Irish Brigade

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

Faugh a Ballagh        Nec Aspera Terrent         Quis Separabit


2 LIR – June 1944

1 June – IN THE FIELD (ITALY).

0800 A Echelon arrived in bttn area.

0900 Bttn bathing at MBU.

1330 New 2.i.c. Major MJF Palmer (1 RIrF) arrives at Bttn HQ.

2000 New draft of approximately 30 men arrives Bttn HQ.

2 June – IN THE FIELD (ITALY).

1100 Bttn Promotion Conference.

1400 CO’s O Group.

1800 CO attends Brigadier’s conference on W/T Communication.

1900 Battle Patrol disbanded and personnel returned to rifle coys. Reason given – that the patrol could not be used in swift advance, only in static warfare.

3 June – IN THE FIELD (ITALY).

1430 Officers’ and NCOs’ parade for lecture on tanks.

1600 B Echelon arrives in bttn area.

2230 Tanks of 3 Hussars (9 Armoured Brigade) ceased to be attached and left bttn area for other operational duties.

4 June – IN THE FIELD (ITALY).

0900 Bttn bathing at MBU.

2130 ENSA film show in bttn area.

5 June – IN THE FIELD (ITALY).

1600 CO addressed a parade of Signal Platoon and congratulated them on their good work during the recent operations.

6 June – IN THE FIELD (ITALY).

1100 Bttn bathing at MBU.

7 June – IN THE FIELD (ITALY).

0800 Bttn at 24 hours notice to move forward to concentration area.

1200 Bttn at four hours notice. Recce at 1 hour notice to RV at 439393.

1400 Jeep blown up by mine. 4 ORs killed.

1900 Bttn warned for move forward at 0530 hrs the following morning.

8 June – IN THE FIELD (ITALY).

0530 Bttm embussed, ready to move.

0730 Bttn move off. Order of march – Bttn HQ, H, E, F, G and S Coys. Route – Frosinone, along Route 6 To Valmontone through south east suburbs of Rome, then north through Rignano to brigade concentration area at San Oreste.

2100 Bttn arrive in new area. Bttn HQ in farm 771036.

9 June – IN THE FIELD (ITALY).

0900 One platoon of H Coy detailed to take guard at Kesselrings’s former HQ in San Oreste.

1100 G Coy moved into village San Oreste. E Coy moved to left flank of G Coy, taking up positions on ridge Monte Soratte (7605).

Information: Retreating enemy divisions – HG Division, 4 Para Division and 15 PG Division – moving north on 78 Division’s right flank; Rive Tiber being dividing line between 78 Division and enemy.

G and E Coys now in defensive positions as safe guard against possible enemy patrols crossing the Tiber. 6 SA Armoured Division and 9 British Armoured Brigade north east of 78 Division in area of Viterbo.

10 June – IN THE FIELD (ITALY).

Nothing to Report.

11 June – IN THE FIELD (ITALY).

1000 Warning order for bttn representative to meet Staff Captain at road junction 6214 at 1200 hrs for recce of new area.

1030 Brigadier visits Bttn HQ.

2330 Bttn warned for move forward on following morning. Embus at 0530 hrs.

12 June– IN THE FIELD (ITALY).

0700 Bttn leave area San Oreste (in TCVs).

1100 Bttn HQ arrives farm 505441. Coys in some areas.

1530 Divisional Commander visits Bttn HQ to confer with CO on immediate move forward.

1600 CO’s O Group. Information: Brigade at 516448 demolished. Enemy not in occupation of village Civitella D’Agliano 512462. Intention: Bttn to proceed forward at once to seize village and deny its use to the enemy. F Coy with u/c 2 detachment mortars, to go forward in transport as far as bridge, then to proceed on foot and occupy village. Other coys and supporting arms to move forward as soon as diversion is made. Approximate time to complete diversion – one hour.

1645 CO’s report to Divisional Commander – Objective taken. No opposition. Number of enemy believed north of village. Patrols night 12/13 to gain identifications and prisoners. Two patrols, each of 1 officer and 10 ORs to 490485 and 520490.

1715 Diversion completed. Tanks and SP guns move forward in support of bttn.

2030 CO confers with CO of 56 Recce at Tac HQ (518451) on possible exploitation or, if necessary, defence of ground gained.

2100 Bttn party returned from visit to Vatican City. During the visit, the Pope, speaking in English, addressed the 38 Brigade party of 90 officers and ORs in the audience room of his palace. The party attended mass in St Peter’s Cathedral.

2130 On his return from Vatican City, the Brigadier visited Tac HQ. Bttn O Group warned for 0530 hrs the following morning.

