26th December

Brigade HQ – PASSITEMPI 979283.

Two prisoners were taken just before dawn by the 2 Innisks standing patrol at 012286. They belonged to a Standing Patrol of 2 Coy 3 Para Regiment at 018290 and, leaving, one of our own patrols in the area, had attempted with two others to encircle our patrol. The PoW lost their way and were taken prisoner. This was their story but they may well have been deserters for one had a blanket with him on patrol.

Their information was very little but confirmed everything we know of the dispositions of 2 Coy 3 Para Regiment.

2 LIR moved up from Castro San Martino during the day and took over positions from 1 RIrF in their left sector. Relief was completed by 1835 hrs.

1 RIrF returned to Castro San Martino. They are intending to celebrate their Christmas Day on 29 Dec.

1800 Vehicle movement was heard by 2 Innisks on the track leading up to Casa Anzellara 0230 and shelled by 17 Field Regiment.

Intercepts were received from 1 Para Division indicating that enemy aircraft were going to fly over our area and that the enemy were to put up white verey lights every ten minutes. White flares were spotted at 2125 hrs further down the River Sillaro.


1 RIrF – 003301.

Relieved by 2 LIR and moved by march route and MT to Castro San Martino.


2 Innisks – SAN CLEMENTE.

0123 B Coy report patrol to 012291 returned.

0422 B Coy report patrol to 017289 returned.

0500 C Coy ambush patrol returned.

0530 B Coy report 2 prisoners taken by patrol between Coy HQ and Point 156.

1500 Three enemy observed at diggings at Point 278. Artillery registration in process and Bosche went to ground.

1800 CO visits A and B Coy.

1810 C Coy report vehicles moving towards Muiano from Point 297. Artillery engaged.

1815 C Coy report MT movement on Ronco track.

1830 Brigade IO informed bttn that intercept had given the following information (picked up from 4 Para Regiment radio intercept).

  1. Enemy bombing tonight. Enemy FDLs to put up white flares at 10 minute intervals when aircraft are over.
  2. Enemy mortar bttn heard registering target between Point 156 and the river at 008286.
  • “Don’t worry about the smoke, boys. They have no defensive positions.

CO lays plan in the event a raid down towards the river towards San Clemente and also if enemy flares are put up.

2105 B Coy report that they can hear Surreys challenging in Casa Benardi. B Coy report Point 156 being mortared from Casa Tromba area. Artillery and 3” mortars engage. Surreys informed. Cpl Dorrian slightly wounded (Mortar fire accurate).

2200 C Coy report white flares from Razzineri area.

C Coy report that change over with A Coy is complete, with the exception of 1 Platoon.

2225 A Coy (Lucia) report 5 red flares from Razzineri area.

2230 C Coy report 4 red and 2 flares from the gully leading south from Razzineri. C Coy report Spandau fire from south side of river on a bearing of 100 degrees Sasso. Also mortar firing from approx 55 degrees magnetic.

2315 C Coy report Coy HQ and two platoons complete in bttn reserve platoons.

2325 B Coy report one white verey light on ridge forward of No 12 Platoon East Surreys report 2 verey lights seen forward of B Coy.

2335 Il Sasso Platoon reports Spandau firing on a bearing of 92 degrees magnetic.

2350 Bearing of gun fire on Bttn HQ area 55 degrees magnetic (Bearing from Il Sasso).

About 12 shells landed between Bttn HQ and C Coy area.

Intentions for night 26/27 Dec: Recce patrol (Out – 0345 hrs, In – 0500 hrs) via Point 358 013290 to area Point 278 014293. Recce patrol to Nuova 021228 (Out – 0345 hrs, In – 0500 hrs). Ambush patrol, 012291 from 0345 hrs to 0500 hrs. All night standing patrols 007290 and 005285, the latter to be contacted by patrol of 1 East Surreys.


2 LIR – ITALY.

0815 Bttn em-bused, ready to move off.

0830 Bttn left Castro San Martino.

1200 Bttn arrived at de-busing point 975279 and proceeded by march route to Mule Point 994302, thence to forward positions.

1500 Bttn HQ and coys, except for H Coy (left forward) in position.

1835 Relief of 1 RIrF completed.

Locations: Bttn HQ – 003301. E Coy – Pt 435 003301. G Coy – 005300. H Coy – 007307. Battle Patrol in position near Bttn HQ.

Intentions night 26/27: Standing patrol from H Coy to 014306. Otherwise local protection.



27th December

Brigade HQ – PASSITEMPI 979283.

