21st April

Brigade HQ

Zero hour for the attack 0130 hrs.

The two battalions advanced quickly behind the barrage and were across the canal each with two coys by 0230hrs. Opposition was far lighter than anticipated and many Huns must have gone back disorganised by the barrage. The forward troops managed to get across the canal by means of the bridges at 214735, 209732 and 203726, the main structure of the bridge only being severed by the demolitions at each end and dropping straight into the canal practically undamaged.

The bridge at 209732 was bulldozed in by 237 Field Company RE and developed as quickly as possible to take wheels and tracks. The stagnant water in the canal enabled this to be done.

By 0500 hrs, the two battalions were firm with a bridgehead about 800 yards deep and take about 300 PW, mainly from I Bttn 67 PGR. C Coy 2 Innisks were unfortunate in getting caught in our barrage and suffered rather heavy casualties including the Coy Commander, Major Duane and two Platoon Commanders.

Further plans were made as follows:

2 Armoured Brigade Group to strike north east in general direction on 214754 and 219767 about 0900 hrs passing through 38 Brigade FDLs.

Our bridgehead will be enlarged as follows:

2 Innisks to secure 219750 – 214754 – 206754 and patrol towards 210760.

5 Northamptons are available to assist 2 Innisks and have already been instructed to take over from A Coy, 2 Innisks.

1 RIrF to secure to secure 197752 – 186743 – 200736.

By 1230 hrs, battalions were up on their objectives, meeting scattered resistance but a fair amount of shelling from SPs. 2 Armoured Brigade force with 2 LIR in Kangaroos passed through to push on towards Quartesana 2182.

2 LIE and 9 Lancers swept on against scattered resistance. They were held up for a time in Vochera 2176 but soon overcame the resistance and, by evening, reached the Condotto Bellri and captured the bridges at 209823 and 188822 intact, establishing a small company bridgehead covering each one. Success enabled 11 Brigade to pass through early the next morning.

1900 Final locations:

2 Innisks –  Coys: 2067747, 213753, 219750, 208739.

1 RIrF – HQ: 207732. Coys: 202730, 198742, 200737, 193738.

Brigade remained in present locations and to be prepared to move again in the morning. Odd prisoners were taken during the day during the clearing of the area. The Brigade’s final total was 1 officer and 38 ORs.


1 RIrF – 219713.

0030 Tac opens at 219713.

0100 Barrage opens.

0106 A Squadron, 10 Hussars arrive.

0115 Bridging material and engineer recce party arrive.

0130 C Coy (Captain J Beamish) contacted 2 Innisks.

0223 C Coy over canal at 209732, have taken some PoW.

0255 C Coy report bridge good for foot traffic only.

0310 Two troops tanks and one troop SP moving up.

0312 D Coy (Major Wilton) across canal.

0330 D Coy (Major Wilton) report 1 PoW. Bridge at 203726 not good for foot traffic.

0340 A Coy deployed area 213719. B Coy area 208729.

0655 Tac moved to 215726.

0825 D Coy (Major Wilton) and troop of tanks unable to contact each other for some unknown reason.

0840 Coy objectives: B – 196751, C – 200726, D – 192737. A – reserve at 202731.

0940 C Coy sleeping area at 200736.

1025 D Coy on objective, report enemy bazookas and MG on left flank.

1050 Enemy SP gun 185742 being engaged by artillery. Heavy enemy shelling of area 208731, which he has well taped. Rover Frank and Heavies dealing with enemy batteries.

1116 Two Mk IV tanks move out from 185742. Artillery engage.

1140 D Coy (Major Wilton) report 4 PoW (1 wounded).

1205 B Coy (Major Phelan) on way to 196751.

1217 A/Tk Platoon engage enemy SP at 191752.

1300 Suspected enemy OP 197730 to be engaged by tanks and cleared by patrol from A Coy.

1330 3” Mortar score direct hits on 197730.

1355 A Coy (Captain Manson) report house 197730 in flames.

1440 D Coy report SP firing from 185742. Artillery engage. 2 LIR and 9 Lancers pass through.

1615 Tac HQ opens in village of Montesanto. Coy positions: A – 202730, B – 198742, C – 200737, D – 193738, S – 202737.

Died on this Day:

Fusilier Frank Lee, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

Fusilier Arthur Boddis, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

Fusilier John Duffy, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

Fusilier Sidney Chandler, Royal Irish Fusiliers.


