Irish Brigade

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

Faugh a Ballagh        Nec Aspera Terrent         Quis Separabit


1 RIrF – October 1944

1st October – FONO AREA.

Lt Col Holmes left unit for Middle East.

Recce forward to Sant Arcangelo re roads and accommodation.


2nd October – FONO AREA.

Orders at 1400 hrs for bttn to move at 1900 hrs to divisional concentration area Firenzuola. CO and IO ahead.


3rd October.

Stage Assisi.


4th October.

Arrived at bttn area about 5 miles south of Firenzuola at 2200 hrs.


5th October.

Orders for move forward to take over position from II Battalion 351 Regiment. Recce party forward.

Sgt KB Hanssen rejoined unit.


6th October – CASTEL DEL RIO.

Bttn move at 1200 hrs by transport and march route to take over position.

Coy as follows: C – 003201; B  – 007205; A – 010203; Tac HQ – 006204.

Quiet night, Slight shelling. D Coy – 005195.


7th October – 006204.

Considerable shelling and mortaring on battalion positions. Four light casualties. D Coy put in attack on Point 382. The wireless operator had misfortune to be hit at the outset and was assisted back to A position. Communication was upset. Fearing the set damaged or lost, a patrol was sent from B Coy with another wireless. Communication at last established at D through A Company. D Company established HQ in church had made two attempts on 382 and about to launch a third attack.

2300 CO and IO forward to contact Major Clarke.

2340 Direct wireless communication established.

2350 CO and IO return. D Coy third attack not successful because of difficult muddy approaches and determined defence. Coy firmly established in area of church, line being run out, mule trains being guided to position with ammunition and rations.


8th October – 060204.

0130 Line of Communications established to D.

0245 Lost mules returned from D.

0550 A Coy patrol to Macerato 022204 – encountered no enemy.

1400 Line to D Coy out. Considerable shelling on bttn area.

Throughout the day, an artillery plan laid on by the CO and Major Ian Lawrie.

Applied “suppressive treatment” to 382, ranging one gun at a time, one round every five minutes, each round a direct hot, 3” and 4.2” mortars employed on likely targets.

1750 Rum issue authorised. A Coy reports SP gun firing on them from D Coy area. D Coy substantiates.

1900 Line to D ok again. Laying duplicate and sending out spare wireless.

2000 Artillery and Vickers open. Two lines to D but no phone connection. Line party out. Wireless messages being relayed by A.

2003 3” mortar concentration.

2020 (Relayed by A) minor casualties.

2032 A still in contact. NTR.

2038 2 SBs to report to D Coy.

2121 Line established to D again. Eight casualties – 1 fatal (L/Cpl Cairns).

2322 No contact except with D Coy base.

2400 On objective, No opposition except mortar and shelling. Two prisoners.


9th October – 060204.

0030 CO forward to D Coy position.

0145 CO returned with 2 prisoners.

0200 C Coy patrol reached area 014208 and were engaged by fire from American line party. Casualties – Private J Kovalchock (US) killed. Fusilier Hall killed. All casualties brought in.

0427 D Coy line out.

0430 A Coy line out.

0525 Lines repaired.

0725 D Coy subjected to mortar fire.

1500 4.2” mortar stonk 029210 – 3” mortar stonk 026212.

1720 C Coy warned to prepared to occupy Point 429.

1750 C Coy stand down.

2225 D Coy patrol to Raboldino engaged enemy.

2300 D Coy casualties – 3 wounded. Report 2 enemy killed.


10th October – 006204.

Six more fresh German graves located in area 382.

2145 Handover to 56 Recce complete. B Coy patrol encountered enemy area Ribaldino, suffered 2 casualties. Bttn concentrated in area Castel del Rio.


11th October – CASTEL DEL RIO.

CO and IO with Brigadier on recce to Valmaggiore and Mt Carnarale. Recce mule route, mule point and jeep track.


12th October – CASTEL DEL RIO.

O Groups to Carnavale. CO and IO and corporal to Guards HQ behind Battaglia.


13th October – CASTEL DEL RIO.

I Section moved with S Coy to mule point.


14th October – CASTEL DEL RIO.

Bttn concentrated valley Val Maggiore. – Carnavale. I Section patrol recce route forward through Guards’ position 058166 to Possegio ridge for men and mules to start line.


15th to 17th October – APOLLINARE.

Bttn rest in position.


18th October – APOLLINARE.

Bttn move to area Apollinare. Coy Commanders forward to La Vigna on recce. Under command 36 Brigade.


19th October – 029248.

0300 Move to take over from 8 A & SH. Tac HQ – Pt 455, A Coy – Pt 401, C Coy –Pt 416. B, D and S at Gesso.

Proposed daylight attack on Spinella and Spaduro ridges cancelled and night attack planned. Last minute change of routes resulted from information given by POW. A, B, C move in that order. One coy, 2 LIR, under command, take over Pt 416. D Coy reserve. Wireless communication poor – NTR. Interference and jamming heavy, conversations sometimes quite unintelligible.

2154 LIR MGs in position on 416.

2225 Progress satisfactory (A Coy, ditto B Coy).

2230 A Coy on slopes of objective.

2320 B Coy request fire on their objective for direction.


20th October  – 028248

A Coy consolidating on objective. Have 12 prisoners.

0330 B Coy crossing wadi onto Spaduro.

0515 B Coy on objective, having engaged in two skirmishes and taken two prisoners including one sergeant major.

0545 Considerable enemy movement on lower slopes. Counter attacks forming. DFs brought down.

0600 Strong counter attack in progress. Coys appear to be surrounded.

0700 A Coy overrun. B Coy beat off attack. Our mortars and Vickers in position.

0730 B Coy being attacked again, short of ammunition. C Coy on saddle between Spinello and 387.

0930 B Coy overrun. German stretcher bearers at work on Spaduro. C Coy pinned by fire from 387 and Spinello. Tanks from Gesso reducing Spinello.  D Coy pinned by fire from Acqua Salata ridge. 3” mortars engaging targets there in spite of being sniped.

1100 C Coy extricated under smoke.

1200 D Coy come out shortly after C. Suffered casualties. Left 4 dead.

1600 Heavy shelling on bttn area all day. Five hits on Tac HQ. Several casualties. D Coy to evacuate to Apollinare at dusk.

2000 2 LIR O Group arrived at Tac HQ.

2300 2 LIR in position. C Coy patrol unable to reach 031252. Two 6 pounder sat our A/Tk platoon digging in on Gesso ridge


21st October – 028248.

Shelling in battalion area much reduced. Six pounders successfully engaged targets.


22nd October – APOLLINARE.

0300 Bttn HQ ordered to return to Apollinare. C and S Coys remain under command of 2 LIR.


23rd to 26th October – APOLLINARE.

Reorganisations on 3 rifle coy level.


27th October – APOLLINARE.

B Coy to Castel del Rio.


28th October – APOLLINARE.

Short memorial service. Some shelling.


29th October – APOLLINARE.

Slight shelling.


30th October – APOLLINARE.

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


31st October – APOLLINARE.

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