Patrol activity was curtailed during the night due to good visibility caused by the moonlight reflecting on the snow. The night was coldest yet experienced and even caused the fast flowing mountain streams to freeze on the surface. Lieut JS Baker (RIrF) LO Brigade HQ goes to HQ 78 Division as LO. His place was taken by Lieut C Heather (Innisks).

Slight enemy movement shelled at 0750 hrs and 1630 hrs.

Due to the possibilities of the enemy coming up the bed of the Sillaro river under cover of the permanent smoke screen at San Clemente ford, especially when the wind is blowing in the direction of the enemy lines, a patrol was ordered to search the ford area at first dark. This patrol consisted of the Camp Commander and men of the Defence Platoon. They reported NMS.

Recce patrol from 2 Innisks to Point 278 014294 were engaged by enemy from this area and also from Point 342 014299.

Spasmodic mortaring at 2200 and 2359 hrs.

Mortar observed at Casa Tamagnin by 2 LIR patrol.


1 RIrF – CASTRO SAN MARTINO.

Baths and great preparations for Christmas dinner.

Died on this Day:

Fusilier William Bussey, Royal Irish Fusiliers.


2 Innisks – SAN CLEMENTE.

0050 Bearing of mortar flash 90 degrees magnetic from 15 Platoon C Coy no known damage.

0215 Patrol from East Surreys contact C Coy standing patrol at 005285.

0520 B Coy patrol 300 yards north of Valley returned.

0530 15 Platoon report mortar firing at B Coy on a bearing of 50 degrees from Sasso.

0545 Lt Farrell and patrol to Point 278 returned. Patrol reaches cross tracks at Point 358 and lay up listening, no movement heard. Reports that in addition to the main track from 358 to 278, there are only two other tracks running below the crest. These do not seem to have been used recently. Visibility excellent.

0630 Lt Gladitz and patrol reported back to B Coy. Report NTR. Patrol lay up in gully area at 0172888 (did not, as instructed, proceed to Nuova owing to visibility being too bright). Laughing heard from forward of gully.

0750 OP Lucia reports seeing 8 Bosche moving into Casa Nova Di Maleto 027279.

0840 C and B Coys report shells dropping into vicinity of their HQ, south towards the river.

2340 1 East Surreys report mortaring and 5 casualties. Platoon on 156 report mortars firing from their left flank, but cannot get a bearing. A Coy report alight mortar harassing their forward platoon.

2357 LAA mortars engage Chile Scala 2.

Intentions night 27/28 Dec: Ambush patrol 012291, Out – 0345 hrs, In – 0500 hrs.

Standing patrol Point 358 reference 013298 from 0345 hrs to 0500 hrs. All night standing patrol 007290, 005285 latter to be contacted by patrol of 1 East Surreys.


2 LIR – ITALY.

0600 Sitrep: Quiet night. White flares seen about 3 miles down river 2125 hrs.

1000 Intentions night 27/28: All night Standing Patrols to 007302 and 014306. Recce patrol to 009303. Out – first dark, In – 2300 hrs.



28th December

Brigade HQ – PASSITEMPI 979283.

Slight HF during the day.

Enemy seen handling 2 light 75 mm guns up to Point 278 and putting them in position. They were possibly dummies, put there to induce our patrols to come up, but at any rate they did not fire.

Brigade Commander visits 2 LIR.

Movement heard at Point 278 014294 and around Tamagnin during the night.


2 Innisks – SAN CLEMENTE.

0030 Il Sasso report two bearings of 348 degrees and 65 degrees.

0120 A large flash observed down the river on a bearing of 30 degrees from Il Sasso thought to be in area of Casa Beccara 040299.

0355 E Coy report patrol contacted East Surreys.

0458 A Coy report patrol fired on by Schmeisser from area of 358.

0515 A Coy report patrol returning to base. Contact made at cross tracks, exchanges of fire from 342 and 278, patrols return to base.

0520 B Coy patrol in.

0522 C Coy Sitrep: NTR.

0905 IO at brigade informs us that 18 coils of dannet, 52 screw pickets to be collected at FD Platoon today. This to be used for wiring along river.

0915 Location statement required by brigade.

1300 B Coy report having observed enemy guns at 01352950 and 01452925.

1345 OP Lucca report heavy mortar hitting area 008295, bearing 44 degrees.

1530 3” mortar platoon engage target 01452925.

1615 OP Lucca reported smoke coming from house 046305.

1715 B Coy platoon on Point 207 report seeing Germans come down gully to the north of Valley Farm.

Doubtful but fog lifted and they may have been sneaking up.

Intentions for night 28/29 Dec: Ambush patrol 015290, Out – 0345 hrs, In – 0500 hrs. Ambush patrol 009295. Out – 0430, In – 0530 hrs. All night standing patrols 007290, 005285, 013298.


