Monte Grande , Monte Piccolo & Arce May 1944.

Discussion in 'Italy' started by Owen, Jul 15, 2009.

  1. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    In the Grenadier Guards history is this map of an attack by 1st Gds Bde on Monte Grande & Monte Piccolo.


    Gurdjiueff worked his magic & came up with these composite images.




    Later I shall post some info on the Grenadier Guards actions on Monte Grande.

    Here is some info about the Indians taking Arce.
    The Tiger Triumphs. The Story of Three Great Divisions in Italy. 1946. Chapters 8-9.

    Throughout this period Eighth Indian Division remained in the van of the chase, harrying the enemy with a persistence which bore handsome dividends in the form of casualties inflicted, prisoners taken and equipment captured. The pursuit began auspiciously. On May 27th after the fall of Roccasecca, a mobile force of 6th Lancers, 3/8 Punjabis and New Zealand tanks caught up with the enemy in the gorge of the Melfa Valley, north of Route 6. At a blown bridge the column fell upon a rearguard, killing 25 Germans and taking 14 prisoners. An observer reported:
    "The famed German paratroopers ran pell-melll, scrambling over rocks and diving into shelters as we came upon the scene. Some put up a weak show of resistance, but others surrendered at once. Famished prisoners pocketed their pride and asked for food. They marched back munching biscuits past the huge German cemetery at Roccasecca."

    This incursion into the hills took the Indians out of the Liri Valley and off the main axis of advance. This circumstance was turned to advantage when Sixth British Armoured Division, closing on Arce at the top of the valley, was held up. 17th Brigade passed through 19th Brigade, sent one group on a detour to the north as a feint, and attacked the features covering Arce from the east. Royal Fusiliers and 1/5 Gurkhas, supported by New Zealand tanks, stormed Frajoli on the evening of May 27th. Stiff fighting cost the enemy approximately 100 riflemen from One Hundred and Fourteenth Jaeger Division. On the next day, 1/12 Frontier Force Regiment attacked Monte Pavone, a commanding feature which covered the approach to Arce. One and a half companies of German paratroopers stood at bay on the crest of the peak. Subedar Sadhu Singh's Sikhs were pinned down as they tried to close. After tremendous efforts, the New Zealanders worked their tanks three-quarters of the way up the mountainside. They fired at the trees over the enemy positions in order to obtain air bursts whose shrapnel might reach the Germans in their slit trenches. The paratroopers, who were dug in on the reverse slopes, destroyed themselves through over-confidence. Perceiving the Indians to be comparatively few in numbers, they sprang to their feet and charged up the hillside. The Sikhs for an instant were astounded by such foolhardiness; as one man they rose with their war cry of "Sat siri akal!" and leapt to meet their assailants. It was bayonet to bayonet, and the paratroopers were outmatched. They broke and ran. The Sikhs swept forward to seize the enemy positions, capturing a number of prisoners, including a German officer with two bayonet wounds.

    Consequent upon this success, 21st Brigade passed through and occupied positions immediately above Arce. Next morning (May 29th) 1/5 Gurkhas and elements of Sixth British Armoured Division entered the town. It was a local fiesta day, celebrated to commemorate a wandering Englishman who had become patron saint of the town in the Middle Ages. The arrival of British troops on such a day was particularly felicitous.
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  2. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Bit annoyed the scans didn't come out quite right.

    From The Grenadier Guards In The War Of 1939-1945 Volume Two by Nigel Nicholson




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  3. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    From The Welsh Guards At War, Ellis, N&M:

    P1010810.jpg P1010780.jpg P1010781.jpg P1010782.jpg P1010783.jpg P1010784.jpg P1010786.jpg P1010787.jpg
  4. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    A painting by Ellis:
  5. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Last edited: Nov 10, 2017
  6. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

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  7. Damiano

    Damiano In the shadow of Monte Cassino

    Good Job guys, very thanks for this info...I must to take necessarily some pictures of the Arce area!

    All the best, Gurdjieff
  8. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    In Ken Ford's book Mailed Fist 6th Armoured Division at War 1940-1945 is a whole chapter on this battle.
    Chapter 9 The Chase Begins.
    I won't post it here but it uses the sources that D & I have posted as well as interviews with Veterans.

