us at home battle the segregation. It is plain that the 92d doesn't take our advice. It had no intention of fighting for General Almond, his lily-white staff and clubhouses. General Almond should be removed, quickly."107
Some of the Negro correspondents in Italy protested that the criticism of Gibson was unfair.108 Gibson, back in Washington, observed, "It is hard for me to see how some people can, on the one hand, argue that segregation is wrong, and on the other hand, blindly defend the product of that segregation." 109
The death of President Roosevelt on 12 April and the rapid end of the Italian and European campaigns thereafter obscured further developments in Truman Gibson's tour, which took him to the European theater before his return to Washington. But news of Gibson's interview and the reactions to it at home reached men of the 92d just in time for their spring attack.
Army group's planning called for the 92d Division to launch a diversionary attack four days before Fifth Army's main attack toward Bologna. This attack might draw in the enemy's reserves in the coastal area and, at the least, would occupy the attention of the German 148th Grenadier Division opposite the 92d Division's lines. The 442d Regimental Combat Team would be ready by 1 April. The attack would be carried out shortly thereafter in time to permit some of the supporting troops

to be diverted, if necessary, to the main front in time for the attack there.110
By the time of the 92d Division's spring offensive, given the symbolic code name SECOND WIND, the 92d was no longer a Negro division. Its three infantry regiments now included one American white regiment converted from antiaircraft units (the 473d), the American-Japanese regiment (the 442d) , and a practically new Negro regiment with racially mixed officers (the 370th) . Its organic artillery and services remained Negro. Its attached troops, always racially mixed in the past, included one Negro (the 758th) and one white (the 760th) tank battalion, and one Negro (the 679th) 111 and one white (the 894th) tank destroyer battalion. Both of the white units had two of their companies employed elsewhere. Both of these units had had long association with the 92d Division. British and American artillery, air, and naval support would also be available. The division's 371st and 365th Infantry, scheduled to occupy the Serchio and Cutigliano sectors, would operate under IV Corps control while the 92d operated under Fifth Army control for the attack. The two detached regiments were expected to play only a holding and follow-up role in IV Corps' later attack.
The immediate objective for the 92d's diversionary attack was Massa. To avoid the heavy coastal guns at Punta Bianca, whose fires had largely been responsible for smashing the February attempt to cross the flat, canal and stream-crossed plain before Massa, the attack would be made to the east of the Mount Cauala Mount Cerreta ridge along the line from Mount Folgorito through Mount Belvedere and on north to Mount Brugiana. By clearing these mountain ridges, the enemy on the Mount Strettoia hill mass might be driven out, forcing an evacuation of the heavily mined plain before Massa. The attack would then proceed to La Spezia.
The 442d Infantry, with the 599th and 329th Field Artillery Battalions, one platoon of the 894th Tank Destroyer Battalion, a company of the 84th Chemical Battalion's 4.2 mortars, and guns of the 758th Tank Battalion in support, was to drive up and around the mountains overlooking the coastal plain in order to bypass Massa and seize Mount Brugiana beyond. The 370th Infantry, with the 598th and 597th Field Artillery Battalions and guns of the 894th Tank Destroyer and 760th Tank Battalions in support, would push through the lower hills in column of battalions, branch off to the sea above the Cinquale Canal, and drive on through Massa to the Frigido River. In division reserve on the quiet right flank in the Serchio valley, the 4734 Infantry was to be ready to support either the attack of the 370th or the 442d.
The offensive began at 0500 on 5 April with supporting air attacks on enemy positions and on the coastal guns at Punta Bianca and with supporting fires from British destroyers off the coast. After a ten-minute artillery barrage, the 370th on the left and 442d on the right moved out abreast. By 0645, the 370th's lead company had advanced

