16th October

Brigade HQ.

0800 Bttns reported quiet night.

1000 Situation on Brigade front see Sitrep.

1125 Brigade informed by Division following troops under command wef 0900 18th October:

One battery 17 Field Regiment, one battery 64 A/Tk Regiment, one squadron 46 RTR, 56 Recce less two squadrons.

1200 Patrol 2 LIR captured 3 PoWs area 748784. Identified I Bttn 64 Panzer Grenadier Regiment.

1220 RA 78 Division informed 17 Field Regiment and 64 A/Tk Regiment that 13 Battery 17 Field Regiment and 254 Battery 64 A/Tk Regiment troops u/c 38 Brigade 0900 18th October.

1900 2 LIR reported large numbers of civilians coming through Bttn lines from Petacciato. Civilians were sent to Brigade HQ for interrogation and not allowed to return through lines. RE section clearing and sweeping road of mines from Termoli-Petacciato.

1 RIrF.

Nothing outstanding to report.

6 Innisks – SAN GIACOMO.

Numbers of Italian soldiers were now beginning to come through our lines – any that had good information was sent immediately to Brigade HQ and the remainder were directed to the authorities at Termoli or San Severo.

Patrolling continued at night with another patrol of a platoon in strength.

2 LIR.

During the morning the enemy mortared area Pt 150/732787. From Pt 150 the ground falls away to the sea. There is little cover fwd until the slope is reached on the right of Petacciato.

0300 Patrol ‘John’ of 1 Platoon commanded by Capt St Maur-Shiel accompanied by 2 officers of the RTR. To establish a base at OP Fm 750790 and dominate ground to Petacciato and fight enemy patrols.

0650 One enemy plane over Termoli. No bombs dropped.

0700 Patrol ‘Shepards’ return. (see sheet 13 for report). Report of Shepards. Met Patrol ‘Pride’ at O P Fm at 1730 hrs. Moved to area 727794 to lie up for enemy. Lay up from 2345 to 0300 hrs. Moved fwd West of main rd to 720793, then right along secondary rd to 710797. At 0420 hrs man ran out of house below them at 713798. Patrol moved through thick undergrowth to attack house. About 25 men brought from Petacciato by man engaged ‘Pride’ with ….

0830 C O holds “O” Group at Battalion HQ.

0900 C O reports to Brigade HQ for conference.

1230 Three German P O W captured by Patrol ‘John’ arrive at Battalion HQ. Identified as 1 Battalion Panzer Grenadier Regt.

1400 C O accompanied by O Cs of F, G & H Companies on recce.

1500 Patrol ‘Raider’ of 8 Other Ranks commanded by Lieutenant Seymour. To locate MMGs reported west of Tri Petacciato and Stn De Montenero. To bring back an identification. Patrol contacted ‘John’ at O P Fm 749787 as previously arranged.

1700 C O at Brigade HQ.

1900 Patrol ‘John’ returns. (see sheet 14 for report). Report of Patrol ‘John’ 3 prisoners of war taken at Road Fm 748784 at 1000 hrs. Movement seen in tower in Petacciato. Civilians report/3-4 gun positions near road at 715802. Two MGs in Petacciato in houses. Enemy strength 100-200. MG posts in Tower. No tanks. They left few days previously. Enemy withdrawn to behind River Trigno, except for a few infantry & some guns in town.

1930 Patrol ‘Cover 2’ of one platoon commanded by Capt Woods MC. To cover Sappers clearing road of mines as far fwd as Pt 150/731787.

17th October

Brigade HQ.

0800 Patrol 6 Innisks to area Cemetery (709782) found no signs of enemy but heard enemy MT movement and saw enemy patrol on way but no contact.

Situation on Brigade front see Sitrep.

1100 2 LIR reported enemy deserter from 16 Panzer Recce Bttn gave himself up at 1015.

1630 2 LIR reported enemy shelling in area 757787.

1745 2 LIR informed that Brigade Commander orders that 22 W/T sets be man packed and move with forward troops. 38 Brigade OO No 25 issued.

