Sunday, August 9, 2015

Trucks and Tanks of the 752nd Tank Battalion Leaving Rome

During the Second World War, despite being the capital of Italy, Rome was declared an "Open City" and never bombed or otherwise damaged by the war. After the Allies captured Sicily in 1943, the Mussolini's Fascist government collapsed. The Allies invaded mainland Italy on September 3, 1943 and slowly moved up the peninsula. Even after the American invasion at Anzio on January 22, 1944, it was hard to advance north toward Rome. Finally on June 4, 1944, American troops liberated Rome. Crowds of ecstatic Italians spilled into the streets to welcome the Americans as the main elements of the U.S. Fifth Army moved north through the city. This rare color photo showing trucks and tanks of the 752nd Tank Battalion leaving Rome on 5 June 1944. A small crowd of curious civilians watches the column move through the Porta del Popolo and past the Chiesa di San Maria del Popolo. The Signal Corps shot only a relatively small number of color photos during World War II. Fortunately, color photographers followed the 752nd during the summer and fall of 1944

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