2nd Lieutenant Waititi recalls the battle for Cassino

2nd Lieutenant John Waititi, of Ōpōtiki, describes the difficulties of fighting in the ruins of Cassino during the Māori Battalion's assault in the early hours of 19 March 1944:

Immediately we [13 Platoon, C Company] moved into the attack I lost contact with my platoon with the exception of the section I was with. Our objective for the attack was the Continental Hotel. As far as I could make out our line of attack was fairly true. I had two sections forward and one in reserve. Occasionally I sent a man to our right to contact our other forward section but returned each time without contact. However we kept going until we came to a high bank of rubble etc which I think must have brought us up onto the sky line because we got pinned down by machine gun fire every time we attempted to go over.

We had no idea whether we had reached our objective or how far we were from it as the area we were in was bomb holes and rubble and only parts of buildings standing ... Day was breaking and we were out in the open so I pulled my men back a little and found a better position to lie up in. Contacted one other section in this position. I settled my men under Sergt [Rangi] Tutaki and then I went out to try and find Coy HQ.

From J.F. Cody's official history, 28 (Maori) Battalion (Wellington, 1956), p. 370.

Submitted by mbadmin on

Comments (2)

Do you have any other accounts of the Cassino battle I can use. Im trying to write a film script and would love to get anymore info on this subject. The layout of the land, the terrain and resistance they encountered. Thanks.

Kia ora,
All content related to Cassino that we have is on the site. The war diaries might be of interest - http://www.28maoribattalion.org.nz/story-of-the-28th/battalion-diary. Those we don't have on the site are held by the National Archives of New Zealand, in Wellington. Also, check out our resources page for further references - http://www.28maoribattalion.org.nz/resources
The official war histories will be a useful resource if you haven't already looked at those. JF Cody's is here: http://nzetc.victoria.ac.nz/tm/scholarly/tei-WH2Maor.html and others can be found here: http://nzetc.victoria.ac.nz/
Noho ora mai,
Leanne Tamaki (Site Admin)