38 Brigade Intelligence Summary issued in conjunction with OO No 28.

Amendment No 1 to 38 Brigade OO No 28 issued.

Captain RM Cunningham, Staff Captain, admitted to ADS 152 Field Ambulance and evacuated to 3 CCS. A/Major J Norman, 6 Innisks, appointed A/Staff Captain vice Captain RM Cunningham.

1 RIrF.

1400 CO gives orders with regard to the bttn taking over the 2 LIR positions tomorrow.

Major HEN Bredin admitted to hospital.

Read Lawrie Franklyn-Vaile’s letters.

6 Innisks – SAN GIACOMO.

A church service was held for the troops in the village church.

Captain McCaldin took out the night patrol and two Indian NCOs went out also.

2 LIR.

0200 Patrol ‘Cover 2’ returns. Sappers cleared road of mines up to Pt 150. No enemy encountered or seen.

0215 Patrol ‘Raider’ returns. At 1830 hrs found Tre Petacciato unoccupied. Evidence suggest it was used as an OP (see sheet 14 for report) during the day and not as an MG post. The Railway House 50 yds further inland was empty. Advancing Patrol was challenged from Railway at 734804. Two Germans ran fwd one was shot in the stomach and the other also fell. The MG from the post was thrown into the sea. There was no identification in the area. Heavy MG fire on fixed lines was coming from area 721797 and also from re-entrant at 728800. The patrol replied, while a quick search was made for the wounded man, they could not be found, and may have fallen over the embankment which was under continuous fire if any movement was made. Information confirms position of 1 Company/1 Battalion 64 Panzer Grenadier Regiment as given by prisoners.

0730 CO out on recce.

0845 An American pilot who had been shot down over Petacciato eight days previously and has been hiding in the village, escaped to our lines and reached Battalion HQ.

1000 Numerous civilians crossed over to our lines from Petacciato giving the impression of mass exodus. They were escorted to Brigade HQ for interrogation.

German soldier of Dutch origin surrendered to Carrier Pl identified as belonging to 16 Recce Battalion.

1130 CO & 2/ic called to Brigade for conference.

1500 Patrol ‘Probe’ of 5 ORs commanded by Cpl McKnight. Xxx

Platoon locality reported to be in area 725800.

1930 Patrol ‘Screen’ of 1 Pl commanded by Captain Grannell. To protect Sappers sweeping road of mines up to Pt 150/733786.

2155 Patrol ‘Prejudice’ returns. Report of Patrol ‘Prejudice’:

1000hrs German Patrol of seven men were seen. Two men were seen. Two men approached Road House, 748785. When fired on they took avoiding action and disappeared. At 1400hrs Road House was shelled from area behind Petacciato. Patrol returned at 0045hrs 18th. They lay up in area 731802 saw and heard nothing.

Lieutenant F Lyness took over duties of Intelligence Officer.

Died on this Day:

Lance Corporal Frank Clinch, London Irish Rifles.

18th October

Brigade HQ.

0500 Bttns reported quiet night.

1500 Brigade HQ closed present location and reopened same time at farm 807777.

1555 132 Field Regiment reported enemy registering DF tasks at 723785 and 745800.

1600 132 Field Regiment OO No 4 received.

1610 132 Field Regiment reported enemy registering 715809.

1635 Brigade informed maximum air support for 19 October.

1800 Brigade informed Divisional FSO to expect approximately 100 Italian villages report coming from San Giacomo as a result of 6 Innisks sweep of the village.

1825 6 Innisks reported movement observed in Cemetery area 1130hrs.

1 RIrF.

Captain BDH Clark returns to duty.

2 LIR had the task of assaulting Petaciatto in the early hours of tomorrow morning. Battle patrol had the job of patrolling the right flank of the attack.

1400 Battle patrol left for OP Farm (MR750790), where they were lie up until midnight. BP Commander was 2/Lt Phillips.

1700 Bttn begins to move into new area.

2125 Move completed.

6 Innisks – SAN GIACOMO.

A very quiet day with no activity whatsoever.