more than two miles without significant opposition to reach the vicinity of its battalion's objective, Castle Aghinolfi, surmounting a hill that commanded the highway two miles south of Massa. This unit, Company C, assigned to spearhead the attack of the leading 1st Battalion, demonstrated what might have been done had all the regiment had equivalent leadership and determination.
Company C was completely reorganized as were all other units of the 370th. Its new commander, Capt. John F. Runyon, had one Negro and two white officers and 142 enlisted men- most of them strangers to each other- at his disposal. The company commander, personally believing that nothing was to be gained by another frontal attack on the hills before the 370th and knowing that men of the 370th and 371st "lived in mortal fear" of the hills with which they had had so many disastrous experiences, sought and got battalion permission to penetrate into the flanks of the enemy, take him by surprise, cut his communications, and, with reinforcements from the remainder of the 1st Battalion and the 2d Battalion, consolidate their position on the battalion's objective. He and his officers carefully prepared their men, telling them frankly that in the past efforts of the rifle companies of the 92d had not been satisfactory, that this time the men of Company C were going to do their job and bring credit to Negroes in combat. "The orientation had its effect," the company commander reported later. "The men knew they had a real job to do, and they seemed determined to make good. I was so gratified that I informed the Battalion Commander that I was convinced we would break through, and that he could plan his operation accordingly." 112
The operation was so planned and, with two exceptions, went as planned. The exceptions were: (1i) members of the attached platoon of the battalion headquarters company, supposed to clear mine fields, "conveniently" got lost; and (2) when the unit reached its objective reinforcements were never sent. The first of these, though disappointing, was not too serious, since the company had demolitions material and a few trained riflemen who took over. The second was disastrous for the company and, eventually, for the regiment.
Company C, with its third platoon deliberately placed in the lead position so that, since it had no officer leader, it might be better controlled, had gone out rapidly toward its objectives, so rapidly that when the company called for artillery fire, at first it had difficulty getting a response-no one on the other end could believe that the company had gone as far as it reported.
Once fire orders were acknowledged, the company got excellent artillery support enabling it to follow artillery fire as close as 100 yards without casualties. As Company C moved, cutting communications as it went, it caught the Germans by surprise, finding some at breakfast in their machine gun positions and observation posts. In one fire fight, with grenades hurled and rifles fired almost at point-blank, eight Germans, including two officers, were killed. As the now alerted enemy came out of dugouts and positions near Castle Aghinolfi, close hand-to-hand fighting ensued.

The company's lines, with an exposed right flank, came under machine gun and mortar fire from the castle atop the hill. Reinforcements from the remainder of the units supposedly behind the lead company were called for. At first the regimental S-3 refused to accept the forward observer's word for the company's position; the 370th had not been changed enough by reorganization to believe that one of its units could move out as planned and once again Company C had to convince the regiment that it had moved as far as it had. Then the regimental executive officer informed Captain Runyon not to expect reinforcements for a long time, perhaps for days. The 370th was having trouble getting its other units to move and hold. In its 1st Battalion, the commanders of the other two rifle companies were both dead by midday and their companies were straggling away.113 No reinforcements came to Company C. The unit was left near the castle alone.
By now, approximately 60 percent of Company C's advanced group, including one officer, were casualties. With his artillery radio, his only means of communication, fading out, Captain Runyon decided to pull back five hundred yards to prepare a defensive position. To the men remaining the order to withdraw was "a big disappointment . . . but we all knew that we were too small to hold out any longer in that exposed position." Though the withdrawal was orderly, once it began many men of the company reverted to general 370th practices. The loss of platoon commanders-two were wounded, one in the advance group at Castle Aghinolfi and another with his platoon on one of the hills to the rear resulted in disorganization, largely because men paid little attention to their platoon sergeants' orders. Despite pleas and orders, the men bunched up, making excellent targets. To one order to spread out, a private, paraphrasing an old spiritual, replied that he preferred to die with his friends rather than be killed alone. Enemy mortars gave the men no chance to prepare defensive positions. As soon as they started to dig in, mortars caught them again. Company C lost its radioman and its artillery observer, both of whom were wounded, and finally lost vital parts of its radio. Of the twenty-five enlisted men in the advance party when the withdrawal began, only eight who were not wounded or killed remained. Two of the four officers with the group were wounded. Captain Runyon now determined that there was but one thing to do: withdraw to his battalion lines.
The lone Negro officer in the company, 2d Lt. Vernon J. Baker, had personally destroyed an observation post, a well-camouflaged machine gun position, and a dugout during the morning, killing their eight German occupants. Baker now volunteered to cover the withdrawal of the first group, containing most of the walking wounded, and to remain to help remove the more severely wounded. Eight men and the wounded artillery observer stayed with him. Baker guarded the rear, leaving last after destroying equipment left by the killed and wounded. During the withdrawal, four different enemy machine gun crews were destroyed by the first group without loss to itself; Baker's

