Published here by permission of Nick Ortiz. Note: I have made no corrections
to this narrative. It is not my place to do so and, I am fully convinced that under
the same conditions, I would be hard pressed to write a diary at all,
let alone mistake free. I have carefully checked for errors of my own.

MY LIFE IN THE INFANTRY
FEBRUARY - MAY, 1945
ITALY

NICK ORTIZ
473 Infantry Regiment
Company H, 2nd Batillion

==================================================================

PAGE 1

I was in heavy weapons company Watercool Machine Gunner.

Feb. 13. Checked out weapon and fired machine gun.

Feb. 14. We were alerted to move out.

Feb. 15. 1500 hours, we moved out. 2000 hours, Robinson and I on guard first, Mt. Belvedere. Everything on front, is enemy. We all seem to hear and see things. You're damn sure we're all scared.

Feb. 16. We moved into different positions. Patrol went out and didn't find anything.

Feb. 17. Combat patrol went out and we lost two men during this cold night.

Feb. 18. We lost two more men on patrol and enemy artillary shells our positions.

Feb. 19. Jerry, the German enemy, comes down into our positions, fires his burp gun at us and no one is hurt.

Feb. 20. It's very quiet today.

Feb. 23. Alerted. the G. Company captures 14 prisoners and they engage the enemy in small arms fire.

Feb. 24. Jerry uses his burp gun again and it sounds very close during the night.

Feb. 25. It's noon agian, and Jerry comes down to our position and shoots at us.

Feb. 26. It's becoming a habit, he still continues to fire at us. It's now 10:45 p.m. March order.

Feb. 27. We're near Somnia Colonia. We went to bed at 1:00 a.m. Germans are firing machine guns at us early in the morning. It's a pretty day.

Feb. 28. We had enemy artillary close today. The time 1600 hours. At 1900 we go for rations. What a walk and climb! Never have we value water as we do now.

March 5. Up to now, only burp guns are heard. This morning a sniper took two shots at our position, a house, no one hit.

PAGE 2

March 7. We're back from the showers and Jerry throws in a few shells.

March 8. Everybody, the Italians, Americans, and the English all seem to be in a hurry. Jerry is shelling our position.

March 9. Tonight, we advanced near enemy lines. Rifle company tell us that there was a little excitement. One man from E Co. got killed. Two Jerry are killed and took four prisoners. We are supporting E Company.

March 17. Up to now, its been quite. Jerry's snipers took shots at E six and H six buildings.

March 18. Two Jerrys were caught in Barga. They were dressed as GI's. They say that they (Jerry) will be back in Barga by Easter.

March 20. March Order. We're in Barga about 1,000 yds from enemy lines. We are supporting fire to our troops when needed.

March 24. We are relieved by the 92nd Division. They are the Black GIs.

March 25. We are relieved from the front lines.

March 26. Fired machine guns on range.

March 27. The Black 92nd Division commanding Officer, General Almond, inspects our troops.

March 30. Field Problem (hike), we walked 13 miles.

March 31. We walked back in camp.

April 1. I went to Mass. It's Easter.

April 2. Problem, we ride this time.

April 3. General Clark, the 5th Army Commander visits with our commanding officers.

April 4. March order. This is it. It's 1500 hours. We began our artillery barrage. We're on reserves.

April 7. March order. We're back on the lines again, to push and not to hold. Jerry is shelling us, some very close. We moved back at dawn. It's 0800 hours and we're to move up but Lt. Brown our Platoon commander hasn't come back from reconisence. The second platoon goes instead of us. PFC Charles Wells, squad leader, steps on mine and is killed. Platoon Sgt. Aren Scholten, witnesses the death. The boys really caught hell.

PAGE 3

Late that night, the 2nd platoon comes back. Our Bn. Col. Hamilton Lisle is killed and Captain Joe Macnak is wounded. Later, Major Robert W. Crandall takes command of the Battalion.

April 8. We're going up to the mountain. I'm carrying a 45 automatic pistol and a heavy machine gun tripon, six C ration, a bed roll and my entrenching tool shovel, which is about 90-100 pounds besides myself, and I weigh 125 pounds. On the way up, we saw Jerry prisoners brought down, four dead GI Negros, 4 dead Germans and one of our Battalion boys dead. We reached our objective only to get March order again. We got Jerry on the run. One boy from F Company falls 30 feet off a cliff and wasn't hurt bad. (This soldier has been identified by his daughter-in-law as Robert A. Morris. Here is her report; "My father-in-law was in the 473rd infantry in WWII. He was the soldier that fell 30 feet off the side of the mountain in Nick Ortiz Sr diary from April 8th...it says he wasn't hurt bad, but in fact he actually broke his back but did not find that out until much later in life. He said he was so afraid of getting caught by the Germans, because they were all over the hillside, that he with the help of the other soldiers was able to get back up the mountain and back with his group." I thank Mitzi Morris for providing this information. Robert is 90 (4/09/12) and doesn't talk much about the war.) Talk about the mountain goats, we've got them beat!

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