38 (Irish) Brigade – October 1944

1st October – NEAR FANO.

Battalions carry out individual and specialist training in own area.

Painting of all transport from desert sand colour to a more sensible green commences.

Brigade is warned that the move to the forward concentration area will commence on 4th October.

1800 Lecture on Assault RE Bridging Equipment: How to indent for it and how it should be used?

The lecture was given to all Commanders and COs in the Division at Brigade HQ.

1930 The officers of Brigade HQ entertained the officers of the Brigade Group to a social evening of songs and Irish dancing. A great time was had by all.

2nd October – NEAR FANO.

1200 Warning order received from G-2, 78 Division. Brigade Group is required to move at 1900 hrs, actual destination unknown but believed in a westerly direction and not to 5 Corps as thought.

The following units to be under command for composition of the Brigade Group:

2 Innisk, 2 LIR, 1 RIrF, D Coy 1 Kensingtons, 17 Field Regiment RA, 254 A/Tk Battery, 280 LAA Battery, 214 Field Company, 57 Coy RASC, 152 Field Ambulance.

1530 Brigade Commander leaves Fano to report to 13 Corps HQ.

1900 Brigade Group leaves Fano.

Owing to the lateral roads from Ancona being out, it was necessary to route the Brigade Group through Foligno to Assisi where they staged.

2000 Brigade Commander arrives at Foligno where he stayed the night at No 1 District HQ.

3rd October

0400 Brigade convoy arrives at Foligno.

Brigade Commander leaves No 1 District HQ for 13 Corps HQ. The route taken by the convoy was extremely dangerous in places and needed very careful driving. In addition, it rained very heavily until about 0300 hrs delaying the time of the convoy even more.

0700 Brigade convoy arrives at 1st Staging Area at Assisi W 8787.

1130 Brigade Commander arrives at 13 Corps HQ and receives his orders.

The situation is as follows. 78 Division has been quickly switched under command of 13 Corps. 78 Division is to take over from elements of 88 US Division to allow them to concentrate their forces for a push down the road to Castel del Pietro on the main Bologna road from Castel del Rio M 008165.

Probable future role of 78 Division is to push down the road to Imola from Castel del Rio.

38 (Irish) Brigade is to take over positions from two battalions of 351 Infantry Regiment in the area in front of Carseggio M 0118 and on Monte Capella M 0317.

1300 Brigade Commander goes to HQ 88 US Division to receive more detailed orders.

1200 Brigade convoy leaves Assisi W 8787 for next staging area at Incisa Q 9555.

1600 Brigade Commander leaves 88 US Infantry Division to go to HQ 351 Infantry Regiment. He was unable to reach their HQ owing to the blockage of traffic on the road. However, he met the Brigade Commander, 1 Guards Brigade and clarified the situation with him. Elements of 1 Guards Brigade are established on Monte Battaglia L 0617 and will be on the right flank of the brigade.

1800 Bttn Recce Groups including COs arrive at Tac HQ.

1900 Brigade Group arrives at Incisa Q 9555 and settles down for the night.

4th October.

0800 Brigade Commander, COs of three battalions and their Coy Commanders leave Tac HQ. All go to HQ 351 Infantry Regiment (88 US Division) to arrange for the takeover of their positions.

Lt Col Bredin, 2 LIR, goes off with his O Group to the battalion (II/351) on Monte Capella M 0317.

Lt Col Scott goes to I Bttn, 351 Infantry Regiment with his Coy Commanders to recce the area. Only one coy of 2 Innisks are to be deployed for the time being. Brigade Commander visits Commander 1 Guards Brigade to arrange the link up between the two flanks and returns to HQ 88 US Division for a conference at 1550 hrs.

The conference was to tie up the final arrangements between 78 and 88 Divisions regarding the take over and future operations. The main issue, brought up by the Brigade Commander, was the question of the diversion at San Andrea 003142. It was so steep and long that unless a vehicle had a four wheel drive chain, it will not get up in bad weather. This might seriously hamper operations. To combat this, 42 GMC 6 tonners were to be exchanged for ordinary 3 tonners in order to get supplies right forward preparatory to the take over. This was especially necessary as all our ammunition had to be taken up as we were not able to take over existing American stocks and dumps.

