Irish Brigade

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

Faugh a Ballagh        Nec Aspera Terrent         Quis Separabit


2 LIR – December 1944

1 December –ITALY.

0600 Bttn still in locations: Bttn HQ – 000286 Casa Careggiana. E Coy – house 008287. G Coy – house 004287. H Coy – house 008298. Bttn mortars at 001289 and MMGs in E Coy’s area.

0800 Sitrep: Considerable shelling and mortaring, especially on E Coy. MMG harassing fire on Bttn HQ during night from M Merlo direction.

0900 Brigade IO visits Bttn HQ to discuss general situation with CO.

0930 Preparations to hand over sector to 2 Innisks.

1200 2 Innisks Recce Group arrive.

1800 Main body of 2 Innisks moving in to take over Bttn position. A false alarm was created by enemy machine gunning of Ambush House (008287), which caused holding section to quickly evacuate it. Relief was held up until a platoon reoccupied the house and handed it over to 2 Innisks.

1900 Relief completed. Mortars were handed over but MMGs were brought back with Bttn. During the course of the day, the Battle Patrol OP received a direct hit during enemy shelling and the 2 Rifleman occupants were killed.

2000 Bttn left embussing point 975279 in transport for rest area Castro San Martino 850044.


2 December – ITALY.

0900 Bttn now in village Castro San Martino. Baths, change of clothing and cinema shows laid on for coys.

CO’s O Group: Bttn at 24 hours’ notice for big attack. All LOBs to be changed over. If not called forward, bttn to receive 6 days rest before relieving 1 RIrF.


3 December – ITALY.

Bttn still at rest. Major JD Lofting took over command of D Coy and Major EJ Griffiths MC of G Coy.


4 December – ITALY.

Bttn still at rest.


5 December – ITALY.

1300 Bttn warned to be ready to relieve 1 RIrF night 7 Dec.

1730 CO’s O Group on forthcoming move. CO’s Recce Party to move forward 6 Dec.


6 December – ITALY.

1300 CO’s recce party left for forward area, but had to spend night at main 38 Brigade HQ.


7 December – ITALY.

0800 Bttn embussed.

1200 CO’s Recce Party arrived in 1 RIrF positions.

1400 Bttn arrived debussing point 975279. Proceeded march route to mule point 994302.

1500 Bttn arrived at mule point, where stores were already being unloaded and split into mule loads.

1600 Bttn moved forward along mule track to 1 RIrF positions.

1925 Relief completed. Location: Bttn HQ – house 003301, E Coy – Point  435 003301, G Coy – 007307, H Coy – 005300.

Mortars in H Coy area, MMGs in E coy area.

Battle Patrol in position near Bttn HQ.

2000 Sitrep: 1925hrs relief of 1 RIrF carried out without incident.


8 December – ITALY.

0730 Sitrep: Voices and coughing heard in area Tamagnin 013303. Slight mortaring, shelling and machine gunning Bttn area during night. Otherwise NTR.

0800 Intentions night 8/9: all night Standing Patrols to Point 312 013307 and 012302. Recce Patrol to 014304, strength 1 and 2.. Time out – first dusk, in – 2100 hrs.

Bttn Mortar and MMG platoons using mortars and MMGs taken over from 1 RIrF.

Flash spotting troop from DYO Yeomanry operating in bttn area with their HQ at Bttn HQ.

Reserve platoon from E Coy also based at Bttn HQ.

1400 Weather – heavy rain.

1930 Sitrep: One enemy seen at Point 166 at 1200 hrs. Slight mortaring of left forward coy during morning. No casualties. Otherwise NTR.

2100 Weather – still raining.


9 December – ITALY.

0700 Weather – fair.

0730 Sitrep: Recce Patrol to 014304 starting from Point 312 012307 could not go direct because of landslides made when trying to go down gully. They worked along ridge and down into valley at 016305, where they contacted a listening patrol of 2 men who made off. They proceeded another 30 yards but found nothing else. They saw light in area 018304, possibly torches and heard mules, probably on Tamagnin track.

