Irish Brigade

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

Faugh a Ballagh        Nec Aspera Terrent         Quis Separabit


2 LIR – March 1944

1 March – IN THE FIELD (ITALY).

0630 Heavy rain.

0800 Day training – River crossing exercise and line laying Signal platoon and Pioneer platoon over the River Volturno.

0900 FFI Inspections.

1400 Brigadier visits Bttn HQ.

1700 CO’s office.

1730 CO’s conference. Bttn HQ guard supplied by G Coy.

1800 – Weather – heavy showers of rain and hail during the day. Deep mud.

2 March – IN THE FIELD (ITALY).

0630 Weather still showery.

0800 Second in command proceeds to area 961164 to conference and recce.

Coy training.

0930 CO goes out on local recce for training exercise.

1400 Brigade TEWT on cooperation with tanks.

1700 CO’s office.

Bttn HQ guard supplied by H Coy.

1800 CO’s conference.

Weaher – Heavy rain at intervals during the day.

3 March – IN THE FIELD (ITALY).

0630 Weather still showery.

0800 Coy training.

1030 Leave parties proceed to Caserta.

1400 Brigade TEWT on cooperation of infantry with tanks.

1700 CO’s office.

Bttn HQ Guard supplied by S Coy.

1800 CO’s conference.

Weather – frequent heavy showers throughout the day.

4 March – IN THE FIELD (ITALY).

0630 Heavy showers.

0800 Company training.

0915 Officers and NCOs proceed to Mesobello for lecture and demonstration of Sherman tanks by 16/5 Lancers.

1400 Officers and NCOs return from demonstration.

1730 CO’s office.

Bttn HQ Guard supplied by HQ Coy.

1800 Weather – showery during day.

5 March – IN THE FIELD (ITALY).

0700 Weather still showery.

0900 RC service at Bellona.

0930 CO, Second in Command, and Coy Commanders proceed to 16/5 Lancers area for tank demonstration.

1400 Sports.

1700 CO and Company Commanders return from demonstration.

1800 Bttn HQ Guard supplied by E Coy.

Weather – still showery.

6 March – IN THE FIELD (ITALY).

0630 Heavy rain during night. Morning dry, but cold.

0800 Coy training.

0930 CO and IO proceed on local recce for Bttn exercise.

1400 Coy exercise.

1700 CO’s office.

1730 CO’s conference.

Bttn HQ Guard supplied by F Coy.

1800 Weather – dry since early morning. Sky clearing.

7 March – IN THE FIELD (ITALY).

0630 Weather – dry and bright.

0815 CO, Second in Command, Adjutant, Coy Commanders and parties from all coys proceeded to area Falciano Selise to take part in demonstration attack in conjunction with tanks.

1130 Demonstration commences. Troops of Sherman tanks provided by 16/5 Lancers. Points brought out in demonstration-

The use of tanks to give covering fire to infantry carrying out flanking movement and to deal with MG and A/Tk gun positions located by the infantry and reported back to tank commanders. The use of tanks for mopping up buildings, wireless and signal communications between infantry and tank commanders.

1230 Demonstration ends.

1645 CO’s conference.

8 March – IN THE FIELD (ITALY).

1st Phase  – to secure bridge at 228835. 2nd Phase – to capture features Monastery Hll (210831) and Three Tree Hill (210840)

1200 Bttn, less F Coy and support already in attack, halted at track 241839.

1310 F Coy reported in possession of bridge. Bridge still intact.

1330 CO’s conference to put Phase 2 into operation. G Coy to advance beyond F Coy and capture and consolidate more ground.

1335 Bttn, preceded by G Coy, move forward.

1500 Bttn halted in area, secondary road 228840. Further orders given by CO H Coy to capture Monastery Hill. F Coy in reserve.

