War Diaries – 26th to 30th November 1943

26th November


0255 No carriers able to cross River Sangro. Water rising. Division informed.

0500 Sitrep. No crossing Sangro night 25/26 November by carriers, otherwise nothing to report.

Brigade Intelligence Summary issued.

1130 Lt-Col TN Grazebrook DSO, OC 6 Innisks ordered to report to Brigade HQ as soon as possible for conference.

1415 Details of bttn move received from Division by Q.632.

1430 Staff Captain and representatives from each Bttn recced bttn positions west of River Sangro.

1500 COs’ conference at Brigade HQ.

1645 38 Brigade ordered by Division to concentrate west of River Sangro night 27/28 November.

1700 Last light Sit Rep nothing to report.

Conference Brigade HQ attended by Commanders 11, 36, and 38 Brigades, Divisional Commander, AQ and Brigade Major 4 Armoured Brigade and Lt-Col Grazebrook.

1830 Lieut GE Cole LO 38 Brigade conducting carrier crossings tonight.

2145 Brigade Group conference at Brigade HQ.

2150 Lieut Cole reported carriers past start point and some were already over, three had broken down. Crossings going according to plan.

2320 Lieut Cole reported all carriers across except for two from 1 RIrF and two from RA. Division informed.

6 Innisks – VASTO.

Training continued. CO takes over command of brigade.

2 LIR.

Battalion bath at mobile bath unit Casalbordino.

PM 1 East Surreys relieve 5 Northampton over River Sangro.

Warning Order from Brigade for move across River Sangro tomorrow.

Army Commander passes through town, gives 250 cigarettes to RSM for battalion.

Died on this Day:

Rifleman Declan Doheny, London Irish Rifles.

27th November


Bttns and Division informed that carrier park established across river. Bttns moving to lying up area tonight. 2 LIR 401005, 6 Innisks 403008, 1 RIrF 408017.

Brigade Intelligence Summary issued.

Lieut R Laming RCS Signals Officer 38 Brigade admitted ADS.

Confirmatory Notes Plan Mike (in modification of 38 Brigade OO No 30 dated 18 November) issued.

Confirmatory Notes Plan John (in modification of 38 Brigade OO No 30 dated 18 November) issued.

Admin Instructions issued in conjunction with Confirmatory Notes Plan John (in modification of 38 Brigade OO No 30 dated 18 November) issued.

1515 Brigade informed that subdued side lights area allowed on road Vasto to Casalbordino but not past pt 442004.

1630 Brigade HQ closed Casalbordino and reopened same time Torino 446983.

1745 Last light Sitrep Brigade HQ established Torino 446983.

1800 44 Royal Tanks reported to have 27 tanks across river and 50 Royal Tanks 32.

1815 Brigade Commander and Brigade IO left Brigade HQ to establish Tac HQ in tank at 422996.

2300 Main Brigade HQ informed that IO involved in road accident and returning.

2330 Lieut Chambers LO 38 Brigade appointed acting IO vice Capt JHF Hobbs admitted to ADS.

1 RIrF.

1700 Battalion marched off to lying-up area west of the R. Sangro.  Weather which had been good for 48 hrs broke slightly with some “drizzle”.  No enemy shelling of bridge as battalion crossed at 434018.

6 Innisks – VASTO.

Preparations were begun for bttn to move forward across River Sangro.

1030 CO returned from Brigade HQ and resumed command of the bttn.

1400 CO called O Group conference.

1430 I section left by MT to recce routes and act as guides to lying up area below the escarpment at C4000. Shaded lamps were set out from H bridge (4199) to the lying up area, but this bridge, which had been weakened by shell fire, collapsed under a tank before the bttn arrived.

1800 Bttn em-bused at 553922 and travelled by MT to “Gun Alley” (433003), where they de-bused at 2115hrs, and then proceeded by march route to F bridge.

1930 A message was received by the guide party that the bttn would cross the river by F bridge at 432020 and arrangements were quickly changed to meet the fresh situation. Rain fell at the time, which quickly made the ground bad.

