38 (Irish) Brigade – February 1943

1st February – BOU ARADA.

A letter was sent to Bttns stating that 6 pounder guns were being issued as they became available.

Intelligence Summary issued and the following conclusion drawn: “Enemy appears to be attempting to build up positions (in what strength it is not known) on our North flank. It may be observed that should enemy attack our present positions, he would have to use a plan, which would neutralise our artillery superiority. This might be done from the heights north of our artillery positions with MGs and mortars.”

0830 Two enemy planes on recce fly low over this HQ. Following information reported from 10 RB patrol night 31 Jan/1 Feb, a platoon made daylight recce from 589081 to high ground 5912. There was sign of enemy or digging on the way.

1800 Movement (checked and found to be enemy) was reported at 615165. Farm 615162 was stated by Arabs to be German occupied.

A memorandum was received by Commander 6 Armoured Division Signals “supporting and infantry support by controlled artillery fire.” Comms of FOOs and artillery OPs were discussed and it was emphasised that physical contact between infantry commander and FOO was not the best solution to the problem.

Coy 10 RBs standing by was ordered to move to Argoub and relieve Bttn 1 Parachute Brigade.

1st/2nd February – BOU ARADA.

Coy 10 RB moved from 5905 to Argoub as ordered. Patrols reported no movement west of rd Goubellat – Bou Arada, and made no contact east of east of rd though Cactus Farm (686085) was still occupied and there was digging on Mehallah. A mine laying patrol to area 7109 distributed copies of Africa Post.

2nd February – BOU ARADA.

Brigade Intelligence Summary was issued, including a trace of minefields in the Brigade area.

Command visited 6 Armoured Division and 1 Parachute Brigade (628998).

2 LIR took up positions as given in Intelligence Summary 3 Feb.

3rd February – BOU ARADA.

Intelligence Summary was issued and the following conclusion stated: “Enemy are still opposite us, but as previously thought, they appear possibly to be very thin in the forward areas. Possibly many troops, which were forward, are now in reserve area west or north of Lake Sebkret El Kourzia.

A trace of the Brigade dispositions on this date is attached, at Appendix 5.

0950 Order received from 6 Armoured Division, placing C Squadron Derbyshire Yeomanry, u/d 38 Brigade, for recce on north flank. Remainder Derbyshire Yeomanry were to move to Tebessa u/c II US Corps, night 3/4 Feb.

During the day, observations of artillery and Derbyshire OPs confirmed continued activity in areas 7114, 7115. Farm 731157 was still active and the impression that it was an HQ was strengthened.

1 Parachute Bttn and 1 Commandos Brigade (less one Bttn) were to attack south from Bou Arada to cut the main road area O 7588.

1430 38 (Irish) Infantry Brigade OO No 11 was issued with intention: “38 Brigade will carry out a diversion on morning 4 Feb in support of this attack.” The plan included an infantry demonstration for a limited distance east from the north end of Grandstand (6507) and a demonstration by two troops of tanks at hill 640065.

On this day, Brigade Command visited 6 Armoured Division.

Information was received that samples of bullet proof tyres were urgently required, and a letter was issued to Bttns.

3rd / 4th February – BOU ARADA.

Fighting patrols to Barka and Mehallah made no contact, but digging was reported on the forward slopes of Birrebal (6609).

4th February – BOU ARADA.

A letter was sent to Bttns fixing the patrol boundary between 6 Innisks and 1 RIrF.

Brigade Command wrote a letter to 6 Armoured Division on the subject of Not Yet Diagnosed (NYD). The letter stated as follows: “It is understood that concern is felt at 21 cases of NYD being evacuated during the action of 2 LIR on 21/22 Jan. This is understandable, but at the same time, I think it is desirable that all concerned should be fully in the picture of the movements of this Bttn prior to the action, and the action itself (and so have the right background).

Brigade Commander also wrote letter to 6 Armoured Division asking that the role of A/Tk Regiment might be changed by a Divisional directive.

6 Armoured Division OO No 12 was received, expressing the intention: “6 Armoured Division will deny the use of the rd Pont Du Fahs – Robaa to the enemy between both including rd junction O7894 – O7687.”

38 Brigade Intelligence Summary was issued.

During the day, considerable vehicle movement was noticed round the farms in the back areas on 38 Brigade front.

4th / 5th February – BOU ARADA.

