Report by A. L. Curry from 5th Army Front [Action Despatch No. 2]
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Arch Curry, a broadcaster attached the New Zealand mobile broadcasting unit, records a report from the 5th Army Front in Italy on New Zealand preparations for their assault on Cassino.
Elements of the New Zealand forces have just been switched from the 8th Army to the 5th Army.
During their time with 8th Army our troops took part in hard and bitter attacks advancing across the Sangro River and the Ortogna Road.
The move to join 5th Army was a closely-guarded secret. Titles, badges and silver fern emblems were removed from personnel and vehicles. Once they arrived, some days of rest and recreation followed for the New Zealanders, with rugby matches taking place in surroundings not too dissimilar to home. Mountaineers took the opportunity to head to the snow for skiing and others were able to visit Pompeii.
Training manoeuvres and parades took place, with inspections by General Freyberg.
So far, New Zealanders have been limited to patrols in support of the Americans who have already been in action.
Arch Curry describes the importance of Cassino, Monastery Hill and the famous monastery itself. Cassino commands the entry to a wide flat valley. The enemy have fortified their positions at Cassino, digging in to a depth of 10 feet with anti-personnel mines.
American guns are in action day and night. New Zealand patrols including one by the Māori Battalion, have resulted in minor clashes and prisoners have been taken.
On the roads leading to Cassino, Allied support vehicles can be seen for 50 miles in unbroken lines bringing forward supplies. The air forces can be seen against the snow-covered mountain backdrop.
Reference number 18867
Media type AUDIO
Collection Sound Collection
Curry, Arch, 1905-1964, Commentator
Date 12 Feb 1944