Dec. 17-18, 1943: what will the future hold?

Dec. 17 – Mac and I went down town this evening and had dinner in Andria – Italian spaghetti. We had a grand talk.

Dec. 18 – Left Andria at 9 a.m. for Avellino about forty miles from Naples – travelled over part of the road we passed on the attack of Motta. Had a grand trip, 120 miles through the Mts. Landed in 2nd F.D.S. (Field Dressing Station) to be met by Jack Sturdy O.C. (officer commanding), given a wonderful reception. SBO (Standard Battle Order) here and Sgt. I know very well. It has been grand. I seem to be awfully well known by reputation. Given the best of everything here and in No. 1. Talked to Col. Hunter on the phone – I am going to stay here until Thursday, when he will see me and talk things over. What is the future? I don’t know. Am going to have a darned good sleep here tonight and am being given a car tomorrow for sight seeing.

 A Valentine tank crew decorate their vehicle for the festive season with camelthorn in place of holly, 17 December 1942. © IWM (E 20244)

A Valentine tank crew decorate their vehicle for the festive season with camelthorn in place of holly, 17 December 1942. © IWM (E 20244)

Calgary Tanks war diary:
Dec. 17 – San Leonardo
Again all squadrons remained in their present positions during the morning. A and C Sqn are still consolidating on Vino Ridge, in support of the infantry. Slight infantry gains have been achieved during the past few days, but no major attacks have been launched, and no tank support has been required.
B Sqn was again active during the day, when it was decided to put in an attack on the high ground to the front of the present position with an objective of taking the height and some buildings on it. While moving forward, one tank blew up on a mine, but no casualties resulted. The attack was successfull, and infantry and tanks consolidated the position for the night.
During the day, three reinforcement tanks complete with crews were received by the Sqn, to bring its fighting strength back to par again.

Dec. 18 – San Leonardo
Throughout the day, all Sqns remained in consolidation role with infantry on present positions. Artillery and mortar fire on both sides was heavy.
It has been decided to bring up the 12th Cdn Arm’d Regiment to relieve the 14th Regt and to make another assault on the cross roads that have been so long held by the enemy Accordingly, as darkness fell, the 12th Regiment moved up to the 14th positions.
This unit will now move to an assembly area tomorrow where unit tank and personnel strength will be built up and all ranks will have an opportunity to rest.
B Sqn, on the extreme right will not move tomorrow, but will be relieved gradually during the next four or five days.
In A echelon area, preparation for the move to the new area was completed. The Echelon is to move at 0900 hours tomorrow morning.


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About Rob Alexander

I am a writer, photographer and historian and the author of The History of Canmore, published by Summerthought Publishing of Banff, AB.

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