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Documents Relating to New Zealand's Participation in the Second World War 1939–45: Volume II

Action after the Fall of Italy

Action after the Fall of Italy

General Alexander's Fifth Army landed in Salerno Bay on 9 September, and Italy made unconditional surrender to the Allies. General Wilson despatched a small party for Rhodes on the same day, but the overwhelming strength of the Italians, though numerical, was illusory for they evinced no desire to turn against the Germans and our party was refused permission to land. It was clear that without mounting a major expedition nothing was to be achieved in Rhodes and attention was turned to the smaller islands. By virtue of its airfield at Antimachia—the only airfield in these smaller islands—Cos was much the most important, and in one week 400 troops were ferried in. At the same time smaller contingents were introduced into Leros and Castelrosso.

The task of reinforcement went on steadily.