Irish Brigade

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

Faugh a Ballagh        Nec Aspera Terrent         Quis Separabit


38 (Irish) Brigade – November 1943

1st November – PETACCIATO. 

0535 2 LIR reported all quiet.

0545 6 Innisks reported occasional bursts of MG fire and flares west of R Trigno during night.

0710 2 LIR to investigate new (?) diggings 300 yards in front of own positions found five – seven pits all unoccupied.

1700 Sitrep and patrol results.


2nd November – PETACCIATO.

0500 2 LIR reported quiet night.

0545 6 Innisks observed flashing light during night otherwise NTR.

0630 2 LIR patrol contacted enemy 602805. Reports enemy MGs rd and track junction 612815. Little shelling overnight in bridgehead area.

0715 2 LIR report river diversion passable by new direction. Culvert north of crossing completed.

0900 1 RIrF reported Bttn in position by 0330hrs. Bttn HQ established on track 660767 otherwise NTR.

1140 2 LIR reported they were sending patrol to 598784 tonight but were later ordered not to patrol.

1650 38 Brigade Operation Instruction No 3 issued.

1740 Situation on Brigade front, see Sitrep.

1800 36 Brigade Tac HQ established 657829

2000 1 RIrF reported location 679791.


3rd November – PETACCIATO.

0700 2 LIR reported own troops and tanks on pt40 (6282). Enemy shelling bridge all night.

0745 5 Buffs informed 36 Brigade on first objective, and their neighbours on their objective.

0845 36 Brigade informed 6 Innisks 622818 mined and booby trapped.

0920 Divisional Commander received information of possible counter attack.

0922 5 Buffs reported few casualties, Advance continues.

1020 5 Buffs asked for assistance from 46 RTR as enemy tanks very near and in area 609840.Vineyard  Hill in our hands.

1035 Tac HQ reported 8 A&SH confirmed enemy tanks A/Tk position 580844. Enemy mortar fire from Colle Olivetta 6082. One Mark IV knocked out. Tank battle brewing. Mines reported 622818.

1050 5 Buffs reported position critical. Heavy enemy mortar fire.

1100 8-12 enemy aircraft attacked area road junction 6677. 6 Innisks A Echelon hit – 4 killed, 9 wounded. 3 vehicles destroyed. 1 RIrF 1 killed and 3 wounded. 2 carriers and 2 15 cwt trucks 1 ammunition truck on fire. Road cratered.

1500 12 Kittyhawks bombed area 5686.

1525 Enemy aircraft attacked road junction 6677. 2 trucks hit.

1715 Situation Brigade front. See Sitrep.

2000 1 RIrF moving to area 6381.

2100 Escaped British PoW from San Salvo gave information on enemy plight when our barrage went down night 2/3 Nov. Enemy MT fled leaving occupants in the town. Considerable demoralisation of enemy caused by bombardment. 2 LIR reported 2 PoW identified 16 Panzer Pi Bttn surrendered this afternoon. Forwarded to Divisional cage.

A summary of 6 Innisks part in the battle of San Salvo 3 Nov 43 is attached as appendix.


4th November – PETACCIATO.

0155 Move of 1 RIrF postponed. Location impossible to ascertain.

0715 6 RWK and 6 Innisks reported in San Salvo. 5 Buffs reported concentrating outside town.

0940 2 LIR reported two enemy deserters taken Farm 611820. Identified Panzer Pi Bttn and 2 Coy 64 Panzer Grenadier Regiment.

0945 Divisional Commander ordered 38 Brigade to patrol forward from left flank to areas 5781, 5879. 1 East Surreys occupied station of San Salvo and ridge to west. Station reported heavily booby trapped. 2 LF and 5 Northamptons concentrating north of River Trigno. 25 Shermans reported moving  north west to Vasto.

1030 1 RIrF reported bridge 665783 collapsing. 6 Innisks reported at 607825 and holding San Salvo with 5 Buffs. Casualties estimated at 100. Enemy counter attack from north of San Salvo shelled effectively by own artillery. Enemy fire continued until 2320hrs 3 November. 1 RIrF reported crater in town at 627824 but not impeding traffic.6 Innisks to remain under command 36 Brigade until further notice.

