The stories of sacrifices, valour and resilience shown by Indian soldiers in Italy campaign during World War-II echoed on the second day of the 4th Military Literature Festival today. A session “The Indian Army in Italy during World War II” was held virtually, in which eminent military historians, Dr. Robert Lyman, Dr. Alexander Wilson, Professor Niall Barr, Mr. Gareth Davies and Colonel (Retd.) Patrick Mercer took part.Moderating the discussion, British Military Historian Dr. Robert Lyman, who has authored a number of popular books on the 2nd World War, said that the contribution and valour of the Indian soldiers has been carved in golden letters of World History and would always be remembered.Dr. Alexander Wilson, who teaches Military History at Defence Studies Department in King's College, London, highlighted the significance of the India soldiers in the British army, besides strategic tactics and cooperation among the allied forces during the war. Professor Niall Barr, Professor of Military History at King's College London, said that Indian army was the largest voluntary army, who fought the most fierce battle of the 2nd World War on the account of terrain and weather as well as tough and determined force i.e. German in Italy.
The Indian troops were engaged in a heroic mission from 1943 to 1945 during which 5,782 made the supreme sacrifice during the Italian campaign. The story of their bravery and their sacrifice is still talked about in Italian cities and villages, he said.Recalling the battles fought by Indian troops in the Italy, Warfare Analyst Mr. Gareth Davies and Colonel (Retd.) Patrick Mercer, a Military historian, worked for BBC as a journalist and MP for Newark from 2001 to 2014, said that The fourth, eighth and tenth Indian Infantry Divisions were employed in the battle for the capture of Monte Cassino and in the bitter campaign that followed for the breaching of the Gothic Line. These Infantry Divisions along 43rd Independent Gurkha Infantry Brigade fought with great valour. The contribution of Indian soldiers in the Italy campaign is well known. Almost 50,000 Indian troops, mostly between the ages of 19 to 22, fought for the ‘Liberation of Italy’, they added.The heroism of the Indian soldiers was visible in the battle to take Monte Cassino and battle for Sangro River and the battle of Gothic lines. Indian soldiers laid down their lives fighting for Italy against fascist forces, they added.