Irish Brigade

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

Faugh a Ballagh        Nec Aspera Terrent         Quis Separabit


2 LIR – January 1945

1 January –ITALY.

0600 Bttn still located as follows: Bttn HQ – 00330, E Coy – 003301, G Coy – 005300, H Coy – 007307.

Sitrep: generally quiet night. Recce patrol to Tamagnin 013303 get to within 16 yards of house. Confirms area immediately north of the house booby trapped.

1200 Intentions 1 / 2: All night standing patrols to 014306 and 007302. Fighting patrol of 1 and 13 (from Battle Patrol) to Tamagnin 013303 and covering patrols to Spur 009302 and Pt 312. All out – 0400 hrs, In – 1000 hrs.

Object – to fire Tamagnin at 0830 hrs. E Coy to relieve H Coy in left forward position.

2000 Intercoy relief completed.

Sitrep: 1115 hrs – Movement seen Tamagnin and 014300.  1400 to 1500 hrs – Tamagnin shelled and mortared. Much damage southern end of building. 1500 hrs – 15 men entered house 053336. 1600 hrs – Movement and flash  as of glasses Tombina 035320.


2 January – ITALY.

0545 Fighting patrol to Tamagnin returned with 4 casualties after encountering booby traps at 007301.

1200 Intentions night 2/3: All night standing patrols to 014306  and 007302. Mine clearing area 007302 starts first dark. Recce patrol to Spur 009302. Out – first dark, In – 2200 hrs. Fighting patrol 1 and 13 (Battle Patrol) to Tamagnin 013303. Out 0400 hrs, In – 1000 hrs. Covering patrols to spur 009302 and Point 312. Same object as previous night.

2000 Sitrep: Movement seen 1100 hrs at buildings 030296 and 1500 hrs at buildings 027297.


3 January – ITALY.

0600 Sitrep: 1 mine found and cleared 007301. Fighting patrol to Tamagnin now on way with covering patrols at Point 312 and spur 009302.

0815 Fighting patrol reported to have entered Casa Tamagnin.

1015 G Coy report sniping at their positions.

1030 Patrol returned from Tamagnin.

1200 Intentions 3/4: All night standing patrols at 014306 and 007302. Recce patrols to spur 009302. First dark to 2300 hrs.

2000 Sitrep: Fighting patrol (commanded by Lieut HG Montgomorie MC) entered Casa Tamagnin 0815 hrs from north end. After searching both stories, and finding it unoccupied, patrol passed through door into courtyard, leaving 4 men as covering party. Movement heard in south house through hole behind straw lean to. Two incendiary grenades were thrown through hole and patrol returned to north house. Shouts heard from south house, which were drowned by noises of flames. 25 enemy seen evacuating blazing building from south and west. These were engaged by SMGs of patrols, covering patrol at 009302 and MMG section at Casa Lucca.

Two more incendiary grenades were thrown into straw and south house, which started to burn fiercely. Patrol withdrew 0945 hrs under cover of smoke from 3” mortars and 25 pounders. Patrol returned 1030 hrs. No casualties. Single enemy grave seen in rear of south house. Damage inflicted – 4 enemy killed, 2 more probably killed by MMG fire, several probably perished in blazing room.

1015 hrs – Right forward coy reported sniping at their positions and MMGs at Casa Lucca. One machine gunner slightly wounded. 1800 hrs – Casa Tamagnin still burning and man exploding.


4 January – ITALY.

0600 Sitrep: Regular light mortaring of our mortar positions until midnight. Fired 20 rounds 3” mortar bombs Tamagnin and Antrim. Recce patrol reported Tamagnin still burning 2330 hrs.

1200 Intentions 4/5: All night standing patrols 014306  and 007302. Recce patrol to Tamagnin. Out – 1630 hrs, In – 2300 hrs, with covering patrols. Out – 1630 hrs, In – 2330 hrs.

1255 E Coy report their OP being sniped at.

2000 Sitrep: 1255 hrs – unlocated sniper firing at OP 008305. Intermittent shelling left forward coy from 1400 to 1500 hrs. 


