Second Battalion Coldstream Guards in WW2 (War Diary: 1944)

Discussion in 'The Brigade of Guards' started by Phaethon, Jul 23, 2009.

  1. Phaethon

    Phaethon Historian

    The following documents are transcriptions of the war diary from the 2nd Bn Coldstream Guards. It represents a project I am working on to record both the diary and all cordinates within the diary: the latter part of which I have translated into latitude and longitude and put onto google maps which I have recorded here.

    If anyone needs any help tracing a family member in the second Battalion please do not hesitate to get in contact.

    Please note:

    (1) The following is a WORK IN PROGRESS. Its being continually updated, and as such includes notes to myself, spelling errors, and eroneous locations that are being re-worked.

    (2) A lot of these locations are not exact. Some were recorded erroneuously at the time, some locations are 4 digit grid squares, (so the locations cover an entire grid square), some I have had to estimate (in which case I have indicated them as being so). Even the most accurate cordinates are likely to be nearbye (to 100ft) rather then dead on the exact location; however I have still found them to be surprisingly accurate in a lot of cases (sometimes directly on the features, i.e. houses, in question)

    Map Nov 1942 to may 1943 (North west African conflict: note that the locations for 90% of this map were not given in co-ordinates in the hand written war diary: the Brigade diary for this period being missing from the national archives. As a result this one map involves estimated locations. Blue locations are roughly exact based on original war maps. Red are known areas.)

    Map Feb (Monte Orinito: Eastern Aurunci salient) War Diary article 1
    Map March (Eastern slopes of Monte Ornito) War Diary article 2
    Map April (Cassino) War Diary article 3
    Map May (Monte Piccolo/Arce) War Diary article 4
    Map June (Liri Valley and Perugia) War Diary article 5
    Map July (L'Olmo Gap and Arrezo War Diary article 6
    Map Aug (Advance to florence) War Diary article 7
    Map Sep i (Operation OLIVE (San Godenzo Pass) War Diary article 8
    Map Sep ii Operation OLIVE (San Godenzo Pass and the securing of Rout 67)
    Map Oct (Monte Battaglia)War Diary article 9
    Map Nov (Monte Verro/Aqua Salanta) War Diary article 10
    Map Dec (Monte Penzola) War Diary article 11
    Map Jan* (Winter on Monte Penzola and Verre) War Diary article 12
    Map Feb and March* (Amalgamation at SPOLETO)
    Map April part 1 (Spring Offensive, Argenta Gap)
    Map April part 2 (Battle for Chiesa Del Bando)
    Map April Part 3 (Battle for Portoverrara)
    Map April Part 4 (Push to the River Po)

    *The Maps for Jan/Feb/March are a little different as the static line and continuous rotation policy out of the front line atop Monte Penzolla meant that it has not been easy to map in this format. To make things easier I have included a map for the locations of the entire 1st guards brigade detailing the positions the Bn would have occupied when at the front.
    dbf, Owen, Paul Reed and 1 other person like this.
  2. Phaethon

    Phaethon Historian

    2nd Bn Cldm Gds
    Commanding officer: Lt Col H.R. Norman
    Feb 1944

    1st Feb:
    Day of frantic organisation, making up and issuing of G. 1098.
    Handing back of 19 Sets, wireless P.U’P, and other purely armoured divisional equipment.

    Officers promotions. Capt R.C. Alderson is promoted Major.
    Lieuts D.A.M. Toler and T.R.E. Jackson to Capt.

    2nd Feb:
    1000: Advance party, consisting of Maj R.C. Alderson, Capt J.D.G. Fortescue, Capt T.R.E. Jackson, Capt D.A.H. Toler, Lieut A.F.V. Fernell Watson, I.C. and 132 Other range sets off.

    1700: Advance party leaves Phillipeville in French cruiser ‘Fantastique’

    3rd Feb:
    0915: Main body leaves Constantine for Phillipeville in TCVs.

    1015: All Commanding Officers leave by plane for Italy, where they are to meet the new Brigadier. (Brig. J.C. Hayden. G.B.E. D.S.C)

    1115: Advance party disembarks at Naples harbour and marches to Transit Camp three miles north of the town.

    1400: Main body embarks at Phillipeville in the Ville d’Oran.

    It is made known that 1 Gds Bde is u/c 16 Corps, but is still part of 6 Armd Div.

    4th Feb:

    0700: Main body sets sail from Phillipeville.
    1000: Advance party move in TCVs to SESSA AURUNCA, M.9472* (41° 14' 23'' N, 13° 56' 25'' E), where the Bn is to be billeted when it arrives.

    (*note that these coordinates are not SESSA, more likely it is the holding area, the lat and lon are the correct location of SESSA)

    Extra transport is drawn up.

    (Researchers note: the following appendix is repeated here in its entirety)

    “Thirty 3 ton Lorries for TP carrying are being provided when required under arrangement 10 corps. Vehs will form up in the CORSA LUCILLO (Main street of SESSA) facing north with their head short of the cinema car park and their tail near the main arch. APM 10 corps is arranging to clear the main street in SESSA.

    Lorries are allotted SIX per rifle Coy and Sp Coy, 5 HQ coy and 1 spare. MTO will arrange for these to be marked accordingly on arrival.”

    5th Feb:

    1000: Main body disembarks at Naples harbour and moved to SESSA AURUNCA by TCV and railway, arriving at 0045 hrs 5 Feb. ’44.

    1700: Commanding Officer rejoins Bn at SESSA after recce with Brigadier
    1900: Conference at Bde HQ for Commanding Officers. Plan is divulged. App ‘A’

    6th Feb:
    Conference for Coy Commanders.

    0930-1600: Commanding officer and ‘C’ group recce ground for projected attack.

    2000: Conference at Bde HQ for Commanding Officers.

    During the day the Bn is issued with a completely new G.1098 from Corps and Div pools, as all ours had been left behind with the Tpt.

    7th Feb:

    0900: Transport and rear party leaves Constantine for BONE.

    1200: All I.C’s leave to go on Recce Patrol night 7/8 of projected route the Bde is to follow in the forthcoming attack.

    1600: The Bn leaves SESSA AURUNCA in TCVs and is carried to S.MARTINO 9497* (41° 16' 32'' N Longitude : 13° 55' 42'' E), and marched from there to re-entrant 8802 (41° 19' 14'' N, 13° 51' 24'' E), where they spent the remainder of the night.

    (*Note: The San Martino coordinates are slightly south of the town)

    8th Feb:

    Owing to the 138 Bde failing to capture Mount FAITO, 8504 (41° 20' 19'' N, 13° 49' 15'' E) the original project is abandoned.

    1300: The commanding officer is ordered to recce for an attack on FAITO that night.

    1500: The order is countermanded. The Bn is to take over the Mont ORNITO possns from 2/4/ KOYLI.

    Everest Carriers and Rucksacks are issued to the Bn.

    1600: The Bn moved up to the Cheshire dump 872024 (41° 19' 27'' N, 13° 50' 49'' E)

    1830: The Bn relives 2/4 KOYLI under fire.
    Coy posns are as follows:

    No 1 Coy 860033 (41° 19' 56'' N, 13° 49' 58'' E)
    No 2 Coy 969034*(41° 20' 00'' N, 13° 50' 36'' E)
    No 3 Coy 867035 (41° 20' 03'' N, 13° 50' 28'' E)
    No 4 Coy 862035 (41° 20' 03'' N, 13° 50' 06'' E)
    Bn HQ 868032 (41° 19' 53'' N, 13° 50' 32'' E)

    *(note, No 2 Coys location is probably a mistake: the correct coordinates should be 869034, on the eastern flank of ORNITO)

    We suffer casualties during the take over, and afterwards have a quiet night.

    0600: No 2 Coy finds Germans lying up close to their forward posns, and send out patrols to try and bring them it, but the enemy fire on the party as it returns wounding the prisoners who have to be abandoned.

    9th Feb:
    1000: Bn HQ and No 1 Coy move forward to the reverse slopes of mount ORNITO

    1100: The Bn is ordered to prepare to attack mount FAIT that night.

    1500: Commanding officers O group assembles at Bn HQ to learn the orders for the attack.

    1530: The order is countermanded by telephone.

    A night of continuous rain and bitter cold. These conditions and the physical exertions of the past three days taxed the Bn’s endurance to the limit.

    Casualties. Officers Killed 1 (Lieut F.M. Milton Green)
    Wounded 1 (Lieut R.E. Hyde)
    Missing NIL

    Other ranks Killed 3
    Wounded 9
    Missing NIL

    Feb 10th:

    1100: Enemy movement observed in front of out FDL’s
    Some of our own shells fall short in Coy Areas.

    1130: Air bursts over fwd coy areas and Bn Hq.

    1235: Intensified shelling by the enemy. Snow and sleet. Visibility bad. No 3 Coy is subjected to intense mortar and shell fire.

    1400: 50 men from III/71 Panzer Grenadier Regt attack No 2 and 3 Coys.
    Shells from our own arty continue to fall short.

    3 Coy ask for reinforcements. No 7 Pl, under Capt T.R.K Jackson is send round No 3 Coys left flank.

    1600: The attack is successfully beaten off. The enemy withdraws. 7 P.O.W. taken.

    Soon after Dusk. No 1 Coy relieved 2 Coy.
    2 Coy relieved 3 Coy on Pt 711.

    On our left 3 gren Gds take over the posns on Mount TUGA.
    On our right 3 W.C. take over the posns on CERASOLA.

    Casualties. Officers Killed 1 (Capr. T.R.E. Jackson)
    Wounded 2 (Lieut A Pemberton)
    (Lieut A.F.V. Farnell Watson)
    Missing NIL

    Other ranks Killed 6
    Wounded 43
    Missing NIL

    11th Feb:
    0600: 6 Germans who were observed at first light close to No 1 Coys FDLs were taken P.O.W. They came from I/71 Pz Gren Regt, and gave valuable information about the defences on FAITO.

    0915: No 1 Coy reports Germans with red cross flags behaving suspiciously in front of them. They try and pin them down with fire but they get away.

    1100: 2 German stretcher bearers and one infantryman give themselves up to No 4 coy.

    Germans continue to move around in front of no 1 coy under the cover of Red Cross flags.

    1430: 10 corps Commander visits the Bn.

    1600: Enemy shell our 3” Mortar posns.

    2030: A patrol sent out from No 1 Coy encountered an MG post. Lieut W. Birkbeok and 1 O.R. wounded.

    Casualties: Officers Killed Nil
    Wounded 1 (Lieut W. Birkbeck)
    Missing NIL

    Other Ranks Killed 1
    Wounded 3
    Missing NIL

    12th Feb:

    Major Eales, (artillery officer with Bn HQ) is relieved by Capt Johnson (71 Fd Regt)

    2 man Bivvy tents, leather gloves, new boots and some rubber soled patrol boots are issued.

    A day of intermittent shell and mortar fire.

    Casualties. Officers killed NIL
    Wounded NIL
    Missing NIL

    Other ranks Killed 1
    Wounded 4
    Missing NIL

    13th Feb:

    0800: Two enemy reconnaissance planes fly over the Bn Area.

    A comparatively quiet day, mortaring and shelling was considerably reduced.

    Casualties: Officers Killed NIL
    Wounded NIL
    Missing NIL

    Other Ranks Killed 2
    Wounded 3
    Missing NIL

    14th Feb:
    Our fighting patrols confirm enemy in posn very close to our own FDLs at night

    1250: 4th Div Commander visits the Bn.

    A German pillbox on the top of FAITO received a direct hit, but remained undemolished. However after the bombardment had ceased 9 German stretcher cases were seen being carried down the German RAP behind FAITO.

    1700-1800: Enemy bring down heavy shell and mortar fire on No 1 Coy, causing a few casualties.