1104 36 Brigade informed 38 Brigade by sitrep that 6 RWK moving to Vineyard Hill (east of San Salvo). 5 Northamptons in readiness. 8 A&SH moving on.

1215 Route to San Salvo via coast road and San Salvo station now believed clear.

1335 11 Brigade reported enemy tanks on their left flank and 4 Armoured Brigade standing by.

1540 Two PoWs taken by 6 Innisks in San Salvo night 3/4 November. Identified 2 & 3 coys 16 Pz Pi Bttn. 1 RIrF reported patrol (two platoons) searched area 6278 and found nothing. Reached pt150 (5979) taking three PoWs. Patrols continuing to search area 5879 – 5779 – 5781. Probably returning 5 November.  

1700 Situation on brigade front see Sitrep.

1725 Division informed brigade of location of MG pt 195 (595787) and enemy mortars 578819.


5th November – PETACCIATO.

0700 1 RIrF patrol reported enemy mortar positions 588782, 595798 and MG position 595787 and by mortar position 577819.

0845 Division reported 36 Brigade on outskirts of Vasto and not in contact. 11 Brigade reported on ridge north east of Cupello without opposition and tanks moving to Montedorisio.

1130 1 RIrF location Farm 607822.

1410 Civilians reported 20 enemy and MGs dugs in 576809. Main Brigade HQ closed Convent, Petacciato (712793) and reopened same time San Salvo (607827). Tac HQ remained open at same location.

1600 Patrol 6 Innisks to 583797 searching farms. No enemy seen. Patrol moved south west to ridge but own artillery stopped further progress. Civilians reported enemy on ridge 5779 – 5879 (? OP). Further point reached by patrol pt210 (5782). Road clear to San Salvo. Bridge 578819 mines in neighbourhood.

2000 Tac HQ closed at present location and joined main HQ in San Salvo.

2100 Situation at first light see Sitrep.


6th November – SAN SALVO.

0530 Bttns reported quiet night. 

1500 6 Innisks and 1 RIrF ordered to move to concentration area 5888. 2 LIR remaining in present location at bridgehead over Trigno.

1818 6 Innisks reported HQ at 580888.

2000 1 RIrF reported HQ at 583863.


7th November – SAN SALVO.

0500 Bttns nothing to report over night.

0800 Brigade HQ closed San Salvo 607827 and reopened same time at station of Istonio 591897. 


8th November- ISTONIO.

1400 Brigade HQ moved from Istonio and reopened same time 558913.

1400 2 LIR reported location HQ 580914, E Coy 579913, F Coy 584914, G Coy 581913, H Coy 582911.

1410 1 RIrF reported move complete 1400hrs. HQ 583863 and Bttn concentration area 5886.

1525 6 Innisks reported moving location HQ 580888, A Coy 584789, B Coy 582887, C Coy 578884, D Coy 583885, S Coy 579887. Move complete by 1830hrs. 

1640 Situation at first light. See Sitrep.


9th November – 588913.

0500 Bttns nothing to report overnight.

0510 Brigade informed by Division of restriction of MT movement forward of Vasto and Montedorisio and 9158. Bttns informed.

0900 Major R Foster, G2 (Air), 5 Corps gave talk to Adjutants and IOs bttns at Brigade HQ. Major HFW Holmes, 1 RIrF, Brigade Major 38 Brigade posted 2 i/c 1 RIrF. Major J Stewart 8 A&SH posted to this HQ as Brigade Major.

1810 Rum issue authorised all troops tonight.

1955 Sitrep. Nothing to report.

2031 Lt GE Cole LO, 38 Brigade attached to 87 Squadron 79 Group USAAF for three days.

10th November – 558913.

0500 Bttns nothing to report.

1200 Brigade Intelligence Summary issued.

1220 Brigade informed by Division that tracked vehicles not to move except for operational purposes.

1730 Sitrep nothing to report.


11th November – 558913.

