Fourth Indian Division 1944

Discussion in 'British Indian Army' started by Bosco91, Dec 20, 2011.

  1. Bosco91

    Bosco91 Member

    Hi, i'm searching document or pictures about the 4th Indian division during the attack on the gothic line, exactly at Montecalvo or Monte della croce, period august 1944. I also know that there were: 4/11th Sikhs, 3/10 Baluchis, 4/11 Sikhs, 1/9 Gurkhas. Someone can help me?

    Thanks in advance
  2. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    There is the full story online of the Indian Divisions in Italy in " The Tiger Triumphs" - which can be "googled and that will give you the full detail of that attack - at Croce
  3. Bosco91

    Bosco91 Member

    I've already read The tiger Triumphs online but it isn't detailed. I'm searching something of specific, for exampe war diaries, but online i don't find anything....
  4. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Nicola - the war diaries are not on line as yet -so give Psy-war -org a pm - or drew - they can find the right diary for you
  5. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

  6. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    WO 169/18983
    4/11 Sikh Regt.
    Covering dates1944 Jan.- Dec.

    WO 169/19006
    1/9 Gurkha Rifles
    Covering dates1944 Jan.- Dec.

    WO 169/18978
    3/10 Baluch Regt.
    Covering dates1944 Jan. - Dec.
  7. Bosco91

    Bosco91 Member

    Nicola - the war diaries are not on line as yet -so give Psy-war -org a pm - or drew - they can find the right diary for you

    Sorry my ignorance, it's a website? Or is a member of the forum?
  8. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

  9. sol

    sol Very Senior Member

    Couple of citation for awards to members of 3/10th Baluchis for action taken on 30 Aug 1944 at Monte Croce

    WS.Capt. (T/Major) Sardar Ali
    I.C. 383
    3rd Battalion (Queen Mary's Own), 10th Baluch Regiment

    Awarded with the Military Cross

    On 29 Aug 44 the battalion, after a week of forced marching through the Appenines, reached the River Foglia in front of the Monte Croce - Monte Calvo bastion to the Gothic Line. Orders were issued for an immediate attempt to be made to rush the position before the Germans became aware of our strength in front of them.

    Major Sardar Ali, after organizing a night's very active patrolling from a base immediately below the enemy's M Calvo field fortifications, led his company forward by day, up the steep slopes of M Croce as a first bound towards M Calvo, coordinating the move with that of another company which was commanded by a subedar, and generally directing the advance of the forward companies. Although it was hoped that the position was not yet fully manned, patrols had reported that it was partially defended. Air photographs had revealed the extent to which it was wired, mined and elaborately dug-in, so the advance, though fully justifiable in the circumstances, was hazardous and Major Sardar Ali knew this.

    By skilful use of ground, the advance continued unopposed half way to the spurs towards M Croce, then the cross-fire of Spandaus came down on the company from the ground above and from positions on both flanks. These machine guns were sited in cunningly concealed permanent positions in orchards, vineyards and houses.

    Almost at once extremely heavy enemy artillery and mortar defensive fire started. At this stage an enemy forward defended locality, round a house, opened fire onto Major Sardar Ali's company. It had been impossible to get the supporting tanks across the river so they were in action in the last available hull-down position, four thousand yards back. the rest of the battalion was being brought forward from this area. Everything depended upon Major Sardar Ali's resolution, skill and courage.

    He appreciated the gravity of the situation at once and decided to force the pace. He called down the pre-arranged artillery concentrations, and swept over the enemy defenders. Here six prisoners were taken.

    He immediately exploited this success, pressing on round the flanks and skilfully avoiding enemy flanking machine guns from across the valley; he passed through and round minefields and belts of wire and seized the Monte Croce feature, six hundred feet above where he had crossed the river, thus earning the great honour of having been the first to break into the Gothic Line.

    The enemy re-acted violently and immediately counter-attacked the feature, under cover of elaborate pre-arranged fire plans which included all natures of weapons. All that day Major Sardar Ali hung on to the vital ground and inspired his men to perform many acts of courage and devotion to duty.

    By his example the M Croce position was held and later, when other companies could be got forward, a firm, secure base was already in our hands for the final assault on and capture of M Calvo. In this action the next day Major Sardar Ali again led his company with distinction.

    LG 8.3.1945
  10. sol

    sol Very Senior Member

    Naik (A/Havildar) Munawar Khan
    3rd Battalion (Queen Mary's Own), 10th Baluch Regiment

    Awarded with the Military Medal

    On 30 Aug 44 Naik Munawar Khan's company was ordered to launch an attack on the Gothic Line at Monte Croce. During the progress of the assault his platoon was held up by M.G. fire from the enemy strong point. Naik Munawar Khan, taking with him one other man, rushed across the intervening mine-field and in spite of the heavy fire directed against him, attacked the post with grenades and bayonets and put it out of action, capturing a prisoner and a spandau M.G.