Again no movement was reported west of the road and a patrol north west into the hills found no trace of enemy. A patrol had a brush with a party covering digging on forward slopes of Bir Rabai. There was an enemy patrol south of pt 279 and enemy were again at area 6710.

5th February – BOU ARADA.

Intelligence Summary was issued and the following conclusion drawn: “No identification of the enemy on this front has been obtained since the deserter of A.24 on 25 Jan 43. It is probable that a depleted A.24 backed up by a portion HGJR (exact strength and identification unknown) continue to occupy the ground from 68 grid lines to Sebkret el Kourzia.” Information own troops was issued to Bttns as Appendix B to Intelligence Summary. During the day, minor vehicle activity was noticed in the back area and at farms in 6913 continued to be active. On this day, a message was sent informing Bttns that 56 Recce Regiment would be operating west of rd Goubellat – Bou Arada as far south as grid line 13. This was made the Brigade north limit of patrolling west of the road.

5th / 6th February – BOU ARADA.

Patrols to Barka, Mehallah, Greenpoint, Wog Hill, and Birrabal reported no sign of enemy

6th February – BOU ARADA.

38 Brigade Intelligence Summary was issued and the following conclusion drawn: “In estimating the results of last night’s patrols, the extreme darkness must be remembered. Therefore, Barka cannot be assumed entirely clearly, though present indications point to this conclusion.”

Information own troops was distributed to Bttns as Appendix B to above summary: “Following the withdrawal from Djebel Mansour and Djebel Allilica, the intention of 6 Armoured Division is to prevent any advance of enemy NW towards Bou Arada.”

During the day, no movement was seen west of the main road. The back areas showed the usual degree of activity.

1530 Brigade Order was issued for move of A Echelon to Olive Grove (5205). For some time it had been felt that the position of A Echelon at 5216 was exposed, an impression which was borne out by the event of 26 Feb.

6th / 7th February – BOU ARADA.

Miss Virginia Cowles visited Bttns and HQ 38 (Irish) Infantry Brigade.

Patrols to Hehallah, Beecher’s Brook 678088 and area 6710 found nothing. Patrol to Barka was engaged by MG fire (probably from an ambush.

7th February – BOU ARADA.

During the day, movement was slight, activity continuing in the hills north of the lake.

38 Brigade Intelligence Summary was issued.

A letter was sent to 6 Armoured Division on the subject of “Training of Reinforcements.”  Recent experiences were narrated in detail and certain suggestions mainly on Specialist Training were put forward.

7th / 8th February – BOU ARADA.

Patrols to area 6812, west side Two Tree Hill and Mehallah had no contact, but an enemy patrol was spotted on Barka.

8th February – BOU ARADA.

Intelligence Summary was issued. A description of a Panzer KW VI was given in Appendix A, para 6.

56 Recce Regiment patrol was engaged by 2” mortars, LMG, and rifle fire from Farm 642123. Enemy was spotted by heavy mortar from east of the main road. There was an unconfirmed report that the firer of the 2” mortar was in civilian clothes. The owner of this farm had given false information already, probably owing to fear of the enemy, who had recently abducted several French farmers and were reported to have cleared all doubtful civilians out of the area in the early part of the Tunisian campaign.

A letter was received from 6 Armoured Division on the PIAT equipment (Jeffreys Projector). This was said to be an effective A/Tk weapon up to 10 yards.

8th/9th February – BOU ARADA.

A kidnapping patrol to 6710 drew a blank. A line party was seen on Mehallah and own patrols were ambushed at Greenpoint and Barka . Our patrols had been recently using the same routes and appeared to be ready for them.

9th February – BOU ARADA.

Intelligence Summary was issued.

Am A/Tk practice for the infantry 6 pounder crews were held area J 4705.

A Echelon moved to Olive Grove 5205.

Note – During the early part of the month infantry 6 pounder crews received training from NCOs of 72 A/Tk Regiment at brigade HQ 592104.

1300 A motor cyclise in leather jacket “looking completely English” rode south to north through 1 RIrF positions. Shots were fired in front of him, but he rode through the minefield 648090 and onto Goubellat.

During the day there was fairly heavy shelling of different points in area 6308 – 6505 from 0820 hrs to 1420 hrs, mostly by Field Artillery from Hir Chelri (7106) or Sidi Mabrouk (7506).

