72. Capua Italy
We left our hill top village of Acquafondata about the beginning of May. A south African artillery regiment was taking over our positions. We moved into a camouflage area along the Volturno River. This camouflage area was so that the Canadian Corps would sort of disappear out of all battle areas. Now we knew what that meant. We were likely to spearhead an attack up the Liri Valley if Cassino was to fall. Up to now some 80,000 allied troops had become causalities fighting for Cassino and the surrounding mountains and the Abbey of Monte Cassino. Our stay was very short, just long enough to do whatever the regiment had to do. Clean up, shine up, and get the old guns back in good order once again, also the mobile equipment needed repairs. Our mechanics, fitters and LAD section were kept very busy.
Chuck Watson and I had an hour or so to waste. So, armed with a bren gun, 1248 rounds of tracer ammo, and a couple of tommy guns, also lots of ammo, We proceeded down to the river and hip fired at cans, bottles and what ever floated on the fast moving current. We had quite a work out. and a Italian chap came up to us and made signs that he would like to fire the bren gun. So we said okay, showed him how to hold it and said let it go, Fire! Fire he did, but he aimed high,and a magazine of tracers went over the hill going no one knew where. So that was the end of that. Chuck on returning the bren gun was told by Bert Townsend the armourer Sgt that by firing so many tracers we had ruined a barrel. End of borrowing bren guns for hip firing!
Well I know that military life according to Lord Wavell is 90% boredom mixed in with 10% fear. Chuck Watson and I tried not to be bored. The fear part happened to all that ever experienced a stonk of mortars or a shelling by the enemy artillery. The German was a good gunner and an accurate one. Mind you he knew where every bush, house, crossroad, survey marker was, and on top of that always held the high ground. He had been over all this area and his survey knew to a metre where any point was.
Rather intimidating, but we had a few more guns ..