1540 Scheme ended. Bttn returns to camp.

1730 CO’s office. Bttn HQ Guard supplied by H Coy.

1800 Weather – fair.

9 March – IN THE FIELD (ITALY).

0700 Bright weather.

0900 FFI Inspections.

1000 Leave parties from all coys proceed to Caserta. G and H Coys also send leave parties to cinema show in Capua.

1630 Brigadier Scott DSO visits Bttn HQ.

1730 CO’s office.

Bttn HQ Guard supplied by S Coy.

1800 Weather – cloudy.

10 March – IN THE FIELD (ITALY).

0700 Weather – fair.

0815 CO’s lecture on Bttn scheme of two days previous.

0930 CO and Second in Command proceed to Divisional TEWT held at Teano.

1000 E and F Coys send leave parties to cinemas at Capua.

1500 Bttn Football final – H Coy v S Coy.

Result S Coy 11 H Coy 5.

Finalist medallions presented to both teams.

1700 CO’s conference.

1730 CO’s office.

Bttn HQ Guard supplied by HQ Coy.

1800 Weather – fair but cloudy.

11 March – IN THE FIELD (ITALY).

0700 Weather – bright.

0900 Leave parties proceeded to Caserta and Capua.

0930 Bttn bathe at MBU.

1230 CO’s office.

1430 Inter Bttn Boxing Contest – 2 LIR v 6 Innisks.

Result – 2 LIR 21 points, 6 Innisks 15 points.

1730 Bttn HQ Guard supplied by E Coy.

1800 Weather – fair.

12 March – IN THE FIELD (ITALY).

0700 Weather – heavy showers.

0900 Voluntary RC and C of E church parades.

0945 Leave parties from G and H Coys proceed to Caserta. Other coys send leave parties to cinema at Capua.

1430 Draft of two officers and 39 Ors arrive for hospital.

1730 Brigade HQ Guard supplied by F Coy.

1800 Weather – slight showers. 

13 March – IN THE FIELD (ITALY). 

0700 Weather – slight showers.

0930 Coys send leave parties to Caserta and cinema at Capua.

1730 CO’s office.

Bttn HQ Guard supplied by G Coy.

1800 Weather – bright and sunny.

14 March – IN THE FIELD (ITALY).

0700 Weather – slight showers.

1400 Inter Bttn football match – 2 LIR v  6 Innisks.

Result – 6 Innisks 6 goals, 2 LIR 2 goals.

1745 CO’s office.

Bttn HQ Guard supplied by H Coy.

1800 Weather – bright and sunny.

15 March – IN THE FIELD (ITALY).

0700 Weather – bright and sunny.

1000 Coys send leave parties to Caserta and cinema at Capua.

1015 Brigadier’s conference at Bttn HQ. Lt-Col Dunnill DSO and Lt-Col Bredin MC were present.

1800 Weather – fair.

Bttn HQ Guard supplied by S Coy.

16 March – IN THE FIELD (ITALY).

0700 Weather – slight showers.

1730 CO’s office.

Bttn HQ Guard supplied by HQ Coy.

1800 Weather – fair.

17 March – IN THE FIELD (ITALY).

0700 Weather – cold wind and sunshine.

0800 St Patrick’s Day RC church parade.

0930 Brigade parade for all denominations,. Brigadier Scott presented sprigs of shamrock to the officers. Massed Pipe Bands of the Brigade gave a performance.

1115 Seven a side football semi finals.

E Coy 2 goals v S Coy Nil.   HQ Coy 1 goal v F Coy 0.

1500 Seven a side football final.

HQ Coy 2 goals v E Coy nil.

CO presented medallions to the winning team.

1730 Bttn HQ Guard supplied by E Coy.

1800 Weather – fine.

18 March – IN THE FIELD (ITALY).

0700 Weather – bright and sunny.

0930 Bttn bathing at MBU.

1030 Brigadier Scott visits Bttn HQ.

1730 CO’s office.

Bttn HQ Guard supplied by F Coy.

