Near Persano stood a tobacco factory which was like a revolving door: after first being attacked on the September 11 by the 157th Regiment, it changed hands twice the following day before coming under American control. On September 13 a strong German counterattack recaptured the tobacco factory, and they remained unshakable there for five more days and in so doing were able to block any American advance further inland.
Nowdays the fram houses different companies, but for a part it is still not rebuilt. It looks like ages stood still and some rebuilt buldings are collapsed again.
On September 9, 1943, Paestum was the location of the landing beaches of the U.S. 36th Infantry Division during the Allied invasion of Italy. German forces resisted the landings from the outset, causing heavy fighting within and around the town. Combat persisted around the town for nine days before the Germans withdrew to the north.
Along with the 3rd Division, which had just landed, and, as one of the few “fresh” units available, 2nd Battalion was given the task of pushing inland out of the beachhead in pursuit of the retreating enemy. They moved through Battipaglia, a town totally destroyed in which each single building had been reduced to flat, dusty rubble. Eboli a few miles away was almost as badly devastated.
Above Eboli, at the dead end of a winding mountain road in an oppressive cul-de-sac between ridges, we liberated the village of Campagna, which had been used as an internment camp for political prisoners. There, huddled together in miserable squalor, we found almost a thousand civilians from southern and eastern Europe, most of them Jews.
The main invasion at Salerno by the U.S. 5th Army – began on 9 September, and in order to secure surprise, the decision had been taken to assault without preliminary naval or aerial bombardment. However, tactical surprise was not achieved, as the naval commanders had predicted. As the first wave of the U.S. 36th Infantry Division approached the shore at Paestum a loudspeaker from the landing area proclaimed in English: “Come on in and give up. We have you covered.” The Allied troops attacked nonetheless.
On the road to Salerno the Rangers met no opposition and with support from the guns of HMS Ledbury seized their mountain pass objectives while the Commandos, from No. 2 Commando and No. 41 (Royal Marine) Commando, were also unopposed and secured the high ground on each side of the road through the La Molina Pass on the main route from Salerno to Naples. At first light units of No. 2 Commando moved towards Salerno and pushed back a small force of tanks and armoured cars from 16th Panzer Reconnaissance battalion
Unexpectedly the half-track drove around the corner in the dark in Vietri and was quickly taken under fire by No. 8 Section of Q Troop. The driver and the others who sat in the front seat were killed. The dozen Germans in the back were all captured.