THE STORY OF THREE GREAT DIVISIONS IN ITALY

PUBLISHED BY
HIS MAJESTY'S STATIONERY OFFICE
FOR THE GOVERNMENT OF INDIA
1946

 

I HAVE HAD THE DISTINCTION OF HAVING UNDER MY COMMAND A TRIO OF GREAT INDIAN DIVISIONS---THE FOURTH, EIGHTH AND TENTH ---WHOSE FIGHTING RECORD IN ITALY IS A SPLENDID ONE.

"The achievements in combat of these Indian soldiers are noteworthy. They have carried on successfully in grim and bloody fighting against a tenacious enemy helped by terrain particularly favourable for defence. No obstacle has succeeded in delaying these Indian troops for long or in lowering their high morale or fighting spirit.

"They are well led, these Three Divisions. Each of the Divisional Commanders at one time commanded a battalion of an Indian Infantry Regiment in combat. These Divisional Commanders came up the hard way.

"Your 'Jawan' and 'Tommy Atkins' and 'Jock' and other soldiers of this international 15th Army Group have established firm bonds of friendship and respect born in action against a tough enemy. The bravery of Indian troops is attested by the Battle Honours and Decorations awarded.

"The Fourth, Eighth and Tenth Indian Divisions will forever be associated with the fighting for Cassino, the capture of Rome, the Arno Valley, the liberation of Florence and the breaking of the Gothic Line.

"I salute the brave soldiers of these Three Great Indian Divisions."

FEBRUARY 27TH, 1945.
FIFTEENTH ARMY GROUP, ITALY.

 

A MAN'S DESTINATION IS HIS OWN VILLAGE,
HIS OWN FIRE AND HIS WIFE'S COOKING,
TO SIT IN FRONT OF HIS OWN DOOR AT SUNSET
AND SEE HIS GRANDSON AND HIS NEIGHBOURS' GRANDSON
PLAY IN THE DUST TOGETHER.

SCARRED BUT SECURE HE HAS MANY NARRATIVES
TO REPEAT AT THE HOUR OF CONVERSATION
(THE WARM, OR THE COOL HOUR, ACCORDING TO THE CLIMATE)
OF FOREIGN MEN, WHO FOUGHT IN FOREIGN PLACES,
FOREIGN TO EACH OTHER.

THIS WAS NOT YOUR LAND OR OURS : BUT A VILLAGE IN THE MIDLANDS
AND ONE IN THE FIVE RIVERS, MAY HAVE THE SAME MEMORIES.
LET THOSE WHO GO HOME TELL THE SAME STORY OF YOU---
OF ACTION WITH A COMMON PURPOSE, ACTION
NONE THE LESS FRUITFUL IF NEITHER YOU NOR I
KNOW UNTIL THE JUDGEMENT AFTER DEATH,
WHAT IS THE FRUIT OF ACTION.

By kind permission of Mr. T. S. Eliot's publishers.

 

CONTENTS

 SECTION ONE. THE LOWER ADRIATIC

 I. THE NEW CAMPAIGN
 II. EIGHTH DIVISION ADVANCES
 III. MOZZAGROGNA AND VILLA GRANDE
 IV. WINTER AND SPRING

 SECTION TWO. CASSINO---THE EPIC

 V. THE FIRST ASSAULT FAILS
 VI. THE SECOND ASSAULT FAILS
 VII. EIGHTH DIVISION PUNCHES THE HOLE

 SECTION THREE. CENTRAL ITALY

 VIII. EIGHTH DIVISION IN PURSUIT
 IX. TENTH DIVISION IN THE TIBER VALLEY
 X. FOURTH DIVISION IN THE ARNO VALLEY
 XI. EIGHTH DIVISION CLEARS FLORENCE

 SECTION FOUR. THE GOTHIC LINE

 XII. THE ENEMY AT BAY
 XIII. FOURTH DIVISION OPENS THE BATTLE
 XIV. GURKHA LORRIED BRIGADE ENTERS THE FRAY
 XV. TENTH INDIAN DIVISION ON THE GOTHIC LINE
 XVI. EIGHTH DIVISION---FIFTH ARMY'S FLYING SQUAD

 SECTION FIVE. THE LAST CAMPAIGN

 XVII. THE FLOODBANKED RIVERS
 XVIII. TENTH DIVISION CLEARS THE WAY
 XIX. EIGHTH DIVISION PUNCHES THE HOLE AGAIN
 XX. THE LAST PHASE

 POSTSCRIPT

 XXI. MACEDONIA AND THE JULIAN MARCHES

 ILLUSTRATIONS


Chapter One