1800 Weather – fine.

19 March – IN THE FIELD (ITALY).

0700 Weather – bright and sunny.

0930 Voluntary church parades for all denominations.

1730 Bttn HQ Guard supplied by G Coy.

1800 Weather – fine.

 

20 March – IN THE FIELD (ITALY).

0700 Weather – bright and sunny.

1230 CO’s office.

1430 Bttn Sport Meeting.

Result – H Coy 11 pts, E Coy 10 pts, S Coy 9 ½ pts, G coy 8 ½ pts, F Coy 6 pts, and HQ 3 pts.

CO presented prices of cigarettes and books to the winners.

1800 Bttn HQ Guard supplied by H Coy.

Weather – fine.

21 March – IN THE FIELD (ITALY).

0700 Weather – fine.

0830 Second in command went forward on recce for future concentration area near Mignano.

0930 Coys send leave parties to cinema at Capua.

1000 FFI inspections.

1230 CO’s office.

1500 CO’s R Group warned to be ready to move forward at 1600hrs.

1600 CO’s R Group move to forward area.

1730 Bttn HQ Guard supplied by S Coy.

1800 Weather – fair.

Ground drying up after heavy showers in the afternoon.

22 March – IN THE FIELD (ITALY).

0700 Weather – heavy showers.

0900 Seconds in command R Group conference.

Bttn warned to move at 1630hrs.

1530 Bttn transport lined up ready for move forward.

Orders of march – F & E Coys; Bttn HQ & HQ Coy; G, H, & S Coys followed by E Echelon.

1800 Bttn arrive at Mignano area and lay up until dusk.

1900 Bttn move forward to take over positions from 1 East Surreys.

23 March – IN THE FIELD (ITALY).

0200 Relief of 1 East Surreys completed.

Positions taken over by 2 LIR – Bttn HQ 885156, E Coy 881160, F Coy 878175, G Coy 871159, H Coy 875152. B Echelon in Mignano area.

Standing patrols from E, G and H Coys in areas 869168, 865155 and 863146. F Coy standing patrols in areas 873178 and 868172.

1800 Weather – fine.

1900 Pioneer platoon minesweeping in areas 876174, 877174 and track 876171 to 877173.

Officer representatives from 4.2” Mortars (Kensingtons), 132 Field Regiment  RA, 254 A/Tk and 16/5 Lancers attached to Bttn HQ.

Desultory mortaring and shelling in bttn area during the night.

24 March – IN THE FIELD (ITALY).

0700 Weather – fine.

1035 Enemy shelling 100 yards west of F Coy HQ.

1800 Weather – fine.

1830 E Coy standing patrol 869169, F Coy standing patrol 867173, G Coy standing patrol 865159 and recce of crossing of River Rapido 862156. H Coy standing patrol 869150 and recce of house at 868149, also location of collection of Kapok bridging left by 1 East Surreys. Pioneer platoon to minesweep in area 868152.

2305 Kapok bridging collected.

Patrol Cramb encountered a mine on track at 868156.

Casualties – 1 OR killed and 1 OR wounded.

25th March – IN THE FIELD (ITALY).

0700 Weather – fine.

0900 Brigadier Scott visited Bttn HQ.

0915  Mist covering Bttn area – Coys ‘stood to’ in their positions.

0945 Mist cleared – Coys ‘stood down’.

1430 E Coy reported enemy mortaring reverse slopes of Platoon positions on Pieta – Artillery and Kensingtons’ 4.2” mortars informed and fire was brought down by them on targets Drink and Brandy. 

26 March – IN THE FIELD (ITALY).

0255 H Coy patrol mortared at 868146. H Coy area (876153) also mortared. 100 bombs landed. G Coy, 15 platoon area (874156) mortared, 20 bombs landed. No casualties. E & F Coy patrols report no contact with the enemy.

Slight showers of rain during early hours of morning.

0400 CO and an officer from the 21NZ Bttn advance party went round all the coy areas.

0700 Weather – fair.

1800 21 NZ Bttn (4 NZ Armoured Division) arrive to relieve 2 LIR.

