Orsogna: New Zealand's First Italian Battle
Of all the hilltop towns on this part of the Italian Adriatic Coast, none was of greater natural strength. From the south, it appeared as a long line of stone-built houses perched precariously on an escarpment above the Moro River, its buttresses extending down into the cliff face. To an attacker approaching from this side it presented a formidable aspect. It was on this sector of the German Bernhardt Line that the New Zealand Division found itself, after moving to Italy. General Montgomery wanted to break through on this front and launch a left hook on Rome. With his Eighth Army exhausted by months of fighting, he was hoping the New Zealanders would provide just the punch he needed. But the Division, fresh from the North African campaign, was not the force it once was. Reforged with reinforcements to replace those who had refused to return after a furlough scheme that had turned sour, it was only just the beginnning to find its feet and Orsogna would be its first testing ground.