Italy October 1944. We were near the Salto River and someone decided to delve into ancient history. Here we were told that the Fiumicno River was sometimes called the false Rubicon where Caesar and his massive army including elephants were stalled. Well the mighty Maroon Machine was stalled too with not elephants but tanks, all due to weather, rain and more rain. Bridges were flooded out.
In a lot of cases our infantry had crossed rivers and found that the rapidly rising water behind them closed off any supplies or support.
During this period we had many planned attacks cancelled due to lack of bridges, mudm and in general, foul weather. Checking our regimental history I note that the weather did start to dry around the 21st of October and the slugging and slogging of our infantry continued to advance.
In early November some time around the 4th we, as a regiment, and I guess most of our division, came out of the line. We, the 17th Fld, regiment had just completed some 73 days in action without being out of German gun range or they of ours.
Our base for a rest was Fossombrone, a town about straight south of Rimini as the crow flies, and about twenty mile inland from the seacoast town of Fano. Our battery was billeted in an old storage shed. Officers and sergeants were in various houses some shared with the civilians.
Here is where Bobby Cochrane received his first wound stripe in a humorous way. In the old building the men were billeted in it was a long trek out to the street to go to a pit toilet. Now Bobby loved to entertain, play the fiddle, tap dance and of course love a glass or two of vino. This evening Bobby woke up and having a full bladder knew he had a German gas can handy to relieve himself, so finding this in the dark was hard enough but to pee into the three inch opening in the dark was quite a feat, so Bobby thought after doing pretty good hitting the hole decided to light either a match or a lighter to check. Well the hot urine caused gasoline fumes to rise and come out the opening of the gas can. When the open flame was near WHOOOSH a tongue of flame leaped out scorching his manhood as you would scorch a wiener on a stick at the beach. That was Bobby's first wound stripe. Bobby survived the war and died of cancer in Victoria many years ago. RIP my good friend. May you still tap dance and play the Irish jig to the Angels.