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2nd New Zealand Divisional Artillery

A Brief Rest near Siena

A Brief Rest near Siena

The same night gunners were reassured to see many 155-millimetre guns drive past and next day they handed over to Americans. On the 15th and 16th they dispersed in a rest area between Castellina in Chianti and Siena. There, under oak trees in pleasant surroundings, they washed off the dust of the journey, maintained guns and vehicles, and relaxed. There was leave to Siena and Rome and also for almost everybody a happy two-day spell at the little resort of Follonica on the coast south of Leghorn. A few gunners hitch-hiked to Florence, the main part of which was officially open only to AMGOT38 personnel, by some subterfuge managed to cross the Ponte Vecchio, and spent fascinating hours wandering through a great city that was still part of no-man's land, its northern outskirts occupied by Germans.

Those who had the best opportunity to see Florence were members of the flash-spotting and sound-ranging troops of 36 Survey Battery. They had stayed on the Florence front in support of a Canadian division until 22 August and some of them had even managed to do some shopping in the city. Flash-spotting had not been easy and it was evident that the enemy was going to great lengths to confuse the flash-spotters. But the sound-ranging troop did extremely well, averaging more than a dozen locations per day. The two troops handed over to Americans and rejoined their battery near Castellina on the 22nd. They were in time to see Mr Winston Churchill when he drove past on the 24th; but they missed their leave to Follonica.

38 Allied Military Government in Occupied Territory.