February 1944


At the start of the month the Battalion are at Piedemonte D’Alife preparing to move to Highway 6 near the front of the Trocchio feature along the Rapido river. Reconnaissance and patrols are undertaken to ready for the Battalion's attack on the Cassino railway station. “The attack on the station is one of four assaults in the Maori Battalion’s history in which the unit suffered more than 100 casualties in less than 24 hours. At Cassino, the Battalion had the heaviest casualties of any of the New Zealand units, largely because of the risks taken at the railway station.” [1]

  • Temporary Lieutenant Colonel: Russell Young (CO) 
  • Captain Rangi Logan (Bn 2IC)
  • Captains: JC (James) Henare, Tutu Wirepa, J Matahaere, JC Reedy
  • Temporary Captains: Harry Lambert, Peter Ornberg, Monty Wikiriwhi, Rangi Tutaki, WDP Wordley 
  • Lieutenants: JH Aperahama
  • 2/Lieutenants: Clarence Balzer, Moana Raureti, LP Anaru, JR Tomoana, SR Urlich, JS Baker, BG Christy, WE Jones, N Mahuika, M Searancke, J Carr, J Berghan, G Takarua[2]
  • Attached: Capt Cam D’Arcy (RMO), Capt (Rev) WT Huata (Padre), Mr DR Perry (YMCA). Second Lieutenants: GA Asher, J Waititi, WT Te Anga, W Reedy, IG Harris, Lt WH Prescott (S NZ Inf (QM)


  • 1 Feb, Tues Reveille 0700 hrs. Breakfast 0800 hrs. RAP 0830 hrs. Lunch 1200 hrs. Tea 1630 hrs. 0900 hrs Coy inspection and Parades. 1000 hrs IO proceeded on search for cables while the Coys carried out training as per CO’s directive: - Platoon tactical exercises lasting till 1400 hrs. 1330 hrs Battalion “B” football team played 23 Battalion on Battalion ground and won by 8-3. 1800 hrs Concert party from 25 Battalion visited the Battalion and gave two hours recital – very enjoyable. C Coy carried out 2” Shoot with flares during the late morning. CO car being repaired at Division workshops. Weather: Very misty and overcast during the day.
  • 2 Feb, Wed Reveille 0700 hrs. Breakfast 0800 hrs. RAP 0830 hrs. Lunch 1200 hrs. Tea 1630 hrs. 0700 hrs Leave party left for Pompei. Officers in charge 2/Lts McRae, W Reedy and C Balzer. 0900 hrs CO’s orderly room: several cases dealt with. Coy parades and inspection as usual. Coys carried out a tactical exercise during the day. 1300 hrs Football. 27 MMG Battalion team defeated the Battalion Officers team 6-3. Battalion “A” team defeated 27 MMG Battalion “A” team 11-3. Very good games played during the afternoon. Showers during the day for Coys allotted times. 1700 hrs Defaulters parade commenced: Times of parading 0630 -0700 hrs and 1700 -1800 hrs. Weather: Misty in the morning but cleared up by the afternoon. Cold night.
  • 3 Feb, Thurs Reveille 0700 hrs. Breakfast 0800 hrs. RAP 0830 hrs. Lunch 1200 hrs. Tea 1630 hrs. 0600 -0700 hrs Defaulters Parade. Leave party for Pompei left with Officer i/c 2/Lt Searancke. This is to be the final day for leave. IO and party also left for Pompei. 0900 hrs Coys training as per usual on Coy training and tactics. Showers were again functioning on Coy and time basis during the day. Football restricted to one Coy only during the afternoon. Coys making preparations for move as plans for a Division move evident now. 1500 hrs Coy Commanders conference at which details for the coming move were only given. Beer issue for total Battalion on a basis of half a bottle per man at 30 Lires per bottle. Total of AWL from Pompei – 5. Weather: Very cold and misty in the morning. Cloudy and hazy all day. Very cold and fine again by night.
  • 4 Feb, Fri Reveille 0700 hrs. Breakfast 0800 hrs. RAP 0830 hrs. Lunch 1200 hrs. Tea 1630 hrs. Leave for Pompei terminated as move very close. 0830 hrs Battalion Parade held on Battalion football ground. CO inspected A Coy and had to dash off to Brigade conference. 5 Brigade Band in attendance at Battalion parade. One hour was spent on drill and marching under the Adj. After the parade the Battalion returned to the lines and carried out packing of trucks etc for the move. Coy Commanders called off Battalion parade to prepare to move off to the front line to see to relief considerations. 0915 hrs CO still in conference at Brigade, apparently the position re the changeover not clarified, as yet position very vague. 0945 hrs Coy commanders called to Intelligence section room for conference with CO. Orders given for move. LOB personnel to be left under 2/Lt J Carr and are to remain in present area. 55 personnel selected. 1245 hrs OGP on three jeeps met at Division area and formed the 5 Brigade Recce Group. Convoy moved to Mignano area where halted temporarily while awaiting orders from 36 Division which is to be relieved by 2 NZ Division (Spagers). Brigade Commander moved off to Division HQ – confusion quite existent, as apparently 36 Division had no notification from 5 Army. 1400 hrs Convoy moved to the Cassino front and Brigade party went directly to 141 Regiment HQ below Trocchio feature (892174) arriving at 1445 hrs. Here again the 14 Regiment had heard nothing and would not relinquish their portion of the line until orders were given definitely from higher authority. Decision however was made for the 28 Maori Battalion to relieve 91st Recce Unit holding by means 6 outposts a frontage of 400 yards from La Pieta feature (873173) to highway 6 along the front of the Trocchio feature along the Rapido river. 1530 hrs CO and Coy commanders selected area by crossroads 903181 to bed down Battalion while awaiting orders to relieve the 141 Regiment completely. 1600hrs Coy Commanders, excepting C Coy OC, returned to Alfie to prepare their Coys. CO, IO and Maj Wirepa remained to contact OC 91st Recce unit re the relief. 1700 hrs Officers out of the Platoons (left flank) arrived and conducted party to one of the outposts on the Rapido and showed Maj Wirepa tasks etc and nature of country and ground. 1930 hrs 28 Party returns to Alfie after having finished details of relief. 2100 hrs Arrived at camp. Battalion packing and preparing to move. 21 Battalion effect change with 143 Regiment holding left section from Trocchio feature. Weather: Very cold and gusty in the morning changing to heavy rain at mid –day and continuous till midnight. Camp area flooded by streams running downhill. First uncomfortable state on 5 Army front.