1600 Brigade convoy arrives at concentration area at Firenzuola and Scarperia 8714. Only 2 Innisks, 2 LIR and 214 Field Company came forward into the Firenzuola area owing to the shortage of space. The areas had to be chosen carefully, especially with regard to the transport, so that they would not become bogged in the sea of mud.

The Brigade Group arrived in groups of 50 vehicles owing to the congestion on the roads and everyone was complete in their respective areas by morning.

5th October – FIRENZUOLA.

0600 Brigade Group now complete.

0900 Brigade Commander goes to HQ 88th Division at Castel del Rio 0016 to see Commanding General.

1000 RASC Jeep Platoon and 12 American 6 tonners arrive to assist in transporting supplies.

1100 Brigade Commander orders Lt Col Horsfall to meet him at 88th US Divisional HQ for orders. The 1 RIrF are to take over from 111/351 Regiment in the area M0020 tomorrow night. 2 Innisks are to put two companies into position instead of one.

1300 Brigade HQ moves. Main HQ now established at Valsava M004134.

1400 Heavy rain during the afternoon and evening.

1800 2 Innisks and 2 LIR leave area Castel del Rio and go forward to take up positions.

2230 Two coys of 2 Innisks in position. Location as follows:

C Coy: Platoons at 013138, 015181, 014177.

A Coy: Platoons at 023177, 018178, 014178.

Standing patrols at 010185 and 024176.

Bttn HQ, 2 Innisks established at 007166 (Castel del Rio).

6th October – FIRENZUOLA.

Heavy rain during the early morning

0230 2 LIR reported in position and relief complete.

Locations as follows:

E Coy – 039178.

F Coy – 035180.

G Coy – 028181.

H Coy – 034177.

Bttn HQ – 034177.

0300 Standing patrol of 2 Innisks contact enemy patrol at blown bridge 010184.

Sharp exchange of fire caused enemy to withdraw.

1300 Recce patrols from 2 LIR during afternoon to 034184 engaged enemy at Point 399 – 033187. Another patrol reached the main road at 020194 without incident.

Slight shelling 2 LIR area during the day.

1400 1 RIrF leave Firenzuola in TCVs.

Debuss at St Andrea diversion and march to lying area Pezzolo M 9919. Two companies of 2 Innisks move forward. They are to step up the defence of Monte Capella and come under command of 2 LIR.

1800 1 RIrF move over to take over positions from 111/351 Infantry Regiment.

2030 Relief complete and 1 RIrF in position.

Location as follows:

A Coy – 010203.

B Coy – 007205.

C Coy – 003201.

D Coy – 005185.

Bttn HQ – 006204.

2300 Two coys, 2 Innisks in position.

Locations as follows:

B Coy – 038173.

D Coy – 036172.

7th October – FIRENZUOLA.

0600 2 Innisks’ patrols during night report Carseggio 013188 clear of enemy.

Crossing of River Carseggio difficult. River 2 foot deep with strong current.

0700 Bttn spent a quiet night. 2 LIR and 1 RIrF had a little shelling but nothing serious.

0900 Brigade Commander goes to visit 2 LIR positions.

Daylight patrol from 2 Innisks reports Carseggio clear of enemy.

1000 1 RIrF report heavy fairly heavy, yet intermittent shelling. This went on until 1600 hrs.

1300 H Coy, 2 LIR, goes out to Tambarella 032190 to form firm base.

Detached patrols to Rio di Gaggio at 031198 and 027198. Patrols brought back information about crossings and tracks of Rio Gaggio and accomplished their task without incident.

Main body at Tambarella slightly shelled during the afternoon.

H Coy reported back at 1845 hrs. No casualties.

1400 2 LF come under command of 38 (Irish) Infantry Brigade and concentrated near Castel del Rio.

1700 D Coy, 1 RIrF moves forward to attack enemy positions at C Colline 014204 and Point 382 018208. This attack was necessary as the bttn positions were along the Codranco spur but the enemy, believed to be about a company, were occupying the houses at the end of the spur. D Coy put in their attack covered by artillery concentration and supported by their own mortar. They tried three times to take the houses on Point 382 but were held up by fierce fire and also the steep banks were difficult to clamber up as they were so muddy and slippery. D Coy consolidated their positions around the church at 016206 and brought down artillery fire during the night.