1955 Letter was received from 6 Armoured Division on the Boyes A/Tk rifle.

9th/10th February – BOU ARADA.

Enemy was found in Farm 645102.

Kidnapping patrols north east from 648099 drew blank, but an enemy patrol was suspected 6605.

10th February – BOU ARADA.

Brigade Intelligence Summary was issued.

During the day, OPs of C Squadron Derbyshire Yeomanry reported considerably more movement than usual north and west of Sebkret El Kourzia. There was a good deal of movement at Farm 714144 and Cactus 735149 and Farm 714134 were also active.

2030 6 Armoured Division forwarded information from a Arab source that a German patrol strength 30-90 passed nightly through village 549166.

A replay was sent to Division, message ref A/Tk rifles. It was decided to retain them.

A letter on non movement period was received from 6 Armoured Division: “In order to deceive the enemy as to our actions and intentions 12 and 13 Feb will be observed ‘as no movement days in the Divisional Area.’” Bttns were informed and special measures taken at Brigade HQ to prevent movement in front of the farm.

6 Armoured Divisional letter was received, asking for reports on questions connected with AFVs. 38 Brigade had to answer as follows:

  1. Is there a requirement for 2 pounder HE ?
  2. Is there a requirement for 6 pounder AP/HE even if penetration performance is not up to standard of APCBC?

It was decided that HE shell was useful for close support of infantry and especially against buildings and MG posts.

6 Armoured Division Standing Operation Instruction No 4 “A/Tk gun defence of infantry positions” was received. This was forwarded to Bttns on 12 Feb.

Letter was sent to Bttns on “No Transport Day 11 Feb.”

10th / 11th February – BOU ARADA.

152 Field Regiment carried out HF programme on Brigade front and no patrols were out east of the road. Patrol to Fm 645102 had nothing to report.

11th February – BOU ARADA.

Intelligence Summary was issued.

Visibility from day OP was bad, but the usual vehicle movement was observed. Enemy made considerable use of horses and carts. This has been noticeable during the recent wet weather.

On this day, a personal message to all troops from GOC 6 Armoured Division was received.

In consequence of Divisional letter 10 Feb, instructions about No Transport Day were issued to Bttns.

11th/12th February – BOU ARADA.

There were no patrols east of the main road and no sign of enemy west of the road.

12th February – BOU ARADA.

Intelligence Summary was issued. This included at Appendix 1 a note on Marsch Bttns and HGJR as well as a sketch showing enemy dispositions and order of battle in Tunisia.

During the day, a marked exodus of Arabs taking families, household goods, flocks and herds was noted was noted east of the Brigade positions. Several reasons were advanced, the most likely of which appeared to be that enemy were requisitioning all livestock and ordering it to the rear.

6 Armoured Division letter “25 pounder Base Ejection Propaganda Shell” was received. It was emphasised that the morale of some Germans and most Italians in Tunisia was low, and that if the gravity of the Axis positions could be brought home to the enemy on our front, desertions might well increase.

6 Armoured Division order was received that Squadron 16/5 Lancers under command 38 Brigade would be relieved by ½ squadron 2 Lothians. Coy resting in area 5704 to come into Divisional reserve. Letter received from 6 Armoured Division stating that First Army recommended a ¾ ton jeep as suitable for towing the 6 pounder.

1500 Brigade Commander and Divisional Commander visited the Bttns; as a result of his tour, the Divisional Commander consider that 6 Innisks should have an urgent priority for wire and step were made to procure an additional allotment that night.

1830 CRA visited Brigade HQ.

12th/13th February – BOU ARADA.

No movement was seen west of th e main road. A line party was seen on south west slope of Barka and contact with an enemy dug position was gained on south slope Ploughtop.

13th February – BOU ARADA.

Brigade Intelligence Summary was issued. This included met chart for February, which was found useful in planning night patrols, and a topographical report n the Goubellat Plain.

0100 5 Canadian Officers arrived this HQ for posting to Bttn. All the Canadian Officers in this theatre had come from units training in England and were to be attached to units and formations in Tunisia for a period to gain experience.

During the day, activity was observed in area 6612 and Arabs were calling (presumably cattle dealing) at Farm 718154 on their eastward journey. There was some unidentified activity around Farm 617112, which was to become an enemy HQ on 26 Feb.