party, following, lost two men, one wounded by mortar fire and one, its only medic, killed by sniper fire. Pvt. James Thomas, the group's BAR man, located the sniper and killed him. The group encountered two machine gun nests bypassed during the morning attack. Baker, covered by Thomas' BAR, crawled up to the machine gun positions and destroyed them with hand grenades. The small party successfully evacuated its casualties to the battalion aid station.114
There were individual derelictions in Company C, particularly in the rear platoon that lost its leader early, causing Captain Runyon to observe that "The ideal situation with colored troops would be to have noncommissioned and commissioned officers who would never become casualties." Runyon later felt certain that if he could have had every man in Company C at the castle, he could have held. "I also feel quite certain," he added, "that if other companies of the 370th Infantry were imbued with the determination that those members of 'C' Company possessed, the high ground above Montignoso could have been taken without the assistance of the 473d Infantry." And, he continued, "Using hind sight, I am thoroughly convinced that if reinforcements had been sent up on the 5th of April and had been kept moving forward, the ground above Montignoso could have been taken with one quarter of the casualties sustained by the 473d Infantry, and that the 370th Infantry could have done the job alone." 115
While the remainder of the 370th was trying to get fully under way, the 442d Infantry to the right, with its 100th Battalion attacking frontally and its 3d Battalion making an enveloping move around Mount Folgorito from the east, took the ridge between Mount Folgorito and Mount Carchio on the first morning. One company of the 442d's 3d Battalion turned south to take Folgorito. Then, cutting the supply line of the enemy on Mount Cerreta where the 100th Battalion, approaching from the south, was methodically destroying bunkers one by one with bazookas and grenades, another company pushed northeast from the ridge to occupy Mount Carchio.
The 370th Infantry, after reorganizing during the night of 5-6 April, prepared to resume its attack at 0600 in column of battalions with its 2d Battalion leading. The enemy, having intercepted radio messages giving the time of the attack, laid down heavy mortar concentrations on the hills. The attack was postponed to 0800. Radio monitors then intercepted a message from a German who said that he was to be attacked at eight and that if given reinforcements he could hold. The 2d Battalion moved forward but a second mortar barrage stopped it again. Its companies began to move out of their positions. The 1st Battalion, ordered to move through the rapidly disintegrating 2d Battalion, replied that it could not move because of heavy mortar fire. The 3d Battalion was alerted for move-

ment. A small enemy counterattack at noon was stopped and further attacks by the battalions of the 370th were postponed until the afternoon. At 1400 Company C was ordered to rejoin the 1st Battalion for another assault on the Strettoia hill mass. The 71 men remaining were called out and given instructions. Their company commander, Captain Runyon, sensing that they were temporarily licked and finding himself unable to muster the strength to rally their spirits, was not too sanguine about getting them out to their designated position on the same hill that they had successfully flanked the day before only to find themselves unsupported. As he, Lieutenant Baker, and a newly assigned company officer tried to work their men through a smoke screen across an open plain, Captain Runyon, relatively more successful than most commanders the unit had had since its first months in combat, was removed for temporary duty with the 473d Infantry. The men of Company C continued the move to join their battalion under another, newly assigned company commander. Each rifle company of the 1st Battalion, 370th, had now lost the commander with which it had begun the attack the day before, two by death and one by administrative action. By 1455, the first of the replacement commanders had also been killed.
The attacks were finally called off, for by late afternoon the 370th's battalion's strength was severely reduced by straggling and a battalion of the 473d Infantry was on the way. During the night, General Almond attached the 2d Battalion, 473d to the 370th. He directed this unit to make a predawn attack through the lines of the 2d Battalion, 370th, toward Castle Aghinolfi. The 1st Battalion, 370th, was ordered to move to the Serchio valley to begin the regiment's replacement of the 473d on the division's right flank. The 442d had by now gone on to secure Mount Belvedere overlooking Massa. The 371st, still on the coast, continued to support both regiments with its fire.
On the 7th, the 2d Battalion, 473d, moving through the 2d Battalion, 370th, bypassed Strettoia and seized strongpoints on the Strettoia hill mass, losing its battalion commander during the day. The 2d Battalion, 370th, cleared two more hills of the Strettoia ridge. A tank task force, consisting of elements of the 894th Tank Destroyer Battalion, the 76oth Tank Battalion, and the 758th Tank Battalion, organized to support the attack and exploit the success of the 370th in the coastal zone, moved out along Highway 1. Late in the morning of the 8th- after the 3d Battalion, 370th, brought up from reserve, had failed to advance farther up Highway 1, where its Company K was dug in firmly below a hill near Porta, although the enemy had left the area during the night-control of the 370th's sector went to the 473d.
The 1st Battalion, 4734 Infantry, moved to Highway 1, leaving the 370th Infantry (-) with the 3d Battalion, 473d, attached, in control of the Serchio valley sector. The 2d Battalion, 370th, moved to the Cinquale Canal, relieving the 2d Battalion, 371st Infantry, which then joined the rest of the 37 1st Infantry in its move to IV Corps. The 1st Battalion, 473d, with tanks of the 76oth Battalion attached, attacked up Highway 1 and by noon of the 9th was on the outskirts of Massa. The 758th and 760th Tank Battalions reached the cen-