2000 HQ 2 LF established 006155. Whole battalion now concentrated around Castel del Rio.

2100 Fighting patrol from 1 RIrF to Rivoldino 021221 was fired on by Americans causing slight casualties to both sides.

8th October.

0600 Patrols from 2 Innisks during the night found Pt 170 018143 clear of the enemy.

D Coy, 1 RIrF in position consolidating their gains of last night.

2 LIR standing patrols NTR.

0900 Divisional Commander holds a conference at Brigade HQ. The following were present: Brigade Commanders 11 and 38 Brigades; CRA Lt-Col Baker, CO 17 Field Regiment; and Brigade Commander, 1 Guards Brigade was present for a short while.

Discussion on future operations.

1200 Two platoons 2 LIR formed firm base at Fornione 0319. Detached patrols to Fatore 034198 and C Mazza 047188 made no contact but brought back information of topographical value. Patrol base at Fornione heavily mortared.

On return, patrol collected 2 deserters at 033183 from 5 Coy 755 Regiment.

1700 Brigade HQ moves to M 055158.

2000 D Coy, 1 RIrF attack Pt 382 again. They found the enemy had withdrawn from their positions but captured 2 prisoners from 2 Coy 756 Regiment, who were out forward acting as listening patrols and who were left behind by the enemy.

D Coy consolidated their objective on Pt 382 M 018208.

9th October.

0600 Patrol from 2 Innisks during the night to the blown bridge at 026201 heard enemy movement on far side of river.

0900 38 (Irish) Infantry Brigade reverts to command 78 Division.

1000 Patrol from 2 LIR to recce route from 032180 to C Mazza 046183. They established a base detailing a patrol to 051201. Patrol was mortared at 040197. 1 man killed and 4 wounded. All identifications removed from dead man.

1600 Patrol from 2 LIR, 2 Officers and a platoon went out to investigate crossing at 049193 and the track up to Pt 328 052197.

Patrol established a base at La Torre. Enemy patrol engaged in C Mazza area. Two casualties to own patrol. Patrol found crossing at 048192 covered by MG and mortar DF.

1800 Slight shelling of 1 RIrF area during the day.

1900 Vickers MGs of the 1 RIrF on harassing fire tasks from 006204 on to road junction 040209.

A Coy 2 Innisks occupied Pt 286 017185 with one platoon detailed by night into Carseggio.

10th October.

0600 Move of 2 Innisks coy to Carseggio completed without incident. Slight mortaring during night.

2 LIR quiet during night.

Patrol from 1 RIrF during night encountered enemy at 020211. Our own casualties were three wounded.

1000 Lt Col Mackenzie 2 LF and Lt Col Chavasse 56 Recce with Brigade Commander. They are both going into position tonight – 2 LF to close gap between 1 RIrF and the Americans further north and 56 Recce are to relieve 1 RIrF in present positions tonight.

1400 Corps Commander and BGS arrive at Brigade HQ. Brigade Commander arrives back in time from his visit to 2 LIR. Divisional Commander and Commander, 11 Brigade, are also present. Future policy discussed.

Brigadier BK Arbuthnott assumes assumes temporary command of 78 Division.

Patrol from 2 LIR contacted left position 3 WG successfully. Information brought back was of topological value.

3” mortars from 2 LIR went into forward positions to bombard the line of the ridge behind the Gaggio river.

1500 Lt Col Caron CO 12 CAR visits Brigade Commander. They discuss possible future developments and Lt Col Caron goes on recce of forward positions.

1700 2 LF and 56 Recce commence to go up to their positions.

2330 Relief of 1 RIrF by 56 Recce complete.

11th October.

0600 2 LF now in position.

2 LF and 56 Recce revert to command 11 Brigade. 1 RIrF now in concentration area 0016. Bttn HQ established at 007166.

D Coy 2 Innisks revert to command own battalion. Now in position at 014178.

