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New Zealand Medical Services in Middle East and Italy

Struggles for Orsogna

Struggles for Orsogna

The Division began to advance on 2 December across the Moro River on to Orsogna, probing also towards Lanciano and Guardiagrele on the flanks. In the early morning of 3 December a company of 25 Battalion entered Orsogna, but mud and accurate shellfire prevented tanks and anti-tank guns from being brought up in support of the infantry, who were forced to withdraw in the face of enemy armour. The enemy had checked the advance and was able to reinforce threatened positions; he was aided too by the weather, which prevented any offensive pending considerable engineering work on the tracks and roads. At the same time the Sangro was again in flood. For two days no bridges along the whole front could be used and the already great difficulties of supply were considerably increased.

On 7 December the attack on Orsogna was resumed. This time 24 Battalion entered the town and 28 (Maori) Battalion cut the page 504 OrsognaOrtona road, but once again counter-attacks forced withdrawals. An attack was made on the night of 14–15 December to seize a bridgehead astride the road to Ortona. Casualties were heavy but the objective was gained. Enemy counter-attacks were held but further progress could not be made against the enemy defences. As part of an operation by 13 Corps, another attempt at a breakthrough was made on the night of 23–24 December. But progress was limited, especially as tanks could not get through the mud. It was plain that in that sector at least there could be no decisive battle for months to come. The weather had taken charge. However, on the coast the Canadians drove the enemy from Ortona after desperate and costly fighting. For the next few weeks the New Zealanders' front became static.

plans for medical support of military operation

Operations against Orsogna showing Battalion RAPs and 5 Field Ambulance ADSs