War Diaries – 29th January 1943

Brigade HQ – BOU ARADA.

During this day, a slight increase in enemy shelling was noticed. A general picture of the Brigade front was attached as Appendix 1 to Intelligence Summary (Appendix 68).

1000 Divisional Conference was held, at which plans were changed as shown in the orders issued.

1645 New orders were issued for the regrouping of 38 Brigade as 1 Para Bttn was not coming under command. Orders of 28 Jan were cancelled (Appendix 69).

6 Armoured Division O.O. No 10 was received. Intention: “6 Armoured Division will hold present positions from excl cross roads O 7669 to Djebel Rihane and will establish patrolling ascendency in front of these positions.” Policy was as follows: “The enemy will be dominated by energetic offensive patrolling and artillery fire. All positions will be thoroughly wired and mined and slit trenches developed into defensive localities. Position will be held by maximum use of LMG fire, which must be mutually supporting, and the minimum number of troops used, especially by day.” (Appendix 70).

152 Field Regiment O.O. No 4 was received. This gives the artillery plan on the Brigade front.


The events of the night are recorded in detail in the Appendix.

General – Activity Normal. Nothing to report.

1200 Another conference was held at HQ 38 (Irish) Infantry Brigade at which it was decided that the dispositions of the Brigade as a result of changes the previous night were too “strung-out”. Accordingly it was decided that B Coy 6 Innisks should come under command 1 RIrF in their present positions area 638087, that D Coy 1 RIrF should return from Pt 279 to its former position, the result being that 1 RIrF would straddle the road Goubellat – Bou Arada at Grandstand with 5 coys, while 6 Innisks with 3 coys straddled the road south of that and 10 RB covered the northern approach to the Brigade’s rear.

6 Innisks.

A quiet morning – usual 10 o’clock Coy Commanders’ conference to discuss the night’s patrols. It is thought the Parachute Bttn may be coming in behind us tonight and taking over C Coy position.

1200 CO attends conference at advanced Brigade HQ.

1500 O Group conference. The Bttn will move a little further south after dark in a general reshuffle of positions and patrolling areas. Patrolling areas are now: 1 RIrF east and north of rd Goubellat – Bou Arada, 10 RB west and north of the road and this Bttn south as far as Bou Arada exclusive.

C Coy will be relieved by Coy 10 RB, who will take over position from F Coy 2 LIR. B Coy will remain in present location – with larger area and come under command 1 RIrF. A Coy will withdraw to Nullah J 633058 by day and patrol farms north of Bou Arada by night. D Coy will withdraw and take over position held by Coy 1 RIrF. They will hold Pt 279 J 6506 by night and withdraw to culvert by day. At night C and D Coys will send out patrols to Mehalla and Barka areas.

2115 Coy 10 RB arrived to take over final Coy. They were supposed to have arrived about 1800hrs in order to complete move before full dark.

2130 Brigade and F Coy 2 LIR told changeover would be later than expected.

Between 2115hrs and 2200hrs there is some concern about D Coy. They have not reported going to take over. It eventually turns out that their wireless and signal operators were hurt..enemy shelling and they had no communication.

2215 D Coy report they have taken over.

2210 A Coy move completed.

Advance Bttn HQ with 2.i.c. and I.O. moved off to new areas at 1920hrs.

Fusilier William Swan, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

2 LIR.

0600 F Company arrive being relieved by a company of 6th Inniskilling Fusiliers.

Rifleman Frank Ware, London Irish Rifles.