2 Innisks – GOMI.

0100 A barrage of 400 guns opened up.

0130 Zero Hour. C and D Coys moved forward.

0132 D Coy reported medium guns falling short and asked if barrage could be lifted as a few casualties had been caused. This was due to one gun firing at a range of 100 yards less than the remainder.

The canal had been crossed and good progress was being made. Again, we sustained considerable number of casualties by our own shells falling in our lines.

D Coy had reached the line of ‘Sunday’ and reported a bridge in that area almost intact.

0137 A platoon of A Coy was sent to secure the bridge at 214734.

0145 The bridge was crossed a few minutes later and steps taken to defend it.

0155 The rest of the coy followed across.

0200 The enemy reaction to this was a heavy mortar barrage, which caused 15 casualties to the coy. The coy stretcher bearers showed great courage performing their duties.

Sgt Hughes, by his prompt actions and encouraging words kept 7 Platoon as an organised force.

At this time, Major Duane MC and Lt Murray arrived in A Coy area on stretchers and reported that C Coy had also suffered many casualties by own barrage and CSM Rolston was left with the remainder of the coy digging in on the far side of  the bank.

0230 Reports were sent back that it should be possible to get tanks across the obstacle with little trouble. The Coy Commander of A Coy decided to advance onto C Coy’s furthest objective and asked the commander of the flanking coy (Northamptons) to cover the bridge area and right flank and own MG Platoon to take up positions also upon the right flank.

0315 CO visits A Coy and an offer was made that a platoon of B Coy would be put under command of A Coy. This was accepted and a platoon went forward. At the same time, a considerable amount of mortar and MG fire was being met. Coy HQ moved to level crossing at 210738 with forward platoons digging-in in area 210738.

0400 An RE Officer recces bridge at 210732 and estimated it would take until 0700 hrs to have it repaired.

0430 Adjutant moved Rear HQ forward.

0445 The consolidation of A Coy was stopped by rifle and MG fire ad also with mortar bombs, which caused more casualties to this coy.

0600 The CO sent a message back for the tanks to move forward and this was done immediately.

0610 Enemy movement was seen along A Coy front and precautions were taken to repel possible counter attacks.

0700 CO gives orders for C and D Coys to go forward. B Coy objective Sellacina 217754 – D Coy, road junction 214754. CO and Squadron Commander come to A Coy in their tanks.

0845 B and D Coys start off with one troop of tanks to each coy and, shortly after, the advance started and one tank from each coy was knocked out.

0900 The CO of the 5 Northanptons visited the command post and talked over operations with the Adjutants. 35 PWs were brought into Bttn HQ.

0930 Two platoons of A Coy were ordered forward to make good Bossetti followed by the 3rd platoon and Coy HQ. Meanwhile, D Coy was moving up onto their final objective.

1000 B and D Coys reached their objectives and C Coy moved up to the A Coy area with supporting arms.

The RIrF went through our area on their right.

The battle now quietened apart from local shelling and mortaring.

1100 Four enemy tanks and SP sun were seen in our area.

1130 The SP gun was knocked out by fire from our own tanks and 3 coys consolidated their positions.

1330 Guides were sent to bring LIR to our forward area.

1500 The LIR passed through on Kangaroos.

1600 Patrols were sent into Voghiera and it was found clear of the enemy.

1800 Main HQ joined the command post and all coys were in position.

The enemy had been driven back by our armour for a considerable distance and the rest of the night was quiet.

Died on this Day:

Lance Sergeant Robert Sharman, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

Fusilier Kenneth Biggs, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

Fusilier Patrick Essling, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

Fusilier William Emmerson, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

Corporal Charles Cornwall, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

Lance Corporal Clifford Barron, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

Lance Corporal Robert Monaghan, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

Fusilier George Horton, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

Sergeant John Geoghegan MM, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

Fusilier Robert Roberts, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers

Fusilier Alexander Wyllie, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

Fusilier Alfred Robinson, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

Fusilier Stanley Furmage, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

Fusilier Alfred Standish, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

Fusilier David Burrell, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

Fusilier Albert Tilson, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

Lance Corporal Albert Packham, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

 


2 LIR – ITALY.

0900 Bttn move forward in Kangaroos. En route, 2 Armoured Brigade Commander conferred with CO on objectives to be reached for the night. Bttn to pass through 1 RIrF and 2 Innisk bridgehead over the next water barrier in area 209732.

