Djebel Abiod 21-22 Nov 42

Discussion in 'North Africa & the Med' started by jwsleser, Feb 17, 2023.

  1. jwsleser

    jwsleser Active Member

    I am working on the events of the Italo-German attack against Djebel Abiod on 21-22 November. In an post discussing the earlier fight on 17 Nov., two pages of the QOWK regimental history were posted by Chrisgrove

    Djebel Abiod 17 November 1942

    At the end of the second page, the history begins to address the events of 22 November. Are any members able to provide the following pages of that account?

    Does anyone have additional information of that battle? I have Italian accounts of the action and wish to cross-reference those with Allied and German accounts.

    Thank you.

    Pista! Jeff
  2. Takrouna

    Takrouna Member

    I’ll have a look at various bits in my library. Have you checked the Italian official history? I have visited the area, now much changed from 1942 with a Dam.
    jwsleser likes this.
  3. davidbfpo

    davidbfpo Patron Patron

    Welcome aboard.

    If you use the forum's simple search option there are a good number of threads returned to visit.
  4. jwsleser

    jwsleser Active Member


    Thank you for your reply. Yes, I have the Italian R.E. officials (both the earlier 1952 volume by Sogno and Montanari's 1980s set). The two R.A. official histories, Arena's Regia Aeronautica and Giorleo's Palestra Azzurra offer only a brief paragraph or so.

    The Italian unit involved was the 1º btg. paracadutisti R.A. under ten. col. Dalmas. I have his report but it is quite brief. It does differ in some details from the popular accounts found in Longo, Crociani/Battistelli, and Arena so I am attempting to square the round hole. It is a minor action and even accounts on KG Witzig (what little I can find) tend to skip over it. The ambush on 17 Nov and the subsequent fight near Jefna on 28–30 Nov are better recorded in history.

    One point I am trying to clear up is whether the 1 btg. R.A. was present at Jefna on 28 Nov. The popular accounts include the battalion, but Dalmas's report indicates that the battalion was ordered back to Mateur on 25 Nov.

    I am hoping that the UK accounts (slim as they are) will provide some clarity. The main unit involved was the 8 AS Highlanders, with D/6 QOWK in the mix.

    Thank you.

    Pista! Jeff
  5. jwsleser

    jwsleser Active Member


    Thank you. I did use the search and found the thread that I linked above. None of other threads had any mention of the events of 21-22 Nov. All focused on either 17 Nov., 28-30 Nov., or the fighting in 1943 Only by reading each thread the search did identified did I find the bit from the QOWK regimental history. Note that discovery was in a thread discussing 17 Nov. and Chrisgrove just happened to scan enough of the book to indicate that the next page or so would discuss the 22 Nov action.

    If there is a thread I missed, excellent!

    Pista! Jeff
  6. Andreas

    Andreas Working on two books

    Hi Jeff

    I have inquired for the war diaries.

    At the highest level (OKH), the Germans noted for 22 Nov that there was some artillery and patrol activity at Djebel Abiod, with some English POWs being brought in. They also knew it was 56th Division.

    All the best

    jwsleser likes this.
  7. jwsleser

    jwsleser Active Member

    Thank you to Andreas and Chris G. I have a fairly good idea of the events that day, but I am still seeking any additional information. If anyone has access to the 6 QOWK War Diary or the history of the 8 A&S Highlanders book that they are willing to share, please contact me.

    Pista! Jeff
  8. jwsleser

    jwsleser Active Member

    I have been trying to contact dryan67 as he has previously posted pages from the 8 A&SH history. For some reason, I still can't access Conversations (I do have 5 posts). I just noticed that he has reviewed this thread. I hope that he can offer some assistance.

    Pista! Jeff
  9. dryan67

    dryan67 Senior Member

    Here is the period required from:

    Malcolm, A.D. History of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders: 8th Battalion . London: Thomas Nelson and Sons Ltd., 1949.

    ASH01.jpg ASH02.jpg ASH03.jpg ASH04.jpg ASH05.jpg
  10. jwsleser

    jwsleser Active Member


    Wow! Excellent. The map is especially useful. To confirm the companies of the 8 A&SH are A, B, X, and Y; 7plt is from B Coy?

