Brigade HQ – BOU ARADA.
1 RIrF found, as ordered, standing patrols to cover approaches from the hills, but these patrols had nothing to report.
An enemy patrol raided position of A Coy 1 RIrF in Olive Grove 5704 and took PWs, also killing three and wounding four.
0645 Enemy launched an attack on 2 LIR positions. The main events are given in diary form below:-
0645 Enemy attacked 611083 from north.
0840 Enemy occupying hill 611083, 624088 and gully 634081.
0850 Enemy had infiltrated between left coys, 2 LIR.
0910 Enemy line 6109 – 6408 with pocked at pt 683. Hill 6208 infiltrated on three sides.
1020 Counter Attack by Brigade reserve cleared Farm 637082 and gully to east but enemy on hill 623088.
1120 Enemy had withdrawn north from 623088.
1200 623083 held by us.
1420 Enemy still at 624088 and between two Coys (area 6308).
1650 1 RIrF (less three coys) arrived 613065. Platoon and two 3” mortars put at disposal 2 LIR.
1700 6 Innisks reported: captured 20 PW 641085. No penetration to plain was observed all day.
1800 Sitrep sent to ‘Y’ Division.
1 RIrF – REST AREA.
0400 The enemy threw in an attack on Tally Ho Corner 5217, making at the same time, a thrust on the positions held by 2 LIR along the line of features facing the Goubellat Plain and running west from the road Goubellat – Bou Arada making some penetration.
0700 D Coy on 15 minutes notice and A Coy on 30.
1000 A platoon of 2 LIR having been overrun on Si Krelfi 5808, B Coy ordered to clear ridge 635084 – 625090 with under command squadron Churchill tanks and one section Carriers, started to attack.
1015 Carriers moved to feature 557056 and in position at 1040. Enemy reported moving south at 639089.
1055 Squadron Churchill tanks and carriers with one platoon B Coy in position 631083.
1130 B Coy recaptured Farm 637082 and this taken over later by two platoons C Coy.
1130 ‘Butler Force’ formed comprising skeleton HQ, A Coy, some Churchill tanks and support arms including one squadron Derbyshire Yeomanry under Major BH Butler. Major JH Coldwell-Horsfall MC assumed command of 1 RIrF.
1200 Butler Force moved off to RV at A Echelon 527052.
1430 1 RIrF, less those coys, ordered to move to area 608065.
6 Innisks – IN THE FIELD.
0200 Vehicle travelled to and from pt 286
0230 Enemy patrol signalled but not engaged 100 yards in front of minefield farm.
0550 Mortar and MG fire head on 2 LIR positions. Fire developed during the morning. 2 LIR being attacked by enemy (strength not known) in hills NW. Mortar fire from east of Goubellat to Bou Arada road from area gullies north of Ber Rabaz and also east of pt 286. Mortar fire heavy on F Coy 2 LIR front at about 0830 hrs.
0915 D Coy reported mortar position in gully east of pt 286. This was engaged by our own artillery and the mortar fire ceased.
0945 C Squadron 142 Field Regiment RAC reported on move. MMG fire had now almost ceased.
Capt Kingsmill was posted forward of Sidi Aik as OP. This proved invaluable and kept command post supplied with news of the situation.
1045 Our infantry seen advancing from Stuka Farm 637082 to north west.
1055 Our troops seen withdrawing on crest near Stuka Farm.
1120 25 enemy and 15 transports seen proceeding north east at 641085. B Coy on Grandstand told to be ready to engage them. 4.2” mortars engaged this target.
1147 611083 reported clear of enemy and they have been driven over the crest 663083. Information from Brigade that a PW has stated that a full scale attack is taking place. HGJR is attacking our northern flank and another force is attacking the 1 Parachute Brigade positions whilst A 24 by pass us and go through Bou Arada.
1200 Patrol from D Coy went out to recce any enemy concentrations or positions in area pt 286 and Barka.
1230 B Coy RIrF have occupied area Farm 637082 with platoon after driving enemy from it and inflicting casualties on enemy.