    It was vitally important to push up Route 6 as fast as possible.
    Arce needed to be captured with all haste.
    3GG were held up at Coldragone by heavy fire, the armour was held up due to a blown bridge. The sappers were unable to fix it due to the same heavy shellfire.
    3WG were sent forward as in the info Diane posted.
    It was not a sucessful attack.
    The Divisonal Commander Maj Gen Everleigh was under pressure to continue the advance which was checked by what was possibly a relatively small force holding a superb defensive position on a major highway.
    (Sounds familiar??)
    2CG were sent to take Mt Piccolo & 3GG Mt Grande as already explained.
    The GG have admited their ability to prepare for this attack was rather poor.
    As per normal the Germans sent in fierce counter-attacks which forced 3GG off Mt Grande .
    2CG clung onto Piccolo which was now overlooked by the Germans on Mt Grande.
    The guns of the Ayrshire Yeomanry gave excellent support to The Coldstream who were engaged in hand to hand combat with the German Paras.
    The 17th/21st Lancers were a 1000 yards away from Piccolo and fired hundreds of rounds in support.
    2CG asked for more infantry support so No 1 Coy of 3WG were sent up the hill.
    The OC No1 Coy, 3WG argues with his Brigadier at the O Group, until he is allowed to plan the attack his way.
    Their attack is sucessful and the fighting dies away at night.
    In the morning the Guards find the Germans have pulled out and the tanks of 26th Armd Bde motor into Arce unopposed.
  9. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    I've used Geoff's Search Engine to find the 3GG dead using the dates 25/05/1944 to 29/05/1944

    001 BADGERWH 2617155 3RD BN 28/05/1944GRENADIER GUARDS
    002 BIANCHISC 2616405 3RD BN 28/05/1944GRENADIER GUARDS
    003 BOOTHGJ 2616613 3RD BN 26/05/1944GRENADIER GUARDS
    004 BUCKINGHAMR 2616140 3RD BN 28/05/1944GRENADIER GUARDS
    005 COCKINGSLW 2622082 3RD BN 26/05/1944GRENADIER GUARDS
    006 CUPITG 2623752 3RD BN 26/05/1944GRENADIER GUARDS
    007 DAVIESAG 2620550 3RD BN 29/05/1944GRENADIER GUARDS
    008 GOODLADJ 2615305 3RD BN 28/05/1944GRENADIER GUARDS
    009 HUTTDH 2617412 3RD BN 29/05/1944GRENADIER GUARDS
    010 IRONSHR 2615890 3RD BN 28/05/1944GRENADIER GUARDS
    011 MACDONALDJE 2624402 3RD BN 28/05/1944GRENADIER GUARDS
    012 MOLYNEUXJS 2617156 3RD BN 28/05/1944GRENADIER GUARDS
    013 MONKSCE 2614522 3RD BN 26/05/1944GRENADIER GUARDS
    014 PANTINGAW 2611950 3RD BN 28/05/1944GRENADIER GUARDS
    015 SMITHEC 2620541 3RD BN 28/05/1944GRENADIER GUARDS
    016 SOUTHBYRJ 2623544 3RD BN 28/05/1944GRENADIER GUARDS
    017 SYSONAO 2615112 3RD BN 28/05/1944GRENADIER GUARDS
    018 WILLSHERE 2622634 3RD BN 28/05/1944GRENADIER GUARDS
  10. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    3WG usuing same dates.

