Irish Brigade

The story of the 38th (Irish) Brigade in the Second World War

Faugh a Ballagh        Nec Aspera Terrent         Quis Separabit


1 RIrF – May 1944

1st May.

Admin.

2nd May.

Bttn exercise – attack with tank cooperation.

3rd May.

Bttn exercise – assault boating.

4th May.

Bttn exercise – river crossing an a consolidation of a bridgehead.

5th May.

Assault on a pill box – demonstration by C Coy.

6th May.

Bttn exercise – town fighting.

7th May.

Bttn exercise – daylight attack.

8th May.

Bttn exercise – night attack.

9th May.

Verbal warning order. Bttn to move 10/11 May.

10th May.

1150 Admin movement order issued – move to Presenzano.

11th May.

0003 Head past Bttn SP.

0300 Arrived in concentration area 066066.

0430 All vehicles in bttn at 4 hours notice.

1930 Bttn at 1 hour notice as from 0900 hours 12 May.

12th May.

1000 Divisional Command: Division to have follow up role.

1100 Bttn at four hours’ notice.

13th May.

1200 Received Brigade 0367. B Echelon to be brigaded and to remain in present area.

2000 O Group Orders for movement to lying up area east of River Rapido. Intention to follow up and force a gap through bridgehead made by British 4th Division. Method and order of march LIR with Squadron of 16/5 Lancers followed by 6 Innisks followed by this bttn.

2100 TCVs arrived and companies packed and ready to move at 0500 hours.

First recce parties warned to stand by for “early” move.

R Group  warned to move one hour after 1st recce party.

14th May.

0300 1st recce party to report at 884163 to meet brigade rep to recce lying up area.

0330 R Support is 2nd recce party to brigade to recce lying up area across Rapido river at 866168 at 0800 hours.

0500 F Group moved in TCVs with one carrier and a 15 cwt per company.

0930 F Group arrived at 884163.

1100 New area across river at recced at 862168

1855 F Group moved across Rapido river.

1930 F Group arrived in area 862168.

2000 Unit transport and supporting weapons arrive and lie up as brigade reserve.

15th May.

No move. Bttn still in reserve. Skins advance and take objective Grafton. 

16th May.

2 LIR capture Pytchley.

1730 Orders issued to CO to take Fernie as bttn objective.

2000 Bttn attached with B Squadron 16/5 Lancers and one troop 234 A/Tk Battery under command.

C Company on right with track junction 819185 as objective.

D Company on left with house at 817184 as objective.

Each coy with 1 troop B Squadron 16/5 Lancers in support.

A Company right reserve company 600 yard interval and to clamp down at 821184 as from base.

B Company left reserve company 600 yard interval behind D Company firm base at 819183 in woods.

Barrage by 6 Field Regiment opened on 823191  – 815186 for 16 minutes with three lifts of 200 yards.

Start line and first two lifts 16 minutes, last lift 32 minutes.

Possible exploitation to line Tarquino 817195 Casa Tarta 815195 by A and B Coys.

 Unit A/Tk guns moved with attached troop 17 pounders and under command 254 Battery.

Support coy weapons move behind rear coys.

RV with tanks at 822176 at 0400 hrs.

Intercomm CO in tank contact set to coys.

Leave present area 0100 hrs A,B,C,D and support weapons.

2030 Alleged counter attack through 4th British Division on right confirmed statement and bttn ordered to stand to.

2300 Stand down. 

17th May.

0100 Bttn moved up to start line.

0230 Arrived at 822176 dispersal in FUP.

0300 Tanks arrived.

0700 Artillery opened up barrage.

0716 Leading coys across start line.

0730 Major Franklyn-Vaile OC C Company killed by shelling.

0930 D Coy contact minefield forward of objective.

0950 Objective captured and consolidated. 2nd Lancashire Fusiliers on right flank.

1110 Adjutant group move up to Tac at M Sello 821185. Message from brigade to exploit with B Squadron 16/5 Lancers to a line 815195 to 815192

1130 Orders Group. A Coy to exploit with one troop 16/5 Lancers to C Tarta 815195.

B Coy to house 815192.

1355 B Coy on objective.

1400 C and D Coys ordered forward to Tarquino 817195. C Coy to stream 816190.

1450 C Coy digging in at stream 816190.

1515 D Coy on objective and consolidating.

1600 Two A/Tk guns, two MMGs, three 3” mortars with D Coy.

Two A/Tk guns with A Coy.

Two A/Tk guns, two MMGs with B Coy.

Two A/Tk, two MMGs with C Coy.

1700 Bttn HQ established on track junction 819188.

1900 Patrol D Coy,  Lieut IV Baker, with nine men to illuminate Route Six with three 2” mortars from railway at 818200. Flank units confirming.

1945 D Support Group (Kensingtons) 4.2” mortars in action at 823184 OP with A Coy.

2030 D Coy patrol out.

18th May.

0315 Patrol back. No incidents. Illuminating patrol saw nothing.

0900 D Coy, one platoon with artillery OP to house overlooking Route Six at pt 819197.

1800 Brigade O Group.

Information: rapid advance during day by tanks and infantry, who are now on outskirts of Aquino 7521.

Brigade HQ moving forward to new Tac.