1000 Enemy mortaring of Bttn HQ area. No casualties. For approx 1 hour, single enemy 88 mm gun shelled valley in which Bttn Mule Point is established.

1030 Intentions night 9/10: All night Standing Patrols Point 312 0122207 and 010302. Fighting Patrol to clear area 017305 – strength 1 and 7.

1130 CO 2 Innisks (right flanking bttn) visited Bttn HQ.

1200 Brigade Commander and Liaison Officer visited Bttn HQ.

Pioneer Platoon digging 4 new mortar pits in G Coy area.

1930 Sitrep: 1000 hrs – 88 mm gun shelling Bttn HQ area and road near mule point. Slight mortaring left forward coy at midday. 1900 hrs – aircraft flares over right front of bttn, believed own aircraft.

2300 Enemy MG tracer landing in E Coy area.


10 December – ITALY.

0730 Sitrep: Fighting Patrol to 017305 found 10 or 12 waterlogged slit trenches. Own searchlights forced patrols to keep off skyline. On return,  was harassed by heavy enemy MG fire.

Intentions night 10/11: Standing Patrol from E and G Coys to Point 312 and 009301. Battle Patrol to provide ambush patrol of 1 and 3 to 011301. Out – first dark, in – 2200 hrs.

MMG harassing fire on Murano spur.

1000 Pioneer Platoon continue digging of new mortar positions.

1915 Left forward coy (G) harassed during morning by 75 mm gun. Slight mortar HF on rest of bttn area during day. One casualty.

2000 MMGs from E Coy position began firing on Murano spur and continued at intervals for about 2 hours.


11 December – ITALY.

0730 Sitrep: Ambush Patrol to 011301 NMS SA fire heard from Point 358 at 2000 hrs. Daylight OP saw SP gun firing from house Point 166. Engaged by our artillery.

0800 Intention night 11/12: If misty during following day, standing patrols to continue.

Pioneers still working on mortar pits in G Coy area, for 1 Recce mortars. 1 Recce mortars additional in future bttn attacks.

1915 Sitrep: Left forward coy shelled 0800 – 0900 hrs by 75 mm gun. Fifty shells landed in area with six direct hits on Coy HQ, four shells on right forward coy at 1200 hrs. Enemy artillery and mortar shoot on Bazzano (left forward coy) area at 1815 hrs. No casualties.

2000 MMGs resumed HF on Murano spur.


12 December– ITALY.

0730 Sitrep: Five green verey lights seen area Muiano 0700 hrs.

Left forward coy harassed by enemy artillery and mortar fire.

Intentions night 12/13: Standing patrols to Point 312 and 009301. Ambush patrol, 1 and 4, to track at 015304. Out – first dark. In – 2200 hrs.

0800 Heavy mist over bttn area. Bttn stand to until mist clears. G Coy report enemy MG, grenade and SA fire in front of and to left of their positions. Believe 1 A&SH (19 Brigade, 8 Indian Division) being attacked. 1 A&SH reply unaware of any attack.

0825 Brigade Major reports one platoon of 1 A&SH overrun by enemy at Frassineto (009315).

0835 G Coy report enemy withdrawing under cover of smoke. Bttn artillery, mortar and MG DFs put down on withdrawing enemy.

0900 Enemy reported to be attacking 3/8 Punjabs on Monte Cerere on left flank of 1 A&SH. First attack on 1 A&SH now thought to be a diversionary one.

0930 Enemy identified as 1 Bttn 3 Para Regiment 1 Para Division reached Casa Nuova 005316 about 300 yards from summit of Monte Cerere but were beaten back by 6 RFFR.

Heavy artillery, mortar and MG fire put down by both sides all morning, during which 1 NCO G Coy was killed by mortar bomb.