    As a result of his gallant conduct his platoon was able to continue their advance and capture their objective. In the circumstances of this intense daylight action within a German strong point Nk Munawar Khan's bravery was outstanding and far beyond the ordinary calls of duty.

    LG 8.3.1945
  11. sol

    sol Very Senior Member

    A/Havildar Nur Khan (KIA 18 September 1944)
    3rd Battalion (Queen Mary's Own), 10th Baluch Regiment

    Awarded with the Military Medal

    On 30 Aug 44 Hav Nur Khan was a platoon Havildar in the company that was ordered to make the assault on Monte Croce, a section of the Gothic Line. His platoon was held up by machine gun fire from a heavily fortified enemy post, surrounded by wire and minefield. Hav Nur Khan, rapidly appreciating the situation, organised a party of 4 men and rushed the post in the face of heavy M.G. fire and grenades. He carried the post, taking two prisoners and the M.G. From there his party came under fire from another elaborately constructed enemy M.G. post, some 40 yards to his right. Without any hesitation he immediately went on with his small party, killing and driving out the occupants and capturing two more prisoners and another M.G.

    This gallant action greatly contributed to the success of the company in capturing their objectives in the Gothic Line.

    LG 8.3.1945

    Name: NUR KHAN
    Nationality: Indian
    Rank: Havildar
    Regiment/Service: 10th Baluch Regiment
    Unit Text: 3rd Bn.
    Age: 26
    Date of Death: 18/09/1944
    Service No: 15880
    Awards: M M
    Additional information: Son of Maluk Khan, of Dheri, Jhelum, Pakistan; husband of Ghulam Fatima, of Dheri.
    Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead
    Grave/Memorial Reference: VII. H. 8.

    CWGC :: Casualty Details
  12. sol

    sol Very Senior Member

    Lance Naik Ali Haidar
    3rd Battalion (Queen Mary's Own), 10th Baluch Regiment

    Awarded with the Military Medal

    On 30 Aug 44 at Monte Croce, L/Nk Ali Haidar's company carried out an attack on strong points in the Gothic Line. His section commander was seriously wounded early in the assault and L/Nk Ali Haidar took over command. His platoon was held up by heavy M.G. fire from an enemy position, well dug in and surrounded by mines. L/Nk Ali Haidar, seeing the position, immediately, on his own initiative, organised a section attack. Rushing the post and firing his Tommy gun from the hip, he entered the emplacement and killed two of the defenders and drove out the rest.

    As a result of his prompt decision and courageous example and leadership, the platoon was able to advance and carry its objective.

    The operation was no ordinary encounter battle, but was intense close combat by day against prepared enemy position which was well covered by accurate defensive fire. In these circumstances Ali Haidar's section was far beyond the ordinary calls of duty and showed outstanding courage and devotion to duty.

    LG 8.3.1945
  13. sol

    sol Very Senior Member

    And the map, not to much detailed but the best I found

  14. sol

    sol Very Senior Member

    CO of the 3/10th Baluchis was also awarded with the Bar to his DSO

    Major (T/Lt.Col) Launcelot Vincent Stoneham Sherwood, D.S.O.
    I.A. 209
    3rd Battalion (Queen Mary's Own), 10th Baluch Regiment

    Awarded with the Bar to the Distinguished Service Order

    On the 29th Aug 1944, 3/10 Baluch Regiment the battalion which Lt.Col. Sherwood was commanding, captured the high ground south of the Foglia River.

    It had been anticipated that this would form a secure base for reconnaissance of the river line and detailed planning for an attack on the M Croce – M Calvo sector of the Gothic Line. As the advance had been rapid, the enemy was believed to have been surprised, so orders were received for an immediate attempt against the line by coup-de-main, and that afternoon Lt.Col Sherwood established two rifle companies in the valley and organised patrolling into the enemy positions. As conditions appeared favourable, the battalion was ordered to capture the very strongly defended area on the 30th Aug 1944.

    During this operation, which proved to be one of 36 hours intense close quarter fighting, Lt.Col Sherwood commanded his battalion with the greatest forcefulness and courage. He fully realised the hazardousness of the task he had been set, as he was thoroughly in the picture regarding known dispositions and possible enemy opposition. Nevertheless, he recognised at once that the operation was essential in the circumstances and that if successful it might prove decisive in securing the left flank for the Corps advance. He inspired his officers and men with a spirit which carried them through these to days of battle under conditions which would no doubt have appalled troops less well led.

