The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 72, July 1968 - April, 1969 Page: 41
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Notes and Documents
ask them some questions. Do they know that during the entire Battle of
Salerno the Division was never hit by a force of any magnitude that
would endanger our main line of resistance? Do they know that the
two infantry battalions which were in trouble on the 3th of September
were in outpost positions and did delay and give timely warning of
the enemy tank attack before they were driven back? Do they know
that because infantry alone is a poor defense against tanks, there were,
within the Division position, eighty-eight guns coordinated into an
organized anti-tank defense by General Miles A. Cowles, commander
of the Division Artillery, assisted by Lieutenant Colonel Van W. Py-
land, commander of the 636th Tank Destroyer Battalion? Do they
know that when the strongest attack of twenty-four German tanks
approached the main line of resistance their formations were broken
up and their armor wrecked within minutes, causing very little dam-
age to our equipment and inflicting almost no losses on our defending
I did not know until days after the event that the higher command
had become alarmed during one of the German tank attacks and was
fearful lest the Division would be driven into the sea. I never had any
doubt about the success of the Division, in spite of the fact that the
higher command had detached three infantry battalions, that two
others had suffered severe losses, that the Division had only four of
its nine infantry battalions available for defense, and that one of these
was reorganizing after being mauled on D-Day.
The Division was never in danger of being dislodged from its main
positions. The German tanks did not have a chance and were disposed
of as soon as they came within range of our anti-tank defenses. When
the battle was over, the German forces pulled out and began their
retreat north. I was greatly pleased by the excellent performance of
the Division. I was. proud of the men of the Division. They had done
their very best and that was all a commander had a right to demand.
The fighting on the "Winter Line" of 1943-1944 was a much tougher
job than Salerno. About loo miles south of Rome, the Germans
set up an organized defense to gain time and to cover the completion
of the more perfect defenses along the Rapido River. The Germans
had the advantage in position and observation. They held the high
ground and looked down upon our whole area. They were well con-
cealed on the mountainous terrain and it was difficult to locate their
defense arrangements. This was a hard nut to crack. The weather
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 72, July 1968 - April, 1969, periodical, 1969; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117146/m1/57/: accessed October 18, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.