Irish Brigade

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

Faugh a Ballagh        Nec Aspera Terrent         Quis Separabit


1 RIrF – March 1945

1st /2nd March – FORLI.

Nothing to Report. Lt SD McIlhinney admitted to hospital, sick.

3rd March – FORLI.

Coys practise river crossing for exercise PO.

4th March – FORLI.

Exercise PO. All types of crossing went smoothly with the exception of Olafson bridge.

Warning order for move into 169 Brigade sector.

5th March – FORLI.

Further warning order.

6th March – FORLI.

Exercise Bologna.

7th March – FORLI.

Exercise Moonshine.

Brigade O Group.

8th March – FORLI.

CO and IO  to 2/6 an 2/5 Queens. Brigade move order.

Captain DEH Haywood MC and Lt KEG Taylor joined the bttn from 2 CRU.

9th March – FORLI.

Advance parties to 2/5 and 2/6 Queens. Brigade OO 41 and Bttn Move Order 13.

10th March – HQ, 353322.

1700 Command taken over, 1 platoon 2/6 Queens under command until relieved after dark.

2015 C Coy, two casualties from active grenading on river bank at 342338.

11th March – HQ, 353322.

0400 Grenade and Tommy Gun duel D Coy (Captain GR Unwin MC) left platoon area 351333. Enemy driven off. Captain Unwin, Lieut HC Quail wounded. 2 ORs wounded.

0700 C Coy (Major RSV Howard) 2 mortar stonk on enemy position caused by activity enemy SBs.

1305 C Coy section 342338 in grenade duel. One casualty.

1530 Duel still going on. Two more casualties.

1545 Lieut RRJ Bartlett of B Coy shot by sniper and killed while conducting two mortar shoot to assist C Coy section at 342338.

1605 C Coy situation quiet.

12th March – HQ, 353322.

0227 D Coy (Major AJ Wilton) casualties from light mortaring. Two fatal, 1 wounded.

0500 C Coy (Major RSV Howard) right platoon 348338 attacked by enemy, estimated 9 strong. Enemy driven off by SA and grenades. One enemy known died.

0630 Enemy SBs active with Red Cross flags.

1000 Faulty 3’ mortar bomb fell short wounding C Coy cook.

1020 Vickers gun at 349334 shot enemy observer at 353336.

1600 One section with PIAT wounded 2 enemy area 345338.

2100 C Coy (Major RSV Howard) report section post 342338 evacuated after grenade duel, which inflicted four casualties.

2200 C Coy (Major RSV Howard) after preparation by Artillery fire and two mortar.Tow sections, led by Lt HR Carver, attempted to regain the position. Finding it not occupied by the enemy. Lt Carver occupied the post with 1 section but was again forced to withdraw, himself and 4 ORs being wounded in the ensuing grenade dual. After reference to Bttn HQ, an alternative position at 342337 was occupied and the former position made untenable by fire.

13th March – 353322.

1200 D Coy (Major AJ Wilton) engaged in grenade duel past 1 ½ hours. No casualties.

1630 Tank (Lieut John North – Queen’s Bays) firing from hull down position on floodbank at 348336 shot up enemy positions on north bank and OP at 354338.

1845 Wasp flamed bank area 351336 was not close enough to be effective but caused screams, verey lights by the dozen.

1900 D Coy (Major AJ Wilton) being stonked by Artillery and Mortar, we replied with 3 and 4.2 Mortars and Artillery.

1920 D Coy report all quiet.

14th March –353322.

1215 D Coy report 1 man sniped, source not located.

1552 Tank beat up enemy post in south bank at 337338, enemy SBs active.

1725 Tank beat up enemy OP in south bank at 351336, blowing lumber and fragments into the air. Subsequent enemy artillery retaliation wounded.

2200 C Coy (Major RSV Howard) patrol to abandoned post 342338 engaged enemy in grenade duel. One casualty. Received order for relief by 2 LIR.

15th March – 353322.

0940 B Coy (Major J Phelan MC) report 4 enemy with white flag.

1010 B Coy report argument between enemy groups and unseen enemy resulted in grenades being thrown by enemy. One Bosche killed, no prisoners.

1144 C Coy (Major RSV Howard) report destroying enemy footbridge with PIAT.

1200 Enemy OP area 351336 rebuilt during night and again in use.

1500 Tanks again destroyed above OP.

1530 Tanks again beat up enemy post 337338 blowing bits of wood into the air.

1740 Sgt of 2 LIR on recce area platoon position 335337. Killed by surprise.

2210 C Coy (Major RSV Howard) patrol to 342338 found enemy still in residence on north side of south bank and engaged in short grenade duel.

16th March – 353322.

0945 D Coy (Major AJ Wilton) section area 351336 engaged with rifle grenades, one landed in slit trench, two casualties.

1032 D Coy another grenade casualty.

1545 Relieved by 2 LIR and moved to Brigade Reserve area.

17th to 20th March – 372310.

Recce routes for counter attack role.

21st March – 347316.

Relieved 2 Innisks.

2140 A Coy (Captain L Manson MC) report six rockets fell short in enemy territory.

2200 PWB record in German broadcast to enemy.

2245 D Coy (Major AJ Wilton) report 2 crumps of 81 mm each of 6 rounds area 333335.

22nd March – 347316.

