21st March


A very quiet night with slight shelling of forward areas. Two slight grenade duels occurred.

0900 Brigade Commander goes to a discussion on Cloth Model at Divisional HQ on River Crossings and exploiting a breakthrough.

1200 General Nye, DGIGS, accompanied by the Army Commander, visited Bttn HQ, 2 Innisks and Bttn HQ, 2 LIR. He had a long talk with Lt-Col Bredin, CO 2 LIR, on various subjects, including that of Irish reinforcements.

Normal floodbank activity during the day. 1 RIrF completed daylight relief of 2 Innisks, except for three forward platoon positions. These were relieved after dark without incident.

1 RIrF – 347316.

Relieved 2 Innisks.

2140 A Coy (Captain L Manson MC) report six rockets fell short in enemy territory.

2200 PWB record in German broadcast to enemy.

2245 D Coy (Major AJ Wilton) report 2 crumps of 81 mm each of 6 rounds area 333335.

2 Innisks – GRANAROLO.

0500 B Coy’s 2” Mortars fired on an enemy position at 327335 and screams and yells were heard.

0900 CO went off to Russi with Brigade Commander to attend a cloth model exercise on the use of Kangaroos and tanks in an armoured battle. Major Findlater, the Bttn 2.i.c. came to the Command Post, to command the bttn in the absence of the CO as he was not expected back until evening, by which time the relief of the bttn would be nearly complete.

1000 The vehicles with stores moved off to the reserve bttn area and the RIrF vehicles arrived at Bttn HQ to begin the establishment of their Command Post.

1345 The Army Commander and Lieut Gen Nye visited Bttn HQ and discussed several points

1400 1 RIrF Bttn HQ Staff arrived and our own Bttn HQ Staff less CO and IO left command of the Adjutant. Transport had been arranged for all coys in the form of 15 cwts running a shuttle service to the new area; the em-busing point being on the track running past Bttn HQ.

1500 D Coys relief completed and the coy marched to the em-busing point where sufficient 15 cwts were waiting for them

1535 C Coy’s two platoons relieved and marched back to the em-busing point. Transports for the men due at 1600 hrs.

1540 RAP and S Coy completed reliefs and moved off. Communications manned throughout by 1 RIrF personnel.

1645 Reserve platoon of B Coy, Pioneers and SBs were relieved and were o their way back. This completed the relief of all troops that could get out in daylight. The others, ie one platoon C Coy and three platoons of B Coy, will be relieved at first dark.

2010 C Coy completed relief of last platoon. B Coy still one platoon to relieve.


0600 Sitrep: Grenade activity increased on centre coy (F) but decreased on left coy (G) where they are being fired from across the river. 1940 hrs – fire observed at 35344. Light shelling of forward areas.

1225 Vice CIGS Lieut Gen Nye and 8th Army Commander Lieut General Sir Richard L McCreery visit Bttn HQ.

1526 Nine shells in rapid succession in area 357322 about 2-300 yards from Bttn HQ.

1530 Intentions night 21/22: Normal recce patrol to 341338. Out – 0300 hrs, in – 0430 hrs. HF from 4.2” mortars on 339343 and 351343, MMGs on area 351343 – intermittently throughout the night.

1630 CO’s Conference with Coy Commanders on local op by H Coy tomorrow.

1800 Sitrep: 0800 hrs – 4 enemy seen shaking blankets at 342338.

22nd March


Very slight activity during the night. An explosion was heard again on near side of floodbank in 56 Recce area at 356339. This time, it was believed to be the enemy improving his positions.

2 LIR completed one of their tunnels through the bund at 343338 and, at 0430 hrs, a patrol to 341338 located enemy about forty yards east and a short grenade duel ensued.

1040 Enemy mortaring and shelling 56 Recce sector.

1200 GOC 78 Division visits Brigade HQ and stayed to lunch.

1500 2 LIR carried out a highly successful raid on the enemy outpost at 342338 with a diversionary fire plan on another outpost at 337338. As a result of the raid, enemy casualties inflicted were estimated to be about 4 killed, 11 wounded and 5 PoW. The outpost at 342338 was completely wiped out and the other one at 337338 was the recipient of forty 3” mortar bombs fired at 80 yards range and several stretcher cases were seen to be evacuated later on in the afternoon. The slit trenches of the post were completely wrecked.

