|A Work in progress view. Lot more work to do. The vegetation on Monte Artemisio|
is deciduous forest with a lot of underbrush. There are ruins of a few castles
and churches on the mountain too.
My brother, Rob, and I have been working on another joint diorama project for the IPMS National Meet in Texas. This one involves a scene from World War 2 during the Anzio breakout. Dozers from the 111th Engineer Battalion of the 36th Infantry Division, AKA the "Texas Division," cut a road over Monte Artemisio south east of Rome. That allowed US Army tanks and artillery to by pass German resistance in the valley below and opened up the road to Rome. Both Rob and I were former Army Corps of Engineer officers. We selected this battle due to the role of the combat engineers and the Texas connection.
The diorama will feature an armored dozer, a Sherman tank, a jeep and several figures. The dozer and tank were made by my brother. I made a new set of tracks for the dozer with my 3D printer as the ones that came with the model were impossible to assemble.
|Detailed trees on the diorama.|
Perhaps the highlight of the diorama
will be the highly realistic trees with individual leaves. I am making these leaves on my laser cutter and they will eventually become products for Alkem Scale Models.
Here is an excerpt from, "The Texas Army, A History of the 36th Division in the Italian Campaign," by R. L. Wagner, State House Press, 1991, describing some of the action.
"One of the most extraordinary combat engineering feats of World War II was the building of the 22-mile long road up and over Monte Artemisio and through the Alban Hills by the 111th Engineer Battalion. Walker viewed the road as vital to the supply of the two forward regiments of the 36th and above all should the enemy counter-attack and deny American use of the Nemi-Velletri highway as an artery through which to move tanks and TDs to stop any enemy armored thrust.
Engineering authorities at Corps and Army were skeptical whether the road could be built, but Walker had received the division engineer's assurance on the 28th that it was feasible; and he proceeded on that basis to issue a verbal order that the trail be constructed. The CO of the 111th Engineers accordingly gave the main job to B Company, commanded by Captain Orvil W. Crisman of Wortham, Texas, and preparations were underway on May 30 to begin work. Stovall, the division engineer, had stuck his neck a long way out when he gave assurance to General Walker about the practicability of a road over the 3,100-foot mountain. He had reconnoitered the area and satisfied himself that the earth there was volcanic in origin and therefore amenable to treatment by bulldozers. If it turned out to be some recalcitrant substance such as granite the mission would be seriously compromised. As he confided many years later:
"My extreme worry was the thick ledge of cap rock nearly 100 feet high. I had flown as near the area as low as the driver would take me and had examined the rock at the base that had rolled down the side. . . . All indications were that the rock was volcanic residue. The night of May 30 was nearly sleepless for me but I did feel some better after I got to the ledge and found it to be volcanic rock early in the morning of May 31.
The road itself followed roughly the trace of the 142nd Infantry. In the vicinity of Monte. Artemisio there were a number of trails already present, and the engineers made it their business, where possible, to improve those already existing rather than hacking out new ones. Company B minus one platoon, started work with their R-4 and D-7 Angle Dozers early on the morning of May 31 and widened the initial passage to allow forward movement of 2-1/2-ton trucks and tanks. Company B was followed closely by elements of a battalion of the attached 39th Engineer Combat Regiment who improved and marked the road. Before nightfall a total of ten Angle Dozers were at work on the road. Very little pick and shovel activity was required as heavy equipment did most of the work; the only delays were caused by snipers all along the route. Flank guards had to be posted to protect the Dozer operators, who could not hear the sniper fire over the noise of their machines.