Mason City Globe-Gazette

Mason City, IA

06 Nov 1944





Scene Provides Study in Contrasts for Miles

Iowa Daily Press War Correspondent

With the 5th Army in Italy, (IDPA) -- Yanks in Monoghidoro were a study in contrast.

The town was captured and reduced to ruins when U.S. troops and tanks stormed it, but there was fighting not far away.

Americans, marching to the scene of hostilities, were grim. Several replied, "thanks" with smiles when I wished them good luck.

Those who didn't have to go forward amused themselves by displaying a typical American penchant to clown. Clothing strewn in the battered town helped them in their fun.

One wore a derby several sizes too large; another a tiny straw hat and a 3rd cut capers with a gaudy, varicolored umbrella.

Lt. Gen. Mark Clark, 5th army commander, was present when 4 American wounded were brought from the front to a building in the town. The wounded were treated there before going to an evacuation hospital. Two were from Minnesota, one from Louisiana and the other from North Carolina.

The general talked kindly to each. His face reflected sorrow when he left them. He warmly complimented some of the victorious soldiers whom he had found near a structure from which he could see the Alps and the Po Valley.

Cpl. Ross Mitchell, Clinton, was among company aid men ministering to the wounded in the battalion his division of the 5th army was wagering to drive nazi forces from north Italy.

Nazi machine pistols peppered away at Americans where Cpl. Mitchell was on duty and American artillery hurled bursts into the German positions.

Staff Sgt. Robert Yoder and Sgt. Robert Patrick, both of Des Moines, were among other Iowans who took part in the struggle for Monoghidoro, once a picturesque village at the edge of the Apenine mountains.

Tanks followed by infantrymen moved in on a road at one side; foot soldiers advanced up a hill and met the enemy in hand-to-hand combat on the opposite side.

German machine guns and riflemen, some posted as snipers, took a toll among the buildings and the fierceness of the clashers immediately outside the limits were evidenced in American and German bodies, clothing and equipment, contents of pockets and blood on the ground.

Yanks prowling through the debris of Monoghidoro found a supply of dum dum bullets from which a sniper fired until shot from his perch in a window overlooking the main street, some carbine bullets made of wood which splinter and tear flesh when they hit a human target, a lot of wrecked knives and a pile of wooden guns from which Italian boys had under Mussolini regime.

Many Germans were captured during the battle and more were seized in hiding places the next day. Most of them were meek but occasionally one was arrogant and defiant.

A giant of a fellow fairly bellowed at a diminutive Yank who had him covered with a rifle.

"I might have got mad if I had understood what he was calling me," the American said afterward, "but since I didn't I just grinned."

Every so often an ambulance carrying one or more wounded men would arrive. Sight of one always put sober faces on onlookers. Nazis were suspected of deliberately firing on 2 of the vehicles when Monoghidoro was under attack.

Some residents, who had fled to caves and other recesses in the mountains when the Americans approached, were back, wandering around sadly. None of the homes had escaped the explosions.

Here in this story --at 11:15 p.m. -- I had to halt because of an air raid alarm.

Source: Mason City Globe-Gazette, November 6, 1944

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