1310 Enemy digging in on north and west slopes of Hill 623088.
1415 Enemy still in gully between F and H Coy 2 LIR.
1545 Information from Brigade that enemy may be re grouping for tank attack from north to east.
1630 Lieut Boyle and platoon of B Coy do a swap along ridge in front of Stuka Farm. This turned out to be a great success and stabilised our position for the night. Lieut Boyle was killed in this attack – also L/Cpl Reid. Fifteen to twenty casualties were inflicted on the enemy. The attack was preceded by our artillery, who lay down a heavy concentration for twenty minutes before zero.
The other part of the day’s battle as it affected this Bttn and is told as an appendix by Capt Daly, who with a 2 Section Carriers was sent to help 2 LIR and subsequently took over command of that particular area. Capt Daly’s determined tactics and energy continually proved too much for the enemy and he was able to remain on pt 384 until relieved by 2 LIR when they had reorganised on 28 Feb 43.
A very wet night.
0645 One of our carriers carrying rations runs into the enemy.
0650 E Company HQ attacked from wadi north-east of their positions. Very heavy mortar bombing on G Company and towards Battalion HQ.
0655 F Company and H Company out of touch by line but immediately come up on wireless.
0700 G Company being mortared. Machine guns firing on them from 623090.
0715 Enemy attack on Castle Hill 623090. Successful and they now occupy it.
0740 G Company now out of touch by line.
0755 F and G Companies and C Battery of 152 Field Regiment (AY) through by wireless. E Company by line and wireless.
0800 E Company ask permission to withdraw to small hill behind their headquarters as they wish to make greater use of 3 inch mortars. Permission granted.
0825 E Company hill still occupied by the enemy.
0842 F Company report enemy still advancing on their left. They are in danger of being surrounded.
0845 G Company report enemy around rear. One hundred enemy seen moving to 5909. Enemy still heavily mortaring G Company.
0850 Enemy on north side of Steep Hill. F Company and F Company HQ. Still holding on but need more help.
0920 F Company heavily mortared.
0930 F Company report enemy MMG out of action. Heavy mortaring on Stuka Farm.
0950 H Company report enemy approaching their positions.
1035 Stuka Farm attacked from behind forward positions.
1100 13 Platoon on Booby Trap Hill, 14 Platoon in old position. 15 Platoon have suffered heavy casualties.
1130 F Company HQ and 11 Platoon at Stuka Farm. Ammunition running low.
1200 G Company report two sections of Para troops in gully north side of Rear Hill. Artillery shell 70-100 Germans west side of wadi 600088.
1230 Support group move to 597063 to protect gunners rear.
1430 Party from Battalion HQ comprising officer commanding HQ company (Major D W Conroy), the Adjutant (Captain T C Osborn), CSM Girvin, Colour Sergeant Dann, Sergeant Gardiner (Provost Sergeant), Sergeant Bridgen (Cook Sergeant), Sergeant Chubb (Bugle Major), Corporal Limb, Lance Corporal Chance, Lance Corporal Prout and a few riflemen attack and occupy Rear Hill, taking 14 prisoners of Herman Goering Jaeger Regiment. Heavy casualties inflicted. Casualties – Major Conroy wounded, Captain Osborn wounded, Colour Sergeant Dann wounded, Sergeant Gardiner killed, Bugle Major Chubb wounded, Sergeant Bridgen wounded, Rifleman Hale wounded.
1530 Enemy platoon proceeding towards H Company Farm WEST. G Company pinned down by machine gun fire.
2000 Belgium deserter arrived at Battalion HQ and states 150 enemy on Castle Hill.
Other casualties sustained were, Major CAF Gibbs wounded, Captain V J A Lillie-Costello MC wounded, Captain C J Reidy wounded. Lieutenant Fergusson killed. Lieutenant Wilcocks wounded. 20 other ranks killed, 48 other ranks wounded and 25 other ranks missing.