    Casualties: Officers NIL
    O.R.’s Killed 1
    Wounded 4
    Missing NIL.

    After staying for 7 days in a transit camp near Bone the transport and rear party sailed for Italy in the ‘George Leonard’

    15th Feb:

    1115: The Bde Commander visits the Bn.

    1300-1500: Enemy Shell No 3 Coy posns.

    2100: Night fighting patrols

    Casualties NIL.

    16th Feb:

    0100: No 1 Coy sends out two more fighting patrols

    1100: Bde Commander visits the Bn,

    1300: Commanding officer and I.O. go to the top of mount TUGA to observe the Bn posns from there.

    1800: No 2 Coy relieves No 1 Coy.

    Casualties: Officers NIL.

    Other Ranks: Killed NIL
    Wounded NIL
    Missing 1

    17th Feb:

    0500: No 2 Coy observe Germans on the forward slopes of Pt 711 (No 4 Coy’s hill). A brisk fire and grenade fight developed.

    0630: A Pl from No 1 Coy went forward in a left hook and cut off 6 germans who were made P.O.W. The Pl was pinned down by fire.
    No 4 Coy inflict a large number of casualties on the enemy by sniping and grenade throwing.

    0800: Stalemate is reached.

    0930: A few shells from our own guns fall short into the Bn HQ area.

    0932: Smoke screen is laid, through which No 4 Coy charge and clear fwd slopes of hill, with complete success. 26 P.O.W. are taken, II/104 Pz Gren Regt

    4 Coy return to their original posns.

    Enemy try to withdraw to their original posns under cover of a Red Cross. Fls g, this move is terminated by a few rounds of gun fire.

    1200: Visit from 10 corps commanders, who congratulates the Bn on it’s performance.

    1730: Enemy reopen their attack. Small parties crawl up to within grenade throwing range of Pt 711. Grenade and small arms fire are interchanged up till 2030 hrs.

    1800: No 2 and 4 cots ask for reinforcements. Pls from 1 and 3 Coys are sent to reinforce No 4 Coy.

    1900: Both Pls suffer considerable casualties from mortar fire on their way to pt 711.

    2330: ‘D’ Coy ¼ Hamps takes over 3 Coy posns on the reverse slopes of Ornito. 3 Coy moves across to join No 1 Coy

    No 4 Coy report enemy are still on the fwd slopes of Pt 711 but have not renewed their attacks.

    The attack on No 2 Coy appears only to have been diversionary, and the enemy have withdrawn,

    4 germans from III/129 Pz Gren Regt, who have lost their way, walk into our lines and give themselves up.

    2345: 2 Coy 3 Gren Gds comes into reserve behind No 1 Coy. They are told that they may have to do a dawn counter attack on Pt 711.

    Casualties. Officers Killed NIL
    Wounded 2 (Lieut J.B. Faller)
    (Lieut R.J. Sheridan)
    Missing NIL

    Other Ranks Killed 6
    Wounded NIL
    Missing 3

    18th Feb:

    0600: No 4 Coy reports that they are still holding their original posns and that the enemy are on the other side of pt 711, but not showing themselves much.

    The Bn Comd decide not to use 2 Coy 3 Gren gds in a counter attack, but adopt the same tactics as the previous morning. A large scale smoke and HE barrage is prepaed.

    0920-0945: 4 Fd Regts, 1 Med Regt, 2” and 3 Mortars lat smoke and HE on all likely targets.

    0945: 4 Coy make frontal assault., and cleat the fwd slopes of Pt 711. 10 P.O.W. taken, these are from the pioneer coy of 104 Pz Gren Regt.

    1100: 1 & 3 Cots form a composite Coy under Maj H.J.L Green.
    1200: Comd 46 Div visits the Bn.
    1300: C.C. and I.O 2 Hamps make preliminary recce for their relief
    1500: 2 coy 3 Gren Gds relieve 4 coy on Pt 711. 4 Coy go into reserve.
    1800: 48 reinforcements arrive from ‘B’ Ech.

    Casualties: Officers NIL
    Other Ranks Killed 2
    Wounded 29
    Missing 1

    19th Feb:

    0500: Heavy artillery and mortar fire on our own and 3. W.G. posns.

    0515: Large force of enemy, est 400-500 men, III/129, I/104, Pl II/129 attacked our right flank in an attempt to cut off CERASOLA. The attack was held by 2 coy and ‘D’ Coy ¼ Hamps.
    Some very severe fighting on top of ORNIO.

    1000: Situation cleared up. 65 P.O.W. taken. (110 between coldm Gds and 3 W.G.)

    0900-1845: Enemy arty and mortar fire keep the whole of the Bn area under heavy fire, which causes casualties in all locations.

    1000: Major Wilson (71 Fd Regt) is killed by a direct hit on his sangar which causes difficulties in counter battery fire, as all his comns were destroyed at the same time.

    1545: Capt. Singelton (71 Fd Regt) arrived to take Maj. Wilson’s place.

    The Bn rear party arrive in Naples Harbour and moved to a transit camp three miles North of the town.

    Casualties. Officers. Wounded 1 (Lieut A.C.G Ponsonby)
    Other Ranks Killed 6
    Wounded 30
    Missing 1

    20th Feb:

    1000: Advance party from 2 Hamps arrive in Bn Area.

    1300: No 1,3, and 4 Coys are relieved by ‘Y’ Coy 2 Hamps.

    1450: Bn HQ, Sp Coy, and ‘D’ Coy ¼ are relieved, the latter by ‘Z’ Coy.

    1650: 2 Coy relieved by ‘W’ Coy

    1700: 7 German stretcher bearers approach Pt 711 and ask for an Armistice until 1900 hrs to bury their dead. The Bde comd of 128 Bde, who was at Bn HQ asked advice from G.O.C 46 Div.

    1 S.B. is to be sent back and 6 are to the blindfolded and led back through our lines for interrogation.

    1730: The order is countermanded, all stretcher bearers are to be sent back to their own lines with a note from the G.O.C. 46 Div, to the effect that the truce has been refused, and that all future emissaries will be taken P.O.W.

    1930: 2 Coy 3 Gren Gds are relieved by ‘X’ Coy 2 Hamps. C.O. and I.O. now that the take over is complete, start down the hill.

    2330: All the Bn are in their billets at CASALE. 0090 (41° 12' 45'' N, 14° 00' 00'' E)

    Casualties. Officers. NIL
    Other Ranks Killed 2
    Wounded 7
    Missing NIL

    Consolidates statement of casualties.

    Officers: Killed 2
    Wounded 7
    Missing 0
    Total 9

    Other Ranks: Killed 31
    Wounded 145
    Missing 5 (2 Believed Killed)
    Total 181

    21st Feb:

    a.m. Rest
    p.m. Baths and Cinema

    22nd Feb:

    1100: 46 Div commander talks to the whole Bn, congratulating them on their excellent performance under such severe conditions. He said that the comd 128 Bde, a veteran fighter, carried out a personal recce of Pt 711 and stated that he had never, in all his long experience, seen so many German dead in one place as there was in front of Pt 711/

    p.m. Kit inspections, NAAFI ration, Pay, Cinema.

    1700: Regimental Lieutenant Colonel visits all Coys.
    Commanding officers conference for all Coy comds.

    p.m. 4 officers and 123 O.R’s arrive from the I.R.T.D.
    Transport and rear party left Naples and arrived p.m. at the Bn ‘B’ Ech, PETRULO 1391.

    24th Feb:

    a.m. Coy Comds conference. Reinforcements allotted to Coys. Coy reorganization.

    25th Feb:

    1100: Bde Commander visits the Bn. And talks to the men; congratulating them on their excellent performance under such gruelling conditions.

    Sickness in the Bn very high, mainly sore feet. (Appendix ‘C’)

    Appendix ‘C’ to war Diary – Feb ‘44
    (Researchers note: the following appendix is repeated here in its entirety)

    “Sudden transfer from a reserve area in North Africa to a mountainous part of the Italian front reacted strongly to the health of the battalion. In addition to the fortnights 200 casualties, about 60- men were evacuated through sickness and on coming out of the line there were around 75 cases of trench foot, a number of which had to go to hospital. The battalion was particularly unfortunate in taking over its mountain positions in a particularly wet and cold period. There were a number of exposure cases and about two men per day were evacuated suffering from sheer physical exhaustion and exposure. Under such conditions nervous strain is of course greatly enhanced, and one man was evacuated with nervous breakdown. Hardly a man came down to the rest area without some ache, or pain, or sore.

    26th Feb:

    1600: Regimental Lieutenant Colonel laves to visit the 3rd Coldm Gds.

    27th Feb:

    0900: Drill Parade.

    p.m. Baths, ENSA Concert.
    Bn will take over 46 Div right hand Bn area 8804. from 6 Lincs night 1/2 Mar.

    28th Feb:

    0930: C.O. and I.O. make recce of new Bn area.

    1530: Bde Hq informs the Bn Commander that only one Coy (4 Coy) will be required. They will take over right hand Coy posn, the remainded will be the responsibility of 3 W.G. 4 Coy will be relieved on 3/4 Mar ’44.

    29th Feb:

    0900-1300: C.O. and O.C. 4 Coy make recce.

    1630: New orders received from Bde HQ. The Bn will not take over any posns. 2 dets of Mortars will come u/C 3 W.G. in this area. The Bn is to be in Corps Reserve. It will be billeted at SESSA ARUNCA (9593) from where it must be prepared to make a counter attack on 5 Div front. Appendix ‘D’

    (Note: “APPENDIX D”: Orders
    2 Coldm Gds are u/c 5 Div for use in c/a role. 2 Coldm Gds will be prepared to carry out deliberate c/attacks in 10 corps left Div Sector.)

    Feb 8th – 20th

    Ten days before climbing up to Mount ORNITO. 1 gds Bde was training as lorried infantry to the 6th Armd Div. To be suddenly thrown into some of the hardest hill fighting yet encountered in world war II as an ordinary infantry brigade meant that there was a great many alterations to our way of thinking that could only be learnt the hard way.

    The conditions were far tougher then anything we had known. The marching and climbing up the Italian hills was something a battalion used to TCV found hard to accustom itself. The bitter cold at the top, with snow, sleet and rain, and only one blanket, later two, caused many frost bite and exposure casualties.

    The type of fighting in the mountains was something quite new to us. To build a ‘Sangar’ of stones, rather than dig our traditional slit trenches came as a surprise, and I think the lack of knowledge in this kind of self defence cost us considerable casualties. Neither had we ever encountered the enemy at such close range. In the forward company locations, the enemy were always close enough to snipe at our O.P. men, and often within the grenade throwing range. Therefore during the hours of daylight the two companies on Pts 711 and 759 could only sit on their own sides of their respective hills with very little observation of the enemy side. At night standing patrols were sent out on the forward slopes. This situation meant that an enemy force could get right to within grenade throwing range of our FDL’s without being detected. After this initial phase of an attack, a ‘stalemate’ was reached, during which grenades were thrown over the top of the hill, but any combatant showing himself over the crest would immediately be shot. In such cases we were always at a great advantage, with our fragmentation grenades, which proved far superior to the German blast grenades. These ‘Stalemates’ were always terminated by a bayonet charge over the top, after a preliminary smoke screen, resulting in large ‘scoops’ of prisoners.

    Our casualties were heavy – over 200 in 12 days. A considerable number of them were due to physical exhaustion and exposure, some due to ‘bomb happiness’, quite a lot due to small arms fire, but by far the most of out casualties were due to mortar and shellfire which caused a continual drain on our ranks.

    The ammunition expenditure was interesting. Our 2” and 3” mortars fired more bombs during the 12 days we were on ORNITO then they had fired during the whole of the north African campaign. Verey light and 2” Illuminating flares were used to a large extent at night. 90 boxes of ‘mills’ grenades were used up by the Bn. To thrown 1080 grenades at the enemy in less then a fortnight is a terrific figure.

