The Battle of Monticelli took place during the attack on the Gothic Line in the Italian Campaign of World War Two, which was assaulted by members of the 363rd Infantry Regiment, 91st Infantry Division of the US Army in September 1944.
Excerpts from pages 70 - 83 of History of the 363rd Infantry Regiment: One Regiment Of The 91st Division In World War II by Ralph E. Strootman:
"F Company crossed the ravine early the next morning, September 15th, 1944, and prepared to continue the attack up Monticelli. After completing the crossing of the minefield that morning F Company had attacked up the slope with Lieutenant Hatcher’s 3rd Platoon on the right, First Sergeant McKelvey’s 2nd Platoon on the left, meeting heavy resistance in the form of an estimated eight enemy pillboxes across their front.
Machine-gun fire from these emplacements caused serious casualties, especially in the right platoon which was cut down to nine men and a sergeant. Lieutenant Hatcher was one of those who lost his life.
Captain Crowden committed his reserve 1st Platoon to the right to relieve the handful of the 3rd Platoon which was then withdrawn 100 yards to the rear of the 1st and 2nd Platoons. The company mortars had been emplaced and the two light machine guns attached to the 2nd Platoon; now the company got down to the dirty business of systematically knocking out the emplacements which faced them.
The next day, September 16th, F Company began to receive heavy fire from the left front, which held up the attack. The company could not advance more than 300 yards from the line of departure during daylight, and the attack was held up until nightfall. As nightfall came, the company continued its dirty business of knocking out the enemy emplacements on Monticelli.
On September 17th, Sergeant McKelvey began inching his platoon forward by fire and movement. One of his squad leaders went down and the assistant was killed almost immediately as he went to take command. Sergeant McKelvey wormed over to the squad, reorganizing it. “We just couldn’t move,” explained Private Glen H. Wells, “because we were getting so much fire from the pillboxes. Sergeant McKelvey told us to hold up and he began moving forward himself – the tracers were cutting right over him. Then he had to crawl through the wire.” One bullet tore two holes in McKelvey’s helmet as he worked his way through the barbed wire and disarmed an S mine while the squad kept trying to button up the enemy emplacement.
“Private James R. Wixon was firing at the machine gun but he was killed,” continued Private First Class Theodore J. Drozdowsi. “Sergeant McKelvey kept moving and when he got close enough he threw a Molotov Cocktail, then ran and jumped into the pillbox. I heard him hollering at the Germans and the next thing I knew five Jerries came running out of the hole with Sergeant McKelvey behind them. He sent them back and we never had any more trouble from the pillbox after that.” Sergeant McKelvey was later commissioned as a second lieutenant. He was later awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for this action.
While the mountain of Monticelli was captured at this point by members of K Company, F Company was still faced with the network of fortifications that they had been reducing for the past several days. Eventually as the fight progressed throughout the night the remaining German elements withdrew, and Monticelli was officially secured. On the morning of September 18th F Company, along with the 363rd Infantry remained dug in on Monticelli and continued the evacuation of their wounded."