6 Innisks – April 1943

1st April – IN THE FIELD.

0530 Stand To. Coy Sitreps – all normal.

Standing patrol at Oued Zarga bridge had nothing to report.

Patrols – night 31 March/1 April – reports as per appendices 

1000 Daylight patrols went to recce area north and north east of Plateau Farm.

Very quiet day with little to report. It might be worthy to note, however that the ever welcome NAAFI supplies, which included today an unpopular supply of  Blanco. “Servitor Seavientum” can evidently be translated as “gone but not forgotten.”

2nd April – IN THE FIELD.

0530 Stand To. Sitreps all normal.

Daylight recce patrol of ground immediately north of Plateau Farm by IO (Captain Hanna). Previous night’s patrols – 156/159.

1630 3 officers and 8 OR reinforcements arrive. The battalion was pleased to welcome back Lieut EBS Hewitt, who was wounded when A Coy attacked pt 286 (Bou Arada). Other officers – Lieuts WS Pollard and PGP Mahoney. The unit is now only five officers below establishment.

1930 Patrol No 160 to Oued Bounded. 161 – to 392407.  162 – pt 355 (415436). 163 – to ascertain if “Third Farm” is occupied.

3rd April – IN THE FIELD.

0030  Coy Sitreps all normal. Oued Zarga had nothing to report.

0630 Patrols No 161/3 arrived back.

0945 Brigadier Russell arrived together Artillery Brigadier to recce area suitable for Brigade OP. Another quiet day with very little to report.

1145 Enemy put six shells on area between A and D Coys’ positions.

1400 IO and Coy Commanders recce area to the north of Plateau Farm.

Battle course training under Captain Kerr for HQ platoons.

1615/1700 Patrols 165/166 go to Plateau Farm. Patrol 164 to Quarry Farm. 165 to Avenue Farm.

4th April – IN THE FIELD.

0530 All Coys normal and nothing to report.

0630 Patrols 164/167 return.

0830 CO holds conference and explains general situation and the role of the Battalion in the near future, which is to attack pt 355 on Djebel Mahdi J414435.

1830 Strong fighting patrol consisting of Lieut Beeching and 16 ORs (5 int. section) went out to recce route to start line.

Coy Commander and other reps went up to gunner OP on D Coy hill to see Mahdi and approach to lying up area J383398.

5th April – IN THE FIELD.

0730 Fighting patrol returned and reported having run into enemy booby trap (teller mine with booby trap) J3941. Lieut Beeching and 2 ORs were killed and 3 ORs wounded.

Throughout the day, Coys took reps to vantage points to view ground to SP on Mahdi

1000 O Group conference. Battalion to move off for night march to assembly area at 2130hrs. No transport can be taken.  Battalion is allotted 65 mules. Assembly area J383398. Route cross country via Third Farm 376380. Pioneer platoon to go forward to prepare crossing over gully MR J 387395 and route to be picketed by intelligence section.

1900 Brigadier arrived to see CO.

2130 Battalion moved off in following order – C, Bttn HQ, A, D, B.  B Coy carrying Bttn tools.

6th April – IN THE FIELD.

0530 Battalion all in assembly point after all night march. Everyone very wet through marching through very wet cornfields.

1000 O Group conference. Rest of the day, the Bttn lies low.

Plan for attack on Mahdi. Bttn to leave assembly area 0030hrs in following order: A, Bttn HQ,  C, B (carrying tools), D Coy to go out to picket route with strong fighting patrols and then come into reserve. Captain Hanna and Intelligence Section to prepare route to start line and mark with tape together with section D Coy and Pioneer platoon to clear mines and prepare mines and prepare gully crossing at bottom of Mahdi 4141. Section RE to report to Bttn HQ for purpose of detecting mines.

2000 This RE section missed the route and blew up on bridge 393408. Delay caused in getting up new section, causing Bttn to be 1/2 hour later leaving assembly area.

7th April – IN THE FIELD.