Brigade remains in Divisional reserve.

Bttn to move to area 800196, 800188, 796194.

19th May.

0500 Recce party to new area. Bttn HQ Massa Abate 800179. A Coy in house at 799196, B Coy house 797192, C Coy house 798191, D Coy house 800195. S Coy in area Massa Abate.

0830 Bttn left for new areas.

0950 Bttn arrived new area. Orders were then received to push on immediately to line of road forward of junction 775205 to road junction 808204. Patrols to line of railway. 6 Innisks and 2 LIR confirm ourselves on right. LIR on centre and 6 Innisks on left.

4 British Division astride Route Six.

1000 Orders Group. D Coy to right of road junction 799204. A Coy to left of same road junction. B Coy to left of A Coy. C Coy to area 795200. Bttn HQ area house 798200.

1015 Bttn moved forward to allotted area.

1105 Coys reported in position. Forward compliance patrols to railway lines. No contact with enemy.

1130 Bttn HQ and S Coy to new area.

1150 Bttn HQ established in new area.

20th May.

1300 Orders to move into brigade reserve. Our role now being useless as 4 British Division had advanced across bttn front.

1305 Coys to move back to areas recced on previous day.

Recce parties left to see whether these areas were still unoccupied and, if occupied, to recce new areas.

1410 Bttn in new area. Bttn HQ – 800189, A Coy – 806189, B Coy – 803187, C Coy – 798190, D Coy – 800195.

21st May.

Bttn resting.

22ndMay.

1130 Brigade Commander’s conference held at Bttn HQ (COs of 6 Innisks and 2 LIR attended).

1830 O Group to Bttn HQ for conference.

Following was given out:

Right flank of Hitler Line, Piedimonte San Germano, which had changed hands several times was being attacked by 3 Carpathian Division (Polish) tonight. Left flank of line French are behind Pontecorvo. Canadians facing Pontecorvo are to undertake a concentrated attack on the morning of 23rd.

78th Division – 11th Brigade now forward facing Aquino and will attack as soon as Pontecorvo has been taken.

38th Brigade will pass through as soon as Aquino is in our hands. This bttn leading and to pursue enemy.

Under command will be 1 platoon MMG of D Support Group and one troop 17 pounder A/Tk from 254 A/Tk Battery. In support: C Squadron, 11 Canadian Armoured Regiment.

Order of march will be D Coy (2 mortars and 2 MMGs), C Coy (2 mortars, 2 MMGs), Bttn HQ, B Coy (2 mortars (2 MMGs of D Support Group), A Coy (2 mortars of D Support Group), S Coy less 4 mortars and 4 MMGs).

Route – direct to Ace Route, then up Ace Route to Brigade SP at crossroads 788186.

Admin – unless otherwise notified, coy admin vehicles will go forward with companies.

Order of employment of companies from here will be C right, D left forward, A right, B left rear.

Reinforcements arrived during the evening – 31 ORs and 1 officer, Lieut Robinson, who was posted to A Coy.

23th May.

Bttn resting and awaiting movement order.

24th May.

Admin.

25th May.

Admin.

26th May.

Intermittent shelling of C Coy area. No casualties.

27th May.

Warning order to move over Melfa River to area 6726 square.

1115 O Group at Bttn HQ held at 1115 hrs. Order of march as previously laid down.

Bttn moved to concentration area 6726 square.

1445 D Coy plus B Squadron moved west to 624272 arriving at 1920 hrs. No contact was made. Remainder of bttn arrived at 2030 hrs. A strong point was formed and held for the night 27/28 May.

During the night, this area was shelled heavily for ten minutes. Casualties, 7 ORs killed and 15 wounded.

Patrols were sent out from C Coy to recce possible route for tanks on to Route Six. Route found impossible for tracks. No contact with enemy.

28th May.

O Group. Orders that bttn will move across Liri river south of Ceprano and form right flank to Canadian Division on the right of Route Six.

Recce party to go forward and contact Canadians.

Bttn to move at 1800 hrs.

1800 Bttn moved over bridge and into positions on right of Canadians Bttn. Forward companies A Coy area 589284, B Coy 593275, C Coy 593284 and D Coy to protect bridging party at 595274. Captain N Bass and Lieut R Abel wounded.

29th May.

0430 C Coy moved forward to Colle Comesille 584292.

0515 C Coy reported in position. Bttn joined by 3 Kings Own Hussars.

0630 B Coy pushed up track to 580302 where they struck an AP minefield. Area was swept by pioneers.

0745 A Coy was sent to clear area 587304. Company fired on by SA. Reached objective at 1445 hrs.

Tanks caused delay owing to bad tank country, seven being ditched within first few hours.

30th May.

0515 Patrol sent to Strangolagalli. No enemy encountered but village found to be mined.

1400 A Coy moved forward to 585314. Slight opposition from right flank.

2100 B Coy to attack area 568300 with support of B Squadron and 3 Field Regiments.

2200 Attack successful. Company on objective.  

A Company passed through and consolidated in area 568318.

2300 D Coy moved from 586304 to area ahead of A and B Coys.

Reached objective at 0235 hrs. No opposition.

31st May.

1200 Warning order to move on axis of road behind 2 LIR. Road Strangolagalli – Ripi.