    Page 1 of 2
    001 BAILEYR2738652 3RD BN 27/05/1944WELSH GUARDS
    002 CLARKEEJ2734389 3RD BN 27/05/1944WELSH GUARDS
    003 COBBOLDRN99186 3RD BN 27/05/1944WELSH GUARDS
    004 DARBYW2738409 3RD BN 27/05/1944WELSH GUARDS
    005 DOYLEW2733448 3RD BN 27/05/1944WELSH GUARDS
    006 GOODWINF2737556 3RD BN 28/05/1944WELSH GUARDS
    007 GREENHOUSEJH2737989 3RD BN 26/05/1944WELSH GUARDS
    008 GREENINGJ2737557 3RD BN 27/05/1944WELSH GUARDS
    009 GROOMCVB2732807 3RD BN 27/05/1944WELSH GUARDS
    010 HARRYLF2737969 3RD BN 27/05/1944WELSH GUARDS
    011 HAYLEYTB200122 3RD BN 27/05/1944WELSH GUARDS
    012 JONESCC2738921 3RD BN 27/05/1944WELSH GUARDS
    013 JONESAJ2736969 3RD BN 27/05/1944WELSH GUARDS
    014 KYNASTONFJ2736904 3RD BN 29/05/1944WELSH GUARDS
    015 MAUDECAF149154 3RD BN 27/05/1944WELSH GUARDS
    016 MAYHEWEJ2738421 3RD BN 27/05/1944WELSH GUARDS
    017 MORRISEE2735111 3RD BN 29/05/1944WELSH GUARDS
    018 REEDWJ2736423 3RD BN 28/05/1944WELSH GUARDS
    019 SHEPPARDIG2738071 3RD BN 27/05/1944WELSH GUARDS
    020 SMITHDET2735507 3RD BN 26/05/1944WELSH GUARDS

    021 WATERSH2737606 3RD BN 27/05/1944WELSH GUARDS
    022 WILLIAMSGJ2734976 3RD BN 28/05/1944WELSH GUARDS
    023 WILLIAMSSG2737210 3RD BN 27/05/1944WELSH GUARDS
  11. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    I can only find 10 of the 18 Coldstream dead.

    001 CARLBERGCH2659646 2ND BN 28/05/1944COLDSTREAM GUARDS
    002 CHANTHF2664629 2ND BN 28/05/1944COLDSTREAM GUARDS
    003 GUESTEL2660830 2ND BN 28/05/1944COLDSTREAM GUARDS
    004 HALLCW2659206 2ND BN 28/05/1944COLDSTREAM GUARDS
    005 MANNINGR2659187 2ND BN 28/05/1944COLDSTREAM GUARDS
    006 OGLEJG2661317 2ND BN 28/05/1944COLDSTREAM GUARDS
    007 PATTERSONR2655989 2ND BN 28/05/1944COLDSTREAM GUARDS
    008 ROSEC2664918 2ND BN 28/05/1944COLDSTREAM GUARDS
    009 SPENCERHH278619 2ND BN 28/05/1944COLDSTREAM GUARDS
  12. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    S Coy, Scots Guards fought as part of 2CG.
    Three pages from SG History (The Scots Guards 1919-1955, Erskine)

    P1010817.jpg P1010818.jpg P1010819.jpg
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  13. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Cheers for that Diane.
    I see Cpl J England mentioned in the text.

    These 3 are listed as 2SG.
    001 ENGLANDJMH27016592ND BN 28/05/1944SCOTS GUARDS
    002 GARDNERAPC27018192ND BN 28/05/1944SCOTS GUARDS
    003 MACKENZIEWJ27019042ND BN 28/05/1944SCOTS GUARDS

    These are listed without Bn being listed.
    004 DAVIDSONJ2694597- 28/05/1944SCOTS GUARDS

    008 MILNEWI2701845- 28/05/1944SCOTS GUARDS
    009 MOODYR2695594- 28/05/1944SCOTS GUARDS

    011 WEIRJ2701652- 28/05/1944SCOTS GUARDS
    012 WITTCOMBRJ14003067- 28/05/1944SCOTS GUARDS
  14. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Thanks Owen,
    When I have a little more time I will check through the SG RoH which identifies S Coy casualties and gives the dates.
  15. Phaethon

    Phaethon Historian

    If anyone is interested here's the war Diary entry for the 2nd Coldstream attack on Monte Grande/Piccolo. Sorry for not being around of late, I've been in italy following the coldstreams around (in fact I passed through this very area)... and I've working on my Phd, which is in it's last year.

    I'll put the whole thing up in the correct section of this site when I have time, this is the uncorrected version as it stands. I have included the translated map coordinates into lattitude and longtitude for those who want the exact locations. Please excuse the poor spelling, as I say this is the raw transcript and i've only just finished recording it.

