The Winter Line Stories

Real-life accounts of the unheralded heros of the Italian Campaign of WWII

Christmas in Italy 1943

This article appeared in the November 2017 edition of World War II Magazine


The sacrifice soldiers made is typified by this account of Christmas in the Liri Valley in Italy.

Thank you Duane Schultz for the contribution

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Research Trip - November 2017

I went to Italy in November and traced the steps of the 5th Army from Salerno to Rome. My stops included Paestum, Montecorvino, Battapaglia, Caserta, San Pietro, Cassino, Sant'Angelo in Theodice (Rapido River), Nettuno and Anzio. This link chronicles these places with photos and commentary: Winterline Stories Italy Trip
One fortuitous fallout from the trip was meeting three Italians with a passion for the history. Giuseppe Fresosone is the Curator of the Museum of Avalanche. We spent a couple of hours talking about the history of the "Sbarco" (beach landing) around Salerno and his desire to build a new museum at the site of the famous Tobacco Factory that became a symbol of the struggle to establish a foothold on the Italian Mainland. The visual presentation of the beach landings was worth the visit.

Giuseppe Fresone (Photo by Mike Hotchkiss)

The second meeting facilitated by Giuseppe's network was with Luciano Bucci, the curator of the Winterline Museum in Venafro. Luciano also happens ot be the Mayor. We also spent a few hours talking about the battles in and around the Liri Valley and Cassino. Luciano has been rummaging around Mt Sammucro since he was a boy. The relics he found are the centerpiece of the museum.

Me and Luciano Bucci (Photo by Mike Hotchkiss)

The third meeting resulted from the second. A reporter contact of Luciano's, Antonio Nardelli, and I met one morning. He interviewed me about my project to use my Grandfather's stories to give a first hand account of the Italian Campaign. He posted his story on the on line contempoaray publication: Full article (Italian).

Me and Journalist, Antonio Nardelli (Photo by Mike Hotchkiss)

Additional links from the trip:
Photo Gallery Blog Post

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