2200 Relief completed. Bttn back to area 885126 (Mignano area).

27 March – IN THE FIELD (ITALY).

0700 Weather – fine but very windy.

1200 CO’s conference. Bttn warned for probable move to forward area north west of Cassino.

1300 Second in Command and QM on recce for new positions for B Echelon in forthcoming move.

1400 FFI Inspections.

1800 Weather – fine, but strong wind blowing.

28 March – IN THE FIELD (ITALY).

0700 Weather – fine, but wind still strong.

1000 Bttn bathing at MBU.

1730 CO’s conference regarding future move.

1800 Weather – strong wind still blowing.

29 March – IN THE FIELD (ITALY).

0700 Weather – fine, but strong wind still blowing.

1000 Bttn prepare to move to new area.

1200 CO’s conference. Bttn HQ divided into ‘forward’ and ‘main’ HQs. H Coy to be LOB.

1500 Main body of Bttn to move forward to concentration area at San Michele. B Echelon with S and G Coys and main Bttn HQ to move under orders from Major Lofting.

1600 Advance elements of B Echelon established in area San Pietro. Draft of two officers and 26 Ors arrive at advanced B Echelon from hospital.

1800 Weather fine. Bttn recce area party in forward area. 

30 March – IN THE FIELD (ITALY).

0700 Weather – fine.

1000 Main body of B Echelon with G & S Coys and main Bttn HQ arrive San Pietro.

1815 Mules arrive in Bttn area (San Michele – 504228) and are loaded ready for move. French guides arrive.

1830 Bttn ready to move. Order of march – E & H Coys, Bttn HQ and F Coy.

1840 E Coy cross start line. Coys and Bttn HQ follow at 5 minute intervals.

2100 Several shells landed near Bttn column, area raod junction 866246.

2330 Bttn arrived in new area (Caira – 845250) to relieve 1 Bttn, 4 Regiment Tiralleurs Tunisiens, 3 Algerian Division.

31 March – IN THE FIELD (ITALY).   

0120 F Coy relief completed – 836243.

0255 H Coy relief completed – 828235.

0310 E Coy relief completed – 830243.

Small scale attack on French left forward coy prior to E Coy’s relief.

0330 Bttn HQ established area Pt 446 – 837238.

0700 E Coy report four dead Germans and one dead Frenchman in their area (bodies probably 10 days old).

0814 F Coy report several enemy shells landed in area between their position and Caira.

1530 Enemy shelling over wide area between Caira and Bttn HQ. Two shells landed in Bttn HQ area. No casualties. Six shells in area 845239. Shelldrake informed.

1800  IO and guides from coys leave Bttn HQ to meet mule trains at Caira and escort them to coy areas.

1830 IO requisitions 20 mules from French troops in Caira to take Mortar and M/G ammunition to H Coy’s area and afterwards to collect coy stores, which were dumped on road above Caira by muleteers on previous night.

1900 CO and battle patrol to see our own dispositions and lie of the land in that area.

1930 Patrol Timothy out.

2000 Six enemy shells in area of road and valley 846254.

2030 Enemy shelling eastern end of Caira and south west slopes of Fucciata (8424)

2100-2200 Sporadic enemy shelling of valley from 842257 to 853252.

2155 6 Innisks report enemy patrol moving towards H Coy from 827228.

H Coy and gunners informed.

2215 H Coy report 1 VMG out of action, Eight enemy mortar bombs on house – 845247. One OR F Coy wounded.

2223 Patrol Timothy returned. One man missing. Met enemy patrol 30 – 40 strong.

2240 VMG being sent up to Bttn by Captain Cockburn.

2245 CQMS Prudhoe (HQ Coy) arrived at Bttn HQ with mule train.

2300 Two enemy airbursts in gully below Bttn HQ. Shelldrake informed.

2345 Patrol Titus (1 & 4) out.

Spasmodic enemy shelling of area between Marino (8525) and Fucciata (8424).