0500 Bttns nothing to report. Brigade Intelligence summary issued.

1000 Brigade Commander attended conference at Divisional HQ.

1630 COs’ conference at Brigade HQ.

1700 Brigade sitrep nothing to report.


12th November – 558913.

0500 Bttns nothing to report. Brigade Intelligence Summary issued.

1715 Brigade sitrep nothing to report.


13th November – 558913.

0500 Bttns nothing to report. Brigade Intelligence Summary issued.

Personal message from General Dwight D Eisenhower, dated 8 Nov 1943 received.

Brigade IO recced proposed Brigade assembly area.

1645 Brigade sitrep nothing to report. Defence plan for Brigade HQ issued.


14th November – 558913.

0500 Bttns nothing to report. 

1000 COs’ conference at Brigade HQ. Brigade Intelligence Summary issued. 

1755 Brigade informed by Division that two Italian monks dressed in brown expected to pass through our lines from north 15 – 17 November. Bttns ordered to pass any such persons answering this description immediately to this HQ. 

2300 Division informed brigade that road Casalbordino – River Sangro under control 5 Corps wef 17 November and authority to use must be applied for from Division by 0700hrs previous day.


15th November – 588913.

0500 Bttns nothing to report.

1415 78 Division movement table night 16/17 received.

Brigade Intelligence Summary issued.

1532 Brigade movement order O.560 issued.


16th November – 558913.

1900 Brigade sitrep nothing to report.


17th November – 588913.

0500 Bttns nothing to report.

0730 2 LIR reported new location HQ 452938.

1300 Representative of J Service visited HQ and requested all information.

Put on Brigade distribution list.

Brigade Intelligence Summary issued, with an appreciation of possibilities of enemy counter attack in Fossacesia area.

Army Commander’s conference at Vasto attended by Brigade Commander.

Conference at Divisional HQ attended by Brigade Commander, followed by Army Commander’s conference.

1700 Brigade Sitrep nothing to report.

1730 78 Division Admin Instruction No 9 received.

1925 Road Casalebordino – River Sangro closed to all 78 Division vehicles except between 2030 to 2100hrs.


18th November – 558913.

0500 Bttns nothing to report.

1200 Brigade Intelligence Summary issued.

1800 Brigade sitrep nothing to report.

38 Brigade Operation Order No 30 issued.


19th November – 558913.

0315 Bttns informed that details of Encroach will not be passed to officers until D -1.

0500 Bttns nothing to report.

Bttns ordered to send carriers to carrier park independently and not with tanks and not before 1600hrs 19 November.

Warning order to 6 Innisks and 1 RIrF re marching personnel to be prepared to move on TCVs morning 19 November. Embossing point own location.

Debussing point 458942.

Brigade ordered two MMGs plus D Squadron Group under command 1 RIrF for move reporting 1530hrs.

1000 Brigade order reference marching troops issued.

1015 Division informed Brigade of bomb line from first light D – 1: 420053 – 370000, first light D Day not south of 07 northing and not west of 36 Easting. After capture of Fossacesia not south of 10 Northing.

1020 Division informed that ASC tentacle coming to Brigade area 4599 on D-1.

1200 Brigade Intelligence summary issued.

1315 6 Innisks and 1 RIrF informed by Brigade that no marching troops will proceed forward of debussing areas before 1700hrs. Order of march as for TCVs. 36 Brigade informed 38 Brigade that R. Sangro crossing on night 18/19 Nov as follows: 396979 two feet deep, current fast; 399981 two feet deep current fast;416992 three feet deep current fast; 419999 three feet deep; 430020 three feet six inches deep and difficult.

1500 Brigade order for move issued.

Amendment No 1 to 38 (Irish) Brigade Operation Order No 30 dated 18 November issued.

Personal message from Army Commander received.

1730 Last light sitrep nothing to report.

2145 Brigade HQ closed present location and reopened 453997.


20th November – 453997.

