During October 1944, the Irish Brigade took part in a series of bitterly fought encounters during a period when they came under command of 5th Army in support of an advance towards Bologna. Determined German resistance had emerged at the Gothic Line which formed an almost impenetrable defensive barrier that impeded the plans for an advance onto the plains of northern Italy before winter.
Under command of the US 88th Division, on 7th October, the Faughs started to clear German positions on Monte Codranco, north of Castel del Rio, but it took three nights for them to complete the task. After reverting to 78th Division, the Irish Brigade were then ordered to attack the area dominated by the mass of the Monte Spaduro massif. The initial attack on Spaduro during the night of 19th/20th October was led by the Faughs but the assault was thwarted when both A and B Company were overrun by carefully planned German counterattacks.This would result in the battalion being withdrawn from the line to re-group on a three company basis.
The Irish Rifles were then called forward and, after several days of planning, their attack went in on the night of 23rd/24th October. Despite determined German defensive action, they were able to take over Casa Spinello, which opened up the way forward for the rest of the division. The advance was continued by the Skins and as a result of these actions, 11 Brigade were able to occupy the whole of Monte Spaduro.
Immediately after the battle, the rains came, which meant that large scale operations on the Italian front would now be suspended until the weather improved in the springtime. A long dispiriting winter now lay ahead for the Allied armies in Italy.
Read John Horsfall’s description of the Faughs’ assaults during October 1944 on Codranco and Monte Spaduro.
4th October: The Irish Brigade transfers under command of 5th Army.
7th – 9th October: 1 RIrF assault on Monte Codranco.
19th/20th October: 1 RIrF attacks on Monte Spaduro are repulsed.
23rd/24th October: 2 LIR join final successful assault on Monte Spaduro.
October 1944 Roll of Honour:
Links to the transcribed October 1944 war diaries:
Day by Day.