  • 5 Feb, Sat Reveille 0700 hrs. Breakfast 0800 hrs. RAP 0830 hrs. Lunch 1200 hrs. Tea for A echelon only 1600 hrs. 0845 hrs CO attended another conference at Brigade and moved finalized. 0915 hrs CO returned and held conference with Coy Commanders and OGP. Plan as follows: B Echelon under Capt Logan to move at 1400 hrs to pass start line 5 Army Control post Raviscanina turn off at that time. A Echelon in groups of 30 under group Commanders to pass start point at 1700 hrs. LOB personnel to remain behind and come under Division Commanders. Surplus stores also to be placed in Division dump. 1200 hrs CO and IO proceeded to Cassino area to contact 141 regiment for possible plans of relief. 1400 hrs Arrived at 141 Regiment but still no change so plans to bivouac in proposed area to be carried out. 91st Recce Unit contacted and plans for complete relief by C Coy finalized. 1630 hrs B Echelon arrived in area allotted by Brigade TO general area rly station 919150. Area very confined and limited resulting in a further search to areas to relieve congestion. 1630 hrs A echelon consisting of all essential front line vehicles plus cook trucks moved to starting point after personnel having had tea at 1600 hrs. 1830 hrs Coy Commanders arrived at the new area and after the extensive fall of rain the ground previously decided upon as bivvy area, very wet necessitating a move up the mountainside. A and B Coys found unoccupied trenches and dug outs half way up the Trocchio feature 895184 (general area). C Coy to relieve 91st Recce Unit in the front line. D Coy to disperse around crossroads at Battalion HQ area and establish there. 1900 hrs A echelon arrives and passed straight onto their respective areas. For the remainder f the night Coys settled in. C Coy proceeded straight to the front line and changed over with the 91st Recce Unit. Due to a very serious congestion of troops, guns, vehicle and so forth, decision was made to move back all vehicles to B echelon excepting RAP vehicles which are to remain in A echelon. However on arrival of vehicles at B echelon the question of space was also discussed so Battalion 2i/c Capt Logan had to send all non-essential vehicle back to area Mignano. However position eased when further areas were located and all vehicles through jeopardised by spasmodic shelling ha to be contented with area. For the night various localities of the Battalion as follows: 5 Brigade HQ (893173), Battalion HQ (903181), A Coy (895184), B Coy (896183), C Coy (893176), D Coy (903182), HQ Coy (900190) and B Echelon (915150). C Coy occupied the following outposts which were taken over from 91st Recce Unit (USA). 14 Platoon with Platoon HQ at 877168 outpost. 1 Section of 15 men under Cpl Hunia M 872173. 1 Section of 15 men under Cpl Richardson 871177. 1 Section of 15 men under Cpl Reihana N 872181. 15 Platoon 2/Lt N Mahuika Platoon HQ (plus half 13 Platoon) at 885193. 1 Section of 15 men under Cpl Tibble W 872205. 1 Section of 15 men under Cpl Te Ngahue B 871198. 1 Section of 15 men under Cpl Kaa J 870191. As soon as the Coys settled in the Battalion Sigs laid out lines to all outposts and to Brigade. Coys for the time being left until definite notice given as to the employment of the Battalion. For the evening the troops depended on 24 hrs rations for a meal. 1630 hrs Enemy raid by several MEs but troops suffered no casualties. Weather: Fine but cold. Fortunately the rain had eased up and cleared sufficiently to jack up a few things.
  • 6 Feb, Sun 0600 hrs Breakfast brought forward by Coy 2 i/c’s and distributed to Coys. Battalion HQ split up into three parties: - A/A Platoon up the side of Mt Trocchio with A and B Coys. RAP also separated. Above precautions taken due to congestion of area and the fact that shelling fairly heavy. C Coy 2 i/c brought rations to Battalion HQ at crossroads where they were halved and transferred to two Platoon jeeps. Rations for dinner also brought up. Coys remained in the same area for the day and night. No word yet of a complete relief as Brigade and Battalions still waiting for instructions to take over. Shelling on areas all round Battalion HQ location but fortunately none on Coy Areas as A and B Coys very safe from shelling as location right under Trocchio feature. 1730 hrs Tea brought up Coy 2i/c’s in trucks and jeeps. Two more slight air raids today but A/A defence kept them away as fire very heavy. Area literally infested with American Bofors and HMGs. Position on front very static. Cassino town still being contested for.
  • 7 Feb, Mon 0600 hrs Breakfast again brought up as per normal routine. During the morning Coys remained in their Coy areas. No change. 1200 hrs Word at last received of an intended relief of the 141 Regiment and decision made to send D Coy into the line. During the afternoon D Coy Commander recced the area (La Pieta feature) left of C Coy 15 Platoon (874165). Area at present being held by two Battalions 141 Regiment 36 USA Division. 1720 hrs Tea again brought up to the troops. D Coy ate at Coy HQ and moved forward per Brigade route to take up positions. 2100 hrs Relief of US Battalion completed without incident. Positions of D Coy as follows: HQ Coy at 882164, 18 Platoon under 2/Lt Tomoana 874166, 16 Platoon under Sgt Haddon 875163 and 17 Platoon under 2/Lt McRae 876161. On left flank A Coy 21 Battalion at 873158. 1000 hrs CO and IO reported to Brigade and a call was also received from Brigade to report also. Intention was to send two recce patrols under 2/Lts Tomoana and Asher and to consist of 6 men each. Object to recce certain Rds to the river Rapido and also estimate possible crossings. These recces held in view of the fact that Division would presently make a push forward and crossover the Rapido. Brigade Commander and staff go through serial photographs and maps of the proposed recce routes. The entire party then left for Trocchio feature to view the ground to be patrolled. 1500 hrs CO’s conference at which all plans and intentions given. 1800 hrs 2 Patrols reported to Battalion HQ and received last instructions. Each patrol of 1 Officer and 6 Other ranks, under 2/Lt Tomoana moved per highway 6 to turn off 872205 along Rd to creek 869184 thence to river Rapido. 2/Lt Asher down highway 6 to turnoff 885200 thence along the Rd to vicinity La Pieta feature. Recce made of river at points 867173 and 866169. 2400 hrs Patrols returned at 0300 hrs. All quiet, safe and well. Reports very good. IO and CO worked on reports until morning as they are to be in Brigade HQ by 0700 hrs. 0100 hrs Recce party left per jeep to rejoin unit. Weather: Quite fine although very little sun. Quite cool by night.
