Irish Brigade

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

Faugh a Ballagh        Nec Aspera Terrent         Quis Separabit


2 LIR – April 1943

1 April

W/Lieutenant J D O’Rourke, RUR; joined the battalion. 

2 April

Lieutenant E G Condy (RUR) and Lieutenant H D N Webb-Bowen RUR joined the battalion.

3 April

0800 Battalion Scheme “Magnet”.

4 April

Captain A S T Galloway, Captain J O Curry and Lieutenant H J P La Prairie leave and rejoin own units

7 April

Lieutenant T A O’Connor (RUR) and Lieutenant W B B Glasgow (RUR) joined battalion.

8 April

E & F companies in company attack scheme on G & H companies.

W/Captain J D Lofting (RUR) joined battalion.

9 April

1900 Battalion Scheme “Moon” 3 company attack at night.

Captain J D Lofting promoted A/Major.

12 April

0800 Carrier exercise with Signal platoon.

13 April

Lieutenant D Sutherland posted to 1st Battalion Royal Irish Fusiliers.

1600 Battalion to move under command of 38 Brigade.

14 April

1800 Battalion move by TCV to area Chaouach 5240. Arrived 2200 hrs 15 May temporarily under command of 11th Brigade.

Captain Neely goes to US Division as liaison officer.

15 April

Battalion to take over positions from 1 RIrF; F to move at 1730 hrs, E Company 532447 – F Company 548448 – G Company 536451 – H Company and Battalion HQ 546453.

1730 Battalion moves off – Order of march E, G, H, Battalion HQ F, 2 MMGs to E and G Companies – 2 carriers to E G & H Companies – 1 carrier each to Battalion HQ & F Company.

2000 Column mortared by enemy in area 543433

2015 H, F & Battalion HQ fired on by R IrF  as they approached position.

2230 Battalion established on all positions.

2250 Battalion positions attacked by apparently 1 Company of Germans.

Lieutenant R G Wilkins attached to No-1 CRU.

16 April

1000 R Ir F occupied position Point 623 (5645). F Company taken over company positions of 5th Northants. Enemy shelling track 543433 – nine shells in two minutes. Five more in south-west of this.

1030 Own artillery shelling 577448.

1045 Own artillery shelling Tanngoucha.

1100 Enemy mortaring E & G companies at Point 668.

1535 Bettiour shelled by 2 or 4 field guns. Firing from easterly direction for five minutes.

1540 Area again shelled. Intensive for several minutes.

1600 4 prisoners of war surrendered to H Company.

2200 F Company send out local patrols – No contact made.

2200 Innisks pass through our lines prior to attack on Tanngoucha.

17 April

6 Innisks occupy Tanngoucha – unable to hold owing to mules stampeding and carrying away digging in tools.

0800 Observation post reports movement seen on Tanngoucha – men digging in etc.

0915 Enemy shelling Djebel Bettiour & Djebel Dar Mahdouna.

1000 Sitrep. Unidentified troop movement on Tanngoucha – Engaged by our artillery – Enemy mortared Bettiour and shelled Djebel Dar Mahdouna from general easterly direction. One shrapnel shell burst at approx 500 ft above Djebel El Hamra. Own artillery shelled Tannghoucha at 0945 and Heidous at 1025.

1215 RIrF ask for artillery to counter attack on top south and west slopes of Tanngoucha.

1225 Intensive fire on Tanngoucha.

1230 Commanding Officer goes to Brigade HQ to report on recce.

1330 Company commanders recce Heidous area.

1445 12 enemy bombs in 4 minutes on 543448.

1715 12 enemy bombs in five minutes on Heidous.

1730 6 MEs bomb south-east of Bettiour – Area of fall not seen – Bomb line south-west – north east – 1 shrapnel shell 1 mortar bomb on 543448.

1815 English and American bombers escorted by Aircobras attacked 8 MEs – One ME brought down.

1900 6 Innisks take over G Company positions on Djebel Dar Mahdouna. E Company remain in same position on Djebel Dar Mahdouna – G Company on hills 543444 and 543443. Platoons of H and F companies join their companies. H Company 544446 and F Company 54555”. Battalion HQ 100 yds east of G Company.

18 April

0800 Sitrep – Recce yesterday revealed a camouflage net on Heidous. This was subsequently engaged by ‘Mediums’ and proved to be an A/Tk gun which with ammunition was destroyed. Buffs reported that feature immediately south of Heidous was shelled yesterday and casualties inflicted on enemy – the feature is still held. 6 Innisks relieve 1 Surreys and 2 Lands Fusiliers on Djebel Ang and Mahdouna. 2/LIR – 1 RIrF – 6 Innisks – 5 Buffs and 56 Recce Corps and 1 Surreys under command 38 (Irish) Brigade. 1 Surreys south of Rherarif (5243) 38 Brigade supported by 132 and 138 Field Regiments.

