Image size: 1600 x 1055 pixel. 464 KB
Date: Sunday, 14 May 1944
Place: Ausonia, Frosinone province, Italy
Photographer: George Silk
Free French colonial troops supported by American tanks during the fighting of the Italian campaigns, May 1944 (LIFE has wrongfully captioned the month as August 1944!). They passed in front of abandoned Italian M42 Semovente 75/18 850(i) from German Panzerjäger-Abteilung 171/71.Infanterie-Division "Kleeblatt" (Cloverleaf). The Airfix White M3 Halftrack comes with an optional "canvas tilt" piece to cover the back (omitting the Five-oh and mount), and Red Cross markings. These Free French Forces will be some of General Alphonse Juin's mainly colonial troops who cut a swathe through Italy in more ways than one. The French Expeditionary Corps advances into the Ausente Valley, capturing Ausonia, and continue to advance over the Aurunci Mountains toward the next German defensive line, which is not occupied in strength at this time. In December 1943, the 2.Kompanie (also known as StuG Abteilung 1171) has 4 Semovente 75/18 and 10 Semovente 75/34. In the spring of 1944 the 71. Infanterie-Division (Generalleutnant Wilhelm Raapke) moved in central Italy, south west of Cassino. During May-June retreat, division took severe losses and moved to Adriatic sector. On 8th July 1944, the only 3 available M42 SP fought in Filottrano and in Ancona.
LIFE photo collection