Irish Brigade

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

Faugh a Ballagh        Nec Aspera Terrent         Quis Separabit


2 LIR – November 1944

1 November –ITALY.

0730 Bttn still in general concentration area San Apollinare.

1000 Brigade Commander visited Bttn HQ.

1400 Bttn now in counter attack role – any part of the Brigade front. On receipt of the code word ‘Blimey’, coys will be ready within 2 hours to move forward in fighting order less mules. S Coy to be provided with 20 mules. When ready, coys to assemble on their own farm tracks as near to Tac Division. Coy Commanders to report to Bttn HQ. Cooks and A Echelon staff to occupy and claim vacated billets.

1500 Adjutant left for Admin Point, thence to B Echelon to bring forward remaining LOBs and non essential  personnel etc. To return on following day.

1900 Heavy rain began to fall.


2 November – ITALY.

0700 Still raining heavily.

1400 IO and 1 OR Intelligence Section went forward to recce lying up areas for Bttn’s counter attacking role.


3 November – ITALY.

0800 25 ORs from H Coy assisting REs on road maintenance.

1700 Owing to the bad state of the road, Bttn supplies came forward on mules from Sassoleone, about a mile from Bttn HQ.

1730 Lt K Lovatt, Signal Officer, rejoined Bttn from CRU.


4 November – ITALY.

0700 G Coy assisting REs on road maintenance.

1700 Several ORs from each coy proceeded on 48 hours rest to Divisional Rest Camp at Castel del Rio.


5 November – ITALY.

1015 Bttn parade for CO’s lecture at Bttn HQ. Chief topic being rumour mongering, exaggeration of casualties etc. Bttn informed that they would relieve 2 Innisks on 6/11/44.

1300 CO, IO and Intelligence Sgt with coy guides, proceeded on recce to 2 Innisks’ positions.

1730 CO’s recce party returned.

1830 CO’s O Group at Bttn HQ – Bttn to move off on 6 Nov from coy positions and rendezvous at Brigade HQ at San Apollinare, thence to move at 1730 hrs by ‘personnel’ track to 2 Innisks’ positions.

Order of March – G Coy, E Coy and MMG Platoon, H Coy, Bttn HQ and Mortar Platoon. G Coy to relieve right hand coy with one platoon in eastern Salara (034263) and remainder around track junction 029259. E Coy to relieve left forward coy in area Spaduro House (029263). H Coy in reserve at western Salara (022263). Bttn in Casone farm at 023258. Mortar Platoon to take over 2 Innisks’ mortars with forward coys. Forward positions to be dug by 2 Innisks for 2 LIR’s MMGs. All ammunition, tools, water cans etc to be taken over from 2 Innisks. CO’s Recce Group and Coy Commanders to move forward at 0900 hrs 6 November.

Billets vacated by bttn to be occupied by 1 RIrF.


6 November – ITALY.

0900 CO’s Recce Party left for forward positions.

Morning spent in preparing mule loads etc.

1400 1 RIrF recce party arrived at Bttn HQ to take over billets.

1415 Bttn HQ moved off to rendezvous at Brigade HQ.

1710 Coys began to move forward with mule teams.

2030 Relief completed. 


7 November – ITALY.

0600 Sitrep: Spasmodic mortaring and shelling of bttn area during the night. Otherwise nothing to report.

1200 Brigadier and CO of 1 RIrF visited Bttn HQ with a view to moving up another coy of 1 RIrF in reserve.

H Coy to move forward from western Salara and relieve C Coy 1 RIrF, now under command at Spinello – Point 387, 032255 – during the course of the evening.

Pioneer Officer, Lt Barker, recced new mule track from stream junction 017258 to Bttn HQ to avoid previous precipitous track used by 1 RIrF.

1800 Sitrep: Intermittent shelling of E Coy area 028263. E Coy HQ shelled at 1340 hrs believed by 88 mm battery from general direction ofMulinetto. H Coy relieved C Coy 1 RIrF on Point 387 and Spinello. One coy 1 RIrF moved forward in reserve to western Salara 022263.


8 November – ITALY.

0600 Sitrep: Listening patrol at 035264 fired on enemy patrol about 10 strong approaching from east at 038264. Fire not returned. Intermittent shelling of bttn area during night.

