Pope to Visit American Cemetery of Nettuno

Mass for all Victims of War on November 2, 2017

Cimetière Militaire Américain De Nettuno (Italie), Creative Commons, Stephen Sommerhalter

Cimetière Militaire Américain De Nettuno (Italie), Creative Commons, Stephen Sommerhalter

Pope Francis reminded followers in St. Peter’s Square on November 1, 2017, the Feast of all Saints, that “tomorrow afternoon I will go to the American Cemetery of Nettuno and then to the Fosse Ardeatine [Ardeatine massacre]: I ask you to accompany me with prayer in these two stages of memory and suffrage for the victims of war and of violence. Wars produce nothing other than cemeteries and death: that’s why I wished to give this sign in a moment where our humanity seems not to have learned the lesson or not wanting to learn it.”

The Holy See Press Office announced the visit in early October, to the site, some 66 kilometers south of Rome, where the Holy Father will celebrate Mass “for all the victims of wars,” on November 2, 2017, All Souls Day, around 3:15 pm.

Anzio is the place where the Allies landed in January of 1944. On January 22 of that year, the Allied Army went to Anzio. On board were 110,000 men ready to disembark, explains the Website dedicated to World War II, from which this account is taken.

Early in the morning, the fleet began to shell the beaches for more than half an hour. Planes carried out 1200 sorties the same day and bombed the telecommunications network. The troops were then able to land. They met with very little resistance on the beaches; less than 70 were killed.

However, the Germans reacted and encircled the bridgehead three hours after the landing. The Luftwaffe supported the German infantry, helping it to contain the rising allied tide going to Rome and the Alban Hills.

On January 26, 30,000 Germans barred the route to the 110,000 Allies. Hitler sent a reinforcement of 40,000 men and ordered them to “eradicate the Allied menace.” Ten days after the landing, there were 10,000 dead Allies and Germans.

On February 3, 1944, the Germans prepared a counter-offensive, with the same tactic as at Dunkirk four years earlier. The fighting raged. The Americans were preparing to withdraw when they learned that the Germans ran out of ammunition.

In fact, on March 1, 1944, paralyzed by the lack of ammunition, the Germans halted the offensive. The two camps buried themselves in the trenches. The Germans were cold, they were malnourished and it rained for six days out of seven. They had gigantic cannons come by railroad, including mortars Karl and Leopold.

In mid-May, the Americans decided to take recourse to planes: with them, they bombed the buried Axis Powers, which were annihilated.

The Allies took up the offensive. The Germans began to withdraw. A very orderly German withdrawal began on June 2 and, on June 4, 1944, Rome was liberated.

 

JF

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