  • 8 Feb, Tues 0600 hrs Breakfast again brought forward by Coy 2i/c’s and transported to forward Coys per jeeps. D Coy supply direct by 3 Tonner to the Coy. All quiet during the day. First casualty on the front. One D Coy suffered wounds from shrapnel splinters. 1800 hrs 2/Lt Christy with full Platoon moved forward per highway 6 to thicken line. Cpl W Tibble’s section at 873204 moved into 872195 while the positions were taken over by 2/Lt Christy’s Platoon. 2230 hrs 2/Lt Reedy reported that enemy patrol attacked outpost. Patrol fired on MG post but attack repulsed. One enemy wounded and taken prisoner (for more detailed information refer to Brigade I Sitreps attached appendix B). During the day shelling on D Coy area and around Battalion HQ fortunately no casualties. Aerial photographs of the Cassino sector received from Brigade. A and B Coy Commanders spent the afternoon viewing the Cassino town from the top of Trocchio feature. Possible employment of A and B Coys as the assaulting Coys on Cassino rly. Three cases evacuated through the RAP – sick. 1730 hrs Tea brought out again under the same arrangements. Weather: Slightly overcast. Cold during morning and night.   
  • 9 Feb, Wed 0600 hrs Meals again under same arrangements. Court of enquiry Maj Henare (President) re the case of murder and rape on Italian civilians. 1330 hrs CO’s conference held at Battalion HQ to discuss sending A and B Coys forward to assist C and D Coys in out posting the front. Coys to go down at 1730 hrs and occupy section posts on the riverbank, intention to scupper any enemy patrols. 1500 hrs IO left for Brigade HQ to hand in patrol reports. 1730 hrs A and B Coys leave for the front. A Coy leaving per Brigade route via D Coy. B Coy per highway 6. By 1930 hrs they were settled in approximately 100 yards apart and along whole riverbank, from D Coy area to highway 6. 2430 hrs[3]  D Coy calls for stonk and was delivered after 14 mins. Reason for stonk considerable movement and noises heard on the far side of the river. Stonk very effective. IO with Maj Henare with his Coy HQ moved right through the entire front from D Coy to highway 6. Night uneventful. Visibility very good. Weather: Light rain in the morning making the ground slightly boggy and damp. Towards midday conditions improved.
  • 10 Feb, Thurs 0030 hrs 3 C Coy NCO’s wounded by S mines at house 873178. 0530 hrs A and B Coys returned to Coy areas via same routes, nothing to report whatsoever. 0545 hrs 2/Lt Berghan A Coy 7 Platoon Commander wounded by S mine. Mines located at 872172. 0600 hrs Breakfast under same arrangements. 1000 hrs CO attended conference at Brigade HQ, plans now fairly well defined. 28 Battalion to assault the area Cassino rly station with two Coys (A and B) and create a brhead to open up rly for sapper reconstruction. Division axis then through rly and exploitation by 4-Armed Brigade through A and B Coys areas. Changes: NZ Division is now known as the NZ Corps under Command Lt-Gen Freyberg while Brigadier Kippenberger becomes Maj Gen. GOC NZ Division. Under Command NZ Corps is 4th Ind Division and 88 US Division. For the Cassino Operation 4 Ind Division having taken over from US troops north of Cassino to attack Monastery and assist forward movement that way. 1100 hrs Battalion Coy Commanders conference. Plans were then given to all. A and B Coy Commanders made a further recce of the objective from Trocchio feature. 1300 hrs Fairly heavy shelling of Battalion HQ area. D Coy also subjected to heavy shelling. 1500 hrs 2/Lt Christy reported into Battalion from outpost for briefing re a proposed patrol to the Cassino station. Object of patrol infantry to provide protection for Sapper Officers as he was interested mainly in the demolitions as far as the Cassino rly station. 1800 hrs Lt Faram NZE arrives at Battalion HQ and obtained particulars of the patrol. Patrol consisted of 9 men and 4 minesweepers from A/A Platoon. 1930 hrs Patrol left Platoon HQ and moved to rly Bridge 869196 and proceeded along rly while sapper Officer was measuring etc. the demolitions. Patrol reached 862207 – outskirts of rly station before enemy was encountered. No small arms fire but grenades were hurled at the patrol causing slight wounds and concussion to a Patrol leader. 2230 hrs Patrol leader reported back to Battalion HQ with the report of the patrol. 1800 hrs Lt Faram also brought a bulldozer with him and later it was taken down per highway 6 to rly bridge 869196, where the bulldozer proceeded to work. Artillery also assisted by putting down harassing fire to cover the sounds of work. 2000 hrs Eight guns from MMG Battalion moved into general area 882189 from where harassing fire was brought down on all Rds. Cassino and Aquino. 2100 hrs A further outpost was established at house 86951825 by left Platoon 14 Platoon C Coy. Weather: Slight rain and mist during the day. During the night conditions improved.
  • 11 Feb, Fri 0520 hrs Fairly heavy shelling of Battalion HQ area. Some very near misses and fortunately majority duds otherwise casualties may have resulted. 0600 hrs Breakfast per usual routine. 1200 hrs CO again in conference at Brigade HQ. Slight modification to the general plan. Conference called for at 1330 hrs but CO left with Brigadier and American task force Commander and did not return till 1500 hrs. 1500 hrs All OGP collected at Battalion HQ. Prince Peter of Greece (Lt-Col at present attached to the NZ Division) also present and whole attack outlined to everyone (for details of this operation refer to the Operation Order Brigade and Battalion appendix D and E attached). The operation orders given were not final as the NZ Division was not to be committed immediately as the Americans were desirous of taking Cassino themselves. However Division to standby and be ready at a moments notice to take over. 1800 hrs B Coy supplied covering party for the Sappers consisting of Sgt Ruha and 12 Other Ranks left per highway 6. 2230 hrs Sappers commenced work on demolitions. One bulldozer being employed. Sappers worked on right bank of Rapido and sweeping of rly for mines. Work was finished by 0145 hrs. MMGs fire on roads Cassino and to rear all during the night. All quiet during the night and day on other flanks. Fairly heavy shelling of Battalion HQ area – fortunately no casualties. Due to the alarming increase of civilians returning to the fields, CO instructed that forward troops clear all houses and send civilians back to the rear. Weather: Overcast all day. Fairly heavy shelling all day and with the cold night makes things quite uncomfortable.
  • 12 Feb, Sat Breakfast brought up under same arrangements as previously. 0530 hrs Heavy shelling again of Battalion HQ area. 0600 hrs Screen by B Coy pulled back to Coy area and with the two other Coys remained in same localities. A and B Coy Officers again recce the objective from Trocchio feature. For all this attack prior recce was very important and thus the Officers were able to make a daylight recce of the proposed objectives and to arrange for areas such as RAP, ammunition dump, mortars etc. During the night MMG’s again fire HF on Cassino roads and to Aquino. 1800 hrs Two Sapper Officers arrived at Battalion HQ en-route forward to make another recce of the Rapido demolitions and the recce to be made as far as the main Rapido. C Coy supplied the covering party for the sappers. 2000 hrs Sappers and party moved forward accompanied by A Coy Officers, Adj and IO who also went out to recce a possible Battalion HQ area and also start line. A track was also recced for wheeled vehicles over ground to proposed start line (Rd running southwest from 863200). 2200 hrs Sappers returned with their reports. 2300 hrs Recce party of Officers returned with their reports. Area left of rly to start line covered with water and is impossible for even infantry attack. Water has risen considerably since last recce by 2/Lt Christy and party and area also abundant with streams making it impossible for wheeled traffic. Quiet again during the day, normal shelling on the front. One casualty suffered by D Coy. Accidental shooting by TSMG. Weather: Overcast again. Fairly Chilly.
