66th Medium Regiment RA was equipped with 16 x medium guns - 4.5 calibre

The Regiment was part of 8th Army and took part in the battle for Cassino amongst others. Cassino eventually fell on 18th May 1944 and the advance on Rome began. It took about 3 weeks to reach the Eternal City. 66th moved through the city on the evening of 6th June 1944, DD day at Normandy. We were well received, flowers, fruit and cheering crowds, wine and the inevitable females...
They tried to board our vehicles, it was non stop through the city. Some enemy bombing took place in area Civita Castellano and shelling by both sides kept all on their toes.

It was great to be on the move again, the Germans were withdrawing to their next defensive line in the foothills around perugia / arezzo but still delayed the advance with air attacks, mines, shelling and the occasional counter attacks.

Our advance from Rome northwards was initially in support of 6th South African Armoured Division and later 4th British Division and 8th Indian Division. A truly international force.
Initially we struck north west from Civita Castellano to Viterbo and our next action position was at Monte Fiasconi, thence to Castiglione adjacent to main road, we were on the move almost daily and any time spent in firing positions were very limited, often not time for a cookhouse meal. !!

Our next move was to a position about one mile north of Orvieton on the 15th June. We spent 2 days there banging away and keeping the the enemy aware of our presence.
Later on when the battle had moved further north Rev Ken Daniels appeared on the scene at Orvieto, he was serving with 4th British Division Casualty Clearing Station and No 5 Field Surgical Unit. They occupied a large school opposite the Cathiederal and stayed there until fall of Florence when they moved north to new quarters at Fiesole near Florence.

We moved next to Citta Della Piave, where Battery Commander was wounded and his jeep captured. From there a short move to Piagaro on 20th June followed by a move to Pucciarelli which is just a short distance from south west corner of Lake Trasimeno. We were shelled here and one soldier was killed on a land mine, memories of the Lake are brief, it was very large and on the far eastern side, there appeared to be a large Castle ? otherwise it was the start of undulating hilly country, ideal for defence. Our Regimental history reports " here we were held up when greatly increased German resistance around the lake brought the advance to a temporary halt.

The next phase was the attack and capture of Arezzo en route to Florence, our next Gun position was adjacent to the west bank of the lake at Castiglione Del Lagoon 2nd July.
The leaving Cortuna on our right we shifted westward in support of 4th British Division at Monte Savino and thence in slow stages to Arezzo, and thence to lovely Florence which fell on 25th August 1944. The 6 weeks getting there were very hairy but that another story.

Finally the welfare aspects of the Battles were excellent, for example within a week or two of breaking north from lake Trasimeno, two hotels were taken over at Chiangiano Terme for short leave breaks for a good bath, a proper bed and some good food.

so ends the Gunners journey from Rome to Trasimeno in 1944. It was carried out in good weather, lots of sun and high morale. We hoped we had him on the run but sadly no.

The whole operation lurched on through a winter in the Appenines to May 1945.



LAKE TRASIMENO 1944 - 1999