War Diaries – 26th to 31st October 1944

26th October

Brigade HQ.

Rain all night and shows no sign of stoppage.

0600 2 Innisks coy relieved by 56 Recce now at Casa Salara 022263. Patrol during the night reached as far as 037266 and was heavily engaged by MG and mortar fire. Impression was gained that the area along the ridge from Casa Salara was heavily defended. Very heavy shelling of 2 Innisks bttn area during the night.

2 LIR now complete in concentration area at San Apollinare.

Enemy activity and mule convoy seen in area 037266 engaged by mortars and artillery.

1800 Patrol from 56 Recce to 035255 saw no sign of enemy or previous occupation. Rain has continued all day long. The tracks are in a shocking state and the men are soaking wet with very few opportunities of getting dry. The rain also has put paid to any further advances and further operations.

A note on the local topography and future plans.

The capture of the Spaduro feature gave us the observation over the enemy and a firm base with which to start an operation to clear the remaining hills down to the Bologna road. On the night of 24/25, various patrol outposts were to be taken and the next night, a full scale attack was to go in.

The main objectives were Pt 362, 036278; Ortica, 041278; Camaggio, 048259 and Monte Maggiore, 052258.

36 Brigade commenced attacking Camaggio on the afternoon of the 24th and at the same time, the rains started. They did not get their objectives and it became obvious that until the rain stopped, any future operations would have to be cancelled. Another alarming feature to be considered was the enemy’s quick reinforcing of his decimated battalions and the arrival of the 1 Para Division to our north. These new arrivals squeezed down the 98 Division so that we now have nearly two enemy divisions opposite our own divisional front.

The ground was not an easy proposition either. On our own particular section, although we had the domination, the approaches to our ultimate objective were no means easy. From Monte Spaduro itself, a ridge, banked on either side by steep rugged gullies, ran to Pt 362 and, from this point, the remaining enemy held features spread out like a fan. Ortica – the brigade’s ultimate objective – was perched on the edge of a crag, its approach awkward and difficult. From Pt 387, a ridge ran down to the right hand Casa Salara and then on down to the Ortica crag at Casa Boschi di Olivia. This made the approach to Ortica extremely difficult from the right flank except up some of the steep tracks.

In general, the hills were steep, with deep rugged gullies. Devoid of cover and sparsely cultivated, they afforded very little shelter for the attacking infantryman and during the wet weather became impassable areas of mud where it was difficult to walk, let alone fight.

2 Innisks – CASONE.

0100 Lt Murray returned. Reports bumped enemy, casualties one wounded and one missing. Weather conditions appalling.

1000 Mortars experiencing very bad time – impossible to fire. Extremely heavy rain make conditions practically impossible. Mules are lost each night and patrolling is impossible.


0700 G Coy now in bttn area. Weather still bad – heavy rain.

1400 CO’s Administration and Reorganisation Conference.

  1. Bttn to work with 3 coys – E,G and H.
  2. Remainder of F Coy to be a battle patrol under Lt Montgomorie.
  3. F Coy HQ to return to B Echelon to form a new coy from reinforcements.
  4. All LOBs, except specialists, to come forward.

1700 Pioneer Platoon went forward to bring back remainder of bttn dead.

27th October

Brigade HQ.

No enemy shelling during the night. Patrol, which went forward from the 2 Innisks platoon at Casa Salara was unsuccessful due to the shocking weather conditions. Visibility very poor. Rain still pours down.

Enemy visibility again observed around Point 237 040263 and a mule train on road at 052278. Both targets engaged by our artillery.

Heavy enemy DF during the day, concentrated on Spinello and Ripiano. One deserter from 5 Coy, 756 Regiment was picked up in area Casa Salara.


B Coy to Castel del Rio.

2 Innisks – CASONE.

1000 O Group. Arrangements put into operation for all available houses to be used for shelter and drying clothes. RMO starts bedded RAP. Twenty men from D Coy come in with exposure.

1100 S Coy arrives with mules. Four lost out of 12.

1800 C Coy relieves D Coy and a platoon of A relieves B Coy. No patrolling.


0700 Weather still bad – rain.

1000 Brigade Commander visited Bttn HQ to confer with cO.

1600 Attempts made to get rifle coys under shelter. E Coy established in farm at 008222 and G Coy at 009225.

Night 27/28: Enemy SP guns shelling area Area Point, Gun Lines and bttn area.

28th October

Brigade HQ

2 Innisks had slight harassing fire during the night.

56 Recce slight shelling.

Three German deserters were picked up on Point 387. Identification 5 Coy, 756 Regiment.