Five more escaped British PoWs came through today – they were given a hot meal and sent back through the usual channels.

2 LIR.

0100 Patrol ‘Screen’ returns. REs clear road of mines up to Pt 150

0300 Standing Patrol of one platoon of E Company commanded by Sgt McNally. To secure ad protect road Termoli-Petacciato from 731787 to 741785.

CO’s “O” Group. Final instructions for an attack on Petacciato. Brigade to attack on a 2 Company front. F right and G left. E Company to move after dusk and secure positions astride road up to and including Pt 150/731788 and to protect Battalion Forming Up Point H Company in reserve, to move along side Battalion HQ.

1400 Battalion Intelligence Section and Battle Patrol leave area. Battalion HQ to go and mark Battalion FUP (Start Line).

1800 E Company move fwd.

1930 Battalion march to assembly area 755700. Order of march. F G H Battalion HQ. Route via road Termoli-Petacciato.

2100 E Company in position. 7 Pl 726786. 8 Pl 736786. 9 Pl & Company HQ. Route via road Termoli-Petacciato.

2200 Battalion FUP established on line 740786 south to 739700.

19th October

Brigade HQ.

0130 2 LIR reported started. Own artillery opened fire.

0200 Fire reported in town, probably an ammunition dump.

0230 Artillery ceased fire.

0245 RE mine lifting parties progressing favourably.

0330 2 LIR HQ established Scrubby Farm (740784). Out of touch with forward coys but apparently no opposition.

0405 RE mine lifting party working on road fork at 724789.

0450 Delay in progress due to mines.

0457 C Squadron 46 RTR held 300 yards up left fork from 724789 by RE mine lifting party.

0458  M target (15 roads intense) on Montenero station (704816).

0520 2 LIR reported forward coys held up, exact location unknown, situation confused.

0525 Situation 0500hrs, see Sitrep.

0620 C Squadron 46 RTR and one coy infantry approaching Convent.

0625 254 S/Tk Battery reported that 2 LIR not in Old Town by first light and that tanks were held by mines. Enemy reported still active on town.

0640 Old Town and high ground reported in our hands. One coy west of Old Town. 14 PoWs reported captured.

0645 RE reported now in Old Town.

0720 Nine PoWs identified I Bttn 64 Panzer Grenadier Regiment being sent back.

0845 One coy 2 LIR and C Squadron 46 RTR moving attack to New Town.

One small bridge reported blown, not known which one.

0850 6 Innisks reported patrol to area 6976  killed one enemy (later identified 9 Coy 79 Panzer Grenadier Regiment).

0930 2 LIR reported capture of New Town.

0940 HQ 2 LIR established 714792.

0945 1 RIrF patrol to area Station (7081) reported being near when M target 0458 hrs went down. Saw only two enemy who they shot at but with no apparent result.

1010 254 A/Tk Battery moving into position Petacciato.

1055 2 LIR reported bridges blown at 716799, 699816, 695805, 691802, 660765.

1400 6 Innisks carried out investigation of all non residents San Giacomo with FSS personnel. Forty Italian soldiers and twenty civilians to be evacuated tomorrow.

1515 56 Recce Regiment reported pt241 (7077) cleared.

1640 56 Recce Regiment reported at Colle di Breccia (6976) clear.

1715 Result of 2 LIR attack on Petacciato last night. See Sitrep.

1730 56 Recce Regiment reported farthest point reached approximately pt263 (6973) to be clear. Civilian information report enemy still in Montenero (H6572).

1805 38 Brigade immediate programme issued.

1900 TP established road junction 8076 first light tomorrow. Only vehicles 38 Brigade Group , Lt-Cols and above of 78 Division to be allowed forward.

Enemy losses in attack on Petacciato: 5 killed (at least), 17 PoWs (4 wounded), 2 x 75mm guns, 2 MG 42, 4 x 81mm mortars, 2 M/C combinations, 2 schmeissers, M/pistols, 4 MG 42s destroyed. Own losses: one officer and three ORs wounded, one carrier, one Sherman tank lost track.