0420 Sitrep. Locations: Brigade HQ 453997, 6 Innisks 433989, 2 LIR area 44 Royal Tanks.

1 RIrF area 430990 tracked vehicles 4499. A Echelon less 2 LIR area 4499. A Echelon 2 LIR 4593. B Echelon unchanged.

1200 Brigade Intelligence Summary issued.

1325 B Echelon 6 Innisks informed of return of Bttn and to warn any unit occupying Bttn billets to be prepared to move out.

Amendment No 2 to 38 (Irish) Brigade Operational Order No 30 issued 18th Nov issued.

1545 Brigade Group informed that all personnel and carriers left in carrier park at 1800 20 November come under command of Major DT Little, 6 Innisks.

1600 6 Innisks reported they were returning to area Vasto 1630hrs.

Brigade Instructions on Traffic Control issued.

1715 Situation on Brigade front at last light see SitRep


21st November – 453997.

0500 Bttns nothing to report.

0600 2 LIR reported established 1830 20 Nov at 412942.

1200 Brigade Intelligence Summary issued.

1330 1 RIrF reported C and D Coys moved into new billets Torino.

1400 Brigade HQ closed present location and reopened same time Castelbordino.

1500 Division ordered Brigade to send 200 men for working party with REs tonight. Bttns informed by LO.

1515 6 Innisks reported Bttn HQ 553922.

Amendment No 3 to 38 (Irish) Brigade Operational Order No 30 dated 18 November issued.

1820 38 Brigade responsible for mule park until situation changes.

1900 Proforma and request for daily mule state sent to OC Mule Park.


22nd November – CASALBORDINO.

0500 Bttns nothing to report.

0730 Division traffic control order for Operation Encroach received and issued to Bttns.

Brigade Intelligence Summary issued.

Division directive (O.595 dated 22 November) on air support received.

1700 Last light Sitrep nothing to report.

1855 Division informed Brigade that use of main road west of Casalbordino after dark by vehicles without clock timings must cease. Units likely to be late must inform TCP.

Track running west of Casalbordino to H.5299 is not to be used without Division permission.


23rd November – Casalbordino.

0500 Bttns nothing to report.

Brigade Intelligence summary issued.

Amendment No 4 to 38 (Irish) Brigade Operational Order No 3 dated 18 November issued.

1515 Brigade Group informed that move unlikely before 25 November.

1730 Conference at Brigade HQ attended by Divisional Commander, Brigade Commanders 4 Armoured Brigade and 38 Brigade and G1.

Last light Sitrep nothing to report.


24th November – CASALBORDINO.

0500 Bttns nothing to report.

Brigade Intelligence Summary issued.

1715 Conference at Brigade HQ attended by Divisional Commander, CCRA, CRA Commanders 11,36 and 38 Brigades.

1800 Sitrep 4 ME 109s attacked and dropped one bomb in each of the following areas: 4402, 4199, 4198 at 1548hrs.

1830 AASC requests confirmation of crashed ME 109 area 4400 at 1600hrs.

Replied no reports received as yet.

2240 2 LIR reported moving 1630 hrs 25 November.


25th November – CASALBORDINO.

0500 1 RIrF reported shells of heavy calibre fell in Torino during night.

6 Innisks and 2 LIR nothing to report.

0830 Bttns informed of no movement order west of 5095 day or night without permission.

0845 2 LIR move today via covered route march to Casalbordino . Not to move east of road junction 459941 before 1700hrs. Carriers and A.Tk guns remain in present location.

1110 Bttns ordered to maintain roads in their own areas.

Brigade Intelligence Summary issued.

1700 Sitrep. 20 enemy shells landed area Torino 1500-1530hrs.

Conference at Brigade HQ attended by Divisional Commander, Commanders 11, 36 and 38 Brigades, and Commander 4 Armoured Brigade and AQ.

1900 2 LIR reported move complete and Bttn HQ at 483942

5 Corps vehicle movement order received.

2045 Bttns informed that carriers 1 RIrF will cross River Sangro night 25/26 November. Remaining carriers prepared to cross night 26/27 November. 6 Innisks not to move 26 November.


