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One Rhodesian officer and seven other ranks were killed and more than double that number were wounded. They patrolled around the Axis right flank until being withdrawn to Timimi in December. Expecting an imminent attack by the Axis, the Eighth Army mustered every anti-tank gun it could from Egypt and Libya. The Germans and Italians assaulted Medinine the next day, but failed to make much progress and abandoned their attack by the evening. The Rhodesian gunners, held in reserve, did not take part in the engagement but were attacked from the air. The Allies advanced at first but the weather and terrain prevented the tanks and guns from moving forward, allowing the 15th Panzer Division to counter-attack successfully.
A flanking movement by the 2nd New Zealand Division around the right of the German forces, through the Tebaga Gap , compelled an Axis withdrawal on 27 March. British armour entered Tunis on 7 May The Axis forces in North Africa—over , Germans and Italians, including 26 generals—surrendered a week later.
By time Tunis had fallen, few Rhodesians remained with the First or Eighth Armies; most were transferring to the South African 6th Armoured Division, then in Egypt, or making their way home on leave. The Rhodesian Anti-Tank Battery retraced many of the movements it had taken during the campaign as it returned to Egypt. It gave me a queer feeling to look back and think how many of us are missing. After retraining for mountain operations in Lebanon, the LRDG moved in late September to the Dodecanese island of Kalymnos , north-west of Kos and south-east of Leros , off the coast of south-west Turkey.
In the fall-out from the Armistice of Cassibile between Italy and the Allies, which had been concluded in the first week of September, the Allies were attempting to capture the Dodecanese so the islands could be used as bases against the German-occupied Balkans. Most of the Italian forces had changed sides; the LRDG found itself in an infantry role, acting as a mobile reserve for Italian troops. The Germans swiftly mobilised to expel the Allied forces and launched heavy air assaults on Kos and Leros.
Without fighter support, the islands' defence was soon precarious; the LRDG and the rest of the troops on Kalymnos were withdrawn to Leros on 4 October after the Germans won the Battle of Kos. German air assaults on Leros intensified during late October, and at dawn on 12 November the Germans attacked Leros by sea and air. They held that position for three more days, during which they learned that the Germans were winning the battle. On 16 November, Olivey decided that holding the point any longer was pointless and ordered his men to split up, escape by any means possible and re-assemble in Cairo.
Over half of the unit reached Egypt. The largest concentration of Southern Rhodesian troops in the Italian Campaign of —45 was the group of about 1,, mainly from the Southern Rhodesian Reconnaissance Regiment, spread across the South African 6th Armoured Division. There were also two Rhodesian artillery batteries—the original Rhodesian Anti-Tank Battery and a newer unit of Rhodesian field gunners. It took part in the fourth and final Allied assault of the Battle of Monte Cassino in the second and third weeks of May , helping to force the Germans out, and thereafter advanced north-west up the Liri valley to join the Allied forces at Anzio and advance onwards to Rome.
The German commander Albert Kesselring fought a stubborn delaying action, gradually withdrawing his armies north with three Allied columns in pursuit, the 6th Armoured Division leading the most westerly spearhead of the Eighth Army in the centre.
The mountainous terrain and the effective use of anti-tank weapons by the retreating Germans made the Allies' superiority in armour less decisive and slowed the Allied advance north to the banks of the Arno between June and August , during which time the Rhodesian tank squadrons took part in Allied victories at Castellana , Bagnoregio and Chiusi.
The difficulty of using tanks in the mountains led to the Rhodesians of Prince Alfred's Guard temporarily adopting an infantry role, using dismounted tank machine-guns to support the Natal Carabineers during the fighting for Pistoia during early September. Hoping to repel Allied advances towards Bologna , the Germans took up positions on Monte Stanco overlooking the main roads towards the city.
Two Allied assaults on the mountain—one by an Indian battalion, the other by the Royal Natal Carabineers—were repulsed. A third, larger attack at dawn on 13 October provided the Rhodesian Company of the Cape Town Highlanders with some of the fiercest combat they encountered in Italy. Advancing up the slope on the Allied right flank while being fired on from two directions, they suffered heavy casualties but achieved their objective and held it.
Both Rhodesian artillery batteries provided support during the assault. When the line stabilised in November , the portion occupied by the 6th Armoured Division extended for 16 kilometres 9. The Rhodesians of the Cape Town Highlanders patrolled nightly around the village of Casigno for the next three months. In February the 6th Division was relieved by the American 1st Armoured Division and moved to Lucca , 15 kilometres 9.
A Squadron was composed of Rhodesians and B Squadron comprised British troops and a squadron of signallers; around 80 of the officers and men were from Southern Rhodesia. The group was reassigned from the Middle East Command to the Central Mediterranean Force in early , and deployed to the Gargano peninsula in south-eastern Italy, where a new LRDG headquarters was set up near the seaside town of Rodi. Britain hoped to compel the Germans to commit as many divisions as possible to south-eastern Europe so they could not be used on the more important fronts closer to Germany.
In June the LRDG was assigned to operate on the western coast of Yugoslavia , with orders to set up observation posts, report the movements of German ships and undertake minor raids. The successes of Josip Broz Tito 's Yugoslav partisans in Dalmatia led the Allies to despatch small patrols into Yugoslavia and Albania to contact partisan leaders and arrange co-operation with the Allied air forces.
