11th January


1100 Army Commander visited the Brigade Commander.

1230 Enemy shelled Castel di Sangro. Strafe target fired on Scontrone, 78 Division RE Operational Order No 3 and Amendment No 3 to 78 Division Operational Instruction No 7 received.

1920 Coy 2 LIR to 044475 nothing to report.

1 RIrF.

1030 Enemy mortared demolished bridge and own side river 088545.

1150 Enemy mortared 088540.  Strafe Two fired.

2030 C Coy relieved A Coy at road junction 0749. Routine night patrols.  R. Sangro 4ft 9ins.

Lawrie Franklyn Vaile’s letters.

6 Innisks – CAPRACOTTA.

Weather good, no snow or wind, visibility good.

1000 Usual CO’s conference on digging progress. During the morning, a great deal of enemy movement was observed north west of Gamberale and Pizzoferrato by Bttn OP. This information was passed on to the 25 pounder battery, but they were unable to fire on them owing to the necessity for conserving ammunition because of bad supplies. Medium artillery were informed and these guns engaged the targets. Oerlikon Coy 1 Kensingtons arrived to relieve C Coy.

1300 All available men under 2/Lieut Phillips MM left to bring up rations from the trucks following the bulldozer.

2345 A CO’s conference was called and orders were given that the bttn had to be clear of Capracotta by 1200 on 12 January. C Coy to be clear by 0430hrs and were to have B Coy to assist them in carrying stores etc to the road head, which was still two and a half miles from the town. The other Coys were to carry their stores to the road head as soon as C Coy were clear and make dumps 100 yards apart ready for loading onto transport.

2 LIR.

0600 Dawn Patrol from E Company to Rocky Point. Remains in position all day.

0600 E Company goes out to Alto. IO and Battle Patrol recce cross country track to Rionero for mules.

1500 F Company reports in NTR.

1630 3” mortars register targets on all tracks leading into Montenero.

1800 CO’s verbal orders for operations tomorrow. Recces to be carried out tomorrow to counter-attack role of Bifurcation.

12th January


1000 GOC 78 Division and Brigade Commander on recce high ground south of Rionero. No enemy activity during the day.

1 RIrF.

1000 Enemy mortared 088540.  Strafe Two fired.  Routine night patrols.  R. Sangro 4ft 9ins.

6 Innisks – CAPRACOTTA.

Weather fine, light wind.

0300 Admin notes on move from Capracotta issued. C Coy were not able to get clear until 1000hrs due to the heavy going and the need for men carrying stores, to make two or more journeys from the town to the road head.

1200 Transport carrying the coy of 1 ES, who were to relieve the garrison at Capracotta arrived at the road head, also 200 Italians arrived to assist us in carrying stores. With the help of these civilians, D Coy managed to get away by 1400hrs, followed by B Coy at 1500hrs. The MMGs and mortars of B Coy made their way by mule to Agnone, where they were put on vehicles of the B Echelon rear party.

1900 Bttn HQ and the remainder of B Coy left the road head by transport after having to take over some of the vehicles provided for the civilian labour. This necessitated changing stores, and personnel to RASC transport at road junction 2550.

2100 D Coy at Aquaviva.

2 LIR.

0600 Dawn Patrol from G Company.

0800 CO, IO and company commanders go out to recce Marsucci for company positions in counter-attack role on Bifurcation.

1400 CO’s orders for operations tonight and tomorrow. To rehearse tonight plan for counter-attack on bridge and station at Bifurcation 076497.

H Company to 057483.

F Company to 052479.

E Company and E Company in support at 053473 and 058475 respectively. TAC HQ at 058478.

H Company to send out patrols to Alfedena road at 055493.

E Company to send out patrols to road at 048478.

1900 Battalion moves off from Montenero.

2130 TAC HQ and all companies in position.

2130 Mules reported to be held up by snow. Mortars and MMGs unable to get forward in time.

2200 Patrols sent out.

2300 Patrols report in.

2345 Orders given for companies to return to Montenero.

W/Lt G Cole (RUR) admitted to hospital.

13th January


House to house search of Rionero carried out during the day. The Brigade area has now been completely vetted and all undesirable Italians evacuated.

1000 Conference at Brigade HQ – present were Brigade Commander, CRA and CO 138 Field Regiment RA 78 Division on Operational Order Forceful received.

1430 Road junction 077497 shelled by enemy from area north east of Alfedena.

1 RIrF.

1140 Enemy mortared Castel Di Sangro, shelled 089540.  Strafe Two fired.

1430-1530 Enemy shelled (6 HE – 2 smoke) road junction 0749 and house occupied by C Coy 087497.  Signal line cut.  Strafe One fired – this found to have less deterrent effect than Strafe Two.  Decided to concentrate on Strafe Two in future.  T/Major HFW Holmes (2.i.c.) rejoined from hospital.  Routine night patrols.  R. Sangro 4ft. 6ins.

Died on this Day:

Fusilier William McNamara, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

6 Innisks – CAPRACOTTA.

Weather fine and cold.

0010 HQ and S Coys arrived in Forli 1443.

1000 38 men left for rest camp at Campobasso. C Coy ordered to move to Castel San Vincenzo at 0800hrs, 14 January. Bttn spent the day in clearing up and checking stores etc.

