From the book "In my father's foxholes and footsteps"

 

     A few days later, on May 2, the Germans had surrendered and after the official speech we were told that the 3rd Battalion was go to the city of Bolzano. Bolzano is located in the Alps. The Brenner Pass is just a few miles from the city and we were going there to settle disturbances between the populations there. I remember that well, because the whole Regiment went up in trucks from Trento. We were advancing between the German prisoners, who were on either side of us. We stayed there for about three or four days. The main intent, I guess, was to show force, calm the people and regain order. During the trip there were those who wanted the Italian flag to go up, others who wanted the German flag, while still other the Austrian flag.  In the end the our Battalion commander, who is now 80 years old and still alive, said “No, the only flag that’s going to go up is the American flag”. They were really beautiful places, we didn’t stay there too long at Solda, and we left after three or four days. We turned back south of Lake Garda to a small town. I can’t recall the name of it and we stayed there for several days.   In those towns I saw a lot of piles of rifles where I took one and sent back home. Got myself a pistol, a little Beretta. I also took another pistol but gave it away, I think. I’ll tell you why I think I gave it away.   I had a pistol, a very big one at that, but was always afraid of firearms in a way. I always kept them without ammunition.   A fellow had similar one and handed it to me. I pointed it in the air and pulled the trigger. Bang…Oh my…it was loaded. It really scared me. I could have killed somebody if I hadn’t pointed it up. Some people like to keep their weapons loaded; I don’t know why I pulled it.   I just wanted to check it and here it goes off. That had really scared me.

We didn’t stay very long on south of Lake Garda. On May 19 the 10th Mountain Division was sent farther east near the Yugoslavian border, in the vicinity of Tarcento where we camped for about a month.  I can still remember the valley in the midst of the beautiful mountains. There we began our drill orders mostly to show force because Tito’s men wanted the land that belonged to the Italians, particularly, Trieste. Trieste is similar to San Francisco. It is located at the end of the Adriatic Sea.  They wanted to advance but at the same time were intimidated by our advances so they didn’t attack, after awhile the situation calmed down.

I remember going to Trieste with a fellow, who I can’t remember his name. We boarded a streetcar; we wanted to see where it would take us. We ended up at the port, came back and returned to camp.

While in the Tarcento area we were giving passes. There were only small village there to see and I wanted to go to Rome. There were only a few passes to Rome. So I tell them I wanted to go to Rome.  I didn’t know how many, if any were left.  Turns out they were all taken. So I asked where else could I go, they responded Venice. Okay then I’ll go to Venice. I got a pass for week stay in Venice. Then I realized, oh my, I don’t have any money on me. Now how am I going to go to Venice?  I had a lot of cigarettes and three dollars. I saw some fellows playing craps and dice. I had never played craps or dice before in my life. So I started to bet, made 25 or 30 dollars and went to Venice.

The main part of Venice is located in the bay. On the outer part of the bay is next to the open sea. There are many nice hotels for tourists, so we stayed in one of those places. I’d always been curious about the English and why they placed their forks on the left side. I walked around and ate with the English, because the 8th Army, which was primarily made up of English, was stationed in that area. I took long bike rides there. Then I went back to my post.

On the  4th of July we were posted in Robic. We thought we were going to stay awhile being that we were one of the last divisions in Italy. But instead, by the middle of July, we received orders to return to the United States. The only reason why we were to return to the United States so soon was because we needed to go to the Pacific.  Japan was still at war.  On July 17 we left Caporetto to Udine on truck and to Florence by train were we stayed for about 10-15 days. On July 28 we boarded four-wheeled boxcars going to Naples were we boarded ship and headed back to the United States.

The war ended after the Germans surrendered. I came across a young German; he must have been 18 years old, a young man, who spoke english well. He said, “ We would have beaten you if only we had more men”.  They were still quite defiant, especially the young ones.  I think I saw him near Lake Garda. Yeah, he was still defiant.

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Credits

        Link all'accreditamento dell'Associazione discendenti della 10a Divisione da Montagna

                                      

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