  • 13 Feb, Sun Breakfast brought up again under usual arrangements. 0730 hrs CO left for Brigade to hand in report of the recce made by the Adj, IO and A Coy Officers. He then attended conference with Brigade Commander re the forth-coming assault on Cassino. 1300 hrs Coy Commanders called for to report at Battalion HQ at 1400 hrs for conference. 1345 hrs Gen Kippenberger and Brigadier Hartnell arrived at Battalion HQ with Us Officers. 1400 hrs Coy Commanders arrived in and awaited the return of the CO. Fairly quiet during the day so far no enemy shelling. 1540 hrs Conference plans merely given out to Coy Commanders only. Operation not to come off tonight and possibly put off for a few nights yet as far as the Battalion is concerned. Duties also laid down for tonight and for tomorrow night. Tonight screen for Sappers as they work along the rly. As from tonight screen will go out at 1800 hrs and return at 0600 hrs (approx. sundown to sunrise). 1830 hrs Maj Matehaere informs Battalion HQ that he was sending a patrol of three men to recce screening areas for his turn off duty tomorrow. Sgt Haddon led the party and moved along the front to bridge area. Maj Matehaere also notifies Battalion that he was sending a section patrol forward to the riverbank until moonrise to guard against possible infiltration by dark. 2130 hrs Two Italian civilians from 15 platoon C Coy area were brought back and passed onto evacuation point 15 miles back. 2145 hrs Capt Tutaki with A/A Platoon embussed on a three tonner brought up from B echelon and moved forward to the proposed Battalion HQ area by bank of Rd rly crossing (869197). 2215 hrs Bulldozers blown on minefield. One track blown on each machine. Strangely enough area had been swept but apparently mines had been laid under the steal rails making detection difficult. 2300 hrs General area around bulldozers shelled. Capts Reedy and Lambert moved out per jeeps to recce possible area for A/Tk guns area vicinity highway 6 and rly crossing. 2330 hrs Due to the heavy fall of rain Battalion HQ digging party returned. Sappers managed to conceal the bulldozers by the side of the rly and under camouflage nets. Weather: Cold and fine during the day. Cold with rain at night.
  • 14 Feb , Mon All quiet during the day. Coys remained in position while whole Battalion was awaiting the call to go forward for the assault. All plans completely rehearsed already. A and B Coys spent much time in making recces from Trocchio feature. Practically everyone was schooled to his job in the assault. 1300 hrs 15 Platoon reported that area bulldozers being heavily shelled. 1900 hrs Battalion HQ party (A/A Platoon and Sigs Platoon) again moved forward per three tonner to proposed Battalion HQ area (869197) and constructed dugouts and trenches. 2000 hrs Sappers again busy on the demolitions. One more bulldozer was taken down to work on the demolitions. With great care worked was carried past the other two blown bulldozers. 1800 hrs D Coy supplied screening party for the sappers remaining out till first light. MMG’s fire harassing fire during the night on Cassino and linking Rds. 1300 hrs Patrols for the night as follows: (1) Recce patrol under Sgt Rivers of A Coy with 4 Other Ranks, Object of recce possibility and suitability of ground from Starting Line to A Coys objective (small feature 859199) for Infantry attack. (2) Fighting patrol to be in charge of 2/Lt G Takarua and consisting of 11 Other Ranks. Object to probe enemy defences on Cassino rly Station sector and obtain if possible an identification in form of a prisoner. Patrol leaders briefed as to routes etc. and details of information required. Capt Wikiriwhi OC B Coy also went into detail with 2/Lt Takarua re his patrol. 1800 hrs Patrols left Coy area and all RV at 2/Lt’s Christy’s Platoon HQ. 2000 hrs Patrols left Platoon HQ and moved down to start point (for fuller details refer to appendix “C” Patrol Reports). 2130 hrs Patrols returned. Heavy fire was encountered and the sappers had to knock off work as the fire became too dangerous. 2330 hrs Reports made at Battalion HQ from Patrol leaders. Weather: Cold and overcast. No rain fell. Towards midday and afternoon clouds cleared and visibility improved.
  • 15 Feb, Tues Breakfast brought up under usual arrangements. Positions not changed and Coys still waiting for the call to move forward to the line. Operation has now been put off for several days and the suspense is starting to tell. All plans set now only of course to slight modifications. RSM McRae has procured 10 Bazookas (American A/A weapon) and also a huge/large supply of bombs. A and B Coys were instructed in their handling and firing and gunners were set aside for the coming assault. During the day just the normal shelling on the forward areas but fairly heavy behind Trocchio feature. 1830 hrs C Coy supplied protective screen for the night as the Sappers worked. Screen remained out till 0530 hrs and then withdrew. 2000 hrs Sappers commenced work on the demolitions and put in approx. 5 hours work. They were compelled to stop work due to heavy shelling. During the last few nights the Artillery and MMG’s gave harassing fire on Cassino and selected points mainly with a view of covering noise of Sappers work. 14 Platoon left flank C Coy report that the enemy was firing on fixed lines up the Rd. This is the first time enemy has attempted to lay down fixed line shooting in our territory. 1900 hrs Battalion HQ party under Sgt Heke again moved down to dig in proposed Battalion HQ area. 1845 hrs CO’s conference with Coy Commanders. Slight modifications to general plan and the fact was given to Coy Commanders they C and D Coys were likely to be relieved and to move back to vicinity highway 6 and await the push from there. Rather a notable day as far as Cassino 5th Army front in general was concerned as the Monte Cassino Monastery, so long the strong point against attacks, was bombed today by over 100 fortresses. The Monastery was left alone by the Americans and regarded with religious favour. The enemy took advantage of this and placed within its walls sufficient troops, Ops etc to make it a formidable strong point. The solid walls of it defied the artillery shelling so bombing was brought into force to soften the place up and allow the artillery to rout out opposition. For further graphic details refer to the newspaper cuttings from 2 NZEF Times appendix “P” attached. Weather: Perfect weather. Fine all throughout the day giving excellent opportunities for aerial activities. By night frosty and cold.