1530 Brigade Commander visited 6 Innisks.

1830 Canadian Officers left this HQ on posting to Bttns.

½ Squadron 2 Lothians came under command 38 Brigade, as ordered.

A message was received from 6 Armoured Divisions that “there are indications of a possible enemy thrust westward in the next three days.” The information was passed to Bttns.

Brigade letter was sent in reply to Divisional letter calling for report on AFVs (Appendix 33).

6 Armoured Division Intelligence Summary contained an explanation of the Arab exodus which had been noted on 12 Feb.  “Enquiries about Arab exodus reveal that the Germans are offering 55 francs a day for working behind the lines, with facilities for buying salt, olive oil, tobacco and clothes. It may be that the Germans, finding the Arabs, having been giving away their positions, have been adopting various methods of removing them from the combat areas.”

13th / 14th February – BOU ARADA.

Contain was obtained on the north east slope of Barka, where the enemy were dug in, and movement was observed at W Huts 661083 and south east slope of Ploughtop.

14th February – BOU ARADA.

Brigade Intelligence Summary was issued and the conclusion was drawn that the enemy had a platoon position on the reverse slope of Barka with possibly an OP forward and that further north, the enemy had come forward in W Hill area (6608).

There was comparatively little movement during the day. But an OP (?) was spotted at 678088 and Farm 654129 showed signs of occupation.

2340 Message was received from 6 Armoured Division asking for a return of vehicles required to move a Bttn and the time needed to get them. Also, the time required for a relief.  A reply was prepared but no action had, at present, to be taken.

On this day, a letter sent to Bttns on the 25 pounder Base Ejection Propaganda shell. This was a copy of 6 Armoured Division letter on the subject.

A letter was sent to Bttns dealing with Divisional reserve company 5704 and B Squadron 2 Lothians in Brigade reserve (Location 582016 until ground dries).Tanks were then due to move to 625068 and counter attack plans would be modified accordingly.

6 Armoured Division forwarded a copy of letter on reinforcements from 5 Corps to O2E in which representation were made for wounded officers of 38 Brigade to return to their units when fit.

Orders were received for an Armoured Regimental Group under command 26 Armoured Brigade to move to Siliana. ½ Squadron 2 Lothians would no longer be under command 38 Brigade.

Royal Artillery 6 Armoured Division published an order expressing the intention to pretend that the divisional artillery had been reinforced. The object was to conceal the movement of artillery to the south and the method was to employ 3 roving sections night 14/15 Feb and day 15 Feb.

14th/15th February – BOU ARADA.

Four 6-pounders of 72 A/Tk Regiment were replaced in forward area by four infantry 6-pounders.

Half Squadron 2 Lothians ceased to be under command and left Brigade area.

Patrol made contact with a position at W Hill 6608. Enemy movement and a probable position were observed on east side pt 286 and in the gully beyond.

Civilians questioned at Farm 617112 affirmed that Germans used wadis to reach hills to the west in daylight and are and slept in W huts. These farmers were convinced that the Germans meant to infiltrate into the hills with a view to attack.

15th February – BOU ARADA.

Intelligence Summary was issued.

During the day, more movement of flocks and herds were reported and a series of built up our dug positions appeared on pt 286. There were also signs of a day OP at Mehallah.

0930 Lieut Harrison (Brigade IO) recced a concentration area for two Bttns between Gafour and El Aroussa. This had to be done in case Brigade was relieved on present position.

1030 Col Green, Commander 18 CT visited this HQ. He was recce-ing a counter attack role as 18 CT had been taken from Medjez area into Corps reserve

2030 Brigade Commander, Brigade Major, Staff Captain and Commander 152 Field Regiment held a conference to discuss the problem of supplying and commanding troops on 6 Armoured Divisional front. It was possible that HQ 6 Armoured Division would move south leaving Brigade Command to control a force consisting of 38 Brigade, 1 Parachute Brigade, 10 Rifle Brigade, 17/21 Lancers (less one squadron), 152 Field Regiment and remainder Divisional Artillery.

15th/16th February – BOU ARADA.

A/Tk 6-pounder practice took place area 4705.

Half Squadron 17/21 Lancers came under command Brigade in area 625068.

B Coy 1 RIrF moved from Grandstand into reserve at 605065.