13 June – IN THE FIELD (ITALY).

0400 Patrol to 490485 report contact at 510477. Own casualties – 1 OR killed ( F Coy). Patrol to 520490 report no contact with company.

0530 CO’s O Group – H Coy to capture Agliano 518471. G Coy to take La Torricella 519481. Bttn Bounds – 512472 (Bishop), 514477 (Curate). Brigade Bounds – 520484 (Deacon), 522492 (Priest), 520504 (Pope). Artillery to fire on 510476 and 510485. One squadron of 3 Hussars (9 Armoured Brigade) to support coys. When objectives taken, coys to face right flank.

0650 Tac HQ move forward to house La Villa 510455.

0810 H Coy report reached Bishop.

0851 Six enemy shells (air bursts) over Tac HQ.

0933 Ops and forward coys report enemy transport moving north along track 505505. Own artillery engage but smoke obscures view of results. G Coy report making good progress towards La Torricella.

Brigade Flank Sitrep: Large town 6000 – 7000 yards north west of our position captured by own troops (Presumably Bagno Regio occupied by 6 SA Armoured Division). French troops occupy Monterado, a high feature south west of Bagno Regio.

1115 Artillery barrage called for on La Tore (pt 246) to the north of G Coy. Enemy infantry with tanks or SP guns reported at 519494. G Coy claim to have inflicted casualties on them with SA fire.

1130 Enemy reported pulling out from 523482.

1135 Brigadier visits Bttn HQ.

1150 One prisoner brought into Bttn HQ. Identification – 365 Infantry Division. Prisoner, who was a Pole, reported that enemy artillery were running out of ammunition.

1215 Divisional Commander visits Bttn HQ.

1315 Telephonic comm. Established with 56 Recce HQ and thence to 38 Brigade Tac HQ.

1320 Liaison officer from 56 Recce reported to Bttn HQ.

1400 G Coy report large number of civilians in front of position. Patrols being sent to investigate.

1405 Enemy shelling in front of Castiglione.

1525 G Coy patrol return with one prisoner.

1530 Enemy transport moving north at 588507 engaged by own artillery.

1615 Tanks (Support Squadron of 6 Innisks) reported in Castiglione. 6 Innisks about one mile behind tanks.

1700 CO’s O Group. Intentions for night 13/14th June: G and H Coys to extend their positions slightly. G Coy at 520488 and 519482. H Coy at 530489. To remain there for night. E and F Coys move forward to area 516495 and 523482 respectively. E Coy’s defence system to be augmented by VMGs and two troops of tanks. The combined bttn intention being to protect the area south of Castiglione from possible counter attack from left flank.

1750 Prisoner taken by G Coy patrol also identified as belonging to 365 Division.

1830 Brigadier visits Bttn HQ and postpones bttn intentions for the night.

1955 Bttn warned for move forward at 0530 hrs on 14th June.

14 June – IN THE FIELD (ITALY).

0530 Bttn move forward by march route, accompanied by essential operational transport, through and beyond Castiglione.

0910 Bttn halted on road 5054.

Brigadier visits CO. Intentions: 6 Innisks to move forward to cemetery 502558 and cross River Paglia, if possible at ford 485569 and protect 2 LIR’s right flank. 2 LIR to strike north along axis Route 71.

1115 Bttn move to Tordimonte. Bttn HQ in building 504562. Spasmodic enemy shelling of area.

1215 6 Innisks report good progress. Bttn in readiness to move forward when 6 Innisks in position. Report Line:  Horn 516562 – 492570.

1245 Brigadier and Brigade LO visit Bttn HQ. Plans changed as follows – 2 coys to take pt 296, 499596. Two coys in reserve.

Method – to cross River Paglia and proceed under escarpment to approximately 492563, then to strike north east over rising ground and secure objective. Reserve coys only called for, if needed. Code Word for objective – Christmas.

Information: Bttn boundaries – streams Foiano and Fabio. 6 Innisks already across Paglia and securing our right flank over Fabio. 11 Brigade to pass through 38 Brigade on morning of 15th June.

1445 Tanks of 3 Hussars report no enemy infantry or guns encountered in area of bttn future operations. Plans therefore altered. Bttn ordered to cross River Paglia by diversion at 488565 and thence to proceed up Route 71 as far as general area pts 246, 210 and 193 (4662) and seize and hold that area until 11 Brigade pas through on following morning.

