Mezzano Italy, January 1945. The last couple of episodes dealt with the fox troop drivers and Orme's part in the cure and getting the drivers back to normal. Over the years Orme has asked why did I get him into that situation and come to think of it I cannot remember except we were two against the rest. Who knows? It was something I guess that just came up and we did what we had to do.
Orme and I go a long way back to when we were ten or eleven.
Meazzano gun position was comparatively quiet with not much shelling as I remember. But our infantry had some pretty hairy scary times.They were mortared many times as just a dike separated the enemy from our troops.
Some very ingenious means were thought up like throwing anti tank mines over with a jeep tube tied between a couple of posts the result was a giant sling shot. Another method was to bring up a 17 pounder anti tank gun and fire through the dike.
In this gun position I was sleeping upstairs in a great big bed and I knew it was not a good idea to sleep upstairs but this was real luxury. One night I was awakened out of a sound sleep with the sound of a shell whistling over head. This gun fired again and again, all going well over to the rear. Mind you even though the shells were going well over I sort of wondered when he was going to drop his elevation and give us a dusting. This was likely the railroad gun and it certainly had my attention, but the bed was warm and it was clear and darn cold out so I waited it out. Then it quit firing.
Next morning we were told this gun had dropped its shells around our rear echelon area and it had killed a Canadian Dentist, a Capt, White. The only dentist that lost his life during the war in Italy from enemy shellfire. Also likely the only time our rear echelon was shelled.
Before Christmas Elmer Applegren and Mickey Lalonde, two real characters were to pick up an Italian liaison officer from the observation post. Elmer and Mickey had stole some issue rum and were well braced for the cold . On the trip back one of them said to the other “ I say old chap the Italians are was noted for singing and dancing. They stopped the jeep and ordered the Italian officer out and said now start singing and dancing. This officer knew little English but he did know what this pair was up to when they swung their tommy guns and started to fire shots near his feet.
This officer, fearing for his life, shot out across the fields on the dead run with these two fools firing over his head. Once more Applegren and Lalonde got away with this and I suppose the Italian officer did not want to start an international situation and likely did not report it. If I remember this is where the Italian Cremona Division came into the line and we moved our guns back a mile or so.