1400 Bttn move into 38 Brigade bridgehead.

1530 Bttn HQ now at Monte Santo Station 208739 and shelled by enemy SPs. Bttn MO, Captain Rhys Evans, wounded by shrapnel in the back and had to be evacuated. New MO called forward from the MDS.

1630 F Coy, having moved into action, report mopping up several enemy including 3 Bazooka men.

1645 Two enemy SP guns destroyed, one at 206771 and the other further south. E Coy and B Squadron, 9 Lancers, now moving up on F Coy’s and C Squadron’s right flank.

1700 F Coy report heavy artillery stonk on their positions. Sgt Guild and 3 German PWs wounded.

1733 F Coy report reaching 201782 but that they are encountering difficulties from the enemy, some of whom were up trees.

1755 G Coy and A Squadron, 9 Lancers called forward.

2030 F Coy held up at 209798. They de-bused from the Kangaroos to clear enemy positions whilst the tanks went forward to deal with other enemy in the neighbourhood.

2035 Intentions for night include the taking of two objectives at 210822 and 188822. If darkness falls before completion of task, the armour will nevertheless move forward with the infantry.

2230 E Coy reach 210822 but are held up by determined enemy bazooka resistance. The left flank objective – bridge at 188822 – also guarded by bazookas. Two of our tanks hit and several casualties caused. H Coy rushed up to support left hand coy. Enemy SPs, mortars, bazookas, MMGs and the darkness, which blanketed the tanks, all helped to prolong the battle.

Died on this Day:

Rifleman Maurice Irlam, London Irish Rifles.


22nd April

Brigade HQ

1200 Brigade HQ moved forward to Vochera 222768. Bttns remain concentrated in present location. 11 Brigade pass through 2 Armoured Brigade to attack the Po di Volano at Fossalta 2387 and Baura 1987.


1 RIrF – 207730.

0740 D Coy have 4 PoW.

1100 Pioneers lifted 44 Regat mines at bridge at 195738 and 193738.

Major JP Phelan evacuated wounded.

This action was less of bodily contact but more of incessant heavy shelling by tanks and SP guns. It saw three officers escape with very minor wounds, who might have been lost to the bttn with less good fortune. It also saw one Fusilier, escorting 4 PoW, to take to the water to escape a stonk. The PoWs later having to assist their escort from the canal, he having nearly drowned.


2 Innisks – VOGHIERA.

0600 The bttn stood to.

1000 A and B Echelons arrived at Voghiera

1530 The tranquility of the day was suddenly shattered when an unidentified plane dropped a bomb in the Bttn HQ area and then proceeded to machine gun in the area.

1800 Orders were issued that all guards were to be doubled as a precaution against fire from enemy air raids.

2000 A cinema show was held in the B Coy area.

2200 Message received for bttn to stand by, on 4 hours notice, on the following morning. Remainder of the night was quiet.


2 LIR – ITALY.

0100 F Coy cross bridge 188822 over the Po di Volano Canal and quickly consolidate a firm bridgehead with tanks and infantry at both ends. Heavy enemy shelling from SP guns.

0200 Another infantry bttn on its way up to relieve bttn.

0400 Situation: Locations – Bttn HQ at Casa Crioli 197819; E Coy 210822; F Coy in bridgehead supported by one platoon of H Coy in area 187824 and the other two platoons of H Coy at the southern end of bridge 187821. Mortar Platoon digging in their mortars behind house occupied by RHQ.

0415 Recce party from 2 LFs arrive at Bttn HQ.

0600 Bttn relieved by 2 LF.

0800 26 PWs at Bttn HQ. They were composed of Poles, Germans, Czechs, Russians, Slovaks, one Frenchman and one Lithuanian. All from 98 Infantry Division.

0830 2 Armoured Brigade Commander visits Bttn HQ, confers with CO and decides no more operations from the bttn today.

1400 Six more PWs passed through Bttn HQ.

1900 Bttn warned for possible night operations on the right flank. This, however, did not take place.


23rd April

Brigade HQ

11 Brigade succeeded in forcing a crossing over the Po di Volano and provided a bridgehead for a bridge to be built at 238862.