75-mm. assault guns supporting the advance of the 442d Infantry up Mount Belvedere, 8 April 1945
ter of the city before being forced to withdraw temporarily. Despite naval and aerial attacks on the coastal guns at Punta Bianca, accurate and heavy fire continued to fall in the coastal sector through which the tank task force was operating. Approximately ten vehicles were lost during the action.
The 442d continued to move through the mountains on the right, its 2d Battalion reaching the Frigido River. When Massa was outflanked from the hills on the east, the enemy evacuated the town. The 473d Infantry occupied it on the morning of the 10th, crossing the Frigido River after dark. Tanks of the tank task force, attempting to cross the river on the 10th and 11th, were driven back; on the 12th, they succeeded in crossing.
On the 11th, the 92d Division gave responsibility for the coastal plain to the 758th Tank Battalion (-) , reinforced by one company of the 370th Infantry and the antitank company of the 473d~ The 758th, now the only Negro unit responsible for a sector in the 92d's zone of advance, moved forward three miles after the withdrawing enemy on the 12th, reaching Carrione Creek where strong resistance forced a temporary halt. The 442d, advancing through nearly impassable mountain terrain, had reached Carrara and occupied it on the morning of 11 April.
The units of the 92d now came up against the next of the enemy's strong defense lines, running behind Carrione Creek. The Germans had begun to commit their available reserves. A company each of the .1048th Engineer Battalion and the 907th Fortress Battalion were already committed and virtually destroyed. On the 14th, a battalion of the 90th Panzer Division, one of the two reserve divisions available to the Fourteenth Army, was committed. From the 14th to the 19th the advance of the 92d was slowed by the stiffening resistance of the reinforced enemy, but the attack had achieved its purpose. Its primary objectives had been secured, the enemy on its front had been badly mauled, and all reserves the enemy dared use had been committed just in time to prevent their use against the main army attack beginning on 14 April.
On the coast the guns from Punta Bianca were still covering the 92d's area with unceasingly effective fire, especially on Massa and Carrara.

These guns, which had survived aerial and naval bombardment, were now faced by the artillery of the 92d Division and attached units as soon as they came within range. All thirty-six of the 76mm. guns of the 679th Tank Destroyer Battalion were assigned to neutralize the coastal guns. When an enemy gun fired, the tank destroyers, operating on prearranged signals to already laid guns, answered with 60 to 180 rounds, the first landing within 45 seconds after forward observers called for it. In six days the tank destroyers fired 11,066 rounds on the coastal guns; an 8-inch howitzer was brought up to aid them. By the 19th the guns on the east side of the point had stopped firing, but fire continued from those on the west side. Close-range fire destroyed several of these guns in the next twenty-four hours, but by this time the enemy was ready to withdraw rapidly, for his coastal positions were threatened by the breakthrough of IV Corps west of Bologna.
On the IV Corps front, on the right of the 92d Division, the 365th Infantry in the Cutigliano sector and the 371st Infantry, which on 9 April had taken over part of the Brazilian sector, thinly held the left half of the IV Corps' line. These units, now under corps control, were expected to continue patrolling and to harass the enemy with artillery fire while the divisions to their right made the main thrust into the Po Valley. The 371st patrolled in company strength, its units engaging in successful fire fights on 14 April and reaching the Leo River on 16 April, where their reconnaissance patrols crossed the river and hit the enemy main line of resistance. Because there was no advantage in consolidating in low ground, the 371st ordered its companies in. The regimental commander, Col. James Notestein, now fully realized something that he and the whole command of the division had sensed all along but could not demonstrate: that missions are best performed when units know what the missions are and believe that they can be accomplished. To General Almond he wrote informally:
1. In conjunction with IV Corps attack yesterday, we are given the mission of sending three combat patrols (Reinf Co, each) to: (1) kill Germans, (2) capture PW's, and (3) uncover enemy positions. As you will see from Sussell's report, attached, we finally managed to accomplish a mission. All three companies reached what appears to be the Boche MLR north of Leo River. They broke thru the outpost all along the line. "L" CO moved fast enough to overrun a Plat CP, capturing one NCO in his underwear.
2. For the first time our troops maneuvered on level ground, in superior numbers, with superior supporting fires. While all companies had stragglers after the Co's were hit by artillery and mortar concentrations, each outfit came back with the idea that they are good and that the Tedeschi are not invincible. You have told them these same things for six months, but this is the first time they have believed it. I don't mean to convey the idea that these CO's now can maneuver like your 1st Bn, 442, but we didn't disgrace the Division.
3. I hope this reaches you on the way into La Spezia and that your losses will not be too great.116
Patrols continued forward from both the 365th Infantry and the 371st Infantry. The 371st took over more of the Brazilian Expeditionary Force's sector on 18 April as the Brazilians moved out on the right. Against little resistance,