2 LIR.

Lieutenant JD White MC (immediate)

1400 Intelligence Officer, Intelligence Section and Company Guides moves off by motor transport to recce river crossing and assembly area for Battalion.

B Echelon to move to Casalbordino tomorrow.

1830 Battalion left Casalbordino by RASC transport and debus at Gunners Alley, North of Torino di Sangro/H 4498.

2200 Battalion proceed by march route and cross river by Royal Engineers Bridge 430030 at 2330 hrs.

2200 Barrage goes down on San Maria and Mozzagrogna, supporting 8th Indian Division’s attack.

28th November

Brigade HQ – TORINO.

0500 Bttns nothing to report.

0900 Brigade informed by Division that Indian Division troops counter attacked in Mozzagrogna and forced off objective. Own tanks were unable to advance on San Maria road due to large crater. Locations: 6 Innisks 403003, 2 LIR 401007, 1 RIrF 405016.

Brigade Intelligence Summary issued.

1730 Situation on Brigade front at last light see Sitrep.

1800 Gully 402012 reported mined and some S mines at foot of escarpment.

1900 3 CLY reported 45 tanks over river, 44 Royal Tanks 41 and 50 Royal Tanks 37.

2105 Intention night 28/29 November. 4 Armoured Brigade with in support 38 (Irish) Brigade and 8 A & SH advance at first light to seize and hold San Maria thence advancing astride road San Maria – Fossacesia destroying all enemy up to the sea.

1 RIrF.

0230 Arrived under escarpment 408022 approximately at 0230 hrs.  Barrage supporting the Indian Division’s attack on San Maria still at height.  Later learnt that attack had been halted at Mozzagrogna 3600.  Dug protective slit-trenches and awaited orders. Area strewn with “S” mines, but no casualties.

1100 CO to Brigade at 1100 hrs for additional orders.  Coy jeeps arrived with petrol burners and coys obtained some hot tea.

Died on this Day:

Fusilier Herbert Carey, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

Fusilier Robert Samson, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

Lieutenant Alex Smyth, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

Lawrie Franklyn-Vaile’s letters.

6 Innisks – RIVER SANGRO.

0045 Bttn crossed F bridge and continued by route march to lying up area, via the junction 421032, arriving at 0200hrs.

0200 Coys were shown into allotted areas and bttn settled down to rest.

A Echelon arrived at lying up area at same time as the bttn.

0600 IO and four men went out to recce approach to proposed start line for next day’s attack.

The gully leading north west from 390997 was chosen as the approach but it was found not to be possible to use it as the 17 Indian Brigade in this area had met with some reverses and were not far enough forward to allow the bttn to use San Maria as a start line.

1030 San Maria was bombed and strafed by our own close support planes.

1400 Enemy planes came over the area and bombed and strafed the gun lines east of the Sangro.

1430 A heavy artillery barrage, lasting for two hours was put down on the enemy positions in the area of San Maria and R. Li Colli. 3601- 3702.

1730 IO and two men went forward to recce a new start line on top of the escarpment for a dawn attack on the next day, and a suitable area was found at 393003.

1830 O Group conference, attended by reps of all arms supporting the attack.

Blankets and rum issued, and bttn told, by officers, details of proposed attack at dawn.

2 LIR.

0300 Battalion arrive at assembly area below escarpment 400005 behind 8 A&SH. Tanks of 44 RTR also in area.

AM 8 Indian Division enter Mozzagrogna without opposition, but were counter-attacked by infantry supported by tanks and flamethrowers and had to retire from the village. Flamethrowers stated to be mounted on Mark III chassis. It has two pilot jets and an effective range of approximately 60 yards.

III Battalion 146 Grenadier Regiment identified at Mozzagrogna.