    If there is any further confusion with the scotts guards 'S Coy' participation in this battle, it is because a company of them was attached to the 2nd Coldstreams after their losses earlier on Monte Ornito/Faito.

    May 1944:
    2nd Coldstream Guards

    26th May:

    Conference at Bde Hq.

    Left 276206 (41° 29' 07'' N, 13° 07' 58'' E)…

    …and as Bn was on Rout orders come through to marry up with 17/21 lancers. But the Bn has passed 17/21 L. area. Bn arrives at 2030 hrs at 722240 (41° 31' 06'' N, 13° 40' 01'' E) followed by the tanks. Coys marry up with the sqns, and wirelesses are netted.

    Bn moves a mile up the road, with coys riding on tanks.

    C.O. goes to bde HQ for a conference. Bn to be ready at 0430 hrs the next morning.

    27th May:

    Bn moves up rout 6 to LECESE 6828 (41° 33' 16'' N, 13° 36' 59'' E). Here the Bn spends the day dispersed at the side of the road, with the exception of No 2 Coy, who take up a tactical posn in front.

    C.O. goes to Bde HQ and is given orders to attack Monte PICCOLO 6529 (41° 33' 48'' N, 13° 34' 49'' E) that night.

    Coy Comds conference. Bn is to start off to F.U.P. (forming up place) at 2115 hrs. The time was so limited that Coy commands had not time to look at the ground. Neither could any recce be made of the F.U.P. or the rout to it. The rough plan of the attack was for No. 4 Coy to protect the start line and F.U.P. by taking up posn on pt 206 6528 (41° 33' 15'' N, 13° 34' 49'' E). 3 Coy was to cross the start line first and go to the right hand end of PICCOLO. ‘S’ Coy was to follow going the left hand end of PICCOLO. 2 Coy was to remain in reserve in the area of Bn HQ. 654288 (41° 33' 41'' N, 13° 35' 06'' E). (See air photograph). The attack went in perfectly and the feature was captured with little opposition.

    Coys reported digging in on reverse slopes, with protective sections on Fwd Slopes. The Grenadier attack on Monte GRANDE seemed to be going satisfactorily.

    Casualties: X – Nil. Y- Nil and 6. z- Nil.

    28th May:

    3 Gren Gds being counter attacked off Monte Grande. Our left flank was beginning to look precarious.

    Enemy counter attack ‘S’ Coy posns.

    3 Coy being counter attacked.

    ‘s’ Coy report counter attack beaten off, their own posns quite secure, and ask for information about their flanks.

    3 Coy report counter attack beaten off, their own posns stabalised some 200 yards from the top, and still and little exchange of rifle fire.

    Monte Grande is reported clear of all British troops, and the Arty harass it continually in an effort to make it untenable to the Germans.

    3 Coy report firing died down, and that the enemy have got a few men in their right hand section posns on their side of the hill; but feel quite confident that they could retake these posns. ‘S’ Coy report all quiet.

    3 Coy report the Germans are forming up at the foot of Piccolo. The Arty take on this target with very good effect, and little becomes of this attack except for three or four machine gunners, who try and work round on the flanks. Running concurrently with this another counter attack was put in on ‘S’ Coy, and after some very fierce hand to hand fighting on the crest, it was repelled. This was aided to a very large extent by the 17/21 lancers tanks who had taken up hull down positions some 1,000 yards behind Piccolo, and sniped the Germans with A.P.H.E. as they came over the crest. The accuracy of their fire was amazing. At this point of the battle it was decided that piccolo must be firmly held before nightfall, and at the same time our left flank must be quite secure. With this object in mind the 16/5 lancers tanks came up and supported 3 Gren Gds who had taken up a line of defence on our left running south. No 1 Coy of 3 W.G. were to go trough no 3 coy to recapture and hold the ground that hand been lost during the day.

    No 1 Coy 3 W.G. went through no 3 Coy and after a very short encounter on the top of the hill established themselves around the right peak of the feature.

    No 3 Coy, who had suffered very considerably during the fighting reported that they were still too much spread out on the hill and that the saddle between them and ‘S’ Coy was not being covered.
    The commanding officers therefore ordered No 17 pl of 4 coy to take a posn in this saddle.