  • 16 Feb, Wed quiet again over night. 0900 hrs IO interrogated two Italian refugees from Cassino en route to S Pietro. They were then sent back to Brigade and then back to rear Division. AAIPU also visited and points on the Gari river interpreted by an expert (as to width etc. proposed at crossing places). Not much doing during the day. Forward areas shelled particularly C Coy. 1330 hrs Conference called for on assumption that the show was still on. 1430 hrs Word received from Brigade that show was definitely off and Coys were notified. 1500 hrs IO visited Brigade re the correction of Stonks. CO still working on operation order. 1530 hrs 12 Dive-bombers have another go at the Monastery and finished it off. Interesting to note that not A/A went up. Officers of the 24 Battalion arrived and went into conference re the relief of C and D Coys by their A and C Coys. Coy Commanders then carried out a recce of the areas to be taken over. 1700 hrs Capt Dickey, Brigade IO, arrived at Battalion HQ and fixed up details re the matter of the assault bridges and kapok crossings. 1800 hrs 21 Battalion IO arrived and the information about the rly line works given. Information necessary for their possible role of supporting 28 Battalion with task force B. 1830 hrs Battalion HQ party under RSM with 24 boats on three tonner from Brigade set off. Boats to be unloaded in vicinity of Battalion HQ. D Coy supplied the screening party for the sappers while they worked on the demolitions. One member of the party lost a foot on a mine en route to screening area. 24 Battalion Coys A and C took over and own Coy C went to area 873198 and D Coy to 855193. Weather: fine and cold all day.
  • 17 Feb, Thurs 0700 hrs Reveille. 0730 hrs Breakfast. 0830 hrs Lt-Col McIlroy paid a visit to Battalion HQ. At approx 0900 hrs 3 Americans of the American Photographic Unit came into Battalion HQ to enquire about the different places occupied by the Maori Battalion. They also wanted to know a little about the life of a Maori soldier in the line. 0930 hrs CO called up to brigade for a Brigade conference. Coy Commanders conference to be held at 1400 hrs. This morning very quiet except for tpt movement. Own artillery firing continuously. 1000 hrs CO still away and will probably be away all morning. The attack that has been put off for some time will come off tonight. 1030 hrs IO readjusting maps etc plotting out minefields etc which came out in Division Sitreps this morning. 1130 hrs CO rings through from Brigade to Battalion Adj to notify all Coy Commanders that the conference which was to be held at 1400 hrs was not to take place at 1230 hrs. Lunch at 1200 hrs. 1230 hrs Coy Commanders in conference with CO. 1330 hrs Conference over and everything astir, Coy Commanders discussing different points amongst themselves. Ammunition and transportation to the front was also discussed. 1400 hrs CO’s conference with OGP. Operation order read out (as per appendix E Battalion Operation Orders attached ). MMG Officer also present. 1500 hrs CO with C and D Coy Commanders moved to 4 Brigade to make contact as the above Coys are to come under command of 4 Brigade for the proposed scheme for attack. General plan: 28 Battalion to establish a brhead and the Engineers then completing the demolitions along the rly, 4 Brigade would pass through with C and D Coys as mopping up party. Task force B (consisting of American Tanks) under Command 21 and 23 Battalions then to pass through and exploit beyond Cassino up highway 6. 1600 hrs Brigade IO arrives at Battalion HQ with the details of 4 Ind Division attack on the Monastery to be held in conjunction with own attack commencing at 2400 hrs by Royal Sussex Regiment followed by 2 Ghurka Regiment. 1630 hrs CO addresses and gives a few points to A and B Coys prior to battle talk. 1700 hrs Tea for troops brought up to forward areas. Bivvy trucks came up also and collected all bivvys and surplus gear and took them back to B echelon. Coys thereafter preparing for the move into action. 1830 hrs A and B Coys marched up to the starting point at rly crossing 869196. IO and taping party left to tape the start line Rd 864200 and to left. Arrangements for start line, A Coy left frontage 200 yards, B Coy right frontage 200 yards. Tape laid at 192 degrees. 1900 hrs RAP and Battalion HQ also moved down to their areas. RAP at house 871197 and Battalion HQ to 869196. 2000 hrs Taping party moved forward of screening party and sappers were already at work. 2040 hrs Heavy artillery concentrations were laid down on Cassino and objectives lasting till 2050 hrs (for further details of Artillery Timings see Division Artillery Trace appendix “I” attached). 2045 hrs A and B Coys crossed the starting point in single file. Approach march to start line very difficult. 2120 hrs A Coy on start line. The actual start line laid down in the Ops could not be achieved as the ground was covered with water and small drains and Infantry had to line up on the Rd along the bank. 2130 hrs B Coy also on the line while further concentrations were laid down by the Artillery. Assault commenced at 2130 hrs. At this stage heavy artillery concentration on the areas and in rear of the objectives. On the initial attacks very heavy opposition was met from Spandau and mortars. Wireless communication with Coys from the outset. B Coy in constant touch with Battalion HQ. 2230 hrs Both Coys reported that they were held up by wire strung along the whole front. The wire cutters were located after a short time and these were found on the wounded members of the Coys. Up to this stage both Coys in contact with Battalion. 2315 hrs B Coy reported having moved around the wire obstacle via right flank and continued the attack. More fierce fighting continued. 2400 hrs B Coy reported having attained its first objective (locality immediately around the rly station) and pushed onto the secondary objective, further block of houses on Rd at 857203.