0400 Zero. A Coy on right, D Coy on left. Bttn HQ centre rear. B Coy carrying tools, reserve coy D Coy to close and follow Bttn at 0430hrs.

Artillery barrage 2-20-2 and then left from 2 to 2 and 50. Filed medium and heavies were used.

Owing to late start from assembly area, Bttn was rushed at start line and went straight over.

0515 C Coy gained their objective with very little resistance, A Coy held up by MMG. CO went forward to support company and spotted MG post on reverse slopes. He directed the bren gunner to the target. The gunner was unable to follow his directions so CO called for the bren gun himself. Before the bren gun arrived, Lt-Col Allen looked up to keep the gun under observation and was shot down through the head. Major Bunch took over temporary command of the Bttn.

0630 Enemy mortar fire became heavy causing casualties to all Coys. Position was taken by 1000hrs despite several half hearted counter attacks, but A Coy was pinned to the ground by MMG fire from their front. 30 prisoners from 2 from 334/AR were taken.

Transports on our right and rear flanks seemed to be meeting with success and enemy were seen running from farm houses and points of cover. Especially from O’Connor Farm 436415 when Churchill tanks approached from the west.

1100 R group 1 RIrF arrived with object of going through Bttn position and taking pt437 422452.

1330 Major J McCann arrived from Battle Replacements to assume command.

1400 1 RIrF went through Bttn position.

1630 Reinforcements from 16 DLI arrived to take over Bttn position.

2030 Takeover by 16 DLI complete. Bttn marched back to area Plateau Farm J387393, arriving about midnight.

During the attack, the mules proved to be of immense value as country was difficult and supplies could not have been brought up by other means.

8th April – PLATEAU FARM.

On arriving back to Plateau Farm. Lt-Col TN Grazebrook was there to greet us and take over command of the Bttn. A day of make and mend. During the evening, CO was warned to stand by for conference at Brigade.

9th April – PLATEAU FARM.

0030 CO attends conference at Brigade.

0630 O Group conference discusses sweep over area J 3944, which is still occupied by enemy.

0745 O Group go out and recce area. Adjutant goes to coys and puts them in the picture and warns them to be ready to move at 1000hrs.

0900 CO attends conference at Brigade and sends back message. Zero put back one hour.

0950 O Group returns from recce.

1100 Coys pass SP 392400. Zero is fixed for 1300hrs. Order of march B, Bttn HQ, A, C, D.

Plan A & B to take pt 361 (397447). When A had established fire plan, B Coy to go on to high ground on 3945. In the meantime, C Coy to go along gully running through square 4044. When B Coy had taken their objective, D Coy to clear gully 3944.

Bttn was slowed down during the approach march by shelling of bridge J 392407 with the result that the attack was to be late going in.

The attack was supported by 102 Field Regiment and battery of mediums.

1320 Artillery barrage.

1325 A & B Coys crossed start line.

1405 Coys reached foot of objective where B Coy stayed and covered A Coy, who went round and attacked up east side and took 8 prisoners 1/755 Infantry Regiment.

1445 B Coy went forward covered by D Coy covered from foot of pt 361, but were held up by MMG points and eventually made crossing of open ground between pt 361 and next objective. 

A well dug in MMG post held up B Coy for two hours. Eventually they ran out from our Artillery and allowed B Coy to proceed to their next objective. C Coy’s advance was held up by minefield in square J 4044, where three of the Coy suffered casualties. It is indeed lucky that this field was not covered by fire. The Coy eventually was led out of the minefield by prisoners sent back by A Coy.

1625 A & C start up withdrawing covering each other’s route.

1715 B Coy’s second attempt to take their second objective failed and they were ordered to withdraw.

1810 Orders from Brigade for Bttn to start withdrawal. During the sweep, 50 prisoners from 12 and 4 Coy 755 were taken.

1930 Bttn all back at Plateau Farm area (own casualties 2 killed and 12 wounded.

2000 Brigadier arrived and gave CO rough plan for sweep on 10 April over forward slopes of Mahdi.

10th April – PLATEAU FARM.