0140 D Coy (Major AJ Wilton) enemy party digging area 332338 dispersed by rifle fire.

0150 D Coy, enemy retaliate with three 81 mm Mortar bombs.

0815 A Coy (Capt Manson MC) – two enemy seen 321331 requested a sniper.

1530 Enemy in Blow 329334 shot by Lieut G Melliard.

2100 Tank Officer (Lieut Dawney), Pioneer Officer and IO out to recce route and site for tank shoot.

23rd March – 347316.

0100 Recce party returned.

0110 A Coy (Captain Manson MC) 2 rockets landed area 328328.

0115 D Coy (Major AJ Wilton) 1 rocker hit buildings 334333, 3” Mortar and Artillery DFs fired.

0140 A Coy (Captain Manson MC) platoon position 323332 hit by bazooka. Suitable DF and harassing fire.

0325 B Coy (Major P Phelan MC) left platoon being attacked with grenades. Dugouts and trenches collapsed. Two sections of reserve platoon committed to help while weapons etc are dug out. Two casualties. Close DFs fired.

0350 B Coy report situation under control.

0415 B Coy, 2 more casualties. 1 fatal.

0450 B Coy. 1 Hun shot.

0810 Enemy digging party 12 strong area 327335 dispersed by Artillery fire.

1600 Tank shoot carried out, beating up flood banks 323333 to 327334. Three enemy ran across footbridge and were engaged by 2 Mortar and PIAT. Immediately after the sheet 10 enemy were seen swanning uncertainly on north side of south flooded bank in beat up are and were engaged with 2 Mortar and PIAT.

1601 B Coy (Major J Phelan MC) report 4 enemy have crossed bank into vacant trench positions on left flank of left platoon. Tank standing by.

1635 B Coy. Enemy driven from former position to one further away. Vickers covering. Tank moving back to area of battle. Large body of enemy on north side of bank being engaged by 2 Mortar and PIAT.

1642 B Coy. Enemy showing Red Cross flags.

1650 Under cover of Red Cross flag. Enemy looking over our positions.

1652 Red Cross flags gone. Battle proceeds.

Under Red Cross flag, the four enemy on our side of bank were evacuated. Two stretcher cases.

1655 Enemy (2) fired bazooka at tank and missed. Tank MG got both enemy.

1720 B Coy report two more enemy stretcher cases removed. Own casualties 7.

1745 B Coy (Major J Phelan MV) request more ammunition for Vickers. Four more enemy stretcher cases seen evacuated.

1820 B Coy report frequent use by enemy of Red Cross flag. Every time, B Coy open fire, up go the flags and up on to the bank come the enemy, though there can be no casualties there.

On this last occasion, one enemy SB came and stood looking at our left Platoon HQ so the Platoon Commander (Lieut K Taylor) grabbed him by the ankles and pulled him in. At the same time, a deserter came, according to whom our Tank shoot thwarted a coy attack against our position. The enemy SB stated there were 11 casualties in the morning and 25 in the afternoon with 1 killed.

2035 B Coy (Major J Phelan MC) ask for more 36 grenades and PIAT bombs. There has been constant mortaring and grenading of our position to which we have replied with DFs of 3” Mortar Artillery, 2” Mortar, PIAT and grenades.

2135 MO reports total evacuations since evening of 21 Mach. B Coy -17, C Coy -3, D Coy -1, S Coy -1.

24th March – 347316.

0025 B Coy (Major J Phelan MC) being heavily mortared ask for retaliatory fire.

0030 B coy request more 36 grenades.

0337 Enemy digging area 327335 being engaged by 2” Mortars and PIATs of both A and B Coys.

0420 B Coy report enemy rocket area 334327.

0433 B Coy. Twenty heavy mortar bombs in coy area.

0440 B Coy. Track vehicle heard across river.

0515 A Coy (Captain L Manson MC). tracks heard across river.

0525 B Coy (Major J Phelan MC). 30 heavy mortar bombs.

0545 17 Field. 138 Field. 74 Medium Regiment fire retaliatory programme.

0737 B Coy. Six enemy appeared and were engaged by 2” Mortars and PIATS of A,B, D coys.

0923 Enemy displaying Red Cross flags on B coy front area 327335.

1040 B Coy (Major J Phelan MC). More Red Cross flags. Casualties being dug out at collapsed enemy positions.

1125 B Coy. Two more deserters from enemy lines. One being enemy SB.

2015 D coy (Major J Wilton) report 4 incendiary rockets, area 343333.

A Coy (Captain L Manson MC) report incendiary rockets falling in B Coy area.

2030 B Coy confirm.

25th March – 347316.

0210 B Coy (Major J Phelan MC) report tracked and wheeled vehicle movement (engaged by 4.2 Mortar).

0220 B Coy – 2 casualties, 1 grenade splinters, 1 blast.

0600 Enemy broadcast demand return of the SB PoW (neither of whom evidenced any desire for release).

0635 A Coy (Capt L Manson MC) report enemy deserter on way in.

0800 B Coy (Major J Phelan MC) report 3 more casualties.

0935 B Coy report 3 enemy casualties evacuated.

1225 B Coy report enemy SBs remove one casualty in their fourth trip across this morning.

1447 A/T gunners registered 14 hits on houses in area 317334 and started fire area 315356. Enemy 88 fired 8 rounds into area in retaliation.

26th March – 347316.

0005 C Coy (Major RSV Howard) platoon in left platoon position at B Coy – 2 casualties.

1700 Sniper (Fusilier Clanahan) with A coy shot two Bosche, 1 dead, 1 probable.

1900 Relief by 2 Lancashire Fusiliers complete.

27th to 31st March.

Crocodile demonstration on 31st.