    Supplying troops on the top of a mountain is an immense undertaking and 46 division ‘Q’ organisation was first class. No supply vehicles except Jeeps were allowed across the Garigliano’s Pontoon bridges, which periodically got swept away when the germans opened the sluice gates farther up. At the foot of the mountains the Jeeps unload, and mules carry the supplies up narrow mountain paths to the ‘Mule Head’. From there Indian porters continue the train to the Bn Dumps. Bn porters drawn from the support coy distribute to companies. In spite of the tremendous difficulties everything that could be brought was brought up – two man bivvy’s – gloves – socks – rubber soled patrol boots – NAAFI over and above the daily ammunition and rations. Down the same rout all casualties were evacuated. Every few hundred yards are stretcher bearer posts, and stretcher cases are handed on down this line from post to post. This is the only possible system, and it is well organized. But it means that a man however badly wounded, has to wait 14-20 hrs before he can get proper treatment.

    The enemy troops opposite us, were, for the most part II Bn 104 Panzer Grenadier Regiment, from 15 Panzer Division. They had sufficient artillery and mortars to give ORNITO a continuous ‘stonk’ far heavier then anything we had previously encountered, and which will be long remembered. They attacked the ORNITO positions four times, once with two Bns, and three times with a single company 50-50 strong. All these attacks were put in with badly timed artillery support, and were pressed home with little vigour. This latter reason was one of the main factors for the enemy’s continued failure, for these particular hills favoured the attacker, and were comparatively difficult to defend. After every single attack the enemy used men waving red cross flags to try and extricate their surviving soldiers. The other noticeable tactic employed by the enemy was that of working small parties forward of his own FDLs to observe and snipe. Verey light were used to call for and to call of artillery support. The prisoners were of a quite reasonable size and age, and all except the officer showed definite pleasure at being made a prisoner and complete willingness to talk.
  3. Phaethon

    Phaethon Historian

    2nd Bn Cldm Gds
    Commanding officer: Lt Col H.R. Norman
    March 1944
    1st March:

    Commanding officer and I.O. recce bde area, MINTURNO N.7895 (+41° 15' 27.00", +13° 44' 14.00")

    Bn moves to SESSA AURUNCA W.9593. (41° 14' 23'' N, 13° 56' 25'' E),

    2nd March:

    Commanding officer and I.O and all coy comds recce ground for counter attack role.

    Bn comes under comd 5 Div for use in counter attack role.

    3rd March:

    No 3 coy and coy officers make counter attack recce. Coy train. Marches – run/walks – shotting – drill parades.

    4th march:

    No 3 coy and coy officer make counter attack recce.
    Bn skin inspection.

    Regimental lieutenant colonel visits the Bn.

    5th March:

    Church services.
    The Bn, originally at 4 hrs notice to move, is placed at 12 hours notice as from 1200 hrs and comes under command 10 corps direct, for use in counter attack role on 88 US div front who have relieved 5 Div.

    No 4 coy and coy officer make counter attack recce.

    6th March:
    Commanding officer makes recce of DAMIANO feature. N.8399 (41° 17' 37'' N, 13° 47' 49'' E). Sp Coy and Coy officer make counter attack recce.

    7th March:
    Commanding officer and all coy comds make recce of DAMIANO feature.

    8th March:

    Commanding officer and I.O (intelligence officer) visit 1 gds Bde HQ to arrange details of change over with 3 W.G. on 13 march ’44. (later postponed 2 days)

    9th March:
    Coys train. Baths, entertainments.

    10th March:
    Coys train. Baths, entertainments.

    11th March:
    Coys train. Baths, entertainments

    12th March:
    Coys train. Baths, entertainments.

    13th March:
    Bn was to relieve 3 W.G. in daylight. This is postponed for 2 days.

    14th March:

    Commanding officers conference.

    Vehicles report to coys for loading with heavy equipment, which is to leave with the main body.

    Advance party, consisting of Capt. R.C. alderson, Capt D.C. Chichester, RQMS, one cook per coy, and maintenance party leaves SESSA for LAURO 9095 (41° 15' 27'' N, 13° 52' 50'' E).

    Advance part arrives LAURO 9095, where capt R.C. Alderson contacts B.T.O and officer i/c jeep train.

    15th March:

    Main body, less 3 Coy, one Pl of SP coy, and one Mor Det, emboss.
    O.C’s rifle coys (less 3 coy) and signal officer leave independently for PALM BEACH 9001 (41° 18' 42'' N, 13° 52' 50'' E)

    Bn Debusses at SAN CARLO 9300, (41° 18' 10'' N, 13° 54' 59'' E)and pick up ‘D’ coy 2 N.F. who come under command of the Bn. The Bn proceeds by march route.

    Arrive PALM BEACH. As the Bn is passing through 2 bombs are released accidentally from liberators on their way to CASSINO. They cause two slight wounds.

    Hot meal on arrival at rear Bn HQ 888024. (41° 19' 27'' N, 13° 51' 58'' E)

    Leaving rear Bn HQ personnel behind the Bn moves off to relieve 3 W.G.

    With the exception of 3 Coy, who we are to relive by night, the relief is complete.

    Coy Posns:

    2 and SP coys - 883034 (41° 20' 00'' N, 13° 51' 37'' E)
    4 Coy - 872037 (41° 20' 09'' N, 13° 50' 49'' E)
    ‘D’ Coy 2 N.F. and Bn HQ. 877037 (41° 20' 09'' N, 13° 51' 11'' E)

    Quiet Night.

    Casualties: x – NIL and NIL. Y – NIL and one. Z- NIL and NIL.
    Rear Bn HQ (SESSA) move to join ‘B’ Echelon at PETRULO 0109

    16th March:

    After a 6 hour march in heavy rain 3 Coy relieves 4 coy 3 W.G.

    Firing heard from direction of CERASOLA and ORNITO

    A few shells land in the rear of Bn HQ which is visible from adv Bn HQ. No casualties

    A recce patrol from 3 Coy went over PIETRIFOSCA and on towards GIROFANO. They saw nothing on the way, but reported sounds of enemy digging sangars on the EASTERN end of GIROFANO in the same area as previously reported by other Bns.

    Desolutory shelling and mortaring of 3 coy posns during night.

    Casualties: X NIL and one. Y – NIL and One. Z- NIL AND NIL

    17th March:

    I.O. (Lt C.R. Muir) is admitted to Hospital with Jaundice.

    Brigadier visits the Bn.
    Coy commanders of 6 R.T.M (French Unit) recce areas for relief.
    3 Coy Sends out patrols as previous night. Results the same.
    Quiet Night.
    Casualties NIL.

    18th March:
    Leaflets are fired over the Bn area and TUGA – ORNITO posns. They are fired in a rocket shell, calibre 71 mm and explode 100 feet above the found, and were thought to come from behind FAITO.

    Normal Standing patrols

    2015 – 2215:
    3 coy recce patrol reported sounds of enemy building defensive posnss on GIROFANO.

    A few enemy were seen at last light on GIRFANO. These were shelled.
    Casualties NIL.

    19th March:

    a.m: Continuous movement is reported from Bn O.P. in house 886086* (41° 22' 48'' N, 13° 51' 49'' E)

    *Note: I’m not that sure about these coordinates. It seems too far north…

    Maj Dobson (57 fd Regt) is relieved by Maj. Cunliffe (30 Fd Regt)
    Normal standing patrols.
    Quiet night.
    Casualties NIL.

    20th March:

    Brigadier visits the Bn.
    Leading coy of III Bn, 6 R.T.M. arrives and relieves 4 Coy.

    2 coy relieved.

    ‘D’ Coy relieved.

    Bn HQ relieves

    Commanding Officer; now that take (less 3 Coy) is complete, leaves.

    Bn, (less 3 coy) are all in Billets at SORBELLO 9390 (41° 12' 45'' N, 13° 54' 59'' E)

    Casualties – NIL.

    21st March:

    Remaining Coy of III bn 6 R.T.M. arrives and relieved 3 Coy.

    3 Coy arrives SORBELLO.
    Baths and entertainments.

    23rd March:

    Baths and entertainments.

    Lt. General. Sir H.C. Dloyd KCB,DSC,MC. Major General commanding the brigade of Guards visits the Bn.

    After staying to lunch, the Mahor General leaves the Bn.

    23rd March:
    Entertainments. Baths.

    24th March:

    All ranks go to see 4 Div Concert part at the Cinema, SESSA. Baths.

    25th March:

    1000: Commanding Officers Drill Parade.

    1130: Lieut General Sir Oliver Leese. KCB.CBE.DSC, commanding the eighth Army visits the Bn and stays to lunch.

    26th March:

    Church of England and Roman Catholic services.

    27th March:

    40-30 Cwt vehicles and TCV’s arrive to transport the Bn to san PETITO. (41° 20' 17'' N, 14° 23' 40'' E).

    Bn Embusses.

    Arrive at San PETITO H.3304 (41° 20' 17'' N, 14° 23' 40'' E)., where the Bn is Bivouacked. Leave recommences. 48 C.R’s go on day pass daily to naples. 30 personel of the Bn are to go on leave every 4 days to SALERNO.

    28th March:

    Mobile Cinema gives shows to the bn. ‘Silver Fleet’.
    Entertainments. Baths.
    ‘S’ Coy, scots guards arrives and comes under command of the Bn to replace No 1 Coy, which is not yet reformed.

    29th March:


    Mortar Pl; less two detatchments come under command of 2 N.Z. Div Cavalry, and leave the Bn to move into posn after dark.

    1 Gds Bde, less 2 Coldm Gds relieves 5 N.Z. Div. 2 Coldm gds Bde Reserve.

    30th March:

    1000: Drill Parade, which is attended by ‘S’ Coy Scots Gds.
    In all future correspondence within the Bn, ‘S’ Coy Scots Gds are to be referred to as ‘S’ Coy.

    Medical officer lectures all coys on the prevalence and danger of V.D. in Italy.

    31st march:
  4. Paul Reed

    Paul Reed Ubique

    Some great stuff there - thanks for sharing it with us.
  5. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Impressive, well done
  6. Phaethon

    Phaethon Historian

    2nd Bn Cldm Gds
    Commanding officer: Lt Col H.R. Norman
    April 1944

    1st April:

    Bn at San Petitio area 3203 (41° 19' 45'' N, 14° 22' 57'' E)

    The following decorations are announced:

    Lt Co. H.R. Norman. DSO
    Capt. Hon R.J. Palmer MC
    Lt. S.J. Whitwell MC
    Rev I.G.D.A. Forbes MC
    Capt E. Grey Turner (RAMC) MC
    Sgt J. Kidd MM
    L/Cpl Spencer MM
    Gdsm Jenkins L. MM

    2nd April:

    0915: Church of England service

    Coy Comds Conference ref the taking over of the CASSINO posns night 5/6 Ap

    3rd April:

    C.O., I.O, M.O. and all coy comds visits 25th N.Z. Bn area MIGNANO to gain knowledge of CASSINO

    4th April:

    Commanding officer’s parade with Irish Guards Regimental Band. Ceremonial Parade, Coys march past in quick and slow time

    Coy Comds Conference.

    Division Commander visits the Bn.

    5th April:

    Bn Coln leaves camp area for CASSINO by rout 6.
    ‘B’ Ech Remains in Camparrea.

    Bn Halts on Rout 6 for a hot meal.