5 January – ITALY.

0600 Sitrep: Recce patrol to Casa Tamagnin returned. Houses still burning. Coughing and talking heard 1830 hrs close to and south west of house. Patrol fired on from direction of Casa Muiano (022315). 2359 hrs – covering patrol returned from spur 009302 and reported digging and talking at intervals on ridge 015302.

1200 Intentions night 5/6: All night standing patrols  014306  and 007302. Listing patrol 009302 – first dark to moon rise. Recce patrol to stream 016308. Out – 2330 hrs, In – 0400 hrs.

1530 – 1700 Enemy mortaring of E Coy area.

2000 Sitrep: 1440 hrs – sniping at OP 008317. 1550 hrs – Movement seen area Muiano 021315. 1630 – 1700 hrs: left forward coy mortared.


6 January – ITALY.

0100 Lt JAS Hunter fell and fractured his ankle.

0800 Weather – raining and snowing alternately. Visibility 100 -150 yards. Forward coys put out listening posts.

Sitrep: Recce patrol reports enemy post stream junction 016308 and light at Point 166. Enemy seen at Tamagnin. Digging heard during night on spur 014301. Light HF whole front.

1200 Intentions 6/7: All night standing patrols 014306 and 007302. Ambush patrol 013301. Out – 1645 hrs, In – 2230 hrs.

Intentions night 7/8: 2 Innisks relieve 2 LIR. Bttn then move to sector reserve area Travellata

1430 Weather – now snowing hard.

2000 Still snowing. Sitrep: NTR.


7 January – ITALY.

0515 Ambush patrol to Tamagnin not yet returned.Recce patrol of 1 and 3 (from Battle Patrol) left to search for them,

0600 Sitrep: Ambush Patrol to Tamagnin not returned. Recce patrol out 0515 hrs to search for them. Firing and shouts heard in area Tamagnin 2200 hrs. Otherwise NTR.

0730 Recce patrol returned. Failed to find any trace of ambush patrol, Lt JR Newberry and 3 ORs.

0800 Average depth of snow now 1 foot.

1600 Relief of bttn by 2 Innisks commenced.

1930 Relief completed.

2055 Bttn now under command 11 Brigade in locations as follows: Bttn HQ – 991285, E Coy – 007263, G and H Coys – 998273.


8 January – ITALY.

E,G and H Coy billets were left in bad condition by previous occupants. Coys spent day in attempt to make billets habitable. Supplies etc were brought forward from Bttn HQ  at San Clemente and ferried across ford by jeeps. Loads had to be manhandled last 300 yards to coy billets as a heavy fall of snow rendered the road impassable. E Coy supplies went by jeep to Ripiano, thence by mule train  to coy area.


9 January- ITALY.

Quiet day. NTR.


10 January – ITALY.

Quiet day. NTR.


11 January – ITALY.

A delegation of MPs visited rifle coys to see conditions under which the front line troops in Italy were fighting.


12 January– ITALY.

0800 Preparations for move forward to relieve 2 Innisks.

1700 Bttn HQ left Clemente house.

1730 Bttn HQ arrived Casa Careggiana 001286.

2200 Relief completed. Locations as follows: E Coy – hill position at Cssa di Lucca 008298, with a platoon at Sasso 008294. G Coy – forward position on road at Casa Corniano 009287with one platoon forward at Ambush House 015287 and half platoon at Valley Farm 013288. H Coy plus Battle Patrol in reserve position Casa di Villa 004287.  Two sections of the A/Tk Platoon acting as infantry with E Coy. Mortar Platoon in gully 001289. MMGs on ridge Point 207 in G Coy’s area.


13 January – ITALY.

0600 Heavy fall of snow during night.

0700 Sitrep: Routine standing patrols NTR.

0800 Two sniping patrols out from G Coy to 012294 and Knoll 015289. Time in – 1200 hrs.

1000 Intentions night 13/14: Recce patrol 1 and 2 to stream 013291. Out – first dark, In – 2100 hrs. Recce patrol 1 and 4 to 017288. Out – 0400 hrs, In – first light. All night standing patrols at culvert 016288 and knoll 015290. Contact patrol between forward coys. Own MMGs firing on Casa Sillaro at 2130 hrs.