Flank Information: 36 Brigade on right usually send a patrol to Casetta di Sotto 041259 every night. 11 Brigade on left marking enemy minefield at 015263.

1400 Intention Night 8/9: Standing Patrol of 1 NCO and 3 ORs to 037265. Time out 1900 hrs, in 2200 hrs.

Otherwise local protection.


9 November – ITALY.

0600 Sitrep: Slight shelling Casa Salara 034263 early in night. No casualties. Forward standing patrol report movement and firing of 6 rifle grenades from area of Pimples 038266. Grenades falling to right of forward platoon. Bttn mortars put HF on Pimples at 0545 hrs.

1200 Intermittent mortaring of bttn area.

1800 Weather – heavy shower of rain followed by first snowfall of season. Snow fell to depth of one inch.


10 November – ITALY.

0630 Sitrep: Nothing to Report.

0900 Allied Planes bombing and strafing enemy positions well ahead of bttn area.

1415 One Allied plane shot down over bttn area. Plane landed in enemy lines. Pilot bales out and H Coy report him landing on right flank in 8 A&SH positions. 36 Brigade notified. 8 A&SH send out patrols to pick him up.

1430 IO and coy guides left Bttn HQ to recce mule track to 11 Brigade reserve area at Parra Tombe di Sassatello, 999271.

Intention for 1 RIrF: to relieve 2 LIR on night of 13th. Bttn to move to area 999271 for 4 days before moving back to Castel del Rio for 4 days.

1800 Enemy air activity in rear areas.


11 November – ITALY.

0600 Sitrep: Spasmodic shelling and mortaring of bttn area.

No casualties. Otherwise nothing to report.

1000 Intentions night 11/12: 1 officer and 1 OR to patrol to area south of Pimples. Time out 2100 hrs, in 2300 hrs.

Fighting patrol of 1 officer and 7 ORs to Pimples. Time out 0430 hrs, in 0630 hrs.

1400 1 OR from H Coy proceeding to Bttn Rest House at Point 383, 031247, stepped on a  Schu mine and lost his right foot.

1900 Pioneer Platoon went out to begin re-marking of all minefields in bttn area.

2000 Enemy air activity on left flank.


12 November– ITALY.

0600 Sitrep: Recce patrol to south of Pimples reported enemy in occupation. Fighting patrol found approach too open and were unable to carry out task before daylight.

Otherwise nothing to report.

1030 CO’s O Group reference move back to 11 Brigade reserve area on night 13/14.

1100 Intentions night 12/13: Local protection only.

2000 Two deserters from sector on 78 Division’s left flank brought in by G Coy. Identification – Mortar Bttn, 1 Para Division.

2030 Enemy patrol reported moving in front of G Coy’s positions. Orders to G Coy to let them get very close before opening fire.


13 November – ITALY.

0600 Sitrep: Slight shelling and mortaring during night. Two deserters from 1 Para Division brought in by G Coy. Otherwise nothing to report.

0900 1 RIrF recce parties arrive at Bttn HQ.

1000 Leave party – RSM and 6 ORs left for 1 month’s leave in UK.

1030 Bttn recce party left for area Travelato, 999273.

1500 Bttn movement control post established in Valley Farm, 0171262. E and G Coys (less forward platoon in eastern Salara) relieved by 1 RIrF and rendezvoused with Bttn HQ at this farm.

1700 Bttn HQ, E, G (less 1 platoon), Mortars and H Coy began move to Travelato via Ripiano 017270, Casa I Rochi 009276, along gully to 006274, thence along newly made mule track to Il Tombe di Sassatello 999291. Guides met the column at Casa I Ronchi.

1900 Column arrived as Sassatello. Two platoons of G Coy were billeted in Sasstello. H Coy, G Coy HQ and remaining platoon, MMGs and Mortars were billeted in house 998272. Arrangements were made for Bttn HQ to move to Casa Caniglio 990267.

This led to some disorganization as the billets were being taken over from 2 Innisks and the Command Post and Exchange Post were at Trevelato. Signal Platoon and Battle Patrol were therefore left in Travelato. Remainder of Bttn HQ moved to Caniglio.