Layout of enemy defences on 5 Corps front appears to be as follow:

Guardiagrele H/1898 – III Battalion 146 Grenadier Regiment. Castel Frentano H/2999 – I and II Battalions 146 Grenadier Regiment Lanciano H/3303. A counter-attack force consisting of elements of I Battalion 145 & III Battalion Grenadier Regiments. Mozzagrogna H/3501. 6 & 7 Companies 145 Grenadier Regiment. Road San Maria-Fossacesia thence to coast H/4205 8,9,10,11 Companies 145 Grenadier Regiment.

0600 Intelligence Officer and Company guides go forward on recce for Battalion advanced forming up area. Reach a point within 300 yards of San Maria.

1000 IO’s group returns.

1000 CO goes to HQ of 44 RTR

1200-1300 Very heavy and concentrated artillery barrage on San Maria to support 8 Indian Division attack. Medium bombers over town at the same time. Enemy occasionally shelling approaches and gullies leading up to San Maria. Two smoke shells near Fossacesia.

During the morning our RAF fighters kept a constant air umbrella over the battle area. Information obtained from civilians 3 German guns and numerous machine gun posts in San Maria area.

1400 Two enemy fighters recce over battlefield area.

1500 About 100 civilians evacuate from San Maria and pass through 6 Innisks lines.

1630 Two enemy fighter planes fly over battle area, drop bombs near RE bridge 425007. Our aircraft bomb and strafe the road San Maria-Fossacesia during the afternoon. Enemy occasionally shelled areas of RE bridges, 425007 and 400020.

1830 Commanding Officer’s O Group attended by Company commanders, IO, Adjutant, Signals Officer and representatives from REs, RAs and Kensington (MMGs).

Information – Battalion to be prepared to move from 0630 hrs 29th.

8th Indian Division to take Mozzagrogna tonight. 6 Innisks to San Maria at first light. 2 LIR first objective after success signal from Brigadier is ridge Colli and road San Maria-Fossacesia. 2nd objective – Fossacesia. 1 RIF will then push on from Fossacesia to coast. 11 Brigade to make a mock attack on our right. At the same time 2 NZ Division who are now across River Sangro in strength will push up lateral road to Lanciano.

1830 A diversionary landing will be made at Pescara, with object of doing as much damage as possible. Troops landed will not remain if opposition is too strong.

2300 Artillery barrage supporting 8 Indian Division on Mozzagrogna.

Draft 9 other ranks (from x(iv)) join Battalion.

28/29 F Company as protection company in front of battalion tonight.

29th November

Brigade HQ – TORINO.

0515 1 RIrF report in outskirts of Mozzagrogna covering RE work in road San Maria.

Brigade plan; 6 Innisks to take Ridge Li Colli (3702) then San Maria with tanks to be relieved by 8 A & SH when San Maria secure. After relief, Plan Charlie.

0935 50 Royal Tanks reported on Ridge Li Colli and 6 Innisks taking over and consolidating. Enemy shelling and mortaring from Fossacesia area.

1035 Enemy DF on San Maria. 6 Innisks having some trouble on left flank and asked for support. Tanks have encountered many mines but will go to 6 Innisks assistance when cleared.

1045 Tanks reported at 385035 and to have taken PoWs. Enemy shelling forward slopes San Maria.

1130 6 Innisks reported at 367015.

Brigade Intelligence Summary issued.

Lieut A Roy 265201 RCS appointed Signals Officer, 38 Brigade vice Lieut R Laming RCS admitted ADS.

1450 6 Innisks reported in San Maria and mopping up. 50 Royal Tanks reached rd San Maria to Fossacesia. Great number of mines and road bad.

1700 Situation at last light see Sitrep.

1 RIrF.

0330 Bn “stand to” owing to continuous Vickers MG fire on right flank.

0545 At 0545 hrs Bn formed up and moved to a position 1000 ft behind 2 LIR.  The majority of the Battalion obtained cover in a long gulley.