11th Brigade less 1 Surreys moving out night 17 April 43.

1040 1 shrapnel shell 522433 another at Kelbline from E direction.

1600 Observation post reports artillery shelling Heidous. Hit pill box and several enemy ran away into village.

1700 2 enemy tanks of self-propelled guns observed east of Longstop.

1800 From tomorrow 19 April 43 observation post will be established x48444. Known as Ginger Company observation post 544445 ‘Pepper’.

1800 Mortars ranging on Heidous Wog village south of Heidous set on fire by mortar fire.

2030 Operations with artillery support to discover DF tasks of Heidous area. Table of events.

2030 Artillery shell Heidous for 10 minutes intensive fire.

2031 Enemy machine guns firing from Tanngoucha.

2040 Occasional mortar shell on Bettiour and east of it.

2050 Shelling of Heidous ceased.

2100 Corporal Palmer’s patrol leaves F Company. Our machine gunners fire from above F Company HQ. Enemy shell Bettiour from north-east of Tanngoucha.

2105 Enemy continues to shell Bettiour with groups of three shells. Own MMGs firing bursts from F Company HQ. Light machine gun open up from Corporal Palmer’s section on right of F Company position. Own mortars fire on Heidous.

2107 Purple verey light fired on Heidous.

2110 Light machine guns fire from right flank and F Company HQ. More shells on Bettiour.

2115 Enemy machine gun firing towards their left flank across the plain also from right flank between Tanngoucha and Bettiour. Enemy mortar Bettiour.

2117 Own machine gun fire from right flank and further forward also sections fire PIAT on Heidous.

2120 Machine gun from F Company and mortar fire on Heidous. Enemy shell Bettiour.

2140 Corporal Palmer and patrol returns.

Enemy shelling low ground south west of Heidous from area of Longstop. 2 guns firing. We send up red verey light. Own artillery shell beyond Tanngoucha.

2145 Light machine gun right of F Company position, Enemy shell in front of Heidous and Bettiour.

2150 We fire green verey lights.

2200 Own artillery send intensive fire on right side of Tanngoucha.

19 April

0445 Enemy shelling and mortaring Kelbline.

1450 4 ranging shells and 4 high explosive on 537437.

1615 21 shells on Bettiour.

1800 12 shells on Bettiour over a period of half hour.

2100 Spasmodic shelling and mortaring of general area Bettiour.

The following night operations to discover enemy DF tasks on Heidous took place. Tine table of events

2100 Own artillery shell Heidous.

2122 Enemy artillery shell Heidous.

2322 Enemy light machine gun from Tanngoucha.

2125 Patrol went out.

2130 Enemy mortar and machine gun fire from Heidous.

2150 Our mortars lay smoke on Heidous.

2145 Four enemy shells on right of Bettiour from behind Tanngoucha.

2150 12 enemy shells in area of our mortar and MMG positions.

2215 3 enemy guns firing from behind Longstop (110 degree north) shelling area in front of Heidous.

2225 Spasmodic shelling in area in front of Heidous by one gun from behind Longstop.

2227 Corporal O’Brien propaganda speech.

20 April

0800 Shell report: 4 air burst shells above Bettiour. 4 above Djebel Ang. 2 shrapnel shells over point 404 5344.

0900 Enemy air burst shells over 545435, 538440, 535446 and 543444 from gun firing very close from general direction east.

0945 Red flag seen flying on top of Longstop.

0950 Enemy shelling point 604 and north slopes of Djebel Dar Mahouna. Gun quite close possible direction 557463.

1500 Artillery reports house blown down in Heidous revealed A/Tk gun. This they subsequently destroyed.

1615 Enemy mortar Bettiour from north to south with 21 bombs. 1 man killed in G Company.

1800 Enemy again mortar Bettiour with 18 bombs. Bombs fall on the main rock above H Company, Battalion HQ and E Company causing a few casualties by falling rock. Companies send out local patrols. Voices heard on Heidous at 2030 hrs and sounds of digging at 2215 hrs.

21 April

0030 Enemy shell Bettiour from general easterly direction for half an hour.

0900 Enemy mortaring 55149 18-20 bombs.

0945 24 Bostons bomb Longstop.

1230 Red Cross flag observed in Heidous. Artillery ceased fire. Enemy shouted at to surrender. A few minutes later flag is taken down. 2 short bursts of light machine gun fire and rifle shots heard in village. Artillery re-opens shelling.