2 LIR – ITALY.

0600 Sitep: Quiet night except for spasmodic mortaring between 2200 and 2359 hrs. Recce patrol to track 009303 saw movement Tamagnin 013303. 0505 hrs- white flares and MG bursts on Cereto Ridge.

1000 Intentions night 28/29: All night standing patrols to 019306 and 007302. Recce patrol to 009303. Out – 0100 hrs, In – 0500 hrs.



29th December

Brigade HQ – PASSITEMPI 979283.

GOC visits Brigade Commander.

House Cle di Maleto damaged by 6 pounder shoot and artillery scored several direct hits on the house.

1400 One enemy seen in house of Tamagnin house.

1800 House at Point 165 009286 heavily mortared.

Quiet night. Slight enemy movement seen.

Slight fall of snow during the night.


1 RIrF – CASTRO SAN MARTINO.

Celebrated Christmas.


2 Innisks – SAN CLEMENTE.

0010 C Coy report East Surreys patrol contacted.

0210 B Coy report enemy mortar in area between Point 156 and the river.

0440 B Coy Commander reports ambush patrol went out at 0345 hrs, immediately there was the first stonk of the night. Patrol came back at once waiting to 0500 hrs. Bright moonlight. Confident that patrol was spotted.

0545 East Surreys report that they are sowing mines in bridge at 008282 at 0500 hrs.

B and C Coys warned.

0615 A Coy report accident to Cpl Fitzpatrick shot through the head. Not serious.

Ambush patrol late in going out, Standing patrol returns from 358. NTR.

0630 Sasso patrol returns. Heard movement and coughing from direction of Point 278, otherwise NTR.

0855 B Coy report 2 guns firing on a bearing of 60 degrees and 70 degrees from 011289. Area shelled Ripiano.

1045 CO visits B Coy. C Coy report one smoke bomb followed by several HE in area 008285.

1115 BM and G2 visit Bttn HQ.

1125 2 LIR fired MG at Sillaro haystack.

1205 CO returned from B Coy.

1420 A Coy report mortars firing on East Surreys. Bearing 100 degrees and 106 degrees.

1500 Artillery engage Casa Moletta direct hit scored.

1810 B Coy report 39 mortar bombs in area of Point 165. A Coy report bearing of 65 degrees.

1815 Counter mortar fire. Chile bombard.

1820 B Coy report further bombard, total of 95 bombs in area. Lines to Point 165 and Valley Farm cut.

1825 Travellata OP report mortar firing from gully Sillaro in area 021292.

2010 Very heavy stonk (mortars) in area 008284. Counter mortar fire “Mike Target”.

2015 Wiring across river from 002283 to 001286 completed. Brigade informed.

2115 Movement seen from Point 156 around Sillaro haystack.

2200 East Surreys patrol arrived with C Coy. NTR.


2 LIR – ITALY.

0600 Sitrep: Patrol saw movement around Tamagnin 0330 hrs.

1000 Intentions night 29/30: Standing patrols, dusk to dawn, to 014306 and 007302. Two man sniper patrol to 009303 via Point 439 005304. Out – 0500 hrs, In – 1200 hrs.

2000 Sitrep: 1400 hrs – one enemy seen in window of Tamagnin house. Otherwise NTR.



30th December

Brigade HQ – PASSITEMPI 979283.

1200 Officer and sniper patrol to 011303 returned safely having been out since dawn, Enemy movement observed at Casa Tamagnin and our own artillery engaged.

1345 Heavy gun shelled Point 156 014286 and continued down the road towards San Clemente. Also shelled left coy 2 LIR 005307.

Slight mortaring 2 LIR area.

Patrols reported enemy movement on Sillaro ridge, four enemy at 009298 who set off trip flare and sounds of digging around Tamagnin.


1 RIrF – CASTRO SAN MARTINO.

NTR.


2 Innisks – SAN CLEMENTE.

0025 A Coy report approx 3 Bosche in area to right of forward platoon. Scrub to right of the area set on fire. Further details as follows:

0100 Fire getting smaller and blazing to right. No immediate danger.

0115 Fire reported to be dying out. Caused by one of our trip flares being set off.

0335 Point 156 report one enemy seen moving in area of haystack on Sillaro ridge.

0545 B Coy patrol to 200 yards north of Valley Farm returns. NTR.

0600 A Coy patrol to Point 358 returns. NTR.

B Coy patrol to gully did not go out. Visibility very poor. A Coy patrol to 009296 heard digging at Sillaro House between 0430 hrs and 0520 hrs.

