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Heroism of the "Texas Division"

January
20
1944

On this day in 1944, the Thirty-sixth Infantry Division, nicknamed the "Texas Division," began its "two-day nightmare," the crossing of the Rapido River in Italy. General Mark Clark needed pressure on the German defensive line below Rome to prevent the Germans from counterattacking the projected Allied beachhead at Anzio. Further, an Allied breakthrough into the Liri valley would facilitate the march toward Rome. The Rapido’s swift current and muddy banks, together with the lack of adequate boats and bridging equipment, compounded the difficulties—not to mention the strong German defenses. The division suffered heavy casualties, including 143 killed, 663 wounded, and 875 missing. The division participated in the continuing Italian campaign, including the liberation of Rome, and went on to invade Southern France and advance into Germany.

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