Photo credit from RRH Archives. Capt. Ralph Hotchkiss and his driver. St Peter’s Square Rome, June 1944
On this day in history, June 4, 1944. Allied troops of the US 5th Army under Lt. Gen. Mark Clark liberated Rome from Nazi occupation. In a twist of historical fate, which defined the Italian Campaign of WWII as the “Forgotten Front”, the D-Day invasion at Normandy would occur two days later stealing most of the headlines in America. This milestone achievement was the first symbolic de-occupation of a European city that would prove to be the beginning of the end of the war in Europe. My Grandfather was embedded with the 142nd Infantry of the 36th Division of Texas who were among the first to roll into the Eternal City. He wrote a lengthy story about this day as he lived it in real time. To my knowledge, this story has never been published. Here it is in its entirety (scanned original copy).
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