1 RIrF.

0001 A Coy established a prisoner of war cage area of Brick Factory (MR 803767).

0130 Battle Patrol in position for their task in area White Farm (MR 736798).

0600 Battle Patrol mission completed and they return.

The 2 LIR attack was successful. In the afternoon, the CO accompanied by the IO/paid a visit to Petacciato to congratulate Lt-Col Rogers and view the ground ahead.

Read Lawrie Franklyn-Vaile’s letters.

6 Innisks – SAN GIACOMO.

0130 LIR attacked Petacciato. All objectives taken by 0730hrs Captain Clark MC held left flank with two platoons and killed one enemy.

Major Little and Captain McPhillips rejoined the bttn from hospital.

1400 FSP came to the town and in conjunction with Bttn IO interrogated all civilians not permanent residents of the town.

Bttn placed at short notice to move forward.

2 LIR.

G Company move fwd to FUP F Company move fwd at 0045.

0115 H Company move fwd to area in rear of G Company. Battalion HQ at 756781.

0130 Zero Hour. F & G Companies advance towards Petacciato supported by Arty barrage. Company enter Old Town (Petacciato) 5 minutes after barrage lifts at approx 0230 hrs. G Company get held up by MG fire. Battalion supported by C Sqn 46 Royal Tank Regiment. H Company carrier blown up on mine at Road Junction 722797. Captain G Fitzgerald and 3 Other Ranks wounded. An Engineer’s truck was also blown up at this junction. And a tank of 46 RTR had a track blown off.

0500 Petacciato clear of enemy. E Company in New Town 711786.

0530 Battalion less Battalion HQ occupy Petacciato. F Company 712797. G Company 710795. E Company 713790. H Company 716794.

0630 Battalion HQ move to Farm 715793. Companies dig in and prepare for possible counter attack.

Enemy occasionally shell fwd slopes in front of Petacciato & Road Junction 722791.

The personnel in H Companies Carrier were the only casualties suffered by the Battalion in the attack on Petacciato.

1800 One Pl from 6 Innisks take up position on E Company’s left.

20th October

Brigade HQ.

0500 6 Innisks reported quiet night. 2 LIR reported slight shelling.

0920 6 Innisks patrol to area 6876 made no contact but found no crashed American aircraft at 685760. Pilot could not be found. 2 LIR patrol to area 6679 made no contact, no enemy seen.

1000 56 Recce Regiment reported being on Colle Di Breccia and preparing for second task (Montenero). Local report that all enemy evacuated Montenero last night. Civilians evacuating Montenero to our lines.

1055 56 Recce Regiment reported pt195 (6874) issued.

1120 56 Recce Regiment OP reported having seen two enemy in Montenero.

1125 56 Recce Regiment reported pt190 (6872) clear. Large enemy vehicles including tanks seen in Montenero. Enemy shelling 696762 at 1230hrs.

1315 56 Recce Regiment reported contact with their patrol 1215hrs at 672722.

Enemy withdrew. Two demolitions observed going up south of Montenero.

1700 Situation on Brigade front see Sitrep.

1935 Orders for move of 6 Innisks issued.

1 RIrF.

Bttn patrol. Nothing of importance occurred.

6 Innisks – SAN GIACOMO.

Bttn not at short notice any further. Training notes sent to coys for a short period of training.

Major Norman went to Brigade HQ to act as Staff Captain. Major Little took over command of S Coy.

1900 CO returned from Brigade HQ with orders for move that night.

2000 O Group conference. A, B, D and Bttn HQ move at 0330hrs to area 263. C Coy and A/Tk to move the following day.

2 LIR.

8th Army Comdr, Div & Brigade Comdrs visit bttn area. Battalion supply escort of one sec to accompany them to FUP.

1045 Heavy enemy Arty barrage on Petacciato lasting 10 minutes.

Section OP at F Companies HQ in Town Hall report 8 guns firing on bearing 2908 Mag. Arty say guns are too far away for counter battery fire. No casualties.

18 ORs posted to Battalion from X2 list.

T/Capt DHM Davies admitted to hospital.