1030 1 A&SH report they are still in possession of Frassineto with one enemy section holding out.

1200 1 A&SH attack to clear remaining enemy from area.

1210 All positions reoccupied by own troops. First reports claim 8 PoWs taken.

During morning, Lt Col Horsfall (1 RIrF) and Recce party arrived to recce bttn area before taking over the positions on following night.

The front quietened down during the afternoon.


13 December – ITALY.

0800 Morning spent in preparations for handing over to 1 RIrF.

Intention: Bttn HQ, E and H Coys to be relieved in daylight. G Coy to be relieved at first dark. Bttn then to move over to right flank and relieve 2 Innisks.

1000 1 RIrF recce party moves in to bttn area. First mule train leaves for mule point 994302 with bttn stores.

1400 Main body of 1 RIrF arrives bttn area. Second mule train leaves for mule point.

1630 Bttn HQ moves off and proceeds down gully to house 000286 and take over from 2 Innisks.

1700 Relieving coy 1 RIrF arrived G Coy area but relief was held as enemy attack appeared to be developing on left flank against 1 A&SH.

1930 Relief completed and G Coy proceeded by same route as Bttn HQ to reserve area.

2100 G Coy in position. Location: Bttn HQ – 000286, E Coy – 008298 with one platoon at Sasso 008294, G Coy – 004287 and H Coy – 008287 with one platoon at Ambush House (015287).

Mortars – 001287 and MMGs in E Coy area.


14 December – ITALY.

0600 During night, an attack by 36 Brigade on the right flank against Camaggio had the effect of bringing down heavy enemy DF on bttn area but caused no casualties.

1000 Intentions 14/15: Standing Patrol to Point 358 (1) Out –first dark, In – 2200 hrs. (2) Out – 0430 hrs, In – first light. Fighting patrol of 1 and 6 to 017290. Out – midnight, In – on completion of task.

1930 Sitrep: Quiet day except for mortaring of road between forward and reserve coys. During morning, own aircraft bombed road forward of bttn positions but results could not be observed. Two red and 1 green verey lights seen over Monte Merlo area 1830 hrs.


15 December – ITALY.

0730 Sitrep: Fighting Patrol clashed with enemy patrol. Own casualties – 1 wounded. Standing patrols NTR. At 0430 hrs, six enemy crossing river bed from south to north at 013284 engaged from our area at Point 156 by SA fire. Enemy made off. Red verey lights observed area Monte Merlo and SA fire and explosions heard area Casio Benardi (015282).

CO took over command of 38 Brigade in Brigadier’s absence. 2 i/c Major Palmer took over command of bttn.

Intentions 15/16: All night standing patrol to Point 358 (013298).

1930 Sitrep: Enemy seen lying down smoke canisters on Sillaro Ridge, Otherwise quiet day.

Bttn stand to in expectation of an enemy attack under cover of smoke. Artillery and mortar DFs put down on likely forming up area. Attack did not materialise. 


16 December – ITALY.

0730 Own smoke screen laying very thick over bttn positions.

Sitrep: 1900 hrs enemy nearing house Point 156 beaten off by DF. Patrol sent out to sweep area found nothing. Heavy HF on right forward coy during night, especially on house Point 156. Two men missing from forward post at 008290 (E Coy area). 0410 hrs. Heavy MG fire on Bttn HQ house from 0100 to 0300 hrs.

Intentions night 16/17: All night standing patrol to Point 358 (013298). Standing patrols to 017288, 014286 and 015298. Out – first dark, In – midnight.

Fighting patrol to 018289.  Out – 0330 hrs, In – 0530 hrs.

1900 Sitrep: Heavy HF on right forward coy during morning. Own aircraft bombed aircraft bombed forward of bttn positions. Results not observed owing to bad visibility. Noises heard from Tamagnin area at first dark.