26th November – CASALBORDINO.

0255 No carriers able to cross River Sangro. Water rising. Division informed.

0500 Sitrep. No crossing Sangro night 25/26 November by carriers, otherwise nothing to report.

Brigade Intelligence Summary issued.

1130 Lt-Col TN Grazebrook DSO, OC 6 Innisks ordered to report to Brigade HQ as soon as possible for conference.

1415 Details of Bttn move received from Division by Q.632.

1430 Staff Captain and representatives from each Bttn recced Bttn positions west of River Sangro.

1500 COs’ conference at Brigade HQ.

1645 38 Brigade ordered by Division to concentrate west of River Sangro night 27/28 November.

1700 Last light sitrep nothing to report.

Conference Brigade HQ attended by Commanders 11, 36, and 38 Brigades, Divisional Commander, AQ and Brigade Major 4 Armoured Brigade and Lt-Col Grazebrook.

1830 Lieut GE Cole LO 38 Brigade conducting carrier crossings tonight.

2145 Brigade Group conference at Brigade HQ.

2150 Lieut Cole reported carriers past start point and some were already over, three had broken down. Crossings going according to plan.

2320 Lieut Cole reported all carriers across except for two from 1 RIrF and two from RA. Division informed


27th November – CASALBORDINO.

Bttns and Division informed that carrier park established across river. Bttns moving to lying up area tonight. 2 LIR 401005, 6 Innisks 403008, 1 RIrF 408017.

Brigade Intelligence Summary issued.

Lieut R Laming RCS Signals Officer 38 Brigade admitted ADS.

Confirmatory Notes Plan Mike (in modification of 38 Brigade OO No 30 dated 18 November) issued.

Confirmatory Notes Plan John (in modification of 38 Brigade OO No 30 dated 18th November) issued.

Admin Instructions issued in conjunction with Confirmatory Notes Plan John (in modification of 38 Brigade OO No 30 dated 18 November) issued.

1515 Brigade informed that subdued side lights area allowed on road Vasto to Casalbordino but not past pt 442004.

1630 Brigade HQ closed Casalbordino and reopened same time Torino 446983.

1745 Last light Sitrep Brigade HQ established Torino 446983.

1800 44 Royal Tanks reported to have 27 tanks across river and 50 Royal Tanks 32.

1815 Brigade Commander and Brigade IO left Brigade HQ to establish Tac HQ in tank at 422996.

2300 Main Brigade HQ informed that IO involved in road accident and returning.

2330 Lieut Chambers LO 38 Brigade appointed acting IO vice Capt JHF Hobbs admitted to ADS.


28th November – TORINO.

0500 Bttns nothing to report.

0900 Brigade informed by Division that Indian Division troops counter attacked in Mozzagrogn and forced off objective. Own tanks were unable to advance on San Maria road due to large crater. Locations: 6 Innisks 403003, 2 LIR 401007, 1 RIrF 405016.

Brigade Intelligence Summary issued.

1730 Situation on Brigade front at last light see Sitrep.

1800 Gully 402012 reported mined and some S mines at foot of escarpment.

1900 3 CLY reported 45 tanks over river, 44 Royal Tanks 41 and 50 Royal Tanks 37.

2105 Intention night 28/29 November. 4 Armoured Brigade with in support 38 (Irish) Brigade and 8 A & SH advance at first light to seize and hold San Maria thence advancing astride road San Maria – Fossacesia destroying all enemy up to the sea.


29th November – TORINO.

0515 1 RIrF report in outskirts of Mozzagrogna covering RE work in road San Maria.

Brigade plan; 6 Innisks to take Ridge Li Colli (3702) then San Maria with tanks to be relieved by 8 A & SH when San Maria secure. After relief, Plan Charlie.

 0935 50 Royal Tanks reported on Ridge Li Colli and 6 Innisks taking over and consolidating. Enemy shelling and mortaring from Fossacesia area.

1035 Enemy DF on San Maria. 6 Innisks having some trouble on left flank and asked for support. Tanks have encountered many mines but will go to 6 Innisks assistance when cleared.