Information gained from the deserters produced a very good impression of the enemy defended localities and his supply routes and afforded our guns, a considerable number of harassing fire targets.

The supply system for our own troops was a problem due to the bad state of the road. The rain caused a landslide on the main supply road and the jeeps were – and still are – the only vehicles that can get safely through.

Artificial moonlight was a great help to the drivers on these bad roads in the rear areas just as much as it was to the patrols in the forward areas.


Short memorial service. Some shelling.

2 Innisks – CASONE.

0630 CO visits coys.

1100 Arrangements made for 14 men to go back to the CAR post for 24 hours rest.

Mules arrive in daylight without casualties.

1400 Heavy shelling and mortaring of bttn area, particularly Pt 362 Spaduro.

Gunners shoot up enemy forward of the pimples and inflict many casualties.

No Patrolling.


0700 Bttn still resting. Lines laid to coy.

1400 Bttn IO, Captain Lyness, returned to B Echelon with septic foot; Lt Hudson assumed duties of IO.

29th October

Brigade HQ

On the whole, a very quiet night with only slight HF.

0730 3” mortars 2 Innisks harassed Pt 263 and again at 1300 hrs.

1200 Enemy HF on Monte Spaduro.

1900 Intermittent shelling on Sasaleone 9922 and San Apollinare.

Considerable harassing fire of the rear areas during the night.


Slight shelling.

2 Innisks – CASONE.

1000 O Group at Bttn HQ. Reliefs – A Coy relieves C Coy complete except for one platoon.

1100 Weather is a bit better. Rain ceases. The Brigadier pays a visit to Bttn HQ.

1300 Harassing fire by mortars on pimples Pt 203.

1500 Mules arrive. Minefield to be laid forward of Casa Salara tonight.

1900 Lt Casey and Pioneers lay minefield forward of Casa Salara. Admin Point shelled – one vehicle destroyed and one OR wounded.


More shelling from enemy SP guns during night of 28/29.

1000 RC service at Bttn HQ.

Pioneer Platoon engaged in repairing tracks in bttn area.

30th October

Brigade HQ

2 Innisks slight HF during the night. 56 Recce had continuous shelling and mortaring throughout the night.

Brigade Commander visits 2 Innisks at Casone.

2 Innisks forward coys were heavily shelled during the day.

56 Recce spasmodic shelling.

2 Innisks laid mines during the night in forward areas. Vickers’ MMGs harassed enemy supply lines and forward targets throughout the night.

Local protection patrol only at night.


Orders to relieve 56 Recce on 387 and Spinello. C Coy and section of 3” mortars to come under command 2 Innisks.

2 Innisks – CASONE.

1000 CO’s conference. Admin Point gets more shelling. Admin gets worse, the road from A Echelon to Mule Point closed to all vehicles. Only bare necessities come up each day.

1500 Mortaring and shelling of bttn area. No casualties. Impossible to patrol.


1000 LOBs arrive from B Echelon and join their coys.

1030 CE service at Bttn HQ. During the course of the day, the MO visited the coys to inspect all personnel.

Died on this Day:

Rifleman Dennis Connelly, London Irish Rifles.

31st October

Brigade HQ.

2 Innisks were shelled considerably during the night.

1200 GOC visits Brigade Commander. They go up to OP on M Falchetto 9825.

1300 Slight HF in Brigade HQ area.

1415 Major Legget (Innisks) visits Brigade HQ. He lectured on and discussed the Army Demobilisation Scheme to representatives from each battalion and Brigade HQ.

1800 Vickers MMGs commenced harassing shoot on Mulineto 052278, road and track junction 060279 and Scaglia 048284.

One coy 1 RIrF leaves San Apollinare to go up and relieve two squadrons 56 Recce on Pt 387 and Casa Spinello.

2130 Coy 1 RIrF now in position. One platoon at Casa Spinello and two platoons at Pt 387. Coy is now under command 2 Innisks.

56 Recce to revert to command 36 Infantry Brigade.


R Group of CO, IO and C Coy command. 3” mortar sergeant forward to 387. Relief completed at 2100 hrs.

2 Innisks – CASONE.

1000 CO’s conference.

1500 Casa Salara house – 6 direct hits. No casualties. New positions dug. RIrF have one coy, on 386 under command, Lt Giles’ platoon relieves Lt Murray’s platoon.


0700 Bttn still resting in concentration area at San Apollinare (005230).

During the last week, the torrential rain made the supply problem a serious one. Roads and tracks were in an appalling condition and, on two occasions, the diversion at 00022, between San Apollinare and Sassoleone was washed away, making it impossible for either mule teams or reinforcements to get through to the bttn, which was obliged to fall back on its reserve rations on these occasions.