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Battle Of Naples

by actiondesksheffield

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Arthur Harrison
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12 April 2005

This story was submitted to the People’s War site by Bill Ross of the ‘Action Desk — Sheffield’ Team on behalf of Arthur Harrisaon, and has been added to the site with the author’s permission. The author fully understands the site's terms and conditions.

On the 8th of August, 1940, I reported to the Royal Signals depot at Ossett in Group 20, which was for those born in July 1910. I was in a squad of 24 men. After square bashing, I was sent to Endcliffe Hall in Sheffield where I was on a course for six weeks. From there, I was posted to the 9th Armoured Division Signals.

The next move was to the 113 special wireless section, to go abroad to Algeria and on to Tunis. The next trip was to Selerno in Italy where I watched the battle of Naples from amongst the lava of Mt. Vesuvius. At Monte Casino, where progress was halted, a number of our unit was allocated to return to the UK to prepare for the Normandy Landing at Arramanches on June the 6th, because of bad weather in the Channel. We landed in France; that was with 1 SW Group D plus 4. We progressed to Brussels where we remained until the thousand bomber raid. That enabled us to cross the Rhine.

The last place I was at was Minden; from there I left to be demobbed at Strensal in February, 1946.


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Message 1 - Battle of Naples?

Posted on: 12 April 2005 by Peter - WW2 Site Helper

So far as I am aware, British V Corps (US 5th Army) surrounded Vesuvius on 30th September 1943. So you would have been on the slopes on either late afternoon on 30 September or 1 October, so what you saw were the closing stages of a civilian uprising.

The people of Naples rose against the Germans on 27 September triggered by the Germans plundering shops, requisitioning transport, and rounding up thousands for forced labour. The rising started in the afternoon when German soldiers began plundering a large shop in Via Roma. What started as a fracas and skirmish with knives ended with the Germmans retreating from the shop but firing back and killing a youth who was passing by and, following that, fighting quickly spread through the whole city.

Resistance took place from windows and rooftops from hundreds of improvised resistence fighters with improvised weapons and arms from dead Germans. The next day the fight was still raging and Colonel Scholl, the German area commander, brought up tanks against the insurgents, but at a very heavy cost in lives eight tanks were immobilised and set on fire, holding up other tanks behind them in the narrow streets. The struggle grew and barricades were erected. On 29 September there were furious engagements with more tanks brought in. In the evening a truce was declared for 30 September, to clear dead and wounded, but it quickly broke down and heavy fighting continued. It was on the evening of this day that the Germans withdrew from the city on news that the Allies had reached and surrounded Vesuvius.

The first Allied troops into Naples entered unopposed on 1 October 1943. They were the King's Dragoon Guards.



Message 2 - Battle of Naples?

Posted on: 13 April 2005 by Trooper Tom Canning - WW2 Site Helper

I wondered about the battle of Naples as all we ever heard of that city was that the main battle was fought with the DDT sprays when most of the city's population were sprayed in an attempt to prevent all sorts of diseases spreading throughout the two Armies. Another big Battle was when the Canadians were given some leave after - I think the Ortona battle and all made for Naples to which the Americans did not take too kindly to this as they had - they said - captured the City and so it was theirs - so there - the Canadians were not too impresssed and so the fight was on .... I believe the Canadians won but for ever after they were barred from the city, naturally when we joined the Canadian Corps - we were also barred ! ALL British and Canadians were barred from the Isle of Capri as well ! Gracie Fields not withstanding, didn't do her reputation any good ! Didn't stop us from going to the Nelson Club though - that was British !

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