38 (Irish) Brigade – August 1943

1st August – CATENANUOVA.

0130 Brigade HQ and Support Group moved to new concentration area south west of Catenanuova at 5683.

0530 Brigade HQ established at 560830. 6 Innisks at 597832, 2 LIR 543822, 1 RIrF 561825.

1000 Movement table for night 1 / 2 August issued.

1250 Brigade Group ordered to report all observed results of own bombing.

1900 Brigade HQ closed at present location and reopened same time north of Catenanuova at 615863.

2100 Platoon 214, Field Company under command 38 Brigade wef 2200hrs 1 August. Platoon equipped with four mine detectors.

2nd August – CATENANUOVA.

0100 COs’ conference at Brigade HQ.

0700 1 RIrF informed that Centuripe (6591) still in enemy hands and that 8 A & SH was at 646918; left of A & SH being secure. 1 RIrF ordered to leave main road at 645905 and to make for track 642909 and attack village via pt 711, 646918.

0920 Code name list of Herman Goering Division found in area 627867 forwarded to division.

0930 6 Innisks reported enemy in area of cemetery (649918). Leading coy held up at pt 640 and now considering right flank.

78 Divisional Commander announced that today’s task for 38 Brigade was to consolidate high ground areas pt 688 – pt 718 – pt 702 as for a start for tomorrow.

1015 By W/T intercept, information was received that 5 Northamptons were at 660900.

1020 6 Innisks informed that a platoon of heavy mortars supporting 11 Brigade troops (5 Northamptons) would probably be able to assist.

1040 2 LIR reported pt 708 (6539120 and pt 709 and the cemetery area were enemy strong points.

1050 Division confirmed that W/T silence could be broken by 38 Brigade.

1630 38 Brigade Support Group reported that a platoon of heavy mortars under command 11 Brigade have fired on targets in Centuripe.

1730 Sitrep to Division.

1800 2 LIR Zero.

1930 One Squadron 56 Recce Regiment and one Squadron RTR under command 38 Brigade forthwith. Personal message from Army Commander received.

2000 1 RIrF Zero.

2100 Division informed of enemy egg grenades with instantaneous fuses left near road Catenanuova – Centuripe. All Brigade Group informed.

3rd August – CATENANUOVA.

0055 1 RIrF reported first objective taken and CO about to carry out his original plan

0200 RE section ordered to go out and fill crater at 647905 on road Catenanuova – Centuripe.

0350 1 RIrF reported hill 6490 now in their hands. Little opposition. Flank coy 6 Innisks joined with coy 1 RIrF in Centuripe and are trying to find out if there is any enemy in the town.

0400 38 Brigade Support Group report platoon Heavy Mortars 645894, another 650886. Remainder of group still west of Catenanuova.

0405 1 RIrF troops reported at 649917 (church area), and apparently finding little opposition.

0720 Pt 718 (656923) occupied by B Coy 1 RIrF at 0600hrs without opposition. Enemy believed to have evacuated Centuripe during night.

0900 2 LIR report situation normal.

0915 PoW taken by 6 Innisks south of Centuripe identified as of 7 Coy, 3 Para Regiment.

HQ RA reports all bridges north of Centuripe blown. Targets for today’s bombing received.

0951 2 LIR request their MT to go up to Centuripe.

An Italian deserter from 30 Artig. Regiment was brought in. Stated he had come from Messina and was asking his way home to Syracuse. Forwarded to PoW cage.

1025 Artillery recce party report road crater 582930 and 581944. RE working on the first and it will be clear in six hours. Second has mines around it, and so far no one is working on it.

1029 Division informed Brigade that no transport was to be allowed on the north road to Centuripe. All Brigade Group informed.

1125 Brigade requested permission from Division to move 2 LIR mortars, A/Tk guns and carriers to 650885. This request was agreed to.

1214 Division ordered that no vehicles other than those operationally essential will move into Centuripe or north of it.

1430 A Squadron, 56 Recce Regiment report unable to get vehicles over wadi 667930. Carriers reached 665940 but cannot get further. Foot patrol from 665940 to line of road from bridge 682947 – Regalbuto. No enemy seen. Vehicles fairly heavily shelled whilst trying to cross wadi from high ground 675980. Brigade HQ moving to 647894.

1500 Division ordered that convoys in excess of five vehicles will move onto road Catenanuova – Centuripe. Timings to be applied for at Q Command Post.

1600 A Squadron, 56 Recce Regiment report that bridge 683948 was reached by a foot patrol. The bridge was found to be blown for about 100 yards. The river bed is thick and no crossing could be found for 300 yards on either side of the bridge. No enemy seen.

