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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 – 27th April 1943

Brigade HQ – TANNGOUCHA.

0300 Lt Seymour, LO with 6 Innisks brought back news.

0430 Brigade HQ moved forward to Nullah 571473.

0600 Arrived at new location. 2 LIR followed up and took up positions in area 5747 on high ground either side of the track.

The positions now was that US troops had not yet come up on the left and pt 416 had to be taken before any advance on the left was feasible. Therefore, 6 Innisks planned to attack pt 416. Zero hour was fixed at 1130. Artillery support of 2 batteries (mostly smoke) was provided.

During the morning the IO and, later, the Commander visited 1 RIrF.

1130 Attack started.

1155 6 Innisks reported pt 416 taken with 20 PoWs, who surrendered on top.

1215 Division demanded Bombline, which was passed as follows: “629499 – 615510 – 590514.

1315 Further report of PoW: “32 of A/50 and 10/756.”

1400 6 Innisks reported pt 416 had false crest. Enemy counterattacked from the top with MGs and mortars and drove the Innisks back, taking some PoWs.

1430 The possibility of 1 RIrF staging a counterattack on the left was discarded as, with both flanks open, the Bttn could not be supplied if further forward.

1525 1 RIrF reported bringing in wounded German on their left front, J138 transferred to 756 Mountain Regiment.

1545 Commander emphasised to 6 Innisks, the importance of pt 416 for 1 RIrF’s advance, but appreciated the difficulties.

1550 Commander to Divisional RA L/T: “Full artillery programme needed. Pt held by two coys and physically worse than Tanngoucha. This was the key to the whole position and a prepared plan was required. The country had to be seen to be believed. A night attack was out of the question owing to the ravines and unevenness of the ground.”

1800 Brigade Commander’s Conference was held. 1 RIrF could work forward on the left, but this was precarious unless US troops come up. It was also possible to attempt pt 416 from the right, but this made artillery observation difficult to coordinate. Information from PoWs 26-27 April was produced for Bttn Commanders.

During the day, information was received from the rear Brigade that the idea of a Si Ahmed roadhead had been abandoned. The Brigade Commander had meanwhile ordered 214 Field Company RE to improve the mountain track in case this should happen.

A letter of Wireless Security was also received from 78 Division.

1945 6 Innisks reported HQ at track 593472 with weak coy either side, and coy part way up pt 416.

Night Quiet night and nothing to report.


1 RIrF – KEF EL TIOUR.

Bttn still in position on Ahmar. No orders for further advance received.

1525 One wounded prisoner taken.

Nothing further happened throughout the day.

Captain HGC Garratt, Captain PJ Proctor, Lieut CLT Tomkins, Lieut MC Trousdell, and 2/Lieut JA Finlay joined the Bttn.


6 Innisks – KEF EL SENACH.

0300 A and C Coys organised as one rifle coy of 3 platoons with two 3” mortars and advance Bttn HQ moved down Goulach gully with guides from B Coy to assembly area with object of attacking pt 416, which was yesterday occupied by an estimated strength of one enemy platoon. Remainder of Bttn stayed in its previous location ready to push forward to the succeeding Brigade objective. The attack was delayed owing to the difficulty in establishing communications between the FOO and 138 Field Regiment, which was in support. Start line was the first feature of the hill 300 feet up reached by B Coy yesterday. Enemy was seen on the second feature during the preliminary recce.

1130 Zero for the attack, supported by a lifting barrage of smoke and HE onto the second feature, which necessitated an extremely steep and rocky climb of 600 yards. Their objective was captured without difficulty and 22 prisoners were taken. A further false crest was then assaulted but the forward platoons came under heavy and accurate MG and Mortar fire. The Kef consists of no less than four bumps on false crests, all of which were occupied by the enemy and it became apparent that they had been strongly reinforced during the night. Meanwhile, wireless communication between the advance and rear Bttn HQ broke down for two hours and it became impossible to bring up B Coy, in time to carry all the objectives before a counter attack was made. A further difficulty arose in that the FOO was unable to find an OP from which he could recce further than the second false crest. The left platoon (C Coy) received heavy casualties from mortar fire and the right platoon was also held up by MMG fire. Under these circumstances, a withdrawal was ordered to the second ridge, which was held without difficulty. The remainder of the Bttn moved up and took up positions on the reverse slopes of the feature.

Lance Corporal Thomas McMullan, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

Fusilier Harold Brown, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

Fusilier John Campbell, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

Sergeant William Heron, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

Lance Sergeant Norman Shimwell, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

Fusilier Joseph Connell, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

Fusilier John Evans, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

Fusilier Robert McLaughlan, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

Fusilier Frederick Newman, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

Fusilier Ronald Parkinson, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

Fusilier Frank Persechino, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

Fusilier Kevin Rice, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

Fusilier George Swanson, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.


2 LIR.

0100 Battalion to move forward in rear of 38 Brigade to area Boulman 5747.

0450 Battalion moves

0730 Battalion HQ established 571473, E Company 565449 F& H Companies 572473.

0900 1 RIrF in contact with Americans on Brigade left flank.

1100 Battalion area shelled, 2 killed 10 injured.

1200 35 enemy prisoners of war brought to Battalion HQ. 33 from 1/756 Mountain Regiment including 2 officers and 2 from 1/754 Mountain Regiment.

1400 G Company move to 573471 under command 6 Innisks.

Patrol of G Company report enemy clear of Point 416.


 

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