0030 CO attends conference at Brigade.

0730 CO sends back for R Group to meet him on Mahdi on 0900hrs. Owing to a misunderstanding, O Group consisting of Coy Commanders, Adjutant and Intelligence Section met the CO, who takes them forward to the OP and view ground in front and points out features. Rough plan is for 1 RIrF to work forward and if held up we are to go through them. The features to be swept are ‘Gouring’ 4250 and 4349, ‘Diaman’ 4151, Tekla 4051.

0845 Bttn moves off from Plateau by march route and arrives at assembly area J 423449 at abut 1200hrs.

1505 CO is called to conference at Brigade and Bttn is ordered forward to hold Gouring with RIrF over night.

1700 RIrF had met no opposition but B Coy found 18 enemy on the forward slopes of Mahdi waiting to give themselves up. They were 3/755 Infantry Regiment stated their officers had left three days before.

1900 By 1900hrs, Bttn reached J4248, where it was met by the RIrF, who said there was no room on Gouring for two Bttns and it was decided to stay in area J 4248 overnight as no enemy could be found. Bttn takes up defensive positions and sends out early warning patrols.

11th April –MAHDI.

Transport bringing up blankets, greatcoats, food and water could not find the Bttn, who spend a very cold night.

0500 A/Tk guns, MMG and Mortars are sited and put into position at first light.

0830 LO arrived from Black Watch and gave their position as area 4649 with role of guarding about 35 Churchill tanks.

0900 CO, who went to Brigade about 0800, came back with Brigadier. We are ordered to stay where are with role of collecting any enemy moving east from drive being carried out by 4 Division, who were making for Sidi Nisr.

Coys found much enemy booty during the day include complete Coy stores of 100 pairs of boots, 100 shirts, underclothes and mosquito nets. IO and Signals Officer located two enemy cars (6 wheelers), which were later brought in. Orders were received to evacuate the farm after dark and return to area Plateau Farm and go into reserve. This Bttn to cover RIrF out, who are to…. at 1930hrs.

2045 Bttn had covered out the RIrF and marched the eight miles back in tight order. Small packs and platoon weapons (less one bren gun platoon) being put on vehicles.

During the day, the Bttn area was bombed and sustained 3 casualties (1 dead and two wounded).

2330 Bttn all in.

12th April – PLATEAU FARM.

Bttn is told it will probably be in this rest area for about four days.

A day of make and mend. IO and Signals Officer go out at first light and salvage equipment including the two enemy vehicles.

All Bttn get bath in stream.

0230 CO attends conference at Brigade HQ.

1800 CO sees all officers for first time and explains his policy and plans for training programme for next four days.

All vehicles go back to B Echelon for maintenance

13th April – PLATEAU FARM.

Day of make and mend and training. Slight bombing of Bttn area.

14th April – PLATEAU FARM.

Training. Much air activity both our own and enemy.

1845 Warning order from Brigade that we would be moving up to area Chaouach J5140 tomorrow night with Brigade HQ to join 1 RIrF. 2 LIR are moving straight up tonight from their rest area.

15th April – PLATEAU FARM.

1415 CO and 2 in command go to Brigade to get orders from move from Brigade Major.

1500 CO hold O Group conference. Bttn is to go into Brigade reserve area Chaouach J5140. Marching personnel to leave at 1900hrs by track junction: 445394 – 477410 – Toukabeur – Chaouach, only the minimum transport transport to go.

1845 Message received TCVs would report at 1900hrs to lift Bttn. Our own transport and TCVs to go by same route leaving at 1930hrs with Brigade transport in front of column. Route same as march route.

2030 As TCVs have not arrived, Brigade and own transport leave.

2110 TCVs arrive and Bttn now lined up along to Plateau Farm 387392.

2200 Bttn moves off in order Bttn HQ, A, B, C, D.

2300 Head of column arrives at de-bussing pt and marches about 2 miles to assembly area 522407.

2315 CO sees Brigadier at 11 Brigade HQ. Two Coys are ordered to picket road leading to assembly area.

16th April – CHAOUACH.

