THE D-DAY DODGERS

di Daniel George Dancocks (1950)

The devastation along the Sangro had been conducted with typical Teutonic thoroughness. There were occasional skirmishes between Canadian patrols and parties of paratroopers; the West Novas ambushed one group on 17 November, killing four and forcing the rest to flee. But they were too late to prevent the enemy from scorching the earth. In a zone five miles wide and ten miles long, between Castel di Sangro and Sant'Angelo, «the Germans had seized all food stocks and cattle, evicted the unfortunate inhabitants and then demolished and burned their homes». When the Royal 22nd Regiment arrived in the village of San Pietro during the evening of the eighteenth, not a house had been left standing. The brigade war diary recounted a sad litany of destruction: «Castle del Guidice visibly burning... S. Pietro flattened, also burning. Ateleta observed burning. Capracotta also burning». Thousands of refugees had to be fed, clothed, and sheltered.

  • D. G. Dancocks, The D-Day Dodgers. The Canadians in Italy: 1943-1945, McClelland & Stewart, Toronto 1991, p. 144.

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