    2000: Leading coy moves up to debussing point 882209 (41° 29' 27'' N 13° 51' 31'' E)

    No 2 Coy takes over left forward posns in town at 858209 (41° 29' 27'' N, 13° 49' 48'' E)

    No 3 Coy takes over right forward posns in town at 857210 (41° 29' 30'' N, 13° 49' 43'' E)

    Advance Bn HQ in Crypt 857209 (41° 29' 27'' N, 13° 49' 43'' E). This HQ is shared with the Bn on left (3 Gren Guards)

    No 4 Coy takes over right rear, area 876204 (41° 29' 11'' N, 13° 51' 05'' E)

    ‘S’ Coy takes over left rear, area 879280 (41° 29' 24'' N, 13° 51' 18'' E)

    ‘A’ Ech at (location unmentioned)

    (Researchers note: According to the system used to translate coordinates, the location of HQ is probably transposed with no 2 Coy).

    Relief of 25 Maori Bn – no casualties suffered. Bn comes u/c 5 N.Z. Bde.

    6th April:

    Bde Comd 5 N.Z bde visits rear Bn HQ.
    Quiet Day.

    Porters arrive – completed by 2330 – no casualties.

    Capt. Box (152 A.Y. Fd Regt) arrived at Fwd Bn HQ to Sp the Bn.
    2i/c and I.O recce counter attack routes for rear Coys.

    8th April:

    Quiet Day.

    9th April:

    Padre says Mass in Nunnery.

    Intoxicated sightseeing American soldier staggers past Bn HQ and is sniped by the germans. He is evacuated with three bullet wounds, still at peace with the world.

    Quiet day – usual movement seen.

    Bde Comd Visits Bn HQ.

    10th April:

    Div Comd visits rear Bn HQ and promises traffic check on Rout 6 to stop sightseers etc.

    Enemy Shell Bn area.

    5 Portars wounded by shellfire on Route 6.

    Grenades and discharger cups arrive after a demand for them from forward coys.

    11th April:

    Slight increase of enemy shelling in Bn area.

    Leafter raid on No 2 Coy area.

    12th April:

    Medical Officer collects sweets for fwd pls who are suffering from sore throats.

    13th April:

    Commanding officer, who has jaundice, is relieved by 2i/c.
    Half of Bn HQ is relieved

    ‘S’ Coy, Scots Guards, relieve 2 Coy.
    1 Scots Guards porter wounded.

    14th April:

    Drill Sgt Walker sniped and killed in Nunnery.

    Maj. H.J.L. Green arrives at rear Bn HQ.

    I.O., (Lt S.J. Whitwell. M.C. relieved adjt, (Lt. M.R. Hollings. M.C.)
    No 4 Coy relieves No 3 Coy.
    1 Scots Guardsman Wounded.

    15th April:

    Intermittent enemy sniping.
    Rather noisy day.

    16th April:

    Quiet Day.

    Bde Comd visits the Bn.
    Porters have no casualties, but their rout is harassed by M.G. fire, (Spandau Joe). Bde Commander arranges for counter measures.

    17th April

    Normal Day, some fire on Bn area.
    Porters report ‘Spadau Joe” still operating. 3 Slightly wounded.
    Capt. Pearce (A.Y.) relieves Capt. Box (A.Y.) as F.O.O. (forward observation officer)

    18th April:

    Noisy Day. One Scots Guards porter wounded.

    19th April:

    Certain amount of fire and movement throughout the day.

    20th April:

    2 Scots Guards Porters Wounded by enemy M.G. fire.

    Enemy Mortar and Nebelwerfer Bn area.
    Lt Corbould and 5 O.Rs wounded.

    German flags observed on enemy held buildings. Believed to celebrate Hitlers birthday, and to draw fire.

    3 direct hits on Bn HQ. No casualties or damage.

    Bde Comd visits Bn HQ; conference about relief.

    21st April:
    ‘S’ Coy right fwd Pl report an attack by small party of Germans. Artillery fires Defensive fire tasks.

    Situation in hand. Casualties 1 Killed, 6 wounded.
    During attack the Bn area is mortared. 2 O.Rs killed.
    Enemy stretcher bearers seen leaving enemy forward posns.
    Quiet Night.

    22nd April:

    Preparation for relief.

    O.C. 6 B.W. arrives at Bn HQ.
    Porters arrive at ‘B’ Echelon.

    23rd April:

    Relief of Bn Complete.

    Bn back at camp area, San Potito 3303 (41° 19' 45'' N 14° 23' 40'' E). No casualties. Total casualties: killed – 5 Wounded 25. Including ‘S’ Coy, Scots Gds.

    Rest. Baths.

    Commanding officer’s conference about trg, which is to be very intensive.
    (see appendix c)

    24th April

    Recce for coy exercise.

    ‘C’ Sqn 1/21 Lancers arrive in Bn area for co-operational trg.

    I.G. Band plays to the Bn.
    Mobile Cinema.

    Sergeants Wheat
    Robinson are promoted C.Q.M.S

    C.Q.M.S Mulligan
    Grainger are promoted C.S.M

    25th April:
    3&4 Coys have fd firing exercise in co-operation with tks.
    Officers beat warrant officers at football 1- 0

    26th April:
    Malaria precautions begin.
    Coys train.
    Mobile Cinema.

    27th April:
    ‘S’ and 2 Coys have fd firing exercise in co-operation with tks.

    28th April:
    Coys train in street fighting in co-operation with tks.
    ENSA Concert.
    Sgt’s mess have house warming party.

    29th April:
    Div Signal Exercise ‘Nutcracker’. Object:
    To practice:-
    (a)Intercomn between tnks and Inf.
    (b)Use of Codes.
    (c)Co-operation between Inf and Tks.

    Demonstration of street fighting between Inf and Tks.

    30th April:

    Bde Church Parade

    Irish Guards Band Concert

    Lt. Col. H.R, Norman D.S.C. returns from Hospital and is to go on leave in two days time.

    Warning order that the Bn is going back to CASSINO night 4/5 may. See App


    The Bn held the central sector of the CASSINO area from the night of 5/6th April until the night of 22/23 April. Two coys and adv Bn HQ were in the town itself, and two reserve coys occupied positions about a mile in the town itself, and two reserve coys occupied positions about a mile back behind the Rapido. 3 W.G. on our right and 3 Gren Gds on our left each had three coys in the town and one in reserve.

    When the NZ div attacked CASSINO in march, two brigades were built across the Rapido, one on rout 6 and one in the area of the station. Tanks had been brought into the town and a Jeep head had been est at the crypt which Bn HQ were to share with 3 Gren Gds. This phase did not last long and before the Bn took over enemy shellfire had rendered the bridges impassable except for men on foot. The tanks. Nine in all, remained in CASSINO during our stay. Mostly unharmed, they could not move in the rubble.

    The enemy could observe our whole area from Monastery Hill and the houses below it, so that all movement had to take place by night, and in the forward coy areas always under the cover of smoke. The supply line for the Bn was Rout 6. Ambulance Jeeps, if called for, would come as far as the bridge across the Rapido, but no other wheeled traffic came nearer to CASSINO then the cemetery. It was from the debussing point there that the porters came forward every night. Provided it was not bright moonlight, the Porters could come up as far as the Crypt without the help of smoke, but to supply the forward Coys safely, a smoke screen had to be put down. This was started every morning at 2015 hours, and Porters were not allowed up to the coys until it was thick enough to cover their movement. Rations, water and amn were brought up this way and supplying was usually over by 2300 hours, when the Porters reported to the Crypt check point and returned to A Echelon.

    Forward of the Rapido few roads were recognisable. The road to the Crypt was only a footpath round the bomb craters but it was well worn and easy to follow. The forward coys were very hard to find, living as they did in Sangars and cellars under heaps of rubble. The Pls in many cases had section or two man posts which could only visited by night, and when two men of 4 Coy were killed on the morning on April 20th, they lay undiscovered until the evening. By day each post could observe for a short way, but could probably see no more then a broken wall and the remains of a house beyond. From this Meagre and unrecognisable data it was hard for coys to est their exact positions on a large scale map or air photograph.

    Sanitary conditions were surprisingly good. There was plenty of shell hole water for washing, and the weather was not hot. In he summer, CASSINO will not be habitable, and the flooded fields of the Rapido valet provide a perfect breeding place for Mosquitoes.

    SECRET 27 Apr 44
    March – April 1944
    Part I
    The GARIGLIANO – GARI – RAPIDO Defense Line – March 1st April 5 1944

    (a) General.
    1 Gds BDE was withdrawn on 24 Feb for a week’s rest after holding during the preceding three week the central, and later, the left sectors of the GARIGLIANO bridgehead. On 1 mar it was sent back into the line to take over the right sector from 138 INF BDE. Until 10 MAR the Bde was under the Comd of 46 DIV, and from that date until our relief by the French on 20 MAR we were under 4 DIV. Both these Divs formed part of 10 CORPS 5th ARMY.

    In general the holding of the right sector of the GARIGLIANO bridge head was uneventful compared to the constant skirmishes which had characterised our fortnight in the centre. This lull was due to the cessation of all offensive operations by the allies against this part of the Gustav Line, and the resignation of the Germans to our possession of the ground we had already won on the west bank of the GARIGLIANO. The Posns were already firmly established when we took over, and at least in the Coldstream Guards, the deep ravine separating us from the enemy made contact with him almost impossible, and activity on both sides was confined to mortaring and shelling. The river bank was heldthroughout these three weeks by a Coy Gp placed under our comd from Bns. Of other fmns, and it was only during a single week that CERASOLA was once again included in the Bde sector. It was therefore possible for one, and at certain periods, two, of our three bns to be out of the line. Thus, although the reserve bn had a nominal counter attack role in the MINTURNO sector, for which recce and limitations on the movement of the men outside the Corps area were necessary, they were able to live in conditions of comparative ease and comfort. The weather improved steadily, Although falls of rain and snow were not uncommon, especially on CERASOLA, the men did not again suffer greatly from exposure on the hills. Casualties during this period were not heavy.

    (b) The River Sector.

    At this point the front line swings due east and west along a series of ridges running up from the banks of the GARGLIANO to the dominating heights of CERASOLA and ORNITO. These ridges, which mark the limits of out advance along the river, die away within a few hundred yards of the river bank, leaving a narrow strip of cultivated and fairly thickly populated ground through which runs a country road leading northwards to the village of S.ANDREA. The village was still in enemy hands, and though completely overlooked by us, he had established his fwd posts right down on the river bank. It was one of the major responsibilities of the Bde to block any attempt by the enemy to push southwards down the road, thus cutting our comns to the rest of the bridgead. The defence of the strip was entrusted to a coy of 2/4 Hamps (from the 128 Inf Bde), reinforced by the Bde Def Pl, and a Pl of the Bn holding the central sector of the Bde front. In support were three Sherman tks, which lay a little way back along the road, as well as a few of the A Tk guns and heavy mortars, some of which were in fire posns on the east bank of the river. The fwd inf posts were based on a series of small houses lying between the river and the foothills, and at night they manned, in addition, the line of an anti tank ditch dug by the germans during earlier operations, between the river and the road. The undoubted strength of this posn was never tested in battle, for the enemy, rightly appreciating that we intented no aggressive action, held his front line with inexperienced trps, (including it was reported some Italian volunteers, and tk crews, whose tks have been given to another fmn).
  7. Phaethon

    Phaethon Historian

    2nd Bn Cldm Gds
    Commanding officer: maj REJC Coates
    May 1944
    Bn at San Potito.

    1st May:

    Coys at the disposal of O.C’s Coys.
    I.O. goes to CASSINO to arrange details about the take over with 6 B.W.

    2nd May:

    Coy comds conference ref taking over CASSINO central sector. W.C.’s and Colour Sergeants are again defeated by the officers by 4 goals to Nil.

    3rd May:

    Coy Comds conference ref CASSINO, and promotions. The following CQM’s were promoted to CSM:

    Thomas (HQ)
    Mulligan (2)
    Grainger (4)

    The following sgts were promoted to CQMS:

    Wheat (Sp)
    Robinson (3)

    4th May:

    Bn leaves SAN POTITO (H.3304).

