Irish Brigade

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

Faugh a Ballagh        Nec Aspera Terrent         Quis Separabit


2 LIR – February 1945

1 February –ITALY.

0700 Bttn still in locations as follows: Bttn HQ – 023257. E Coy – 031253. G Coy – 028262. H Coy – 031257.

Sitrep: Quiet day and night. Patrol to Boschi , In – 2330 hrs. Recced to 250 yards north of Boschi. Fairly well worn track on west side of minefield. Taking and stamping of feet heard from house. Patrol Commander then returned to gully and recced to stream junction 042274. No sound heard from high ground 044274. Haystack at 039273 investigated. No signs of enemy but old tracks.

1200 Intentions 1/2: Normal contact patrol to 5 Northants (G Coy). Out – 2030 hrs. Ambush Patrol 1 and 6 (E Coy) to Casalino. Out – first dark, In – 2300 hrs. Checking of own minefields – moonlight until completion.


2 February – ITALY.

0700 Sitrep: Quiet day and night. Casalino patrol report voices and MG firing area Casetta di Sotto. Checking of minefields completed.

1200 Intentions night 2/3: Normal contact patrol to left flanking bttn. Recce patrol 1 and 3 (Battle Patrol) to Boschi. Out – first dark. In – on completion. Route out – gully 032263. Route in: via 038267 and Casa Salara 034263.


3 February – ITALY.

0700 Sitrep: Quiet day and night. Intermittent MG fire from north and south east of Boschi area on probable DF tasks. Flares in Boschi area at 2200 hrs and 0115 hrs. Patrol to Boschi returned 0030 hrs. Reported coughing and talking in post at about 042273.

1200 Intentions night 3/4: Normal contact patrol to 1 ES. Out 2130 hrs (G Coy).

All night ambush patrols, each 1 and 6: i) Gully 034266 (E Coy). ii) Pimples 037266 (Battle Patrol). iii) Casalino area 036257 (E Coy). Route in and out for all three patrols via Casa Salara 035263.


4 February – ITALY.

0700 Sitrep: Quiet day and night. Patrols NTR.

1200 Intentions night 4/5: Local standing patrols to cover relief of bttn by 56 Recce.

1430 Bttn mule teams and no essential personnel left Bttn HQ.

1500 Advance elements of 56 Recce arrived Bttn HQ.

1715 Main body of 56 Recce arrived bttn area.

1930 Relief completed.


5 February – ITALY.

0030 Last TCVs left embussing point Cuviolo (996227).

0215 Last TCVs joined main bttn convoy, which had halted at Firenzuola.

0245 Bttn convoy moved from Firenzuola.

0530 Bttn established in new area – Caldine.

Locations: Bttn HQ – 856754. E Coy – 861762. G Coy – 842754. H Coy – 842750. S Coy – 836750.

Day spent in rest. 


6 February – ITALY.

0800 Bttn bathing at MBU.

Day leave parties to Florence.

Bttn IO, Capt W Gentle, proceeded on leave. Lieut GR Browne took over duties of IO.


7 February – ITALY.

1200 Divisional Commander arrived on tour of inspection of bttn area.

E Coy area visited.

1225 Divisional Commander arrived Bttn HQ.

1900 ORs’ dance at Caldine.


8 February – ITALY.

0800 Advance party of 2 officers and 45 ORs proceeded to new area at Forli.

Day leave parties to Florence.

Issue of kit deficiencies etc. 


9 February – ITALY.

0800 Day leave parties to Florence.

2000 Office party and dance at Bttn HQ. Corporal’s dance in Caldine. 


10 February – ITALY.

0800 Day spent in preparations for move to Forli.

Carriers proceeded to Forli.


11 February – ITALY.

0700 Bttn convoy moved off. Order of march – Bttn HQ, E, HQ, G, H and S Coys, B Echelon. Route via Highway 67.

1200 Head of column arrived in Forli.

1400 Bttn complete billeting in factory in Forli – 440164. 


12 February – ITALY.

0800 F Coy reformed wef today.

0900 Coys carrying out own training programmes.

Signal Platoon commences Signal Course at Brigade HQ.


