6th Armoured Division in the ‘soft underbelly’

  • -

6th Armoured Division in the ‘soft underbelly’

Category : Articles , WW2

 

If anything this image shows us just how tough it was for the South Africans fighting in Italy during WW2. Unlike the usual images of victory and triumphal equipment and men, this image shows us just how hard the fighting was and the awful toll taken by the South Africans.

Here are two of the 6th South African Armoured Division’s American made Sherman tanks disabled in the battle to take the Peruggia highlands, Italy. 1944.

Winston Churchill’s idea that they could strike at Nazi Germany via Italy and what he called ‘the soft underbelly of Europe’ proved to be anything but soft and easy – as the Allied came up against well trained, cohesive and determined German defenders – in extremely difficult mountainous terrain – well suited to defence.

The environment proved extremely hard going for an armoured attack – which is exactly what the 6th Armoured Division was tasked to do, and to add to the hardship – extreme weather played a role too with plummeting temperatures, snow, slush and mud.

In fact to Churchill’s point the troops sarcastically called the Italy campaign ‘a tough old gut’.

These South Africans proved time and again what a tough and resilient nation we are, and our full respect to them all.


Search this Site

Next Event

Sep
23
Sat
2017
10:00 Battle of Square Hill Parade @ East Sheen Cemetery
Battle of Square Hill Parade @ East Sheen Cemetery
Sep 23 @ 10:00 – 15:00
Battle of Square Hill Parade @ East Sheen Cemetery | Richmond | England | United Kingdom
Inaugural Battle of Square Hill Parade Purpose: We remember the contribution of the South African Cape Corps battalion which helped the Allies – lead by General Allenby – break through to Damascus and knock the
Nov
11
Sat
2017
10:00 Armistice Day 2017 @ Richmond Cenotaph
Armistice Day 2017 @ Richmond Cenotaph
Nov 11 @ 10:00 – 15:00
Armistice Day 2017 @ Richmond Cenotaph | England | United Kingdom
Purpose: Each year at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, we observe a Two Minute Silence. Armistice Day on 11 November marks the end of the First World War and

SA Legion Formal Ball

The Big DaySeptember 16th, 2017
The big day is here.

Shopping Cart

Your shopping cart is empty
Visit the shop