0900 At approx. 0900 hrs two shells from an SP gun landed in the gully killing 19 incl. Lt A Mel Smyth and wounding twenty seven including the MO, Captain WL Lang.  At 1400 hrs the CO received orders to move up to R.L.Colli 3702, which 6 Innisks had captured after 5 hrs fighting.  Intention: to form a firm base on their right flank.

1630 At 1630 hrs the Battalion moved up and was dug-in by 1900 hrs.

1900 Very little shelling interrupted the men who got a night’s rest.  Location 383022.

Died on this Day:

Fusilier Albert Stallard, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

Fusilier William Lindsay, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

Lance Sergeant Albert Fawcett, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

Corporal Arthur Lawrence, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

Fusilier Walter Allen, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

Fusilier Robert Mainwaring, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

Fusilier Ernest Lewis, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

Fusilier Reginald Petford, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

Fusilier Noel Church, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

Fusilier John Finlan, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

Fusilier Ernest Ashton, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

Lance Corporal Thomas Crossley, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

Fusilier Raymond Danks, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

Lance Corporal George Robinson, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

Fusilier Frank Heppenstall, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

6 Innisks – RIVER SANGRO.

0345 Bttn roused and preparations were made for move to the top of the escarpment.

0445 Bttn moved off and took up positions on start line, B and D Coys forward. A Coy, Bttn HQ, C Coy.

0555 Barrage from supporting artillery (smoke and HE) started and tanks from 3 CLY moved up and bttn started in following order:

One squadron tanks, B and D Coys, second squadron tanks, A Coy, Regimental HQ tanks, Bttn HQ, C Coy, reserve squadron tanks.

Bttn was able to get as far as the foot of R. L Colli without being fired upon, but once the enemy became aware of our presence, MGs and artillery opened up with heavy fire.

Travelling in the tanks were Brigadier Currie of 4 Armoured Brigade and Brigadier Russell of 38 (Irish) Brigade.

1000 A tank obstacle was met and infantry (B and D Coys) went forward alone while engineers of 4 Armoured Brigade made a crossing.

Coys with tanks were now in close contact with enemy defences, coys after having passed through a thickly laid minefield which temporarily held the tanks up. Bttn HQ moved up (also through the minefield) to a ruined house at 388029, having been sniped at on the way.

1150 A mule carrying tools which was following Bttn HQ trod on a mine, which exploded, killing the mule and injuring the muleteer.

The CO needed tank support to help a coy deal with an obstinate M/G post and permission was obtained for ranks to take a chance and cross the minefield to get to the ridge.

The first tank to move went over a mine, which blew the track off, and the Bttn Pioneers went to their assistance and made a gap 50 yards wide in the minefield, lifting 54 Italian box mines in doing so.

While this battle of the ridge was going on, A Coy and one squadron of tanks went forward through D and B Coys and then turned left towards San Maria (3601) and established themselves on the ridge overlooking the town.

There was some trouble with snipers and MGs but late in the afternoon, tanks and one platoon of A Coy entered the town capturing 24 prisoners.

C Coy was brought up to the right rear of D Coy.

1430 Bttn HQ moved up to site of enemy strong point at 378026. Up to this time, 17 PoWs had been cleared from 2/145 Regiment but now more were coming in, and with A Coy’s 24 the total was brought to 45 (2 officers, 4 NCOs and 39 ORs).

1530 Coys were now consolidating and enemy was shelling fairly heavily, trying mainly for tank harbours. His Nebelwerfers were used from time to time.

1730 Bttn HQ and one coy moved 600 yards further south to 376021 making room for 1 RIrF to come in on our right and so continue the push the next day in conjunction with 2 LIR.

At this place, a further 24 PoWs were brought in (1 Major and 23 ORs) making the total bag for the day 69.

Our own casualties for the day were 1 officer (Lt Feirn) and 8 ORs killed. One officer (Capt Hodgson) and 29 ORs wounded. One OR missing.

Died on this Day:

Fusilier John Roberts, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

Corporal Leonard Broadley, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

Lance Corporal Joseph Smith, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

Fusilier Leonard Frater, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

Lieutenant Thomas Feirn, attached to Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers from Royal Irish Fusiliers.

