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Mount Vesuvius erupted in March 1944, two months after the 752nd Tank Battalion arrived in Italy. The 752nd was training only six miles to the southeast in the Eboli-Campagna area. The camp was covered with several inches of ashes.
The 752nd operated an important Armored Training School near Eboli and Campagna in Italy. Here, some of the 752nd's students learn first echelon maintenance on an M5 light tank. They also learned driving and gunnery skills on both light and medium tanks.
A typical tank battalion field kitchen. Four B Company cooks pose behind their 2 ton field kitchen truck. Note the camouflage tarp covering the truck and adjacent areas. Like the tanks themselves, the field kitchens were also vulnerable to enemy observation and fire. This photo was taken during the summer of 1944.
A 752nd M4A1 moves through the olive groves in Italy on the way to Rome. This is a typical mid-production model used by the 752nd in 1944. Note the early M34 main gun mount, the 3-piece transmission cover, T54E1 steel track blocks, and mid-production bogey trucks with pressed steel wheels.
Sergeant Raymond Holt of B Company's 3rd Platoon stands on his mid-production M4A1 in Italy, 1944. This tank was Army Registration #3015428, which was built by the Pressed Steel Car Company in Chicago in October 1942. Note the camouflage netting stowed on the rear deck, and the canvas covering over the .50 caliber machine gun. This particular tank (B14) was one of three tanks later destroyed outside of Rome.
A rare color photo showing trucks and tanks of the 752nd leaving Rome on 5 June 1944. A small crowd of curious civilians watches the column move through the Porta del Popolo and past the Chiesa di San Maria del Popolo. The Signal Corps shot only a relatively small number of color photos during WWII. Fortunately, color photographers followed the 752nd during the summer and fall of 1944. All of the known 752nd color photos appear throughout this website. (Official U.S. Signal Corps photo).
Some of the first civilians come out and celebrate the liberation of Rome. Here they greet the tankers and inspect an M4, M4A1, and T-2 of B Company.
A 752nd tanker from B Company enjoys the celebration from a safe distance. Note the slab of applique armor welded in place over the assistant driver's position. This type of field-added applique armor was rare in the 752nd.
The 752nd tankers got a warm reception once inside Rome. Here, the crew of a B Company tank stops to have their photo taken with the Roman family that took them in for dinner. This is Tank B10, which was one of four tanks destroyed a few weeks later at Rosignano. All three tankers in this photo became casualties at Rosignano (Tankers in rear row, 1 KIA, 2 POW).
A 752nd halftrack follows other 752nd vehicles through the historic Porta del Popolo on Via Flaminia. This photo was taken as the 752nd left the central part of Rome on 5 June 1944.
The same scene as the above photo, but from the German perspective. Here, a German StuG assault gun passes through Porta del Popolo half a year earlier, on 9 December 1943. This StuG belonged to an SS unit.
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Researched and Written by Robert J. Holt
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