17 December – ITALY.

0700 Heavy smoke screen over bttn positions.

0800 Sitrep: At 0200 hrs, small enemy patrol approached left forward coy but withdrew without contact. Fighting patrol to 018292 NTR.

1000 Intentions 17/18: Standing patrol of 1 and 4 to knoll 015290. Out – first dark, In – midnight.

All night standing patrols to 017288 and 019287. Fighting patrol, 1 officer and 4 to 018290. Out – 0330, In – 0530 hrs. Ambush patrol to area Point 358. Strength 1 and 2. Out – 0200 hrs, In – first light.

1800 CO returned from 38 Brigade HQ and resumed command of bttn.

1900 Sitrep: Movement seen in area Sillaro, which artillery engaged. Heavy HF on road between San Clemente and right forward coy. Standing patrol out last light found enemy in occupation of culvert 017288 and returned under fire. Own DF on culvert.


18 December – ITALY.

0800 Sitrep: Patrol to 018290 fired on by enemy in that area. Patrol estimated enemy section position very alert. Ambush patrol to Point 358 (013298) NTR. Remaining standing patrols NTR. Very slight shelling.

1000 Intentions night 18/19: all night standing patrols to Point 358, culvert 017288 and knoll 015290. Fighting patrol to sweep area from Valley Farm (013288) and gully 014291 to culvert 017288. Out – 1800 hrs, In – 2200 hrs. Recce patrol to gully at 012296. Out – 0300 hrs, In – dawn. Sniper patrol to 015289. Out – last dark, In – dusk 19.

1930 Sitrep: Very misty during day. Heavy HF on road in forward coy area. Standing patrol at culvert 017288 approached by enemy from road and river. Enemy party on road deployed and opened fire on culvert. Grenades and automatic fire return. Standing patrol withdrew and 3” mortars engaged culvert. Fighting patrol sent to reoccupy and hold culvert.

During the evening, the 1 RIrF and bttn’s left flank carried out a coy raid on Tamagnin (013303). Very light signals, MF fire etc from that area were reported by our forward coys when 1 RIrF reached Tamagnin at 2155 hrs.


19 December – ITALY.

0730 Strep: Patrol to knoll 015290 heard coughing and talking from Sillaro Ridge area during night. Knoll itself fired on by MG from Sillaro Ridge. E Coy platoon area Lucia mortared at 0100 hrs. Fighting patrol to sweep gull 014291 were stalked by enemy patrol but no contact was made. Patrol commander thinks enemy has standing patrol 013292 at night. Culvert patrol reoccupied culvert and had NTR. Enemy mortar HF on H Coy during night.

1000 Intentions night 19/20: Ambush patrol, strength one platoon to area 017288. Out – last light, In – 2300 hrs. Thereafter standing patrol to culvert 017288. All night standing patrols to Point 358 and knoll 015290. Ambush patrol to 013293. Out – first dark, In – 2200 hrs.

2000 Sitrep: Snipers at knoll 015290 saw three enemy at first light crossing ridge up to Point 278 and one man on track to Sillaro at 1400 hrs. Also observed dugouts area 018290, one dugout under haystack. 1845 hrs – patrol clash, area culvert 017288. Two enemy shot at close range. Fighting continues.

2100 Own casualties in patrol clash – 2 wounded. Enemy begin to put down mortar DFs in culvert area. Both sides using grenades and MGs. Patrol now ordered to hold the culvert all night instead of coming in at 2300 hrs. Heavy artillery DF being put down by enemy between Bttn HQ and forward coy. Own artillery and mortars replying.


20 December – ITALY.

0730 Total casualties from all night patrol battle – 4 wounded. One PoW taken. Identification – 2 Coy, 1 Bttn, 3 Para Regiment, 1 Para Division.

0800 Preparations for handing  over of sector to 2 Innisks.

1300 2 Innisks Recce Group arrive in bttn area.

