A RECENTLY-launched World War 2 book translated into English and highlighting the Italian campaign features a chapter by Gisborne historian Monty Soutar.
First published in Italian and launched in Italy in 2009, To the Gateways of Florence - New Zealand forces in Tuscany, 1944 balances expert accounts by military historians — on topics from tank warfare in Chianti to the contribution of Maori soldiers — with personal testimonies of New Zealand soldiers and Italian civilians.
Post by Dave Homewood on Oct 6, 2011 15:26:33 GMT 12
Although I am happy to see another book come out on New Zealanders in the Italian campaign it is somewhat annoying that once again the publicity focuses almost purely on No. 28 Battalion and once again forgets to publicise all the other battalions in the 2nd New Zealand Division and the New Zealand Corps who fought and sacrificed in the long arduous struggle that was the Italian campaign. They were not the only soldiers involved and were only part of what made the kiwis a successful army. But the media and scholars always have to single them out as the stars. All of them from whatever unit who fought were stars as far as I am concerned.
Post by Dave Homewood on Oct 7, 2011 8:19:36 GMT 12
It was a very, very tough campaign, yet seems to be overshadowed in popular media by the likes of Crete and El Alamein. And when people do mention New Zealanders in Italy it's usually in connection with the battle at Cassino, but they had many, many more battles than that and all of them were tough. Some of the places that saw the hardest fighting are unknown names to most kiwis these days. Sangro River, Orsogna Road, San Michelle, the Rubicon, and many many more. Some amazing stories of heroism from ordinary kiwis too.
Post by Luther Moore on Oct 7, 2011 8:39:05 GMT 12
October/November 1943: New Zealand troops assembled in Bari in Apulia November 1943: crossed the Sangro River with a view to breaching the German Gustav Line and advancing to Rome 2 December 1943: captured the village of Castelfrentano in the Abruzzo (part of the Gustav Line) 3 December 1943 attacked Orsogna but were repulsed by the strong German defence January 1944 withdrew from stalled front line 17 February 1944 attacked Cassino but it was strongly defended and they withdrew in early April. Cassino was eventually captured on 18 May 1944 by British and Polish troops, with support of NZ artillery 16 July 1944 captured Arezzo and reached Florence on 4 August, by the end of October they had reached the Savio River 14 December 1944 captured Faenza 8 April 1945 crossed the Senio River then began their final push across the Santerno River and Gaiana River and finally the Po River on Anzac Day 1945. 28 April 1945 2NZEF captured Padua 1 May 1945 crossed the Isonzo River to reach Trieste on 2 May 1945, the day of the German unconditional surrender in Italy
Post by chinapilot on Oct 27, 2011 23:41:44 GMT 12
In the early '80s on days off I was passing through Gerona and was intrigued to see directions to various NZ units still faintly visible on some building's walls...struck me as strange that they were in Gerona but assumed supplies came through the port.
It was 'Independence Day' or something - [the day El Duce was kicked out and they changed sides] -and eating at one of the restaurants it transpired I was a Kiwi and the rest of the evening the drinks were free...many there were from the generation that remembered the Kiwis with gratitude and affection from the war.
Last Edit: Oct 27, 2011 23:42:14 GMT 12 by chinapilot