Brigade HQ – BOU ARADA.
Patrols laid mines at 660105. No contact made. Twenty men seen entering Stop Farm (6410), and engaged by our artillery.
0815-0845 Brigade front from Grandstand (6507) – Mosque (5808) shelled by enemy.
1800 Two platoons 6 Innisks put in an attack against Barka and Pt 286. Four enemy MG posts reported knocked out and fifteen casualties inflicted on enemy. Details see 38 Brigade Intelligence Summary dated 5 March.
1 RIrF – REST AREA.
The events and activities of this period are given in the Appendix.
6 Innisks – IN THE FIELD.
Grandstand and area 6308 mortared occasionally during the day.
1015 RAP reported that two uniformed figures were seen crossing the plain (approx area 6324), coming from the east. These were brought in, and proved to be two French soldiers (Moroccans), who had escaped from Tunis area. They were conducted to El Aroussa gendarmerie.
1630 Smoke shells laid singly on Grandstand, 640081, 620080 (approx). Immediately, a single enemy fighter flew in from Bou Arada direction, very low and opened fire on the gully 635064. One SAA truck was slightly damaged, the plan then made off eastwards.
D Coy moved into position in readiness for an attack on Koudiat Si Barka (6106).
1800 The attack commenced, 1 Platoon advanced on and cleared W village of Gribana without trouble, and sealed the top of Barka, where there was a little opposition. The main resistance came from some cactus on the eastern slopes and the platoon, which went round that way did not succeed in clearing it. Five MGs opened up on the Coy, 3 of which were put out of action. Owing to some mistake in an order during the action, the platoons withdrew too early, but the enemy was nonetheless engaged with good effect and had the Coy stayed a little longer it is considered that 90% of the enemy would have been mopped up, even in spite of the darkness. Heavy, but inaccurate, mortar fire came from the Germans throughout the action. Our own artillery support was excellent. The action caused a considerable diversion on the Brigade front, a number of known enemy positions were engaged by our artillery, and the smoke screen was sufficient to hide a Brigade. For some time after D Coy had withdrawn, the enemy maintained fire and put up many light signals from Two Tree Hill (678090) and other positions south to Barka. Estimated enemy casualties: 10/15. Most of the positions on Barka were pinpointed for the artillery, as a result of the battle. Our troops suffered 4 minor casualties and 1 carrier (part of mobile reserve) was ditched beyond recovery. The smoke screen actually hid the cactus from which most of opposition came, from the FOO, and consequently this could not be re-engaged.
The attack would have been more successful had the Coy had more officers. The platoon led by an officer did well until he became a casualty, and with a little more leadership the action would have been outstanding.
1930 Patrol of L/Cpl and 2 visited the area of Stop Farm (647102), and found a section position just north of the entrance. Sentries were also patrolling along the side of the Goubellat – Bou Arada road. The farm as later engaged by our artillery.
1930 Patrol of one sergeant and 3 laid another six mines in the area 660106. Those laid the previous night were still there. Total of mines now 21.
Companies send out local patrols to the front of their positions.