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Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Glory in the Shadows

This is Steven Petrick posting.

Most of us know that on this date in 1944 the Allies were moving ahead to the invasion of France to take place on the following day. That this was the actual date for the invasion, which would be postponed for 24 hours due to weather.

What is often lost is that in Italy the allies had finally broken the Monte Casino line, broken out of the Anzio beachhead, on this same day, liberated Rome, the first "axis capital" to fall to allied forces. Given the blood that had been shed to move up the "boot" of Italy, this a significant military achievement, to finally put Kesselring's troops on the run.

The capture of Rome is, however, completely overshadowed by "Operation Overlord." The average American will know about the Normandy landings (if only by the term "D-Day"), but most do not even know that Italy was one of the axis partners. (Most do not know that Finland, Hungary, Rumania, and Bulgaria were also axis allies.)

Glory is fickle. The fall of Rome is lost in the white noise of D-day, which also tends to overshadow the sacrifices by Americans in 1942 that, on this day, saw four Japanese carriers destroyed in the Battle of Midway.