  • 18 Feb, Fri 0030 hrs B Coy reported that own artillery stonk was falling short and due to this had to fall back down to first objective and consolidate there. 2/Lt Asher killed by own Artillery. 2 Carrier loads of Ammunition were carried forward to B Coy under RSM and under the supervision of 2/Lt Urlich carrier OC. By now B Coy had suffered more casualties and RSBs were in full demand to carry out the wounded to the point where the carriers were to bring them back to RAP. 0100 hrs communication with A Coy had been broken by now. Although lines were laid out immediately the Coys went out to attack, the wires were cut immediately by Mortars and shelling. L/T was hopeless and no further attempt was made to contact them with it. 0200 hrs By now B Coy had started clearing the enemy from their area and enemy troops were found in the houses. The enemy was so well dug in and concealed that even the heavy artillery barrage could not shift them. Mopping up continued. By now casualties had amounted to about 35. The Sappers were doing excellent work repairing demolitions and bridges and the success of the operation depended on their work in getting the demolitions completed thus enabling the 4 Brigade to cross over and exploit. The tanks at this stage were all ready to move forward along highway 6 and then over the demolitions. 0400 hrs Sappers had to knock off work on sweeping and repairing as the enemy was sweeping the rly line with Spandu fire and mortars. The enemy infantry was trying to outflank B Coy and work around onto the rly. 0500 hrs Sappers still unable to resume work. A Coy still out of communication with Battalion HQ and no word received of their progress. It was fairly evident that the tanks could not get through and exploit beyond. 0600 hrs 2/Lt WE Jones of A Coy brought in wounded and first hand news of A Coy given to him by the IO at the RAP. Apparently the Coy could not move onto objective on account of the wire obstacles and what looked on the maps to be a small stream in front of the obstacle was really a stream 20 ft wide necessitating the use of boats. In his opinion the only way to attack it was to go through on the right flank or more or less through B Coys front as the stream narrowed towards the rly line. The artillery was at this stage firing smoke to conceal our troops. Also the Brigade defence Platoon put up a smoke screen along the Rd from Battalion HQ to highway 6 with smoke candles. 0730 hrs Sappers again arrived to see if it was possible to carry on with work and it was found that it was possible to carry on even though smoke was employed. Capt Wikiriwhi returned to Battalion HQ and made a report on the situation. He also confirmed the death of 2/Lt Asher. He also stated that in spite of casualties the Coy would stick it out. He then proceeded on to the RAP to patch up a slight wound after which he returned to his Coy. Division instructs that Battalion must hold on as long as possible. See Sitrep for 0800 hrs. 0900 hrs Maj Gen Kippenberger and his ADC visited Battalion HQ and stayed for a little while. Situation given and instructions again repeated that the Battalion is to hold on. 1000 hrs Capt Wikiriwhi calls for stonk to break up enemy infiltration attempts. Coy still certain of success against any infantry attack. 1100 hrs Smoke put down by the Artillery to cover the forward troops. 1200 hrs More casualties brought in by the stretcher-bearers who themselves suffered slight wounds as the line was very exposed to the enemy. Capt Wikiriwhi asks Battalion for a Platoon reinforcement. At this stage C Coy sent up a Platoon under 2/Lt Reedy. This Platoon was then sent forward to assist A and B Coys but owing to severe Spandu, shelling and mortaring that Platoon only went 100 yards beyond the main Rapido. In this move the Platoon suffered 12 casualties. 18 POWs were taken and brought into Battalion HQ by the RSM and were all members of the 11 Coy 361 Pgr of the 15 PG Division. They were then dispatched to the Brigade collecting post. Stonks and more smoke were called for. 1400 hrs Capt Wikiriwhi now certain that enemy was due to counter attack before last light and asks that a complete changeover be effected by D Coy and that his own Coy depleted in strength. 1500 hrs Infantry attacks by the enemy on the whole position held by the Coy. They even tried to encircle the Coy but A and B Coys were quite content to contend with these attacks as changeover was evident by now. D Coy were warned to prepare to move from area house 885193 and to be at Battalion HQ by 1630 hrs ready to go forward to B Coy under a heavy smoke concentration by the Artillery. 1540 hrs Again urgent call for Stonk and B Coy’s W/T out – last words heard “retiring”. 1545 hrs A and B Coys retired and what was left of the Coys moved back per the rly line under heavy shelling, MG fire and mortar and tank fire. Position very serious as Infantry could not get any support of either tanks or A/Tk guns against enemy tank attacks. On retiring 2/Lt Takarua G was killed by Spandu fire. Capt Wikiriwhi was also left behind as he was seriously wounded in the leg by Spandu fire. He was presumed PW. Attempts by some of his men to bring him out failed and rather than three of them being taken he sent his other two men back. 1500 – 1600 hrs Remnants of the Coys dribbled back into Battalion HQ area and passed through to C and D Coys to rest for the night. B Coy in particular suffered the greatest casualties and they had one Officer left and he was also wounded though only slight. 1700 hrs Word was received from Brigade that 24 Battalion is to relieve 28 Battalion and also to provide protective screening on Main Rapido bridge. Battalion HQ still remained in the present location until 24 Battalion took over completely. C Coy provided screening party. 1800 hrs A rough tally of the effective strength of the remainder of A and B Coys as follows: B Coy approx 26 returned with 2/Lt Crapp who took over the Coy and returned to their former positions behind Trocchio feature. A Coy approx 40 returned. Maj Henare still missing with his Coy HQ. 2/Lt Christy though slightly wounded remained with his Coy. 1900 hrs 24 Battalion took over and Battalion HQ returned to RAP to await return of further members of A and B Coys. Maj Henare return here. 2030 hrs RAP and Battalion HQ moved back to original Battalion HQ area behind Trocchio feature 903181 and established for the night. See operation map.
  • 19 Feb, Sat 0800 hrs Reveille. Breakfast 0900 hrs. Lunch 1230 hrs. Tea 1700 hrs. actually nothing fixed definitely as troops are relaxing and resting after the attack. Positions of the Coys fixed now as:- Battalion HQ and Sig center at 903151 in old areas. A/A Platoon at former position. A coy with majority of troops in houses at 885198. Remainder in old area 895183. B coy back at old area 896183. C Coy all at 883203 in civilian houses. D Coy all at 885193 in civilian houses. HQ Coy moved back to B echelon for the day. Mortars at Le Pastinelle 897197. A/Tk at 895196. Carriers moved back to B echelon area. Entire troops of Battalion HQ housed in civilian houses. General area of forward troops very quiet and actually safer than the rear areas as they are subjected to fairly heavy shelling. 1000 hrs CO visited A and B Coys and also the other two Coys, checking up on their personnel etc. 1300 hrs Pte M Maihi counted as missing arrived back at Battalion having crawled through 24 Battalion lines and wounded through the leg and shoulder bone. He was evacuated immediately through 24 Battalion. 1500 hrs IO visit forward Coys and checked up on missing personnel for the Adj. He also visited the RAP and was in time to meet Capt Wikiriwhi who had managed to crawl back in spite of his severe wound. He propelled himself back with the aid of two pointed sticks and thus he managed to return back taking all day and night. A very meritious incident catching the praise and admiration of the whole division. He was evacuated to ADS. Many messages of praise and admiration received for him. Battalion remained in their positions awaiting further orders
  • 20 Feb, Sun 0700 hrs Reveille. Breakfast 0730 hrs. Lunch 1200 hrs. Tea 1730 hrs. 0900 hrs Adj and clerk out to all Coys checking up on personnel strength and casualties. 0830 hrs CO visited Brigade HQ and word was given that Battalion is to move back to B Echelon area. 0930 hrs Movement Order from 2i/c and passed onto Coys. Order as follows: A, C and D Coys to be transported back to B echelon commencing at 1830 hrs by Battalion tpt. Bivvy and blanket trucks being employed. Meals out in present area but Battalion HQ returned to have theirs in B echelon. 1000 hrs CO went to NZ mobile showers and returned to the lines at 1200 hrs.  1400 hrs B Coy moved back to B echelon per own Coy vehicles and settles in areas assigned by 2i/c. 1500 hrs Parts of Battalion HQ and HQ Coy (A/A Platoon) and Sigs with A/Tk and mortars also made their way back to B echelon individually. 1630 hrs Remainder of the Battalion HQ moved back to B echelon and set Battalion HQ in area used by 2i/c as B echelon. 1830 hrs C Coy commenced to move back to B echelon after having tea in the area. 1845 hrs A Coy moved back per ammunition and bivvy trucks. D Coy following on behind at 1915 hrs also per Battalion tpt. 2000 hrs Coys established in B echelon and settled in for the night. All Coys now committed to bivvys as area devoid of houses. Weather: Fine and cold during the day – with quite a gale blowing. Area very exposed to the south wind with cold blasts blowing off the mountains.