1800 Sitrep: Two enemy seen on Point 342 at 1315 hrs. Engaged by 3” mortars.


14 January – ITALY.

0730 Sitrep: Standing patrol at 016288 report culvert destroyed and now probably on A/Tk obstacle. Small parties of enemy engaged  and beaten off at intervals during night. Patrol to 017288 cancelled.

0800 G Coy sniper patrol on ridge above Valley Farm.

0845 Enemy mortar and artillery barrage general area road between forward house and G Coy HQ.

1000 Intentions night 14/15: Normal night standing patrols. Patrol from Battle Platoon to culvert area 016288. Out – first dark.

1605 Enemy mortar barrage on ridge above Valley Farm.

1800 Sitrep: Slight enemy shelling and mortaring of bttn area. Otherwise NTR.


15 January – ITALY.

0400 Patrol to culvert area, commanded by Lt Montgomorie, reports back with 2 enemy dead and 1 Spandau MG.

0700 Sitrep: 1930 hrs – Culvert patrol report 9 enemy approaching along road. Patrol opened fire at 20 yards, killing 2 and wounding 2. Enemy replied with MG fire. No casualties own troops. Enemy wearing coarse cream coloured camouflage dress. Left forward company report 6 enemy in gully 010295, who withdrew after being engaged by our MMGs. This party not wearing camouflage uniform.

1200 Intentions night 15/16: E Coy all night standing patrol to Point 358. Sniper patrol to 011295. Out – first light, In – 1200 hrs. Normal contact patrols to H Coy. Two Recce patrols (H Coy) to culvert i) Out – 2030 hrs, In – 2200 hrs. ii) Out – 0530 hrs, In – first light. Knoll ambush and contact patrol as normal. Battle Patrol Recce to stream junction 013292. Out – first dark, In – 2200 hrs.

2030 Forward house reported being mortared.

2240 G to E Coy contact patrol report visibility very bad.


16 January – ITALY.

0100 Forward house report Spandau firing from bushes area 018287 continuously since 0030 hrs.

0135 E Coy patrol in from Point 358. Occasional talking heard from enemy Point 342. One verey light was fired from Point 342 while E Coy patrol was being relieved.

0500 Three large Nebel projectiles reported landed in front of G Coy Platoon on Point 207.

0520 G Coy Platoon in Forward House report enemy Spandau giving trouble as it fires on road. Six mortar bombs put down on area of Spandau.

0630 Two buglers blew long Reveille in forward coy area.

0730 Sitrep: 100 mortar bombs on area Point 156 between 1930 and 2030 hrs. Continuous MG and mortar fire of forward bttn area. 0500 – 0600 hrs ten projectiles fell in Sasso area. No casualties.

0800 Intentions night 16/17: All night standing patrols at 013297, 012286 and 015289. Patrol to culvert 016288. Out – 0530, In – first light. Recce patrol to area 014296. Out – first dark, In – 2300 hrs.

1200 Command of bttn passed from Lt Col HEN Bredin DSO MC to Major JD Stewart MBE.

1700 Officer reinforcements arrived Forward Bttn HQ – Lt JHC Taylor (Lincs), Capt RL Yarr (RA), Capt RA Durward (RA), Lt MC Murphy (RA), Capt JA Berry (RUR), Lt WH Green-Armytage (RA).

1730 Pioneer Platoon proceed to forward house for purpose of sandbagging and otherwise strengthening the position.

1800 Sitrep: Quiet day. NTR.

2300 Eight mortar bombs fell in G Coy area.

2325 Recce patrol (Battle Patrol) returned. NTR.


17 January – ITALY.

0030 MG fire on Forward House from enemy held Sillaro area.

Own MMGs and mortars retaliated.

0045 Enemy MG again opened up.

0215 Right flanking bttn (5 Northants) contact patrol reported to H Coy.

0620 Sitrep: E Coy report persistent light mortaring from 2200 to 2300 hrs. Direct hit on one trench. No casualties. Patrol to Point 358. NTR.

