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Memorial Miniature Golf and Museum: Hole 7 – The Italian Campaign
Hole 7 is sponsored by:
Even before the capture of Axis-held North Africa, American and British Generals debated fiercely over where to strike next. Italy was the first target for American planners, but eventually a compromise was reached with the British to attack Italy in 1943, then France in 1944.
On July 10th, 1943 the Allies began to invade Sicily with both amphibious and airborne forces. The Allied forces were among the most diverse of the entire war. Africans, Indians, Kiwis and Poles fought alongside the British and Americans. The Germans and Italians failed to hold off the assault, but just as in Africa were able to evacuate most of their troops to the Italian mainland.
On August 17th, Sicily was firmly in Allied hands. In late July, Benito Mussolini was overthrown and replaced by Marshal Badoglio who signed an armistice with the Allies on September 3rd, the same day that British forces landed on the toe of Italy. Six days later American forces landed at Salerno under fierce German resistance. The landing set an ominous precedent for what would become stalemate in the Italian campaign.
The Allied advance slowed to a crawl due to a series of strong defensive lines running across Italy all the way to Rome and beyond. The most formidable of these defenses was the Gustav Line, which was held by elite German Fallschirmjägers in the ruins of the ancient monastery of Monte Cassino. It would take four offensives before the line was breached in May 1944, but the road to Rome lay open. Rome fell on June 4th, and for the rest of the war the Allies gradually pushed north, with hostilities finally ending on April 29th, 1945.
Vocabulary Word: Fallschirmjäger – German “Fallschirmjäger” or paratroopers were the elite of Hitler’s Wehrmacht. In 1940 they overran key Belgian and Norwegian defenses and helped pave the way for Blitzkrieg. By 1943 however they were relegated to ground combat, but performed very well in the Italian and French campaigns late in the war.Memorial Miniature Golf and Museum
This hole is dedicated to SFC Otis Gil, Italian Theatre of Combat
Otis grew up right here in Central Texas and joined the Army Air Corps a little later than his two brothers that also served in WWII, Otis was trained to drive trucks and operate mounted .50 caliber anti-aircraft weapons. He was assigned to the 21st Aviation Engineers regiment Company B and his duties included building airfields, repairing bomb craters and airfield protection against enemy bombing or fighter plane strafing.
Tejanos and Mexican-Americans were treated unfairly and segregated during WW2 and typically given duties behind the lines. Otis Gil was no exception to this treatment. He was a light truck driver, typically an M14 Half-track; these vehicles were half-tank in the rear, but steered like a normal truck with two front wheels. Otis ran supplies and ammo and helped build runways. He sometimes took up arms in defense of the airfield.
PFC Gil was stationed in San Severo, Italy from early 1944 to the end of his combat duty with the US Army Air Corps. The airfield was primarily used for reconnaissance aircraftand the 31st Fighter group of P-51 Mustangs. San Severo was one of a dozen airfields within a 20 mile radius in the famous Foggia “airdrome” (a WW2 term for multiple airfields in large area). This area was a hot spot for the 15th Air Force as B-24 Liberators and B-25 Mitchell’s made air raids against the German Wehrmacht, supported ground troops trying to take Rome and pushed the Germans out of Northern Italy. One day PFC Gil’s Company was attacked by the German Luftwaffe. Being quick on his feet, Otis readied the anti-aircraft quad .50 caliber anti-aircraft guns on the back of a M14 Half-Track. He remembered it this way:
‘I was so darn scared. The worst feeling is seeing a Swastika airplane on top of your head” Otis shot down the German fighter and was awarded one of the top wards for bravery in combat: the Bronze Star.
SFC Gil is just one example of the bravery Tejanos displayed, not only from combat but from racism and segregation that carried its awful weight all the way until the 1970’s and at times even today. Otis fathered nine children and retired a Sergeant First Class from the the Army National Guard in 1984.
Rest in Peace,
Brave Texas Warrior
Sergeant First Class Ret. Otis Gil,
1924 – 2011Memorial Miniature Golf and Museum
This hole is fairly open with a few slopes to adjust for. It is certainly one one of the tamest holes on the entire course.
Mister Mini Golf Pro Tips
Go to the right as it breaks to left quite substantially as you near the hole.
ADA Accessibility Notes: ADA compliant pathways are installed to allow for 9 holes of accessible play.
For more details on course accessibility, always check in with a course you are visiting as they may be able to do additional accommodations. In addition, a great resource is the ADA Checklist for Miniature Golf Courses.
Check out the prior hole here:
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-Mister Mini Golf