1500 E and F Coys to take objectives – G and H Coys in immediate reserve. CO’s Recce party forward in transport.

1600 Tanks (3 Hussars) seen on bttn’s objective firing to north.

1625 E and F Coys reported on objectives. CO liaises with Tank Commander.

1725 Tac HQ at 463628. Coys now leaving present location and moving north west.

1945 Four prisoners surrendered to bttn. Identification – 1 Regiment, 1 Para Division.

1950 Main Bttn HQ joins Tac HQ at 463612.

15 June – IN THE FIELD (ITALY).

0530 Three prisoners. Identifications – 2 from 1 Regiment, 1 Para Division, 1 from a fusilier bttn.

0800 Five prisoners brought in from G Coy. Identifications – 1027 Lehr Regiment.

0900 Advance parties from 11 Brigade pass through bttn area, followed by main bodies and supporting armour.

1000 Divisional Commander visits Bttn HQ.

1030 Brigadier visits Bttn HQ.

16 June – IN THE FIELD (ITALY).

0800 Bttn bathing at MBU.

Information: 11 Brigade passed through bttn area moving north along axis Route 71 and reached Ficulle.

17 June – IN THE FIELD (ITALY).

1800 Brigadier visits Bttn HQ. Informs CO that bttn will probably not be committed for 5 days.

18 June – IN THE FIELD (ITALY).

0500 Bttn move to area to Montegiove 4880.

0945 Bttn including B Echelon, move by transport.

1345 Bttn arrive in area Montegiove. Bttn established at 485816.

1430 Sitrep to coys: 1 RIrF in area 5086. 56 Recce across river 5090. Piegaro in our hands. Enemy hold Citta Della Pieve with paratroops. 1 RIrF entered Citta Della Pieve two days ago, killed 25 enemy and took 50 PoWs. Responsiblity of the town was handed over to 1 East Surreys. The enemy afterwards reoccupied the town.

78 Division Intention: To bypass enemy strongpoint Citta Della Pieve by crossing river in area 5090. 38 Brigade Intention: 1 RIrF to push forward through 56 Recce bridgehead. 2 LIR presumably will go through 1 RIrF – probable route via track Montegrande – Castiglione 5087.

Bttn at 1 hrs’ notice to move – later cancelled.

19 June – IN THE FIELD (ITALY).

O Group at immediate notice to move as from 0700 hrs. To RV at road fork 482812. Bttn at 1 hrs’ notice from 0700 hrs. Order of march – E, F, G, H Coys, Bttn HQ  and S Coy. S Coy prepared to go forward after bttn reaches new area in following priority – Mortar Platoon, VMG Platoon, A/Tk Platoon. B Echelon to remain in present area.

1300 Bttn warned to move at 1500 hrs.

1900 Bttn arrives area Tavernelle. Bttn HQ established 498813.

20 June – IN THE FIELD (ITALY).

0930 Bttn warned for move forward at midday.

Information – Brigade Group concentrated in area Tavernelle. 28 Amphibious Jeeps under brigade control (presumably for future operations across Lake Trasimene in order to attack enemy in rear on west side of lake).

1500 Move forward postponed. CO’s O Group. Intention: Bttn, with B Squadron CTR to surge up west side of Lake Trasimene. 11 Brigade to reach line 408920 – 381900 on night of 20th and allow 2 LIR to pass through at 0700 hrs on 21st June. Order of march from present area; E, F, G, H Coys, Main Bttn HQ, S Coy and Kensingtons’ 4.2” Mortars. Debussing point – 415900. Attack to commence at 0700 hrs. Order of battle – E Coy with 1 to tanks (forward recce), R Group, Pioneers (for bridging and clearing mines), 3” and 4” Mortars, S Coy Commander’s Recce party, remainder of tanks, F, G and H Coys (H Coy to mop up any bypassed enemy).

Flank Support – 6 Innisks following on right rear to take Castiglione, if necessary.

Artillery Support – Divisional artillery, 1 Battery Mediums, 2 troops of M 10s. Latter cooperating with tanks.

Final Intention – to reach crossroads and bridge 365040 (Codeword – Longbow).

1900 Information: 11 Brigade failed to reach their objective. DP thereupon changed to La Chiusa.

21 June – IN THE FIELD (ITALY).

0400 Bttn embussed, ready to move.

0530 Bttn reach debussing point and ‘married up’ with tanks. Main Bttn HQ established at Macchie 431870.

0630 CO’s orders – Bttn to attack Sanfatucchio 411893 at 0800 hrs in conjunction with 2 LFs.

0705 Brigadier arrives at Bttn HQ, proceeds forward to Tac HQ 424888 to confer with CO.

0755 E and F Coys move forward.

0805 Smoke being laid in forward areas to cover advance of tanks and infantry. Bttn A/Tk guns engaging targets since zero hour.

G and H Coys moving into area vacated by E Coy.