    After the intermediate feature, M Croce, had been captured and consolidated with three companies, Lt.Col Sherwood went … (piece missing as upper part of the recommendation is torn up) ... More than once during the day the advance was held up, and only by Lt.Col Sherwood’s action in getting forward under a hail of fire to restore momentum of the attack with the local reserve was the postion finally over-run.

    During the two days fighting, he remained calm yet forceful in all his actions; he kept brigade HQ fully informed of the situation, making several suggestions for air and heavy artillery support which would enable him to get his rifle companies further forward towards their final objective. At the end of the second day, when Lt.Col Sherwood's last reserve, one platoon, was mopping up the village of M Calvo, he was already re-organising his battered companies and issuing orders for consolidation of the position. Only by a detailed inspection of this enemy strong point with his wire, deep dug-outs, A-tk guns and dug-in armoured cars turrets can a full impression be gained of the severity of the fighting.

    Lt. Col. Sherwood’s personal leadership and courage alone made victory possible. The bde comd was with the battalion while the final mopping up was going on and he spoke to many of the Indian officers and men. As the stream of wounded was coming back, and as the enemy's intense defensive fire covering his rearguards was falling, all ranks were in magnificent spirit and showed that they had gladly endured the danger and strain of the past two days as much from a sense of loyalty to their officers as from a sense of military duty. It was clear that this spirit was largely due to the personality and courage of Lt.Col. Sherwood.

    LG 8.3.1945.
  15. sol

    sol Very Senior Member

    From the 9th Gurkha Rifles official history

    The enemy was particularly watchful in the Apennine foothills to the south of the Foglia, but there appeared to be a 'soft spot' ahead of 5 Brigade's front, which Brigadier Saunders-Jacobs determined to investigate without delay. During the night 3/10th Baluchis arrived, passed through 9th Gurkhas and crossed the river to occupy Monte della Croce. Further probing showed that the high ground beyond this hamlet, Monte Calvo, was strongly held.

    4/11th Sikhs and tanks crossed in the afternoon of the 30th, and 1st Battalion followed at dusk to deploy on the right of the Baluchis.

    At down on the 31st heavy fire swept the area, a leading Gurkha platoon suffered heavily from a blast, Divisional artillery and aircraft raked the enemy concentration points around Monte Calvo, and the Sikhs closed up and overran a number of outposts. At 1115 hours 5 Brigade moved to assault.

    'A' Company (Major Costeloe) and 'B' Company (Major Normand) led the way up but were pinned down by heavy mortar fire half-way tor their objective. Corps artillery intervened, and at dusk the companies swept ahead, destroying a number of last-stand enemy groups and cut the road in the rear of Monte Calvo. 'B' and 'D' Companies passed through to clear the adjoining ground.

    Throughout the night, the 46 British Division front in Monte Grindolfo area to the right was busy deepening the gouge in the enemy's defence. At 0930 hours next morning, the Battalion moved forward to regain contact with the enemy at the junction of the Tavoleto road. Armour came forward to assist and drew a heavy retaliatory shoot which caught the Gurkhas in the open, causing a number of casualties. 'A' and 'B' Company mortars cast smoke shells under cover of which the companies won their objectives on both sides of the cross roads.

    The new advance at dusk was greeted by a heavy shooting. 'B' Company Headquarters was struck, Lieutenant Miles severely wounded and the wireless link destroyed. The assault force, now out of touch with Battalion Headquarters, pressed forward, crossed a mine-field and were brought up short by mortar and close-range Spandau fire. But Subedar Bhimbahadur Sen and his men refused to be thwarted and, driving forward, disappeared into the darkness.

    When 'B' Company went off the air. a section from Battalion Headquarters hurried forward to find Major Normand preparing a defence position. The Sikhs took over the Tavoleto crossroads and with 2/7th Gurkhas providing a firm flank when 'C' and 'D' Companies advanced and came up solidly against the enemy, they found Subedar Bhimbahadur Sen and his men already in position clinging to ground within few yards of the Germans.

    Throughout September 2nd the forward companies clung to exposed positions while enemy artillery hammered at them unceasingly; losses mounted and it became necessary to shift 'C' Company (Major Griffiths). At night 4/11th Sikhs took over the ground gained and the Battalions joined the Baluchis in the Foglia Valley. The day at the Tavoleto cross roads had cost 15 killed, 34 wounded and 2 missing.
  16. sol

    sol Very Senior Member

    CO of the 1/9th Gurkha Rifles was also awarded with DSO during this operation

    T/Major John Stacey Bolton M.B.E.
    1st Battalion, 9th Gurkha Rifles

    Awarded with the Distinguished Service Order
    For sound leadership and conspicuous gallantry in action.