  • 21 Feb, Mon 0730 hrs Reveille.  Breakfast 0800 hrs. Lunch 1200 hrs. Tea 1630 hrs. During the morning. The Coys settled in, digging trenches due to the fact that area was subjected at times to fairly heavy shelling. Coys also checking on lost equipment and making indent returns. Routine Orders issued today. Free beer issue on the basis of half a bottle per man and paid for by the Battalion regiment fund. 1400 hrs A Coy moved per Battalion tpt to the NZ mobile showers area Mignano and returned at 1530 hrs. 1500 hrs Pay was made available to all ranks. CO and IO visited the Brigade at various times during the day. Courts of enquiry include the loss of personnel in the latest campaign was held during the afternoon. 1300 hrs Reinforcements arrived in from Advance Base (see appendix K attached) . 1500 hrs 2i/c with the Adj and IO left for the American showers vicinity Tora Station Mignano. 1800 hrs Concert given by the 5 Brigade band held in 23 Battalion B echelon and was very much appreciated by all. 1900 hrs Padre and his little party returned from Caserta on a visit to the 2 G Hospital. Weather: Fine. Brisk easterly wind blowing. Fairly cold all day. Area quite dry and comfortable.
  • 22 Feb, Tues 0700 hrs Reveille. Breakfast 0800 hrs. RAP 0830 hrs. Lunch 1200 hrs. Tea 1630 hrs. Coys resting. Pay being issued to troops in the morning. Showers also throughout the day at the NZ Mobile showers. Coys refitting after having had a good shower. 1300 hrs Heavy shelling of Battalion HQ, QM, Tpt C, A and HQ Coy lines. Fortunately majority of the shells were duds otherwise casualties may have been more. Casualties as follows: - C Coy 1. A/Tk. 2. HQ Coy 2. Also 2 A/Tk portees were hit thus making them US and bringing the total casualties to 5. 1500 hrs Heavy shelling again general area as before and also YMCA area. CO visited the Brigade HQ. 1800 hrs Officers party held in D Coys house. All officers were present and they invited 21 and 23 Battalions, Cos, 2i/c’s and Adj. Due to Operation Division Commander and Brigade staff could not be present. Party lasted till 2400 hrs. 1830 hrs Pictures through courtesy of the YMCA was held in A and D Coy areas featuring “Hit Parade”. It was very well patronised by all troops including several USA troops and Tommies. Weather: Very fine and warm dry. Visibility changed by 1200 hrs. very slight breeze. Slightly chilly at night.
  • 23 Feb, Wed 0700 hrs Reveille. Breakfast 0800 hrs. RAP 0830 hrs. Lunch 1200 hrs. Tea 1630 hrs. Coys again resting in areas. 0900 hrs CO visited Brigade to attend a conference. Taking of Cassino again in question. Sigs reequipping and refitting all gear. 1000 hrs Three OCTU candidates (UK intake). Candidates went to be interviewed by Division Commander Sgt Rivers from A Coy. Sgt Wahapango from B Coy and Sgt Kaa from C Coy were successful in the interview. During the morning conditions changed for the worse. Rain fell up to about 1600 hrs, then again during the night making conditions very uncomfortable for the troops in bivvys. Party from B Coy visited the CCS to see Capt Wikiriwhi and others. As a result of the rain shelling was reduced to a bare minimum as visibility was very poor. Battalion HQ very lucky as the area is in full view of the enemy. 1500 hrs 23 Battalion holding sector forward of the Battalion towards Rapido and relieved by 11 British Brigade. 1300 hrs Conference by CO with Coy Commanders. Subject matter further attack on Cassino. General plan by Division: - 6 Brigade to attack from northern Cassino after having relieved the Yanks. Attack to be proceeded by major air assault approx. 1110 tons of bombs to be dropped by 300 heavy bombers and 200 fighter-bombers. 360 heavy 8” guns then to pound the town followed by the light artillery. Thrust then to be made by the 6 Brigade. 4 Armed Brigade then to go through after 6 Brigade had taken Cassino rly station and form a brhead then followed by Task Force B with under Command 21 and 23 Battalions. As far as the Battalion is concerned C and D Coys to take up reserve positions and to be ready to move forward to hold Cassino rly station. These Coys would then protect the sappers on reconstruction work on the rly station. C Coy also to provide screening party for the sappers repairing highway 6 bridge to Cassino. However Operation was put off for 24 hrs due to wet weather. 0900 hrs RSM conducted a “Bazooka” shoot on a disabled tank with D Coy personnel who were instructed on the handling of the gun. Weather: Fine in the morning but towards midday rain started and lasted till 1600 hrs or so. More rain till midnight. Cold blasts blowing off the mountains from the south.
  • 24 Feb, Thurs 0700 hrs Reveille. Breakfast 0800 hrs. RAP 0830 hrs. Lunch 1200 hrs. Tea 1630 hrs. 0700 hrs OCTU candidates Sgts Rivers and Kaa left for Brigade en route to Division for UK. Coys again resting. 0900 hrs RSM conducted another Bazooka shoot with C Coy personnel. 1000 hrs 3 members of the Battalion returned to LOB camp at Capus. 1600 hrs Shelling of own artillery guns by the enemy near Rear 5 Brigade and some close ones fell near A Coy. No casualties suffered. 1400 hrs CO holds Orderly room. 2/Lt Te Anga and Pte Mitai charged with murder and rape. Remanded for summary of evidence. 1000 hrs Smoke (10 generators) was put up on instructions from Brigade. This was very effective for a few minutes only as wind was too strong. Weather: Strong gale all day. Visibility good making observation of B echelon lines to the enemy easy. Very cold wind blowing off the snowcapped mountains from the south.
