- From the book "In my father's foxholes and footsteps"
- The arrival in Italy and the transfer to the Apennines
- The attack on Mt Belvedere
- The defence of Mt Belvedere
- Il Malandrone, Cimon della Piella and Pietracolora
- The conquest of Castel d'Aiano and Mt della Spe
- The Spring Offensive
- Tolè towards Monte Pastore
- The conquest and crossing Savigno
- Fly down into the Po Valley
- Crossing the Po river
- The end of the war in Italy
- Return back to America and to the family
- All Pages
The following day we proceeded west on the ridge along the road to Savigno where we arrived about 11 am. Usually a scouting party would be sent out first to check out if the enemy occupied the area. Yeah, they’d receive rifle and machine gun fire. We threw ourselves down towards our right into the left bank of the river. Shortly thereafter, some tanks showed up so we left it up to them. We withdrew to another small village and stayed there overnight.
Our mission on April 19 was to take control of Il Poggio. There was a spot on the ridge were a scout and also a sergeant were sent. I remember the Sergeant very well; his name was Andrew Battiloro and was from New York. He was a happy go lucky kind of fellow and a bit on the heavy side. He was the lead scout. It took a long while for them to get there because of the rough terrain. We were able to see him through the binoculars, we saw him fall and roll down a steep incline when the Germans opened fire. A German medic came out with a flag to hold fire so that he could give him first aid, risking his own life. He disappeared into the ravine and then came up empty handed. I guess that Andrew was killed. I remember him very well. I think it was three men that went up there to tell us where the Germans were positioned. On the way back they were hit by German artillery. After the area was cleared K Company was able to advance farther up. After the village was secured two more men were found in the ravine. Another two were lost, Steve Tobias and Jilka the Pollack. Jilka and I were very good friends, if I remember correctly he was a Pollack. They were both found dead and we didn’t know it at the time. A lot of the men were hit, but until the area was under control we did not really know of our exact loss. They lost their lives at Il Poggio. I would like to return to these places, Il Poggio, Rodiano and Monte Croce.
After leaving Poggio we went towards another small town. Sergeant Sullivan was left behind at Il Poggio with the machine guns. He was in charge of the whole weapons platoon, both mortars and machine guns. Later on I heard some more Germans attacked him. Evidently, the area was not completely cleared but we had gone on to the next village and left him there.
The German used this trick on several occasions; “prisoners” would come up waiving their flag and hands up. All of a sudden they would drop down and somebody behind them would open fire. This happened to one platoon, this was why we avoided capturing prisoners, it was too dangerous and we didn’t trust them at all. It’s all ugly, but that’s the way war is. Life becomes so cheap….real cheap.
So we went to the next town called C. Silvestri… were we encountered another German counterattack we responded by firing our mortars. Sgt. Dunbar was in charge of our platoon…of the mortar platoon. We had seen each other not so long ago at one of the veterans’ reunion in Colorado Springs. He has a business in Denver but I think he lives in Boulder. We agreed to meet again, but since then we never did. One day, if I get a chance to go to Denver I’ll see if I can drop by and visit.
At C. Silvestri, Sgt, Manchester was in charge of the platoon. He distinguished himself in a German counterattack and had seized the small village of C. Silvestri. I think he died some years ago. One of the fellows wrote to me and said we lost another man from K Company. We kept getting smaller. Also Sgt Ranta had also distinguished himself there. He had suffered two separate injuries during the seize of C. Silvestri. At which time he was promoted to Lieutenant. Wounded were taken to the hospital and usually never saw them again.
At C. Silvestri a hidden rifleman killed a sergeant. Sgt. Manchester, the one who I was at the veterans’ reunion, yelled in english to the German who in turn stopped running and that’s when Manchester shot and killed him. I went looking for some company picture to see if I could find Robert Manchester, he was a lanky young man with big mustache. He was a distinguished looking man.It was April 19 and we rested for one day.