1000 Brigade Commander accompanied by Commander 1 Guards Brigade goes to OP at Valmaggiore.

1600 Brigade Commander returns with A/Tk Commander.

2030 2 LIR patrols return. Observed movement and enemy positions along the Gaggio ridge. Sniper fired on enemy seen mounting MG in Gaggio church. He also shot three enemy on way to river, thought to be going to draw water.

12th October.

0600 Ambush patrol from Tambarella during the night encountered no enemy; otherwise battalion had a quiet night.

Bailey Bridge across maintenance jeep track to 2 LIR now complete.

0930 CO A & SH arrives with three of his officers. They are to be under command 38 Brigade for further operations. They will be taking up positions in the Carseggio sector and went on a recce there at 1100hrs.

1215 Enemy tank seen 070196 engaged by medium artillery.

1400 CO 8 A & SH goes on another recce.

This HQ received a gradual inflow of visitors during the afternoon amounting to forty by tea time. CRA and A/Q visit Brigade Commander.

1700 A/Q holds a conference at this HQ.

1800 Brigade Commander discusses the situation.

The resume that follows is an appreciation of the enemy situation to date and a précis of the information contained in Intelligence Summaries issued to date:

“334 Division had gradually increased its boundaries so that its area of responsibility is now astride the Castel del Rio–Imola road from Point 362 M 020250 to M Taverna 0719.

On our own front, the responsibility of the line from the main road at Gaggio 030199 – along the line of the Rio Gaggio to Tuggia 0619 falls to II/755 Regiment. The Tuggia area is held by an OST Bttn, its strength roughly about 200 Russians. The line then continues to M Fortino, held by a bttn of 577 Regiment, at present under command of 715 Division.

Company localities of II/755 are presumed approximately as follows: One in the Gaggio–La Palazzina area, one in the Casa Collina area 0420, one stretched from La Siepe 048198 to Calcinera 056193, this company paying particular attention to the crossings across the Rio Gaggio at 048195 and the remainder of the battalion in reserve in the San Margherita area. HQ II/755 is reported to be in San Margherita. In addition to these localities, there is also an “Aldam Platoon” from this battalion in position on the reverse slopes of the Possegio ridge 057180.

Strengths are unknown as there have been no deserters from this battalion and it is presumed, they are well up to strength. They are alert against our patrols and during daylight keep well out of sight.”

13th October.

0600 2 LIR patrol during the night to the Rio Fornione had NTR. Patrols left at first light to lie up all day and report.

2 Innisks report blown bridge of Rio Gaggio at 026201 still with one span blown.

0700 2 LIR report one Polish deserter entered their lines. Identification 2 Coy 755 Regiment.

Quiet day. No shelling.

2000 Patrol from 2 LIR that lay up all day near Fornione returns. Movement at 048203 and 057207. By shelling C Poggia 039193 at 1230 hrs.

2100 Lying up patrol from 2 LIR returned from Tambarella reports NMS but heavy shelling of Tambarella. Other patrol to Gardengo sent recce patrol to Point 301 041199, which returned NTR. Brigade Commander ordered patrol to return again to Casa Collina 043203 to see if it is occupied. Patrol reached 044197 and heard movement and talking on the far bank so did not cross river. Crossing possible for infantry at this point.

14th October.

Patrol from 2 Innisks to Gaggio bridge reports NTR but brought back one German deserter from 4 Coy 956 Regiment. He was of little use as he had been away from his unit for over seven days.

1400 Brigade Commander goes to 11 Brigade to visit Corps Commander and take him up to the OP at Valmaggiore

1430 B Coy 2 Innisks reverts to command own battalion from 2 LIR. Now concentrated at M 009173.

1500 1 RIrF move up to concentration area M 040157.

1600 Enemy M/C and ambulance 043211. Shelled by mediums.

1630 Spitfire crashed into 2 Innisks lines. Pilot safe.

2205 Recce patrol 8 A & SH reports crossings for infantry and tanks at 023203 and for infantry at 023207.

SP gun firing from Pt 181 026207.

2250 Ambush patrol from 2 LIR trying to get to Casa Collina was held up this side of the Rio Gaggio by MG fire. No casualties to own patrol which returned. MG fire thought to come from Point 219 040197.