    Casualties x-2 (lt Bridgeman, S.G. And Lt Spencer, C.G.) and 16. y- 4 (Capt Neilson, S.G.; Major Skimming C.G. Lt Charteris, S.G., Lt Crouch, C.G.) and 46. Z- Nil and 5. Exhaustion – 1 (Lt Whaley) and 20.

    29th May:

    A night without incident; at 0400 hours all coys reported no movement or noise for the last two hours. At first light No 1 Coy 3 W.G. sent a small patrol over the hill. They reported no enemy, and by 0600 hrs it was established that the enemy had definitely pulled out.

    Coys are told to scour the hill for serviceable weapons and equipment, and also to make out an estimate of the enemy dea. Our own dead is to be collected and buried centrally at rear Bn Hq. Map reference 660282 (41° 33' 22'' N, 13° 35' 32'' E). For this purpose Jeeps and Carriers are sent round Coys.

    40 German bodies are found on Piccolo.

    All personnel returned to rear Bn HQ, where they are to spend the night.

    A burial service is held at the Bn Cemetery,

    30th May:

    Bn Rests and Baths. Many members of the Bn revisit Piccolo, including the Corps and Divisional Commanders. Lt Col. H.R. Norman D.S.O. is summoned to see the commander eighth army. The commanding officer is congratulated on the battalion’s performance, and a large gift of cigarettes to all ranks is made.

    31st May:

    Many visitors from the 3rd Bn Coldm Gds, as 24th Gds Bde us a very short distance down the road.
    A harbour party is sent to recce and area near CEPRANO 5926, but it is found unsuitable owing to unlifted mines, and lack of space.
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  16. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Attached Files:

    • sg.jpg
      File size:
      14.1 KB
  17. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Checked SG Roll of Honour - these TEN men are identified as having served with S Company, although Campbell is identified as 1Bn by CWGC ...

    001 BRIDGEMAN HR 295082 - 28/05/1944 SCOTS GUARDS
    001 CAMPBELL DR 2696525 1ST BN 28/05/1944 SCOTS GUARDS
    001 DAVIDSON J 2694597 - 28/05/1944 SCOTS GUARDS
    001 ENGLAND JMH 2701659 2ND BN 28/05/1944 SCOTS GUARDS
    001 GARDNER APC 2701819 2ND BN 28/05/1944 SCOTS GUARDS
    001 MILNEWI2701845- 28/05/1944SCOTS GUARDS
    001 MOODY R 2695594 - 28/05/1944 SCOTS GUARDS
    002 MACKENZIE WJ 2701904 2ND BN 28/05/1944 SCOTS GUARDS
    001 WEIR J 2701652 - 28/05/1944 SCOTS GUARDS
    001 WITTCOMB RJ 14003067 - 28/05/1944 SCOTS GUARDS
  18. Toddy

    Toddy Junior Member

    Checked SG Roll of Honour - these TEN men are identified as having served with S Company, although Campbell is identified as 1Bn by CWGC ...

    001 WEIR J 2701652 - 28/05/1944 SCOTS GUARDS

    I know this thread is ages old but I was looking for information on my Great Uncle Jack Weir and I found your site and the above information. I am not even sure if it is the same J Weir, but he was in a Scots Guards detrachment that was captured in Italy in 1944 and spent the remainder of the year as a POW and I am trying to find out information. Would be great if anyone had any more info or help on how to find out more.


    Seems to be a different J Weir according to the record. Sorry. Not having any luck finding information on Jack Weir. All I know is that he was part of Scots Guards, was captured in Italy in 1944 became a POW and it was around Monte Cassino or somewhere beginning with Monte, I think Monte Camino is too early.
  19. Tsheppard005

    Tsheppard005 Member

    Hi no 19 was my grandfather. He was injured but survived. His story was that the was hit by a sniper when trying to take over a machine gun. The sniper had killed 2 guardsmen who had been on the gun.

    Is there anyway of identifying which company he was with or who those guardsmen were?
    Sorry Owen I owe you a correction, my g/f was GT Sheppard, it seems that there was another Sheppard in the battle. My apologies

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