Segment 4


Charles Coolidge recalled that they went into Anzio that day and started moving at night they planned to attack the next morning. They headed up the road and talked to people along the way who told them that there is a vehicle that gets knocked out every night by a mine. Even though the mines had been dragged over to the sides of the road a vehicle would still hit one every night on the road. Coolidge spread his men out along the road and ask them to keep in touch with the other guards out there. If they saw anybody moving through the line that should not be then they were to shoot them. A few hours later a shot rang out and a soldier was found standing over a dead woman. The soldier told her to halt and approached her finding a mine in the road. He asked her if she put it in the road and she responded in Italian that she had not. The soldier shot her and pulled the mine off to the side of the road. Killing people doing things like that prevented them from doing it again and kept vehicles and men from being killed. Coolidge recalled that they moved up the next morning to Velletri and he recalled that his unit went around the right flank of the troops. He relays the story of a local man that he talked to after the war that was from his area that looked over the aerial photos of the fighting there who could not see any troop movements in the area to the right flank of Americans. This man and an officer supposedly took a jeep up to the area and saw no enemy troop movements so that is the area that Coolidge and his men were sent. They stopped in Velletri and set up their guns along a rock wall and had captured a kitchen on the way into town with frankfurters and sauerkraut and ice cream. After they set a machine gun up a German suddenly stood up and started walking toward the American lines. Coolidge jumped up and told everyone to hold their fire as this lone German approached. Nobody shot at him and Coolidge told him to come on over the rock wall. When the man came out he was followed by seven other men. If Coolidge and his men had shot the lone man then they would have had to fight the other seven most likely. Coolidge had men in his unit that could talk German quite well and had one talk to them to figure out what was going on. When they broke through Velleri then they made their way to Rome. They got to Rome at about two thirty in the morning and lay on the streets to try and sleep. The next morning they got into the houses around the area. A lady in the house where Coolidge and several others were staying asked if Coolidge was German. His men laughed and told her no that Coolidge was from Tennesee.They stayed in Rome for a day or two longer and then left to pursue the Germans on the other side of Rome and went as far as Roccastrada Italy. Coolidge notes that he became a Sergeant in March 1944 after they came off of Mount Cairo. He claims it was because they did not have many other people left to promote.


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