Brigade HQ – BOU ARADA.
Enemy was found in Farm 645102.
Kidnapping patrols north east from 648099 drew blank, but an enemy patrol was suspected 6605.
Brigade Intelligence Summary was issued.
During the day, OPs of C Squadron Derbyshire Yeomanry reported considerably more movement than usual north and west of Sebkret El Kourzia. There was a good deal of movement at Farm 714144 and Cactus 735149 and Farm 714134 were also active.
2030 6 Armoured Division forwarded information from a Arab source that a German patrol strength 30-90 passed nightly through village 549166.
A replay was sent to Division, message ref A/Tk rifles. It was decided to retain them.
A letter on non movement period was received from 6 Armoured Division: “In order to deceive the enemy as to our actions and intentions 12 and 13 Feb will be observed ‘as no movement days in the Divisional Area.’” Bttns were informed and special measures taken at Brigade HQ to prevent movement in front of the farm.
6 Armoured Divisional letter was received, asking for reports on questions connected with AFVs. 38 Brigade had to answer as follows:
- Is there a requirement for 2 pounder HE ?
- Is there a requirement for 6 pounder AP/HE even if penetration performance is not up to standard of APCBC?
It was decided that HE shell was useful for close support of infantry and especially against buildings and MG posts.
6 Armoured Division Standing Operation Instruction No 4 “A/Tk gun defence of infantry positions” was received. This was forwarded to Bttns on 12 Feb.
Letter was sent to Bttns on “No Transport Day 11 Feb.”
1 RIrF – GRANDSTAND HILL.
Details of the activities of this night are given in the Appendix.
Lt-Col TPD Scott resumed command of the Bttn on his return from a rest at HQ 38 (Irish) Infantry Brigade.
1700 CO and IO attended conference at HQ 38 (Irish) Infantry Brigade at which many general points noted in the campaign to date were brought out, a summary of the strengths and lay out of the forces opposed to each other in this theatre was given. The decision was made that in order to provide a Brigade wide reserve – one Coy per Bttn should be withdrawn from “the line”, into a rest area a little way back, one at a time. In so far as it affected 1 RIrF, it entailed the thinning out of the defences of Grandstand to two Coys only, reducing and withdrawing altogether the platoon covering the gap between that hill and pt 279 by night. Patrol policy was also discussed and it was decided that fewer patrols should be sent out, but that by means of preceding all fighting patrols with a recce the previous night, all should be made effective.
Lieut JL Baggs joined and was posted.
6 Innisks – IN THE FIELD.
0130 ..arrives with 46 reinforcements, which had arrived at A Echelon.
It is pointed out that Siliana is 30 miles from this unit’s location.
The Bttn is now up to WE in ORs but still deficient of six officers. Rifle Coy strengths are A -105, B – 105, C -104, D – 103.
This is due to the calls of A/Tk platoon and Vickers Guns allotted to Bttn without extra strength in men of W/E. This draft consists of a good proportion of fusiliers and 1st reinforcements and B Echelon left in Scotland.
1000 Usual conference. Lt McVie is going to take fighting patrol to Mehallah as a result of his recce patrol. CO spends some time in administrative details.
1030 CO interviews Lieut Clark and Guiler, also CQMS Emerson and Lt Dupe. A Coy went back to rest camp at first light and C Coy took over from them.
1453 Brigadier and Corps Commander visit Bttn.
During the afternoon, Capt Little, Capt Daly and Rowlette found the artillery under instruction of Major Knox, 152 Field Regiment RA.
1530 All patrolling for night is cancelled – it is to be a gunners night. There certainly does not seem to be a shortage of 25 pounder ammunition.
1700 CO accompanied by IO attends conference at Brigade HQ.
1810 Heavy rain starts to fall and hopes of all of us centred on the dam at entrance to gully, but Pioneer Sergeant thinks it will hold.
2115 CO and IO return from Brigade very wet and very cold. O Group Conference is ordered for 1000 hrs, 11 Feb 43.
0900 Captain TWH Wilson and French interpreter to recce Stop Farm. Body discovered of missing man at 634094. German articles found indicating lying up.
1600 All patrols night 11/12 February cancelled. Only patrol to Stop Farm to bring back body of man killed on previous night.
1600 Corps Commander visited battalion.
Pm Stop Patrol bring back body of man killed the previous night.
(Irish Brigade note: details of those who died with the 2nd Battalion of the London Irish Rifles show that Rifleman James McIntyre died on 9 February and was the only member of the battalion to lose his life in this period.)