14 November – ITALY.

0330 CO, Adjutant, IO and H Coy MMGs arrive in area Trevelato.

0700 Signal laid line between the two Bttn HQ farms.

E Coy now established in farm Casa Selva di Sotto 007264.

1000 Remainder of day spent resting.


15 November – ITALY.

Bttn still in 11 Brigade reserve area.


16 November – ITALY.

1430 Coy guides recced track from Travelato to village Cuviolo in preparation for move back at night 18/19.

Transport to meet bttn at Cuviolo and to take them to Castel del Rio.


17 November – ITALY.

Bttn still in 11 Brigade reserve area.


18 November – ITALY.

Morning spent preparing for move. All stores etc jeeped to central point, thence to be conveyed in 15 cwts to Castel del Rio.

0900 CO, IO and Pioneer Corporal went forward to recce new positions in Monte Grande area, which 38 Brigade would be taking over from 1 Division.

1300 CO’s recce party returned to Caniglio.

1730 Bttn HQ, S, G and H Coys, in that order, moved off by march route along track from Travelato to Cuviolo. E Coy moved back from 007264.

1900 Bttn arrived at Cuviolo and boarded transport.

2100 Bttn now billeted in castle at Castel del Rio


19 November – ITALY.

Baths, change of clothing and cinema shows arranged for all personnel.


20 November – ITALY.

CQMSs dealt with deficiencies and exchange of equipment

Snow equipment drawn by QM.

1900 CO’s O Group.: to deal with forthcoming move into the line and general survey of local situation.


21 November – ITALY.

1400 CO’s final O Group on forthcoming move.

  1. 1 NCO from Mortar Platoon and 1 NCO from MMG Platoon to go to Sassoleone afternoon 21 to draw mortars and MMGs from 1 RIrF.
  2. Recce party of CO, IO, Coy Commanders with 3 platoon representatives, SO and Signal Exchange, MMG and Mortar Platoons to move off at 0630 hrs 22 November.
  3. Main body to move off at 1030 hrs 22 November. Order of March – H, E and G Coys, Bttn HQ and remainder of S Coy. Embuss at Castel del Rio and debuss at approx 978282, about 1 ½ miles west of San Clemente.
  4. D Coy to be forward coy at Sasso (008294) and to be supplied by mules from Mule Point Casa Calvenela (994287). E Coy at Casa Corniano (009287) and G Coy Casa di Villa (004287). Bttn HQ in house at 000286 with Mortar Platoon in same general area.
  5. Bttn supplies to be ferried forward in 15 cwts and portees.
  6. Two A/Tk guns to be brought forward to bttn area.
  7. All LOBs to be changed over.

22 November – ITALY.

Morning spent preparing for move. Time schedule to be adhered to as definite times are laid down for the “up” and “down” traffic on the main road.

1400 Bttn debussed at 975278. H Coy moved off shortly afterwards to Mule Point at Calvanela. Remainder of bttn waited at debussing point because the permanent smoke screen laid down over the area was not blowing the right way to allow for movement in forward areas. The tea meal was therefore prepared and issued in this area.

1730 E and G Coys, Bttn HQ and remainder of S Coy moved forward by march route along the main road to San Clemente (995287).

1830 Bttn HQ arrives at Casa Caregiana (000286). Relief of 1st Recce (1 Division) completed and bttn accept command of sector.

Effects of the permanent smoke screen made several of the men vomit and many personnel had slight headaches.

2000 Sitrep: Relief completed by 1900 hrs. Locations – Bttn HQ 000286, G Coy 004287,  H Coy 008298, E Coy 008287, Mortars 001287, own MMGs in E Coy area. Road between Bttn HQ and E Coy shelled regularly. Bttn HQ shelled 1700 hrs. No casualties.


23 November – ITALY.

0600 Sitrep: Intermittent mortaring and shelling of bttn area during night.

0900 Owing to enemy observation and own smoke screen blowing wrong way, only absolutely essential movement was allowed in bttn area. The enemy periodically shelled the bttn area. CSM Charnick was wounded during shelling of E Coy HQ. Otherwise no casualties.

Coy water parties collecting water at Bttn HQ initiated several shells in Bttn HQ area. As previously arranged, the Pioneer Platoon began to build dug outs in Mortar Platoon gully as alternative Command Post.

