Operation X Anzio beachhead
Sunday, March 19, 1944
Known only as Operation X, No.9 Commando were tasked with clearing three Wadis about half a mile from the perimeter of the beachhead. The Germans had been using these as a forming up point for counter attacks. These wadis formed a 'U' with a small hill in the centre and some further high ground below the base of the 'U'.
Due to their casualties at recent operations around Monte Ornito, the strength of 9 Commando had been reduced to 14 officers and just 255 OR's so the Commando was reformed from troops into 3 squadrons for the operation.
Colonel Tod then divided the operation into three phases codenamed Haydon, Charles, and Laycock. The first phase, Haydon, was to be mounted in darkness against the left hand arm of the 'U'. The second phase, Charles, was to attack at first light and clear the enemy off the base of the 'U'. The third phase, Laycock, was to clear the enemy off the right hand arm of the 'U'.
The fighting was brutal and often at close quarter with attack and counter attack. No.9 Commando succeeded in taking the objective but were denied the immediate reinforcements and supplies they needed. Eventually they were ordered by Brigade HQ to withdraw to the positions they had started from.
No.9 Commando had 73 casualties, killed wounded or missing, during the action.
View the ROH for this operation [HERE].
When Shall Their Glory Fade by Major James Dunning.
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