Part 2: Italy

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Transcript: (Part 2 - Italy)

William Thexton
We went onboard landing craft infantry which were smaller ships and about one o’clock in the morning we headed for the tour of Italy.

Ralph Paulsen
And just as soon as we crossed over to Italy, the Italian government surrendered and they went from foe to ally.

Gilbert Hyde
And we didn’t run into very much opposition at all, we ran into thousands and thousands and thousands of Italian soldiers who were giving themselves up just as far as you like.

Edwin Laird
You were always kind of watching your back. We were not their liberators, we were their conquerors and it’s quite a different feeling.

Vernon Dowie
It was always one hill up and one hill down, next hill easy for the Germans to defend because they always had the upper hand. They had the higher ground and could look down.

Albin Zarowny
The roads were so narrow through the mountains that one tank slid right down the mountain killed the whole crew, then the engineers had to build another road.

George "Herb" Peppard
And it was damn scary ’cause we’re going up this narrow path and winding our way up the mountain like, you know, and we came under artillery fire and mortar fire and you could hear the fellows that were going down the mountain, you know, blew down the mountain hollering. One fellow kept calling, “mama, mama,” and, you know, that just wrenched your heart.

Albin Zarowny
Well their defence was blowing up bridges. There’s a river down that mountain, I think every two miles there’s a river come down from that mountain and we had to build, the bridges was always blown out.

Gordon Candow
The engineers would go up at night and put a bailey bridge across the river that would take in civilian street two years to build and they’d put it across a big rapid flowing river in one night. It was amazing!

Gilbert Hyde
Mud, mud glorious, glorious mud and cold.

Alexander McInnis
And our winter clothing never caught up to us until I guess it was sometime in December and it was just hell.

Robert Carr
And for warmth we would take an empty shell case and we’d put oil and water part way up and set a little fire in the bottom and then we got almost like a blow torch.

Albin Zarowny
‘44 winter, we were bogged down so bad in the mud that we had mules deliver our mail to us and our food, our gasoline and we just held positions.

Gerald Colbourne
The weather, man, but that’s not the, that wasn’t your worries, so much the weather. Them damn shells. That was the worry.

Ralph Paulsen
We had no cooks per se. The cooks in the army were detailed off. If somebody wanted to cook, they’d make him a cook and they’d teach him as much as they could and that was it.

Edwin Laird
Over in Italy we never got anything except, if we’re lucky we got powdered milk, dehydrated potatoes, dehydrated mutton.

Charles Miller
Bully beef, fried, stewed, baked, mashed, bully beef, bully beef, bully beef!!!

Robert Carr
But the bacon was beyond bacon. It came in cans about the same as a 48 ounce juice can, but it was nearly always fat.

Edwin Laird
We were damn glad to get it, but it wasn’t very good.

William Chipchase
The Germans were bombarding us with these moaning minnies, mortars that they had.

Gilbert Hyde
That had to be, in my opinion, the most frightening weapon in World War Two, and the Germans, it was deadly and you could hear the pop of the firing and you could hear the thing going up.

William Chipchase
And you never knew where they were going, you’d just hear this whine coming through the air and you’d just flatten or run for a hole or wherever you can hit the ground and hope to God it wasn’t gonna hit you.

Frederick Vedan
There’s a spark in each eye, fear and you’d look at all these other guys. They all had the same thing, spark in each eye.

Robert Murray
And there was a scream of an 88 armour piercing shell coming and hit us.

Hamilton Southam
It seemed to get there before they’d started. They were extraordinarily quick and a pair of 88's firing at you, it was a really disturbing experience.

William Thexton
The sound of those 88 mm, solid shots, ricocheting off the bank was one I will never forget.

Maurice White
One time we were under a German barrage and this was at night. When daylight broke we were in an olive grove. The ground looked like it had been plowed. The trees, there wasn’t a full branch left on the tree.

Gilbert Hyde
I can remember going along roads on my hands and knees with a bayonet, probing for mines.

Charles Miller
Every heartbeat is death. You’re scared to walk There’s millions of them, millions of these bloody mines.

Robert Berard
I had mines scattered all over. When I went to pick one up and it tripped the other one.

Robert Murray
Suddenly, the whole minefield went up and I was literally sitting on my tank dodging parts. When it was over we got 26 blankets, put out on the ground and tried to match the men.

William Munro
I said, “Come on, you got to help me, we’ve got to get out of here.” So, finally, he picks me up and I’ll be son of a gun he’s holding, picking me up and handling me with his right arm. He’s got a shrapnel in here. I don’t know how he did it.

Robert Murray
And I held his cheeks like this, blocking holes in his face so that he could get a drag on the cigarette.

Ted Slaney
Another thing you were scared of, if you got wounded and you went to the hospital and you ended up at a reinforcement unit, they may send you to another unit. That’s one thing I never wanted, to get sent to another unit.

Patricia Moll
You could smell death. You could smell it. It got into your nostrils and into your mouth and we were a mobile unit and we would operate on them and we would only do priority cases.

Doris Carter
We had all these young boys. They were all so young. They’d cry over their lost legs, you know.

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