Welcome to the WWII Forums! Log in or Sign up to interact with the community.

Anzio Annie or Anzio Express?

Discussion in 'Artillery' started by rpk4, Feb 11, 2015.

  1. rpk4

    rpk4 New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2015
    Messages:
    28
    Likes Received:
    6
    Just wanted to open up a can of worms...

    I know, I know, both terms were used indiscrepantly for the K5's shelling the men on the beachhead at Anzio. But is "Leopold", the gun (or one of 2 guns?) found at Civitavecchia and now residing at the United States Army Ordnance Museum in Fort Lee (it is said Leopold and Robert were combined to create the existing Leopold) actually the "Anzio Express"?

    View attachment 22025

    Looking for official documentation (if such a thing exists for nicknames) as I also have the internet and can read Wikipedia.
     

    Attached Files:

  2. lwd

    lwd Ace

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2007
    Messages:
    12,312
    Likes Received:
    1,230
    Location:
    Michigan
  3. Takao

    Takao Ace

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2010
    Messages:
    7,836
    Likes Received:
    1,677
    Location:
    Reading, PA
    Anzio Annie/Anzio Express/Whistling Willie were all nicknames for the rail guns at Anzio.

    I was under the impression that Robert is the rail gun at the Atlantic Wall Museum at Cap Griz Nez, France.
     
  4. rpk4

    rpk4 New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2015
    Messages:
    28
    Likes Received:
    6
    You bet I've asked, but the question really can never have a real answer. After all, we are dealing with nicknames. Most newspaper articles of the time that I've read, particularly from Iowa (the 168th of the 34th Division is credited with capturing the guns in Civitavecchia) refer to Leopold as "Anzio Express" while the Stars and Stripes uses both. At the end of the day it doesn't really matter its just that "Anzio Annie" has become the preferred name for Leopold leaving poor "Anzio Express" as the bridesmaid.

    As for Robert, not sure what became of it. There are conflicting reports that one or both guns were shipped to the US; I saw a caption on a photo from a veteran that claimed there were 3 guns in the rail yard. The only thing that seems to be absolute is that Leopold was in better shape than Robert and it was shipped to the states.
     
  5. Takao

    Takao Ace

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2010
    Messages:
    7,836
    Likes Received:
    1,677
    Location:
    Reading, PA
    Possibly...Possibly not.

    Several websites ID this photo as either Leopold or Robert, but it is neither.
    [​IMG]
    It is and ex-French 27,4 cm K(E) 592(f) German Railroad Gun Captured at Rentwertshausen in 1945.

    If you can post the photo, I'd like to see it.
     
  6. rpk4

    rpk4 New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2015
    Messages:
    28
    Likes Received:
    6
    The majority of the photos I have seen from the Civitaveccia rail yard seem to be of Leopold (square buildings in the back):


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]

    View attachment 22027

    Here is Robert:

    [​IMG]
     
  7. Takao

    Takao Ace

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2010
    Messages:
    7,836
    Likes Received:
    1,677
    Location:
    Reading, PA
    To add to the confusion, I came across this

    From here: http://www.34thinfantry.com/history/history-other/history-anzio-express-anzio-annie-railway%20guns.htm

    So now, we have the possibility of Leopold using parts from two other guns, and not parts of Robert.

    Certainly makes for a very interesting mystery, no longer easily solved.
     
  8. rpk4

    rpk4 New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2015
    Messages:
    28
    Likes Received:
    6
    Ahhh, that page is an old one from my website. Several years ago I put that up in an attempt to organize thoughts on the subject. I really should update it but this whole story drives me crazy.

    Two guns, 919 219 “Leopold” and 919 216 “Robert” were the K5 rail guns that supported if not led the German artillery barrage on Anzio. One gun (Robert) was positioned utilizing a Schiesskurve and tunnel just outside of Ciampino en route to Frascati, the other (Leopold) using A Kreuzbettung about 6km south of Ciampino near Frattocchie. With the breakout at Cassino, the discovery of the guns’ location and increasing allied strength, the decision was made to move the guns. Leopold was moved at night to Civitavecchia but Allied pressure forced the Germans to destroy the gun, having only enough time to blow up the breech blocks and the elevation generators. As for Robert, it is said that due to destroyed railroad tracks, it was not possible to move the gun and was partly destroyed in front of its tunnel and abandoned. Robert was captured and moved to Civitavecchia.