1400 Bttn 2 i/c Major Palmer, takes over command of 1 RIrF during absence of Lt Col Horsfall.

1800 Main body of 2 Innisks arrive bttn area. On relief, coys proceeded by march route to embossing point 975279.

1845 Bttn left embussing point in transport.

2215 Bttn arrived resting area Castro San Martino (850044).


21 December – ITALY.

Bttn resting.

Capt WCW Hood took over duties of Bttn IO from Capt F Lyness.


22 December – ITALY.

Baths and cinema shows arranged.


23 December – ITALY.

Baths and cinema shows arranged.


24 December – ITALY.

Leave party left for UK. One man each from E, G, H and HQ Coys.


25 December – ITALY.

0900 Voluntary Church Parade.

1000 CO’s O Group. Bttn to relieve 1 RIrF on following day. Head of column to pass Firenzuola 0930 hrs.

1200-1300 CO visited coys at Christmas dinners.


26 December – ITALY.

0815 Bttn embussed, ready to move off.

0830 Bttn left Castro San Martino.

1200 Bttn arrived at debussing point 975279 and proceeded by march route to Mule Point 994302, thence to forward positions.

1500 Bttn HQ and coys, except for H Coy (left forward) in position.

1835 Relief of 1 RIrF completed.

Locations: Bttn HQ – 003301. E Coy – Pt 435 003301. G Coy – 005300. H Coy – 007307. Battle Patrol in position near Bttn HQ.

Intentions night 26/27: Standing patrol from H Coy to 014306. Otherwise local protection.


27 December – ITALY.

0600 Sitrep: Quiet night. White flares seen about 3 miles down river 2125 hrs.

1000 Intentions night 27/28: All night Standing Patrols to 007302 and 014306. Recce patrol to 009303. Out – first dark, In – 2300 hrs.


28 December – ITALY.

0600 Sitep: Quiet night except for spasmodic mortaring between 2200 and 2359 hrs. Recce patrol to track 009303 saw movement Tamagnin 013303. 0505 hrs- white flares and MG bursts on Cereto Ridge.

1000 Intentions night 28/29: All night standing patrols to 019306 and 007302. Recce patrol to 009303. Out – 0100 hrs, In – 0500 hrs.


29 December – ITALY.

0600 Sitrep: Patrol saw movement around Tamagnin 0330 hrs.

1000 Intentions night 29/30: Standing patrols, dusk to dawn, to 014306 and 007302. Two man sniper patrol to 009303 via Point 439 005304. Out – 0500 hrs, In – 1200 hrs.

2000 Sitrep: 1400 hrs – one enemy seen in window of Tamagnin house. Otherwise NTR.


30 December – ITALY.

1000 Intentions night 30/31: All night standing patrols to 014306 and 007302.

2200 Sitrep: Officer and sniper patrol to 011303 from dawn to 1200 hrs  saw smoke from chimney of Tamagnin House. 1330 hrs – Five direct hits on Tamagnin House by own 3” mortars, one direct hit by 4.2” mortars. Slight mortaring bttn area and shelling of heavy gun of left forward coy 005307.


31 December – ITALY.

0600 Sitrep: Standing patrol on Point 312 report digging area Tamagnin.

0900–0930 Six bombs from enemy heavy mortar fell in gully between  Bttn HQ and G Coy (right forward).

1000 Intentions night 31/1: All night standing patrols to 014306 and 007302. Recce patrols to 012203 and stream junction 017306. Out – first dark, In – 2200 hrs.

1200 Brigade Commander and BM visit Bttn HQ.

1430–1500 Enemy mortaring of H Coy area.

1700 Slight shelling of G Coy area.

2200 Sitrep: Slight HF bttn area during day. 1605 hrs – aircraft strafed gully 017304 and area Monte Castellazo 0434 starting fire, which might be petrol dump. Fire still burning.

2359 CO visited E and G Coys accompanied by two pipers, who played the Old Year out and the New Year in.