Montemaggorie Italy, 25 August 1944. After my excursion to RHQ and my meeting with Major Powis, I returned to the troop area.
I sat down with Sgt Nels Humble and Bdr Malfait. We were watching the shelling of the road to our rear, and also wondering if the display of washing spread out on the forward slope of the hill to our rear could be a signal to the enemy in some form. As the day unfolds it proved correct. Our conversation was interrupted by the flutter whirr swoosh of the sky being full of mortar bombs about to hit all around us. Like gophers we were into the nearest slit trench. Humble and I in one and Bdr Malfait into the other. Then the mortar bombs hit and exploded all around and soon the crescendo of exploding mortar bombs drowned out the noise of their incoming flight.
Immediately Humble's pup tent started to have daylight showing all through it as the flying shrapnel cut in and out of the tent. Nels and I were very quiet each with his own thoughts. Self preservation likely was uppermost in our minds and the thought of this horrendous stonking of bombs surely we two were the only one's left alive. I do not know how many rounds crashed as they blended into a roar, probably two hundred or more. Then it stopped.
Humble and I knew we were okay but what about the rest of the troop? We stood up to look over the gun position. The valley and all the gun position was thick with smoke and the smell of exploding bombs.
The air not only was thick with smoke but clods of earth were still coming down throughout our position.