1 RIrF – 347316.

0140 D Coy (Major AJ Wilton) enemy party digging area 332338 dispersed by rifle fire.

0150 D Coy, enemy retaliate with three 81 mm Mortar bombs.

0815 A Coy (Capt Manson MC) – two enemy seen 321331 requested a sniper.

1530 Enemy in “Blow” 329334 shot by Lieut G Melliard.

2100 Tank Officer (Lieut Dawney), Pioneer Officer and IO out to recce route and site for tank shoot.

Died on this Day:

Fusilier Victor Pywell, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

2 Innisks – GRANAROLO.

1100 The Church Army Canteen paid a visit to Bttn HQ.

1200 CO’s Conference. Programme issued re future training and arrangements made for improving billets. Admin Order No 2 issued.

1530 The CO paid a visit to all coy areas. The day was spent in cleaning and improving billets. One coy each day to be Duty Company and to be ready to move at an hour’s notice to defend Granarola crossroads until the rest of the bttn arrived, in the event of an enemy counter attack. The IO paid a visit to the area where the scheme ‘Hosanna’ was to be held.


0430 Patrol to 341338 reported grenade clash with enemy.

0600 Sitrep: Tunnelling through the Bund at 343338 now completed.

0700 Casualties occurred in F Coy during the night when a Bofors grenade fell short and exploded. Two men were killed and 3 wounded.

1000 Plan of attack on enemy positions in right Bund completed. 17 Platoon of H Coy (Lieut Salter and 18 ORs) to attack the position at 1500 hrs. Supporting fire from two tanks in the left Bund. All enemy river bank targets to be neutralized by 3” mortars and Bttn MMGs and the use of smoke canisters all along the Bttn front.  Before making the assault, one Bofors grenade and one smoke canisters will be thrown over the bank direct onto enemy position. One section of Pioneers will assist the platoon by removing any mines in the area and blowing up the bridge over the river.

1500 Attack begins. AFPU Sgts were on hand to photograph results.

1504 Attack completed. Two enemy killed and 5 prisoners taken, one of whom was wounded. Own casualties – 9 slightly wounded, 2 of whom remained at duty. Lieut Salter, who led the attack received a GSW. Rfn Moran, Pioneer Platoon, detonated his charge below the bridge but results were not observed.

1515 One enemy sniper at 343339 either killed or wounded by own sniper.

1600 Three enemy wounded evacuated from area 337338.

1615 Three enemy wounded evacuated by stretcher from area 342339.

1630 Two enemy snipers accounted for at 337339. One killed and 1 wounded.

1710 New position gained in afternoon’s attack now consolidated.

Died on this Day:

Rifleman Norman Irwin, London Irish Rifles.

Rifleman Eric Nixon, London Irish Rifles.

23rd March


Considerable floodbank activity during the night in area 328334 and there was a considerable increase in shelling and nebels over the whole brigade sector.

0830 Brigade Commander goes on recce of Kangaroo Exercise with GOC 78 Division and Commander, 2 Armoured Brigade.

1500 1 RIrF brought up a troop of tanks to shoot up the newly established enemy outpost at 328334. This caused 13-14 men to depart hastily across the footbridge behind the outpost position to their own bank.

Later on, the enemy returned and further grenading took place. This caused a great red cross display and four casualties were evacuated. This red cross display was slowly becoming a feature of the Germans on the floodbank and various attempts had been made to observe our positions under cover of the red cross. One stretcher bearer came too close to our positions during the last evacuation from the enemy outpost and was promptly taken prisoner. He was quickly followed by a Polish deserter. They both belonged to 2 Coy, 289 Regiment and stated that anything up to 25 casualties had been inflicted on the enemy during the grenade and mortar duels of the past fifteen hours.

After dark, the grenade duels flared up again and it became evident that the enemy was endeavouring to maintain 15-20 men on our bank with the object of trying to either wipe out our positions or obtain a prisoner.

This fierce grenading by both sides died down about 2000 hrs and intermittent grenades were thrown for the remainder of the night. DFs were fired at intervals during the night and enemy mortaring, which was heavy during the night, reached a climax between 0430 and 0545 hrs, during which time 300 mortar bombs landed in centre coy 1 RIrF.

1 RIrF – 347316.

0100 Recce party returned.

0110 A Coy (Captain Manson MC) 2 rockets landed area 328328.

0115 D Coy (Major AJ Wilton) 1 rocket hit buildings 334333, 3” Mortar and Artillery DFs fired.

0140 A Coy (Captain Manson MC) platoon position 323332 hit by bazooka. Suitable DF and harassing fire.

0325 B Coy (Major P Phelan MC) left platoon being attacked with grenades. Dugouts and trenches collapsed. Two sections of reserve platoon committed to help while weapons etc are dug out. Two casualties. Close DFs fired.

