Photos from the Vault

Rome liberated, World War II week by week

Rome was captured by the Allies, the first Axis capitol to fall. Headlines from the June 5, 1944 Telegram Tribune.
Rome was captured by the Allies, the first Axis capitol to fall. Headlines from the June 5, 1944 Telegram Tribune.

June 3, 1944

Allied Armies were on the road to Rome. A story written by James E. Roper described the grim aftermath of battle.

"The red clay road into Valmontone was stained black today with the blood of German and American soldiers.

It was significant of the battle in which the Americans smashed Hermann Goering troops to take this city.

The black splotches on the red clay were from the men of both sides who fell before the American artillery and German machine gun fire.

Along the roadside lay wrecked German tanks and guns, together with ammunition and soldier's gear.

At the outskirts of the town were sprawled several dead Germans, their bodies dotted with swarms of green flies which hummed over their wounds in the warm sun."

Shelling by the German and American forces had destroyed 75 percent of Valmontone, a town of 6,000 in more peaceful times.

Soviets advanced in Romania near Iasi.

Yugoslav partisan leader Marshal Tito and members of this staff, including Capt. Randolph Churchill, son of the British prime minister, narrowly escaped capture by German airborne troops.

On the home front, the Aircraft Warning Service was placed on inactive status in San Luis Obispo County. Since August 1941, when the service was formed, about 5,000 had served. The AWS went into 24-hour-a-day operation after the attack at Pearl Harbor.

June 5, 1944

Rome was taken by the allies sending German Armies into flight north of the ancient city. Lt. Gen. Mark W. Clark announced that his Fifth Army had lost contact with the enemy, indicating a rapid retreat to a new defense line. It was the first Axis capital taken by the Allies. The city was spared from combat by the retreat.

California Gov. Earl Warren asked the second special legislative session for a state law against counterfeit ration coupons and black market traffic in genuine stamps.

The Associated Press had transmitted a report June 3, which was quickly quashed, saying that the invasion of France had begun. Five minutes after carrying the dispatch, The Associated Press canceled it, but many radio stations had already broadcast the message, and newspapers were gearing up to print extra editions. The report was blamed on 22-year-old AP operator Joan Ellis, a British subject working in London. The explanation was she was practicing "without authorization." She was confined in her London home today by "nervous exhaustion." The Telegram-Tribune received many phone calls asking for further news.