    Bn arrives at Rd June 1199 (41° 17' 37'' N 14° 07' 53'' E). Dinners.
    Bn Watches Canadians playing Baseball.

    4th May:

    Moved up to debussing pt (Cemetery 877208). Bn Marches into CASSINO, but experienced considerable delay before the smoke screen was good enough to hide the relief of fwd Coys.

    5th May:

    Relief complete. 6 B.W. all clear of the town. Coy dispositions as follows:

    No 2 Coy: Left Fwd
    3 Coy: Right fwd
    4 Coy: Castle force u/c 3 W.G.
    S Coy Reserve

    120 Germans seen moving out of Hotel des Roses to night posns. The guns already laid on, and D.F. task ‘Scuttle’ is brought down to good effect.

    Pioneer pl, (Lt, R.H. Hyde) lay mines in front of fwd Coys. (left) Maj. R.E.J.C. Coates leaves the Bn to go to the army Commander’s conference on Malaria(?) the next day. Maj. H.J.L Green assumes command.
    Casualties Nil.

    6th May:

    Quiet day except for a little Nebelwerfer fire. Evening smoke screen for porters very bad, and ration parties did not finish before 0445 hrs, even then they were unable to get sups to 4 men in fwd posns.

    Pinoneer PL lays more mines and trip flares.

    7th May:

    Smoke screen much better and ration parties finished in good time.

    Casualties: Nil.

    8th May:
    ‘S’ Coy takes over from No 2 Coy left fwd. we hear that No 4 Coy suffered casualties in the castle owing to own grenades which exploded near Coy HQ.

    Casualties: x – 1 (Lt Sharpe, S.G.) and 1. Y – 1 (Lt Callender and 4). Z – Nil.

    9th May:

    P.W.B. make recce for loudspeaker sites which are to be installed for the benefit of the Germans in CASSINO when they are surrounded.

    10th May:

    The brigade commander comes up to the crypt and gives out orders for the big attack which is to start the next night. There is a coy comds conference after this. Porters have now built up a 3 day reserve of water and food in coy areas, and a corresponding amount of amn is case they are unable to get up during the following nights.

    Casualties: x – Nil Y- Nil and 1 Z – Nil.

    11th May:

    900 guns, firing over 1,000 shells each, open up on our left. All mortars and MMG’s have been brigaded, and fire on CASSINO to indicate an attack in that direction. The enemy show little reaction. Smoke screen is laid, though no porters are brought up.

    Casualties: x- Nil. Y- Nil and 1. Z- Nil.

    12th May:

    Smoke from GARI crossing drifts over CASSINO. Visibility nil. We hear Poles have captured their first two objectives, but with the sixth counter attack the germans pushed them back to their start line. Crossings over the GARI have been fairly successful. Portering is continued without a smoke screen, which is only possible because of late moonrise.

    13th May:

    Onwards. Small parties of Germans consisting of about 60 in all are seen leaving CASSINO by Rout 6. Wild speculation as to whether CASSINO is being evacuated. But it is thought that the Germans are thinning out in the town to protect their right flank.

    A direct hit on No.3 Coy right hand strong point killed one man and buried 5 others. Red cross flags were ready to be used in case it became light, but bad visibility made it possible to dig every one out before its use became necessary. Right hand Pl of 3 coy is relieved by a Pl of No 2 Coy.

    x- Nil and 1. Y – Nil and 6. Z – Nil

    14th May:

    Left hand Pl and coy HQ of 3 coy are relieved by No 2 Coy.

    Army photographer takes photograph of crypt. Abnormal crowd of visitors arrive that night who have heard of this.

    x- Nil and 2, Y- Nil. Z- Nil.

    15th May.

    Res Pl of 3 coy are relieved by a pl of 2 coy, which completes coy relief. It was thought necessary to relieve 3 coy a pl at a time owing to the likelihood of a sudden german reaction. Maj. H.G. Cuthbert, O.C. ‘S’ Coy has very successful Piat mortar shoot, partially destroying a German house.

    x- Nil. Y – Nil and 1. Z – Nil.

    16th May:

    Higther formations appreciate that German paratroops will pull out of CASSINO tonight. Very careful watch is kept and incessant sitreps are called for.

    17th May:

    Coys quiet certain that there are still Germans in the town. Very quiet day. ‘S’ Coy has another very successful Piat shoot with even better results.

    Loudspeakers are turned on telling the germans that they are surroundedm and that surrender is their only course. This is greeted by bursts of Spandau fire, which knocks out most of the loudspeakers. Movement and noises are still heard and reported by fwd coys up to midnight, after which it is abnormally quiet.

    18th May:

    At first light the D.C.L.I. and beds and Morts (4 div) send patrols up Rout 6 from the WEST and report the town cleat of enemy. 12 German P.W., who were left behind by the Germans are brought in.

    Swarms of sightseers, pressmen, and recce parties from the south African task force, which is to reinstate rout 6 arrive in CASSINO. 2 pressmen walk on a Mk V mine, laid by the new Zealanders when they were in the town, and are killed.

    Germans shell the town which sends everyone back to their holes. The Div commander directs that nobody will enter the town except the south African sappers.

    Coys are ordered to make dumps of food and amo, they then march to reserve coy posns.

    Lt Col. H.R. Norman D.S.C. arrives in the town, followed by the Eighth army commander, (who gives out cigarettes to many members of the bn). Both have a cup of tea in the Crypt.

    Last member of the Bn leaves CASSINO. South African task force has already got a jeep track through the town. They employ the most ruthless methods to achieve their object. Anything and everything including Sherman tanks; are bulldozed into bomb craters.

    19th May:

    Conference at Bde Hq.

    Bn moves from res Coy posnsn by SPADE rout arriving at 7719 (41° 28' 25'' N 13° 43' 28'' E) at 1800 hours. Owing to the fact that AQUINO had not yet fallen, this previously recced cone area is thought to be too close to the enemy. Bn Turns round and moves to 821116 (41° 24' 25'' N 13° 47' 09'' E), arriving 2100 hrs. Tail of coln does not get in until 0330 hrs and track are completely jammed with tpt.

    20th May:

    A day of rest and reorganization, which is badly needed. Our area is in the middle of 78 div gun lines, who keep a continual rear all day.

    21st May:

    Baths and rest

    22nd May:

    We are ordered to prepare to move at mid-day on the 23rd.

    23rd may:

    Conference at Bd Hq. Time of move not yet known, but Bn is at 3 hrs notice to move.

    24th May:

    Day of uncertainty. 3 Gren gds move up.

    25th May:

    After a long wait in TCV’s we move off, arriving at 226206 (41° 29' 05'' N 13° 04' 22'' E): 2315 hrs…

    *researchers note* the author probably means 276206 (41° 29' 16'' N,13° 40' 18'' E) As 2’s can be mistaken for 7’s. This makes a lot more sense. Note for the 26th May he says, “left 276206”. Could these numbers have been hard to make out or back to front in the original (perhaps hand written) copies?

    …During the journey German planes drop flares and a good number of A.P. bombs. No damage was done to the Bn coln.

    X-Nil. Y- Nil and one. Z – Nil

    26th May:

    Conference at Bde Hq.

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

    (Researchers note: see note details for the 25th and possible incorrect location for these coordinates)

    …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.
  8. Phaethon

    Phaethon Historian

    2nd Bn Cldm Gds
    Commanding officer: Lt Col H.R.Norman
    June 1944

    1st June:

    Advance party left Bn Area 660282 (41° 33' 22'' N, 13° 35' 32'' E)

    The Bn Coln leaves for new area. Bn Coln arrives new area 581302 (41° 34' 25'' N, 13° 29' 51'' E)

    I.O. goes round german grave yards behind PICCOLO battle. Capt. S.V.S. Howard – Stepney returns from Hospital.

    Bn. Has open air cinema show.

    2nd June:

    I sec and reps from each company go to tank circus near AQUINO. Here all tanks and new enemy equipment are exhibited.

    Warning order to move that night.

    3rd June:

    Bn Coln leaves area.

    Column arrives at 438428 (41° 41' 11'' N, 13° 19' 29'' E).
    Commanding officer goes to Bde and is informed that as soon as 78 division have taken FUMONE 4147 (41° 43' 26'' N, 13° 17' 27'' E) the Bn. Will go through them supported by 2 L. and B.H. to cut road at 3653 (41° 46' 40'' N, 13° 13' 48'' E).
    Commanding officer and O group go forward to recce.

    Bn. Goes forward in TCVs to 404472 (41° 43' 33'' N, 13° 17' 01'' E) Nos 2 and 3 Coys advance on foot to high ground overlooking lake di CANTO 3749 (41° 44' 30'' N, 13° 14' 33'' E). 2 L and BH are held up owing to crumbling narrow track. The R.E.s are called forward and start work on it.

    Nos 2 and 3 Coys report on objective.

    2 L and BH go through No’s 2 and 3 Coys. ‘S’ and 4 Coys following them.

    ‘S’ and 4 Coy reports they are on high ground 3752 (41° 46' 07'' N, 13° 14' 32'' E) overlooking road. Bn Harbours near Lake. All coys bathe in lake. 26 Armd bde supported by 61 Bde continue advance.

    5th June:
    Bathing. Warning order to move that night.

    Bn Colum sets off for a long drive to the ROME area.

    6th June:

    Bn arrives at harbour area 9066 (41° 53' 24'' N, 12° 40' 27'' E) which is in sight of ROME, after a very slow drive over bad tracks and B.C. roman roads.

    We receive news that the second front has opened.

    7th June:

    Bn moves to another harbour area 776804 arriving at 1820 hours.
    General disappointment at not being able to visit ROME.
    The Harbour area is a cornfield on the banks of the TIBER. Owing to the swift current of the TIBER it was though inadvisable to let the Bn Bathe in it.

    8th June:

    The Commanding officer and the I.O. visit Bde. 3 C.G. are to capture Rd Junction 8895 (42° 09' 03'' N, 12° 38' 42'' E) that night and 2 C.G with u/c 17/21 Lancers will push on northwards at first light.

    Bn. Moves up to 856873 (42° 04' 52'' N, 12° 37' 02'' E) for the night. The commanding officer and the I.O. spend the night at Brigade.

    9th June:

    Commanding officer and his ‘O’ Group visit headquarters 3 C.G.

    Bn. Moves up in TCVs.
    No 2 Coy debusses at 872973 and moves up road behind 17/21 Lancers.

    17/21 Reach R. FARFA where bridge at 881018 (42° 12' 43'' N, 12° 38' 42'' E) us blown.

    Culvert at 873973 (42° 10' 17'' N, 12° 38' 10'' E ) which was blown, is repaired and 3 Coy TCV to just short of the FARFA. 3 and 2 Coy hold bridgehead over FARFA while 17/21 lancers push forwards

    17/21 L report they are on high ground area 875043 (42° 14' 04'' N, 12° 38' 14'' E) and are unable to get on to the road owing to the very steep descent. They report enemy movement on the hills, north of the road from where they have been shot at.

    Bde Commander cisits the Bn HQ at 887021 (42° 12' 53'' N, 12° 39' 08'' E) and a plan is made for the night. ‘S’ Coy was to take up position on hill at 89304 (42° 14' 01'' N, 12° 39' 32'' E). No 4 Coy on hill at 876048 (42° 14' 20'' N, 12° 38' 18'' E). When these features had been taken Nos 2 and 3 Coy were to push on North and seize River crossing at 878086.

    (Note: this location has been recorded wrong, it seems likely to be either an old bridge, over a small river or the actual bridge just south of the town at 870046)
    Casualties x- 1, Y- 4 and Z – 1.

    No 4 and ‘S’ Company report they are on their objectives and 2 and 3 Coys set off from Bn HQ at 0030 hrs. The road being subjected to considerable Arty and Nebel fire.

