Captain Eric Anderson on the fighting in Italy 1944

Following are excerpts of the writings of Captain Eric Anderson, Commanding Officer, Company L. 142 Infantry Regiment of the 36th Infantry Division. Captain Anderson was Sgt. Wise’s commanding officer during much of the fighting in Italy.
The Break-Out of Anzio Beachhead

March 19, 1944. I joined the 142d Infantry when it came back from the Rapido River. We camped at the base of Mount Vesuvius, which blew its top that night. We had about a foot of ashes on us the next morning. We had to move to a new area.

Two days later, we had a parade, and Gen. Clark gave Charles Kelly the Congressional Medal of Honor. The sergeant standing next to me said, “I’m going to get one of those on the next trip up. He was awarded it just north of Rome. His name was Sergeant Homer Wise.

My company led the attacks into Rome. Before we could get into Rome, there was a pill box holding up the troops. Sergeant Homer Wise was in the tank traps when I got to him, and I threw a couple of delayed grenades and took out two machine guns. I found a spot in the tank trap where I could get a shot at the opening in the pill box with my tommy gun. I shot two bursts in there, and a German Major came out with a white flag.

I went over to him, and he said he had two wounded men and wanted me to send in litter carriers for them. I told him to bring them out and I would get a couple of litters for them. Wise went and got the litters while I kept the German Major covered.

Twenty-four soldiers came out, and I led them down to the 36th Division and turned them over, after telling the German Major to carefully remove his P-38 he had in an inside pocket.

The next day in Rome I had to turn myself in to the medics to treat an infection on my back and legs. I went to the Red Cross section, and they put me on a hospital ship to take me back to Naples. The men had put me in for the Congressional Medal of Honor. . The three men that made statements of my actions were Homer Wise, who holds the CMH, Sgt. Lorbeckie, my automatic rifle expert and Guy B. Speck, my executive officer.

The following is attributed to Major Everrett S. Simpson

The regiment was attacking the mountainous area near the town of Tendon, and we were assigned Hill 827 as our objective. The Tendon-Le Tholy road was our line of departure. We assumed we were in safe territory, but I did have sense enough to send out patrols to the flank and front.

Every patrol that came in reported Germans to our flank and front. I didn’t believe the two flank patrols, because their leaders hadn’t been with us long, but the patrol to the front was led by Sergeant Homer Wise, who had won a Medal of Honor in Italy, and I knew he knew what he was talking about.

‘Major, those woods are full of Germans,’ he said. I immediately ordered the attack and we hadn’t been going ten minutes until I was wounded. Mortars hit all around us, and my right arm was shattered, and I had shell fragments in my back. My radio operator was killed. I got Lynch on the radio and told him I was putting Cpt Edmund Sullivan, commander of Company M, in command. I learned later that Major Ross Young was sent down to take over for a few days, and then I was succeeded by LTC A. Ward Gillette, who commanded the battalion until I came back to take over in January.

MAJ Everett S. [Seldon] Simpson, quoted in Col Vincent M. Lockhart, T-Patch to Victory,1981, Staked Plains Press, p. 111-112.

Captain Eric Anderson died on February 27, 2002 at the age of 83. Captain Anderson served brilliantly in Italy and France. One of the great heroes of the World War II he received the Distinguished Service Cross, Silver Star, Bronze Star and five Purple Hearts

All of the above writings were sent to the Homer L. Wise Memorial Committee, by Michael Anderson, the son of Captain Eric Anderson and are used with his permission.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *