The Battalion is at Lanciano and later in the month move to Piedimonte d’Alife. They are acclimating to the snow and training hard, including practicing river crossings. Brigadier Kippenberger outlines the history of Battalion and its distinguished record to the newly arrived 9th and 10th reinforcements. The first assault on Cassino by American forces is underway.
- Temporary Lieutenant Colonel: Russell Young (CO)
- Temporary Major: Arapeta Awatere (2IC)
Captains: JC (James) Henare, Kereti Mariu, Jack Reedy, Tutu Wirepa, SF (Syd) Jackson, J Matehaere
- Temporary Captains: Harry Lambert, Peter Ornberg, Monty Wikiriwhi, Rangi Tutaki, WDP Wordley
- Lieutenants: JG Aperahama
- 2/Lieutenants: Clarence Balzer, Moana Raureti, LP Anaru, R Smith, JR Tomoana, SR Urlich, JS Baker, BG Christy, WE Jones, N Mahuika, M Searancke, J Carr, J Berghan, G Takarua (Takurua), GA Asher, J Waititi, WT Te Anga, W Reedy, IG Harris.
- Attached: Capt Cam D’Arcy (RMO) Capt (Rev) WT Huata (Padre), Mr DR Perry (YMCA), Lt WH Prescott (QM)
- 1 Jan, Sat Lanciano. 0800 hrs Reveille. Breakfast 0900 hrs and somewhat disorganized due to heavy fall of snow overnight. Conditions very adverse. Bivvys snowed under making movements very difficult in the lines. Battalion very unfortunate in that majority of troops were in bivvys and not in houses. First experience of snow for some of the troops, reminiscent of the English Christmas scene. 0900 hrs IO’s conference at brigade HQ cancelled due to adverse weather. 0 hrs Roman Catholics mass to be held at Castel – Frentano also cancelled due to adverse weather. 1300 hrs Brigade Commander visited Battalion. All Coys including Battalion HQ cleared 100 yards or so of the road on their fronts and all was completed by 1500 hrs. Apart from this the Battalion spent a very cold and uncomfortable day – uneventful. All other units cleared snow from their front in the same manner as us. Weather: First day of snow bound Italy very cold and snow falling periodically.
- 2 Jan, Sun 0800 hrs Reveille. Breakfast 0900 hrs. Battalion spent another cold day though the snow had ceased falling, a sharp breeze was blowing off the Maiella Mountains. 0930 hrs Coys prepared for their New Year’s dinner as word was received to prepare to move forward tomorrow 3 Jan 44. 1000 hrs Coy Commanders in conference with Battalion Lt-Col Young re the move forward tomorrow. 1100 hrs 49 reinforcements including 3 Officers 2/Lts Berghan, Carr and Takurua arrived in from Adv Base Bari. They were distributed to their respective Coys immediately. 1200 hrs The Coys celebrated their New years dinner, pork and poultry in plentiful quantity. During the afternoon the Coys devoted their time to packing up prior to move. 1300 hrs CO and the IO with Capt Matehaere and Ormberg visited the 6 Para Battalion of the Fourth Para Brigade (area old 26 Battalion location – 263 014) and went into details re the change over. They were to be relieved by D Coy 28 Battalion. Party viewed the front from the Arty Op House 264 014 and plans were made for the change over. A/Tk and MMGs were also seen to. 1700 hrs The party returned to Battalion. Weather: Cleared up but still very cold. Land still snow bound. Still a possibility of more snow.
- 3 Jan, Mon 0730 hrs Reveille. Breakfast 0830 hrs. Lunch 1230 hrs. Tea 1630 hrs. 0900 hrs CO’s Orderly room re the case of Cpl Tempura charged with deserting during the second attack 16th Dec 1943. He went off to Poggiofiorito on night of attack. 0920 hrs Capt. Matehaere and D Coy Platoon Commanders went forward to their area (6 Para Battalion) to do a recce as it was quite safe to recce in the daylight. 1230 hrs D Coy officers returned to the Battalion. 1330 hrs Padre Huata accompanied Major Ross of the 23 Battalion on a trip to Bari visiting the Hospitals and boys. Coy commanders left per jeeps for front to take over from the 24 Battalion. 1400 hrs CO and IO travelled per jeeps for the front also calling in at Brigade en route. 1500 hrs First batch of leave personnel left for Bari allocation being 2 Other ranks per Coy. Leave for 6 days, all expense free, accommodation at the NZ Club free. 1630 hrs Troops embussed. Battalion column formed up with head resting opposite YMCA corner. Convoy then moved off per Castel – Frentano and Hellfire Corner. Troops then debussed at Hongi’s Bridge (double bridge at the ford). 1730 Coys commenced the track up the newly formed road to the front. CO and IO arrived at 24 Battalion HQ and prepared to set up Battalion HQ 28 – details of the change over finalized. 1830 hrs Battalion HQ established in 24 Battalion HQ area C203 029. 2030 hrs B Coy completes change over with C Coy 24 Battalion. 2100 hrs C Coy completes change over with D Coy 24 Battalion. 20 Other Ranks from C Coy reported back to Battalion and were directed to A Coy (reserve Coy). 2140 hrs Phone call from Brigade HQ to 28 Battalion enquiring if change over had been completed – advised no. 2155 hrs BM again enquires of the change over. IO returned from forward Coy (C). 2224 hrs Lt – Col Connolly and his Adj left Battalion HQ on the way out to rest area. 2245 hrs Change over completed without incident. Additional lines laid out by the Battalion Sigs to C Coy direct from B Coy. Coy dispositions as per sketch. One casualty (minor). Weather: Fine and clear – visibility very good. Cold and chilly.
- 4 Jan, Tue 0800 hrs Breakfast, prior to which the CO was in contact with Coys by phone enquiring about the situation fwd and how the Coys spent the night. NTR from Coys. OC HQ Coy Capt Reedy and Lt Aperehama est at Bn HQ. 0900 CO left to visit A Coy while the Adj talks to the B IO re the mules. Sitrep 1/1 fwded to B HQ per Sgt Maurice. 1010 Hvy Arty barrage on Orsogna and fwd of D and B Coys (harassing fire called by Div). Mortar range cards completed and duplicated by I Section. Adj talks to OC B Coy Capt Wikiriwhi per phone. 1025 Capt Masden LO rang Bn and was in conversation with Adj re mules and rationing of muleteers. Taken on strength were 30 mules, 17 Algerians and 2 Tommies. Acting RSM Sgt WSL McRae collected discarded weapons and they were returned to B Ech. 3 Piats and 15 rifles. Capt Reedy OC Sp Arms makes a tour of his gun posns. 1026 Adj rings Sgt Haining (B Ech 28 Bn) re-rationing of muleteers. 1100 Kitty bombers strafe and bomb enemy Posns North of Orsogna. 1130 Lt Aperehama directs 4.2” mortar shoot onto Enemy MG post firing down the road. Enemy shells land West of Bn HQ’s house 243029. 1137 4.2” mortar fires 3 rds smoke – range 3300 yds on a bearing of 250 degrees. Sgt Ormsby OP from 3” Mortar OP. 1139 2 enemy shells lands near Bn HQ. 1140 Correction in 4.2” mortar fire from Sgt Ormsby. 1142 Another enemy shell near RAP possibly to try and locate 4.2” mortar Posns. 1143 4.2” mortars firing HE Blockbuster. Correction 2 degrees right range 3400 yds. 1146 4.2” mortars fire 3 rounds. 1148 Sgt Ormsby observing calls for one round smoke same range. 1149 Smoke fired by 4.2”. 1152 5 rounds HE 4.2” (called target No3) Sgt Ormsby still observing. Lt Aperehama pinpoints target and calls (Target No 3 Main Rd) Spandau-Range 3400 Yds Bearing 245 degrees. Blockbusters were used. 1203 CRACK another enemy shell near Bn HQ. Lunch. CO returns from recce of A Coy MMgs and RAP areas. 1245 Capt Henare OC A Coy vists Bn HQ. CO phones thru to B And C Coys and arranged for digging of trenches and dugouts. Bde is to supply 1000 sandbags fo building and flooring of dugouts. CO allotted 4000 to B and C Coys. Capt Wikiriwhi informs CO that he has been out of touch with his fwd Pln (No 12 under 2/Lt Takurua) since early morning. Capt Henare reports having picked up a AB65 belonging to Pte TB Wharepapa (C Coy) missing since night 7/8 December. 1315 Lt Aperehama continues to range onto various targets with 4.2” mortars. Capt Mariu arranges with Bde Sigs for extra cable to lay line back with Bde Sigs for extra cable to lay line back to A Ech at Bailey Br ford (approx. 2 miles). 1353 Lt Aperehama giving 4.2” mortar directions on firing as directed from 3” mortar OP. 1410 Capt Henare returns to A Coy HQ. 1415 Lt Aperehama rings thru to 4.2” mortars to check on range and sights. 4.2” mortars using 3” mortar sights and differs in range by a big margin. Bde Comdr arrives at Bn HQ and is in Conference with CO and IO. He expresses satisfaction of present area. 1450 19 Rgt ask and gets permission to tie up to Bn exchange. 1500 Bde IO arrives at Bn HQ and is in conference with Bn IO (2/Lieut M Raureti). 1500 Fairly hvy mortaring on B and C Coy areas. 