Yugoslav partisans subsequently indicated targets for Allied bombing missions, with some success. Landing at Katakolo , they made their way inland to Corinth and, along with the British 4th Parachute Battalion , entered Athens as the Germans departed in November. Four Rhodesians were killed. The LRDG returned to Yugoslavia in February , operating around Istria and Dalmatia, where Germany still held portions of the mainland and certain strategic islands.
South-East Europe In The International Relations At The Turn Of The 20th Century (I)
The Germans had heavily mined the southern Adriatic and were attempting to cover their shipping by moving only by night, close to shore, and heaving to during the day under camouflage nets. The LRDG was tasked to patrol the coast, find the ships and report their locations to the air force for bombing. This it did with success. It remained in Yugoslavia for the rest of the war.
The heightened vigilance of the German garrison as the war entered its final phase made these operations especially hazardous, particularly as they were often attempted at extremely close quarters. On several occasions Rhodesian patrols only narrowly escaped discovery. During one action, two Rhodesian patrols catered for the possibility that Germans might be listening to their transmissions by communicating in Shona , an African language.
Kesselring's forces in Italy retained their formidable defensive positions in the northern Apennines in March The 6th Division rejoined the line in early April, shortly before the Allies launched their spring offensive , Operation Grapeshot. The South Africans and Rhodesians launched a two-pronged assault on the German positions over the road to Bologna at on 15 April The Cape Town Highlanders' advance up the steep cliffs of Monte Sole was obstructed by a German minefield that guarded the peak.
Hand-to-hand fighting on Monte Sole continued until dawn, when the Germans withdrew. The Witwatersrand Rifles meanwhile took Monte Caprara. The Cape Town Highlanders took Monte Abelle late on 16 April, advancing under heavy artillery fire to the summit before clearing it of Germans. The regiment lost 31 killed and 76 wounded during these actions, including three Rhodesians killed and three wounded. This victory contributed to a general Allied breakthrough in the area, and by 19 April, the 6th Division's armour was moving towards Lombardy and Venetia as part of the Fifth Army's vanguard.
American and Polish troops entered Bologna on 21 April. The South Africans and Rhodesians advanced north-west towards the Panaro river. The Special Service Battalion's Rhodesian squadron, moving forward alongside the Cape Town Highlanders, and the Rhodesians of Prince Alfred's Guard took part in numerous engagements with the retreating German rearguard , and suffered several fatalities.
The 6th Division crossed the Po near Ostiglia on 25 April and, after resupplying for a week, began a speedy advance towards Venice , aiming to cut off the retreat of elements of the German Fourteenth Army.
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The retreating German forces were by this time in such disarray that, during its advance from the Po, the 11th South African Armoured Brigade took prisoners from eight German divisions. On 30 April, the 6th Division joined up with British and American forces south of Treviso, and cut off the Germans' last escape route from Italy.
The German forces in Italy surrendered unconditionally on 2 May , while the 6th Division was moving north-west; at the time of the announcement it was near Milan. Twelve days later the 6th Division held a victory parade of its 1, guns, tanks and other vehicles at Monza racetrack , 16 kilometres 9. The Rhodesians separated from their vehicles after the parade, then spent May and June as occupation troops in Lombardy before returning home.
Southern Rhodesia's fighting contributions in Britain and western Europe were primarily in the air, as part of the much larger Allied forces. Rhodesian pilots and Allied airmen trained in the colony's flying schools participated in the defence of Britain throughout the war, as well as in the strategic bombing of Germany and other operations. The squadron's duties thereafter included patrolling, protecting convoys, sweeping around northern France and the Belgian and Dutch coasts, and escorting bombing raids over France and the Rhine.
From early , No. The squadron also escorted Allied bombers embarking on or returning from raids, protecting them from German fighters. Larger petrol tanks were fitted to the Typhoons to increase their range.
British Policy Towards Romania, –41
Several men from the colony served aboard cruisers and destroyers that engaged the German shore batteries. A small number of Southern Rhodesians parachuted into Normandy with the 6th Airborne Division during Operation Tonga , and some took part in the amphibious landings. Later that day it took part in sorties to assist the paratroopers holding the bridgeheads north of Caen. Through most of the European winter months it was based in Antwerp. In late March the Rhodesian fighters formed part of the force tasked with protecting the descending Allied paratroopers during Field-Marshal Montgomery's crossing of the Rhine.
During April the squadron operated over Hanover and the northern Netherlands.
Its last bombing operation was a raid on the Berghof , Hitler's residence, near Berchtesgaden in Bavaria on 25 April After Germany surrendered on 7 May, ending the war in Europe , No. Southern Rhodesia's main contribution to the Burma Campaign in terms of manpower was made by the Rhodesian African Rifles RAR , a regiment of black troops led by white officers that joined the front at the end of Most volunteers for the regiment came from Mashonaland , much to the surprise of the white recruiters, who had expected Matabeleland , with stronger martial traditions, to provide more men.
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In December , after three months' training for jungle warfare, 1RAR and the other two components of the brigade joined the Burma Campaign at Chittagong under the command of the 15th Indian Corps. A widespread belief developed among Japanese troops in Burma that the British Army's African soldiers were cannibals,  partly because of deliberate disinformation spread by the black troops themselves as they travelled around the country.