    Owing to the darkness of the night and the few hours of darkness No 2 and 3 Coy were unable to get further then 877050 (42° 14' 26'' N, 12° 38' 22'' E ) where they took up a defensive position.

    The commanding officer visit No 2 and 3 Coys and order No 3 to send out a patrol to road junction 8706 (42° 14' 58'' N,12° 37' 51'' E)

    No 3 co is ordered to follow this patrol and take up a position in the area of the road junction.

    Bn Hq moves to 883045 (42° 14' 11'' N, 12° 38' 49'' E)

    Considerable amount of shellfire in the Bn. Area.

    Commanding officer goes to conference at brigade. An attack is planned for
    1600 hrs. 3 C.G. to be on the right, 2. C.G. on the left. Planned as movement by day attracts very heavy shellfire. At 2100 hrs 3. C.G. on the right and 3 W.G. on the left will advance,

    10th June:

    Commanding officer decides to move his headquarters to a gully which is thought to be in dead ground. This project was abandoned as recce party for this new headquarters was accurately stonked.

    Enemy start shelling Bn. H/Q with incredible accuracy and intensity. All vehicles except a tank set on fire and personnel dive for cover in deep, narrow ditch beside Bn. H/Q. However, the enemy managed to land a considerable number of shells right in the ditch, causing a considerable number of casualties which included the commanding officer, adjutant, O.C. Sp. Coy, O.C. H/Q coy. I.O. is only remaining member of Bn. H/Q.

    Before all wireless sets at Bn H/Q were knocked out a message is received from 3 coy that they are having an encounter with a German Patrol.

    A message informing Brigade of the situation is sent over the wireless set of the surviving tank and the second in command, Maj. R.E.J.C. Coates was sent for from A Echelon.

    Casualties: x- Capt. R.C. ALDERSON and five. Y – Lt, Col. H.R. Norman, DSO, Maj R.C. Windsor Clive, Capt. R.M. Chaplin, Capt. Lord Leveson and nil. Z – Nil

    11th June:

    Maj. R.E.J.C. Coates arrives from A Echelon.

    Bn. H/Q, 2 and 3 Coys move to harbour area in POGGIO MIRETETO (8705). Remaining Coys harbour in their old positions.

    A considerable amount of reorganisation and promotions takes place.

    12th June:

    Bn. Moves forward to another harbour area at 773133 (42° 18' 50'' N, 12° 30' 43'' E)

    13th June:

    Church services are held, baths and also a cinema show.

    14th June:

    Bn. Moves to area at 7832 (42° 28' 56'' N, 12° 31' 00'' E)

    15th June:

    A day of uncertainty and warning orders.

    16th June:

    Another day of uncertainty. 15% of the Bn are allowed to walk out in NARNI.

    17th June:

    Bn Coln leaves old harbour area.

    Arrives at 734588 (42° 43' 22'' N, 12° 27' 18'' E)

    18th June:

    Bn Coln leaves halting on the road at midday for 2 hours at 6785 (42° 34' 02'' N, 12° 30' 54'' E)

    Bde Commander informs the commanding officer that the Bn will have to go through 3GG that night and advance to Road junction 6298. The objective is subsequently change to area of Roads at 6695

    The commanding Officer goes forward to HQ 3 GG.

    New Orders- Bn Will go through 3 GG and occupy station area at 6792 (43° 06' 18'' N, 12° 21' 58'' E) and will also send patrols into PERGUGIA to try and prevent the Germans evacuating the many wounded that are reported in the town.

    Bn HQ moves up to House at 693883 (43° 04' 20'' N, 12° 23' 43'' E)

    19th June:

    No 4 Coy. TCV up to road and Rly Junction at 6985 (43° 02' 33'' N, 12° 23' 33'' E) and start their advance to the station, 2 patrols from S Coy set off one to enter town from west and the other from the East,

    No 4 Coy report that owing to precipitous ground and the darkness of the night they are unable to get further than 673883 (43° 04' 18'' N, 12° 22' 15'' E) where they took up a defensive position. Both patrols from S Coy contact enemy before they could get near the town.

    The Germans counter attacking the Grenadier Guard positions on our right No 2 Coy is brought up and takes up a position at 683885 (43° 04' 25'' N, 12° 22' 59'' E)

    No 2 and 3 Coys advance to take up positions overlooking PERUGIA 6890 (43° 05' 14'' N, 12° 22' 44'' E)

    Bn HQ moves up to 678901 (43° 05' 17'' N, 12° 22' 35'' E). Great difficulty is experienced in locating the companies in the dark.

    Casualties: X – 2, Y- Nil, Z -1.

    20 June:
    0130 Hours: Nos 2 and 3 Coys are ordered to advance to and hold station area 6792. (43° 06' 18'' N, 12° 21' 58'' E)

    Nos 2 and 3 Coys report in position.

    0530: Bn HQ moves to 675910 (43° 05' 46'' N, 12° 22' 21'' E)

    C.O. visits the Bde who explains plan. 3 WG is to advance up road to Rd June at 6498. 2 CG will picket heights East of this axis to deny them to enemy O.P.S. First feature is PACCIANO 6897 (43° 09' 01'' N, 12° 22' 38'' E) to be picketed by one company.

    Bn. HQ. moves to TOWER at 684935 (43° 07' 08'' N, 12° 22' 58'' E)

    ‘S’ Coy start their advance.

    After a brief encounter on the top of the feature S Coy establishes themselves 300 yards from the top at 682967 (43° 08' 51'' N, 12° 22' 47'' E)

    21st June:

    No 4 Coy advance up to PACCIANO to take up position from where they can support S Coy. A position is taken up at 684963 (43° 08' 38'' N, 12° 22' 56'' E). While digging in the forward platoon is accurately shelled causing some casualties.

    Casualties: x- lt P.M. Gale and 1, Y- 6 Z – Nil.

    22nd June:

    No 2 Coy moves up to Grey House. 685987 (43° 09' 56'' N, 12° 22' 58'' E)

    23rd June:

    Army Commander Visits the Bn HQ.

    No 2 Coy relives s coy the latter returning to the grey house.

    Casualties x , Lt J.H. Lumley and 2. X and Z nil.

    24th June:

    Officer spends the day walking round Coys.
    A policy of active patrolling is adopted by the commanding officer.

    A patrol is sent out nightly by each Coy.

    No 4 coy is relived by no 3 coy. No 4 coy returns to the town.

    25th June:

    The derby Teo who are under command 1st Guards bde report very little opposition on the low ground around PACCIANO. It is thought possible that the enemy have withdrawn off PACCIANO

    A plan for occupying the top of PACCIANO is hatched, a daylight recce patrol is sent forward to the wooded Gully to try and recce a suitable position to which No 3 Cot can go forward that night. This patrol ran into two spandaus in the Gully suffering casualties.

    A patrol from S coy is sent out to try and make contact with it. They also draw spandau fire and fail to make anu contact with No 3 Coy’s patrol.

    A platoon from s coy occupies the white house 687969 (43° 08' 58'' N, 12° 23' 09'' E) otherwise companies remain in their former positions.

    Casualties x- 3, y- 2, and Lt C.A. Carlisle and 2.

    26 June:

    The commanding officer recces ground for night attack. 3 W.G (welsh guards) are to attach features west of wooded Gully. 2 C.G. are to dominate the feature east of the wooded Gully. 3 CG are to capture MONTE BAGNOLO 6997 (43° 09' 01'' N, 12° 23' 22'' E)

    (note: is the cordinates for Monte Bagnolo mentioned here in fact the cordinates for the wooded gully?)

    Casualties x- 4, y – 6, Z nil.

    Tac Bn HQ moves up to Grey House.

    27th June:

    The commanding officer walks around companies.

    28th June:

    It is now thought unlikely that the enemy will try and counter attack, therefore it is possible to thin out the feature.

    S coy and No 3 Coy are withdrawn to PERUGIA and No.4 Coy takes over white house. Tac Bn HQ is changed round the commanding officer and the intelligence officer return to rear Bn Hq. Major W.L. Steele assumes command of Tac Bn HQ.

    29th June:

    Civilian reports that they have seen the Germans withdrawing from CIVITELLE 6800 (43° 10' 38'' N, 12° 22' 35'' E)

    17 Pl (No.4 Coy) advances on fighting patrol and reaches a point just short of CIVITELLE with contact.

    30th June:

    A fighting Patrol (11 Pln) and a section of Carriers are sent out to contact enemy. They capture 5 prisoners in a farmhouse at 673993 (43° 10' 15'' N, 12° 22' 05'' E).
  9. Phaethon

    Phaethon Historian

    2nd Bn Cldm Gds
    Commanding officer: Lt Col R.E.J.C Coats
    Jul 1944

    PERUGIA: 1st July.

    No 4 Coy move forward and take up defensive posns on CIVITELLE 683003.

    Coy Comds conference reference the disbanding of No 3 Coy. Capt. The Hon D.C. Chichester and his Coy HQ will run a battalion Rest Camp at PERUGIA.

    Commanding officer talks to no 3 Coy reference their disbandment.

    First Dark:
    Battalion is relieved by 4th GWARHLI rifles (10 Ind Div)
    Major. H.J.L. Green leaves the Bn to become floating major

    2nd July:

    Battalion column leaves PERUGIA.

    Arrives at CASTIGLIO FOSCO 5087 (42° 58' 21'' N, 12° 09' 45'' E)

    3rd July:
    Lt. Gen. Sir Bertram Sergison Brooke visits the Bn.

    Battalion Concert.

    4th July:
    First leave party goes to Battalion Rest Camp.

    5th July:

    Battalion Column leaves CASTIGLIO FOSCO.

    Arrives at BORGHETTO 3901 just NORTH of Lake TRASIMENE 3901 (43° 10' 49'' N, 12° 01' 10'' E)

    6th July:


    Arrived at CAMUCIA 3510 (43° 15' 37'' N, 11° 58' 03'' E)

    7th July:
    The armour is still held up by A.Tk fire, and heavy shelling 4 miles short of Arezzo.

    8th July:
    Captured German Operation Order shows that 15 P.G. Div are holding the line of hills just south of AREZZO, from the CANAL to M.LIGANO in strength.

    9th July:
    A plan is made to capture the hills overlooking AREZZO. 1st KRRC are to capture LIGNANO. 1st guards Bde is to avance from Lignano to L’OLMO ravine.

    C.O. and I.O. go on recce of ground. This proves very difficuly. And the C.O. gets all coy comfs to see the ground from an air an O.P

    10th July:
    A new plan is made. 2 Coldstream Gds is to capture LIGNANO, and the other two bns of 1st Gds are to advance to L’ALMO gap. A sand model is made of LIGNANO, to allow the NCO’s and men to see the lie of the ground.

    Commanding Officers conference

    11th July:

    The plan is again changed. A New Zealand Bde is to capture LIGNANO, and 1st Gds Bde is to attack simultaneously.

    12th July:

    Drill Parade.

    13th July:

    C.O. and I.O. go to HQ 28 Bde (4) Div from where there is a good view of the ground?

    Coy and specialists Pl Comds Conference.

    14th July:

    All section commanders see the ground from 28 Bde HQ.

    1900: Co-ordinating conference.

    2245: Bn Leaves for lying up area.

    15th July:

    Batalion debusses and moves up to lying up area at 263253 (43° 23' 46'' N, 11° 51' 19'' E). Bn HQ est with Rear HQ 3 Gren Gds at S.ANDREA 2626 (43° 24' 08'' N, 11° 51' 05'' E) Commanding officer and I.O listen to progress made by 3 Gren Gds.

    3 Gren Gds have two coys on their objectives.
    Commanding Officer moves Tac. HQ and No 4 Coy up to fwd conc area 267266 (43° 24' 28'' N, 11° 51' 35'' E)

    ‘S’ Coy moved into fwd conc area. No 4 Coy advances to behind point 575 (2727) from where they will attack LE SELVE and point 565.

