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.