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Medical Units of 2 NZEF in Middle East and Italy

The Division Attacks

The Division Attacks

In daylight on 13 July 6 Brigade made the first advance against this heavily wooded arc of peaks and captured Mount Castiglion Maggio and Mount Cavadenti, and on the nights of 14-15 July and 15-16 July overcame stronger opposition to take Mount Lignano and Mount Camurcino.

For the action A Company, 6 Field Ambulance, moved up and occupied three houses on the fringe of the village of Castiglion Fiorentino as an ADS. Batteries of 25-pounders were sited immediately to the rear of the ADS buildings, which jarred and shook to persistent counter-battery fire during the afternoon and evening of the 14th. At midnight the uproar rose to a crescendo as heavy concentrations were fired in support of the infantry attacking Mount Lignano. That night brought 30 casualties to the ADS and the following day 61.

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With the capture of Mount Lignano and Mount Camurcino by the New Zealanders, Eighth Army troops pushed on through Arezzo to the Arno, and by the 17th practically the whole of 2 NZ Division was withdrawn from the line.

Fourth Field Ambulance, moving with 4 Brigade, had reached Civita Castellana, about 30 miles north of Rome, on 13 July. At this point orders were received for HQ and A Companies to remain in the vicinity and establish a rest camp for parties from the Division going on day leave to Rome.

For the camp an excellent site was found—an expanse of grassy parklands with magnificent oak trees for shade. A further asset was a large well from which a windmill delivered clear, icy-cold water sufficient for complete ablution arrangements, including showers which were heated at suitable periods. These facilities were greatly appreciated by the leave parties after their long, dusty ride in the back of three-ton lorries.

To accommodate 200 visitors on their way to and from Rome, seven tarpaulins were erected. Parties of 100 other ranks and four officers would arrive from the Division in the early evening and be provided with dinner and lodging for the night. Early in the morning they would depart for Rome to see the sights on organised tours and would receive their meals at the New Zealand Forces Club. They would return to the camp late at night (by which time another party would have arrived from the Division), stay the night and be given breakfast before returning to the forward area. Unit cooking arrangements were fully extended at this time, but the cooks were equal to the task.