0700 E Coy sniper patrol out to 011295. Time in – 1100 hrs.

1000 Intentions night 17/18: Normal contact patrols between E and H Coys. Standing Patrol from  E Coy on Point 358 and from H Coy on knoll 015290. All night ambush patrol to 009286. 1 and 4 from Battle Patrols to area south of culvert. Out – first dark, In – 2100 hrs. Listening patrol to culvert from Point 156 (provided by G Coy). Out – 0430 hrs, In – first light.

1800 Sitrep: 1030 – Three enemy seen digging in area of haystack. 1100 – One enemy in front of haystack sniped at and believed killed. 1115 – One enemy on track between haystack and main road sniped at and wounded. 1600 – Two enemy seen area Point 278 machine gunned and went to ground.

1815 G Coy tested their weapons.

2100 Patrol to area south of culvert returned. They reported that our mortaring of river areas at 1945 hrs produced some screams. Otherwise NTR.

2345 MMGs report 12 enemy moving up gully towards Lucca area (E Coy HQ area).


18 January – ITALY.

0010 E Coy report no enemy in their area.

00015 Six bombs from 15cm Nebel fell in G Coy area. No casualties.

0525 Contact patrol between E and H Coys captured 4 enemy. Identifications believed to be 2 Coy, 1 Bttn, 3 Regiment, 1 Para Division.

0737 E Coy fired MMGs at enemy seen in area between Basin and Sillaro.

1000 Intentions night 18/19: H Coy to relieve E Coy. Knoll and ambush patrols – first dark to 0100 hrs by Battle Patrol and 0100 hrs to first light by E Coy. E Coy listening patrol to Point 358. Out 1st dark until relieved by H Coy. Normal contact patrols between E and H Coys. Listening patrol (from Battle Patrol) to culvert. First dark – 2200 hrs.

1800 CO makes application to 38 Brigade HQ for Sonic (Propaganda broadcasting) troops to be brought up into bttn area.

1830 Sitrep: One enemy seen in trench in haystack area 019289 sniped. Two stretcher bearers under Red Cross flag later carried a body away.

2025 Intercoy relief completed. H Coy now in position at Lucca.

2030 G Coy report that enemy mortaring set fire to ammo in area 008287.

2200 Enemy continues to harass area 008287. CO lays down counter mortar action.


19 January – ITALY.

0700 Sitrep: Reserve and left forward coys changed over without incident. Culvert patrol 017288 reports sound of work (riveting) from area right of haystack 019289.

1000 Intentions night 19/20: All night standing patrols to knoll (E Coy) and Point 358 (H Coy) and a Pendulum Patrol by E Coy, points of call being Point 156, culvert 014286, trenches 012286 and Point 165. Half an hour eat ach point. Battle Patrol ambush to culvert 017288, all night and recce forward at 0400 hrs to establish presence of enemy or otherwise in face of scrub area 018287. Destruction of haystack at first light (subject to confirmation with 11 Brigade).

Knoll patrol to prepare new positions on top of knoll and to recce new route to it from Valley Farm.

1640 Heavy enemy artillery and mortar barrage for 10 mins on G and H Coys and Bttn HQ areas.

1800 Sitrep: 1640 hrs – 20 enemy shells in bttn area caused 2 slight casualties. Area Point 165 mortared at 1730 hrs. Bttn instituted a counter mortar shoot on known enemy positions.


20 January – ITALY.

0600 IO, Signal Officer and coy representatives left Bttn HQ on recce of new positions on right flank of Sillaro. Intentions being to take over this sector  (Monte Spaduro) after bttn has had 4 days rest in Castro San Martino.

0730 Sitrep: Quiet night. Slight mortaring bttn area. Recce from Battle Patrol reports scrub at 018288 not occupied by enemy.

1000 Intentions night 20/21: E Coy – knoll, pendulum and contact patrols. G Coy patrol to culvert. H Coy normal patrol to Point 358. Trip flares laying party (Pioneer Platoon) to culvert. Out – first dark, In – On Completion. G Coy to provide covering party of 1 and 4.

1800 Sitrep: Quiet day. NTR.

2000 Representatives from right flanking bttn (5 Northants) visited Bttn HQ for information in regard to enemy reactions from our side if 5 Northants attacked enemy outposts at Casa Tromba.