Fusilier John Brown, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

Fusilier Arthur Flewers, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

Corporal William Nicholas, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

Sergeant John O’Neill, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

2 LIR.

0530 Artillery barrage supporting 6 Innisks on San Maria.

0630 Battalion ready to move.

Our artillery continuous from 0630-0830 on Colli and road San Maria-Fossacesia.

0730 Brigadier gives word “go” for battalion to move forward. Order of march G F H, Battalion HQ and E Company.

0830 Battalion HQ established at 398012.

0845 6 Innisks take first objective – Bridge 372019 with little opposition.

0920 Tanks are now on ridge supporting 6 Innisks.

0900-0930 12 medium bombers bomb road San Maria-Fossacesia.

0920 Enemy shell San Maria and approaches up to it.

1000 Report from tanks on ridge says that there are so many mines on Colli and area of road that it will be impossible for 2 LIR attack with tanks to come off today. Battalion less E Company remain with tanks and dig in. E Company in reserve to move back behind escarpment.

1030 Enemy 88mm firing from rear road San Maria–Fossacesia causes two casualties in E Company at Farm 398009. Enemy DF of forward edge of San Maria. One shell kills 19 other ranks of 1 Pl of 1 RIF in gully 400012. Enemy continue to shell approaches and gully leading to San Maria.

1400 6 Innisks send two companies into San Maria to hold village.

6 Innisks to cover REs sweeping mines on Colli.

1400 1 RIF move through battalion position to assembly area just in front of us.

1450 6 Innisks in San Maria. 30 PW taken. Many enemy dead found.

1500 CO to Brigade O Group.

1700 CO returns – G Company to link up with tanks at 1800 hrs. Battalion to move at 0300 hrs 30th.

Fourteen large bomber formations kept at shuttle service throughout the hours of daylight, and blasted away at the enemy. Enemy put in 3 separate counter-attacks on 5 Corp front but all were repulsed. PWs include Poles and Frenchmen.

Battalion casualties for the day were 3 killed and 4 wounded.

Captain PP Giles, and 2 ORs proceed on special duties.

Died on this Day:

Rifleman John Swift, London Irish Rifles.

Corporal William Fife, London Irish Rifles.

Read the Battalion’s account here.

30th November

Brigade HQ – TORINO.

0620 Bttns Sitrep nothing to report.

0730 2 LIR reported location 371019.

0820 Zero hour for attack on Fossacesia postponed. 44 Royal Tanks held up by four enemy SP guns.

0900 RE requested to help tanks forward.

0905 1 RIrF holding Ridge Li Colli (3702) HQ 383724.

0930 Six ME 109s attacked River Sangro crossings and dropped bombs on own transport causing casualties and damage. One plane shot down by LAA. One own aircraft forced down. Pilot safe.

0940 3 enemy SP guns reported knocked out 363013 by 50 Royal Tanks.

0950 Tanks closing in on start line. 2 LIR in position and moving up. Zero hour 1015hrs.

Casualties 29 November: 6 Innisks killed 1 and 8, wounded 1 and 29, missing nil and 1. 2 LIR killed nil wounded nil and 7 missing nil.  1 RIrF killed 1 and 18, wounded 1 and 24, missing nil and 2.

Tank casualties 29 November mined 6-8, bogged 7-8, enemy action nil.

1015 Own artillery barrage on Fossacesia commenced.

1048 Enemy tanks reported on left flank. 50 Royal Tanks dealing with them.

1055 Tanks reported going getting difficult but still going on. Destroyed enemy half track.

1140 2 LIR reported on outskirts of Fossacesia. 6 Innisks ready to move off. 8 A & SH ordered to extend to positions vacated by 6 Innisks on Ridge Li Colli.

1158 1 RIrF warned to move up to line of road Fossacesia and to be ready for phase 4.

1250 6 Innisks ordered to send bttn representative to bend in road and to go up with tanks and give them a hand. When this is cleared up, continue with original plan.

