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2nd New Zealand Divisional Artillery

On to Trieste

On to Trieste

Beyond Monfalcone 9 Brigade deployed and the guns also. It was not until noon on 2 May that they moved on. A few miles past the town the road branched into two, RHQ and page 729 46 Battery of the 4th Field taking the lower and 25 and 26 Batteries the upper one. Enemy in various pockets were still aggressive and the 4th Field leapfrogged 25 and 26 Batteries forward on the inland route. The second-in-command, Major Reed, was ordered to deploy a battery against enemy at Prosecco in the hills above the beautiful promontory and palace of Miramare. The 12th Lancers were held up and Reed drove forward in a jeep. It was the only unarmoured vehicle in the forward area, and in taking it there under shell and small-arms fire Reed showed more initiative than artillery FOOs and LOs, some of whom were in Sherman tanks. Sizing up the situation quickly, Reed called down accurate fire and disposed of the opposition. After 20 minutes the Germans surrendered. This was one of many such incidents in Reed's wartime career and it figured prominently in the citation for his DSO. These were the last NZA rounds of the war.

The 5th Medium also had a series of swift deployments and sharp actions on 2 May. Four times they fired until opposition ceased and then they moved on, determined to make up for the fighting they had missed through a temporary shortage of 5.5-inch ammunition. Their gunnery was superb. ‘We were proud of this great Regt who had fought so long and so hard at our side’, Nicholson says. ‘We had long since come to regard them as our own.’

When 25 and 26 Batteries gained from Prosecco their first glimpse of Trieste the light was already fading. In pitch darkness on slippery hillsides they drove on and then deployed in the open above the city. ‘Everyone in a very bad mood’, one gunner wrote in his diary. ‘Wet ground, wet tents…. Firing in the hills to the west.’ RHQ and 46 Battery were much better off. They drove along the dramatic coast road, through tunnels in the rock, past Miramare. In the city the Italians welcomed them not only as ‘liberators’ but also as protectors from the Yugoslav army and their local sympathisers, the Slovenes who lived in the surrounding hills. The battery deployed in the railway yards.