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Umbertide during the Second World War
This picture shows a 10th Division
AEC Mk II armoured car, from the
divisional reconnaissance regiment,
Skinner's Horse, crossing a Bailley
bridge over the moat.  The Rocca
can be seen to the left.  Note the
name given to the bridge - three
years before Indian independence.
10th Division infantry advancing
north up the Tiber valley with
Monte Acuto behind them, July
1944.  These soldiers are from
4th Battalion 10th Baluch
Regiment.   The Regiment's battle
honours include Citta di Castello.  
Following partition in 1947, the
Regiment became part of
Pakistan's army.
Shortly after the town had been
liberated, his majesty King George
VI visited Umbertide, as part of a
tour of the Italian front.  He is the
figure standing in the staff car
moving towards S. Maria della
Reggia.  He is receiving the cheers of
10th Infantry Division troops lining
Via Giuseppe Garibaldi.  The jeep
following carries 8th Army HQ
insignia.
British 8th
Army insignia,
based on a
crusader cross
Interestingly, the Tank Museum at
Bovington in the UK has a single
example of an AEC Mk II on display.  
This bears the Indian 10th Infantry
Divisional insignia.
Click on any image on
this page for an
enlarged view.
During the Second World War, Umbertide was very badly damaged during the allied advance north
towards the Gothic line, following the breaching of the Gustav line at Cassino, south of Rome in May
1944.  Because it was a heavily defended part of the Trasimene line, (see map below), the assault was
preceded by an artillery bombardment that badly damaged the town and killed some local residents.  This
followed an earlier air raid in April that caused 70 deaths and much destruction.

It was eventually secured on 5th July 1944, two weeks after Perugia had been liberated.  For access to
eye witness accounts of the war in Umbria, available in Italian and English, follow this link;
archives.  The
first troops into the town were units of the 3rd Punjabis, part of 10th Infantry Brigade, in turn part of
the Indian 10th Infantry Division - the "Diagonals".
The memorial to the
Resistance and to those
citizens who lost their
lives in the artillery
bombardment of
Umbertide
Indian 10th
Infantry Divisional
insignia
The King's Dragoon Guards were the first allied soldiers to enter the Niccone valley, which they did via
Preggio, following a brisk encounter with the retreating Germans.  The KDG had taken Perugia on 20th
June 1944, after the Germans had abandoned the city the night before to retire to the fortified
Trasimene line (see map below).  Once in the Niccone valley the KDG faced significant opposition and
could only make slow progress towards Umbertide.  On 5th July the regiment went into rest at Castel
Rigone.  A full description of the KDG advance can be found if you follow this link to the
regimental
history.
A map of Northern Italy showing the
many German defensive lines.  Hitler
was keen on impregnable fortress
lines that would never be breached,
and the German commander in Italy,
Kesselring, kept him happy with a
whole string of them.  All of which
were, of course, ultimately breached.
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