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Italy Volume I: The Sangro to Cassino

(g) Emergency Air Supply:

(g) Emergency Air Supply:


As it was daily hoped that supplies by porter would reach the isolated troops or that they would be relieved, the requests for air supply were invariably made when the aircraft were loaded with bombs and committed to other tasks. The reloading with supplies, the need to brief the pilots again and the packing of the containers often cost valuable flying time. Earlier requisitions were suggested.


Standard packs with a single type of commodity were not satisfactory. The loss of one such container could have serious results. Hence composite packs containing ammunition, food, water and medical supplies were soon preferred.


Of the two types of container used, the expendable petrol tank, dropped without a parachute, was suitable only for rations, but it fell more accurately from 50 feet. The padded canvas container, dropped by parachute, was often carried wide by air currents, but it was easier to locate. It was found that the padding could be advantageously replaced by socks, blankets and warm clothing.


As the troops were isolated for some time and were using local wells, it was found wise to drop radio batteries, rum and water sterilising outfits.