and most of that from rear guard detachments and bypassed elements of the withdrawing enemy, both regiments moved forward. On 25 and 26 April, they began guarding prisoners of war, with the 371st 1st Battalion (-) moving to Bologna on 27 April to relieve the Italian Legnano Group.
In the Serchio valley, the 370th Infantry (-) , with the 3d Battalion, 473d Infantry, attached until 2o April, and with the support of the 587th Field Artillery Battalion, tanks, and tank destroyers made local advances in its zone, exerting pressure on the withdrawing enemy and co-ordinating with the operations of the 473d Infantry and the 442d Infantry on the coast. On 19 April, the regiment began a wide enveloping action through the mountains to meet the 442d at Aulla and to block further movement of enemy troops in an east-west direction, thus preventing the formation of another German line. On the morning of 2o April troops of the 370th entered Castelnuovo di Garfagnana and continued the pursuit northwest along the main road to Aulla. Demolished bridges and road craters made the movement of vehicles and supplies difficult. All advances were on foot. With wire communication next to impossible, radio and runners were relied on completely.
Late at night on 22 April the 3d Battalion, 370th, completed a continuous advance of over 30 hours over terrain so rough that mules could not follow much of the time. It occupied Casola after a fire fight in which eleven prisoners were taken. Supply lines were now so extended that food and ammunition began to run short.
The 1st Battalion continued to advance along the main road to Fivizzano; mortar fire at Gragnola preceded a fire fight resulting in enemy casualties and fifteen prisoners. The regiment continued forward, seizing the high ground commanding Aulla and contacting the 442d Infantry then approaching the city. The advance by now was being hindered not only by abandoned and destroyed materiel, dead animals and dead enemy soldiers, blown bridges and cratered roads, but also by enemy deserters who created a problem in prisoner evacuation, most of which had to be done on foot. Patrols moving out over the road net now opening up beyond the wilder mountains reported little or no resistance.
Elements of the 92d Division on the west coast, now under temporary control of 15th Army Group, entered La Spezia on the 24th. The 473d entered Genoa on the morning of the 27th, riding through town on still operating streetcars. The last enemy pockets of resistance to surrender at Genoa were the harbor defense guns high up on Mount Maro. On the moonless, rainy night of the 27th, in a blackout, the 679th Tank Destroyer Battalion's Company A moved its twelve guns up steep streets barely wide enough for a halftrack. When half-tracks failed to make the final turn, the guns were manhandled into position, where by daylight they were laid for direct fire at 400 yards on the enemy concrete emplacement openings where two 381-mm., three 152-mm., and four go-mm. guns looked down on the city. The enemy gun tubes could not be depressed to fire on the 679th guns. At 1430 on 28 April, with Company A's guns in position and laid and with infantry to his