1000 CO leaves for A Coy.

1100 B Coy fire tracer at the following targets: Dummy A/Tk guns, Sillaro House, Sillaro haystack.

1340 11 Brigade report seeing enemy at Sillaro.

1345 Very heavy gun shelling Bttn HQ area on a bearing of 360 degrees from Lucia.

1415 Sasso report Nebelwerfer firing on bearing 73 degrees grid.

1435 Kensingtons asked to fire 4.2” Phosphorous mortar bombs on Sillaro haystack.

1530 Report that hits within 15 yards of stack.

1900 Patrol to gully returned and report many enemy on Sillaro ridge, digging in and lights in Nuova area. Artillery, 3” and LAA mortars fire at 1900 hrs.

1915 A Coy patrol returned. NTR.

1935 11 Brigade report fire on Point 358. A Coy reports flare going up and Brens firing in forward platoon positions. A Coy Brens open up.

1945 B Coy report Spandau bullets from Point 358 area hitting Valley Farm, also Bren firing at Point 165.

2015 B Coy report one man from ambush patrol at 010286 returned to B Coy HQ with the report that a party of men had been seen moving west between road and river at 010785. Patrol at Machine Gun house warned.

Search lights switched on for one hour.

2035 OC A Coy reports on incident. One flare went up by right hand weapon pit of left platoon and section there report 4 enemy seen. Section opened fire and patrol went forward to search area.

2110 A Coy report patrol returned. NTR.

2115 B Coy report patrol returned. NCO i/c ambush states he followed party down to river and saw them go over the river towards southern bank and states he heard them swear in English. Checked with East Surreys, who state that they have no patrol out.

2320 B Coy report that, at 2020 hrs, Sasso contact patrol was fired at. No damage.

2340 Brigade informed us East Surreys being shot up from haystack (Sillaro Ridge).

Ten rounds mortar fire put down at 2345 hrs.

2359 11 Brigade report on mortar fire 200 yards short of MMG position but gun stopped firing. B Coy report 3 casualties at Point 156 from mortaring.


2 LIR – ITALY.

1000 Intentions night 30/31: All night standing patrols to 014306 and 007302.

2200 Sitrep: Officer and sniper patrol to 011303 from dawn to 1200 hrs saw smoke from chimney of Tamagnin House. 1330 hrs – Five direct hits on Tamagnin House by own 3” mortars, one direct hit by 4.2” mortars. Slight mortaring bttn area and shelling of heavy gun of left forward coy 005307.



31st December

Brigade HQ – PASSITEMPI 979283.

0900 Slight mortaring 2 Innisks area.

1605 Own aircraft strafed gully 017304 and area Monte Castelazzo 0434 starting fire.

Slight harassing fire on 2 LIR during day.

1920 Patrol to knoll 015290 heard MT movement on road. Recce patrol from 2 LIR to Tamagnin house lay up within 16 yards of house. Confirmed area immediately north of house is booby trapped.

The snow is gradually disappearing from the hills but the temperature remains somewhere around freezing point.

In general, a cold north wind has kept up a steady pressure.


1 RIrF – CASTRO SAN MARTINO.

Advance party CO, IO, SO, Pioneer Officer forward to 000286 to prepare to take over from 2 Innisks.


2 Innisks – SAN CLEMENTE.

0250 East Surreys patrol arrived and contacted C Coy.

0330 B Coy report Point 156 being mortared again. A Coy passed bearing of 150 degrees to CMO.

0900 Machine Gun House patrol report 3 mortar bombs on river bed ay 005283.

1700 CO and O Group of 1 RIrF arrived at Bttn HQ.

1920 Knoll patrol returned. Reports i) Hearing singing in Sillaro House. ii) MT movement further back down main road.

1950 Gully and Valley Farm patrols – NTR.

2325 East Surreys contact patrol at 005285.


2 LIR – ITALY.

0600 Sitrep: Standing patrol on Point 312 report digging area Tamagnin.

0900-0930 Six bombs from enemy heavy mortar fell in gully between Bttn HQ and G coy (right forward).

1000 Intentions night 31/1: All night standing patrols to 014306 and 007302. Recce patrols to 012203 and stream junction 017306. Out – first dark, In – 2200 hrs.

1200 Brigade Commander and BM visit Bttn HQ.

1430-1500 Enemy mortaring of H Coy area.

1700 Slight shelling of G Coy area.

2200 Sitrep: Slight HF bttn area during day. 1605 hrs – aircraft strafed gully 017304 and area Monte Castellazo 0434 starting fire, which might be petrol dump. Fire still burning.

2359 CO visited E and G Coys accompanied by two pipers, who played the Old Year out and the New Year in.