1 RIrF – June 1944

1st June.

0615 Battalion moved to area 519338 in support of the other two bttns.

Order of march D Coy followed by C, A, And B Coys in that order.

0830 Bttn was concentrated in a small area and billeted as far as possible in houses on either side of the road to Ripi.

2000 Bttn placed at four hours notice to move as 6 Innisks cleaning up of their area had been successful.

2nd June.

Bttn placed at six hours notice as the brigade is now in reserve.

3rd June.

1730 Admin. Bttn church service was held in area of Bttn HQ.

4th June.

0600 Admin.

0900 Bttn O Group. Orders to sweep area east of present location as snipers were known to be in area.

0930 Rifle companies crossed start line and swept areas allotted to them Warning order. 0773.

1345 Reports from Companies – nothing found (rumour by civilians that 20 Germans had occupied a house until 2 June but was unconfirmed).

5th June.

0700 CO to conference with Commander 9th Armoured Brigade. Orders issued. Bttn to be part of task force.

1100 Bttn left for start point.

1230 Bttn concentrated in area, start point 455380.

1700 Permission granted to find a more suitable area for the night.

1800 Recce by company commander and bttn moved into company areas.

2130 Stand down. Task force has been cancelled as French have reached objective.

6th June.

0800 Admin.

1600 Bttn placed at twenty four hrs notice. B Echelon called forward

7th June.

1800 Bttn ordered to move. Recce party to leave at 1930 hrs. Bttn at 2000 hrs.

1930 Recce left for area 7472 seven miles north of Rome.

2000 Bttn left for the above area.

8th June.

0200 Bttn passed through Rome and concentrated in the above area for the night 7/8th August.

0700 Bttn ordered to area Rignano as battle is moving very fast.

1200 Bttn left at 1200 hrs and arrived at 1245 hrs in new area 765027.

1400 One platoon B Coy detached to guard 500 enemy prisoners in Castellana hospital 6810.

2200 D Coy warned to stand by to leave area at 0600 hrs on detachment to a task force under command of 9th Armoured Brigade.

9th June.

0600 D Coy left for RV with remainder of force.

1700 C Coy warned to move at 0600 on 10th June as part of another force under command B Squadron 3 KOH.

2200 Bttn warning order to move at 0900 hrs.

10th June.

0600 C Coy move to RV with tanks.

0900 Bttn left for new location.

1530 Bttn has 2 coys and 1 platoon arrived in area 698123 owing to heavy shelling and mortaring of road in bttn area. Troops were debussed and transport was dispersed.

2000 Transport moved into company areas.

2100 Locations of D and C Coys arrive.

D Coy has 1 platoon at 6820, 1 platoon at Gallase.

C Coy concentrated area Bassanello.

Battle patrol to area 7322 to harass enemy trying to withdraw along road Mignano Niero.

11th June.

0900 C Company reported in Orte with tanks and one battery SP guns in support.

2100 A party has invited to visit Rome – CO, Adjutant and Bttn party leave for Rome visit.

12th June.

0800 Warning order from brigade to concentrate.

1500 D Coy rejoined bttn.

1800 Battle Patrol rejoined bttn and C Company relieved in Orte.

13th June.

0530 Recce party to Civitella 5247, where seven prisoners were captured, hiding in the area allotted to the bttn.

0630 Bttn’s time of departure delayed owing to the amount of traffic on main route until 2100 hrs.

2200 Bttn moved off.  C Copy moved independently.

14th June.

0430 Bttn reached destination but owing to the other bttns having moved faster than expected, the plan was changed and a new area allotted.

0630 Breakfasted and moved off at 0800 hrs.

0930 Bttn reached new area 501542.

15th June

1200 A Coy placed at immediate notice.

Task to clear Route 79 in conjunction with 56 Recce.

1400 A Coy moved to rendezvous with Recce at 514624 at 1530 hrs.

1600 A Coy proceeded up the road until forward elements bumped into heavy opposition in area 526665.

2100 A Company attacked enemy position after it had been subjected to artillery and mortar fire, enemy withdrew as soon as 8 Platoon made a determined flanking attack. 25 bodies were counted and 2 field guns, 1 A/Tk guns and 3 trucks were captured.

2215 A Company consolidated near the main road where they remained for the night.

16th June.

0430 Battle Patrol plus 2 sections from B Coy with 2 mortar carriers as support and commanded by Lieut Manson were sent as part of a task force to 9th Armoured Brigade HQ where they came under command with the task of clearing Route 71 with the aid of tanks from Citta Della Pieve 3784 to Castiglione De Lago 4295.

2100 Bttn Warning Order to move in brigade transport to area of present location of 56 Recce where bttn was put under command of Lt Col Chavasse as support to 56 Recce.

A Coy with B Coy in reserve moved along axis of Route 79 behind elements of 56 Recce until Monte Giove was reached.

2115 Forward recce elements held by A/Tk guns and mortaring from the area of the castle.

2230 A Company attacked and captured the castle killing five and capturing 35 prisoners and large quantities of equipment including trucks and three 75 mm A/Tk guns.

17th June.

0500 B Coy who had been following up joined A Coy and consolidated.

0700 Bttn moved forward and concentrated in the area of the castle.

1430 A and B Coys moved forward and consolidated ground gain gained by the Recce in area 8855 where a two company front was held for the night.