    The 6 QOWK history stated D Coy remained at Djebel Abiod, but here 8 A&SH states it was B Coy.

    The joy of sorting out conflicting accounts.

    Grazie molto!

    Pista! Jeff
    Takrouna likes this.
  11. dryan67

    dryan67 Senior Member

    Conflicting accounts. The bane of the military historian.
    jwsleser likes this.
  12. Instructor6

    Instructor6 Member

    The war diary for 6th QORWK for that period is attached just in case you did not have it. I wrote a post about Djebel Aboid called Ambush at Jefna station back in November that may be of value. I have copies of Chaplin's book that cover the period I will try to find then upload relevant pages next week.

    Attached Files:

    Gman142536 and Charley Fortnum like this.
  13. Takrouna

    Takrouna Member

    IMG_2166.jpg IMG_2134.jpg Here's the hills mentioned in the war diary - Green Hill (with A&SH Memorial beside the road) and on top of Bald Hill looking over to Green Hill and the road to Mateur in between.
    Charley Fortnum and Owen like this.
  14. jwsleser

    jwsleser Active Member

    Good day Instructor6

    Thank you for the pages of the 6 QOWK WD. I see that it was in fact D Coy that remained at Djebel Abiod.

    Yes, I did read your detailed narrative of the ambush of KG Witzig by Hartforce. It did provide some insight in setting the stage for the events on 22 Nov.

    Thank you the offer for the pages from Chaplin's book. ChrisG. had graciously provided those pages. It appears that the action on 22 Nov was captured in two sentences on p.229.

    This account is finally coming together. I would like to discover which companies from the 5 Buffs were at Djebel Abiod, but not essential for the account.

    Attached is the working map of this battle for the book.
    Battle at Djebel Abiod.jpg

    Pista! Jeff
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2023
    Instructor6 likes this.
  15. jwsleser

    jwsleser Active Member


    Great pics of the area near Jefna. One does get a good sense of the strength of Green Hill.

    Thank you.

    Pista! Jeff
  16. Instructor6

    Instructor6 Member

    Happy to help and best wishes in finishing the book.

    Instructor 6

    to help
  17. bexley84

    bexley84 Well-Known Member

    A few photos taken in May 1943.

    "Boldy Hill on the Northern Sector: © IWM NA 3110"

    large_NA_003110_1 (2).jpg

    "Green Hill - © IWM NA 3111"

    large_NA_003111_1 (2).jpg

    "Boldy Hill on the Northern Sector - © IWM NA 3112"

    large_NA_003112_1 (2).jpg

    "Green Hill and Sugar Loaf Hill - © IWM NA 3113"

    large_NA_003113_1 (2).jpg

    "The hills at Djebel Abiod - © IWM NA 3120"

    large_NA_003120_1 (2).jpg

    "From the bridge at Djebel Abiod - © IWM NA 3121"

    large_NA_003121_1 (2).jpg

    "The crossroads at Djebel Abiod - © IWM NA 3122"

    large_NA_003122_1 (2).jpg

    "Farm and hill at Djebel Abiod - © IWM NA 3123"​

    large_NA_003123_1 (2).jpg
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  18. jwsleser

    jwsleser Active Member


    Thank you for the pictures, especially those of the Djebel Abiod area. No matter how long one stares at a map of a battlefield, seeing how tall/steep the hills actually are is always impressive. I would've loved to use these pictures in the book, but the issue of copyright is so confusing that it isn't worth the bother to sort. Reading the threads on copyright here on WW2Talk just reinforces that position.

    Instructor 6

    Thank you the kind words of support. Helion plans to begin entering the manuscript in their publishing software in mid-March. The process shouldn't take that long. I am hoping for a May release, but Helion hasn't said anything official.

    If I can help any members here on research (especially Italian military), please ask.

    Again thank you.

    Pista! Jeff
  19. Gman142536

    Gman142536 Member

    Do you have the war diary of 6th battalion during centuripe? Many thanks
  20. Instructor6

    Instructor6 Member

    Thanks for your post. I am afraid I do not. A useful source for the 6th QOWK is Chaplin's Regimental history The Queens own Royal West Kent Regiment 1920 -1950. Sanderson book called Variety is the Spice of Life has an useful account by an 8th ASH officer.
    Gman142536 likes this.

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