1030 Intentions night 23/24: Local protection by Standing Patrols.

Patrols – 1) Ambush Patrol (1 and 4) to area 017288. Out at dusk, in at 2230 hrs. 2) Recce Patrol (1 and 5) to Point 358 013298. Out at dusk, in at 2130 hrs.

1700 3” Mortar shoot on Sillaro 017292.

1730 Sitrep: Ambush patrol to 017288 found house at 015287 occupied. Patrol returned at 1830 hrs after losing 1 killed and 2 wounded through enemy mortaring. House mortared and shelled by us. Recce Patrol engaged by enemy with grenades. No casualties on either side.

2100 Total battalion casualties so far -1 killed and 3 wounded.

2200 Patrol brought in member of the Ambush Patrol.


24 November – ITALY.

0800 Sitrep: Intermittent shelling and mortaring on all coys and Bttn HQ throughout night. Heavy shelling on E Coy at 2300 hrs including 2 phosphorous bombs.

Intentions night 24/25: Strong patrol from E Coy to house 015287. To occupy if empty. Time out – 2100 hrs. Recce Patrol forward to 015289. Patrol signal for DF on house 015287 – red over green. Pioneer Platoon continuing work on alternate positions.

1930 Sitrep: 0610 – 6 heavy shells on G Coy area. 0630 – 3 enemy seen digging at 015297, disappeared after being engaged by mortars, bren and sniper. 0715 – 10 rounds small calibre mortar on H Coy area. 1620 – 15 rounds on Sasso 005295 from 81 mm mortar.  1700 – enemy mortars (small caliber) engage 008298.2 wounded. 1710 – 6 heavy mortar bombs in Bttn HQ area.

2100 E Coy patrol moved off. Nothing heard for several hours as wireless communication between patrol and company HQ broke down.


25 November – ITALY.

0050 E Coy report house 015287 unoccupied and take possession.

0800 Sitrep: House 015287 found unoccupied. Occupied until night 25th by 1 officer and 12 ORs. Recce Patrol to 015289 NTR. Enemy MG fired during night from Point 358 013298.

0930 Brigade Commander and BM visit Bttn HQ.

Pioneer Platoon continue work on alternative positions.

1030 Slight showers of rain commenced.

1100 Intentions night 25/26: H Coy to send Fighting Patrol to Point 358 013298 and establish listening post. Time out – first dark, in – midnight. Strength 1 and 6. Ambush Patrol (1 and 6) to track at 018290. Out – first dark, in – 2200 hrs. Recce Patrol to 015289. Time out – 0500 hrs, in – first light. Ambush and Recce to be supplied by E Coy.

1930 Sitrep: Quiet day except in H Coy area. Small enemy mortars fired on 008298 at 1225 and 1440 hrs. Four enemy observed on crest at 013303at 1545 hrs. One enemy seen at 019292 at 1630 hrs. 1830 hrs – slight enemy HF on road from San Clemente to E Coy.

2100 Recce patrol shot at from road/track junction 019288. 20 minutes later 6 or 8 enemy observed by bridge 018288.

2205 RA and mortars engage enemy positions spotted by Recce Patrol.

2305 Enemy positions again engaged by bttn mortars for 10 minutes.

2337 Fighting Patrol to Point 358 – NTR.


26 November – ITALY.

0800 Sitrep: Recce Patrol to bridge 018278 reported enemy outpost and was subsequently heavily mortared. Patrol sent out to deal with outpost reported it held in strength and approach difficult. Slight shelling during night. Otherwise NTR.

Intentions night 26/27: E Coy to send Ambush Patrol (1 and 6) to bridge at 017288. Time out – first dark, in at midnight. Recce Patrol to send Sniper Patrol (1 and 1) to 013298 Time out – 0530 27th, in at first light.

1930 Sitrep: Five enemy seen digging at 013298 when mist lifted at 0800 hrs. H Coy mortared by light mortar during afternoon. No casualties. Otherwise NTR.

During the night, the Pioneer Platoon laid a booby trap at north corner track junction 008299.

Weather – drizzling rain throughout the day.