1900 Brigade Tac HQ established north of Centuripe at 669923.

6 Innisks report locations: Bttn HQ – 668929, A Coy – 669928, B Coy – 667933, C Coy – 668930, D Coy – 666930, S Coy – Centuripe. Brigade Major visited Divisional HQ and make arrangements to get A Squadron, 56 Recce Regiment to new location.

2115 Conference at Brigade HQ attended by COs 38 Brigade, Support Group and 17 Field Regiment.

4th August – CENTURIPE.

0545 1 RIrF reported a quiet night. Patrol from B Coy sent out to cross River Simeto and proceed along main road was not able to make progress owing to heavy LMG and mortar fire from the far bank. Patrol from A Coy not yet returned.

0845 2 LIR warned to be prepared to move at short notice.

0859 Brigade Commander inquired at 1 RIrF what offensive action they were making as it was not thought there were so many enemy capable of holding up so many of our troops.

0900 Small recce party from 2 LIR made recce of River Salso for crossing. No opposition.

1019 1 RIrF report their locations to be the same as on 2 August.

1140 BTO ordered to report to Tac HQ with W/T set for traffic control duty.

1150 Brigade Major issued orders for mules of all bttns to proceed to Centuripe on night of 4/5 August loaded with ammunition and rations.

1200 Division requested reports of all patrols entering Piano D’Aragona (6994) to be passed through RA channels to enable harassing fire programme to be switched

1213 Coy Commanders 6 Innisks ordered to report at HQ 6 Innisks at 1230hrs.

1420 Traffic control timings for north bound traffic to Centuripe received.

1430 Camp Commandant made recce of new area for Brigade HQ for possible move night 4/5 August.

1500 Artillery barrage on objective north of Salso supporting brigade.

1630 Heavy Mortar Platoon 38 Brigade Support Group, in support of 1 RIrF assisted advance by engaging enemy on top and behind escarpment 668947. MMG Platoon engaged observed enemy and carried out harassing fire on road 697955 – 699958.

1715 2 LIR report objectives taken without casualties. 1 RIrF encountered some resistance. Present location of Brigade: Brigade HQ – 661922, 6 Innisks – 6894, 2 LIR – 685953, 1 RIrF – 688944. During the early hours of this morning, 38 Brigade pushed forward – right 1 RIrF, left 2 LIR.

5th August – CENTURIPE.

0800 E Coy 2 LIR reported to be in Carcaci (H6896).

0900 Two forward coys of each Bttn now over River Simeto at 7095.

0950 Contacted Canadians at 7097.

1100 Enemy approx 100 strong, counter attacked 2 LIR. Attack easily beaten off with heavy casualties to enemy.

1600 Road junction 704955 in our hands, although there was a certain amount of opposition from enemy holding out in the houses around road junction. Bridgehead held as follows – 1 RIrF excl. 705954 – 705944, 2 LIR 701957 – 969964, 6 Innisks in reserve.

Divisional Commander’s Special Order of the Day received.

6th August.

During the night, patrols were sent out to ensure that the enemy do not withdraw without our knowledge. Position of Brigade: 2 LIR (left), 6 Innisks (centre), 1 RIrF (left).

0930 G Coy 2 LIR patrol to 724966 report enemy MGs at 724966 and 726958. Patrol fired upon and also gave covering fire (smoke) to platoon of 6 Innisks on a similar recce.

1035 Lt-Col Chevasse reported to be bringing one squadron of 56 Recce Regiment towards 38 Brigade bridgehead from east, not up main road but right round from 51 Division’s front. Request to keep lookout for them.

7th August.

0100 8 A & SH on escarpment west of 38 Brigade position (725920)

0400 36 Brigade with 6 RWK (left) and E Surreys (right) entered Aderno without opposition. 2 LF with squadron 50 RTR  and C Squadron 56 Recce regiment now proceeding up Bronte road.

0930 2 LIR moved to area 200 yards west of Carcaci station

8th August.

38 Brigade resting.

38 Brigade Intelligence Summary no 1 issued.

9th August.

Brigade move to new area postponed.

W/Lt JF Harrison posted to 1 RIrF.

10th August.

Brigade prepare to move from 1500hrs. Order of march as at Appendix.

1620  Move for night 10/11 cancelled.

11th August.

0400 COs’ conference at Brigade HQ.

1400 Brigade HQ closed in present location and reopened at same time at 735112.

Bttn locations: 6 Innisks – 730091, 2 LIR – 728087, 1 RIrF – 724095.

Trace Q to 78 Division Task Table RA ‘Z’ received.

Amendment No 1 to 78 Division Task Table RA ‘Z’received.