0130 B Coy leave to picket road at area 526413.

0200 D Coy leave to picket road area 519412.

Lieut Ablett left Bttn to take up duties as instructor at 3 GRU.

Lieut Lambert Porter and 57 ORs arrived as reinforcements.

Captain Kingsmill left Bttn 14 April to return to Canadian Army in England.

1245 CO goes to Brigade and receives orders for Bttn to attack Djebel Tanngoucha J5645. To right 1 RIrF hold pt 622 J560455 and pt 633 J5545. 1 East Surreys are on Djebel Ang J5445. 2 LIR on Djebel Betiour J5444.

1415 Bttn O Group goes to Brigade OP to view ground.

1500 CO attends conference at Brigade to work out artillery fire plan. 2 Field Regiments, 1 Medium Battery, and one of Heavies are in support.

1730 Bttn leaves by march route to assembly area 542445 via Kelbine 535431. O Group goes forward to HQ 1 RIrF to view ground on arrival, It is found that 1 RIrF have not taken pt 622 J 560455, which is still in enemy hands. It is decided that 1 RIrF will capture that point as first phase.

Plan for attack: C Coy right, A Coy left, S/L track running south from pt 622 J5645. D Coy and B to follow two hundred yards behind C and A respectively. When A and C have reached objective, B and D will go through A and C, search forward and then consolidate on reverse slopes. C and A each to have one mortar under command. Hundred beehive mines will accompany B and D Coys with a section of sappers to each coy. 1 RIrF will take and hold pt 622 before zero. Zero is 2359hrs. Coys to be forward up by 2345hrs. Essential stores to be taken in carriers to mule point at Kelbine 530430 and then on mule pack. Compo rations for 17 April will be broken down and carried on the man.

1930 Bttn arrived in assembly area. At last, it is found necessary to change round D and C Coys.

17th April – TANNGOUCHA.

0001 Leading Coys advance under lifting barrage. Unfortunately one gun fails to lift and wounds twelve of D Coy including Captain McCaldin MC and Lieut Lambert Porter.

B and D Coys managed to get on to the objective without much opposition taking 5 Bosche MGs and 16 prisoners. When the barrage lifted, however, a number of enemy Mortars and MMGs opened up from the flanks and could not be silenced.

Tools were now sent forward on mule pack, but in the bright moonlight were spotted and shot up from the flank. The Arab muleteers panicked and the tools never arrived with the Coys. A patrol was sent out from Bttn HQ to silence one MG firing from the left flank, but it was found to be sited in a cave on the cliff face and could not be reached. Another was similarly placed on the cliff face at pt 620 and although Mortar and Piat fire were directed at it, this also could not be dislodged.

Both C and D Coys had had their 18 sets put out of action and Captain Bradley O/C A Coy managed to coordinate these efforts, while B Coy on the left of the objective continued to try and silence flanking MGs.

0430 However, at 0430, it became obvious that the Bttn position would be untenable during daylight owing to these un-destroyed weapons, particularly so, since these coys had been unable to dig in. The CO then went forward to see how serious the situation really was likely to be under these circumstances and after a recce gave the order to withdraw. A Coy reported a counter attack was developing from the eastern slopes of pt 620 J568455. The Bttn then withdrew under artillery support without serious enemy pressure to the lying up position at J542445. Total casualties 4 ORs killed. Captain McCaldin MC and Lieut GF Lambert Porter and 34 ORs wounded.

The Bttn lay up by day.

1730 Orders were received to relive 1 East Surrey Regiment on Djebel Ang J5445 and 2 Lancashire Fusiliers on Dar Mahdouna area 5444 and 5344 tonight. Both these Bttns were reduced to the strength of two rifle companies.

