Episode 5 – Cassino Part Two

In this episode pick up the story continuing on from episode four, joining the kiwi veterans again just following the massive bombing and artillery barrage that flattened the ancient town of Cassino in March 1944.

When the dust settled and night fell the infantry of the 2nd New Zealand division was ordered to move up into the rubble that had been the town, with the aim of flushing out and driving out the remaining German occupiers.

However the bombing and artillery has not killed all the Germans as expected, they have survived in caves and now occupy fortified bunkers, ready to defend the strategic position. Snipers, mortar men and gunners look down from the German positions onto the levelled town, and can see every movement.

The New Zealand infantrymen can only move by night, and not very far. A stalemate begins, with the kiwis living for weeks in cellars, ruins and crypts, hiding from view. Food and ammunition is brought up to them by hand by carrying parties at night, and the wounded removed the same way.

The kiwi tanks cannot move in the rubble and German firepower soon overwhelms most of them. Allied artillery give the Germans constant reason to keep their heads down but the enemy still manages to hold their ground.

Cassino becomes a hell on earth for men of the 2nd New Zealand Division.

Featuring in order of their first appearance in this episode:
Norm Harris (24 Battalion)
Pat Green (24 Battalion)
Ted “Bluey” Homewood (21 Battalion)
Colin Murray (24 Battalion)
Charlie Honeycombe (21 Battalion)
Clem Hollies (21 Battalion)
Galvan Garmonsway (24 Battalion)
Harry Hopping (24 Battalion)
Bob Sanders (23 Battalion)
Ray Moncur (Divisional Signals)
Jack Cummins (22 Battalion)
Bob O’Brien (24 Battalion)
Gordon Briggs (23 Battalion)

See photos relating to this episode by clicking here


2 comments to Episode 5 – Cassino Part Two

  • Richard O'Sullivan

    1:14:00….what a choir…stupendous.

    • Dave Homewood

      That song astounded me when I recorded this, because they did it completely off the cuff with no lyrics in front of them. Who knows how long it had been since they’d last sung it but they still remembered the words. It was a fantastic moment for me, the hairs were standing up on the back of my neck for sure!

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