36 Brigade were warned they might have to do an assault landing over the Po and are to be relieved accordingly by 56 Recce less B Squadron.

0900 Brigade warned to be ready to go through 11 Brigade and attack towards Lucca 2296 and Ruina. No definite orders received yet.

1200 Orders received. Brigade Group to move at 1700 hrs and attack Tamara 2489. Move in TCVs to bridge 238862 and march forward from there.

1630 Brigade Command goes to HQ 78 Division to receive full details. Brigade O group ordered to RV at new Brigade HQ 211839.

1700 Brigade column commences to forward.

1800 Brigade Commander gives out orders:

Enemy resistance is stiffening and he will defend the canal barriers as much as possible in order to complete the withdrawal of the bulk of his troops and transport east of Ferrara.

1 LIR (56 Division) now hold Tamara.

2 Innisks to pass through and clear Saletta 2491, followed by 1 RIrF. On clearing this village, 2 Innisks will carry on up the road to Zocca and 1 RIrF will turn left and clear the road leading up to Ruina and the Po. E Assault Squadron RE will be in support to help bridge canal obstacles. One Squadron 10 Hussars with two leading bttns.

2345 2 Innisks crossed over Bailey Bridge followed by 1 RIrF.

At 0245 hrs, 2 Innisks reached Saletta and found it occupied. The narrow approach to the village and lack of cover did not allow for reasonable deployment and it was not captured until 0500 hrs after a stiff close quarter fight. After the advance, 2 Innisks advanced quickly to 242917, four hundred yards north.


1 RIrF – 233840.

1700 Tac ‘R’ Group to RV 211839. Bttn and tank RV 233840.

General idea – 2 Innisks attack Saletta 242915 and proceed north on road 241920 – 240928 Capitello.

1 RIrF clear left at Saletta and protect left flank via road Saletta – crossroads 238916 north west to junction 218937.


2 Innisks – VIATESTA.

0630 This was another quiet morning.

1200 Orders were received for the bttn to move to area Viatesta 225846.

1330 Advance parties left to recce new area.

1545 Bttn em-bused and arrived in new area at 1900 hrs. CO visited brigade and returned to bttn area at 2200 hrs and held a conference.

2230 O Group. IO gave out details of the conference. We were to start as soon as a bridge at 240861 was completed. The bttn was to cross, supported by A Squadron, 10 Hussars and to advance up the road to Zocca 2296.

According to reports, the village of Tanara was reported clear of the enemy but the village of Saletta was still firmly held.

2300 The CO issued the following orders: B Coy was to be the right forward – C Coy was to be left forward coy – A Coy was to be the right rear – D Coy left rear. One troop of tanks was to be in support of each coy. Start Line was at 239910.

2330 The bridge was reported open and bttn moved off in the direction of the Start Line.


2 LIR – ITALY.

1030 CO and Adjutant visit the rifle coys.

1130 CO and IO proceed to 38 Brigade HQ.

1145 RC Church Service held in local church.

2000 Bttn warned for possible move forward through the 1 RIrF and 2 Innisks on the right flank.

2300 Move forward confirmed. Time of move 0200 hrs. Bttn now u/c 38 Brigade but the Kangaroos would be used as TCVs to take the bttn to scene of operations.



24th April

Brigade HQ

0700 1 RIrF commenced to deploy to the left of 2 Innisks and advance up road to Ruina.

As the advance continued north west by both bttn, the enemy’s resistance increased and finally succeed in holding us up on the Canale Fossetta. The main points of resistance were at the bridges 236939 and 227930, where A/Tk guns, SPs and tanks with a few infantry held up all our attempts to push on or bypass them.

Locations at 2000 hrs.

2 Innisks – HQ 249317 with coys at 239929, 237931, 241920, 239917.

1 RIrF – HQ 243916 with coys at 235917, 224931, 241914, 232923.

These enemy positions were bombed and strafed by aircraft, shelled continuously and subjected to all types of fire but still they held on, keeping open the enemy’s route to the Po.

Brigade HQ moved to Tamara 237899 at 1700 hrs.

During the night, 2 Armoured Brigade Group (2 LIR and 9 Lancers) passed through 11 Brigade to attack northwest to the Po and then away south west towards Ferrara.

