ONLY THE ENEMY IN FRONT

di Richard Doherty (1948)

In early December 56 Recce relieved 15 Brigade of 5th Division. RHQ was established at Vastogirardi, B and C Squadron's assault troops were at Capracotta while A Squadron and the anti-tank personnel moved to San Pietro. In those positions the regiment saw out the year as snow fell around them, making movement almost impossible. On the west coast of Italy, Fifth Army had entered Naples on 1 October but their struggle on the Salerno beaches had been, to paraphrase Wellington, a close-run battle. The two British divisions of X Corps which had been in the first wave of invaders had included recce regiments in their orders of battle. In Fifth Army's situation there was little scope for the normal operations of a reconnaissance regiment and once again it was a case, for 44th and 46th Regiments, of helping to hold a line.

Believing that the Americans were the weak link in Fifth Army, Kesselring tried to drive a wedge between the British and American elements on the beaches. The attackers had the line of the River Sele as their axis of advance for that river marked the inter-Allied boundary in the beachhead.

  • R. Doherty, Only the Enemy in Front. Every Other Beggar Behind..., Donovan, London 1994, p. 80.

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