Discussion in 'Italy' started by ropey, Feb 17, 2015.
Does anyone know if there was an operation code name for the crossings?
My focus is, as usual, a little bit narrowly 38 (Irish) Brigade focused.
In the various 78th Div bits and pieces, I've usually seen references merely to the "Battle for the Winter Line" or "Sangro Winter Line"... but just now glancing at the Irish Brigade's war diaries for November 1943, I noted a reference to 'Operation Encroach' in an entry on November 17th 1943 and then the Irish Brigade element being modified by Plans 'John' and 'Mike' in entries on 27th November 1943 - excerpts attached.
There is also a National Archive File referring to 'Encroach', which might or might not confirm that the Operation of that name referred to the Sangro River assaults...(edit - I think confirmed below).
I'm a little bit vague here but this little bit might, at least, provoke further overwrite of confirmation or negation.
and from a November 14th 1943 6 Innisks entry -
14th November – VASTO.
Period of four days intensive training commenced with Bttn route march at 0800hrs. Route distance - 8 miles.
1145 RC and C of E church services held.
1700 IO and one section of Battle Platoon left for attachment to 6 RWK for purpose of recce of assembly area and routes across River Sangro for operation “Encroach”.
And from the Canadians...
3. "ENCROACH" was the code name given to the operation which General
Montgomery termed "a colossal crack." This new offensive by Eighth Army in
the Adriatic sector begun during the last week of November, was designed to
assist Fifth Army in its advance on Rome.
There are several references to 'Encroach' in the diary of the 70th Medium Regiment from the 20th Nov onwards including several suggesting it was postponed.
More from the Canadians:
"Phase I. One battalion of 8 Ind Div was to secure the high ground to the South-east of Mozzagrogna (target date, 26 Nov).
Phase II. One brigade (less the battalion committed in Phase I) of 8 Ind Div was to capture S. Maria and Mozzagrogna (target date, 28 Nov).
Phase III. One brigade of 78 Div was to occupy the high ground of R. Li Colli (target date 29 or 30 Nov).
Phase IV. The same brigade employed in Phase III was to strike north-eastward to capture Fossacesia as soon as possible after Phase III.
Field Marshal Montgomery in El Alamein to the River Sangro, p. 146, gives 28 Nov as the opening date of the Battle of the River Sangro. The building up of the bridgehead had been taking place during 19 - 25 Nov. 26 Nov was the target date for Phase I of Operation 'ENCROACH' as finally planned by H.Q. 5 Corps. It would appear that the Army Commander considered Phase I as a preliminary, and Phase II, with 28 Nov as the target date, as the beginning of the main effort."
"Although the plan for 'ENCROACH' was altered three times, it remained consistent in the choice of Mozzagrogna as the point for the initial piercing of the Winter Line."
Thank you all for your quick and informative answers.
I need your help.
I'm looking for operation order n.4 relating to Operation Encroach issued by the 5th Corps. It is inserted in the diary of the 5th Corps (WO 169/8573) of the month of November 1943.
Unfortunately during my visit to Kew I stupidly forgot to photograph it.
Anyone own it and can share it?
I concur with Bexley 84. Hamilton's book Monty Master of the Battlefield confirms the original operation was called ENCROACH see p449.
Separate names with a comma.