0840 E and F Coys making good progress. G and H Coys following up.

0900 E and F Coys call for DF artillery fire on 411893 (Sanfatucchio).

Map ref checked and recalled for as 400900.

0919 One troop tanks on objective. One troop tanks moving round left of E Coy. E Coy report still held up by fire from west end of objective.

0930 Artillery to put down smoke for E Coy.

0940 F Coy held up by opposition on left.

1010 E Coy report penetration of objective. Depth not yet known.

Information – 1 RIrF concentrating north west of the bttn area. 6 Innisks moving up behind.

1012 F Coy held up by fire from cemetery at 404896. Tanks asked to deal with it.

1017 E Coy report now entering second block of buildings in town.

1115 Objective fully occupied. G and H Company Commanders called to Tac HQ for O Group.

1130 Twelve prisoners (754 PGR ) taken by E Coy in town.

1132 CO asks for 6 Innisks to move into position with the bttn prior to combined move forward with plenty of artillery support.

1145 G Coy moving onto 2nd objective – Report Line 33 (Lateral road 405898 – 424900).

1355 G Coy reporting on left of objective. H Coy reported approaching right hand objective overcoming stiff opposition. Nine more prisoners taken (754 PGR). Main Bttn HQ now at 424885. CO requests dive bombing of Castiglione Del Lago because of heavy artillery and mortar opposition. Major Woods (OC, H Coy) wounded. Captain Craig reports to Bttn HQ to take over H Coy.

1410 6 Innisks and tank support moving up road 4288 and forking right behind Main Bttn HQ along track 424888-429889.

Bttn casualties since 0800 hrs – 1 killed, 2 officers, and approximately 15 ORs wounded.

1430 CO calls for mortar fire on 407907 and road junction 406906.

1445 Flank Information: 6 Innisks joined up with their tanks at track junction 427896 but not yet ready to go forward.

1450 Coys held up 300 yards above 2nd objective but hope to be able to continue the advance at dawn.

1530 One German officer (755 Regiment) brought to Bttn HQ.

1600 Enemy shelling area road 425885.

1603 E Coy request replenishment of 2” and 3” mortar ammunition.

1604 Enemy counter attacking on left flank (H Coy).

1610 Replacement of 18 set and 38 set operators for H Coy called for. Enemy believed to have penetrated H Coy defences, but CO confident that the counter attack can be stopped. Situation confused.

1630 Situation apparently under control – Other Coys intact.

1700 6 Innisks begin their attack on right flank.

1732 Seventeen prisoners passed through Bttn HQ to brigade.

1800 6 Innisks reach RL 33. Strong SA opposition.

1820 One wounded German officer and 1 wounded  German OR passed through Bttn HQ.

1907 Five more prisoners (755 Gren Regiment) passed through Bttn HQ.

2150 E Coy being counter attacked.

2200 Kensingtons’ MMGs move up to bttn area to support E Coy, now being counter attacked.

2230 Incomplete total of day’s casualties: 5 killed, 55 wounded.

Last light Strep: Bttn HQ – 413893, E Coy – 410897, F Coy – 407900, G Coy – 411897, H Coy – 404896. G Coy now in counter attack role. All A/Tk guns in position. Kensingtons’ VMGs in G Coy’s area,

E Coy was counter attacked but enemy halted at 20 yards distance. 17 Field Regiment, 4.2” and 3” mortars brought down DF tasks on enemy. Tracked vehicles heard forward of F coy at 2135 hrs. Own tanks in H Coy area.

2315 6 Innisks report unable to contact 2 LIR but contacted pocket of enemy between the two bttns. 6 Innisks to make contact with us at first land on 22nd June.

Four prisoners sent back to brigade.

22 June – IN THE FIELD (ITALY).

0600 Flank Information: 6 Innisks in village Pucciarelli 416906. 2 LIR and 6 Innisks to hold Report Line 33 on day 22nd June. 1 RIrF held in counter attack role or follow up role if enemy withdraw.

0730 Four prisoners (755 Gren Regiment) passed through Bttn HQ.

0800 Total casualties in last 24 hrs: Lieut Dunseath, and 9 ORs killed. Major Woods, Lieut Hunter and 64 ORs wounded. None missing.

0845 CO began local ops to clear gap between bttn and 6 Innisks at 402902. First objective – 412903, 2nd objective – 400901. One platoon of G Coy supported by tank.

Enemy using 10 barreled mortars at intervals.

0936 Local ops going well. 30 yards from 1st objective. Tanks engaging targets.

1020 1st objective taken. Pushing onto 2nd objective.