1500-1530 Capt Wirepa OC C Coy reports casualties. One killed 3 wounded and two of which were walking wounded. Bren carrier was despatched from Bn HQ to report to B Coy HQ to pick up C Coy’s wounded. Still spasmodic shelling of the area by the enemy. 1545 Bde IO Capt Hoggins left to return to bde HQ leaving behind a fresh set of Air photographs. C Coy reports over 38 set that their line has been cut and were advised to keep continuous comn per 38 set. 1600 Adj in phone conversation with Bn 2 i/c Maj Awatere re bringing fwd of more supplies, sand bags etc also arrangements for mules and muleteers. 1700 Bn 2 i/c Maj Awatere visits Bn HQ. 1730 Hot meal was brought up by mules. Mg Offr and I Sergeant reported in at Bn HQ on their way to recce a fresh area to lay on a fresh MG post. 1800 CO and IO left to make a recce of the Coys and found them very quiet. Mortar amn was also brought up per mules. 1900 Acting RSM Sgt McRae checking up amn with the Adj and Lieut Aperehama (mortar Offr). 2000 Mg Offr and Sgt returned from recce and they did not seem to have located a favourable posn for the post. 2023 Adj informs C Coy that Coy Cmmdr 23 Bn left hand Coy on our right flank with the mortar Offr were coming over to contact C Coy and they were duly warned to watch out for them. 2025 Adj rings Bde HQ enquiring about 4.2” mortar sight missing since mortar came back from being Brigade. 2130 CSM Kaika from C Coy reported in to Bn HQ to procure petrol for the Coy cooker and reports that Coy is well dug in and are making themselves as comfortable as possible. Fwd trenches were cleaned snow shoveled out and fresh hay put in. 2155 OP from C Coy reports enemy sending up red flares in groups of threes and fours. This was followed by enemy shelling of the area. Bearing to centre group of flares 350 degrees and distance approx. 500 yds. Stonk by our own Arty covers whole front but some shells were falling short and very close to the fwd Plns. No damage done. Apart from fixed line firing of Spandaus firing an occasional burst to nothing to report. 2200 CO and IO returned from tour of FDLS. 2230 2/Lieut Balzer A/Tk Offr CSM Kaika from C Coy returned to their Coy HQs. 2255 All’s well and quiet.
- 5 Jan, Sat 0600 hrs. Capt Wirepa reports that enemy patrol is being encountered in No 15 Pln HQ area at approx 0530 hrs they were however dispersed by Tk Lmg and own weapons. Capt Reedy OC Sp Gp leaves for an inspection of gun posns. 0605 All Coys ordered to stand to-carriers and RSB to report to B Coy to pick up C Coy’s wounded. 0615 CO phones C Coy but was advised that Capt Wirepa was fwd investigating. 0630 Capt Henare OC A Coy was advised to prepare to move to C Coy’s reserve personnel when called for. 0700 Duty Offr Bde HQ rings to enquire of the situation. 0730 Capt Wirepa rings up CO and reports the details of the enemy sneak raid. Coy Casualties, 1 killed, 2 wounded and one enemy killed. 0750 Capt Wirepa confirms his previous statement. It appears that the enemy patrol of about 12 men sneaked in wearing white cloaks onto one section post in a house did some damage and then got away leaving behind 1 killed. The patrol was dispersed by combined fire of the SP Tks and the other sections fire. Own casualties 1 killed (Pte Peachey PW) and 2 wounded. Enemy 1 killed and identified as from 755 Bn 334 Regt. 0800 CO informs Bde of the skirmish with enemy patrol. 0815 CO agaion informs Bde of the identification of dead enemy actually the Tks were responsible for the killing. 0900 Bn IO informs Bde IO of the details and identification of the patrol encountered this morning. Mortar Offr arranges for mortar barrage on enemy posn fwd of 15 Pln FDLs (234029). 0910 3” mortars fire off 36 rounds. C Coy reports mortar barrage falling slightly fwdd of enemy FDLs and in wadi. 0917 Runner from B Coy arrives bringing Coy Dispositions and also to collect kerosene. 0920 4.2” mortars fire 12 rounds HE on same area. Lieut Aperehama rings C Coy and reports that barrage is landing well to the left and beyond target. 0929 CO rings thru to 2 i/c Maj Awatere re rum issue for the boys tonight. Lieut Aperehama checkes range etc with Mortar Sgt for the next shootas directed by C Coy OP. Adj speaks to Maj Awatere re petrol, kerosene and rifle oil for the Coys. 0940 Lieut Aperehama rings thru to 3” and 4.2” mortars and jacked them up for the next shoot. Capt Reedy returned from the FDLs after visiting the boys. 0950 Bde Comdr rings up Bn comdr re the raid by the enemy this morning. Mortars 3” and 4.2” fire as directed by mortar Offr and C Coy OP reports results as good. 0955 CO rings thru to C Coy to find out if the house is still safe for further occupation. 1000 Capt Matehaere rings thru to Adj enquiring about the situation on our own front. IO also speaks to Capt Matehaere and Pte I Meha. Personnel att to D coy. 1015 CO rings thru to MMG Pln (Lieut Moss) re shifting of one section fwd and keeping one in reserve for indirect fire.
Map references of Bn HQ (lower formations)
Bn HQ 243029
A Coy 244030
C Coy 237029
D Coy 258012
7 Pln 241030
10 Pln 237026
13 Pln 234030
16 Pln 256017
8 Pln 239029
11 Pln 238026
14 Pln 237029
17 Pln 253016
9 Pln 245933
12 Pln 233025
15 Pln 234029
18 Pln 260015
Bn FDLs 234024 to 233025 to 235031
1030 Hrs Total mortar rounds fired: - 4.2” 24, 3” 57 rounds, on same area just fwd of 15 Plns FDLs on enemy diggings. Sitrep NO 3 to Bde HQ. 1055 2/Lieut Moss arrives at Bn HQ to see the CO re the house they are to go to. 1100 Co rings Capt Wirepa about report by sentries who were on guard when enemy patrol entered 15 Pln HQ. Report insufficient. 1130 CO Bde re papers founds on dead enemy. 1215 CO rings thru to b Coy re patrols to derelict Tk last night. 1300 IO leaves to contact C Coy at 268012 visa the Bailey Br ford. 1314 Hrs Capt Wikiriwhi OC B Coy rings up Sig Offr re extra batteries to be sent up tonight for the 38 sets. 1327 hrs Phone message for the CO advising him that Lt-Col OC MMG’s Bn would like to have his jeep sent up to our Bn HQ but as there does not seem to be any use in it, the CO advised to check up on the message. 1333 Lieut Moss and Sgt (MMG att Pln) reported to CO from making a day –light recce of the Bn area with the view of establishing a fresh MG post, advises against using ground fwd of Bn HQ owing to limited field of fire – recommends slopes above RAP 249033 in order to have field of fire hitting fwd slopes of Orsogna. 1335 CO discusses possibility of moving Mg post fwd. CO arranges with Mg Offr and own 3” and 4.2” mortars to stonk road fwd of C coy’s FDLs. 1430 Lieut Aperehama arranges with his mortars to be ready to shoot this afternoon. 1440 Capt Wirepa phones asking if mortar stonk could be postponed till tomorrow night as their trenches and dugouts are not quite ready. 1445 Adj 27 MMG Bn arrives at Bn HQ and is in conference with CO. 1500 Capt Reynolds departs for own Unit. 1510 4.2” mortar bombards enemy Mg post firing down main Rd. LO rounds HE during the hours of darkness must pass through Bde HQ. 1516 Bde advises that from now on all calls for harassing fire by FOO during the hours of darkness must pass through Bde HQ. 1520 Adj rings FOO and advises them of the above. 1607 Arty barrage-harassing fire on Orsogna and enemy posns. 1620 Bde Dr arrives at Bn HQ with official matter. Sitrep No4 fwded to Bde I Section per returning DR. 1710 Bde LO (Lieut Miller) arrives at Bn HQ with an official message for the CO. 1725 CO 21 Bn rings up CO 28 Bn. 1730 CO arranges for 8 O/Rs and 1 Offr (2/Lieut Tomoana) to go on leave in Bari from 9 to 15 Jan 44. All O/Rs to come out of HQ Coy. 1755 Adj receives message from Bn Bde HQ re patrols for tonight. Advised that we are not sending out patrols as enemy FDLs were too close to FDLs. 22 Bn patrols contacting each pln at Chiomato 231992. 1900 D coy advised of the above patrols by phone. 1930 Adj calls up Bde HQ and talk to BM re O/Rs to go as instructors to adv base and school of instruction Maadi. Allocation for Bn as follows:
C Coy Sgt Peters to Adv Bse
D Coy Sgt Rata to NZS of I
HQ Coy Sgt Kirk NZS of I (D and M)
2000 Capt Wikiriwhi OC B Coy reports to the CO that his fwd Pln suspects enemy concealed in haystack between his right flank and the left of C Coy. CO advises to keep a sharp watch and for them to liaise with C Coy’s left Pln He also suggested to Cpt Wikiriwhi to move 2 sections onto the right and occupy the empty house there. IO returns from visiting D coy, B Ech and Bde HQ. 2010 Mules pack up more amn for the 3” mortars. 2045 CO leaves to visit C Coy reserve Pln. 2125 Capt Wirepa phones Bn asking for props and beams to roof and cover duguots. During the evening about 2100 sand bags were brought up on mules and were issued to Coys for lining and roofing of trenches and dugouts.
