infantry

Dec

15

1943

Lord Mountbatten arrives as ‘SACSEA’


15th December 1943: Mountbatten arrives at South East Asia Command

Wingate pointed out to me that it was equally true to say that the Japanese had never captured a British strongpoint in the jungle. When I replied: ‘Well that’s encouraging anyway’, he said: ‘Not at all, the only reason they have not captured any strongpoints is that the British have never succeeded in building any strongpoints!’

Dec

14

1943

French Canadian V.C. in determined infantry attack


14th December 1943: French Canadian V.C. in determined infantry attack

Captain Triquet, ignoring the heavy fire, was everywhere encouraging his men and directing the defence and by using whatever weapons were to hand personally accounted for several of the enemy. This and subsequent attacks were beaten off with heavy losses, and Captain Triquet and his small force held out against overwhelming odds until the remainder of the battalion took Casa Berardi and relieved them the next day.

Dec

12

1943

The infantryman’s nightmare – the ‘S’ mine


12th December 1943: The infantryman’s nightmare – the ‘S’ mine

These things could be fired by pressure switches or pull igniters,but were usually fitted with trip wires connected to pull igniters. By using a ‘Y’ shaped double-ended igniter they could be linked in series, so that one going off would often bring several jumping after it. ‘S’ mines were an infantry man’s constant nightmare: some of my earliest recollections as a raw rookie were of hearing old soldiers talk of them in tones of hate and horror.

Dec

5

1943

Account of infantrymen versus Tiger tanks


5th December 1943: Account of infantrymen versus Tiger tanks

By belly crawling and short monkey runs I got near to the river bank. I now knew why we could get no support, our radio operator was lying on the bank part of him bobbing up and down in the river, the rest of him lying on the bank with his smashed radio. Now out of the ditch and in the open I could see two Tigers up river stationary and able to fire along the river. To my right about a hundred yards away was a small clump of trees and bushes.

Nov

4

1943

Italy – U.S. infantry advances behind artillery barrage


4th November 1943: Italy – U.S. infantry advances behind artillery barrage

A column of Germans was climbing the hill toward the town. Obviously they were going to reinforce the town’s defenders. “Get some fire on them fast,” the colonel ordered. Within three minutes mortars and high explosive 37—millimeter shells began bursting along the slope. Then the Germans came running down the hillside in wild disorder. Shell bursts followed them. “Those gunners,” said the colonel, “get the gilded bird cage with the stuffed canary as first prize.”

Oct

26

1943

The Irish Brigade in the trenches in Italy


26th October 1943: The Irish Brigade in the trenches in Italy

I slept for about 6 hours – my batman waking me once with a cup of tea. I awoke at 3, feeling a new man. A merciful providence saved my life for 5 minutes later a shell burst 5 yards from where I had been sleeping, and the blanket was covered with large bits of shrapnel. I would not have stood an earthly, if I had been there.

Oct

21

1943

Audie Murphy watches the ambush of a German patrol


21st October 1943: Audie Murphy watches the ambush of a German patrol

Germans labor up a draw that cuts the slope like a wrinkle in a fat man’s stomach. Despite all care, their boots slip on the stony soil; and at each small sound the men start nervously. The leader is obviously an old-timer. I can see from his actions that he does not like the situation at all. The route he has chosen is dangerous indeed, but is the best that the area offers. On two sides, he has at least partial concealment.

Oct

17

1943

Joy and tragedy as Canadians liberate Italy


17th October 1943: Joy and tragedy as Canadians liberate Italy

the following morning Gerry Swayle and his platoon were told to occupy San Stefano. It was assumed the enemy rear guards had all withdrawn across the Biferno overnight and Gerry would meet with no resistance. I saw him just before he started off and told him about the joys of liberating Ripalimosani.

Oct

15

1943

A suicidal German counter-attack


15th October 1943: A suicidal German counter-attack

Minutes passed. It seemed like an eternity, although it was not long after mid-night. The seriously wounded Obergefreiter had become still and his breath was coming in gasps. I saw the white of his eyes glistening and felt his sound hand feeling for mine. Then a sigh was wrung out of the dying man. ‘Ah, Herr Leutnant’, he said. His head fell to one side. Again, I was shaken by a feeling of horror. Finally, I made off from crater to crater.

Oct

13

1943

Infantry attack across the Volturno River


13th October 1943: Infantry attack across the Volturno River

had orders to keep our rifles dry but they trailed over our shoulders. The three 2 inch mortars in their case were under water as I struggled to keep hold of the rope. Completely soaked we reached the enemy side where our pioneers and many helping hands pulled us up the bank. Sodden but relieved we formed up in a soaked, shivering long line. The enemy had left us alone.