Brigade HQ – MAHMOUD GAP.
No local contact was gained by patrols. Farms 662173 and 651176 was reported still occupied.
0545 6 Innisks (u/c 26 Armoured Brigade) put in Bttn attack on objectives Two Tree Hill (679090), Three Tree Hill (678091), and Hen House Hill (687095). Enemy MG fire was intense and the recent rain made the going very heavy for the infantry, who had to advance 4000 yards to the attack. The first objective, Two Tree Hill, was gained, but the troops were withdrawn as the position proved untenable.
0330 Troop position of 12 RHA in Bou Arada sector was raided. 6 ORs were captured, 38 Intelligence Summary including a “Note on Area 6517 – 7116 – 6913”
2330 Order was received from 6 Armoured Division for 18 RCT to relieve 1 RIrF on position 6425 on night 14/15 Jan (Appendix 27).
A letter was sent to Bttn calling for a report (demanded by 6 Armoured Division on 12 Jan) on Brigade Intelligence Sections (Appendix 28).
1700 Brigade commander attended a conference at HQ 6 Armoured Division returning at 2200 hrs.
2300 Brigade Commander held conference of Bttn COs impending move of entire Brigade to Bou Arada with a view to attack on Hill 680090 was discussed. 18 RCY was to relieve 1 RIrF and 5 Northamptons to relieve 2 LIR. Brigade HQ had to move night 14 Jan (5 Corps reported battle on Goubellat, Bou Arada want to be controlled by HQ, Koch, ie on Brigade level). During recent fighting it had been noticed that the enemy, in all cases, had been careful to construct many positions for MGs, Mortars etc, also for A/Tk guns, and they were changing their positions frequently in the same area. Trenches were deep and carefully prepared, and trees (with ladders) were often used as OPs.
1 RIrF – DOUAR.
Patrol Boot of 1 NCO and 15 Fusiliers laid an ambush in the eastern approaches of Goubellet. Returned at 0600hrs with nothing to report.
Patrol Galter of 1 Officer and 15 Fusiliers laid an ambush at 679252. Returned at 0620hrs 13 Jan with nothing to report.
During the day, normal activity carried on by the battalion less two Coys. B Coy observed and shelled enemy troops and vehicles 702216.
CO & Adjutant went to Brigade HQ where the Brigade Commander on his return from Division gave orders to the effect that 6 Innisks having failed to capture Two Tree Hill, the remainder of 1 RIrF was to move into concentration night 14 Jan ’43 at El Aroussa thence to area of C & D Coys positions night 15 Jan ’43.
6 Innisks – IN THE FIELD.
Capt Little is afraid the carriers will not be able to function. During night two Coys 1RIrF under Major Horsfall take over Bttn position.
0100 FOO arrives and joined Coys.
0445 Final Coordinating Conference. By this time, the worst of the storm was over but the ground was in a terrible state.
0515 Rum issue.
Extract from orders is marked ‘A’ and attached as Appendix.
Orders are marked ‘B’ and attached as Appendix B.
0545 Two forward Coys, C on right and by Capt Ferris and D on left, and by Capt Rowlette cross start line on time. Bttn HQ followed behind the leading Coys along the track which was to be the axis of advance of Carriers as follows:
First Carrier – CO, Adjutant, 2 Signallers and driver with 19 set as rear link and 18 set as forward link.
Second Carrier – CO 12 RHA.
Third Carrier – Signals Officer and 3 Signalmen and spare 18 sets.
Fourth Carrier – 2.i.c. and 2 Signalmen.
Fifth Carrier – I.O. and 2 Signalmen.
Sixth Carrier – Sgt Lloyd… Actually this carrier led the way as Sgt Lloyd knew the track.
Bttn HQ was followed by A Coy right and by Major Bunch and B Coy left commanded by Capt Spencer.
1530 The withdrawal to our position was by now complete. The Bttn was ordered back to farms west of Bou Arada….were packed in Coy transport and Coys marched off. The last Coy leaving before dark. The Bttn took over farms from Rifle Brigade, who were most helpful and thoughtful and did everything in their power to assist.
The officer casualties during the battle – Lieut Warren killed, Capt Ferris wounded, Lieuts Buck, George, Strickland and Poer Power also wounded. Of the other ranks, 11 were killed, 55 wounded and 16 missing. CSM Stevenson was also wounded.
0900 Day patrol under Lieutenant Beechey under mortar fire from farm 655145. Patrol retired to Wadi 6216. No casualties.
Patrol (Gluckstein) under Lieutenant Stigant contacted enemy at 672197 about 30 strong and were fired on my light machine gun.
Patrol (Salmon) under second Lieutenant McKenna contacted several enemy at farm 663174. Dispersed by hand grenades. No casualties.
No contact made by local night patrols.
2100 Battalion ordered by Brigade to prepare for move to high ground south-east of Bou Arada.