27 November – ITALY.

0600 Still raining.

0800 Sitrep: Sixteen shells fell in G Coy area at 2030 hrs. No casualties. Patrol to gully at 017288 found it unoccupied. Signs of previous occupation but no digging.  Patrol returned after booby trapping entrances.

Intentions night 27/28: Ambush Patrol, strength 7 to culvert 017288. Time out – last light, in 2200 hrs.

2000 Sitrep: Six enemy seen working on defences at Point 342 013298 at first light. Slight HF during day, including light mortars.


28 November – ITALY.

0800 Sitrep: Patrol to culvert 017287. On way back, saw three enemy, 400 yards east of house 015286, 3 enemy half way between house and culvert and about 6 enemy at culvert. Attempt to get behind them and cut them off failed. Knoll at 015299 searched at last dark and 2 trenches found. Snipers at Point 342 013299 all day yesterday saw nothing owing to own smoke screen.

Intentions night 28/29: Fighting Patrol, strength 2 platoons, to culvert area 017288. Detached patrols to investigate 020288 and 017292. Time out – first dark, in midnight.

Recce Patrol, 1 and 2, to Point 358 at 013298, then along ridge south east to Casa Il Sillaro. Time out – first dark, in 2200 hrs.

Sniper Patrol, strength 2, to Point 358. Time out – 0500 hrs 29th, in – last light, 29th.

1900 Sitrep: Left forward coy mortared intermittently during day. Four enemy observed on crest at 016297 and engaged by MMGs at 1405 hrs. House at 015287 shelled and heavily mortared during day. 0900 hrs – movement observed at Casa Monte Merlo 033286. Engaged by artillery and 12 enemy made quick exit when house was hit


29 November – ITALY.

0800 Sitrep: shelling and mortaring of battalion area during night. Recce Patrol to Point 358 report track leading to Casa Sillaro 018293 to be very narrow with an almost sheer drop of 20-30 feet on either side. Movement head from Sillaro house and area of point. Patrol reached there just before enemy and drove them off. Estimated strength of enemy about 12. Section of knoll 015290 found about 30 in occupation and were fired on, then tried to work round to left and discovered another 8 enemy in gully between knoll and Sillaro and were again fired at. Section patrol on right of culvert engaged enemy patrol about 150 yards forward of bridge 017288. Patrol withdrew leaving holding party at house 015287.

1000 CO proceeded to Brigade HQ for orders regarding future move.

1100 Smoke screen coming up the valley to envelope bttn area. Bttn casualties so far – 1 killed and 10 wounded.

1800 E Coy’s forward house being heavily shelled. Bren gun knocked out. Orders given for house to be held despite shelling.

2000 Sitep: Slight HF on left forward coy. Heavy mortaring and shelling of house 014287. At 0815 hrs – enemy pamphlets on bttn area.

2200 Brigade HQ ask for names of 4 personnel for month’s leave in UK. One each from E,G, H and S Coys chosen.


30 November – ITALY.

0010 Several heavy shells landed immediate area Bttn HQ.

0210 Several more shells landed in Bttn HQ area.

0610 More shelling Bttn HQ. Line to mortars reported out of action. Linesmen out to repair it.

0800 Sitrep: Patrol saw enemy digging in at knoll 015289. Patrol returned and had area mortared. Stand Patrol Point 156 heavily shelled and mortared during night. Intermittent shelling of bttn area during night.

0900 Drizzling rain in the valley. Smoke screen enveloping bttn area.

0930 Intentions night 30 Nov/1 Dec: Fighting Patrol, strength 1 and 12 to knoll 015290. Time out – first dark, in 2200 hrs. Local protection by standing patrols.

1600 Mortar OP report 1 deserter gave himself up.

1830 Patrol to knoll 015290 report capture of 2 prisoners from an enemy patrol.

Two 15 cwts with ammunition for forthcoming move forward not now needed as attack cancelled but ammunition unloaded at E Coy. Mortar Platoon, who were to move forward in support of attack, to remain in present position.

2000 Sitrep: Mortaring and shelling of bttn area during day. 1 PoW surrendered at 008289 – Identification, 2 Para Regiment, 1 Para Division. Patrol to knoll 015290 returned with 2 PoWs – Identification, 7 Coy, 2 Bttn, 289 Regiment.

Shelling, mortaring and an increase of MG fire on bttn area during the night.