This plan slightly miscarried in that the force did not cross the Fossa Lavezzola and go sufficiently far north but nevertheless succeeded in knocking out about 8 Mark IV tanks, some SPs and taking about 150 PW.

Elements of 2 LIR also reached the Po.


1 RIrF – 233840.

0100 Bttn follows 2 Innisks into bridgehead.

0500 Tac at 237882. Transport of 2 Innisks having formed an effective roadblock.

0620 Tac move into Tamara 241897.

0740 A Coy (Captain L Manson) 500 yards north of Tamara.

0745 B Coy (Captain N Plyman) passing through Tamara.

C and D Coys concentrate in Tamara.

0845 A Coy 300 yards west of Saletta. No opposition.

B Coy and D moving north from Tamara.

0907 S Coy weapons in Tamara.

0916 Civilians report enemy 20 to 30 strong on north bank of canal 260915.

0920 B Coy (Captain N Plyman) at Saletta.

0935 Tac moved to C Lunea.

1010 A Coy (Captain L Manson) ask for stretcher jeep.

Tac opens at Saletta 242914.

1012 Enemy tanks at 228928, passed to Air OP.

1028 Enemy tank firing from 226937.

1033 3” Mortar and 4.2” Mortar move into Saletta.

1038 C Coy (Captain J Beamish) moving into Saletta.

1042 A Coy have 15 PoW.

1058 Tac Tank makes rapid move for cover as enemy SP opened fire on group.

1107 B Coy have patrol at 232920.

1112 A Coy (Captain Manson) caught in open by two enemy tanks moving north west 234914.

1118 B Coy at 232920 moving toward 228929.

1128 D Coy at 232920 moving to 228923. A Coy at 236915.

1216 A Coy report 4 vehicles moving north area 218814. Artillery engage.

1220 D Coy (Major Wilton) have 5 PoW.

1445 C Coy (Captain Beamish) in Saletta, have received A Coy’s PoW

1700 D Coy – 6 PoW.

1710 B Coy consolidated at 226931, have bagged.2 half tracks, 1 field kitchen, 1 fitters’ stores, 11 horses and knocked out (with PIAT) two 75 mm A/Tk guns.

1900 Coys consolidate – B – 226931, D – 228923, A – 233919, C – Saletta. B Coy to patrol to Ruina 217938. Lts WJ Oldfield and JW Trousdell wounded.


2 Innisks – SALETTA.

0100 The crossing of the bridge at 264868 caused a certain amount of confusion on the other side of the river and, owing to being misinformed, rear Bttn HQ arrived in the concentration area ahead of the coys.

0130 The arrival of two coys of 1 RIrF did not help to make our situation any clearer.

0200 Brigade confirmed once more that the village of Tamara was clear of the enemy and B Coy went forward and arrived on the banks of the canal Naviglio without much trouble in this area. However, the enemy put up a certain amount of resistance notably by the firing of bazookas causing a few casualties. C Coy, followed by A and D Coys, moved up to support B Coy. C Coy then moved up to B Coy after being told by the CO to keep the infantry sections very close to the tanks to give them protection.

0325 C Coy reached houses near Tamara station at 243909. These houses proved to be well defended by a combination of MG, Bazooka and two SP guns. B Coy had moved forward and took up a position to the east of C Coy. Resistance necessitated a slight withdrawal, then a heavy concentration of artillery fire was put down on the houses.

0530 C Coy pushed on to the village Saletta and were closely followed by A and B Coys, who then proceeded to clear the village. Tac HQ arrived in the village a few minutes later followed shortly after by rear HQ.

0615 The enemy then decided to withdraw completely out of the village and take up positions to the north from which they then proceeded to shell the village

0645 B Coy moved up the road to area 241920 where two enemy tanks supported by infantry were withdrawing slowly and caused a few casualties.

0730 Cassa Matta 240929 had been reached. In this locality, an enemy group put up a more stubborn defence and a barrage put down once more after which A Coy moved up and went in under smoke. One enemy tank and one A/Tk gun were knocked out. 6 PWs, including 2 officers, were taken.

0820 B Coy reported an enemy OP in a distant tower, which overlooked the FDLs. This was engaged by tanks and artillery and, owing to the presence of SP guns, the supporting tanks found it difficult to get forward.

