The Crew
About The Landing Craft Infantry




Since the deck logs for the LCI (L) 35 for the months of January through May 1944 were not available from the National Archives, most of the information that follows has been obtained from the War Diaries of the Flotilla Two and Group 4 Commanders. The information contained in the War Diaries is supplemented by the recollections of my father's shipmates and other reference material.

January 1944 - Anzio

On January 1, 1944 Donald A. Lewis (LCI # 35) was promoted to Lt. Junior Grade assuming command of the LCI (L) 35 replacing Samuel Strickland.

Based on shipmate recollections, the LCI 35 was in the Naples area during January with most of the time spent in Pozzouli, Italy.

Photo of LCI 35 and other LCIs in Pozzouli, Italy

Photo of LCI 35 and other LCIs in Pozzouli, Italy

Photo from Flotilla 2 History

"When Jerry's Out There He Sure Makes It Hot."

Stanley "Gay" Galik - January 18, 1944

Anzio was my father's second major invasion coming a little more than 5 months after Salerno.  After the invasion of Salerno, he confided to his sister Mae that during that invasion his "knees were knocking".


January 22-26, 1944

Operation " Shingle"
Details of the Anzio landing including the troops and naval forces used in the invasion as well as other events occurring in the Mediterranean during January - May are available by reviewing the Italy and the Italian Campaign Summaries of World War II.

January 22, 1944

Anzio Landing


Amphibious Attack Force Operation Shingle Map - Anzio Invasion

The map of the landing area is from Vol. IX; Sicily-Salerno-Anzio, by Samuel Eliot Morison, page 337.

The photographs and description of events related to LCI (L) 35 and to Flotilla 2 Group 4 during the Anzio invasion are based on the recollections of the crew since the War Diaries and Action Reports were somewhat limited in the information noted in these documents.

Donald Lewis - Commanding Officer of the LCI 35 On the Bridge - Anzio

Donald Lewis, Commanding Officer of the LCI 35
On the Bridge -  Anzio Invasion


During the actual invasion on January 22, 1944, the LCI 35 crew unloaded ammunition under heavy fire coming from the German railroad guns* that were zeroing in on targets on the beach.  Earl Eichorn, the Quartermaster on the LCI 35, remembered how quickly the crew unloaded the ammunition before the ship retracted from the beach.

*These German 28cm K5Ei railroad guns were dubbed "Anzio Annie" and had a maximum range of 38.64 miles.

From World War II-A Visual Encyclopedia

It Is Well That War Is So Terrible, Lest We Grow Too Fond Of It

General Robert E. Lee

**LCI 20 Sunk off Anzio, Italy on 22 January 1944

January 26, 1944

Sinking of LCI 32 - Crew Lost
According to the War Diary of E.W. Wilson, on this date the LCI (L) 32 hit a mine while proceeding to assist the burning British LST 422 and sank in 2 minutes.  Sadly, 23 enlisted crew of the LCI 32 were killed in this tragedy.

During the course of the war the LCI 32 and LCI 35 crossed paths on numerous occasions. Even before sailing for Bermuda and North Africa in 1943, the LCI 32 and 35 bumped into each other on two occasions within a week while in Little Creek, MD.  Fortunately, they only sustained minor damage after these minor incidents. In addition to these close encounters, the LCI 32 was also tied to the LCI 35 on many occasions throughout 1943.

**LCI 32 Sunk off Anzio, Italy 26 January 1944

January 27, 1944

Dad's Recollection of the Invasion
Dad summarized his thoughts on the invasion in a letter to his sister Mae a day after Operation Shingle was completed.

Dad said:

...Well we've done it again and here is why I hadn't written. Once again in an invasion. This time south of Rome. You probably read more than I can tell you in the papers. It wasn't a picnic by a long shot and the Germans had us out of bed a lot. All over but the shouting for a while, so let's hope that shortened the war by a long time. Sure caught the Jerries by surprise though. Wasn't till the next morning that hell broke loose and at that it wasn't too bad. Any way they turn they have an American waiting. Sure was scared a little I guess, but when we saw our planes on patrol we sure felt better. In the invasion of Salerno I don't believe I told you that I did a silly thing. Had some peanuts and in battle I'm first-aid, so while I'm watching the fireworks I'm eating nuts. One came close and you should have seen the peanuts go rather fast. In this one I had some of the Orange tabs you'd sent. Instead of sucking I guess I sort of swallowed some of them whole. Leastwise, I had a strange feeling in the pit of my stomach and so I sort of figure they caused it...but now that another invasion came off I'm glad I was in on it again...I'm luckier than a lot of guys. They can't get a chance to see what I'm seeing and now I can brag where they can't. (Sure conceited eh?)...

January 31, 1944

Transport of Army Nurses to Anzio


Newspaper Article

Newspaper Article - "Nurses Preferred Beach to Ocean"

Nurses Preferred Beach to Ocean
On the Fifth Army Beachhead

In Dad's scrapbook a newspaper article dated January 31, 1944 recounted the transport of Army Nurses to Anzio aboard an LCI. The Deck Log of the LCI (L) 35 for November 4, 1943 noted that British Nurses were aboard the ship for transportation to Taranto along with British F.A.N.Y. women. The British Nurses disembarked in Taranto on November 9, 1943. Since the deck log for the LCI (L) 35 was not available, the American Nurses mentioned in the newspaper article may or may not have been transported by the LCI (L) 35.

January 1944 Other WWII Action and Notable Events
January 16, 1944 Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower took command of the Allied Invasion Force in London
January 27, 1944 The Soviet Union announced the end of the deadly German siege of Leningrad, which had lasted for more than two years
January 31, 1944 US forces began invading Kwajalein Atoll and other parts of the Japanese-held Marshall Islands



Invasion at Anzio - LCI 274, 20, and 39

LCIs 274, 20, 39 OF FLOTILLA 1


LCIs en route to Anzio


John Laga While Underway for Anzio



At Anchor at Anzio
Standing by for Air Raid



Clarence Robins, William Breshears, and Edward Byrd at Anzio





Earl Eichorn
Although it was truly unfortunate that the sinking of the LCI 32 occurred, Earl Eichorn (above), related that it was difficult to get emotional over the loss. He said that "there are so many horrors and terrible things that occur in war that you can't let emotions affect you because you never know if you might be next".
John Finnerty

Another shipmate, John Finnerty* (above) vividly recalled the sinking of the LCI 32 tragedy.  According to John, the LCI 35 was initially slated to go into the same area as that of the LCI 32. However, John said that the Captain of the LCI 32 "pulled rank" and signaled that they were going to go in ahead of the LCI 35. As the LCI 32 started in "all hell broke loose" and the LCI 32 blew up and sank. John feels he is alive today because of the fateful decision made by the Captain of the LCI 32. John also remembers the German railroad guns that were pounding the ships and recalls hearing their shells whizzing by.

(*John Finnerty passed away in September 2008)

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