38 (Irish) Brigade – November 1944

1st November.

0600 Nightly patrol from 2 Innisks to Spaduro contacted 5 Northamptons successfully. This patrol was a nightly occurrence to cover gap in the defences.

Heavy shelling Point 387.

1400 Enemy move observed at Pt 323 (033273).

1700 Bttn HQ 2 Innisks mortared.

1800 Standing Patrol goes out to 029267.

Local protection only during the night.

Slight shelling during the night.

2nd November.

0550 Heavy gun shelled coy 1 RIrF on Point 387.

38 (Irish) Brigade OO No 36 issued.

0730 Coy 1 RIrF on Point 387 shelled.

Much enemy activity observed on Mulineto road during the day.

1715 Bttn HQ 2 Innisks heavily mortared.

OC 214 Field Company RE visits Brigade. They are to take over the maintenance of the San Apollinare–Cuviola road in support of 38 Brigade.

A note on the situation:

The appalling weather has brought the advance of the Fifth Army virtually to a standstill. Any major advance was out of the question and the majority of divisions who had fought hard during the past two months were in need of a rest. The division was therefore ordered to take up defensive positions gained in the recent fighting. This meant the inevitable build up of supplies and ammunition – the slight rearrangement of positions and aggressive patrolling to determine the enemy’s positions.

Once the enemy positions were obtained either by our patrols or from PW, the harassing fire tasks could be worked out and timed accordingly.

The Supply Problem:

The other great factor to be considered was our supply route.

The last mile of the track to Brigade HQ ran down a steep galley and, after the heavy rains, became impassable, even to jeeps. 214 Field Company RE were sent up to take over the maintenance of this road and, assisted by labour from the battalions, to put it in order again. The main trouble to be overcome was the drainage of the water. This would be overcome by the construction of culverts and then the majority of the track would have to be built up with a surface of stones and rubble. In the meantime, the track was ordered to be closed to all traffic except mules.

2030 Enemy patrol, strength one platoon, seen approaching Casa Salara 035263.

Patrol engaged and dispersed by own mortars.

Same enemy patrol was engaged at odd intervals during the night.

Wadi at 022256 shelled by enemy during the night.

3rd November.

Point 362 spasmodically shelled during the day.

SP gun heavily shelled track 029258. One man killed.

Enemy seen digging at 035274, engaged by mediums.

1730 Ambush patrol from 2 Innisks goes out to 037261.

This patrol reported nothing during the night.

4th November.

0550 Bttn area, 2 Innisks, heavily shelled. Shelling lasted about twenty minutes. Increased shelling of forward position during the day.

Harassing fire tasks on known enemy targets carried out during the night.

5th November.

Local protection patrols only during the night. Nothing to report.

Road maintenance continues. Resistance given by 2 LIR and 1 RIrF.

1730 Recce patrol 2 Innisks goes out to 037266.

Fifteen enemy seen at 036266 and two MGs seen firing from 037266. Approaches along the ridge are wet still, but drying.

1925 Warning Order issued. 2 LIR are to relieve 2 Innisks in present locations.

2 LIR to take over command of sector including C Coy, 1 RIrF, Mortar Platoon.

1 RIrF and two platoons MMG D Support Group.

2 Innisks are to return to the castle in Castel del Rio for a few days rest.

D Coy 1 RIrF is to relieve C Coy night 7/8 November.

6th November.

0830 Brigade Commander attends Divisional Commander’s Conference. The main subject discussed was that of reliefs. Brigades were ordered to work out a roster for three battalions. The Brigade Commander wished the battalions to spend 8 days in the line whereas the other two brigades wanted their battalions to spend four days.

The roster was made out so that a battalion, after spending eight days in the line, would then be in reserve for a certain period and then spend a certain period in a rest period, part of that time being at the Divisional Rest Camp in Castel del Rio.

The final arrangements were as follows: A battalion would spend eight days in the line, four days in reserve to another brigade, four days at Castel del Rio, eight days in Brigade reserve and then back into the line again.

A small Rest Camp was opened up at Belvedere (9718) for enabling a small number of men to get a rest and opportunities to get dry and have a bath.

1700 2 LIR leave San Apollinare to move forward and take over 2 Innisks’ positions.

2200 Reliefs proceeded extremely well and all now complete.

2 Innisks now on way back.Transport was laid on to take them from Sasaleone to Castel del Rio.

2300 Warning Order: C Coy 1 RIrF will now be relieved by a coy 2 LIR.

D Coy 1 RIrF will move up and take up positions at Casa Salara 022263 u/c 2 LIR.

This change in policy was due to the Conference at Divisional HQ and the changes due to the new system of reliefs.