0350 B Coy report situation under control.

0415 B Coy, 2 more casualties. 1 fatal.

0450 B Coy. 1 Hun shot.

0810 Enemy digging party 12 strong area 327335 dispersed by Artillery fire.

1600 Tank shoot carried out, beating up flood banks 323333 to 327334. Three enemy ran across footbridge and were engaged by 2 Mortar and PIAT. Immediately after the shoot 10 enemy were seen swanning uncertainly on north side of south flooded bank in beat up area and were engaged with 2″ Mortar and PIAT.

1601 B Coy (Major J Phelan MC) report 4 enemy have crossed bank into vacant trench positions on left flank of left platoon. Tank standing by.

1635 B Coy. Enemy driven from former position to one further away. Vickers covering. Tank moving back to area of battle. Large body of enemy on north side of bank being engaged by 2 Mortar and PIAT.

1642 B Coy. Enemy showing Red Cross flags.

1650 Under cover of Red Cross flag. Enemy looking over our positions.

1652 Red Cross flags gone. Battle proceeds.

Under Red Cross flag, the four enemy on our side of bank were evacuated. Two stretcher cases.

1655 Enemy (2) fired bazooka at tank and missed. Tank MG got both enemy.

1720 B Coy report two more enemy stretcher cases removed. Own casualties 7.

1745 B Coy (Major J Phelan MC) request more ammunition for Vickers. Four more enemy stretcher cases seen evacuated.

1820 B Coy report frequent use by enemy of Red Cross flag. Every time, B Coy open fire, up go the flags and up on to the bank come the enemy, though there can be no casualties there.

On this last occasion, one enemy SB came and stood looking at our left Platoon HQ so the Platoon Commander (Lieut K Taylor) grabbed him by the ankles and pulled him in. At the same time, a deserter came, according to whom our Tank shoot thwarted a coy attack against our position. The enemy SB stated there were 11 casualties in the morning and 25 in the afternoon with 1 killed.

2035 B Coy (Major J Phelan MC) ask for more 36 grenades and PIAT bombs. There has been constant mortaring and grenading of our position to which we have replied with DFs of 3” Mortar Artillery, 2” Mortar, PIAT and grenades.

2135 MO reports total evacuations since evening of 21 Mach. B Coy -17, C Coy -3, D Coy -1, S Coy -1.

2 Innisks – GRANAROLO.

0900 Coy Commander of B Coy and a Platoon Commander of D plus Signals RSO IO went to Massa 5121, to watch the exercise ‘Hosanna’ being carried out.

1400 Coy Commanders of A, C, D Coys visited Massa for the same purposes. Pullover Order was adopted by the bttn while in present area.


0600 Sitrep: Increased enemy HF on bttn sector during night, including 8 rockets in left coy area.

1300 Intentions night 23/24: 2200 hrs – grenading of enemy from dummy positions area 348337. Consolidated new position at 342338. Standing patrol at 337338. Out – 2300 hrs, in – 0100 hrs.

1630 LO from 11 Brigade (future relieving brigade) visited Bttn HQ.

1800 Sitrep: Quite day.

Additional Intentions: Dependent upon information from standing patrol at 337338, a raid on enemy position in that area will probably take place at 0445 hrs.

24th March


A raiding party from 2 LIR attacked the enemy outpost at 337338 but was heavily grenaded and forced to return. This took place at 0445 hrs.

1100 1 RIrF took 2 PoW, one a stretcher bearer from 2 Coy, 289 Regiment and the other a deserter from 1 Coy, 289 Regiment. The SB stated that the total casualties inflicted on 2 Coy during the grenade and mortar duels of the 23rd were 3 killed and 47 wounded. They also stated that men were brought in from the other companies in the battalion to reinforce the depleted 2 Coy and there were rumours of the 98 Fusilier Bttn being committed.

1400 A Cloth Model Exercise, conducted by Brigade Commander and Commander, 2 Armoured Brigade, was held at Brigade HQ to discuss the following Kangaroo and Infantry Exercise and their tactical employment. The discussion was attended by officers of 2 Armoured Brigade, 4th Hussars, officers of 38 Brigade down to Coy Commanders and other representatives of 36 Brigade.

Lieut J Barker 2 LIR, attached to Brigade HQ and LO vice Lieut CH Heather, posted to 2 Innisks.

1 RIrF – 347316.

0025 B Coy (Major J Phelan MC) being heavily mortared ask for retaliatory fire.

0030 B Coy request 36 more grenades.

0337 Enemy digging area 327335 being engaged by 2” Mortars and PIATs of both A and B Coys.

0420 B Coy report enemy rocket area 334327.

0433 B Coy. Twenty heavy mortar bombs in coy area.

0440 B Coy. Track vehicle heard across river.

0515 A Coy (Captain L Manson MC). tracks heard across river.

0525 B Coy (Major J Phelan MC). 30 heavy mortar bombs.

0545 17 Field. 138 Field. 74 Medium Regiment fire retaliatory programme.