2 LIR.

0045 All companies in Montenero.

0600 Dawn Patrol from H Company goes out to Alto.

1300 CO’s O Group. G Company to recce Alfedena-Pizzone road and Il Monte area.

1430 G Company goes out to Il Monte 035428 supported by F Company from 048438.

Patrol from G Company to go out to 024448 to find out if area is being used as a patrol base.

1800 CO proceeds to Brigade for conference. Major HEN Bredin assumes command of the battalion.

2100 G Company reports in. Patrol NTR.

2130 F Company reports in.

T/Major G Phillips (RUR)

W/Lieutenant MOW Clarke (RUR)

Captain GG Hall (RUR)

W/Lieut CWL Bird (RUR)

all joined Battalion from x(iv) list.

14th January


Conference at Brigade HQ for CO’s conference on operations, administration and training.

2330 Bailey Bridge equipment placed at 075497.

2359 Dummy tank set up at 099477.

1 RIrF.

1500 CO to Brigade Commander’s conference.  Subject:- 2 Moroccan Division advance on left of 38 Brigade.  Since this brigade is NOT advancing, possible enemy may attack 2 Moroccan Division’s open right flank.  To discourage such an attack a dummy attack by 2 LIR to be launched at first light 16 Jan on enemy positions west of Alfedena 0247.

1800 Build-up for dummy attack – one 25 pr moved fwd of Rionero and registered enemy positions west of Alfedena.

  • some Baillie Bridge equipment dumped 075497
  • some Baillie Bridge equipment dumped 075497.
  • dummy tank ditched off road 0749 and track tracks in the area simulated by carrier.

Captain HF Chance, Lt GR Unwin, 2/Lts R Abel and KR Hanssen joined.  Routine night patrols.  R. Sangro 4ft.

6 Innisks – CAPRACOTTA.

Weather fine, visibility good, wind fresh.

0800 C Coy left for San Vincenzo and attached were two Intelligence Section personnel for OP work and security work and three signallers for communications.

2245 This coy sent all reports direct to Brigade HQ. Coy was set with Coy HQ and one platoon at San Vittorino, one platoon at Cerro and one platoon at San Vincenzo.

2 LIR.

0600 Dawn patrol from E Company to Lone Tree 054461.

Battalion rests most of the day.

1930 CO returns from brigade. Gives out verbal orders for future. The attack on the left by the French is succeeding.

The Battalion is to give the impression that a mass attack by two battalions on this front is coming off in the near future and to increase Patrol activity and MT movement.

Plan: E & F Companies to form positions in Calvario area with supporting arms and to protect RA firing registration targets. Supplies by mules. Pioneers to build shelters.

15th January


HQ RA 78 Division Operational Instruction No 5 received.

Confirmation of verbal orders for Forceful received from 78 Division.

0030 One 25 pounder in position at 0749 for registration.

0045 Carrier up and down Rionero – Bifurcation area until 0600hrs.

0200 Carrier round and round Montenero until 0400hrs.

0800 Two coys 2 LIR with section heavy mortars, section MGs moved out to area Calvario 0346 with RA and mortar OPs.

1200 Registration of the following commenced:

  1. Start line 030480 north east along road and south west down wadi.
  2. Pt 1154 square 0248.
  3. Pt 1152 square 0147,
  4. Pizzone gully 017404.

Heavy mortars registered points of origin for smoke screen to cover left flank of attack. Preparation of dummy own positions in south east Montenero.

1430 Brigade Commander to Aquaviva,

1600 One shell landed in area 036467 (possible reaction to our registration).

1720 2 LIR patrol showed themselves leaving coy positions.

Two coys 2 LIR at Calvario-Campari spent noisy night to simulate infantry forming up.

1800 Recce patrol to River Sangro to ascertain depth.

2100 Recce patrol 2 LIR spotted enemy patrol estimated to be 25 strong moving west along road at 039474.

2100 Mediums fired harassing fire tasks on Barrea bridge and 1000 yards up the road.

1 RIrF.

0900 OPs built 123460 for Divisional and Brigade Commanders to watch dummy attack.

1015-1045 Enemy shelled 088540. Replied with Strafe Two.

Received confirmatory notes of Brigade Commander’s conference – 14 Jan.

2100 Snow.

2145 Stopped snowing.  About 6 to 9 inches of snow fell.  Routine night patrols. R. Sangro 4ft.

Read Lawrie Franklyn-Vaile’s letters.

6 Innisks – FORLI.

Weather fine, wind light, visibility good.

0800 RSM’s parade for all ranks at Forli at 0800hrs.

0900 An explosion occurred near S Coy resulting in the injury of two children. Investigations found this to be caused by a booby trap charge which had been placed in the bottom corner of a window.

1000 Dental inspections for the bttn started.

Capt HE Mathews joined this unit and posted to C Coy as 2.i.c.

2 LIR.

0800 E & F Companies and TAC HQ move off to Calvario. Mules to go with stores in three waves. Companies move in positions and build shelters.

1345 RA commence registration of targets.

1700 Patrol Programme for night 15/16th.

E Company recce patrol to 021470 to find out depth and possible crossings of River Torto.

SS Platoon recce patrol to Alfedena and report on crossings across River Sangro.

Flank protection patrols from E & F Companies during the night.

1800 E Company patrol goes out.

Patrol from SS Platoon goes out.

CO’s verbal orders for relief of E & F Companies tomorrow. Detailed written orders issued.

2200 Patrol from SS Platoon returns.