CL-41 Tribute Home

USS Philadelphia - CL-41
Anzio - January-May 1944

The American landings at Anzio owed much of their success to naval support. If the operations in Italy had failed, the Normandy's D-Day would have been more difficult or impossible on 6 June.

Anthony L. Simone, Firecontrolman Second Class (one of the crew manning the big 40 mm AA guns in one of the Philly's gunnery turrets) recalled when the Philadelphia was advised of seven German tanks parked under camouflage above the beach, waiting to ambush our troops. The Philly's big 40mms opened up in a perfectly directed, ear-shattering salvo that took out five of the tanks -- the other two scattered and were later destroyed.

From the Diary of Frank Paukstis, my Dad

Feb 14, 1944
At 0900 to 1500 we blasted 4 targets at Anzio. Shore batteries returned fire.
Winged our own P.80?? by mistake. Anchored at Naples approx 2200. Good job done.

Feb15, 1944
Underway at 0600 for Anzio. In fire area 11:00 to 3:00 pm. Good air cover kept bombers off. Shore batteries hurled 12” shells at us but scored nothing. Plenty of dog fights overhead. Anchored at Naples 6:00 pm

Feb 16
Spent the day at anchor in the bay at Naples. At 8:00 pm had air raid scare. Unidentified planes proved to be friendly.

Feb 17, 1944
A quiet day today. Fire in L.J. locker. We are on a ½ hr notice to go wherever we may be needed. Anchored all day just off Naples.

Feb 18, 1944
Underway at 0900 anchored on the other side of Mt. Vesuvius. Came back to Naples in afternoon. Submarine emergency at 2000. A few depth charges were dropped.

Feb 19, 1944
Underway at 0300 arrived at fire support area 0900. Stayed & fired until 5:00 pm. All firing effective. Pulled out and are heading at battle area at 0900 tomorrow. Tough goin these days. Was at G.Q. all day, then were on 2 section watches.

Feb 20, 1944
We steamed all day and last night or ever since we finished firing at the Anzio beachhead yesterday. We penetrated into enemy waters as far as Rome trying to locate some enemy warships and to sink them. No luck so anchored at Naples some time this afternoon while I was asleep.

Feb 21, 1944
Hung around Naples area from Pompeii to Naples. 1 false air raid alarm.

Feb 22, 1944
Anchored most of the day at Pompeii ____ underway and anchored at Naples. Air raid alarm at 11:30 pm

Feb 23, 1944
3rd section rated a sightseeing & recreation leave for 3 hrs. Went through all the ruins of the historical city of Pompeii. 8 men & our Jr. officer in charge. Walked through Passuito or something like that or else it was Torre Annunziata.. Will find out what name later.

Feb 24
Stayed in Naples area more or less a peaceful day. A G.Q. at 11:50. AA fire ashore.

Feb 25
Underway at 0300. Arrived at Anzio but couldn’t do any firing on account of bad ___ & very rough weather. Cruised around there most of the day then anchored at Naples area.

Feb 26
Underway again at 0800 for Anzio. Arrived in fire area 0830. A well done for today. Gave the Nazis hell all day. Destroyed all targets. Started fires. Anchored 0900 off Naples.

Feb 27th
Been here all day waiting for the next job.

Feb 28th
Still anchored off Naples. Nothing happened for 2 days.

Feb 29th to March 6th
Have been anchored about 3 miles or less off the coast of Naples, Italy

March 7th
At 1730 underway for Palermo, Sicily. Due there around 0600.

March 8th
Docked at Palermo, Sicily 0630. 2 & 4 section rated liberty.

March 9th
1st & 3rd section liberty from 1300 to 1800. I & Issy went ashore in Palermo.

March 10th
Underway 0800 anchored at Naples 0730. Air raid alert, a few planes, shore batteries & AA & Brooklyn opened up.

March 11th
Anchored off at the coast of Naples more or less a peaceful day.

March 12th
Went up to Anzio for shore bombardment & gun positions. Very rough weather & fog prevented any action.

March 13th
Up at Anzio again, arrived at fire support area but couldn’t get in close enough. The Germans with their big guns almost shot the ass of us.

March 14th
A beautiful day spent at the coast of Naples all quiet.

March 15th
At 0200 GQ sounded I was right in the middle of that long letter I promised Helen. We really had the _____ air raid action that I was in. Bombs really came down but not very close to us. Lots of people killed in Naples. Around 6 planes. Shot one down. Moved out tonight in case of another attack on the harbor, maybe the heinies get pictures but ___ of location of ships. Flares were dropped. We set out smoke pots.

March 16, 1944 Thursday
At 7:20 pm a couple of us talking about yesterday’s raid GQ sounded. Well we happened to move to Torre Annunziata for tonight. Red alert over in Naples. Nothing happened this side.

March 17th Friday
Naples to Torre Annunziata Been shifting around. Had field day & inspection

March 18th Saturday
Enemy planes in vicinity broke up captain’s personnel inspection. Mt. Vesuvius is acting up sending molten lava down the mountainside from her eruption

March 19th Sunday
Supposed to have gone to Anzio but army called it off. Mt. Vesuvius still boiling.

March 20th Monday
Anchored off Torre Annunziata.. Quiet all day. Mt. Vesuvius is going to town.

Personal Note: After the war my Dad reconnected with his pre-war roommate Stanley Plominski and learned that Stanley was pinned down at Anzio with the 88th Infantry Division while the Philadelphia was firing at the German resistance.