0737 B Coy. Six enemy appeared and were engaged by 2” Mortars and PIATS of A,B, D Coys.

0923 Enemy displaying Red Cross flags on B coy front area 327335.

1040 B Coy (Major J Phelan MC). More Red Cross flags. Casualties being dug out at collapsed enemy positions.

1125 B Coy. Two more deserters from enemy lines. One being enemy SB.

2015 D Coy (Major J Wilton) report 4 incendiary rockets, area 343333.

A Coy (Captain L Manson MC) report incendiary rockets falling in B Coy area.

2030 B Coy confirm.

2 Innisks – GRANAROLO.

0900 Church Parade for C of Es.

0930 Church Parade for RCs.

The bttn was allotted the use of the MBU stationed in the area for the day.


0600 Sitrep: Raid on 337338 enemy position was met by strong grenade and SA fire and raiding party was forced to retire but suffered no casualties.

1000 Recce party from 5 Northants visited bttn area prior to arrival of their advance party this afternoon.

1200 Intentions: 1330 hrs – Tank shoot on house 344338 supported by SA and 3” mortars. Usual artillery and mortars HF during night.

1330 Tank shoot destroyed enemy snipers post in house 354337.

1400 Tank engine was heard in area 347337 and large cloud of dust seen.

1700 Advance parties from 5 Northants (relieving bttn) arrived in bttn area.

1800 Sitrep: Enemy HF from medium mortars on area 345335 from 1530 – 1600 hrs. Enemy 105 mm on same area 1700 – 1800 hrs.

25th March


Slight enemy activity during the night. Some nebels fell in the brigade sector during the early part of the evening.

0530 Enemy broadcast to 2 LIR – Text, ‘Why sit on the Floodbank with your wives in England.”

0550 Enemy broadcast to 1 LIR demanding the return of the two stretcher bearers taken prisoner.

0900 2 Innisks carry out Kangaroo Exercise “Hosannah” in area Bagnola, north of Forlimpopoli.

1400 1 RIrF carry out tank shorts against outposts on floodbank at 327335 and 322332 combined with artillery and mortar fire. Shoot believed successful. Enemy retaliated by dropping 12 heavy mortar bombs in area 327333.

1447 A/Tk guns 1 RIrF scored hits on houses at 317334 and also caused a fire at 315356.

There was a fair amount of enemy activity during the day, mainly movement and all engaged by MMGs or mortars.

2100 Own broadcast to enemy in 1 RIrF sector, telling them that the stretcher bearers would not be returned and that the use of the red flag must be curtailed, evoked no reaction.

2210 Left forward troop 56 Recce 360341 had a short grenade battle with enemy on own bank.

1 RIrF – 347316.

0210 B Coy (Major J Phelan MC) report tracked and wheeled vehicle movement (engaged by 4.2 Mortar).

0220 B Coy – 2 casualties, 1 grenade splinters, 1 blast.

0600 Enemy broadcast demand return of the SB PoW (neither of whom evidenced any desire for release).

0635 A Coy (Capt L Manson MC) report enemy deserter on way in.

0800 B Coy (Major J Phelan MC) report 3 more casualties.

0935 B Coy report 3 enemy casualties evacuated.

1225 B Coy report enemy SBs remove one casualty in their fourth trip across this morning.

1447 A/T gunners registered 14 hits on houses in area 317334 and started fire area 315356. Enemy 88 fired 8 rounds into area in retaliation.

2 Innisks – GRANAROLO.

0645 Bttn em-bused and proceeded to area Massa (5121) for Exercise ‘Hosanna’.

1500 Exercise ends.

1630 Bttn em-bused and returned to Granarolo

1930 Dinner at Command Post for all officers of the bttn at the invitation of the CO.


0600 Sitrep: Ten rockets fell in left coy area between 2000 and 2200 hrs. 0520 – enemy broadcast on amplifier; text –‘Why sit on the floodbank when your wives are waiting for you in England?’.

0930 RC Service in Granarolo Church for Bttn HQ and reserve platoons.

1000 Intentions night 25/26: Patrol to 337338 to try to exploit any unwariness on the part of the enemy. Normal harassing of enemy targets during the night.

1800 Sitrep: 0600 – half constructed raft and new hole in own floodbank 348338 noticed. 1200 hrs – enemy shelling area 347335. 1420 hrs – 6 enemy observed at 337338. 1440 hrs – 6 enemy observed at 337338. 2 enemy killed by own sniped at 336338. 1710 hrs – 2 enemy wounded by PIAT at 353336.