15th October.

Standing patrol from 2 Innisks confirm SP gun firing from Point 181. No shelling of forward areas during the night.

1000 Brigade Commander visits 1 RIrF in forward concentration area and also 2 LIR.

1100 78 Division future intentions. A resume. With effect from this morning, 8 A & SH revert to command of 36 Brigade. The division is to extend its boundaries thus bringing 36 Brigade into the line and have four brigades committed into a holding role, the fourth being 1 Guards Brigade currently under command of 78 Division.

When the division first came into this sector, it was with the purpose of

  1. Releasing the American divisions for a more concentrated effort and
  2. Opening the Imola road.

In accordance with plan b), the brigade planned an operation to open the road, which was entirely dependent, due to the nature of the ground, on 11 Brigade clearing the immediate hills on the left of the main road and 1 British Division conforming on the right. When the time was ripe, which was estimated to be on the night of 15/16, 1 RIrF would attack Pt 621 0718 and 2 Innisks, supported by 8 A & SH, would swarm down from the Gaggio ridge from the west, having formed up in the area Monte Codranco 0120 and attacked across the main road from the flank.

Phase two would then have been the capture of M Taverna 0720 and Pt 442 0520.

It is difficult to explain the ground, but it can only appreciated that such an attack, with all its concentration of power and weight of numbers had to be perfectly timed but, as it has said before, was entirely dependent on preliminary operations.

It was decided eventually by the high command not to open the Imola road owing to the tricky operation it would have involved. The greatest concentration of effort would be further to the left in the American sector down the main Bologna road. Another factor influencing this decision and delaying the brigade’s offensive was the situation on the left.

According to plan, 11 Brigade started their operation of clearing the preliminary hills, clearing the preliminary hills immediately commanding the Gaggio ridge but failed to take the key height called Monte La Pieve 029241. Two battalion attacks, one last night and one the night before, failed to dislodge the Hun, who fought stubbornly and well.

So the division settles down to hold the line until they are relieved of the responsibility of the right of the road by 6 Armoured Division.

2359 Patrol by Gardengo and then on to Rio Gaggio saw no movement on the day.

16th October.

Standing patrol from 2 Innisks at La Vecchia heavily mortared during the night.

Battalion spent a quiet night, except for slight mortaring on London Irish.

Commander 6 Armoured Division and Commander 61 Infantry Brigade visit Brigade Commander.

Quiet day.

Normal standing patrols during the night.. 

17th October.

Patrol from 2 LIR to Fornione during the night saw nothing.

Civilian report enemy patrol entered Fornione after our own patrol had left and asked for food.

No shelling during the night.

0830 Commander goes to conference with Commander 78 Division.

Commander 61 Brigade goes on recce of brigade area. 61 Brigade are to relieve 38 Brigade in present locations. Brigade Commander now receiving orders for future operations.

1400 Orders for future move of the brigade.

1 RIrF are to move am 18th to be under command 36 Brigade.

10 RB to relieve 2 LIR on M Capella am 18th.

2 RB relieve 2 Innisks am 19th.

Probable future objective of brigade is Monte Spaduro M 0226.

36 Brigade attacking M La Pieve 029240 night 18th/19th.

18th October.

2 LIR patrol at Gardengo 0419 during the night saw 14 enemy but ambush laid out did not materialise.

Deserters from 577 Regiment picked up by 2 Innisks at Carseggio 0118.

0800 1 RIrF leave concentration area for lying up area near San Apollinare 005231 and come under command 36 Brigade.

1515 Relief of 2 LIR by 10 RB completed.

2 LIR concentrate in area Castel del Rio.

1800 Standing patrol 2 Innisks goes out to La Vecchia as usual.

19th October.

0900 Relief of 2 Innisks by 2 RB commences.

Brigade HQ moves to new location at M 004231.

1000 2 LIR move forward to concentration area San Apollinare 005231

1030 2 LIR relief by 2 RB completed and 2 Innisks follow 2 LIR for concentration area near San Apollinare.

1900 1 RIrF move forward to take over positions on Pt 416 028248 preparatory to attacking M Spaduro 029269.