    3 Gren Gds are counter attacked off pt 575. No 4 Coy makes plans to recapture pt 575. No 4 Coy makes plans to recapture pt 575.

    No 4 Coy report capture of pt 575 with little opposition.

    Maj Hon. R.J. Palmer. M.C. (4 Coy) makes plans to capture Le SELVE and pt 565?

    No 4 Coy take LE SELVE. Tac HQ and ‘S’ Coy move forward to 272268 (43° 24' 35'' N, 11° 51' 57'' E). Capt Neilson (‘S’ Coy) is wounded (Subsequently died of wounds) by shoe mine. Lieut. Charteris assumes comd of ‘S’ Coy.

    No 3 Coy is ordered up behind ‘S’ Coy.

    4 Coy captures 3 PW.

    ‘S’ Coy moves up behind No 4 Coy, who are now on pt 565

    ‘S’ Coy attacks Pt 501 and encounter considerable M.G. fire and mortaring. Owing to the fact that Lt. Charteris is wounded there is considerable difficulty in getting the Coy posn.

    Tac HQ, followed by No 4 Coy move up to MARZUPINO 2727 (43° 24' 41'' N, 11° 51' 48'' E), followed by No 2 Coy. It is discovered that ‘S’ Coy are on Pt 501, but can get no further fwd as the enemy are in considerable strength on the fwd slopes.

    After considerable recce and preparation No 3 Coy start their attack to clear the fwd slopes of 501 and then to patrol fwd to pts 456 and 482.

    Fwd slopes of 501 are found clear of enemy, and patrols to Pts 456 and 482 find no enemy. It is appreciated that the enemy have withdrawn. Mules come up with Coy Rations.

    x- Offrs 1. O.R. 9
    Y – Officers 1. O.R. 14
    Z – Offrs NIL. O.R. 5

    16th July 0300:

    Welsh Guards go through No 2 Coy to PARADISO without opposition.

    16/5.L. get through the L’ONO gap and by 100 hrs are in AREZZO.

    Bde Comd visits Tac HQ. We get orders to move down the road where areas have been recced for Coys.

    All Bn is off the hill and in Billets. Bn HQ at 263254 (43° 23' 49'' N, 11° 51' 19'' E)

    Cinema Show.

    17th July:
    Baths and rest

    Lecture by Maj. Lincoln (A.Y.) on selecting and calling for Gunner targets.

    18th July:
    Baths and Laundry

    19th July:
    Shooting and drill parades by companies.

    20th July:
    Shooting and cinema show.

    21st July:

    Bn Column moves to another Harbour area at 256340 (43° 28' 27'' N, 11° 50' 38'' E)

    22nd July:


    23rd July

    Church Parade for church of England personnel

    Church Parade for Roman Catholics.
    Cinema show? (Tunisian Victory)

    24th July:

    Recce Party left to recce new area.

    Main Body leaves.

    25th July:

    I.O. leaves on photographic course.

    26th July:

    Visit of H.M. the King to the eighth Army.

    The Bn practices for the Guards of Honour for his Majesty.

    H.M. The king arrives.

    Bn Moves to MONTEVARCHI 054407

    27th July:

    Bn HQ moves to farm 053406 (43° 31' 42'' N, 11° 35' 26'' E)

    28th July:

    No 2 Coy established a ‘Stink Major’ (Strong Point)

    29th July:
    Patrols by No 2 Coy.

    30th July:
    Coys visited by Brigadier C.A.M.D Scott. DSO.

    0900 R.C. Church Service.

    31st July:

    I.O and the commanding Officer recce new area. No 2 Coy relieved by ‘G’ Coy 3 W.G.
  10. Phaethon

    Phaethon Historian

    2nd Bn Cldm Gds
    Commanding officer: Lt Col R.E.J.C Coats
    Aug 1944

    Farm 053406:

    1st August:
    It was reported this morning from every formation in 13 Corps except 6 Bit Amrd Div, that the enemy had withdrawn to a line further NORTH. 1 Gds brigade is to take over from 61 Inf Bde night ½ August with LEFT 2 Coldstream Guards, RIGHT 3 Gds, RESERVE 3 W.G.
    Bn is to relieve 10 R.B. on feature 9754 and exploit to pt 247 972561 (43° 39' 56'' N, 11° 29' 03'' E).

    Commanding officer and I.O. attend Div Conference.

    Recce Party leaves for new area.

    Bn HQ takes over from 10 R.B.

    2nd August:

    Take over complete without incident.


    TAC BN HQ: CORBINAIA 988512 (43° 37' 19'' N, 11° 30' 21'' E)
    4 Coy: 990527 (with a pl forward in VAGGIO) (43° 38' 08'' N, 11° 30' 28'' E)
    ‘S’ Coy: 992524 (43° 37' 58'' N, 11° 30' 38'' E)
    2 Coy: 990546 (43° 39' 09'' N, 11° 30' 26'' E)

    At last light TAC BN HQ moved forward to FIALLA 9852 (43° 37' 44'' N, 11° 29' 45'' E)

    Coy Posns. ‘S’ Coy 989537 (43° 38' 40'' N, 11° 30' 22'' E)
    2 Coy 991526 (43° 38' 04'' N, 11° 30' 33'' E)
    4 Coy: 980540 (43° 38' 49'' N, 11° 29' 42'' E)

    3rd August:
    Patrols advanced NORTH EAST across country during night with objective Road JUNO 965526 (43° 38' 02'' N, 11° 28' 37'' E) Patrol heard enemy in houses 978558 (43° 39' 47'' N, 11° 29' 30'' E). These were bypassed to the right and the patrol reached rd at 980560 (43° 39' 53'' N, 11° 29' 39'' E). Two tps D.Y. U/C/ the Bn were advancing towards OLIVOLI and reached 975556 (43° 39' 40'' N, 11° 29' 17'' E) at 0810 hours and were there held up by demolitions. They propose to capture OLIVOLI Rd June this morning.

    The two tps D.Y. advanced to the Rd June and found it clear. They continued with a tp up each rd towards CANCELLI 9958 (43° 40' 59'' N, 11° 30' 21'' E) and CASCIA 0057 (43° 40' 28'' N, 11° 31' 07'' E).

    On the northern rd the tp found that the village of CANCELLI was occupied, but their advance was held up by more demolitions. Later in the day a tp managed to get closer to the village, and was fired on by snipers., On the Southern Road the D.Y. entered CASCIA which was found clear of enemy, but they were fired on by AP fire from the high ground immediately south of REGELLO. On a receipt of civilian information that the village was clear they entered later in the evening, and passed through it at 1945 hours, turning north towards RECELLO.

    Lt. M.A.F. Newton (Sig Offr) injured when his jeep was blown up on a mine. The Driver was killed. Lt: M.Severne. Assume S.C.

    TAC BN HQ moved to MONTANINO 970554 (43° 39' 33'' N, 11° 28' 55'' E).

    Company Positions:

    ‘S’ Coy: OLIVOLI cross roads. 978561 (43° 39' 56'' N, 11° 29' 30'' E)
    2 Coy 994577 (43° 40' 50'' N, 11° 30' 39'' E)
    4 Coy 994577 (43° 40' 50'' N, 11° 30' 39'' E)

    The Bn with u/c two tps Lothians is to secure high ground NORTH EAST of CANCELLE.

    4th August:

    6th British Armd Div comes under command of 10 Corps.

    Divisional Commander visits the Bn.

    ‘S’ Coy in CANCELLI. 2 Coy 992584 (43° 41' 12'' N, 11° 30' 29'' E), 4 Coy Reserve, Bn is waiting for a tp of D.Y. to get across blows at 959627 (43° 43' 28'' N, 11° 27' 56'' E). Work is not being registered on these blows since the road is registered by the enemy and any movement is sharply shelled. Tp D.Y. are trying to get round via REGELLO – PIETRUPINA 0159 (43° 41' 34'' N, 11° 31' 49'' E rd) June 999596 (43° 41' 52'' N, 11° 30' 59'' E).

    Bn Hq Remains MONTANINO 9755 (43° 39' 33'' N, 11° 28' 55'' E)

    Diversion Completed.

    Tac Bn Moves to Cancelli 9958 (43° 40' 59'' N, 11° 30' 21'' E)

    5th August:

    Tac Bn HQ heavily shelled. A direct hit is scored on the Bn RAP. No casualties.

    The divisional commander was wounded this morning when a mine went up. Comd 1 gds Bde assumed command of the division, and commander 3 Gren Gds assumed command of the Bde.

    Patrols during the day showed that SANT’AGATA 0059 (43° 41' 33'' N, 11° 31' 04'' E) was still occupied, but by bypassing it to the EAST and WEST a coy was put on the Road June at 006596 (43° 41' 53'' N, 11° 31' 30'' E) and on the high ground at 997595 (43° 41' 49'' N, 11° 30' 50'' E). A PL was sent forward to the road at 985600 (43° 42' 04'' N, 11° 29' 56'' E). To the NORTH EAST of Santa AGATA ‘S’ Coy found itself coming under heavy shell fire. As soon as it tried to advance NORTHWARDS.

    6th August:
    Coys were heavily shelled and mortared during the day.

    7th August:
    The Bn is to remain in offensive contact with the enemy. No 4 coy is safely established on Pt 354 992604 (43° 42' 17'' N, 11° 30' 26'' E). On the right 2 coy met heavy opposition on their approach NORTH WEST onto TORRE 005601 (43° 42' 09'' N, 11° 31' 25'' E), and were eventually forced to withdraw 200 yards to a position south of TORRE where the Coy dug in. The supply position of No 2 Coy is extremely difficult since mines were discovered in S.AGATA during the night. Ammunition is therefore portered from 4 coy to 2 Coy.

    Major robin, while conducting rations to coys was wounded on a mine. CQMS of ‘S” Coy Killed.

    During the night the Bn handed over the posns to 10 R.B. is S.AGATA and regrouped coys which were not dispersed. Bn HQ and ‘S’ Coy 982598 (43° 41' 57'' N, 11° 29' 43'' E).

    4 Coy area Pt 354 992604 (43° 42' 17'' N, 11° 30' 26'' E ) and 2 Coy area BENSI 997598. (43° 41' 58'' N, 11° 30' 50'' E) Moves and take over complete without interference.

    8th August:

    No contact with the enemy during the day.
    Mobile Baths visit the Bn.
    9th August:

    Patrols during the night heard Germans talking and sounds of a Motor Cycle behind PIAZZA 998608. PIAZZE was shelled and the m/c was heard to move off.

    Bn is relieved by 7 R.B. without incident and moves to reserve posns SAN MEZZANO 9660 (43° 42' 01'' N, 11° 28' 04'' E). 2 Coy 3 Gren Gds share house.

    10th August:

    The relief of coys was considerably delayed by the state of the roads.

    No contact with the enemy during the day.

    11th August:

    Bn conc area SAN MEZZANO. 9660.
    ENSA show at Div HQ. Other entertainments.

    12th August:

    Commanding Officer attends conference at Bde Hq.
    D/Sgt Ramsden leaves to become RSM of 3rd Bn..

    Bn HQ moves to TORRE A MONTE: 958619 (43° 43' 02'' N, 11° 27' 53'' E)

    Coy Posns:
    ‘S’ Coy 961610 (43° 42' 33'' N, 11° 28' 07'' E)
    2 Coy 958619 (43° 43' 02'' N, 11° 27' 53'' E)

    Pl at TIGLIETO 9761 (43° 42' 34'' N, 11° 28' 47'' E)

    4 Coy Plns at:
    PRETOGNANO 9663 (43° 43' 38'' N, 11° 28' 00'' E)
    House 967634 (43° 43' 52'' N, 11° 28' 31'' E)
    LE BUCHE 974636 (43° 43' 59'' N, 11° 29' 02'' E)
    Atk and MG plns 961632 (43° 43' 45'' N, 11° 28' 04'' E)

    To relieve 3 W.G.