7th November.

0100 Slight shelling Brigade HQ. One officer from 2 Innisks wounded.

0830 Brigade Commander visited 2 LIR.

0900 Conference at Brigade HQ, BMs from 3 Brigades and G-2 discuss final question of relief programme.

1340 Area 028263 shelled intermittently during the day.

1800 Coy 2 LIR commences relief coy 1 RIrF at Point 387 031255 and Spinello.

D Coy 1 RIrF relieves coy 2 LIR at Casa Salara 022263.

All reliefs complete by 2000 hrs.

Intermittent shelling during the night.

8th November.

Listening post at 035264 fired on an enemy patrol, about 10 strong.

Enemy patrol approached from east but did not return fire.

Slight shelling of area during day.

1500 Spaduro Farm heavily shelled. Destructive shoot.

A good wind and a fair amount of sun had hardened the tracks considerably.

Local protection patrols only during the night.

Slight shelling of Casa Salara early on in the night.

9th November.

0545 4.2” Mortars put down HF on Pimples 038266.

0830 Slight shelling Casa Salara 034263.

1500 Slight shelling Spaduro 028263 and Gesso 0124.

Local protection only tonight, except for one recce patrol from 2 LIR to 037266.

1715 D Support Group MMGs commence HF shoot on Scaglia and Vignola 0528.

2 LIR recce patrol during the night 037266 fired at with rifles from enemy positions on ring contour 038266. Also encountered MG fire from 043263. Patrol returned by 2130 hrs.

10th November.

0600 2 LIR report having had a quiet night.

In accordance with relief plan, 2 Innisks move forward to area Travellata 996273 from the rest area in Castel del Rio and come under command 11 Brigade.

11th November.

0600 2 LIR had quiet night.

On the whole, a quiet day. One man was injured by a mine on the track running from Point 401–Point 416 028248.

2100 Recce patrol of 1 officer and 1 OR go out to 037265. Nothing to report.

12th November.

0430 Fighting patrol 2 LIR of 1 officer and 7 goes out to enemy positions at 038266.

They returned at 0645 hrs, having been heavily shout up from the objective and been unable to get forward due to the open nature of the ground.

They tried to get down into the gully to the right of the ridge but the going was very bad indeed and they had to come back or get caught in daylight.

Very quiet day.

Brigade Commander visits 2 LIR.

1835 MMG HF on house 054289.

2200 Two deserters come into 2 LIR lines. Identification 2 Coy, 1 Para Mortar Bttn (1 Para Division).

2300 MMG HF on track between Scaglia 048285 and Vignola 050287.

Local protection patrols during the night, which was uneventful.

13th November.

A quiet night on the whole.

The track at Cuviola was shelled during the morning and there were air bursts over San Apollinare.

1800 1 RIrF relieved 2 LIR in present position.

1 RIrF locations: HQ – 023257.

Coys – 031253 to 032255.

028258 with platoon at Casa Salara 0326.

One coy 2 Innisks old position and under command at 022263.

2 LIR move to 2 Innisks’ old position and come under command 11 Brigade.

2 Innisks come into Reserve. New locations as follows:

HQ – 006238.

Coy – 006238,

Coy – 008247 with platoon at 012246.

MMG – 011238.

During the afternoon, Casone 023257 was badly shelled.

2130 MMG HF on Roncagli 056277, La Casetta 061276.

The rest of the night was uneventful. All battalions report quiet night.

14th November.

Generally a quiet night.

1210 Slight mortaring area 028263.

1600 GOC visits Brigade Commander.

1720 MMGs fired on Mulineto 051280.

1900 MMGs fired on house at 054289.

2000 MMGs fired on Casetta 061276.

2200 MMGs fired on Boschi di Olivia 042272.

Local protection only during the night. Night was uneventful.

15th November.

0900 Brigade Commander visits 1 RIrF.

Quiet morning.

Enemy movement engaged by our artillery.

There was considerable enemy artillery and mortar DF on 1 RIrF bttn area and the anti tank gun position at 023243.

1700 G3 camouflage, 13 Corps, commences to erect a false skyline at Casa Vignia 009237. When this is erected – by means of camouflage nets and poles – it will enable mule convoys and troops to move down to the FDLs by daylight. This will considerably lessen the supply problem.

1 officer and 3 men were wounded on our own mines in 1 RIrF area.

Generally a quiet night.

16th November.

0930 GOC’s Conference at this HQ.

Orders arising out of this conference were as follows:

38 (Irish) Brigade will take over sector held by 66 Infantry Brigade (1 British Division). Sector is roughly from Casa Sillaro to 30 Northing.

