Brigade HQ– MAHMOUD GAP.
0800 38 Brigade O.O. No 8 was issued (Appendix 7), which laid down a general directive on patrols (and methods of supporting them by day and night).6 Innisks and 2 LIR were to share the same patrol area instead of being divided by an East-West boundary line, patrols found by one Bttn 3 or 4 days at a time to ensure continuity. Details of counter attack role of Squadron (less two troops) of Lothians were also announced. A Brigade admin announcement was also issued (Appendix 8).
1045 Two ME 109s made a close recce of Brigade HQ (542199) and attacked M.T. on road 542199.
In accordance with new policy, farms west of the road Goubellat – Bou Arada were searched and reported clear.
1300 Platoon leaving farm 648194 was fired on from 654198 by five men on motor cycles and motor cycle combo. There was a short exchange of shots and enemy with one wounded retired to farm 661173.
Brigade Commander sent a letter of thanks to Col Schmelz, Commander, French troops in the Bou Arada area, for his help in bringing in a wounded officer, Lieut Page 6 Innisks on 5 Jan.
Brigade Commander went with Lieut Doumic, French L.O. at Brigade HQ, to deliver the message to col Schmalz’s HQ in Bou Arada (628998).
On this day, a directive on “Intelligence” was issued to Battalions. The main point was “Information is being sent back more fully and promptly than before, but time is wasted and details sometimes forgotten through lack of attention to the form of reports” (Appendix 5).
1 RIrF – DOUAR.
A detailed account of the events of night given in Appendix.
0030 Lt CF Sutcliffe killed in an accident during the conduct of a relief at D Coy.
0152 359 Battery RA ceases to be in support. D Battery 12 RHA in support.
Minimal activity. Two patrols, Flock and Squib, as documented in Appendix, laying ambushes forward of Bttn positions.
1405 B Company reported enemy in the Nullah area Melah 6821. Artillery of D Battery 12 RHA and 5 & 32 Field Artillery Bttns, American forces engaged and scored hits on the target. No subsequent enemy movement was observed and from report contained in Appendix, it is believed that none were there by the time the Artillery engaged them.
6 Innisks – IN THE FIELD.
The new patrolling system was put into force and D Coy proceeded to “stop” at dusk and sent out 3 patrols. The patrols under Lieut McCaldin and Sgt Beecham searched farms but found nothing. Lieut Hodgson’s patrol was fired at with LMGs from each side of Goubellat – Bou Arada road from 25 yards range. There were 5 wounded – all were brought back.
Lieut McKee is now 48 hrs overdue. There has been no word of his patrol and the whole patrol of 1 officer and 20 ORs must be considered captured. It is possible that he was caught by armoured cars the same way as Lieut Page’s patrol. Lieut Duke is appointed Brigade Deception Officer.
0930 Lieutenant Lees and section go to bring back wounded officer from farm 665190. Reported he had been taken to Bou Arada by French occupant of farm.
1000 Battalion vicinity machine gunned by two Messerschmitts.
Five local patrols by rifle companies and carrier platoon during hours of darkness.