- 6 Jan, Thu 0900 hrs Bde informs us of enemy patrol activities on the 23 Bn’s front. The enemy patrol attacked occupied house in the fwd Coy’s area. Results – patrol dispersed. Own troops 1 missing believed PW, 2 wounded. Enemy 2 wounded. 0945 hrs CO and Sgt Maurice left via Bailey Br and fwd to visit D Coy. IO phones 23 Bn for further details of enemy activities during the night on their front. 1045 hrs 4.2” mortars fires 10 round son suspected enemy MG post. 1100 hrs Capt Wikiriwhi reports that with an OP in 12 Pln HQ he is registering with 3” mortars on area. Considerable enemy movements can be observed. Enemy movements since 1030 hrs. (To inform CO and IO). 1145 hrs Lt-Col Kensington CO 5 Fd Regt, visits bn HQ. Snow falling heavily. 1500 hrs CO arrived at D Coy and went fwd to Plns. 1530 hrs Hvy Arty activity on 5th Army front. Colonel Connelly 23 Bn and IO visited BN HQ. BM and LO also arrives at Bn HQ. Afternoon 2/Lieut Moss (MMg Offr) arrived back at Bn HQ from fwd areas after recce for gun posns. 1610 hrs Capt Reedy brings back rolls of white suitable for making snow capes. 1630 hrs Sitrep received from Bde HQ also DT cipher keys. 1700 hrs C Coy rings to inform us that Tks are leaving the area. 1725 hrs C Coy rings for carriers to cart out 2 mortar casualties. 1745 hrs CO returns from bde HQ and calls up all Coy Comdrs and issues orders as suggested by the Bde Comdr. To ensure further protection against enemy patrols. Three points suggested were: -
(a) Sentries around houses to be at least 20 yds away
(b) Doors and entrances apart from fighting holes to be barricaded and made secure against sudden entry
(c) Some means of quick comn between sentries outside houses Coy Comdrs ordered to co-operate with carrying out of the above mentioned with slight modifications if necessary. C Coy asks for two more men from their reserve Pln in A Coy area. 1900 hrs B Coy rings that I Section man attached to them has returned with much information. IO then went fwd with aerial photos for briefing. 1915 hrs CO calls A, B and C Coys and I Sec personnel to B Coy HQ for conference re the possibility of a raiding patrol purely a voluntary affair. 1930 hrs Conference and decision made to send patrol night 7/8 under 2/Lieut Mahuika with 2 O/Rs from each Coy, HQ incl. Dress and weapons also stipulated. Route to be recced by observation by 2/Lieut Baker day 7th and party to assemble at 2/Lieut Christy to relieve Mahuika while engaged on the patrol. 2230 hrs Change in Pln Comdrs arranged. Capt Wirepa not feeling too well. He passed through Bn HQ to sleep at the RAP. All quiet overnight. Weather: Light snow fall throughout the day. Bitter North wind. D17 5/1/49 2 Lt Northcroft selected to return to ME as adv trg instructor.
- 7 Jan, Fri 0830 Enquiries from Bde re progress during the night. Word was fwded that patrols were active on 23 Bn front. No casualities. 0930 Sgt Mackey evacuated possibly attack of the flue. 1000 D Coy rings and asks for news. No activity on their front. 1100 Maj Leeks and Capt relieving 20 Sqn who left last night arrived and contacted CO. He suggested to move in three more Tks after dark. 1115 Coy strengths being finalized by Adj over the phone. 1130 4.2” mortars fire stonk on PI (hedgerow) while shoot was observed by L/Cpl Potae. 1310 4.2” mortars ready for next sonk as directed from PO, C Coy area by L/Cpl Potae. 1345 Enemy shelling fwd of 8 Pln A Coy. 1415 Two Italian civilians came in and asked permission to go back to the village to see his mother in law. 1430 Maj and Capt arrived to see CO re Tks moving in behind A Coy tonight. 1510 Afternoon very quiet. 1530 CO rings 21 Bn as to whether there was anything doing on their front. (NTR) 1545 2/Lieut Moss arrives to see CO re moving Pln a little fwd. 1615 Mortar Offr gets his mortars ready for next shoot. 1600 Capt Wikiriwhi complaining of mortar shells falling short all around his area. 1630 S/Major McRae returns from A Ech after checking over anm. 1635 Bde Major rings Adj re patrols for tonight. 1710 CO speaks over phone to C Coy. Adj also speaks to A Ech re rum. 1730 Mortars open up on enemy FDLs plus MMGs who helped by firing 2000 rounds. Tea 1745 hrs. 1745 Rations arrived and many parcels for Bn HQ. 1800 CO and IO left Bn HQ for C Coy HQ to give final instructions for patrol. 1830 S/Major and Mortar Offr left for 3” mortar HQ. 1900 LO speaks to the Adj re patrols. 1920 Adj rings up A Ech for rum issue for the patrol. (None) 2015 Unit YMCA Mr Perry arrives with cigarettes and chocolates for the troops. 2100 CO returns from C Coy and sent a runner up with half a bottle of whiskey for the patrols. 2105 Capt Marsden unit LO rings up CO re the composition of patrol, objectives and object. 2125 IO and MR Perry arrives from the fwd areas. 2300 B Coy shot up a German patrol killing 5 and 2 escaped. All is well for the remainder of the night.
- 8 Jan, Sat 0600 IO and Capt Reedy returned from FDLs. One OR from B Coy evacuated with flu. 0915 S/Major McRae with 3 ORs left to bury Pte Te Whau. 0921 IO rang up Bde IO re patrol reports on last nights operation and the skirmish 15 Pln B Coy had with the enemy at 2300 hrs. 0930 Capt Dawson (Tk Regt) arrives to see the CO. 0950 RMO reports that OR evacuated this morning had pleurisy. 1005 Lieut Barlott arrived to report that his Tks were in behind A Coy. 1020 Lieut Barlott returns to his unit. 1045 CO rings 2/Lieut Mahuika re the patrol last night to see whether it was possible to go out again. 1115 CO rings B Coy Comdr to congratulate his Pln Comdr and sec for a good show last night. Mortar jacks up his guns for next shoot. Dr from Bde arrives with mail from Bde. 1130 Mortar Offr rings up 3” mortars to be ready for shoot. 1200 Mortar shots conducted on D1 and P2. Lunch. 1425 CO 21 Bn informs Adj that 6 of our men were seen around Poggiofiorito. IO leaves for A Coy with the dope. 1625 Bde rings up about the identification of the German killed that night. Everything explained. CO also rang CO 21 Bn re our boys wandering thru their line. 1630 Capt Reedy rings mortar Offr at 4.2” mortar HQ. 1705 CO speaks to Capt Lambert A/Tk Offr. 1730 Lieut Moss visits CO re shoot this afternoon for his MMgs. IO speaks to Bde IO re identification of enemy killed. 1745 Patrols from 21 and 23 Bns received thru apt. Marsden. Patrol details as follows:-
23 Bn objective 23650400 St 1700 hrs
21 Bn objective 243050 St 1845 hrs
This information was passed down to Coys.
