About the Author
Robert Boven fought during World War II in France, Luxembourg, Belgium, Germany, and Austria. He sustained several gunshot wounds while on patrol with the Luxembourg underground. He was assigned to the 43rd squadron, 3rd Cavalry Group, 3rd Army, and fought in four campaigns. Robert Boven is the author of "The International Organ and Tissue Retrieval Directory" which is used in many medical universities and hospitals throughout the world. He traveled extensively in Central and South America, subsequently writing travelogues.
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Because Captain Urban thought up devious ways of infiltrating the enemy in Africa, (such as the time he single-handedly destroyed one of Rommel's world class radios; or when he led the 2nd Battalion through the cork forest without being detected by the Germans); he was therefore chosen --- or perhaps more correct to say he volunteered --- to lead the "silent" march.
The nighttime march of over 4,000 2nd Battalion men including the 150 men of 'F' Company proceeded into the Sicilian mountain trails from Capizzi. They moved only at night between 2100 and 0500 hours in an attempt to remain undetected. The trails snaked through the mountains of Pelato, Camolato, and Albano, northeast of Capizzi. During the day the men concealed themselves and their mules in the brush along the trail. It was just as necessary for the mules to travel silently on the rocky trails as it was for the troops. The hooves of the mules were wrapped using worn-out clothes the GIs had discarded. Imagine holding a heavily loaded mule with cloth-wrapped feet from bolting and giving away the mission to the enemy! In open country there were trucks to carry food, ammo and supplies, but here it was men and mules that were the beasts of burden. Hopefully, the Germans were oblivious to the encroaching Allies.