1915 After the OC had met with the OC 1 East Surrey Regiment, orders were issued for the relief to take place as follows: A and C Coys under command Captain Bradley with two MMGs and one mortar under command to Djebel Ang  (J5445). B, D and S Coys on Dar Mahdouna and Bttn HQ 538437 and one Coy LIR in support at 546443. Late arrival of mules delayed forward move of the Bttn but relief was completed by 0115hrs.

18th April – TANNGOUCHA.

One Coy Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders holds Djebel Bon Diss 5244 and 1 RIrF hold pt 622 (5645) and ridge 556454. Djebel Ang position is valuable OP looking north and is consequently a target for possible enemy artillery and mortar fire. By day, only, one platoon C Coy occupies forward slopes with the remainder of the garrison on the reverse slopes. One OR was wounded by artillery splinters. Movement Djebel Ang is nearly restricted to hours of darkness. Bttn suffers from water shortage particularly Djebel Ang, where there is no material supply, water is limited by the number of containers available and amounts to 32 gallons per day for all purposes. Many French and German trenches and equipment are evidence of previous occupation.

Enemy mortar played on Djebel Ang occasionally during the day.

19th April – DJEBEL ANG.

Captain Magginson arrived as reinforcement and is posted to B Coy at 2 in command.

Captain Hanna (IO) goes to hospital with tonsillitis. Lieut Hamilton is brought in to act as IO.

CO goes to Brigade and learns more about the future plan.

20th April – DJEBEL ANG.

Djebel Ang is mortared and shelled during the day. Casualties – 7 ORs wounded.

1400 CO attends conference at Brigade at which both Corps and Army Commander spoke.

2000 CO attends conference at Brigade HQ.

2300 Patrol to J544576 found the enemy occupying it. The patrol dogs were used for the first time. So far, 1 dog and 1 dog handler are missing.

21st April – DJEBEL ANG.

A quiet day with much less mortaring on Djebel Ang. Preparatory plans for forthcoming attack on Tanngoucha.

CO talks to Bttn and explains the forthcoming offensive is the final push with Tunis as objective. 8 Army, 1 Army, French and Americans are all to close in together on Tunis. Our tank superiority is about 1 to 10 and artillery and air superiority is overwhelming. 78 Division task is to clear hills north of River Medjerda and seize high ground at Tebourba Gap 7055. The only transport will be mules and everyone must be prepared to live hard for a few days.

During the evening, 5 Northants take over operational role of Bttn and relive A and C Coys on Djebel Ang. Bttn has a night rest.

22nd April – DJEBEL ANG.

0900 O Group Conference. Plan for attack tonight on Tanngoucha is as follows: B left, D right will attack Tanngoucha under cover of creeping barrage of 78 Division artillery barrage. S/L track running south from pt 622. Bttn HQ will follow B and D. A and C Coys in reserve with probable role of clearing south east and exploiting north. By daylight, the Bttn will be dug in facing north and be prepared to go forward to El Halfa 5746, by which time 2 LIR will have taken Heidous 5544 and have cleared enemy for about 1 /2 mile to east of it.

The RIrF on the north will have cleared high spurs 300 yards out of pt 622 and mopped up Bergerine 5546.

Bttn is allotted 105 mules. These are divided into F1, F2 and A Echelons.

1530 CO attends conference of COs and Brigadier at HQ 2 LIR.

1700 Final coordinating conference of Coy Commanders.

2100 Zero for Brigade attack on position Tanngoucha, pt 622, Butler’s Hill.

Bttn objective – Tanngoucha.

Bttn attacked with two coys forward. D right, B left. Both Coys got onto their objective under an artillery barrage, but D Coy, on reaching the rocky outcrop, was unable to dislodge the enemy concealed in caves and crevices, and became pinned down under heavy fire at short range. On the left, the RIrF failed to clean up pt 622; consequently B Coy was exposed to heavy fire from both flanks.

23rd April – TANNGOUCHA.