1845 CO rings B Coy re mending of line to fwd Pln in case it break. Dangerous for linesman to go out in daylight. YMCA issue of chocolates and cigarettes. 2015 Maj Awatere and Capt Lambert arrives at Bn to see the CO. IO out visiting FDLS. 2110 Sig Offr and one linesman left to repair the line between B Coy and 12 Pln. 2145 Sigs Offr returns after repairing lines. 2130 CO rings and asks for Capt Marsden to give some information about 21 and 23 Bn patrols. Information given to Maj Awatere in Maori language. 2230 Maj Awatere and Capt Lambert returns to their HQ at A Ech. All’s Well. Very quiet and normal sentries posted.
- 9 Jan, Sun Bde IO rings Bn IO re snow capes enemy patrol wore night 7/8 Jan. Description etc to be given. 0925 CO speaks to Capt Wirepa re 23 patrols. 0945 IO left for A Coy. 0959 Mortar Offr speaks to 3” mortar re a shoot and do their own observing. 1020 Adj rings C Coy enquiring as to where Sgt Kaika was. 1030 CO speaks to Bde over phone about enemy Tks moving into Orsogna from the N West. 1035 Capt WiRepa checks on GRETA Stonk. 2/Lt Jones arrives in from his Pln HQ. CO warns A/Tk Offr about enemy Tks in Orsogna just in case anything happens. 1040 Capt Henare also warned about Tks by CO. IO rings B Coy about snow capes worn by the enemy patrol. 1050 CO warned Capt Matehere about enemy Tks in Orsogna. Be on the alert. MMG Offr also warned. 1055 Bde Comdr arrives to see the boys. 1100 Line to Bde out. Fuller phone being connected up. 1120 Bde Comdr and Capt Marsden returns to Bde HQ. CO speaks to Capt Wikiriwhi about fwd posns and that the Bn is likely to be here till the 14th. Whole Div is to be relieved then. 1125 IO informs Bde IO about enemy snow capes. 1145 Bde lost sample of enemy cloth and asks for a little bit more. 1200 CO calls all Coy Comdrs in for conference at 1300 hrs. 1300 Conference with Coy Cmdrs re news from Bde Comdr about change over. Mortars firing as directed by C Coy OP. 1700 Stonk put down by mortars and mMGs. Very successful. 1745 Hot meals arrived. 1800 Change over in fwd Coys-B Coy remaining in same area while C Coy was taken over by A coy complete. C Coy took over all A Coy’s area. 2000 CO discusses with OC HQ Coy Capt Reedy about more A/Tk guns in view of news that enemy Tks are in Orsogna. 2100 Capt Lambert and 2/Lt Balzer plan to make posns by A Coy. 2130 Capt Lambert with Capt Reedy left to recce the area. 2145 Patrol of 3 returned form recce, investigating the houses in the wadi below 3” mortar area. 2300 Capt Mariu Sigs Offr while enroute to 2/Lt Takurua’s house was killed by Spandau fire.
- 10 Jan, Mon 0300 Hvy shelling and mortaring of Bn HQ area. 0600 MMG’s also open up at first light. 0900 CO speaks to Lieut Moss about their shoot this morning. 0925 Major Leeks (Tks) arrives in to see the CO. 1000 IO rings D Coy Cmdr and warns him of enemy MG firing from village-Orsogna. 1005 IO warns 3” mortars about enemy Mg post and for them to watch the posn by-day. 1020 Padre arrives at Bn HQ to see the boys. 1030 Major Leeks of the Tks returned to his Unio and IO observing from top storey of house trying to locate enemy MG post in Orsogna. Capt Matehaere speaks to CO re the 4.5 OP in their area. Enemy Mg post pointed out to OP Offr. 1110 Arty Lt-Col arrives to see the CO from 23 Bn. 1215 Adj rings Sgt Clerk at B Ech re casualties. 1300 Mortars stonk enemy Mg post in Orsogna and the IO left for 21 Bn. Tks 72 Mm guns fired a few rounds on Spandau posn. 1315 4.2” mortars as well as the Arty giving jerry an afternoon hurry up. 1330 2/Lt Urlich rings up Bn and asks as to the whereabouts of the sand bags which are to be brought up to the Coys and Bn HQ. Enemy very quiet. Mortars 3” scored a hit and started a fire. 1340 2/Lt Urlich informs the Adj that there are no more sand bags. 1520 Adj rings up FOO and warns him that A Coy OP will be observing his shoot. CO rings MG Offr and checks on targets. 1550 Lt Barnett (Tks) arrives to see the CO and later left with mortar Offr. 1645 Tk 72 MM guns opens up on PI and direct hits were observed. 1702 CO congratulates gunners of the Tks. 1715 Mortar Offr jacks up mortars for shoot at 1730 hrs. 1725 4.2” mortars stonk enemy FDLs of A Coy. 1730 MMG’s opened up with the mortars on tasks set up by Capt Wikiriwhi while a part went out to recover Capt Mariu’s body. 1735 Hot meal arrived also rum which was issued to the boys. 1945 CO and IO left for the RAP to be present for the burial of Capt Mariu. 2130 FOO and 2/Lt Balzer left for A Coy HQ. 1 casualty reported. After burial of Capt Mariu CO and IO left for the fwd areas.
- 11 Jan, Tue 0600 Hrs. Tks starts the day with firing a few rounds of 75 MM on P7. 0830 2 shells landed E of Bn HQ. 0855 IO rings A Coy re information about house burning last night. 0915 Major Leeks of the Tks arrives to see the CO about shoot on P7 this morning. 0940 Mortar Offr rings 4.2” mortars to check on Amn. 1015 IO rings D Coy but could not get thru as line was cut. 1025 IO and Sgt Maurice left Bn Hq for B Ech. 1030 Mortar Offr rings 3” mortars to have a shoot on some of the targets. Capt Reedy leaves for B Ech. 1055 Mortar Offr could not contact A Coy by phone. 1100 CO visits C Coy. Contacted A Coy by 38 set. Their house received a direct hit. No casualties. All lines to A Coy cut and CO informed. 1130 Ring from LO Bde HQ re change over details. CO informed. 1215 FOO at A Coy contacted Adj by 38 set and message passed thru to FOO by RAP to lay stonk on targets P 12345 etc. 1305 4.2” mortars informed their Offr that they fired 10 rounds onto enemy Mg post. Adj rings 2/Lt Urlich at A Ech for two mules to carry up rations for 19 Regt Tks behind C Coy HQ. 1325 Capt Henare reports that their house is under observation of the enemy and being shelled slightly. 1330 Adj rings FOO above RAP for Regtl fire (5 rounds) on P5. 1335 Capt Henare informs CO that he thinks that his fwd Plns are alright and that as soon as it gets dark he will dig holes around Pln houses. 1345 Capt Henare informs Adj over the 38 set that sound bearing to onto gun firing is 324 degrees FOO informed of the information. 1350 Stonk by Arty (Regtl shoot 2 rounds per gun) delivered. 1545 FOO speaks to Adj. 1550 Call for CO from Bde. 1555 Raid by enemy dive bombers 20 in number around area 21 Bn and right. Our Spitfires intercepted but the Huns got a good start. 1450 CO rings A Ech re check on personnel present in area and absent. He also rings Tks to shoot a house where an A/Tk gun was firing from or supposed to be firing from. 1700 CO speaks to Lt Barnett of 19 Regt. 1703 Mortar Offr notifying D Coy of A/Tk gun firing from Osogna. 1712 CO rings Capt Wirepa OC C Coy to check on his men to see if there are any missing. Reports from Bde say that some of our men are causing trouble in Poggiofiorito. 1715 4.2” mortars informs their Offr that they have finished firing and good results were observed. 1720 Offr from the 24 Bn arrives to back their carriers Cookers and water containers to their HQ. 1725 LO informs Adj that 24 Arty pieces are to stonk A/Tk posn in Orsogna in about three minutes time. 1730 Adj rings Bde IO re check for a track for the 24 Bn Carriers to go out. Main track too boggy. 1745 C Coy informs that all Coy personnel are present except two. 1750 A Ech was asked to check on personnel there Capt Wordley arrives at Bn HQ enroute to A Coy. 1800 Paipa TD arrives with the meal per mules. 1845 Adj checks with A and C Coys re water containers etc belonging to 24 Bn. 2000 IO with Capt Reedy arrives in from B Ech. 2015 CO and IO with Capt Reedy visited A Coy. 2130 Very quiet except for own Ary. 2145 Mortars shoot on P2. Ring from 23 Bn, someone shooting on their D Coy. 2213 Adj asks C Coy if any of their men are firing on 23 Bn D Coy. 2230 CO, IO and Capt Reedy arrives back from the FDLS. 2330 Major Awatere and Capt Lambert returned to A Ech with two Prov. Trouble at Poggiofiorito discussed and Provost to be posted there.
