600 feet at Takrouna - a comparison familiar to B Company


Just how high is 600 feet?  

Well, for the men from B Company the height can be compared to the height of Mokoia Island in the middle of Lake Rotorua, New Zealand.  When you look at the cliffs of Takrouna, the sheer strength, determination and bravery that it took to scale them is staggering to the imagination.  

No doubt the muscular endurance and power in Haane Manahi's shoulders from being a champion swimmer contributed to him being able to acheive such a climbing feat while under fire from the enemy. 


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Refer to Haane Manahi's VC Citation

Submitted by TeAwhi_Manahi on

Comments (1)

I found this in the Evening Post, 1 May 1943, Page 5, titled 'Heroic Maoris': HEROIC MAORISTHE FIGHT AT TAKROUNA(Official War Correspondent, N.Z.E.F.) NEAR ENFIDAVILLE, April 21. Second Hell is the name the Maoris have given the summit of the Takrouna Heights. It must have been that, with the fire of the enemy field-guns and mortars and at least 100 machine-guns harassing them all day, and with our own artillery crashing back at the enemy positions to the north and round the foot of the crag. The precarious position of the Maoris holding the summit was obvious, for the stone buildings which they occupied stood out as the most prominent artillery target for miles round. Three sergeants had led the little party of twelve men who climbed the precipitous southern face of Takrouna crag in waning moonlight on the morning of April 19 while the battle which had opened several hours earlier raged round its foot and among the neighbouring hills. Clambering up and struggling through the cleft cliff-face, drawing themselves by precarious hand-holds and foot-holds, and hurling grenades into enemy machine-gun nests, they gained the summit just after dawn and drove the enemy holding the battered fort, mosque, and native houses on the crest into the section of the village lying on the slopes below the summit. So quickly did they climb that they surprised a German officer who was manning an observation post over the precipice and took him prisoner. With grenades, tommy-guns, and rifles they cleared the whole summit of the enemy and held out there throughout the shell-racked day. Soon after that a New Zealand artillery officer worked his way up the crag to establish an observation post in place of the German, and here this small band of stalwarts, reinforced by another dozen or so men during the day, held out till they were relieved on the following night. Eleven of the first scaling party were Maoris, all from the same district, and the twelfth was a European sergeant from a sister battalion. One Maori sergeant was killed, the European sergeant was shell-shocked, and only one Maori sergeant and one private returned unscathed out of the original twelve. When the scaling party reached the crest it was quickly cleared of the enemy, some of whom surrendered and others were dealt with by bayonet and hand-grenade. But from vantage points below and sniping posts and machine-gun nests in the cliff-face the enemy could keep this little island of resistance under continuous fire. Through the mist which shrouded the foothills that morning, however, the men on the summit could see other New Zealanders on the flat below. Hailing them, they brought up a section of eight men of another New Zealand battalion, and these, with other men who had worked their way up the cliff-face, brought the force holding the fort, mosque, and surrounding buildings on the summit to about two dozen. ENEMY COUNTER-ASSAULT. Between 4 and 5 o'clock in the afternoon the enemy launched a determined ccounter-attack which, if weight of numbers and fire power could overcome dogged determination, would have swept the little party of defenders right off the summit. During this attack a party of the enemy suddenly appeared near the fort andcreeping up to one of the native houses in which four of our wounded were being tended by two medical men, threw a grenade through the window and machine-gunned the occupants. The New Zealanders wiped this enemy party out. Then some Maoris, working their way down the ridge into the enemy held section of the village below, scattered Italian troops with grenades. There were bitter moments then in hand-to-hand fighting on the crag. At nightfall the summit was still in our hands, and that night the gallant party was relieved, but it is typical of their spirit that two members of the original party of a dozen, including the Maori sergeant, returned on the next day. Meanwhile, with the advantage of our grip on the crest, our positions were consolidated, and a determined attack cleared the enemy from their positions on the slope, placing the whole feature securely in our possession.'Heroic Maori'. Evening Post,  CXXXV, Issue 102, 1 May 1943, p 5.