21 January – ITALY.

0730 Sitrep: Quiet night except for twenty 12cm mortar bombs on G Coy HQ area at 0300 hrs. All patrols NTR except G Coy dawn patrol to culvert, who reported white flares from Sillaro and Spandau and mortar fire in Forward house area.

1000 Intentions night 21/22: H coy – knoll and pendulum patrols. Contact patrol between H and E Coys. Dawn patrol to culvert by G Coy. Battle Patrol to provide ambush patrol of 1 and 4 to stream junction 013292 . Out – 0200 hrs, In – 0600 hrs. Destruction of haystack at first light, subject to confirmation with 12 CAR.

1800 Sitrep: Quiet day. Two enemy digging at 015292 at 1430 hrs.


22 January – ITALY.

0730 Sitrep: Right forward coy mortared intermittently.  2355 – Enemy aircraft dropped 2 bombs in area, exact location unknown.

1000 Intentions night 22/23: Normal all night standing patrols. Battle patrol out 0300 hrs to culvert to cover Pioneers lifting trip flares laid a few nights previously In on completion of task.

1800 Sitrep: Quiet day. 


23 January – ITALY.

0400 Pioneers report trip flares lifted from culvert without incident.

0445 Five mortar bombs on H Coy area.

0800 Preparations commenced for relief by 2 Innisks.

1200 2 Innisks recce party arrive Bttn HQ.

1800 Sitrep: Quiet day. Enemy harassing Sasso between 0945 and 1000 hrs.

1815 Bttn HQ  and Mortar Platoon relieved  and proceeded by march route to normal embussing point.

2100 Relief complete.

2345 Bttn now in area Castro San Martino 850044.  Billets were found to be in a disgraceful condition. Doors and window frames etc had been burnt by previous occupants.


24 January – ITALY.

0800 Bttn now resting. Preparations in progress for making up personal kit, gas and snow kit deficiencies


25 January – ITALY.

MO lecturing coys on perils of VD.

1000 CO’s conference with Coy Commanders and later with OCs specialist platoons on various aspects of present campaign.


26 January – ITALY.

0700 Heavy fall of rain.

Baths and change of clothing at American MBU (which was placed at bttn’s disposal for the day).


27 January – ITALY.

1000 Respirators tested in gas chamber improvised by Pioneer Platoon.


28 January – ITALY.

1030 CO’s O Group on forthcoming move forward. Bttn to relieve 56 Recce.


29 January – ITALY.

0900 CO’s recce party left for forward areas.

1400 Bttn embussed ready to move.

1430 Bttn convoy moved off from Castro San Martino.

1500 CO’s recce party arrived 56 Recce positions.

1700 Bttn convoy arrived debussing point Cuviolo 996227 and proceeded by march route to forward area.

1740 Bttn passed through San Apollinnare. Route thence along valley R Di Sassatello.

2015 Bttn HQ arrived at Casone 023257.

The treacherous condition of the track, due to snow and ice, made the going difficult, especially for the mule teams, the main body of which arrived in the forward positions around midnight. Odd mules were being brought in at various hours during the night and, in one or two cases, the mule broke a leg in falling and had to be destroyed, its load having to be manhandled up the mountainside to the forward positions.


30 January – ITALY.

1200 Intentions night 30/31: Routine contact patrol to 5 Northants. Out – 1130 hrs, In on completion. Standing patrol (E Coy) 1 and 6 to Casalino 036258. First dark – 2100 hrs, and 6 from Battle Patrol to gully 034267. First dark – 2230 hrs.


31 January – ITALY.

0700 Sitrep: Patrol to Casalino in 2200 hrs. Reports no houses, only haystacks at Casalino. At approx 2100 hrs, enemy mortar and MMG DF straddled gully 100 yards short of patrol. Otherwise quiet night. NTR.

1200 Intentions night 31/1:Normal contact patrol to 5 NN at 029265 at 0315 hrs. Recce patrol 1 and 5 (Battle Patrol) to leave covering party area 034268 and recce forward to investigate Boschi 042271. Out first dark, In on completion.