The 43rd Gurkha Lorried Brigade and the Capture of Padua, April-May 1945

Gurkha VCs of the Second World War Italy Campaign
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Gurkhas and the Empire Gallantry Medal and George Cross
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The 43rd Gurkha Lorried Brigade and the Capture of Padua, April-May 1945

Having been formed in 1943 and fought continuously in the vanguard of the Allied Italian advance since the breaking of the Gothic Line in late 1944, and winning many accolades in the process, the 43rd Gurkha Lorried Brigade, an armoured formation composed of the 2nd Battalions of the 6th, 8th and 10th Gurkha Rifles, had by April 1945, every hope of being some of the first and furthest northerly-advanced units in the Allied forces by the cessation of hostilities and pressed on actively.

On April 28th units of the Brigade were ordered to proceed with all speed to the ancient city of Padua to ensure its capture. Alongside New Zealand troops Gurkha soldiers from the Brigade were some of the first Allied soldiers to reach the city, being greeted with wild acclaim by its inhabitants and members of the local resistance. There were hopes that the Brigade would be ordered further north still (and 2/6GR would indeed be ordered to advance another 100 or so miles beyond the River Piave), to Venice or Trieste, but instead the majority of the Brigade were ordered to garrison and mop up final holdouts of German soldiers within Padua, as well as maintain order amidst a certain amount of score-settling amongst the local partisan population.

Days later, on May 2nd, news reached the Brigade of the surrender of all German forces within Italy, itself only days before the final surrender of Germany on May 8th, Victory in Europe Day.

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