  • 25 Feb, Fri 0700 hrs Reveille. Breakfast 0800 hrs. RAP 0830 hrs. Lunch 1200 hrs. Tea 1630 hrs. 0900 hrs CO, Padre and 2 B Coy boys visited 2 G Hospital to see the boys. 1100 hrs Battalion provosts erected a tent for the personnel under close arrest for murder and rape. Coys again resting and not doing much. 1300 hrs Enemy shelling again on D Coys corner. No casualties due mostly to duds or to the soft ground. Capt Gibson OC No 2 MG Coy visited Battalion HQ and made enquiries re the possible role of No. 2 Platoon (Lt Hutchinson). Role for his however not definite. IO left for the front to recce houses and marked for the time Battalion moved into action again. 1630 hrs RSM took the mortar Platoon with one three tonner to collect 3” mortar ammunition left behind vicinity Battalion HQ during first assault on the Cassino rly station. 1600 hrs IO left for Brigade to inform them re the location of the Battalion HQ. Information re the Cassino assault also enquired of. 1700 hrs Changes in Commands (Officers) Capt Reedy moved to C Coy as OC Coy as Maj Wirepa goes on three months tour of duty. Lt Aperehama to be OC carriers. 2/Lt Searancke OC mortars. Capt Lambert OC HQ Coy and 2/Lt Tomoana to be 2i/c HQ Coy. 0930 hrs Maj Wirepa leaves for tour of duty. Party of Officers left for 2 G Hospital to see the boys. 1800 hrs BM rings Battalion to inform us that Operation not on for tonight. 1300 hrs Maj Henare detailed to take summary of evidence in the case of 2/Lt Te Anga and Pte Mitai. Weather: Fine and clear in the morning. Overcast and signs of rain by midday. Heavy rain in the afternoon continuing on till midnight.
  • 26 Feb, Sat 0700 hrs Reveille. Breakfast 0800 hrs. RAP 0830 hrs. Lunch 1200 hrs. Tea 1630 hrs. Coys in same position and still resting. Bad weather curtailed activities. Slight drizzle all day long, making living conditions atrocious. Ground here very wet and boggy. 1130 hrs IO took per 2 jeeps own and C Coy men to occupy houses forward and reserve for use of the Battalion in the forth-coming show. Proposed areas for occupation for Battalion as follows: - Battalion HQ 883194. D Coy 883195. C Coy 883199. Also accompanying the party were the Sigs lines who connected up Coy HQ already set and linked up Brigade through No. 1 Coy MMG at 885195. 1200 hrs Light shelling. Usual routine but shell fell away over from Battalion HQ area. 1300 hrs Officers from 48 USA Engineers visited Battalion HQ re contact with C Coy to supply protective screen to sappers during Cassino assault. RO’s issued today. Weather: Slight drizzle all day, living conditions very appalling and rain made the ground very boggy and muddy. Majority of Battalion in bivvys.
  • 27 Feb, Sun 0700 hrs Reveille. Breakfast 0800 hrs. RAP 0830 hrs. Lunch 1200 hrs. Tea 1630 hrs. 0830 hrs Adj with the RSM left for Caserta to visit the boys at 2 G Hospital. 1000 hrs IO visited the Division camp and contacted Lt-Col Bonifant re the question of houses forward when the show starts. 1430 hrs CO holds conference with Coy Commanders and Brigade Operation Order discussed. Battalion operation order also given out for the future operation. 1800 hrs Enemy put over 10 shells (9 duds) into D Coy area. No casualties. Battalion Padre Huata conducts Divine Service with the various Coys. 1300 hrs CO directs that C, D and Battalion HQ carry out weapons inspections and half an hours drill. They also carried out one hours route march along rly line to Mignano. 1530 hrs Pte Ranhiue S [sic Sam Rangiuia] of B Coy (12 Platoon) missing believed PW since the Cassino action returned to Battalion after having been PW behind German lines for nearly a week. A wonderful story to relate. Captured at Cassino when his section surrendered to enemy tanks he and 9 others were taken to another Division opposite 10 Corp Sector and there he was detailed to carry back to the 56 Division Commander a “Truce” note to be able to care for their dead and wounded. From 10 Corp he was returned to our own Division HQ and he was then again interrogated. Very valuable information was received through him. Maj Henare continues with the summary of evidence. Weather: Light drizzle all day- conditions show no improvement and still holding up the action. Conditions very bad, Rds just a mass of slush and mud.
  • 28 Feb, Mon 0700 hrs Reveille. Breakfast 0800 hrs. RAP 0830 hrs. Lunch 1200 hrs. Tea 1630 hrs. 1000 hrs Italian civilians from S. Vittore came in and reported that a German suspect with a wireless set was in the village. Battalion IO delivered him to FSS personnel at Division HQ. 1300 hrs Pay issued to Coys in Lires. 1000 hrs A and B Coys attended a Bazooka shoot by the RSM on a disabled Sherman tank. 1230 hrs 48 hours rations was taken out to personnel holding houses for Battalion HQ in the front lines. 23 Battalion was also contacted en route to the front. 1300 hrs 18 reinforcements arrived in from Advance base (see appendix K attached). Included in reinforcements were some from Maadi who had spent only 5 days in Advance base. During the day 23 Battalion B echelon and rear Brigade moved back from their present locations and moved further back as their areas were subjected to enemy shelling. Battalion QM and staff also moved back a slight distance to houses in area vicinity Unit YMCA. ROs issued today. 1330 hrs CO’s Orderly room today and five cases dealt with. 1700 hrs CB cases paraded at Battalion HQ under Orderly duty. This is the first parade of its kind to be held in the line. Weather: Slight drizzle at times. Improved for a period. Quite sunny. However by night conditions much worse. Sky overcast and rain eminent.
  • 29 Feb, Tues 0700 hrs Reveille. Breakfast 0800 hrs. RAP 0830 hrs. Lunch 1200 hrs. Tea 1630 hrs. 0900 hrs Maj Henare Officer in charge of Summary of Evidence moved to Piedmonte D’Alife to take evidence by Lt Gastoldi of the 36 US Division. 1100 hrs CO visited Brigade and more modifications to the general plan for the attack received. Changes: Changes in 5 Brigade Command. Brigadier TJ Burrows took over from Brigadier Hartnell. Brigadier Hartnell returned to NZ. 1200 hrs IO visited Division Ammunition (No 69) to procure smoke generators. Area blacked out by smoke as visibility increased by midday. Routine for the day as laid down by the CO. A, D and HQ Coy on route march for 2 hrs – 1000 – 1200 hrs. B, C and Battalion HQ route march for 2hrs – 1300 – 1500 hrs. 1300 hrs CO calls Coy Commanders for conference re the proposed move and all plans for the move formulated. 1300 hrs Pay issued to all troops in BMA and lire’s. 1700 hrs Enemy again shells cross Rds. highway 6 – 5 visitors. 1700 hrs CB personnel parade under Orderly Duty. Weather: Slight drizzle overnight. Conditions very dirty and muddy. Bright and clear in the evening.


Archives New Zealand – Te Rua Mahara o te Kāwanatanga 
28 (Maori) Battalion war diary, R23517746, A DQZ 18886, WAII 11666, DA 68/1/50


[1] Monty Soutar, Nga Tama Toa, p. 308

[2sic Takurua

[3] time is as noted in the official diary


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