2300 Captain RWR Jelf (KSLI) Lieutenant Haywood (RIrF) and Lieutenant O’Gorman (RUR) joined battalion.

22 April

0030 Patrols of 1 and 3 from E and H companies reccce area and approach to Heidous.

1400 Commanding officers O Group for attack on Heidous and Sandy Ridge. 1st Phase – F Company right.

1400 G Company right to clear village and wadis and area NE. 2nd Phase – E & H Companies to clear Sandy Ridge.

1420 Enemy shell area near Bettiour.

1830 Enemy air burst shells over Bettiour.

1945 Artillery begin barrage on Heidous, Sandy Ridge, Tanngoucha Pt 622 and Longstop preparatory to large scale attack by 78 Division.

23 April

0300 E Company advance to Heidous to relieve F Company – Situation untenable and withdraw back to Bettiour.

0500 E Company take up F Company positions in Bettiour.

G Company withdraw under platoon commanders having lost Captain Thornton, their company commander who was wounded and taken prisoner.

0800 Battalion back in position except F Company. No news of F Company left on Heidous. 30 men have returned but fate of remainder is unknown.

3 Churchill tanks of 142 RAC at to go down and support E Company endeavouring to get information of F Company.

1700 Reports of Longstop taken by 36 Brigade and tanks.

1800 Smoke shells and propaganda leaflets dropped on Heidous and Sandy Ridge.

1900 Enemy aircraft bomb between Medjez and Goubellat.

2000 Enemy shelling large hill about 5 miles NW of Bettiour.

Lieutenant Haywood and Lieutenant O’Gorman posted to 1st Battalion Royal Irish Fusiliers.

24 April

0530 Patrols last night all report contact with enemy. Enemy mortar located in gully of Red Roof House towards Heidous. Patrols fired on by mortar and machine guns. One enemy machine gun put out of action by 2” mortar.

Night patrols to Heidous – G Company patrol put enemy machine gun out of action by hand grenades. 

25 April

Battalion to patrol into enemy territory to ensure that they do not evacuate positions unknown to us.

1 R Ir F to attack Point 622 (5645) at 1250.

1030 Several enemy ran from Pimple as our artillery shell it.

1200 Artillery lay barrage on Tanngoucha and Point 622.

1230 1 R Ir F advances on Point 622 on 2 company front supported by 5 Churchills, C Squadron 142 RAC.

1250 Artillery lay heavy smoke screen across Tanngoucha. All opposition overcome.

15 prisoners of war taken.

1340 6 Innisks advance on to Tanngoucha. No opposition.

1430 Enemy shell Point 622 and Tanngoucha. 48 shells.

1500 G Company under command 1 RIrF take up positions on Point 622.

1730 E Company advance on to Heidous and Sandy Ridge.

1900 E Company established.

26 April

0900 1 RIrF and 6 Innisks move forward against slight enemy opposition.

London Irish Rifles to take over positions on Tanngoucha and Point 622.

1200 H Company on Tanngouchia, F Company on Point 622, E Company and Battalion HQ still on Bettiour.

1930 H Company and Battalion HQ move from Bettiour.

2130 Battalion HQ established at base of Tanngoucha 466453.

27 April

0100 Battalion to move forward in rear of 38 Brigade to area Boulman 5747.

0450 Battalion moves

0730 Battalion HQ established 571473, E Company 565449 F& H Companies 572473.

0900 1 R Ir F in contact with Americans on Brigade left flank.

1100 Battalion area shelled, 2 killed 10 injured.

1200 35 enemy prisoners of war brought to Battalion HQ. 33 from 1/756 Mountain Regiment including 2 officers and 2 from 1/754 Mountain Regiment.

1400 G Company move to 573471 under command 6 Innisks.

Patrol of G Company report enemy clear of Point 416.

28 April

0830 Artillery observation post report enemy seen on Point 416 – Confirmed.

1130 Battalion area and water point shelled.

1200 6 Innisks re-take first objective on Point 416 G Company take over this position.

1400 Enemy attack Americans on Brigade left flank and occupy hills in 5648/5649.

American counter attack and regain lost positions.

29 April

11 Brigade to attack area Point 202 (6147). Battalion less G Company to move to area 5746/5846 into Brigade reserve in preparation for attack on Point 413/6149, 38 Brigade move to 569463.

30 April

0600 Commanding Officer and Intelligence Officer recce area and route for battalion attack. Attack may be postponed for 24 hours as position on Point 202 is not clear. 11 Brigade to 8 Corps reserves.