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Irish Brigade

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

Faugh a Ballagh        Nec Aspera Terrent         Quis Separabit


War Diaries – 16th April 1943

Brigade HQ – Chaouach.

1430 A conference was held at Command Post with a view of an attack on Tanngoucha. Commanders attended. The artillery plan was to bring down concentrations on other areas to gain surprise and lead enemy reserves in the wrong direction, then to give Tanngoucha by concentrations just before the attack. Zero was fixed for 0001hrs 17 April.

1800 The following came under command 38 (Irish) Infantry Brigade: 6 Innisks, 2 LIR, 1 RIrF, 5 Buffs, 56 Recce. 2 LIR and 1 RIrF remained responsible for same areas as previously (Bettiour and Kef el Tiour). 56 Recce were relieved by 5 Buffs on infantry positions guarding the east approaches to the Chaouach and 56 Recce and a coy 5 Buffs concentrated area Chaouach. 2 LIR were ordered to send recce patrol to find out if Heidous was occupied.


1 RIrF – KEF EL TIOUR.

0000 A thick mist had come down by this time, reducing visibility to a few yards. Owing to this fact, Bttn HQ and HQ Coy did not arrive. Communication between command group and the adjutant had broken down, and no information as to our whereabouts could be passed back. Runners had to be sent out to find the adjutant and lead Bttn HQ and HQ Coy up. Coys also had some difficulty and getting up the remainder of their stores.

0400 Bttn was complete less the adjutant and rear link wireless. A thick mist still made visibility bad. C Coy report having take 30 prisoners on 659 and a 3” mortar.

0500 Patrols were sent out by coys to give warning of possible counter attack. Several of the patrols were lost in the mist, some returned when the mist lifted.

1000 The mist lifted and the enemy put in attack on A Coy’s position. Machine gun fire and sniping continued with varying intensity throughout the day.

1200 A Coy reported that the situation was under control, but that they had had some casualties. Evacuation of these was difficult owing to the sniping. The gunner OP Captain Brown was wounded. A German officer crawled to within ten yards of his trench before he realised it. When he saw him, he stood up in his trench amd shot him. Lieut MG Trousdell was also wounded in this action.

1230 The adjutant arrived with the 21 set and communication established with brigade. He reported that rear Bttn HQ had been attacked in the night on Bettiour. The rest of the day was fairly quiet with intermittent sniping and mortaring.

Captain WH Harvey RAMC was wounded by a splinter from a mortar bomb.

Captain DL Jefferies MC was reported having died of wounds in Beja.

Captain Nicholas Jefferies MC, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

Corporal Thomas Addey, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

Corporal George Flowers, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

Fusilier Albert Grice, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

Fusilier Isaac Henry, Royal Irish Fusiliers.


6 Innisks – CHAOUACH.

0130 B Coy leave to picket road at area 526413.

0200 D Coy leave to picket road area 519412.

Lieut Ablett left Bttn to take up duties as instructor at 3 GRU.

Lieut Lambert Porter and 57 ORs arrived as reinforcements.

Captain Kingsmill left Bttn 14 April to return to Canadian Army in England.

1245 CO goes to Brigade and receives orders for Bttn to attack Djebel Tanngoucha J5645. To right 1 RIrF hold pt 622 J560455 and pt 633 J5545. 1 East Surreys are on Djebel el Ang J5445. 2 LIR on Djebel Betiour J5444.

1415 Bttn O Group goes to Brigade OP to view ground.

1500 CO attends conference at Brigade to work out artillery fire plan. 2 Field Regiments, 1 Medium Battery, and one of Heavies are in support.

1730 Bttn leaves by march route to assembly area 542445 via Kelbine 535431. O Group goes forward to HQ 1 RIrF to view ground on arrival, It is found that 1 RIrF have not taken pt 622 J 560455, which is still in enemy hands. It is decided that 1 RIrF will capture that point as first phase.

Plan for attack: C Coy right, A Coy left, S/L track running south from pt 622 J5645. D Coy and B to follow two hundred yards behind C and A respectively. When A and C have reached objective, B and D will go through A and C, search forward and then consolidate on reverse slopes. C and A each to have one mortar under command. Hundred beehive mines will accompany B and D Coys with a section of sappers to each coy. 1 RIrF will take and hold pt 622 before zero. Zero is 2359hrs. Coys to be forward up by 2345hrs. Essential stores to be taken in carriers to mule point at Kelbine 530430 and then on mule pack. Compo rations for 17 April will be broken down and carried on the man.

1930 Bttn arrived in assembly area. At last, it is found necessary to change round D and C Coys.

Fusilier Henry Mandy, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

Fusilier Thomas Picker, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

Sergeant Arthur Fenton, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

Fusilier Robert Curzon, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.


2 LIR.

1000 RIrF occupied position Point 623 (5645). F Company taken over company positions of 5th Northants. Enemy shelling track 543433 – nine shells in two minutes. Five more in south-west of this.

1030 Own artillery shelling 577448.

1045 Own artillery shelling Tanngoucha.

1100 Enemy mortaring E & G companies at Point 668.

1535 Bettiour shelled by 2 or 4 field guns. Firing from easterly direction for five minutes.

1540 Area again shelled. Intensive for several minutes.

1600 4 prisoners of war surrendered to H Company.

2200 F Company send out local patrols – no contact made.

2200 Innisks pass through our lines prior to attack on Tanngoucha.

Rifleman William Carrig, London Irish Rifles.

Rifleman Hyman Reuben, London Irish Rifles.


 

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