Bttn HQ moved forward 1000 yards beyond start line and dug in. A Coy was sent forward behind D Coy but was unable to reach the rocks, while C Coy was ordered to clear pt 622, which is an outcrop of rock 500 yards long with sheer cliffs 50 to 100 feet high and which the enemy has converted into a fortress. C Coy was unable to advance along the whole of its length and thus B Coy was exposed the full effects of fire from both flanks, and when counter attacked by two coys was forced to withdraw after fierce resistance and heavy casualties, 3 out of the 4 officers being killed or missing.

At first light, D Coy was sill pinned down at point blank range in an untenable position. Smoke shells were put down to get them away but this was used by the Coy to go forward and capture 22 prisoners and 4 MGs, before the withdrawal was made in the face of a counter attack. Of the .. men and officers who came back, only ..were un-wounded.

Meanwhile on the right flank, 2 LIR had failed to clear Heidous village, which was now behind the Bttn position. The situation was therefore: A Coy dug in on the right in an exposed position,; Bttn HQ in line with it. And C Coy on the ridge to the left. Movement by day was extremely limited, but, in fact, the amount of sniping and mortaring received by the Bttn was surprisingly light. The remnants of B and D Coys were reformed with a single company under OC B Coy and the A/Tk platoon was brought up as an infantry platoon to reinforce it. Total casualties during the 24 hrs were 4 officers and 43 ORs.

Supplies of fuel, water and ammunition were brought up after dark on the mule track.

24th April – TANNGOUCHA.

Retained previous positions on lower slopes of Tanngoucha. Slight mortaring and machine gunning from the enemy, which was answered by our MGs and mortars from positions in rear in area of the original start line. Weather warm with mist in the morning and evening.

CO called to Brigade conference at midnight back near Kelbine and was provided by Brigade with a horse for the return journey. Casualties for the day:8 ORs. B Coy remained in reserve, re-forming.

25th April – TANNGOUCHA.

38 (Irish) Infantry Brigade makes third and successful attempt to capture the strong and dominating Tanngoucha and pt 622 features. The RIrF on our left attack pt 622 and Butler’s Hill, while we were to get onto Tanngoucha as opportunity offers. B Coy move up to take over right rear coy of 1 RIrF.

Zero at 1230hrs. A Coy and smoke put down by FOO with 6 Innisks are able to give material assistance to the capture of pt 622, where a number of prisoners were taken. As soon as this is complete, A Coy and C Coy advance under small arms covering fire from B Coy and 1 RIrF to Tanngoucha and the saddle on the left. Little enemy resistance is encountered and occupation is complete by 1440hrs. Remainder of Bttn comes up to consolidate with A Coy at the forward end of Tanngoucha, C Coy at the rear, B Coy in reserve on the middle between Tanngoucha and pt 622. MMGs and 3” Mortars are distributed under commanders of coys, and Bttn HQ remains in previous location. Considerable quantities of German and captured British equipment were found on the rock.

59 prisoners were taken. Casualties today were: 16 ORs. The body of Lieut Hill was found and removed for burial.

After occupation, the position was heavily shelled by the enemy but without causing casualties. Patrols during the night failed to make contact with the enemy.

26th April – GOULACH GULLY.

Intelligence from the higher command appreciates that the enemy has made a deep withdrawal; consequently the Bttn is ordered to push forward a Coy a first light to gain contact. B Coy is detailed for this role and moves off soon after first light. Later, Brigade Orders are received for the Bttn to advance with 1 RIrF on left along an axis of advance to the Tebourba Gap 15 miles ahead across extremely difficult mountainous country, making good a series of dominating features on route. Owing to a delay in getting forward the necessary mules, which had been sent back to Kelbine to water and feed, departure was delayed until 1400hrs. The Bttn moved into Goulach village and along the Goulach valley to pt 283, where it was subjected to shelling and MG fire from Kel El Senach, which caused 2 casualties. Meanwhile B Coy, having advanced over the Ragbet El Halfa without opposition, began climbing the extremely steep and rocky western slopes of Kef El Senach. Having gained the first slopes without opposition, it reached within 100 yards of the second ridge, where it was met by heavy MG fire and forced to withdraw to the 1st ridge. Since it was without support and the remainder of the Bttn was 2 miles away and under observation of the enemy in a narrow valley, it was ordered to remain there until dark and then rejoin the Bttn. Meanwhile, the Bttn having formed up in the valley behind Goulach village moved last at dusk and met B Coy in the valley.