2 Innisks will relieve 2 Scots Fusiliers on 18th November.

36 Brigade will take over present Brigade sector.

1 Guards Brigade will take over 36 Brigade sector.

These orders are as a result of 13 Corps’ decision to regroup to equalise timings of troops in the line.

Certain amount of enemy movement seen by 1 RIrF during the day.

A/Tk guns at Gesso obtained 12 hits in 16 shots on Scaglia.

Local protection patrols at night.

2145 Warning order concerning reliefs passed to all concerned.

1 RIrF are to be relieved by 8 A&SH night 18/19. On relief, 1 RIrF go into the Brigade reserve area at La Strada 005238.

66 Field Regiment will be in support in new sector.

Quiet night. Nothing to reports submitted.

17th November.

0800 Brigade Commander and SC visit 66 Brigade HQ. Also, visits GOC 1 British Division.

Ridge 028258 shelled during the morning.

Two guns firing on the Gesso ridge located and silenced by 17 Field Regiment.

Much movement seen at Ortica 041278.Three direct hits scored.

1800 Coy 2 Innisks at Casone moves to 006237 and reverts to command own battalion.

1900 3” Mortars 1 RIrF harass areas 045273 and 043273.

1945 4.2” Mortars harass area 046274.

1 RIrF sent out patrol of 1 officer and three to enemy positions along Salara ridge at 037266. They were unable to approach near to enemy positions but heard enemy in the house, believed to be the one at Pt 237 040263.

Slight shelling of Point 362 during the night.

18th November.

0800 2 Innisks leave La Strada and move forward to take over from 2 Royal Scots.

2 Innisks come under command 66 Brigade.

Quiet day.

1800 8 A&SH commence relief 1 RIrF.

On completion of relief, 1 RIrF moved to positions in the reserve area at La Strada and come under command 36 Brigade.

2130 4.2” Mortars harassing shoots at 042272.

2200 All reliefs now completed.

2 Innisks now under command 66 Brigade (1 British Division).

1 RIrF at La Strada in reserve and u/c 36 Brigade.

2 LIR cease to be under command 11 Brigade and move to Rest Area at Castel del Rio.

D Support Group become non operational except for MMG and Mortar Platoon with 2 Innisks.

Following now u/c 38 Brigade: 2 LIR, D Support Group (less MMG and Mortar Platoon), 152 Field Ambulance, C Squadron 12 CAR, and 17 Field Regiment.

19th November.

Brigade non operational.

Brigade Commander returns to Rear Brigade at Castel del Rio.

Brigade Commander visits 2 LIR and Brigade B Echelons at Firenzuola during the day.

20th November.

Brigade non operational.

Brigade Commander visits 2 LIR during the morning and attends dinner party there in the evening with the Divisional Commander.

21st November.

Brigade HQ moves to Passitempi 978283.

Brigade non operational.

22nd November.

Brigade Commander arrived at Main Brigade HQ.

2 LIR move up to de-busing area just behind Brigade HQ during the day and commence to move forward during the day.

2235 Commander of sector previously held by 2 Infantry Brigade passes to command 38 (Irish) Brigade.

2 Innisks now revert to command. C Coy relieve D Coy 6 Gordons.

Bttn locations:

Bttn HQ – 003300.

A Coy – 005299, 006297, 006298.

B Coy – 003301, platoon at night 004321 with section 005304.

C Coy – 004307, 005307, 07306.

2 LIR relieved B Squadron 1 Recce and C Coy 2 Innisks.

Bttn locations:

E Coy – 009286, 009287, 011288.

G Coy – 04286.

H Coy – 008298, 009298, 008294.

A/Tk guns from 255 A/Tk RA in position at following locations:

17 pounders at 007287, 008286, 000282, 015283 and 6 pounders at 016284, 005281.

1 RIrF take over from 2 LIR at Rest Area in Castel del Rio.

23rd November.

Slight mortaring of forward areas during the night and some harassing fire on the crossroads in San Clemente.

Spandaus fired from Point 278 015293 and Casa Il Sallaro 017292 onto 2 LIR forward positions.

Slight mortaring during the morning.

1230 Enemy seen digging at 013303 and engaged by mortars.

1700 3” Mortars 2 LIR fired on area 017292.

Enemy MMG HF landed on Bttn HQ, 2 Innisks.

1830 Ambush patrol from 2 LIR to 017288 clashed with enemy at 015287. House believed occupied by about 12 enemy.

A heavy gun harassed San Clemente during the evening.

24th November.

