The Gothic Line: Canadas Month of Hell in World War II Italy

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What kind of books do you like to read? True Crime. Literary Fiction. Pop Culture. Young Adult Fiction. Mysteries and Thrillers. Their battle at the Keren Heights is a classic!

The Gothic Line

Please give your son my best regards and trust that he never has to do what those men did - for all of us! Steve - you ain't seen nothing yet - wait til you get to the Keren Heights or Montecassino or the Gothic Line - they were something else! Tuker was a character as well but he took sick at Cassino , we never saw him again! Of our men we left the strength of two divisions upon our battle fields jo hukam ". Steve - whoever wrote that introduction certainly got it right as they were beyond all comparision, to see them come out of Battle weary beyond relief, and filthy, and starving with hunger, but still able to give a 'thumbs up' and a big grin - was something which is etched in memory.

The point of leaving two divisions on the Battlefields is accurate as well as, unlike the British - there was no shortage of manpower in India, and they contributed most generously. A good friend of mine - who now lives in the South of France - commanded a battlion of Ghurka's in India and he has nothing but praise for all these men. They were possibly the most unrecognised troops in any theatre!

Steve - you certainly have every right to be proud of Dean and his efforts on behalf of the 4th Indian Div and their exploits as a fighting division in more than three campaigns. Alongside them my service was extremely humble having served in the th R. I was on radio 3 last week yakking about how Classical music won the war, not many believed me though, but it was fun to be interviewed for 20 minutes and find they only used about three minutes! That's show biz I guess!

Steve - excellent show and pictures but I'm not sure that I would let my 16 year old son loose with that boozey lot. You ask how classical music won the war - the Germans were so busy listening to Wagner and his Gotterdammerung, Tristan and Isolde etc that we hit them with Gigli, Gobbi - Tebaldi - Simonetta and all the other Italian singers - they couldn't match that and just gave up! You could try that on the Marines - if you are suicidal.! Then it was a laugh a minute!

Cheers tomcan. Tom tipped us off about this discussion.

Battle of the Gothic Line | The Canadian Encyclopedia

It is lovely to read about the enthusiasm with which you and your son are researching together. Penelope thanks for the encouragment, we are about to start publishing information to a web site we have decided to set up to enable people to find out more about this division. My Dad spoke very little about the war although I know he spent his 21st birthday in Rome.

Italian Fleet Surrender to the Allies: World War II (1943) - British Pathé

He was a member of the fifth armoured div and drove a tank, it left him with severe arthritis in his hips and legs. My father passed away at the age of 58 years and I have always believed it was because of his experiences in the war years, he was barely 16 as I understand it when he went as my grandfather insisted he go.

I can remember him in his cups singing both the traditional version of Lili Marlene as well as the D-Day dodgers version although that one he only sang when he was feeling bitter, which wasn't too often. I too speny my 21st in Rome - mainly in the piazza of the Pantheon where we watched my Mother's favourite composer's funeral- Pietro Mascagni! Sorry you lost him early! Hi trooper tom, just a little update, my son and i now have a mountain of books and info on the fourth indians, the western desert and italian campaigns and have even had a chap from new zealand contact us as his father was a sgt witth the division gunners, i hope you have a very happy new year as without your encouragement i think our enthusiam may have waned.

Steve - thank you for your kind comments - and we did have a good Christmas and New Year's as our daughter was with us from London for ten days so we always enjoy the time we spend with her and the two lads - it's always so desperately quiet when they all go to the various homes! Glad to see that you are making progress with your talks and exhibitions on the 4th Indian Div.

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I just read somehwere that an American reporter asked a Sikh why they fought in the war - the answer was a classic - " It is our friend's war - we support our friends "! Not surprised that you heard from New Zealand - of all the units who fought at Cassino - they had the biggest share of the tragedy - the Kiwi's were never the same again. The surprising thing was that it didn't seem to affect the 4th Indian in the same way as they proved later at the Gothic Line!

Try and find a book with their exploits in Abbysinia and Ethiopia - then on to Syria before coming back at Tunisia! I think Maj.

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Gen Tuker wrote about that campaign. Great men - all of them! Cheers and Good luck in your travels. I was interested to read your article at the top of this thread about the D-Day Dodgers song.

These are two verses which I remember the folk group 'The Spinners' singing during the 60's, and which I have re-discovered on the web Look around the mountains In the mud and rain You'll find scattered crosses, Some which bear no name. Your thoughts and rememberances are as interesting as ever.

Regards, Paul Fagan. I remember my Mother saying that he was fighting the Americans perhaps there was some truth in that. This for a boy of five was confusing. They soon discovered that he was able to drive and he seems to have driven large vehicles thought North Africa I remember later him describing the Atlas Mountains eventually through Sicily and then into Italy.

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By then he seems to have some American pals from photographs that he sent home. After that all I remember is that when he returned in , I was presented with a German gas mask case full of metals, ribbons, coins etc. What more could a boy of nine need. I also remember that he had a nickel-plated revolver it has to be American that was later handed in during an amnesty. Steve - when the AmericanAAF came over - everybody ducked - is quite right as they never seemed to have any really good bombsights on their planes - so everyone got a share - when we were at Lucera - near Foggia airfield we witnessed three Liberators bump into each other and crash - nothing we could do as they had been shielding a mate who was badly shot up during a raid into Germany or possibly the Oilfields in Rumania and he was in the centre of a nine plane escort with another nine below and above - really tighly packed - he suddenly reared up - hit one plane and the two came down on top of another - 36 men gone in a flash.

We had a bit more respect for them after that - didn't stop the Desert Air force from strafing us now and again! The greatest disgrace of the whole campaign has to be that after Cassino had been taken at such horrendous cost to British, Empire, Polish and American Infantry, General Mark Clark described as a beached Whale by Churchill after his lack of initiative at Anzio took his American army to undefended Rome.

This allowed the bulk of the German Army to withdraw north to fight again. The glory grabbing of one incompetent American General meant that the Italian campaign achieved far less than it could have done in breaking the German Army in the west. Paul - whilest I would agree that the forces in Italy failed to break two German armies and thus achieved less than was possible, it was not Clark's lack of inititive at the outset - he had too much misplaced initiative - it was the lack of same by his Corps Commander - I forget his name Clay I think as he was replaced by Lucian C Truscott who tried to fix the problem - the orginal Commander Clay failed to take the high ground although he was advised by both the British 46th and 56th Div Commanders to progress further - he was fired by Clark on the advice of Alexander who went to the Beaches to find out what was wrong!

Clark's mis-placed initiative was when he turned left to take Rome and allowed the two German Armies to by-pass Rome at Valmontone - BUT they would have escaped through the Rieti - Narni- Terni route which we could not cover in any case! So the main problem was always a lack of strength which was multiplied after Rome by the senseless invasion of the South of France to appease Stalin - but took away seven divisions from US 5th Army and total lack of reinforcement of 8th Army - who sent 1st and 5th Divisions plus 44RTR over to NW Europe and finally followed by the two Canadian Divisions - we did not have any strength left after the Gothic Line and were breaking up whole brigades to make do - as Alex said before the last push - "make it good as there is nothing left behind you"!

WE still made it - in spite of him! Tom you mention the taking of troops to nw europe and south of france, what effect did the loss of troops to greece have.