Casualties suffered by B Coy during the day amounted to 3 ORs. The strength of the Bttn today is as follows:

Btttn HQ – 6 officers, 78 ORs;

A Coy – 3 officers, 33 ORs (one platoon);

B & D Coys – 3 officers, 50 ORs (two platoons);

C Coys – 2 officers, 41 ORs (two platoons);

S Coy – 4 officers, 77 ORs (Mortar and MG platoons);

B Echelon – 7 officers, 180 ORs incl personnel in charge of mule echelons, LOB personnel and prisoners.

27th April – KEF EL SENACH.

0300 A and C Coys organised as one rifle coy of 3 platoons with two 3” mortars and advance Bttn HQ moved down Goulach gully with guides from B Coy to assembly area with object of attacking pt 416, which was yesterday occupied by an estimated strength of one enemy platoon. Remainder of Bttn stayed in its previous location ready to push forward to the succeeding brigade objective. The attack was delayed owing to the difficulty in establishing communications between the FOO and 138 Field Regiment, which was in support. Start line was the first feature of the hill 300 feet up reached by B Coy yesterday. Enemy was seen on the second feature during the preliminary recce.

1130 Zero for the attack, supported by a lifting barrage of smoke and HE onto the second feature, which necessitated an extremely steep and rocky climb of 600 yards. Their objective was captured without difficulty and 22 prisoners were taken. A further false crest was then assaulted but the forward platoons came under heavy and accurate MG and Mortar fire. The Kef consists of no less than four bumps on false crests, all of which were occupied by the enemy and it became apparent that they had been strongly reinforced during the night. Meanwhile, wireless communication between the advance and rear Bttn HQ broke down for two hours and it became impossible to bring up B Coy, in time to carry all the objectives before a counter attack was made. A further difficulty arose in that the FOO was unable to find an OP from which he could recce further than the second false crest. The left platoon (C Coy) received heavy casualties from mortar fire and the right platoon was also held up by MMG fire. Under these circumstances, a withdrawal was ordered to the second ridge, which was held without difficulty. The remainder of the Bttn moved up and took up positions on the reverse slopes of the feature.

28th April – KEL EL SENACH.

Bttn remained in yesterday’s position contact being maintained with the enemy. The enemy shelled the gully and a few casualties occurred to the mules. The greater part of the position is however out of shell fire owing to the steepness of the hillside. A muddy and filthy stream flows down the gully and provides useful washing water. The weather was very hot and humid today and no shade could be obtained on the rocks. G Coy 2 LIR came under command in the evening and took over the forward coy locality previously held by B Coy.

29th April – KEF EL SENACH.

Patrols established the fact that the ridge in front of our positions is unoccupied by the enemy but it is untenable by day except on the reverse slopes, the occupation of which there is justification for. The Goulach gully was formerly the main German supply route to the Tanngoucha position and there is ready evidence of occupation. An 81mm mortar and many bombs have been taken into use by the Bttn.

30th April – KEF EL SENACH.

Contact was again made with the Germans by our patrols during the night and G Coy 2 LIR suffered 10 casualties from mortar fire. At 1700hrs, the Bttn was relieved by 1 RIrF and G Coy 2 LIR reverted to their Bttn command. At the same time, the Bttn took over the positions occupied by 1 RIrF on Djebel Boulamourdjeb (pt 484), which had been reconnoitred the previous day. Dispositions were taken up as follows – C Coy forward on pt 484; A Coy in centre on north western slope; B Coy on left in contact with US 1st Armoured Division.

Lieuts Hodgson and McVie rejoined the Bttn today from hospital.

A draft of 90 ORs joined the Bttn mostly from 2 and 70 RUR.