1300 2 LIR forward coy in Fossacesia.

1315 Right coy 2 LIR reported everything tidied up.

Zero next phase 1430hrs.

1335 1 RIrF reported well up behind 2 LIR.

Own tanks reported having cut road Fossacesia–Rocca San Giovanni at 390052. Three 88mms reported knocked out 383047 and 362055.

Enemy counter attack on Mozzagrogna broken up and dispersed.

6 Innisks ordered to send one platoon to join tanks for special mopping up operation and probably to escort PoWs.

1430 8 A & SH reported enemy counter attack on San Maria mainly infantry, attacking from direction Lanciano. 8 A & SH have tanks to hand to use if necessary. 2 LIR HQ 3904 Fossacesia.

Zero hour 1 RIrF attack from Fossacesia to sea.

1545 1 RIrF reached monastery 413058.

1610 1 RIrF reached 405058, 413062 and Fossacesia Station 4105.

1630 1 RIrF established 3904 and coys to east.

1700 HQ 6 Innisks 378029

8 A & SH reported all now quiet except for some sniping and mortar fire.

6 Innisks report 17 PoWs identified 9 Coy 145 Panzer Grenadier Regiment and 361 Panzer Grenadier Regiment.

6 Innisks require A Tks immediately to 396047.

1725 Situation on Brigade front at last light see Sitrep.

1800 Casualties on 30 November: 6 Innisks 19, 2 LIR 1 and 2, 1 RIrF 8, 1 Kens 4.

2000 2 LIR ordered to move A and B Echelons to school 448982. 36 Brigade moving into 2 LIR A and B Echelon positions.

2025 8 A & SH being relieved in San Maria by 17 Indian Brigade 1 December. 8 A & SH revert to command 36 Brigade 12 noon 1 December.

1 RIrF.

At approx. 0915 hrs, 2 LIR attacked up the ridge to include Fossacesia 3904 and the CO received final orders.

0900 The Battalion formed up – in order A, D, Command Group, B, C Coys – several salvos landed in the area from a 6-barrelled Nebelwerfer,  A Battalion runner spotted the flash of this weapon and Major Anderson, 26 Battery 17 Field Regiment was able to neutralize its fire.

1100 The Battalion moved up to the western outskirts of Fossacesia, which 2 LIR had captured with little opposition.

1400 A & D Coys moved off in support of 2 squadrons 46 RTR.

1445 At Z + 45 (1445 hrs), D Coy had captured the Battalion objective – Monastery 412058 – and were “mopping-up” the headland.  A Coy, in more thickly wooded country, made slower progress, but were soon on their objective Bluff 418055.  A & D Coys (Captain DFB  Jewell and Major JS Clarke) then consolidated and took stock of their booty, which included 12 MGs, a Commander’s car, one 81mm mortar and large stocks of Tellermines.  100 PW’s 145 GR were taken in this action.  B Coy (Major J McNally MC) moved up in reserve into a position on the high ground immediately north of the Monastery 407078.  A Coy were pulled in astride the road 408056.  C Coy (Major RLG Wood) remained in Fossacesia.  Casualties for the day’s action – 2 ORs wounded.

During the night 30 Nov/1 Dec, A Echelon moved up to Battalion with great coats and rations.

6 Innisks – R. LI COLLI.

Coys improved their positions and spend a fairly quiet morning with only spasmodic shelling and mortaring.

1030 Eight enemy planes (FW 190s) bombed and strafed the Sangro valley. As a result of this attack, 3 jeeps, one 15 cwt and the water truck were put out of action. Casualties to personnel were five ORs injured.

1030 CO went to Brigade HQ, returning at 1105hrs and a warning order was issued for a move at 1200hrs.

1200 Bttn moved north east along the ridge to area 3802, where C Coy pushed on north west to the San Maria to Fossacesia road at 377031 with tank support.