    As for the gun at the Atlantic Wall Museum at Cap Griz Nez, France I saw an article that said it was one of 2 guns that were captured by the US in the summer of 1944 at Livron and transferred later to the French Army, forgotten for years until it was discovered and moved to the museum.

    View attachment 22030 View attachment 22031 View attachment 22032
     

    Attached Files:

  9. rpk4

    rpk4 New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2015
    Messages:
    28
    Likes Received:
    6
    I think I just figured out where the guns were when the 168th found them on June 7, 1944:

    [​IMG]
     
  10. Takao

    Takao Ace

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2010
    Messages:
    7,836
    Likes Received:
    1,677
    Location:
    Reading, PA
    Judginf from this photo,
    [​IMG]

    Robert should be about here:
     

    Attached Files:

  11. rpk4

    rpk4 New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2015
    Messages:
    28
    Likes Received:
    6
    Agreed, put up the first (wrong) image.
     
  12. Cjkiwi

    Cjkiwi New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2016
    Messages:
    12
    Likes Received:
    7
    Location:
    Hamilton, New Zealand
    I recently posted four other pictures of a Krupp 5E; three of which are different angles of the image you put up on 'Robert' abandoned. These were taken, presumably, by my father while he was in Italy, although I have no idea how he could have been in that location at that time - he should have been moving with the NZ artillery elsewhere after the fall of Cassino. Can you tell me the source of your Robert pictures, and are there others existent? Judging by the number of allied troops sitting on the barrel in my image, there must have been many other photos taken at that time. Hopefully at least one might show the side of the 5E to confirm that it was 'Robert' - none of mine are good enough to make such a confirmation.
     
  13. rpk4

    rpk4 New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2015
    Messages:
    28
    Likes Received:
    6
    Cjkiwi, got your message and was trying to get you some real answers. Bottom line is that I was following the impression that Robert was found separate from Leopold. Since I last posted above, I am pretty certain that both guns were found together in the Civitavecchia rail yard. An image became available from the National WWII Museum that shows both Leopold and Robert in the rail yard. O'Rourke states that the reason for destroying both guns was due to the fact that they were trapped in Civitavecchia - northern lines were cut and a more recent bombing run had destroyed the railroad bridge to the south - leaving them no where to run and were subsequently abandoned there.



    [​IMG]


    I have collected other pictures of the captured gun you have posted and will post them when I get them all together.
     
  14. Cjkiwi

    Cjkiwi New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2016
    Messages:
    12
    Likes Received:
    7
    Location:
    Hamilton, New Zealand
    Thank you for your interesting reply. Will look forward to the images when you get round to posting. Like you I have spent the week thinking about the gun captured by the allies, and, if it was 'Robert', how it managed to get to Civitevecchia, only to be destroyed by the allies. 'Robert' and 'Leopold' clearly ended up in Civitevecchia. The 'captured' gun images fit the scenario that it is 'Robert', which was supposedly abandoned outside its tunnel if the rail link north was broken. However, while the images are not high quality, thus far they fail to show an 'R' on the side of the weapon, as is so clearly seen in images taken in Civitevecchia. Also I am having trouble reconciling the possibility that my father was able to be at this location at that time. I have asked the ANZIO War Museum if they can confirm whether our images are consistent with a location in the Alban Hills, but no reply as yet. One other respondent to my post suggested there were other 5Es in Italy, but I have not found any evidence thus far that they were captured or where they saw service. Is this is a smoking gun ...
     
  15. rpk4

    rpk4 New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2015
    Messages:
    28
    Likes Received:
    6
    Your group of photos show two different locations, just outside a tunnel and somewhere in the open. As they were all your father's, and in comparison's of the actual guns in the photos, let's assume they are the same gun. If that is true, several additional photos of K5's become relevant. As for the images of the gun by the tunnel, check out pages 51-54 of Armour PhotoGallery #12 by Jan Coen Wijnstok.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Another reason to group these images together would be the lighter barrel that is easier to see in some photos, but nonetheless apparent in most all of the photos. From a forum thread at gun boards.com, a number of photos exist, many of which i believe to be mis-identified as Robert. There are however 2 additional photos of your gun at the mouth of the tunnel.