There was no contact west of main road, though 2 LIR reported noise of tracked vehicles to the north (possibly laying mines on 5 Northamptons’ front). A recce of the north slopes of Bir Rebal, W Hill and Greenpoint revealed nothing; owing to the brightness of the moon it was difficult to get close enough to objectives for accurate observation. Enemy digging parties were spotted at pt 286 and Barka and subsequently shelled.

2300 Enemy patrol visited Streamroller Farm 513118 and killed 2 French soldiers and wounded 4. It appeared, judging from the distance covered, that enemy lay up in the hills west of the main road.

16th February – BOU ARADA.

38 Brigade Intelligence Summary was issued. Appendix A para 4 stated: “Recce elements 21 Panzer Division is pushing west from Sidi Bou Zid towards Sbeitla and southwest towards Gafsa. Right flank of First Army is 1 Derbyshire Yeomanry (less two squadrons) operating in area Maknassy. They are in touch with long range desert group of Eighth Army.”

In the morning, movement of cattle and sheep was again observed and there was considerable vehicle activity north and west of the lake. Troop enemy artillery was firing at intervals throughout the day from area 7716.

1000 Brigade Commander visited Divisional HQ to discuss the move of 6 Armoured Division and the position thus created in the Divisional area.

Brigade Major visited 1 RIrF.

1430 Four very large objects (25’ x 12’ x 12’) came at 10mph south east from area 8420 west across country and disappeared behind feature at 8116. Their speed showed them to be mechanical and an observer likened them to large mobile iron cases. It is possible that they were covered 88mm guns, which stand very high off the ground.

1455 Warning order was received that HQ 6 Armoured Division would move night 16/17 Feb to area Maktar and HQ “Tigerforce” would be established at HQ Royal Artillery 495033 to command troops in Divisional area.

6 Armoured Division O 643 was received “For ‘Tigerforce’ read ’Y’ Division.”

Information was received regarding the A/Tk effectiveness of the 2-pounder and ST Mk 74 grenade. This was passed in a letter to Bttns.

Major Manners, 3.i.c. 2 LIR had been put in charge of a Brigade counterattack force to be situated in area 6307. The reserve was to consist of two infantry companies, two sections carriers, three detachments mortars, two 2-pounder A/Tk guns, two sections MMG supported by three batteries Field Artillery. Divisional appreciation and plan was received at this HQ.

1600 Brigade Commander visited HQ Royal Artillery.

Tigerforce OO No 1was issued.

“wef 1330 hrs16 Feb, 1 Parachute Brigade, 38 (Irish) Infantry Brigade and all troops in Bou Arada sector came under command Tigerforce. Positions as held at present will be held to the last man and the last round, and the enemy harried to the greatest possible extent by offensive action of all kinds.”

The role of 38 brigade is defined in para 6.

16th/17th February – BOU ARADA.

No contact was made west of main road Goubellat – Bou Arada and recce patrols to Ploughtop and Bir Rabal added nothing to our knowledge of these areas.

Platoon 6 Innisks swept pt 286 and made contact at top 662072. They fired at enemy movement and inflicted casualties

17th February – BOU ARADA.

Brigade Intelligence Summary was issued.

6 Armoured Division HQ moved out and ‘Y’ Division was established at 495033. CI Squadron Derbyshire Yeomanry went into Divisional reserve at O 5098.

Counterattack force was strengthened by addition of 2 LIR’s 2-pounders.

Order was received from ‘Y’ Division for 152 Field Regiment to be at 2 hr notice to move from 1600 hrs to join 6 Armoured Division. One field regiment (less two batteries) 46 Division was standing by to relieve.

Message was received from 56 Recce re patrols into the mountains. ‘Y’ Division Admin Order No 1 was received. Intention: “to maintain ‘Y’ Division and attached troops.”

17th/18th February – BOU ARADA.

Recce patrol to north east to of Gribiana 6705, and south west slopes of Mehallah saw and heard nothing.

Slight activity was observed on Greenpoint and Ploughtop.

1 Parachute Bttn relieved 10 Rifle Brigade on Argoub. 10 Rifle Brigade concentrated in reserve Toutla.

18th February – BOU ARADA.

Brigade Intelligence summary was issued.

1220 Low flying cannon attack was made on Brigade HQ by ME 109. There were no casualties.

1800 CRA commander, ‘Y’ Division visited this HQ.

1900/2000 Artillery HF programme was put down to cover noise of move of Squadron 17/21 Lancers from Medjez.