1430 Six other planes (FW 190s) bombed and strafed the road to Fossacesia. During this attack, Major Bunch and passengers of a 15 cwt truck in which he was travelling left the truck to take cover and walked into a minefield, where an S mine killed Major Bunch and two fusiliers and injured one other.

1500 Bttn moved off to join C Coy and were established astride the road with Bttn HQ at 378029.

C Coy pushed on further, cleaning farms and mopping up, and adding a further 15 PoWs to our collection. This time, 12/361 PGR being identified among the 145 Regiment personnel.

1700 CO went to Brigade HQ and on his return, orders were issued for continuing the advance the next day.

1730 Local patrols were out to pts 377046 and 383048 but failed to find any organised enemy parties, although each patrol brought back one prisoner.

Died on this Day:

Fusilier George Huntingdon, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

Fusilier Robert Jones, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

2 LIR.

8 A & SH take up position in San Maria, 6 Innisks on their right.

0330 Bn move to fwd concentration area at San Maria.

0600 Bn HQ est San Maria. Coys in position along ridge to right of the village.

0610 IO and Int Sec move off to fwd edge of San Maria to contact tanks and G Coy.

0630 REs of Indian Div report to IO that road is clear of mines. Report from 78 Div says that 2 NZ Div have reached 3 miles south of Lanciano A/320030.

0830 Bn move fwd along ridge Colli supported by Arty box barrages. G Coy fwd left with tanks, F Coy left of road, H Coy right of road, Bttn HQ move behind H Coy, E Coy in reserve behind Bttn HQ.

0845 Sharp enemy Arty barrage on ridge near San Maria and on lower slopes 376020. (Enemy DF gives impression that he expects attack to come from front of ridge below Fossacesia and not along the ridge from San Maria). Enemy using 6 barrelled mortar (not very effective). 

0900 Coys proceeding steadily with little opposition. Tanks on right of road bogged in muddy ground.

0900 C Ob Command group behind H Coy with Battle Patrol mop up Germans remaining in houses etc, passed by coys. 3 enemy SP suns abandoned on road and one 88mm.

1000 Coys in Fossacesia. About 60 PWs taken so far. Enemy PWs say they were taken completely by surprise. Thought we must have gone from Rocca H/3805.

1130 Bttn HQ established in town. Coys in defensive posn in and around the town.

1130 1 RIrF pass through Bn in their attack towards the coast. Heavy Arty barrage supporting 1 RIrF.

1200 Enemy located in trenches just below Bttn HQ. Several of them rounded up. About 150 PW taken by the brigade so far this morning.

1730 G Coy ordered fwd to take Rocca–San Giovanni H/3805.

1830 G Coy report first bridge on road Fossacesia – Rocca intact.

1900 Situation on 5 Corps front. The enemy’s Sangro line has been destroyed after 3 days heavy fighting. The 65 Inf Div and particularly 145 Gren Regiment, which was responsible for the sector from Redicoppe 3399 to the sea, has sustained very heavy losses, including some 800 PWs, of which nearly 500 belonged to 145 Gren Regiment, The complete disintegration of this regiment as a result of the capture of Fossacesia–the Colli ridge 3702. San Maria–Mozzagrogna and Romagnoli has compelled the enemy to provide reserves from elements of 90th Gren Dvi (originally 90 Light Inf Div) and also apparently from 26 Pz Div. A series of unsuccessful counter attacks were launched supported by tanks of 26 Pz Div.

The PWs from 361 PGR state that they arrived in the area of San Vito 3-4 days ago from Venice and were committed almost at once. They were intended to counter attack on the Fossacesia–San Maria front. Identification of PW captured by 2 LIR today – 5 & 12 Coys 361 Pz Greb Regt, 2 Coy 56 Arty Regt (90 Lt Div) and 145 Gren Regt I & II Bns.

Died on this Day:

Corporal Victor Stanton, London Irish Rifles.

Rifleman W Hall, London Irish Rifles.

Rifleman Wailliam King, London Irish Rifles.