Irish Brigade

The story of the 38th (Irish) Brigade in the Second World War

Faugh a Ballagh        Nec Aspera Terrent         Quis Separabit

Cracking The Gustav Line

Following the commencement of the assault on the Gustav Line on the night of 11th/12th May 1944, the Irish Brigade was moved to a concentration area behind Monte Trocchio, and started crossing the River Gari on 14th May. The Divisional Commander, Major General Keightley, had set four objectives for the brigade, naming them after English countryside hunts. In order, these were called Grafton, Pytchley, Fernie and Bedale.

The Irish Brigade’s assault began on the morning of 15th May with the Skins moving forward onto the Cassino to Pignatoro road. Over the following two days, the Irish Rifles attacked Colle Monache at Sinagoga, the Faughs moved north and east to cut Route Six and on the afternoon of 17th May, the Skins entered the fortified village of Piumarola.

Following the success of 78 Infantry Division’s assaults along the Liri Valley and the outflanking of defensive positions by French forces to the south, the Gustav Line had now been totally breached and this led to a German evacuation from the Abbey at Monte Cassino.

Read Pat Scott’s narrative of the Irish Brigade’s attack on the Gustav Line:


Preparing for Battle.

Crossing the Gari.

The Skins’ assault on Grafton.

Planning for Pytchley.

The Irish Rifles attack Sinagoga.


The Faughs reach Route Six.

The Skins attack Piumarola.

The Irish Rifles on the Piopetto.

Messages of Congratulation.

Read ‘Advance towards Ripi’ here.


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