2100 1 RIrF commence attack on M Spaduro. One coy 2 LIR under command in reserve.

20th October.

0600 12 PoW brought in, captured by 1 RIrF during the night.

The results of their interrogation, the information brought back by an officer from Monte Spaduro and other sources produced the following story of the attack:

“The attack went in at 2100 hrs and met an enemy pocket of resistance in the house at Spinello 031253. It was found that the house was practically surrounded by a minefield and a strong point. The forward coy by passed this resistance and attacked Pt 362 028263. The enemy defence was about a hundred yards forward of this point, roughly held by about one or two coys, each with one platoon up. The quick assault of the 1 RIrF took the Bosche by surprise and he retired after very little fighting down the gullies. 12 PoWs were taken at this juncture. Another coy went onto  Monte Spaduro with practically no opposition. They were heavily counter attacked at about 0630 by a strong enemy coy assisted by heavy mortars firing from the back of Pt380 025274. Considerable damage was inflicted on the enemy before the coy ran out of ammunition. Only ten men returned and said that a number were killed or wounded and the majority take prisoner. The coy was pinned to the ground by mortar fire and by snipers firing down into the gullies. There was also a sharp exchange of grenades.

Fifteen PoWs were taken by the coy in their initial assault of Monte Spaduro but these returned to the Bosche lines.

At about the same time, the coy left on Point 362 were counter attacked and overwhelmed. From these two coys, only forty men returned including two officers.”

The remaining two coys of 1 RIrF consolidated on Point 416 with the help of one coy 2 LIR and were heavily shelled all day.

1700 Five deserters belonging to 756 Regiment surrendered to Artillery OP at Vignia. Identification 3,5 and 7 Coys, 756 Regiment.

C Squadron 12 CAR now under command.

Locations of 1 RIrF:

C Coy – 028248.

D Coy – 029247.

E Coy 2 LIR u/c – 030249.

2 LIR less E Coy concentrated – 003227.

2 Innisks concentrated – 005233.

One coy 2 LF moved to take up position on Pt 362 018250 and came under command of 2 Innisks.

1900 2 LIR are to attack Monte Spaduro tonight in conjunction with an attack on Monte Acqua Salata 0424 by 8 A & SH. This latter feature must be taken before an attempt to capture Spaduro can be made. The failure to take Acqua Salata last night no doubt boldened the Hun for his counter attack last night.

2230 8 A & SH report that they have taken Acqua Salata without opposition.

21st October.

0110 2 LIR attack. Their objectives were Casa Salara 022263 down line of track and ridge in a south easterly direction to 029259 and then onto Pt 387, 032256.

0600 The attack was unsuccessful. The pocket of resistance in Casa di Spinello was not properly clearly up and this forced the coys to detour down into the gullies below and they were unable to advance along the top of the narrow ridge. Repeated attempts to attack during the night made no progress. As dawn broke, the coys found themselves still in the gullies so they consolidated their positions and held on. They were heavily shelled and mortared during the day as was the reserve coy and the remainder of 1 RIrF on Pt 416, holding the firm base.

Locations – 2 LIR coys now at approx 028254, 027255 and 025254. Reserve coy at 027247. 2 coy 1 RIrF on Pt 416, 028248.

1700 2 LIR attack enemy positions on Pt 387 at 032255, 031257, 028259 and 025259 for the second time. They were assisted by a slight mist, but right from the beginning, they met heavy opposition, especially from the ridge between Casa Spinello and Pt 387, 032255.

The leading coy suffered heavily and the CO brought the battalion back to Pt 416 rather than go up against superior numbers.

Positions were consolidated around Pt 416 and relieved one coy 1 RIrF, which returned to concentration area San Apollinare. Bttn HQ, 1 RIrF also returned to San Apollinare leaving one coy under command of 2 LIR.

22nd October.

2 LIR were fairly heavily shelled.

1200 2 LIR patrol returned from Casa di Spinello and report it still occupied and heavily defended.

1400 C Coy, 1 RIrF returned from 416 to Bttn concentration area at San Apollinare.

23rd October.

Very slight shelling of Pt 416 during the night.

Enemy movement from Pt 387, 033255, observed at dawn and engaged by our MMGs.