    On the 30 Aug 44 the brigade, of which Lt.Col Bolton's battalion formed a part, captured the M Croce feature in the Gothic Line. In the next phase, the attack on M Calvo, Lt.Col Bolton's battalion had to execute a difficult night march round the northern exposed flank, which was in effect an infiltration between two parts of the Gothic Line. He was then required to establish himself north of M Calvo, from where he could intercept and later pursue the retreating enemy.

    During the night march the greatest possible difficulties were met with; a brigade from another formation was found to have assembled on the very ground where the 1/9 Gurkha Rifles were to for up. The axis laid down by brigade for the wide flanking move could no longer be followed. Inter-communication had broken down and Lt.Col Bolton was forced to decide on how to further the brigade intention on his own initiative. He changed his axis, which the dispositions of another battalion to give him a measure of security, while he reconnoitred personally for an alternative route through tangled gorges and ravines which lay immediately under the fire of a semi circle of enemy machine guns. Daylight came before he could start moving his battalion but communication with brigade having been re-established, he was able to accept the task of moving on to his original objective by daylight.

    Complete success was achieved. During this brilliantly executed manoeuvre at least one company of the enemy was surprised, outflanked and largely destroyed by continuous savagely intense attacks directed by Lt.Col Bolton. The battalion arrived on the high ground behind M Calvo; the enemy tried to escape and suffered casualties in killed, wounded and prisoners.

    The next day, 1 Sep 44, soon after first light Lt.Col Bolton took over up the pursuit. By his sound tactics and rapid manoeuvre he mopped up enemy rearguards and gained ground halfway to Tavoleto, where he started making contact with the strong network of defences which covered both Tovoleto and the southern end of the Monte Gridolfo Ridge. The enemy, though far from ready to receive a major assault, was holding the position with some two battalions. Col San Lorenzo, covering the junction of the Monte Gridolfo and Tavoleto roads, was the vital ground, as later operations showed, which the enemy was prepared to hold at all cost.

    Lt.Col Bolton appreciated the probability of strong enemy resistance and at once planned in detail an assault on the Col, using all the resources at his disposal. he personally recconnoitred widely round the exposed flanks and chose an axis for his infantry which gave them the one possible covered approach to the objective, he than planed carefully a fire support programme which enabled the assault to gain complete surprise and to over-run all but the final key to the enemy's position. Later in the day this also was captured by hard fighting.

    That night and the next day the enemy re-acted violently. Lt.Col Bolton remained on duty continuously at his Tac HQ, committing every man ha had available to the vital task of hanging on to and counter-attacking the Lorenzo feature area. The enemy's fire was heavy during the whole period; at one stage Nebelwerfers were brought to bear on the OP and Tac HQ area. All men of a section post which formed part of a platoon locality in this particular area became casualties.

    As this was the only ground where adequate observation over the battle area could be obtained Lt.Col Bolton was justified in remaining there, in spite of the intensity of the fire.

    For the whole 48 hour period Lt.Col Bolton seldom had the wireless headphones away from his ears. He was in constant touch with his companies, all four of which at one stage were committed to the battle; he remained calm and the master of the situation throughout.

    His leadership, courage, initiative and personal forcefulness were more than apparent to the visiting Commanders. The result was that his battalion successfully accomplished an outstanding operation which was characterised by dash and tenacity quite beyond praise.

    This officer's bravery and general conduct in battle were of the highest order and they were worthy of recognition.
    LG 8.3.1945.
  17. sol

    sol Very Senior Member

    Also awarded from this battalion was ...

    A/Naik Ganeshbahadur Bhandari
    1st Battalion, 9th Gurkha Rifles

    Awarded with the Military Medal

    Point 401, on the South Eastern end of the high ground near Tavoleto, was an elaborately prepared position in the German Gothic line defences. On this vital ground depended the enemy's security on both the Monte Gridolfo and the Pian di Casello ridges.

    During the attack on this feature on 2 Sep 44 an enemy battalion had gradually worn down by fire the Gurkha company which had originally seized the objective and the remnants had been driven back off this vital ground. D Coy was one of the two rifle coys ordered to re-capture the objective.

    In the face of heavy spandau fire from the front and right flank, and under constant heavy mortar fire Nk Ganeshbahadur, with complete disregard for his own safety, personally led his section onto the objective, up a steep slope covered with Booby traps and A.P. Mines. Many men fall as they crossed this bullet swept, shell torn ground. Arriving near the top the Nk led his section in a charge with such determination and courage that the many resolute defenders opposite him fled in disorder.

    The previous attempt to capture the feature had resulted in many casualties, but the fearless way in which Nk Ganeshbahadur pressed home his part of the operation was an inspiration to the whole company and the vital ground was held.
    LG. 8.3.1945.
  18. PsyWar.Org

    PsyWar.Org Archive monkey

    Nicola, just sent you a PM about the war diaries.

    Best wishes,

    Lee (aka PsyWar.Org)

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