1045 Tanks reported at 385035 and to have taken PoWs. Enemy shelling forward slopes San Maria.

1130 6 Innisks reported at 367015.

Brigade Intelligence Summary issued.

Lieut A Roy 265201 RCS appointed Signals Officer, 38 Brigade vice Lieut R Laming RCS admitted ADS.

1450 6 Innisks reported in San Maria and mopping up. 50 Royal Tanks reached rd San Maria to Fossacesia Great number of mines and road bad.

1700 Situation at last light see Sitrep.


30th November – TORINO.

0620 Bttns Sitrep nothing to report.

0730 2 LIR reported location 371019.

0820 Zero hour for attack on Fossacesia postponed. 44 Royal Tanks held up by four enemy SP guns.

0900 RE requested to help tanks forward.

0905 1 RIrF holding Ridge Li Colli (3702) HQ 383724.

0930 6 ME 109s attacked River Sangro crossings and dropped bombs on own transport causing casualties and damage. One plane shot down by LAA. One own aircraft forced down. Pilot safe.

0940 3 enemy SP guns reported knocked out 363013 by 50 Royal Tanks.

0950 Tanks closing in on start line. 2 LIR in position and moving up. Zero hour 1015hrs.

Casualties 29 November: 6 Innisks killed 1 and 8, wounded 1 and 29, missing nil and 1. 2 LIR killed nil wounded nil and 7 missing nil.  1 RIrF killed 1 and 18, wounded 1 and 24, missing nil and 2.

Tank casualties 29 November mined 6-8, bogged 7-8, enemy action nil.

1015 Own artillery barrage on Fossacesia commenced.

1048 Enemy tanks reported on left flank. 50 Royal Tanks dealing with them.

1055 Tanks reported going getting difficult but still going on. Destroyed enemy half track.

1140 2 LIR reported on outskirts of Fossacesia. 6 Innisks ready to move off. 8 A & SH ordered to extend to positions vacated by 6 Innisks on Ridge Li Colli.

1158 1 RIrF warned to move up to line of road Fossacesia and to be ready for phase 4.

1250 6 Innisks ordered to send Bttn representative to bend in road and to go up with tanks and give them a hand. When this is cleared up, continue with original plan.

1300 2 LIR forward coy in Fossacesia.

1315 Right coy 2 LIR reported everything tidied up.

Zero next phase 1430hrs.

1335 1 RIrF reported well up behind 2 LIR.

Own tanks reported having cut road Fossacesia – Rocca San Giovanni at 390052. Three 88 mms reported knocked out 383047 and 362055.

Enemy counter attack on Mozzagrogna broken up and dispersed.

6 Innisks ordered to send one platoon to join tanks for special mopping up operation and probably to escort PoWs.

1430 8 A & SH reported enemy counter attack on San Maria mainly infantry, attacking from direction Lanciano. 8 A & SH have tanks to hand to use if necessary. 2 LIR HQ 3904 Fossacesia.

Zero hour 1 RIrF attack from Fossacesia to sea.

1545 1 RIrF reached monastery 413058.

1610 1 RIrF reached 405058, 413062 and Fossacesia Station 4105.

1630 1 RIrF established 3904 and coys to east.

1700 HQ 6 Innisks 378029

8 A & SH reported all now quiet except for some sniping and mortar fire.

6 Innisks report 17 PoWs identified 9 Coy 145 Panzer Grenadier Regiment and 361 Panzer Grenadier Regiment.

6 Innisks require A Tks immediately to 396047.

1725 Situation on Brigade front at last light see Sitrep.

1800 Casualties on 30 November: 6 Innisks 19, 2 LIR 1 and 2, 1 RIrF 8, 1 Kens 4.

2000 2 LIR ordered to move A and B Echelons to school 448982. 36 Brigade moving into 2 LIR A and B Echelon positions.

2025 8 A & SH being relieved in San Mariaby 17 Indian Brigade 1 December. 8 A & SH revert to command 36 Brigade 12 noon 1 December.