1030 Gap between bttn and 6 Innisks now regarded as closed.

1050 Three more prisoners taken.

1055 G Coy report enemy counter attack coming in.

1110 DF fire laid down in front of G Coy. Our tanks move into G Coy’s area.

1125 G Coy consolidated. Tanks and mortars engaging houses 800 yards due north. G Coy area being heavily shelled. H Coy RAP. Jeep forward to pick up 3 wounded prisoners.

1135 One platoon G Coy and MMGs under command H Coy.

1140 Two enemy tanks reported at 423915.

1141 Seven prisoners taken by G Coy in local ops.

Flank Information: 4 Division relieving 36 Brigade today.

1422 Nine more prisoners (755 Gren Regiment) .

1645 Main Bttn HQ join Tac HQ in Sanfatucchio.

1715 F Coy seize group of buildings 600 yards to the north of their position.

1945 F Coy report being counter attacked.

2000 3” and 4.2” mortars engage enemy.

2030 Enemy reported to have entered house 402903. Tanks asked to deal with it.

23 June – IN THE FIELD (ITALY).

0600 Total bttn casualties since 0800 hrs on 21st June – 14 killed, approximately 80 wounded.

0900 Lt Col Dunnill and liaison party from 1 RIrF arrive at Tac HQ.

2030 Sitrep – Locations Bttn HQ – 411893, E Coy – 411902, F Coy – 405900, G Coy – 408897, H Coy – 404896. Slight shelling and mortaring during morning. E Coy’s area swept by SA and A/Tk fire at 1100 hrs. Own tanks fired on and neutralised source of trouble. Own mortars in F Coy area engaged houses held by enemy. Enemy seen evacuating casualties from these houses under cover of Red Cross flag. Coy shelled and mortared during afternoon. At 2000 hrs, two enemy vehicles were seen moving north east up road at 402908.

24 June– IN THE FIELD (ITALY).

0800 1 RIrF supported by C Squadrons 11 CAR attack enemy positions in front of bttn.

0830 1 RIrF, 300 yards beyond first objective but held up on left.

0845 Eighteen prisoners (755 Regiment) taken by 1 RIrF and passed back through Bttn HQ.

1430 Intentions: Two platoons F Coy to extend their positions further over to the left flank. G Coy to move into the area vacated by the two F Coy platoons. All as safeguard to left flank 1 RIrF.

1600 Bttn casualties so far estimated as 16 killed, 98 wounded, none missing.

Intentions for night 24/25th June: Patrols around coy areas (a) to provide against any infiltration, b) to round up any disorganized enemy still in area.

25 June – IN THE FIELD (ITALY).

0800 Ten enemy prisoners rounded up during night 24/25th June in area of cemetery 413896. Three more prisoners at dawn in same area. Intermittent shelling and mortaring of all forward coys all day.

1800 8 A & SH pass through bttn area moving forward.

26 June – IN THE FIELD (ITALY).

1200 Six enemy air bursts over Sanfatucchio.

1330 Brigadier and Brigade LO visit Main Bttn HQ.

Intention: to move forward to areas 3890 and 3889 to dominate lateral road to Badia.

1345 CO and Squadron Leader, B Squadron 11 CAR move forward with Tac HQ to supervise move forward of the two coys.

1500 Brigade IO and two War Correspondents arrive at Bttn HQ to cover bttn’s part in previous four days’ fighting.

1800 11 Brigade Commander and CO, 2 LFs visit Bttn HQ to obtain lie of land for tomorrow’s operations.

G Coy patrols report village of Badia 380907 unoccupied.

Bttn ordered to be ready to move back out of the line in approximately 4-5 hrs.

2330 Coy relieved from forward positions and arriving at embussing point at Sanfatucchio.

27 June – IN THE FIELD (ITALY).

0130 Bttn left Sanfatucchio in TCVs.

0230 Bttn arrive in area 4688.

1200 CO addressed bttn on its fine performance during the battle for Sanfatucchio and said that, although in reserve to 36 Brigade who were still in the line, there was a possibility of the bttn being out of the line for quite a time.

1300 Preparations began to hand over all G 1098 stores and all vehicles to relieving bttn,

28 June – IN THE FIELD (ITALY).

1400 CO’s conference on future movements.

2000 CO gives a dinner for all officers of 11 CAR.

29 June – IN THE FIELD (ITALY).

0900 Training – Bttn Cadre Courses

1030  Enemy reported to have withdrawn in Castiglione sector.

1130 CO visits coy areas.

1900 Brigadier visits Bttn HQ.

30 June – IN THE FIELD (ITALY).

0900 Bttn Training Cadres.

1900 Intercoy football matches.