    [​IMG]

    Additional images found:

    [​IMG]

    This group may provide the gun's identity, as long as the gun in the mouth of the tunnel was moved to the more open location (possibly a train platform just south of the tunnel?).

    [​IMG]

    It sure looks like 919 210, which would have been the 2nd K5 produced (of the 24 currently accepted serial numbers produced beginning with 919 201 through 919 683, not consecutive).

    As for the location, many accounts that are referenced to some of these images indicate that this gun was part of Eisenbahnbatterie 749 captured by British Commonwealth Troops near Montelimar, France.
     
  16. McCabe

    McCabe Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2013
    Messages:
    280
    Likes Received:
    53
    Location:
    Virginia
    And then there's Atomic Annie...



    [​IMG]
     
  17. Cjkiwi

    Cjkiwi New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2016
    Messages:
    12
    Likes Received:
    7
    Location:
    Hamilton, New Zealand
    Your group of photos show two different locations, just outside a tunnel and somewhere in the open. As they were all your father's, and in comparison's of the actual guns in the photos, let's assume they are the same gun. If that is true, several additional photos of K5's become relevant. As for the images of the gun by the tunnel, check out pages 51-54 of Armour PhotoGallery #12 by Jan Coen Wijnstok.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Another reason to group these images together would be the lighter barrel that is easier to see in some photos, but nonetheless apparent in most all of the photos. From a forum thread at gun boards.com, a number of photos exist, many of which i believe to be mis-identified as Robert. There are however 2 additional photos of your gun at the mouth of the tunnel.

    [​IMG]

    Additional images found:

    [​IMG]

    This group may provide the gun's identity, as long as the gun in the mouth of the tunnel was moved to the more open location (possibly a train platform just south of the tunnel?).

    [​IMG]

    It sure looks like 919 210, which would have been the 2nd K5 produced (of the 24 currently accepted serial numbers produced beginning with 919 201 through 919 683, not consecutive).

    As for the location, many accounts that are referenced to some of these images indicate that this gun was part of Eisenbahnbatterie 749 captured by British Commonwealth Troops near Montelimar, France.

    Thanks for very full response. I agree that my photos are of the same gun, but on two different occasions. There is snow on the ground in one case; the other three are clearly different angles on the same day. It was intriguing to see photos taken by others and indeed this would seem to tie the location to Montelimar (France), rather than Italy. Up to seven Krupp guns were captured in the Montelimar area including this one. But the NZ 2nd Division didn't serve in France ... The only explanations I can think of at this point are that the photos either belong to someone else, or, in mid 1945 NZ troops, on leave, ranged more widely from Trieste that I had thought. I know my father visited Lake Como, and Montelimar is a day drive from there. But the guns were captured in late 1944. Would they have sat around 10 months on a rail line before being moved? Unlikely. So while I am happily convinced that the evidence indicates the location is France and not elsewhere, I now have other unanswered questions pertaining to my father's war service. I like the idea of exploring French newspapers of the time to see if other images of these weapons exist. There should be pictures of the other guns, and serial numbers!!
     
  18. rpk4

    rpk4 New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2015
    Messages:
    28
    Likes Received:
    6
    As the internet provides, we are deceived. Looking more into the Montepilar and Livron-sur-Drôme as well as your father being in the NZ 2nd, I also am not convinced that these were taken in France. If the gun is 919 210 (following from here), it may have been part of Eisenbahn Artillerie Batterien 713 which was planned in 1938 and was still in use in 1944. Also, if the gun barrel is truly yellow versus the dark grey of the gondola, “A note of 23 May 1944 by the General of Artillery states that the two guns of Railway Battery 713 will have their barrels replaced when they have fired their remaining rounds for 10mm rifling.” (from Wijnstok, “Leopold”).

    So where were Batteries 710 and 713 after 1944?
     
  19. Poppy

    Poppy grasshopper Patron  

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2008
    Messages:
    6,980
    Likes Received:
    584

Share This Page