Documenting the Allies’ Grueling March North Through Italy and France

IT WAS SOME OF THE WAR’S most hellish combating. On September 13, 1943, with just some hours’ discover, the 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 82nd Airborne Division jumped close to the entrance line to help the Allied landings at Salerno, Italy. Two battalions dug in on the commanding excessive floor across the city of Altavilla Silentina and withstood withering German counterattacks. 

With casualties mounting, a superior officer recommended that the unit withdraw. The 504th PIR commander, Colonel Reuben H. Tucker, barked again: “Hell no! We’ve bought this hill and we’re going to maintain it.”

That was typical of the motion endured by the 504th PIR—which later adopted the nickname “Devils in Dishevelled Pants.” The aftermath of those moments are captured in pictures taken by then-paratrooper Carl Chamberlain. The sergeant from Schenevus, New York, was within the thick of the combating at Altavilla, which helped safe the beachhead at Salerno and allowed American and British troopers to maneuver inland. He additionally made a fight leap in Sicily in 1943 and took half in an amphibious touchdown at Anzio in 1944, the place he was injured, earlier than being transferred to an aerial resupply unit, the 334th Quartermaster Provide Depot Firm.

The 504th’s nickname originated with the diary entry of a German officer killed at Anzio, who wrote: “American parachutists—devils
in saggy pants—are lower than 100 meters from my outpost line. I can’t sleep at night time. (HistoryNet Archives)

When the combating had ceased, Chamberlain took pictures of the carnage round him with a Kodak digital camera he had purchased simply earlier than leap faculty. The younger soldier snapped photographs of devastated landscapes, destroyed tools, downed warplanes, and roadsides lined with graves of the fallen throughout Italy and France, the place he noticed motion with the 334th. His pictures additionally depict American troopers at relaxation, villagers celebrating liberation, and Allied tanks rolling by Italian and French hamlets. All instructed, the pictures provide a recent and private view of Europe at struggle.

Chamberlain, who died in 1993, left his 900-plus wartime pictures to his son, Michael, who lately donated them to the Veterans Historical past Venture on the Library of Congress. These photographs at the moment are being conserved and cataloged to allow them to finally be posted on-line. For details about the Veterans Historical past Venture, go to 

Michael Chamberlain hopes to be taught extra concerning the pictures proven right here, together with the names of troopers and particulars concerning the areas. In the event you acknowledge somebody or someplace, contact him at:

With the 504th in Sicily and Italy and the 334th in France, Carl Chamberlain, like so many others, did his half to make sure victory—and left behind the pictures that show it.

we salute you

Sicilian kids stand in celebration with American troopers atop a destroyed German tank. The photograph was taken in Sicily, seemingly in March 1944, after Chamberlain returned there by convoy to pack up the 504th’s left-behind gear and belongings.


Chamberlain’s picture of a skeletal German Heinkel He 111 bomber lacking its mid- and tail sections might be additionally from Sicily in March 1944. The harm was seemingly the results of an airfield bombing.


Forlorn-looking English grave markers dot a hillside in Italy close to Monte Cassino 


Civilians clamber on a lifeless German tank at an unknown location in France in fall 1944. By then, Chamberlain had been transferred to the 334th Quartermaster Depot Provide Firm. 


Two unidentified G.I.s pose with an unexploded bomb in entrance of a broken German airplane in Sicily.

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A car emerges from the maintain of LST-994 on August 16, 1944—the day after the invasion of southern France started.


Members of the French Resistance—by then often known as the French Forces of the Inside—assemble on a avenue in Good, France, after the town’s August 28, 1944, liberation.


An American reconnaissance car from an as-yet unidentified military unit receives a raucous welcome in Dole, France, in September 1944.


Males of the 334th—from left to proper: Sergeant Robert Corridor (standing), Corporal Cyrus R. Peters, Corporal Pisky, and Personal O. P. Peter (full names unknown)—pack .30-caliber ammunition at their base in Dole in February or March 1945 in help of the Seventh Military’s advance throughout Germany’s Rhine River.


Chamberlain (proper) and technical sergeants Worth and Hale wait to board a practice in jap France. Their vacation spot: the port at Marseille—and residential.

All photographs: Property of D. Carl Chamberlain © 2022, besides the place famous


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