2100 Coy enemy attacked French positions 6894 supported by MGs and mortars.

During the day, little vehicle movement was observed, but visibility was poor after 1230 hrs.

38 Brigade Operation Instruction No 1 was issued “in the event of this Brigade being relived in order that Bttns can make detailed plans.”

Letter was issued to Bttns emphasising points which had been raised at a recent Divisional A/Q conference.

Orders were received for ½ squadron 17/21 Lancers to leave area and revert under command 26 Armoured Brigade

A letter was Army Commander dated 7 Feb was forwarded by ‘Y’ Division, expressing concern at the lack of cooperation between forces of the Allied Armies.

Orders were received for ‘Y’ Division that active infantry patrolling was essential and that an identification must be obtained.

18th/19th February – BOU ARADA.

Contact was gained at pt 286, which was held by one platoon.

Half Squadron 17/21 Lancers reverted under command 26 Armoured Brigade and left the area.

19th February – BOU ARADA.

Brigade Intelligence Summary was issued.

During the morning, A/Tk practice took place area 4705.

Poor visibility prevented observation from OPs.

2100 A message was sent to Bttns that a S/Sgt from SAS would demonstrate PIAT projector  and listen to suggestions for improvement.

C Squadron Derbyshire Yeomanry were placed at 2 hrs notice to rejoin 6 Armoured Division.

Information was received that owing to wet weather C/142 RAC would remain night 19/20 in Divisional reserve El Aroussa.

RA ‘Y’ Division message was received, expressing the intention “to deceive enemy into expecting an attack in Bou Arada sector.”

19th/20th February – BOU ARADA.

There were no patrols out due to Artillery programme.

20th February – BOU ARADA.

Brigade Intelligence Summary was issued. This included a description of German mine laying technique and a general picture of the Brigade front.

1640 During the day, enemy movement was slight, but at 1640 6 men were seen on Greenpoint.

1930 Message was sent to Bttns dealing with Brigade boundary, arrangement of HF and patrol liaison with 11 Brigade.

20th/21st February – BOU ARADA.

A patrol of 1 RIrF suffered casualties from Anti Personal S Mines in area 6611. A patrol to gully 6707 brought back some interesting articles including a notice in Arabic.

Two troops C/142 RAC (Churchills) came under command into area 625068.

21st February – BOU ARADA.

Brigade Intelligence Summary was issued.

Brigade Commander was appointed to command ‘Y’ Division.

1200 Lt-Col TPD Scott, 1 RIrF , was appointed to command the brigade during the existence of ‘Y’ Division and arrived at this HQ.

A letter was sent to Bttns re 36 Grenade.

1900 Brigade Commander’s conference was held by Lt-Col Scott. IO outlined the fighting in the south and the following points were then discussed.

  1. Corps commander against having a heterogeneous reserve. Therefore, proposed to adjust positions and bring 1 RIrF into reserve.
  2. 152 Field Regiment being relieved night 21/21 Feb. To make road safe, 2 LIR to lend 6 Innisks carrier section for patrolling.
  3. Possible that diversion would have to be staged to help southern operations. Paratroops would attack Magra. Brigade (with only one Coy unless otherwise ordered) would go for some isolated feature.
  4. Anti Personnel Mines in brigade defence system discussed.
  5. 1 RIrF to send patrol of one platoon into mountains daily.

21st/ 22nd February – BOU ARADA.

Patrols had no contact but there was considerable vehicle activity near pt 286.

22nd February – BOU ARADA.

Brigade Intelligence summary was issued, a description of the German Anti Personnel Mine appeared at Appendix B.

0045 Brigade OO No 12 was issued expressing intention “to carry out certain inter Bttn reliefs night 22/23 Feb.”

0120 Received ‘Y’ Division message enjoining vigilance against parachutists.

2130 Order received from ‘Y’ Division about exclusive vehicle movement.

22nd/23rd February – BOU ARADA.

No movement was seen west of the main road but a recce patrol of 6 Innisks took a PW of A.24 at 668067 at 2100hrs.

23rd February – BOU ARADA.

Brigade Intelligence Summary was issued. This included a preliminary interrogation report on the PW of A.24 taken night 22/23 and a trace of the Brigade and Bttn patrol boundaries and dispositions.

1045 CO of 6 Commando visited this HQ ref a project for 6 Commando to take over patrolling in mountains north of Brigade positions.

