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Salerno 1943: Operation Avalanche

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"Salerno 1943: Operation Avalanche" , by Angelo Pesce

The Falcon Press, Naples, Italy, 1993

446 pages, ~700 photos, 7 maps, 5 organizational charts.


Size does matter. This is a hugh coffee table size book (10 x 13-inch )loaded with photos of the fighting around Salerno. There are many photos of British but it also includes the 36th Texas Division and the 1st SSF among others.


The first 88 pages are a history written in Italian, but that is not a problem. These pages include tables of organization with photos of commanders and unit insginas as well as maps that are very useful.


The remaining pages are full of photos with both Italian and English captions. So, it is easy to read. Many of the photos fill one page and some are larger. There is an aerial photograph of the landing site that covers most of 2 pages, measuring 15 X 10 inches. It includes a large blow-up of the famous photo of the 36th Division soldiers on the troop ship after they got the news that Italy surrendered. It makes you want to look for a familiar face in the crowd. Includes photos of the 143 Regiment landing in the light of mid-morning(several hours after my Uncle landed in the first wave). There are photos of destroyed German tanks, Italian prisoners and dead Germans, including a dead German paratrooper with a Red Cross arm-band. Also includes photos aboard ships, both British and American, as well as the Polish liner Sobieski.

The last 30 pages are full-page color scenes of the battlefield as seen today. A must-have book as these photos are not found in most books printed in U.S. The only problem with this book that it is too large to find on most bookshelves.


Regarding cost, I've heard estimates of as hight as $70 as it is published in Italy and not readily available in the US.


As an example of the detail in this book, below is a typical photo caption for a double page with 5 photos that covers the meeting of Generals Monty and Clark.


PAESTUM 24 September: After the lightly symbolic link-up of Eighth Army and Fifth Army (or rather, between leading elements of the Eighth and patrols of the Fifth) at Vallo della Lucania on 16 September, Montgomery himself comes for a fleeting visit to Clark's HQ at Paestum. On arrival, he salutes from his torpedo boat the sailors waving at him from a battleship. He is then helped by Clark to jump from the amphibious boat that carried him ashore, and moves on to a press conference in the park of Villa Ricciardi. Together with Gruenther on a jeep, Montgomery later on made a short tour of the beachhead, without however going as far as visiting his own countrymen at the X Corps front. When he departs to return to his advanced HQ, the torpedo boat launches depth charges at intervals for security reasons.

(This was the scene where Monty stood up in his jeep and looked down at Clark in a jesture of one-up-manship. Film footage shows Clark more like yanked Monty off his perch than actually assisting him down.)


One more description of another 5 photos.

TRAMONTI(Chiunzi), 16-19 September. These action photos were taken over a period of four days and show Rangers and/or supporting troops during engagements. Having made contact with elements of the H. Goering Division, a patrol attacks uphill under a cover of smoke, while a Tommy-gunner fires his Browning automatic rifle from a trench and mustachioed Sgt. R. W. Amore of Philadelphia keeps watch against hostile approaches. A 105mm howitzer blasts away protected by a camouflage canopyl its shells will land even far away on the plain, causing many a civilian casualty, as will the large mortar about to fire. First Sergeant Amore clearly wears a Ranger scroll patch.



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I found my copy on eBay some 5 years ago. Here was a case where I got a deal.


I paid like $15 for it.



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