2 LIR was intermittently shelled and mortared during the night.

Recce patrol from 2 LIR to Point 358 013298 was heavily mortared within 100 yards from the summit. Going back to bring in casualties, it was mortared again. Listening post believed to be in this area.

Light harassing fire during the day.

2200 2 LIR found house at 015287 unoccupied and occupied it with 1 officer and 12 ORs.

25th November.

Patrols from 2 Innisks during the night were fired on from area Point 358 and also heard mules in the Tamagnin area.

Slight normal harassing fire along the whole front during the night.

Harassing fire was on a reduced scale during the day. Slight mortaring of E Coy 2 LIR and enemy movement observed in the Tamagnin and Casa Sillaro areas by both bttns and engaged by mortars and artillery.

Slight mortaring of 2 Innisks bttn area increased later on in the day.

1900 Brigade HQ area shelled. A Squadron 12 CAR now under command.

Recce patrol from 2 LIR down to bridge at 018278 reported enemy outpost and was subsequently heavily mortared. A fighting patrol sent out to deal with this outpost reported the bridge heavily defended and the approaches difficult.

26th November.

Slight shelling during the night on brigade front.

Normal harassing fire during the day. 1 RIrF leave Castel del Rio and move up during the afternoon to de-busing area just behind Brigade HQ.

1835 Relief of 2 Innisks by 1 RIrF completed. Relief was completed so early due to the constant smoke screen at San Clemente and bad mist on the mountain tops.

A Counter Mortar Programme was laid to take place during the relief.

Harassing of two groups of known mortar positions took place every 10 minutes during the relief.

2 Innisks return to new Rest Area at Castro San Martino south west of Firenzuola.

27th November.

The Irish Fusiliers had a very quiet night and no mortaring and shelling.

0500 Patrol from 2 LIR to gully at 017288 found it quite unoccupied. They left booby traps at entrances to the gully.

0600 Six enemy seen working on defences at Point 342 013298.

0810 Eight to ten shells 105 mm landed in Brigade HQ areas.

Considerable MT movement was heard on the tracks leading up to Casa Murano during the day.

Slight harassing fire during the day.

2055 Ambush patrol from 2 LIR to culvert 017288 saw enemy east of house 015286, also between house and culvert and enemy at culvert. They attempted to get behind but failed.

No enemy seen on the knoll at 015289.

Snipers established by 2 LIR at Point 342 013299 during whole of today saw nothing owing to smoke blowing up valley San Clemente.

Patrol from 1 RIrF heard MT movement in distance.

28th November.

Normal harassing fire during the night.

Patrol from 2 LIR went out at first light to knoll 015289 but found no sign of the enemy.

1405 Four enemy observed below crest 016297 and engaged by MMGs of 2 LIR.

House at Point 156 015287 heavily mortared and shelled during the day.

The Irish Fusiliers had a quiet day.

1745 Twelve Nebels fell in area 994302.

Patrol from 1 RIrF to Casa Tamagnin 013303 encountered enemy 50 yards south and 200 yards east of house.

Patrol from 2 LIR to culvert 017288 reached there just before the enemy and drove them off. Section to the knoll 015290 found it heavily defended. Another eight enemy were found in gully between knoll and Casa Sillaro.

29th November.

Normal shelling and mortaring of Brigade area during the night.

Heavy shelling and mortaring of forward house at 014287 occupied by section 2 LIR.

0815 Pamphlet shells were dropped in bttn area.

It was during the night that 4 Para Regiment made a strong attack on 2 Royal Scots’ positions on Monte Castellaro 9833 and gained considerable successes.

1800 Patrol from 2 LIR went out again to knoll 015290 and met no opposition at first but saw enemy digging in.

House at Point 156 was heavily stonked at this time, causing one casualty.

Enemy on knoll heavily mortared by 2 LIR.

2135 Patrol from 1 RIrF encountered enemy at 015307.

30th November.

Intermittent shelling of brigade area during the night.

Attempts by 1 Division during the night to dislodge the enemy from Monte Castellara failed.

1700 One PoW captured by 2 LIR at 009294. Identification 10 Coy, 3 Para Regiment (1 Para Division).

1840 Patrol from 2 LIR to knoll 015290 captured an enemy listening post of two men. Identification 7 Coy, 289 Regiment (98 Division).

2015 Strong enemy attack – probably a coy – attacked along a ridge at 012306 on 1 RIrF positions. Engaged by MG fire. Enemy threw grenades and fired schmeissers. Attack dispersed by mortar DF. Situation cleared up by 2159 hrs.

Standing Patrol on Point 312 013307 approached by two enemy. Patrol opened up and was immediately fired upon from enemy positions around.

Patrol to Point 166 019303 only got to within 200 yards of the house.

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