- 12 Jan, Wed 0900 Hrs. CO rings B Coy Comdr. 0915 Major Leeks arrives to see the CO about shoot by his Tks this afternoon. IO rings RMO re casualties yesterday (sickness). 1030 CO rings but line was cut a few seconds he got thru to 24 Bn. 1045 Mortar Offr cancels mortar fire as they were under observation from Orsogna. 88mm firing from 243 degrees onto RAP and TKs. 1055 Kitty dive bombers gives Orsogna the once over for 15 minutes. 1110 Ring from A Coy for IO suspected mortar (enemy) firing on 23 Bn on bearing of 243 degrees Mag. 1115 Adj rings B Coy Comdr. Seagull wanted on 22 set. 1125 CO rings 21 Bn but line was out of order, so could not get thru. 1130 Adj rings B Coy Comdr re an NCO for Cam Cour. Ring from A Coy OP observed an A/Tk gun on bearing of 295 Grid. 1140 Mortar Offr gets his Mortars ready for shoot. 1150 CO rings 4 Para (Col Barlow) thru 21 Bn re rouble in Poggiofiorto. 1155 Bde Comdr arrives to see CO. 1227 Ring from B Coy that Cpl H Grant is to go on Cam Course. 1230 CO rings Maj Awatere but he was out. He then rang Lt-Col McIlroy. 1245 Doctor and Padre arrives at Bn on a vist. Sgt Heke of the Sig Pln congratulated by CO. Awarded the MM. 1307 Doctor receives word that two men from the 23 Bn were waiting at the RAP. 1310 CO speaks to B Coy Comdr on security of change over. 1345 Our fighters and Art gives Orsogna the afternoon one over. 1400 Lt-Col and Offrs of the Gurkha Regt visited Bn HQ and checked on FDLS etc. Maj Awatere accompanied them from A Ech. 1600 Lt-Col and Offrs of the Gurkha Regt left for their Unit. 1700 Enemy shelling 500 yds N.West of Bn HQ, other wise all quiet. 1735 Mortars scored direct hit on what was believed to be an A/Tk gun fwd of A Coy FDLs. 1630 A/Tk Offr of the Gurkha regt checks over A/Tk posns with 2/Lt Balzer A/Tk Offr of the 28 Bn. 1750 A Coy calls for “Greta.” First time since we’ve been here. Stonk called for as A Coy’s fwd pln reports enemy Tk Mt and M/Cs moving North. 23 Bn also warned. Stonk only possible after 19 minutes of waiting – too late for the convoy. Although stonk was effective in itself. 1830 Contact with ACV 5 Bde re the delay of putting down of the stonk. 1945 Change over in fwd Coys. C Coy takes over B Coy complete. 2030 A/Tk officer form GURKHA REGT and A/TK officer 28 (Maori) Bn (2/Lt Balzer) look over the posns of our A/Tk guns. 2115 Capt Wikiriwhi visits BHQ and reports to the CO discussion re matter of Officers & NCOs. Decorations received per letter today:
1. MM to Sjt Heke J (Desert Campaign)
2. MM to Sjt Waihi F (Desert Campaign)
Further commissions to be granted to: ---
Sjt Crapp T
Sjt Rogers G
Sjt McRae W WEF 24 Dec 43
- 13 Jan, Thu 0845 CO rings A Coy (Capt Henare) and ask him as to how the boys were OK. 1000 Mortar Officer rings 3” Mortars to be prepared for a shoot but the crews were busy cleaning their guns so shoot postponed till later. 4.2 Mortar fire on ORSOGNA to try and keep SP gun quiet. 1005 CO rings FOO re a gun (possibly SP) giving BHQ a hurry up. CO rings Capt Matehaere re arrangements for change over with GHURKA Regt. 1015 4.2 and 3” Mortars have another lash at ORSOGNA. 1100 Ring from BM for CO (CO mentioned case of Pte Kopu killed/vicinity Lucera. 1105 Ring from B Coy Comdr. 1210 Bde IO arrives to visit BHQ. 1230 Bde IO leaves for RAP to have lunch with Capt D’Arcy. 1300 38 Control Set on listening watch for A Coy. Comms by phone 000. 1320 Mortar Officer (Lt Aperahama) Jacks mortars up for a shoot. CO rings Lt Moss of MMGs re a shoot on Bn front. 1325 Adj rings LO (Capt Marsden) Capt Marsden not in. Ring from Bde that Arty was giving a demonstration shoot with smoke on ORSOGNA for friends. 1345 Ring from ADS re paybook and haversack belonging to Pte Morrison which were left behind when he was evacuated. 1400 Ring from 4.2 Mortars for Mortar Officer. 1445 Adj rings C Coy. CO also spoke to Capt Wirepa. Enemy shelling fwd of B Coy with heavy caliber gun. 1515 Ring from Bde that Arty was giving a demonstration shoot with smoke on ORSOGNA for fiends. 1540 Bn control set nets with A Coy. 1600 Ring from Bde for CO re (MMG shoot). 1530 Div-Arty bring down smoke concon Orsogna. Bde previously advised that shoot is a demonstration one put on for the benefit of 4 Ind Div Offr who are on a visit to the Fwd FDLs. 4.2 and 2 mortars hops in to help things along. 1730 Lt-Col Showers and patrol master, arrived at Bn HQ. After having been to D Coy over day. Details of change over dismissed. 1900 CO and visiting out to Coys and also one Coy ? 2000 Party returns to Bn HQ. 1930 D Coy fwd Plns reports movements down wadi so mortars all warned and C Coy Bn HQ stood to. 2115 Party leaves to return to Lanciano. Weather: Fine sunny and warm. Cold during latter part of day.
- 14 Jan, Fri Reveille 0700 hrs. Breakfast 0800 hrs. Lunch 1230 hrs. Tea 1800 hrs.
0845 hrs Line to B Ech out very busy. 0900 Major Leeks of the Tks arrive to see CO. 0930 IO rings B Ech Adj then speaks to Sgt Clerk re Cpl Grant not going on course. 1020 CO rings RMO re men being evacuated with out Pay Books and causing a lot of trouble. Bn to be informed or Coy concerned before men are evacuated. Padre arrives to visit Bn HQ. 1035 IO rings 4.2 mortars to watch out for Sgt Maurice and to ring IO if he calls. 1050 Tk (75mm) fires a few rounds on houses in Orsogna. 1100 Capt Matehaere receives a message from Mortar Office to inform 3” mortars about lining guns but not base plate. 1130 Ring rom 23 Bn (Jerry target 235034 house D1?) Ad calls A Coy on 38 set (lines out). No answer from A Coy. Capt Lambert arrives. 1200 IO returns after receiving a route for night 15/16. 1230 4.2” mortars having shoot on house 235034 as directed by B Coy. 23 Bn OPIO again recce route with mine sweeping party for night 15/16 Jan. 1245 Mortars stop firing excellent shoot. IO rings IO 23 Bn and asks as to where OP is relation to 10 Pln B Coy 23 Bn. 1305 Ring from C Coy for CO re guides for tomorrow night. 1310 Enemy shells landing around BN HQ’s house. Air burst above house. 1315 IO rings FOO but can not raise him as line must be out. 1318 Mortar Offr rings mortars to jack guns up for stonk. Offr rings mortars – Dead line. 1320 IO rings C Coy re tar gets on their front. 1332 Mortars fire on Orsogna targets and then on C Coy’s front. 1335 IO warns Sgt Maurice that he will be coming down himself to B Ech and if he were to see the Ghurka IO he can come down with him as far as the Bailey Br. From there he will be accompanied by the IO himself. 1345 Adj rings Bde. 1415 CO rings MMG Offr and ask him to give jerry a hurry up for the rest of the afternoon and report on it later. 1420 A Coy’s line still out and the CO asks exchange to keep trying and fix the line as soon as possible after dark. 1425 Adj still trying to get A Coy - no result yet. 1430 15 rounds delivered on C Coy’s target. 1530 Mortars still on the go. 2/Lt Harrison arrives to see the CO. 1545 Mortars and MMG’s give harassing fire. Ring from BDe HQ re the IO 28 Bn to meet the Ghurka IO and CO 28 gave him instructions as to where he will meet the IO. Lt Harrison leaves for Bde HQ. 1600 CO rings 23 Bn Comdr re the shoot by MMG’s. Drawing fire on 23 Bn so had to cancel it. 1635 Adj rings rear Bde re the Court Martial Case of Pte C Shelford. 1700 Ghurka mortar Offr arrives to see Mortar Offr 28 Bn. 1745 Hot meal arrives under the able care of Pte Paipa TD. 1840 Major Awatere, Capt Lambert with the RMO arrives at Bn HQ for conference Capt Henare arrives five minutes later. 1900 CO in conference with Offrs at Bn HQ. Details for the change over discussed mainly (as per movement order) and also plans for Monday and Tuesday. 2100 Major Awatere and two Ghurka Offrs returned home. 2130 2/Lt Jone’s right fwd Pln states that 1 88 mm and 3 mortars are firing from direction of the rd. Greta called for and delivered in 16 minutes. Very effective-shells falling around guns. 2230 Ring from Bde to CO re trouble with 4.2” mortars and with Maj Leeks. Apart from own Arty firing everything quiet.
