Assault on Tanngoucha

Extract from the War Diaries of 6th Battalion, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers Tunisia, North Africa, April 1943.

O.C. Lt-Col Neville Grazebrook  having taken over from Lt-Col “Heaver” Allen who was killed on 7th April 1943

“It was not a good time to be an infantry man.” 

24th April 1943 – TANNGOUCHA

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

C.O. called to Brigade conference at midnight back near KELBINE and was provided by Bde with a horse for the return journey. Casualties for day. 8. O.R’s. B Coy remained in reserve, reforming.

Original wartime caption: Tanngoucha Hill Copyright: © IWM. 

25th April 1943 – TANNGOUCHA

38 (Irish) Inf Bde makes third and successful attempt to capture the strong and dominating TANNGOUCHA and Pt 622 features. The R.Ir.F (Royal Irish Fusiliers) on our left attack Pt 622 and BUTLER’S HILL while we are to get on to TANNGOUCHA as opportunity offers. ‘B’ Coy move up to take over right rear coy position of R.Ir.F.

Zero at 1230hrs. A Coy and smoke put down by the F.O.O. with 6 Innisks, are able to give material assistance in 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 R.Ir.F. to TANNGOUCHA and the saddle on the left. Little enemy resistance is encountered and occupation is complete by 1440hrs. Remainder of Bn comes up to consolidate with ‘A’ Coy at the forward end of TANNGOUCHA, ‘C’ Coy at the rear and ‘B’ Coy in reserve on the middle between TANNGOUCHA and 622. MMG’s and 3 mortars are distributed under Comd of Coys and Bn 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 O.Rs. The body of Leiat 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 1943 – GOULCAH GULLY

Intelligence from the higher command appreciates that the enemy has made a deep withdrawal; consequently the Bn is ordered to push forward ‘A’ Coy at first light to gain contact. ‘B’ Coy is detailed for their role and moves off soon after first light. Later, Bde orders are received for the Bn to advance with I.R Tr F on left along an axis of advance to the TEBOURBA gap 15 miles ahead over extremely difficult mountainous country, making good a series of dominating features en route. Due 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 Bn moved via GOULCAH village and along the GOULCAH valley to Pt 283 where it was subjected to ………