guns firing before dawn in the Gothic line barrage
This last factor was largely re­spon­si­ble for the pos­i­tion be­com­ing known as “DEATH VAL­LEY”.  A large am­mu­ni­tion dum­ping pro­gramme was laid on which was any­thing but a pic­nic with the roads un­der ob­ser­va­tion.  Des­pite con­si­der­able cas­u­al­ties to per­son­nel and vehi­cles the am­mu­ni­tion was dum­ped as re­quired.

GOTHIC LINE - 25 AUG. '44.

27.  On the 25th August 1944 Lt-Col. G.A. Ran­kin ar­rived and “H” hour was 2359 the same day.  Two Ital­ians com­plete with maps radio and bi­no­cu­lars were cap­tured in the town which ex­plained the rea­son for the very ac­cur­ate shel­ling of our gun pos­i­tions.  “H” hour and the start of the bar­rage on the ME­TAURO de­fences with flashes of guns light­ing up the sky for miles around was the sig­nal for spir­its to re­vive and every­one was happy to be pitch­ing the stuff back the other way once again.  This be­gan a solid two weeks of mov­ing thro­ugh the de­fen­ces of the GOTH­IC line.  The wea­ther was very warm, the roads dusty but the traf­fic was well con­trol­led and there was min­i­mum of con­ges­tion.