- 15 Jan, Sat 0700 hrs. Reveille. Breakfast 0800. Lunch 1200. Tea 1800 hrs. Quiet morning. 0845 Div stonk on area rear of Orsogna and was very effective. 1030 Adj informs A Coy of their guide Pte Paraki to guide Coy of Ghurkas to relieve A Coy 28 Bn. 1200 CO rings Coys for nominations for OCTU. 1245 Ring for CO from Maj Leeks (19 Regt). Lunch. Stonk again was laid on the various targets. 1400 IO and three from A/A Plnproceeded down to turn point debussing point of Ghurk Regt and embossing point of 28 Bn per Maori ridge track and over mule tracks. Arrived at the Pt at 1545 hrs. 1545 2 Ghurka Regt convoyed by 6 RMT Vehs arrived at Pt and debussed and waited. Mules not in sight although arranged for them to arrive at 1445 hrs. 1630 ASC (Algerian Mules) arrived. Own Bn mules arrived at 1645 and are immediately packed with Coy equipoment etc. 1645 IO, CO and A Coy fwd. 1655 B Coy moved fwd. 1700 C Coy moved fwd. Coys moved up without incident journey taking 2 hrs to complete. Slight mishap in the mule convoy and also personnel going astray due to intense darkness during the latter stages of the journey. 1845 First Coy – A Coy arrived at 28 Bn and guides from C Coy 28 Bn took the Coys fwd and relieving commenced. 1900 Second Coy B Coy taken over by guides at Bn HQ and relief commenced. B Coy in reserve. 1915 C Coy taken over by guides and 28 A Coy commenced relief. During the relief only one casualty was suffered – one Ghurka from A Coy who received bullet wounds. Their relief otherwise was quite uneventful although a certain amount of confusion existed on account of the very dark and misty night. 2030 C Coy 28 Bn moved out along same track under guides. The remaining Coys then followed on as soon as their relief was completed. The last lot to be relieved being the 4.2” mortars and 3” mortars, and also the A/Tk reliefs who had wandered off the track a little. Fwd elements of Bn HQ also came fwd with the Coys leaving only the Offrs Sigs and linesman who came out later. 2315 Fwd Coys of the Ghurka Regt reported movements on their front. “Greta” was called but owing to change over in the Arty as well it was very ineffective. 2330 28 Bn party leaves CO per jeep. Adj IO Capt Reedy and remainder of Sigs per truck.
- 16 Jan, Sun 0115 Hrs. Bn HQ party arrived at the turn Pt and brought up the rear of the Bn and were last troops to embuss. CO arrives at the same time and see that all is safe and away. A Coy reports that two of their personnel are missing. Coys had been embossed as they came out and had moved to pre-arranged areas where 2 I/C’s were waiting with hot meals. The supper was that which had not gone up the line per mules. 0200 Bn HQ arrived in and partook of a hot meal and then off to bed. Breakfast 0900 hrs. Lunch 1230 hrs. Tea 1640 hrs. Coys very quiet, tired and resting as much as possible. 1645 Divine service held at Bn HQ conducted by the padre Huata. Short address given by the CO on behavior now that the Bn is out of the line. 1730 Pictures held in the Bn area thru the courtesy of the YMCA featuring “Three Sailors”. Two Offr from Adv Base were placed. Capt Logan 2 I/C HQ Coy and 2/Lt Robson to be Sigs Offr.
- 17 Jan, Mon 0730 Reveille. Breakfast 0830 hrs. Lunch 1230 hrs. Tea 1630 hrs. 1100 hrs CO’s Orderly room. Pay issued in lire and BMA currency. 1330 hrs CO’s conference with OGp, details of the move given out as per Brigade Movement Order, attached (see appendix attached). Battalion spent the day resting. Provosts were dispatched to Lanciano to scout around for troublemakers. Changes in Battalion HQ Personnel: - 3 new Provosts, 1 New Orderly room Clerk. Carriers were loaded onto trucks for convoy purposes. Weather: Again very cold – overcast. Slight rain falling during the night.
- 18 Jan, Tues 0730 hrs Reveille. Breakfast 0830 hrs. Lunch 1200 hrs. Tea 1630 hrs. Preparations made for the move. RMT vehicles allocated and arrived in Coy areas by 1330 hrs. Vehicles were loaded and ready to move into position by 1630 hrs. 1700 hrs All vehicles moved into position with head resting on Brigade. Starting line at 317 034 – Lanciano 1.50.000 in the following order Battalion HQ, A, C, B, D and HQ Coys. Personnel to stay on trucks awaiting move or to sleep in Coy houses and move to trucks prior to moving off of the convoy. Telephone lines reeled in from Coys at 2200 hrs. Rations for 7 Days taken by all QM trucks and water for 2 Days. Brigade moved off past the SP commencing Brigade HQ at 0100 hrs followed by 21 Battalion then by the 28 Battalion passing at 0228 hrs. Brigade thus commenced the security move. Weather: Fairly fine but still overcast and cold. Actually misty over at dark and continued till about midnight.
- 19 Jan, Wed On the road. First day of move. Route as follows taken by the convoy: Lanciano – Mozzagrogna – cross river Sangro to 410 980 (Vasto 1.100.000 sheet 148) – Stazione di Torini Sangro 455 030 – Stazions di Castelboardino 523 991 – Caselbordino – turn off 508 952. 0530 hrs Brigade rested with head at 508 952 for Breakfast. Rested for 1 hour and did not move off till 0730 hrs due to cross traffic (Tks) remainder of 21 Battalion Convoy being left behind. 0730 hrs Convoy moved off for Caselbordino down main road to Vasto – to S. Salvo – to Pettaciato – to Termoli – San Savro – to Lucera. No halts allowed en route. Convoy broken up during the trip but all kept going mainly in Battalion groups. 1400 hrs Battalion arrived in the resting area with Brigade HQ at 1226 (Benevento 1.250.000 sheet 36). Battalions formed up in blocks of 40 Vehicles per Battalion block in order of convoy and parked up on the side of the road. Approx. distance done for the day: 100 miles. CO received instructions from 2 NZ Division located 1227 to settle in for the night on the roadside, keeping prepared for move next day. Slight mishaps befell some of the cook trucks but all joined the convoy that night. 1430 hrs CO in conference with Coy Commanders- matters for the move tomorrow discussed and it was made clear that Brigade is on its way to Fifth Army Front. 1640 hrs Tea was had on the roadside and troops settled down for the night. Weather: Very cold in the morning – severe frost. Cleared up midday but again cold by evening. Very cold at night.
- 20 Jan, Thurs En route. 0500 Reveille. 0600 hrs Breakfast. 0700 All packed and ready to move. Brigade HQ led off followed by the Battalions in order 21 Battalion, 28 Battalion and 23 Battalion. Route Lucera – Troia to Rd. junc. 1802 Ariano to Grottaminanda to Avellino to Monteforte to Baiano to Ciccino to Rist (Cancello) area ref 3865 and again the approx. distance done: 100miles. Convoy again broke up and Battalions travelled in Battalion groups. No halt times laid down but units have own halt times. 1200 hrs Battalion halted on the road at Monteforte for half an hour for lunch. 1430 hrs Arrived at resting place for the night. Arrangements of areas as for previous nights. 1500 hrs Coy Commanders in conference once more with the CO and plans set forth for tomorrows move. Vehicle casualties 12 in all but all recoverable and duly arrived with the unit overnight. 1600 hrs Tea had on the roadside after which the troops settled down for the night in bivouacs. Mt. Vesuvius in full view from resting area and makes a very interesting sight for the troops. Country much drier and cleaner than other side and on the whole quite different from that on the Eighth Army Front. Weather: Fine all day although cold morning but warmer towards midday.