Rain though out the night

18th June.

1000 Recce made good progress during the day and found a bridge at 9050 untouched as B Coy was sent forward to protect it and to form a bridgehead across the river.

1400 D Coy given task of clearing enemy infantry from Castello to 498839 and this entailed a long approach march as tracks were impassable for trucks.

1800 D Coy cross river and lie up just short of Castello awaiting artillery stonk.

2100 Advance started but no contact was made and the company consolidated in area 498839 with C Coy as a firm base in Castello.

2225 One platoon sent forward to probe as far as Rasale. Still no contact so company was moved forward to the area 498839 where they remained by the Bttn HQ and S Coy were still in the area of Monte Giove

19th June.

0630 A Coy proceeded to area Castello.

0830 C Coy plus one squadron of 56 Recce with a battery of SP guns in support under command of Major Neville Chance given task of clearing the track as far as Lake Trasimene.

1130 A Coy arrive at start line 498839 and are given the task of protecting the right flank of C Company.

1500 C Company report one platoon astride the main lake road in area.

1530 Patrol sent to village at 508891 where enemy are reported to be. A short clash took place in which Sgt Boviard was killed and L/Cpl Brown wounded. One prisoner was captured from 4 Para Regiment.

1600 A Company confirm on the right flank of C Coy.

1630 D Coy given task of clearing and capturing a castle at 475880 thus conforming on the left flank of C Coy. A three company front was held by the battalion for the next two days.

1900 Tac Bttn HQ moved into castle, which was held by D Coy.

20th June.

1100 Tac Bttn HQ moved in behind the companies in area 494880.

21st June.

1030 Main Bttn B Coy, S Coy and B Echelon moved forward to general area of 475880.

1600 B Coy now at 448888 as flank protection for 6 Innisks.

23rd June

1000 Warning order from brigade for a bttn attack on the 24th June.

1430 CO issued orders.

2100 All companies moved forward to 4189 and were billeted in houses for the night, near to the start line in area of Sanfatucchio.

2200 Tac HQ moved forward to the same area.

Bttn task – to clear 1500 yards and capture the villages of Pescia and Ranciano.

Supporting arms for the attack were: 3 Field Regiments, 1 Medium Regiment, 1 Squadron Canadian tanks, and 1 Squadron M 10s, 1 Company of 4.2” Mortars. Barrage for 24 minutes and a lift of 200 yards every 6 minutes. 4.2” Mortars to search area of Pescia river throughout the attack.

24th June.

0530 B and C Coys were on the Start Line and the Barrage started on time.

Companies moved forward according to the plan with the tanks searching all houses with their 7.5 guns and machine gunning possible FDLs.

0845 B Coy had considerable trouble from their left flank and called for assistance from the guns who put down a 10 minute stonk and B moved forward again and continued until they were pinned down by LMG fire. The tanks had difficulty in locating the bother but as they moved forward the fire ceased and the company moved forward into Ranciano, which was the final objective.

C Company moved forward without a great deal of opposition until they reached the outskirts of Pescia, which was the final objective.

0850 Major Neville Chance was wounded in the left arm by a mortar bomb but carried on until the final objective was reached.

1205 C Coy reported a counter attack was coming in with tank support.

1211 Tanks were sent forward and knocked out a German Mark V Tank and nothing more was seen of the counter attack force.

1550 B Coy have reached final objective. Lieut Lloyd was wounded during the final attack by a shell splinter.

1610 A Coy moved up behind B and was called forward to consolidate in the village.

1630 3” Mortars and machine guns were sent forward to Ranciano.

1700 D Coy, who had been following C Coy during the attack, were reported in position in a reserve area in area of Pescia.

Total number of enemy prisoners taken by bttn were 80 including 2 officers, tow tanks were knocked out by the supporting squadron.

Ten horse drawn wagons were captured in Ranciano.

25th June.

0900 The CO, the acting IO (Lieut R Gamble) and Major Anderson artillery rep left Tac in the command tank to visit the companies and have not been head of since.

1100 The Adjutant took over command of the bttn and dispatched a carrier patrol to search the area for the tank. Nothing was seen.

1400 Patrol sent across country in the direction of the next village Badia but no trace was found of the party and the patrol returned after being fired on from the village.

1600 IO resumes his role after being in bed for two days. Major N Chance is evacuated as wound has turned septic. Captain Coetzee 2.i.c. takes over command of the company.

2000 A heavy concentration of mortaring on A and B company area.

Major GL Richards MM was wounded in the right knee and is evacuated. Lieut LM Manson assumes command of the company.

All rifle company commanders are South African.

26th June.

Bttn is to hold present sector until relieved by a British Division, who are to conform on our left flank.

27th June.

1000 Situation as for yesterday. Left flank still exposed as 4 Division units are having difficulty in getting their transport on to the roads.

1400 Bttn rep to recce a concentration area in the castle area at 475880.

We are to be relieved at last for a rest.

1715 C and D Companies are to be relieved as they are now in reserve. 36 Brigade having pushed through on the right flank.

28th June.

0530 Heavy shelling of Ranciano during Stand To.

A Coy – 3 ORs wounded.

1950 A and B Coys became involved in a counter attack role on 4th Division were heavily counter attacked during their advance.

29th June.

1000 A and B Coys were relieved and will concentrate with remainder of bttn.

30th June.

Bttn concentrated.