Sicily – 11th August 1943

(NA 5866): A bridge west of Adrano blown up by the retreating Germans in an effort to delay our advance. Copyright: © IWM.

Brigade HQ.

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.

1 RIrF.

0830 O Group went forward for recce.

1030 Bttn moved up to assembly area just outside Bronte.

1900 CO’s orders.

2030 Bttn left assembly area.

6 Innisks – BRONTE.

0930 Bttn moved by transport to area Senetu (730091), arrived 1100hrs.

1200 O Group to OP on Mt Rivoglia. Plan changed, leaving Innisks in reserve, while RIrF and LIR were to make a frontal attack on Maletto and Mt Sperina respectively.

2330 Bttn marched to road and track junction 752122. Pack transport. Coys carried rations split up (rolled in gas cape).

2 LIR.

0600 Commanding Officer goes to Brigade for final orders.

0800 Commanding Officers orders: General administrative details and gives outline of 38 Brigade attack on Maletto and surrounding features. Battalion to be ready to move as from 1200 hrs.

1500 Battalion moves by transport to concentration area 2 miles South of Bronte.

1700 Major APK O’Connor assumes command of the battalion due to the indisposition of Lt-Col Rogers. He gives out his orders for the attack, recces having been carried out during the middle of the day.

Right – 2 LIR to attack Mount Sperina 7714 and then clear hill behind called River Valetto 7714.

Left – 1 RIF to attack Capella 7614 and then at first light to clear the town.

6 Innisks in reserve.

8 A & S H (Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders) to occupy Mount Macherone 7513 by 2359 hrs to make good the Brigade Start Line.

Order of companies: E and G Company forward, supported by F Company. H Company in reserve. Vehicles remain south of Aderno in battalion’s previous location. All supplies by mules.

1830 Intelligence Officer and Intelligence Section report to 8 A & S H to move forward with them in order to recce positions for the battalion FUP (forming up point) and Start Line.

2100 Battalion leaves concentration area on approach march to Start Line.

This was discovered at the last moment to be the most difficult operation due to the exceptionally close country over which the battalion had to advance. On his recces, which were exceptionally limited, the Commanding Officer realised that it would not be easy but no one could conceive the difficulties of the country over which the battalion eventually passed.

Thick high walls, rocky tracks, close wooded country with thick undergrowth and many terraces all making innumerable obstacles for the Company Commanders who were trying to advance on a compass bearing. Although mules were available, the situation did not permit them to be brought forward to the battalion and in any case the mules would never have been able to get through that close country. All stores, MMGs and mortars had to be dumped about two miles and carried through this shocking country by the reserve company. Again, during the actual advance of the battalion, the Brigade Rear Link had to manhandle forward with all its batteries as also were the FOO’s wireless sets.

(NA 5899): Effective night shots of British Medium guns of the 212 Coy 64th Regiment, R.A. of 78th Division in action against the retreating enemy – the target being the outskirts of Maletto, N. of Bronte, Sicily. Copyright: © IWM. 

(NA 5869): The type of country in which our men are now fighting in Sicily is shown by these pictures. West Country Infantrymen in action advancing up the mountainside near Bronte. Copyright: © IWM.

(NA 5860): The Commander of 30 Corps, Eighth Army, General Sir Oliver Leese visits his troops in Sicily. Left to right: Brigadier R E Urquhart, Commander 231 Brigade, General Leese, and Lieutenant Colonel W B H Ray, Commander 1st Battalion, Dorset Regiment. Copyright: © IWM. 

(NA 5854): Gunners of 66 Medium Regiment Royal Artillery in action on the slopes of Mount Etna at dawn, 11 August 1943. Copyright: © IWM.