Plans were finally completed for the final attack on Monte Spaduro.

The enemy had been defending this feature fiercely and stubbornly for four days in spite of our attacks and constant shelling still holds on.

2 LIR are to secure Casa Spinello.

2 Innisks are to secure Casa Salara, 022263, Spaduro (pt 362), 028263 and down to Pt 387, 032257.

11 Brigade with two battalions to secure Pt 396 and Pt 380, 0227 and the ground down to M Sillaro.

The main attack to start at 2230 hrs and be preceded by the attack on Casa Spinello by the London Irish.

1200 Patrol from 2 LIR went out to Casa Spinello and succeeded in bringing back a prisoner. He was quickly interrogated and the enemy positions around Spinello were pinpointed from his information. The PoW belonged to 5 Coy, 756 Regiment.

1600 Information regarding enemy positions passed to 2 LIR just in time. They decided to take advantage of the mist and start their attack at 1630 hrs.

1800 The London Irish gained their objectives.

1845 Enemy counter attacks commenced. In all four of these were repulsed. 2 LIR remained firm in their positions waiting for the other assault to commence. The gaining of these objectives by the London Irish was the key to the whole attack and great credit is due to them.

2230 The main assault to gain the Spaduro feature commences.

2 Innisks met little opposition in the initial stages of their attack but ran into a minefield, which caused about 10 casualties.

They had a stiff fight for Pt 387 but eventually took all their objectives and held them against the one enemy attack that went in. In all, they took 49 PoWs and the London Irish 20 PoWs. Identifications were from 1 and 11 Bttns 756 (all coys committed).

2 LF and 1 East Surreys from 11 Brigade took their objectives and captured 60 PoWs. Identifications were from 98 Division, 1/290 Regiment.

24th October.

Coy 8 A & SH now under command 2 LIR and takes over positions on Pt 416. Coy 2 LIR relieves coy 2 Innisks at Pt 387. 

Locations –

2 Innisks’ coys at 022263, 024259 (with platoon at 026259), 028263 and 029259. HQ 023257.

2 LIR – HQ and coy 401, 027259.

Coy 8 A & SH under command Pt 416, 028246.

2 coys at Spinello, 031253.

Coy at Pt 387, 032255.

Slight harassing fire on our forward positions during the day.

1500 Rain commences.

1900 Coy 2 Innisks relieved coy 2 LIR on Pt 387.

2200 Coy 2 Innisks moves forward to Casa Salara, 035263 and left one platoon in occupation,

Detached patrol to Casaliana, 036258, was fired on from direction of Casetta di Sotto, 041260.

25th October.

Coy 2 Innisks relieve coy 2 LIR successfully on Pt 387.


HQ and A Coy – 023259.

B Coy – 028263.

C Coy – 033255.

D Coy – 028259 with platoon at 035263.

Coy 2 LIR still in position at Spinello, 032253, now under command 2 Innisks.

Remainder 2 LIR now concentrated at San Apollinare.

1800 56 Recce Regiment less one squadron taking over positions on Pt 387, 032255 and Spinello, 031258, and come under command 38 Brigade.

A Squadron Pt 387, 033255.

B Squadron Spinello, 033253.

Bttn HQ, 027247.

Relief completed without incident and there was only slight spasmodic shelling for the rest of the night.

26th October.

Rain all night and shows no sign of stoppage.

0600 2 Innisks coy relieved by 56 Recce now at Casa Salara 022263. Patrol during the night reached as far as 037266 and was heavily engaged by MG and mortar fire. Impression was gained that the area along the ridge from Casa Salara was heavily defended. Very heavy shelling of 2 Innisks bttn area during the night.

2 LIR now complete in concentration area at San Apollinare.

Enemy activity and mule convoy seen in area 037266 engaged by mortars and artillery.

1800 Patrol from 56 Recce to 035255 saw no sign of enemy or previous occupation. Rain has continued all day long. The tracks are in a shocking state and the men are soaking wet with very few opportunities of getting dry. The rain also has put paid to any further advances and further operations.

A note on the local topography and future plans.