1500 Brigade moved to concentration area two miles south of Bronte.

1700 Major APK O’Connor, 2.i.c LIR acting CO during indisposition of Lt-Col H Rogers.

Orders for 38 Brigade attack:  38 Brigade to occupy Maletto (C7714) and high ground north of Bronte. Objectives: Left 1 RIrF Capella (C7614) ; Right 2 LIR Sperina Ridge (C7714). Reserve: 6 Innisks. 8 A & SH to occupy Mt Macherone (C7513) before 38 Brigade attack.

12th August – BRONTE.

0015 8 A & SH reported on their objective.

0230 38 Brigade attack began on high ground east of Maletto from established line south of rd 7513 – 7613.

0305 Bomb line fixed at 810140 – 785174.

0500 1 RIrF after encountering some opposition reached their objective Capella (7614). 2 LIR were late over start line and by 1630hrs had only one coy on Sperina (7714) having been under MG fire from their right flank.

0630 Mortars opened up from area 8814 on the reserve coys of 1 RIrF and squadron 50 RTR on the eastern slopes of Mt Macherone.

0800 Our artillery shelled enemy gun and mortar posts area 8114.

1500 2 LIR report two coys now on Sperina, which had been pinned down for two hours by MG and mortar fire from area 8114. This fire was considerably reduced by fire from own artillery at 1515hrs.

1600 1 RIrF report mopping up of Maletto proceeding.

6 Innisks moving on to La Nave. This was mostly MG and mortar supported by SP guns. 1 RIrF report first phase completed.

2230 Patrols found no enemy in front of their positions and on road to Randazzo located S mines

2330 1 RIrF pass through coy position 2 LIR along road to Randazzo.

1 RIrF informed that American troops now at 7919 and enemy likely to withdraw from our area. It is necessary to keep him on the run and speed is essential. Enemy counter attack on our present position unlikely, therefore leave one coy only where it is now and advance on Randazzo (8220). First objective track 803156 – 801162. Second objective road junction 817195. As speed is essential, one coy, preceded by barrage, will start as early as possible after dark and main body must advance by 0001hrs at latest. Enemy opposition possible area 787138 and 784141.1 RIrF will be followed by East Surreys, 5 Northamptons and 2 LF.

Trace of artillery task in support of 1 RIrF advance is attached.

13th August – BRONTE.

0600 1 RIrF is reported beyond road junction 8119. Patrols of 1 RIrF contacted 9 US Division on the eastern edges of Randazzo. No opposition and patrols ordered to leave. US troops occupying Randazzo.

14th August – BRONTE.

W/Lt A McI Smyth 1 RIrF posted this HQ as LO vice W/Lt JF Harrison 1 RIrF. Dispositions 38 Brigade as at Appendix 13.

15th August – BRONTE.

D Support Group 1 Kensingtons revert under command 1 Kensingtons forthwith.

16th August.

A/Capt JHF Hobbs, 56 Recce Regiment, appointed IO this HQ vice Capt MJ Glenn, Worcestershire Regiment.

Brigade Commander attended GOC’s conference training in Sicily.

Brigade Commander issued memorandum on Artillery Comms when Divisional Artillery supports a brigade attack.

T/Captain CPJD O’Farrell relinquished appointment as Staff Captain on posting to 1 RIrF.

18th August.

T/Major MF Douglas Pennant KRRC relinquished his appointment as Brigade Major, 38 Brigade.

19th August.

T/Major FFK Ball DCLI posted this HQ as Brigade Major vice T/Major MF Douglas Pennant.

Letter of congratulation to 78 Division attached.

2300 Orders for move received.

20th August.

0345 Brigade HQ and 50% personnel of each Bttn moved to rest area at Patti (8449).via Randazzo (8320), S Domenica Vittoria (8524), Torotorici (7337), Castell Umberto (7243), Naso (6947), Capod’Orlando (6552), Brolo (7352).

1500 Brigade HQ established Tindari (9250) , 6 Innisks (8750), 2 LIR (8950), 1 RIrF (8850).

23rd August.

38 Brigade Movement Order No 3 with movement table issued.

First 50% personnel returned to former concentration area Maletto (7512).

27th August.

Brigade Movement Order No 4 – Move to North Costs – issued.

28th August.

Brigade Admin Instruction No 1 with Trace P issued.

Personnel of Brigade still in area Maletto (7512) moved to concentration area Patti (8449) during night 28/29 August.

29th August.

Dispositions of Brigade as attached.

30th August.

Brigade training Instruction No 2 with trace ‘P’ issued.

Brigade Commander’s history of the Irish Brigade is attached.

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