1215 Amendment to Brigade OO No 12 was issued.

An order was received from ‘Y’ Division on the defence of rear areas.

23rd/ 24th February – BOU ARADA.

An officer’s recce patrol (including an SD officer) went out at 2000 hrs to recce pt 286 and the north end of Barka. It was later learned from a PW that this patrol was captured.

24th February – BOU ARADA.

Brigade Intelligence Summary was issued including an account of L/Sgt McAleer’s exploit.

Brigade Commander went on to recce for Commander ‘Y’ Division south of El Aroussa.

0900 L/Sgt McAleer, 6 Innisks, went out to search for missing patrol and brought back two PWs of A.24 from pt 286.

1115 Enemy planes attacked road area 4198. This was the first case of road strafing reported in the area for about 2 months.

1600 Acting on the results of the interrogation, Platoon 6 Innisks made a successful sweep of pt 286, taking 8 PWs, and inflicting 20-30 casualties. A day patrol of 1 RIrF captured 3 PWs of I/HGJR in mountains to north.

 A report of the day’s events appeared at Appendix 65.

 An appreciation of enemy on ’Y’ Division front was received from Division.

24th/25th February – BOU ARADA.

No movement west of road or east of Grandstand, but a patrol to Farm 654129 was engaged by 2 MGs.

25th February – BOU ARADA.

Intelligence Summary was issued. Appendix A was a further account with comments of 6 Innisks action on 24 Feb.

1430 Message was received from ‘Y’ Division that an Arab reported 500 men at 563091.

During the afternoon, Corps Commander and Commander ‘Y’ Division visited Bttns. Brigade Commander made a further recce south to El Aroussa.

25th/26th February – BOU ARADA.

1 RIrF found, as ordered, standing patrols to cover approaches from the hills, but these patrols had nothing to report.

An enemy patrol raided position of A Coy 1 RIrF in Olive Grove 5704 and took PWs, also killing three and wounding four.

26th February – BOU ARADA.

0645 Enemy launched an attack on 2 LIR positions. The main events are given in diary form below:-

0645 Enemy attacked 611083 from north.

0840 Enemy occupying hill 611083, 624088 and gully 634081.

0850 Enemy had infiltrated between left Coys, 2 LIR.

0910 enemy line 6109 – 6408 with pocked at pt 683. Hill 6208 infiltrated on three sides.

1020 Counter Attack by Brigade reserve cleared Farm 637082 and gully to east but enemy on hill 623088.

1120 Enemy had withdrawn north from 623088.

1200 623083 held by us.

1420 Enemy still at 624088 and between two Coys (area 6308).

1650 1 RIrF (less three Coys) arrived 613065. Platoon and two 3” mortars put at disposal 2 LIR.

1700 6 Innisks reported: captured 20 PW 641085. No penetration to plain was observed all day.

1800 Sitrep sent to ‘Y’ Division.

26th/27th February – BOU ARADA.

Quiet night.

27th February – BOU ARADA.

0905 Enemy digging Farm 645102. Artillery engaged.

1000 All quiet. Enemy believed still 611083.

1350 Coy at 663107 approaching Farm 645102.

1420 30 enemy going west same area.

1620 Position at 611083 restored.

1815 Message to Bttns ordering 6 Innisks to take command of F and H Coys 2 LIR.

Brigade Intelligence Summary was issued (including a list of place names in common use in the Bou Arada sector).

2130 Sitrep sent to ‘Y’ Division.

27th/28th February – BOU ARADA.

Fighting patrols to Farms 633105 and 617112 had nothing to report. Some west to east movement of enemy vehicles was reported north east of the position.

28th February – BOU ARADA.

Brigade Intelligence Summary was issued.

0800 2 LIR captured two men of A.24 at 611082, who had been wounded and stayed behind their Coy.

1350 A Coy 1 RIrF advanced to 623090, and found it clear. Trace showing dispositions at Appendix 75.

28th February/1st March – BOU ARADA.

30 men approached pt 286 and took up position. Sign of a relief. Patrol of 1 RIrF with object of harassing enemy supply lines made contact 633134 and inflicted casualties of enemy post of 8 and 2 MGs. Patrol attacked occupants, again laid up and took Cpl and L/Cpl PW. These were 1/A.24 and stated their Bttn was cooperating with I/HGJR.