The capture of the Spaduro feature gave us the observation over the enemy and a firm base with which to start an operation to clear the remaining hills down to the Bologna road. On the night of 24/25, various patrol outposts were to be taken and the next night, a full scale attack was to go in.

The main objectives were Pt 362, 036278; Ortica, 041278; Camaggio, 048259 and Monte Maggiore, 052258.

36 Brigade commenced attacking Camaggio on the afternoon of the 24th and at the same time, the rains started. They did not get their objectives and it became obvious that until the rain stopped, any future operations would have to be cancelled. Another alarming feature to be considered was the enemy’s quick reinforcing of his decimated battalions and the arrival of the 1 Para Division to our north. These new arrivals squeezed down the 98 Division so that we now have nearly two enemy divisions opposite our own divisional front.

The ground was not an easy proposition either. On our own particular section, although we had the domination, the approaches to our ultimate objective were no means easy. From Monte Spaduro itself, a ridge, banked on either side by steep rugged gullies, ran to Pt 362 and, from this point, the remaining enemy held features spread out like a fan. Ortica – the brigade’s ultimate objective – was perched on the edge of a crag, its approach awkward and difficult. From Pt 387, a ridge ran down to the right hand Casa Salara and then on down to the Ortica crag at Casa Boschi di Olivia. This made the approach to Ortica extremely difficult from the right flank except up some of the steep tracks.

In general, the hills were steep, with deep rugged gullies. Devoid of cover and sparsely cultivated, they afforded very little shelter for the attacking infantryman and during the wet weather became impassable areas of mud where it was difficult to walk, let alone fight.

27th October.

No enemy shelling during the night. Patrol, which went forward from the 2 Innisks platoon at Casa Salara was unsuccessful due to the shocking weather conditions. Visibility very poor. Rain still pours down.

Enemy visibility again observed around Point 237 040263 and a mule train on road at 052278. Both targets engaged by our artillery.

Heavy enemy DF during the day, concentrated on Spinello and Ripiano. One deserter from 5 Coy, 756 Regiment was picked up in area Casa Salara.

28th October.

2 Innisks had slight harassing fire during the night.

56 Recce slight shelling.

Three German deserters were picked up on Point 387. Identification 5 Coy, 756 Regiment.

Information gained from the deserters produced a very good impression of the enemy defended localities and his supply routes and afforded our guns, a considerable number of harassing fire targets.

The supply system for our own troops was a problem due to the bad state of the road. The rain caused a landslide on the main supply road and the jeeps were – and still are – the only vehicles that can get safely through.

Artificial moonlight was a great help to the drivers on these bad roads in the rear areas just as much as it was to the patrols in the forward areas

29th October.

On the whole, a very quiet night with only slight HF.

0730 3” mortars 2 Innisks harassed Pt 263 and again at 1300 hrs.

1200 Enemy HF on Monte Spaduro.

1900 Intermittent shelling on Sasaleone 9922 and San Apollinare.

Considerable harassing fire of the rear areas during the night.

30th October.

2 Innisks slight HF during the night. 56 Recce had continuous shelling and mortaring throughout the night.

Brigade Commander visits 2 Innisks at Casone.

2 Innisks forward coys were heavily shelled during the day.

56 Recce spasmodic shelling.

2 Innisks laid mines during the night in forward areas. Vickers MMGs harassed enemy supply lines and forward targets throughout the night.

Local protection patrol only at night.

31st October.

2 Innisks were shelled considerably during the night.

1200 GOC visits Brigade Commander. They go up to OP on M Falchetto 9825.

1300 Slight HF in Brigade HQ area.

1415 Major Legget (Innisks) visits Brigade HQ. He lectured on and discussed the Army Demobilisation Scheme to representatives from each battalion and Brigade HQ.

1800 Vickers MMGs commenced harassing shoot on Mulineto 052278, road and track junction 060279 and Scaglia 048284.

One coy 1 RIrF leaves San Apollinare to go up and relieve two squadrons 56 Recce on Pt 387 and Casa Spinello.

2130 Coy 1 RIrF now in position. One platoon at Casa Spinello and two platoons at Pt 387. Coy is now under command 2 Innisks.

56 Recce to revert to command 36 Infantry Brigade.