British preparatory attack on the Mareth Line
16th March 1943: A vivid account from an Artillery officer going forward with the infantry for a night attack
In Tunisia the Mareth line was hotting up as the 8th Army made preparations for their biggest attack since el Alamein. A series of raids and probing attacks were being mounted, mainly at night.
For the gunners in the Artillery such attacks meant long hours of hard physical labour feeding the guns. Then the main hazard was counter-battery fire from the German guns or possibly a bombing attack. For the infantry going forward there were all these dangers plus plenty more.
Then the fun really started. They were shelling that valley quite hard. Once we were lying flat and if you imagine we were the centre dot of a domino 5, we had 4 all round us about 20-25 yards away. They don't whistle when they get close but make a kind of screaming hiss which is very frightening.