0915 B Coy was slightly forward of C Coy.

0930 The enemy heavily shelled Bttn HQ area.

Bttn HQ was completely established in the village of Saletta and the RIrF moved through our area so as to get on their axis of attack. The enemy continued to shell the village until late in the morning.

1030 A considerable amount of fire was received from enemy tanks on the RIrF axis, which had succeeded in stopping the advance of our coys. It was decided to engage this enemy force with tanks and aircraft, after which the RIrF were to push them back and thereby allow our coys to advance.

1130 During the period of waiting, PW cages were organised and positions strengthened to repel any enemy counter attacks.

1530 D Coy, who had been reserve coy, were sent forward to strengthen the position.

1700 Bttn HQ moved to house 254919 and it was decided that the bttn would resume its advance in the early hours of the morning so as to reach the River Po. The remainder of the night was without incident.

Died on this Day:

Fusilier William Lunn, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.


2 LIR – ITALY.

0200 Move forward began.

0500 Bttn now in concentration area 2586.

1100 Bttn role now changed – Bttn again u/c 2 Armoured Brigade. Plans made for move through 1 RIrF and 2 Innisks for an attack, not direct to the Po, which lies to the north but in the direction of Ferrara approximately 6 miles to the west.

E Coy to operate with B Squadron 9 Lancers; F Coy with B Squadron 4 Hussars, G Coy with A Squadron 9 Lancers, H Coy with C Squadron 9 Lancers.

1330 Move forward began.

1400 Forward bridges at 192914, 191912 and 198918 are reported to be intact but bridge at 192893 is blown.

1548 Enemy SP guns reported at 215908 and 214904.

1630 G Coy report SA opposition and taking of 6 PWs.

1635 G Coy report 2 troops of own tanks have crossed small water barrier and are engaging A/Tk guns on far side.

1740 E Coy moving forward; report no A/Tk fire but plenty of SA opposition.

1750 G Coy report enemy resistance at 193914 now overcome; 14 PWs taken.

1805 E Coy report 1 enemy SP gun destroyed. F Coy called forward.

1815 F Coy moving up – delayed by armoured traffic in front of them.

1835 E Coy being fired on by enemy A/Tk gun.

1845 E Coy report one Mk IV tank destroyed.

1900 G Coy take another 30 PWs.

1920 E Coy now at Malborghetto 147879 and being fired on with AP shells.

1930 E Coy’s supporting armour knocked out 2 out of 3 Mk IVs in Malborghetto area; the third escaped.

1935 Carriers at the rear of the bttn column report being fired on by enemy tank from the right rear.

2000 E Coy take 2 PWs. Identification – 26 Panzer Division.

2005 E Coy report 1 enemy SP gun and 1 tank (Mk III or IV) knocked out.

2015 Another enemy tank knocked out in same vicinity.

2100 The two forward Squadrons report strong enemy AP fire. One of our tanks knocked out and they had to withdraw slightly. E Coy de-bus from Kangaroos to deal with two 88 mm guns.

2130 New plans, based on PW information, now being formulated. Apparently PWs were holding the line to allow the remainder of 26 Panzer Division and some infantry to evacuate across the River Po at night. All the rifle coys and armour were recalled to form a solid squad near the railway at 146876.

Died on this Day:

Rifleman Edwin Yates, London Irish Rifles.



25th April

Brigade HQ

0200 2 Innisks commenced an attack to wipe out the enemy post at 236939, which succeeded. The bridge was intact and, by early morning, they were on the outskirts of Zocca.. This swift advance was followed up quickly by 1 RIrF, who reached Ruina by about 1000 hrs and pushed on to the Po.

Both bttns were then ordered to search the whole area and given boundaries in which to do this. C Squadron 56 Recce came under command and was ordered to clear the remaining sector to the right of 2 Innisks.

All members of the brigade had a field day, rounding up the last remaining Huns, who missed the last boat over the Po. In all 3 Officers and 310 PWs were brought in to Brigade HQ.

Ferrara was finally occupied by 1 A&SH (8 Indian Division) today.

Brigade locations

2 Innisks – HQ 227954, with coys at 224969, 235977, 230948, 230970.

1 RIrF – HQ 218939 with coys at 216952, 208952, 198939, 218939.

C Squadron 56 Recce harbour area 245967.