rear, the enemy on Mount Maro surrendered.
On 30 April, the 442d Infantry entered Turin. The 370th Infantry, after moving one battalion to the coast at Chiavari on 27 April, continued to probe to the northeast toward Cisa Pass through which the German 148th Division and the Italia Division had been reported moving in an effort to escape capture. Neither the 370th nor any other unit of the 92d Division was to have the satisfaction of capturing these divisions which had opposed them for so long. They surrendered on the 29th to General Mascarenhas and the Brazilians.
New Winds Blowing
The 92d Division's war was now over. After the Italian cease-fire on 2 May the detached regiments were returned to division control. The 366th Infantry remained in training as the 224th and the 226th Engineer General Service Regiments, both marked for redeployment to the Pacific. The combat careers of both the 92d and the 366th became major ingredients in considerations for the future. Men and officers of both units had dimming views of both the future and the past. One private wrote to Stars and Stripes that the men of the 92d Division had been wondering and arguing among themselves about why the 473d and 442d Infantry had displaced the division's own regiments. Views and opinions differed, he said, "Yet all of us agree that it was a profound shock to us." For himself, he wanted to know "whether this was to prove that Negroes can't fight together, without the so-called inducement of a white regiment to sting us into activity; or was it to prove (after certain unfortunate setbacks, like the setback in the Serchio Valley, where we had one regiment, yet the division was ridiculed), that we were too illiterate to fight; or that Mr. Truman Gibson's illiterate Negroes were afraid of the big bad Germans, and that we would run everytime we saw one of the master race." Whatever was proved, he continued, the men of the 92d were sure that they were not sharing in the glory of the defeat of the Germans in Italy. "Thank God the men who died did not know this. We are sorry we did not live up to the expectations of the newspapers and magazines (such as News Week) as a political division. We will try to do better next time." 117
A senior officer, Lt. Col. Marcus H. Ray, commander of the booth Field Artillery Battalion, one of the two artillery battalions with all-Negro officers, wrote to Truman Gibson, "now that the sound and fury raised by your press release in Rome has simmered down to an occasional bubble." He gave his view of the 92d Division's career, a reaction discernible in few of the reports of the division but one which was shared, he felt, by the "responsible officers" of his command:
Your findings on the state and training and morale of the Division were accurate but enough space was not given to the causes therefor. I realize that your release suffered "clever" editing. It is my considered opinion that the 92d, at the best, was doomed to a mediocre performance of combat duties from its very inception. The undercurrent of racial antipathies, mistrusts and preconceived prejudices made for an unhealthy beginning. The failure

to promote worthwhile Negroes and the giving of preferred assignments to white officers made for logical resentments. I do not believe that enough thought was given to the selection of white officers to serve with the 92d and further, that the common American error was made of assuming that Southern white men understand Negroes. Mixed units as we have known them have been a dismal failure. In white officered units, those men who fit into the Southern pattern are pushed and promoted regardless of capabilities and those Negroes who exhibit the manliness, self-reliance, and self-respect which are the "sine qua non" in white units, are humiliated and discouraged. In the two Artillery Battalions of the Division, officered by Negroes, it was necessary to reduce large numbers of Noncommissioned officers because they held rank only because they fitted the "pattern." Their subordinates resented and disrespected them-justly so. I was astounded by the willingness of the white officers who preceded us to place their own lives in a hazardous position in order to have tractable Negroes around them.
In the main, I don't believe the junior officers guilty of faulty judgment or responsible for tactical failures. Soldiers do as ordered but when plans sent to them for execution from higher headquarters are incomplete, inaccurate, and unintelligible, there is inevitable confusion. The method of selection and the thoroughness of the training in the Officer Candidate Schools weeded out the unfit and the unintelligent with but rare exceptions but the polishing of the officer after graduation was the duty of his senior officers. In mixed units, this, manifestly, has been impossible. I believe that the young Negro officer represents the best we have to offer and under proper, sympathetic and capable leadership would have developed and performed equally with any other racial group. Therefore, I feel that those who performed in a superior manner and those who died in the proper performance of their assigned duties are our men of the decade and all honor should be paid them. They were Americans before all else. Racially, we have been the victims of an unfortunate chain of circumstances back grounded by the unchanged American attitude as regards the proper "place" of the Negro .... Perhaps, from your vantage point, where you see the worldwide picture, it is not as dismal as my rather restricted view based mainly on the 92d Division. I do not believe the 92d a complete failure as a combat unit but when I think of what it might have been, I am heart-sick. . . ,118
In strength the 92d Division represented less than 2 percent of Negro troops in the Army. There was a broader "world-wide picture." Generalizations from the 92d's career were therefore necessarily dangerous, especially when these generalizations were not subjected to close analysis. Men of other Negro units thought it unfair to judge the capabilities of Negro troops by this one admittedly important but also hardly representative unit. "In view of the fact that this unit's battle record is so superior to the units you have described," the commander of the 761st Tank Battalion wrote to Truman Gibson on behalf of members of his unit, "it is felt some publicity should be given the men of this battalion for their gallant fighting." 119 Troops in armored, tank destroyer, antiaircraft, engineer, quartermaster, and port battalions could

never have expected as much attention as that given to infantry divisions, but they were hardly desirous that the  "proofs" offered from the 92d Division's experience should apply to them as well. They were afraid, from past experience, that they might be so applied as the division, and, later, army and theater boards, went to work on formal reports requested by the War Department.


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