- 21 Jan, Fri En route. Reveille 0300 hrs. Breakfast mainly of hot tea was had. Embussed and ready to move by 0435 hrs. 0440 hrs The Battalion moved off. For this move Brigade HQ, 21 Battalion, 28 Battalion and 23 Battalion and all in Battalion blocks entirely free of the others and independent of each other. Route: - Cancell0 – Maddaloni – Caserta Corner 228 12404 vicinity Alfie. 0900 hrs Battalion arrived at area (guide picked up at Alfie) and headed to convoy areas. Areas already marked by Capt Ormberg and party of advanced guard. Also with the Advanced Party were further Officers sent up from Bari direct to area. 0930 hrs Battalion establish in Italian house ref 237 052 Piedmonte d ‘ Alfie 1.50.000. 1100 hrs RMT vehicles returned to own units and Coms under RMT Coy control. Weather: Very chilly and cold in the morning. Heavy mist down entire Voltunno valley.
- 22 Jan, Sat Piedimonte d’Alife. Reveille 0700 hrs. Breakfast 0800 hrs. RAP 0830 hrs. Lunch 1230 hrs. Tea 1630 hrs. 1000 hrs A, B, C and D Coys go thru injections, Typhus 4. Coys again settling in and making themselves as comfortable as possible as prospects of long stay very probable. A Coy and HQ were fortunate in getting houses to stay in. All troops committed to bivvys, including B and D Coys. However dry nature of country provided no deterrent to bivvy construction. All troops much cleaner and smarter due to the excellent conditions prevalent – general appearance good. 1030 hrs Brigadier Kippenberger addressed the entire Battalion formed up in the square by Battalion HQ area. Talk was given on the conditions and general war front. As there was a predominance of 9. 10 Reinforcements (see appendix re percentage) he outlined history of Maori Battalion. Battalion appreciated his short address and the situation was pointed out on the maps. Weather: Very cold morning and cold night nights. Area on the whole had a very pleasant and sunny aspect.
- 23 Jan, Sun Reveille 0700 hrs. Breakfast 0800 hrs. RAP 0900 hrs. Lunch 1200 hrs. Tea 1630 hrs. 0930 hrs Battalion Church parade at Battalion HQ, the service being conducted by Padre Huata. It was followed immediately by holy communion, and was attended by over 100 communicants. 1030 hrs Battalion HQ undergo injection followed by HQ Coy. CO and IO left per jeep for the American Range to inspect a possibility of having a shoot for the Coys. They also visited 21 Battalion HQ. 1100 Fatigue party of 2 Other Ranks from each Coy reported to the Padre to clean area for impromptu concert which is to be held tonight. 1300 hrs IO left per jeep to search out a better firing area and decision was made on Wadi, north of Brigade HQ. 1400 hrs CO’s conference. Programme laid down for tomorrow and firing times in area laid down. 1300 hrs Deficiency parade by QM and all were made good. 1400 Football on the Battalion ground. Battalion HQ vs. Brigade HQ. 1800 hrs Concert held in the Battalion area and conducted by the Padre and it was quite good for so short a notice. 1830 hrs 140 reinforcements arrived in from Adv Base with 2 Officers, 2/Lt Reedy and I Harris (see appendix 1). All provosts at Base were withdrawn to fill up number of Reinforcements. They were marched straight out to their respective Coys. Weather: Very fine and sunny tending to be cloudy in the evening. First rain experienced at 2000 hrs.
- 24 Jan, Mon Reveille 0700 hrs. Breakfast 0800 hrs. RAP 0900 hrs. Lunch 1200 hrs. Tea 1630 hrs. 0730 hrs Party left per three tonner for Pompei on a sight seeing trip. Three tonner was supplied by the Battalion besides that from 21 Battalion. Allocations were as follows: - 5 per Rifle Coy and 10 from HQ Coy. Officers i/c Party were 2/Lts Urlich and Jones. 0800 hrs Capt Tutaki also left for Pompei with Staff Capt. 0845 hrs All Officers meet in the 2i/c’s house and discussed lessons from recent operations. Very constructive criticisms brought out. 0900 – 1030 hrs Inspections thruout the Battalion and Platoon drill taken by the Senior NCO’s while the Officers were occupied with discussions. 1130 hrs B Coy conducted firing practices uphill and downhill as beneficial to the present warfare, with rifles, brens and Piat mortar demonstrations. One casualty suffered by B Coy. Blast from Piat, wound in calf. 1330 hrs A Coy inter Platoon games were played on the Battalion football ground. 1700 hrs Party returns from Pompei and were very content with the outing. 1400 hrs Brigade Commander visits the Battalion and goes into conference with the CO. During the day shuffling of personnel into various Coys and positions. 1800 hrs Pictures “The More the Merrier” featuring Joan Crawford and Noel Moree etc was shown on a double session at Division Sigs area. Majority of the Boys attended. Weather: Overcast and slight rain and mist in the morning but cleared in the afternoon.
- 25 Jan, Tues Reveille 0700 hrs. Breakfast 0800 hrs. RAP 0900 hrs. Lunch 1200 hrs. Tea 1630 hrs. Syllabus as laid down by the CO. Morning C Coy field firing. 0900 -1000 hrs Inspection and squad drill. 1000 – 1200 hrs Weapon training all ranks and testing knowledge of Reinforcements. Afternoon D Coy field firing. Remainder of Section and Platoon tactics. Pay issued to Coys during the day in Lires. RSM and Mortars back on the job again and in conjunction with A/RSM. Taite spent the day checking on the ammunition. 1330 hrs Football on the Battalion ground: - C Coy v Battalion HQ win for the latter 6-5. A/Tk. v Carriers drew 3 all. 1500 hrs Many parcels arrived and distributed. Xmas copies of the NZEF times were also distributed. Court of enquiry conducted by Capt Logan, Lt Aperehama and 2/Lt Mahuika on the loss in action of 3 members in the Dec 16 attack on Orsogna. 1000 hrs 21 members of the Battalion were transported to MDS for boarding. All above personnel classed anxiety neurosis cases by Battalion examination. 2200 hrs 2/Lt Berghan and small party implicated in shooting case. Personnel were fired on by suspected lone enemy from civilian house with an enemy pistol. Case being investigated by Division Forces. 1600 hrs More maps issued by Brigade. Audit Board consisting of 2/Lt W Anaru, Pte Nehe W and L/Sgt Reneti. Balance of Regiment funds.
- 26 Jan, Wed Routine order No. 3 issued. Reveille 0730 hrs. Breakfast 0800 hrs. RAP 0900 hrs. Lunch 1200 hrs. Tea 1630 hrs. Syllabus laid down by CO. Morning: - A Coy field firing. Remainder 0900 – 1000 hrs inspection and arms drill. 1000 – 1200 hrs Stripping of Brens and stoppages. Afternoon Section and Platoon tactical exercises. HQ Coy specialist training all day. Coys to report on standard of weapon training by 1800 hrs and general knowledge of reinforcements in tactical (elementary). 0900 hrs CO and IO and all Coy Commanders proceeded to the Rd. Junc. Raviscinina 186060 in conjunction with all Brigade Officers down to Coy Commanders for a river crossing TEWT conducted by the Brigadier. Prior to orders etc. given at the Junc. Battalions were allocated their tasks and times then given for recce. Main scheme is the crossing of the Vulturno vicinity Raviscinina bridge 178055 and capture feature Nicola. 1200 hrs Battalion solutions given by CO. Decision made by the Brigade Commander to make a daylight exercise of it in the near future. 1330 hrs Football in the afternoon – D Coy vs. Battalion HQ win for the former. 1400 hrs CO and Adj. go the rounds around the Coy areas. 1800 hrs Orders from Battalion HQ to all Coys: - (1) All houses and villages not occupied by troops are declared Out of Bounds at all times. (2) Special order from GOC to Brigade Commanders to be read to all troops. Stealing of pigs and poultry henceforth offence to be regarded as very serious and a court martial offence if looting with violence. 1600 hrs Pamphlets issued to Coys on Intelligence Section matters. Weather: Slight rain during the night but cleared up over the morning. By the afternoon and towards night fall conditions very much improved. Visibility excellent in the morning during periods, for the first time visibility was really good.