2 LIR – HQ 163905 with coys at 175919, 171914, 158910, 156903.

Covering patrols out at 153933 and 177942.


1 RIrF – 242911/225931/218938.

0850 C Coy passed B Coy on way to Ruina, report British transport in area.

0940 Tac at 225931.

0943 C Coy (Captain Beamish), 1st platoon in Ruina, no contact.

1000 Tac in Ruina, all coys and main support move up.

1200 B Coy – 216940. D – 217952. C – 211948. A – 198939. S – 218939.

This last action has been characterised by strong enemy tank and SP gun defences moving back from canal to canal only when closely threatened by infantry. It has also seen quick and accurate response by the gunners whenever a tank or gun could be pin pointed.


2 Innisks – ZOCCA.

0230 The bttn resumed its advance and, by 0300 hrs, B Coy had crossed the canal at La Fosetta.

0400 C Coy reached Fossa Lavessora without opposition.

0445 The CO ordered A Coy to move through B and A Coys and occupy Zocca 2296 supported by two carriers and a troop of tanks. A Coy formed up between the two canals.

0515 Major Cochrane called upon Captain Long MC and was told that C Coy had patrolled the road as far as Cassa Rossa 228954 and found it clear of the enemy.

0530 The situation was not clear as to how far the troops on the right had reached out and there was no definite knowledge of the position of the enemy.

A Coy was ordered to proceed to 226997 after which 9 Platoon was ordered to Casa Vecchia 223955. This operation was completed by 0600 hrs. Both points were reported clear.

0600 A patrol of 6 Platoon went to recce the area, right of this road and captured 47 PWs. 7 and 9 Platoons moved to road junction 225962 from where 7 Platoon moved up to the bank of the River Po. This operation was successfully carried out and 60 prisoners were taken after slight opposition.

0700 7 and 9 Platoons were ordered to move once more, this time into Zocca. 8 Platoon was left at 229567 to cover the right flank. The town was reached by 0800 hrs and so our furthest objective on the River Po had been captured.

It was now quite clear that the enemy had finished all resistance in our area, south of the River Po and the large numbers of transport of all kinds, which he destroyed here was a good indication of the fact that, from now onwards, his resistance further north would be very feeble.

0800 7 and 9 Platoons started to clear the villages of Massa Downina 2396 and the village RO 2397, where many more PWs were taken. D Coy was sent forward to consolidate the village of Zocca.

1200 During the day, 220 PWs were captured by the bttn and, at least, 15 enemy formations were represented.

1700 Bttn HQ was established in area 2225961.

1800 A conference was laid on at the Command Post and it was decided that coys would take up positions on the river bank for the night. A Coy at Casa Maccari – and B at Cassa Fanotti.

D Coy had positions to the north and north west – C Coy had positions to the south.

1900 The night proved uneventful and the enemy was in full retreat.


2 LIR –ITALY.

0100 Patrols move forward to 151915 and 173923.

0200 Patrols report territory between undefended.

Consequently, G Coy moved forward to the first location and F Coy to the latter. Then, with patrols again out in front, G Coy moved north to reach the Po at Francolino 154932 and F Coy to the Po at Borgo 178941. Heavy artillery programme was laid on in case of enemy resistance.

0500 F and G Coys reached their objectives and held them until relieved by 56 Recce later in the morning. During this night’s operations, the bttn fired its last shots of the Italian Campaign.

0630 Bttn HQ now at La Pavonara 163906.

0900 20 PWs passed through Bttn HQ.

1200 Officers and 50 ORS PWs passed back through Bttn HQ.

Identifications – 26th Panzer Diviion, 42 Jager Division and 362nd Infantry Division. Nationalities – German, Polish, Russian, French, Czech and Austrian. The Fascist Deputy Mayor of Ferrara, who was attempting to retreat with the enemy, was also passed back to the Field Security Police.

1400 2 PWs with an MG 42 passed through Bttn HQ. Nationality – Polish; Identification – Army A/A Bttn.

1600 Locations – E Coy at Crosarola 155903; F Coy Casa Grande 171914; G Coy Casa Limoni 158910; H Coy road junction 175920; S Coy Il Cantone 165910.

2000 Brigade Commander visits Bttn HQ. Bttn now u/c 38 Brigade.