13 February – ITALY.

CO recced Forli area for outdoor coy training areas.

Five areas along railway line were decided on.

Bridge area 451165.

Station area 446168.

Factory area 440173

Cemetery area 449178.

Canal area 431178.


14 February – ITALY.

1400 Band of the 2nd Bttn Royal Ulster Rifles gave a performance in the central dining hall.

1800 Repeat performance by RUR band. 


15 February – ITALY.

0900 CO’s inspection of F Coy.

1030 CO’s inspection of billets.

1400 CO’s inspection of Coys’ Battle Orders.


16 February – ITALY.

0900 Coy representatives reported to Brigade HQ for recce of bttn area in defensive role in the event of an enemy breakthrough.

Capt W Gentle resumed duties of Bttn IO.

1600 All personnel to carry out 15 minutes Rifle Drill daily.

1615 REs complete 30 yards range near Bridge area. 


17 February – ITALY.

0900 All G 1098 instruments handed in for REME inspection.

1800 Brigade Pipe Band and RUR brass band played ceremonial retreat in town square.


18 February – ITALY.

0900 IO, SO, I Sgt, Sig Sgt and coy representatives visited bttn counter attack and defence area


19 February – ITALY.

0845 Coys begin day’s training with 15 mins Rifle Drill.


20 February – ITALY.

0830 Snipers’ Course commenced, under L/Sgt C O’Connor (2 ORs from each rifle coy).


21 February – ITALY.

0830 CO, IO, RSM and coy representatives proceeded on lecture and practical demonstration of Control of Kangaroos (Troop carrying tanks).

1800 CO’s O Group held on Kangaroo Exercise and details arranged for the four rifle coys to do an exercise with Kangaroos on morning of the 22nd.

Regimental Canteen opened for bttn ORs.

The Bttn Commander, Lt Col HEN Bredin DSO MC relinquished his post at 78 Division HQ returned to the battalion and proceeded on leave to Rome. Major JD Stewart carried on as temporary CO.


22 February – ITALY.

0900 Rifle coys proceeded on Kangaroo Exercise.

1800 Capt W Gentle assumed duties of Adjutant in place of Capt G Cole, who proceeded to hospital. Lt MC Murphy assumed duties of IO.


23 February – ITALY.

1700 Lecture by Lt Foley of 1 LIR to bttn officers and coy representatives on type of fighting which the bttn might expect in future operations on the Lombardy Plain.

Consequent on this lecture, the CO pointed out to Coy Commanders that 2” mortar and Piat training as well as mine detecting was to be impressed on all ranks.


24 February – ITALY.

0900 E and G Coys proceeded on street fighting exercise at Casetti  6402, followed by a demonstration of the Wasp flame thrower by Lt Neale (Bttn MG Officer).

0930 AIA began inspection of all bttn weapons.

1400 F and H Coys proceeded on street fighting exercise at Casetti.

1715 Coy Commanders and S Coy platoon representative proceeded to Bttn HQ for lecture on river crossing.


25 February – ITALY.

0900 CE Ceremonial Parade.

1500 CO’s conference with Coy Commanders on training.


26 February – ITALY.

0900 MTO begins inspection of all bttn motor cycles.

G Coy weapons inspected by AIA.

1700 Lecture to all Coy Commanders, Platoon Commanders and Sgts on artillery and infantry cooperation.


27 February – ITALY.

0900  F Coy practising river crossing over the River Ronco.

Normal coy training.


28 February – ITALY.

0900 Normal coy training. H Coy practicing with Kangaroos.

1700 Discussion on Kangaroos held in Officers’ Mess. All officers and platoon sergeants. Points discussed included:

  • What stores to bring forward in the Kangaroos.
  • Whether to have Section Commanders travelling with Platoon Commanders.
  • Whether to leave small packs etc in the Kangaroos before the attack.
  • Types of communication to be used.
  • How to evacuate casualties and PoWs. ie by forming a reserve of Kangaroos specially for the job.
  • Whether to advance right up to the objective on the Kangaroos or dismount beforehand.