- 27 Jan, Thurs Reveille 0700 hrs. Breakfast 0800 hrs. RAP 0900 hrs. Lunch 1200 hrs. Tea 1630 hrs. Syllabus: - All Coys 0900 -1000 hrs Inspection and arms drill. 1000 – 1200 hrs Every man to strip and assemble Bren gun and demonstrate two stoppages. 1300 – 1600 hrs Put into practice carefully prepared tactical exercise under Platoon Commanders. 0730 hrs Sight seeing party leaves for Pompei under 2/Lts. Mahuika and Crapp. Allocations as follows: - 4 per rifle Coy and 6 from HQ Coy and 4 from Battalion HQ. Arrangements as for previous visits. Capt. Lambert also proceeded to Pompei i/c Brigade HQ vehicle. 0900 hrs CO’s orderly room. Several cases dealt with. 1000 hrs CO with the Unit RMO visited American Bath Unit at Piedmonte di’ Alife. IO attended IO’s conference at Brigade HQ and serial photographs of general area Cassino – Rome received. 1400 hrs C Coy have hot showers in own unit showers. A Coy staged inter Platoon games. Policy now for one Coy only to have a game of football, each afternoon. 1500 hrs I.O visited 20 Armed Regiment at Piedmonte di’ Alife for instructional purposes for personnel from HQ Coy tomorrow. 1700 hrs CO’s conference to have been held at this hour due to Officers still in Pompei cancelled. 2000 hrs Battalion sight seeing party returns from Pompei. One member AWL. CO’s conference and matters discussed as follows: - (1) Visit to the 20 Armed regiment tomorrow. (2) River crossing exercise tomorrow in assault boats at Raviscanina Bridge. 1600 hrs Visit by Division Prov. re enquiry into a claim by an Italian of the loss of pigs. Pte. Shelford C found by court martial guilty of striking a Prov etc was placed under close arrest and guarded by Battalion Prov. Weather: Very fine. Cold during the night.
- 28 Jan, Fri Reveille 0700 hrs. Breakfast 0800 hrs. RAP 0900 hrs. Lunch 1200 hrs. Tea 1630 hrs. 0730 hrs Further sight seeing party leaves for Pompei consisting of 2/Lts R Smith and Aperehama with 4 from each rifle Coy, 4 from HQ Coy and 2 from Battalion HQ. Same arrangements as for the previous. 0830 hrs Party of 100 men (20 men per Coy) left for the 20 Armed Regiment for a three hour good will and instructional period. Mugs were also taken and tea was supplied by the 20 Armed Regiment. More cooperation between tanks and Coy Commanders be advocated. 0900 hrs 4 A/A personnel and IO left to join 5 Brigade IO at Division turn off corner at 0930 hrs. 21 and 23 Battalion representatives also present. Party proceeded to Unit assembly areas at H 1905 hrs in the case of 28 Battalion on Raviscanina turn off and areas were settled. IO then fixed tracks for the Battalion which are swept by the A/A personnel and were marked by white tapes. General scheme A and C together, B and D together. For more details refer to Brigade Operational Copy. 1020 hrs Coys emboss in trucks per Coy. Move per main road to assembly H 1905 hrs arriving 1045 hrs. 1100 hrs Coys led by Intelligence Section to the assault boat practice area Raviscanina Bridge (Mundor H). 1130 hrs 28 Battalion take over 48 assault boats from 21 Battalion and practice crossing the river Volunturno. 1230 hrs Tea collected at Battalion by 30 cwt. and brought to troops at 1245 hrs. Haversack lunch and tea only. 1330 hrs Coys completed and Battalion hand over equipment to 23 Battalion. Coys route march for two miles back and then transported to lines. 1000 hrs HQ and Battalion HQ have hot showers. 1200 hrs Party for MI returns to Advance Base with a possible trip back to NZ in the offing. 1700 hrs CO’s conference with Coy Commanders re the programme for the Brigade river crossing exercise tomorrow, LO from 21 Battalion also present. 1800 hrs Pictures once more in the Division Sigs area. It was attended by a large majority. 0830 hrs Whole of A/A Platoon (not utilised in mine sweeping exercises) attended a mine demonstration in the Division E Area. Capt Logan and Padre Huata off to Pompei on leave. Weather: Fine and sunny with a slight cold breeze.
- 29 Jan, Sat Reveille 0700 hrs. Breakfast 730 hrs. RAP 0900 hrs. Lunch 1200 hrs. Tea 1630 hrs. 0750 hrs Markers reported to RSM for Battalion parade. Dress battle order. 0800 hrs Battalion parade and Coys prepared to move off to river crossing exercise (Raviscanina). 0810 hrs Battalion left the parade ground and marched straight down the Wadi to North of Battalion HQ and struck the main Rd at 0830 hrs. Order of march as follows: - D, C, B and A Coy with the CO, IO and Adj at the head of the Battalion. 0910 hrs Break practically opposite the Free French Hospital. 0930 hrs Coys arrived in the areas and dispersed while the sappers and I Section personnel moved forward to mark tracks and sweep same for the route to the river. 1000 hrs 21 Battalion (1 Coy) took up covering positions on the river bank in the scheme. 1130 hrs Boats collected by A and B Coys and prepared in section lots for carrying. A and B Coys to make initial crossing followed by C and D Coys respectively. Brigade HQ and 15 Officers 6 Brigade took up good positions to watch the crossing. 1220 hrs B Coy led off carrying all 12 boats and followed by A Coy with their 12 boats and their reserves in order. 1250 hrs Forward Coys arrived at waters edge and launched their boats. 1300 hrs A Coy 100 yards north of Bridge crossed over. Starting Line fixed by the I.O and staff 100 yards over the river and bearing to objective Nicola feature (340 Meters high) 261 degrees. 1315 hrs Assault commenced. A Coy left with B Coy right with C and D Coys in reserve. 1415 hrs B Coy arrived at top most height of Nicola feature and fired success signals (2 greens). Brigade success and termination of exercise signals fired (2 Reds). Coys returned independently and marched back 4 miles to the camp. 1800 hrs CO’s conference and matters discussed. Slight comment on the exercises. Awards in the Battalion, M/Cs to Capt Lambert, Maj Matehaere, 2/Lt Baker. DCM to Cpl Barret and MM to Sgt Terito and Pte Nathan TT. Senior Officers to visit Pompei. 0930 hrs W011’s Taite C and Kaika R left for the UK on OCTU intake. Weather: Very fine in the morning. Chilly at night.
- 30 Jan, Sun Reveille 0700 hrs. Breakfast 0800 hrs. RAP 0900 hrs. Lunch 1200 hrs. Tea 1630 hrs. 0730 hrs CO with Maj. Henare left per the CO’s car for Pompei and Coy Commanders per own jeeps. Further Party of leave personnel for Pompei under 2/Lts Takurua and Christy. 0930 hrs Battalion church parade conducted by the Battalion Padre. This was followed by Holy Communion. 1330 hrs Football on the Battalion ground. Possibles vs. Probables. Selection of the Battalion team to play MMGs. 1700 hrs CO and party reported to have been lost en-route to Pompei. 1800 hrs CO’s conference with Coy Commanders. Notifications of the ceremonial Parade to be held on Thursday and presentation of Medals by the G.O.C. Intentions for tomorrow, rifle drill, squad drill and saluting on the march etc. preparation for the Parade. 2100 hrs Leave personnel reported in late and with 5 AWLs. Weather: Overcast all day and slight rain thruout the day. Cold mornings and evenings.
- 31 Jan, Mon Reveille 0700 hrs. Breakfast 0800 hrs. RAP 0900 hrs. Lunch 1200 hrs. Tea 1630 hrs. 0715 hrs All Coy Commanders with CO, IO and RMO prepared to move off to Piedmonte di’ Alife to attend GOC’s lecture. 0730 hrs Word was received from Brigade cancelling the lecture by the GOC. 0900 hrs Rifle Coys and HQ Coy carried out drill in preparation for the parade. Drill lasted three hours. During the morning and afternoon Coys read various sections of the M ML to all troops. This is as per Division RO instruction. 1030 hrs All Battalion Commanders met at Brigade HQ for conference. Ceremonial parade cancelled as likelihood of Division going into the line very soon. Possibly north of Cassino sector. 1145 hrs CO’s conference with Coy Commanders – general situations on the fronts given. Possible plans of Division also given. Due to cancellation of ceremonial parade Coys again took up section tactics during the afternoon. Coy tactics tomorrow. 1300 – 1500 hrs Coy conducted Section tactical exercises. 1500 hrs Battalion A Team practiced on the ground. Pay issued today to all Coys. Weather: Fine and pleasant day but very cold at night.