    13th August:


    14th August:


    15th August:

    Uneventuful day. Patrols.

    16th August:

    Bn comes under command 61 Inf Bde (6 Armd div)
    2 Coy moves to TORRE (9465). ‘S’ Coy takes over 2 coy posns.

    17th August:

    Uneventful day. Patrols.
    A successful ambush patrol killed 5 of 6 Germans on patrol.

    18th August:

    Bn is relived by 3 Gren Guards and moves to reserve area RENACCHI 002474 (43° 35' 17'' N, 11° 31' 29'' E)

    19th August:

    Bathe, Sgts and Cpls Messes open. Guardsmen’s Canteens are being prepared.

    20th August:

    50% of the battalion leave for 3 days leave in ROME.

    21st August:

    Drill classes for young sgts and Cpls commence.

    22nd August:

    1st Guards Bde relieved 61 Inf Bde of the present defensive sector at 1000 hours this morning. Evidently the move was noticed by the enemy for intermittent shell fire throughout the day was experienced. A fire was started 150 yards from the operations room. This fire attracted p(unreadable) attention to the Bde area, but apart from a direct hit on the Bde HQ latrine which was unoccupied at the time, no casualties were incurred. Bde HQ moves tonight to SAN MEZZANO 9660

    Bn remains at RENACCHI.

    23rd August:

    Baths. Drill classes continue.

    24th August:

    Drill Courses continue. Entertainments.

    25th August:

    First leave party returns.

    26th August:

    2nd Leave part leaves.
    4 Coy stand by to relieve a coy of 3 W.G.

    27th August:


    28th August:

    2nd Leave party returns. Entertainments.

    29th August:

    Bn is allowed to walk out in S.Giovanni.

    New Divisional Commander (Maj Gen. H. Murray D.S.O. Late 51 Highland div) talks to the Bn.

    30th August:

    Demonstration of methods of locating enemy mortars from inspection of mortar bomb craters.

    NCO’s Drill class goes on leave to ROME.
  11. Phaethon

    Phaethon Historian

    2nd Bn Cldm Gds
    Commanding officer: Lt Col R.E.J.C Coats
    September 1944

    RENACCHI 002474 (43° 35' 17'' N, 11° 31' 29'' E)

    1st Sept:

    Commanding Officer and I.O. go on recce of 7 N.D. sector, whom the Bn is to relieve at CONSUNA 0668 (43° 46' 30'' N, 11° 35' 20'' E) during daylight

    2 Sept:

    Recce parties leave present area to arrive 7 R.B. at 0630 hrs.

    Bn Moves off from start point 002433 in coy blocks at quarter of an hour intervals. Order of March Tac HQ, ‘S’ Coy, 2 Coy, 4 Coy, Sp Coy, remainder of Bn HQ.

    The Take over was completed without incident, although the Bn column had to pass along rout 70 in full view of the enemy. His only reaction was to shell Route 70 after out convoy had passed. A Direct hit was scored on bridge 027701 (43° 47' 35'' N, 11° 32' 49'' E).

    Patrols night 2/3 sept. A patrol, code name NEBRASKA, strength 1 Offr and 2 O.R’s recce the possibility of ambushing some Germans known to use Wadi 077708 as a supply route. Patrol returned at 0330 hrs without seeing any enemy.

    3rd Sept:

    No direct observation of enemy was made during the day. Great deal of civilian movement during the day who give valuable information of the enemy’s Gothic line defence.
    Patrols. A fighting patrol strength 1 offr and 10 men was sent out to destroy any enemy in POGGIO ALTO 073712 (43° 48' 15'' N, 11° 36' 14'' E). 5 Dugouts were discovered, and apart from this the patrol was uneventful.

    4th Sept:

    Daylight patrols went up Wadi NOSCIO 050725 (43° 48' 55'' N, 11° 34' 29'' E ) and inspected the house at BUCINA and at NOVINA 0573 (43° 49' 11'' N, 11° 34' 28'' E), both of which places have been reported to us by civilians, as strongly held. They found no enemy, but there were dugouts, which prove the recent presence of the enemy.

    Patrols. A fighting patrol, strength 1 Officer and 9 men was sent to destroy an enemy outpost reported to be either at CASINA DI COMINI 066728 or at LA CASINA 071726.

    The patrol approached LA CASINA 071726 from the gully on its right, and heard Germans digging in round the house. The county, being open round the area, the patrol commander decided to tacked instead CASINA DI COMINI 066728, which was known to be occupied, and which had a better approach. When within 50 yard of the house a german appeared behind them, calling out what sounded like “Herr Oberst”. He was met with a hail of fire and totted over a 25 feet drop where he lay groaning. M.G’s then opened up on us from the reverse slopes of pt 998 and also from the top of a gully by LA CASINA – estimated strength 20 – 30 men. The patrol withdrew and shot their way through some 6 Germans behind them, possibly killing 2 of them. One of this party was thought to be carrying a water can, as possibly they were returning from C. AL BOSCO with their days water. In the last brush a sergeant was left very badly wounded.

    5th September:

    An individual crawled up to out sentry point at Pt 1059 066681 and fired a burst which hit the magazine of out Bren, then ran for it across the road.

    Very little to report during the day.
    Late in the evening we observed a blow of unusual size 20 miles away on the Gothic Line. The bearing was 60 degrees from 069689.

    Patrols. An ambush patrol of 1 sgt and 7 men went out at last light to ambush a German patrol believed to have crossed 078699 two night ago. The patrol returned without seeing anything.

    6th Sept:

    Due to the great number of civilians arriving in the Bn area a post is set up in COMSUMA, manned by an interpreter, who is to intercept civilians before they reach us. They continue to pass valuable information about the Gothic Line defences.

    Uneventful day. Patrols – Nil.

    Band of grenadier Guards plays at Bn HQ.

    7th Sept:

    Uneventful day. Standing patrols sent out for local protection heard abd saw nothing.

    8th Sept:

    Uneventful day.
    Orders are received that 1st Guards Bde less 3 W.G. will conc area DIACETTO 9969 – FALCANO 9971 9th Sept. W.G. will take over both Bn posns.
    Local standing patrols are sent out that night for local protection. They have nothing to report.

    9th Sept:

    The take over completed without incident the Bn moves to area PELAGO with Bn HQ in house 992686 (43° 46' 43'' N, 11° 30' 15'' E).

    10th Sept:

    Intention of 6 Brit Armd Div is to exploit up rd PONTASSIEVE – DICCOMANO 0180 – S. GODENZO 0984 – FORLI 4416. 1 Gds Bde is to pass through 61 Inf Bde 10 sep pursuant upon that intention. 2 Coldm Gds is to remain in reserve in present location.

    During the day a suspected enemy withdrawl is confirmed and a change of plan is ordered.

    4 Coy moves off to DICOMANO

    Bn Moves to DICOMANO 015807 (43° 53' 17'' N, 11° 31' 41'' E) and 4 coy was directed onto pt 556 027831. ‘S’ and 2 Coys remain with Bn HQ. 4 Coy did not reach pt 566 due mainly to difficulties of the ground.

    11th Sept:

    4 coy dispositions. Coy HQ and one pl 020818 (43° 53' 53'' N, 11° 32' 02'' E). Pl Pt 463 018823 (43° 54' 09'' N, 11° 31' 52'' E). Pl 023822 (43° 54' 07'' N, 11° 32' 15'' E). 3 Coy with TAC Bn HQ started from DICOMANO at 0530 Hrs this morning and was passed through 4 Coy on pt 556 itself. S Coy are still in area DICOMANO providing protection parties for R.E. work, but will be called forward as soon as 2 coy is est.

    Bn positions. Tac HQ VICINATO -010820 (43° 53' 59'' N, 11° 31' 17'' E). 2 Coy 027834 (43° 54' 46'' N, 11° 32' 31'' E) with Pl on CROCE 029832 (43° 54' 40'' N, 11° 32' 40'' E). 4 Coy pt 559 024830 (43° 54' 33'' N, 11° 32' 18'' E) and pl 022826 (43° 54' 20'' N, 11° 32' 10'' E). Rear HQ and ‘S” coy remain area DICOMANO.

    IN view of change of inter-div boundary with 8 IND DIC and in order to divert attention from American operations further WEST, the role of 6 armd DIV is to effect earliest possible diversionary contact with the enemy. The Bn is to establish ‘S’ Coy area CASA ROMANA 020848 evening 11 sept and are to be directed onto LAVACCHO 0287 first light 12 Sept. A coy of 3 W.G. are to relieve the Bn of DICOMANO and RE protection commitments at 1700 hrs 11 Sept.

    12th Sept:

    2 Coldm Gdsm leap frogging coys into the heart of the hill during the day, made first contact of 6 Amd Div with the Gothic Line. S Coy starting at first light, occupied POGGIO LAVACCHI 028872 (43° 56' 49'' N, 11° 32' 30'' E), and 4 coy was brought through them to establish on POGGIO PATRINE 035878 (43° 57' 09'' N, 11° 33' 01'' E) early this afternoon.

    From here they observed for the first time in three days enemy occupation of fixed positions. From dominating heights of pt 759 045883 (43° 57' 26'' N, 11° 33' 45'' E) some Germans watching with field glasses were seen, while others were strolling about and putting their blankets out to air. Coys report that the enemy positions are very strongly wired, but the wire is old and rusty, and the camouflage is falling to pieces. A house and trees have been blown down to clear an enemy field of fire. It is not thought that the enemy saw our approach and he has not been fired on or shelled.


    The BN HQ established CASA ROMANA 020849 (43° 55' 34'' N, 11° 31' 58'' E) Patrols. A fighting patrol skirted behind pt 735 042883 (43° 57' 26'' N, 11° 33' 32'' E) and found a wired in defensive system between pt 759 035878 (43° 57' 09'' N, 11° 33' 01'' E) and Pt 735. Moving outside the wire on Pt 735 they searched the rocky ground behind. No enemy was seen but shouts were heard coming from the NW. Recce patrols to CASA FEDERICO 043877 (43° 57' 07'' N, 11° 33' 37'' E) and AMPHININA 018856 (43° 55' 56'' N, 11° 31' 48'' E) saw nothing.

    13th Sept:

    Observation during the day established that the enemy were still on Pt 735 044884 (43° 57' 26'' N, 11° 33' 32'' E), but in little strength. The enemy were observed at RIO 035896 (43° 58' 08'' N, 11° 32' 58'' E) and were shelled, while later this evening an enemy looting party were seen chasing chickens in C.CAMPAGIANNO 034884 (43° 57' 29'' N
    Longitude : 11° 32' 56'' E). There is no movement whatever in VILLORE but none of our patrols have actually entered it. A recce patrol was sent during the aftnernoon to CORELLA 0486. They also visited LA VILLA and PRETOGNANO on the outskirts of the village. This collection of houses was found clear of the enemy, but in the house at 043866 (43° 56' 31'' N, 11° 33' 38'' E), 56 boxes of mortar ammunition, 20 boxes of SAA and 20 boxes of grenades, as well as a store of tinned fruit and enemy cookers were found. Civilians told us that last night a party of Germans came down from M.GATTIA 0586 (43° 56' 12'' N, 11° 34' 11'' E) with 5 mules and collected some of these stores. Beside the house there was a tactical sign with the word WEBER written.

    14th Sept.
    Observation was limited from here. They went closer to the village. No movement was seen in the town but a German MG opened up from point 588 037893 (43° 57' 58'' N, 11° 33' 08'' E), but the fire was certainly not directed at our patrol, as it could be seen going east to west across our front. It was still believed during the early part of the today that pt 735 042883 (43° 57' 26'' N, 11° 33' 32'' E) was occupied by the enemy, but at 1900 hours our forward troops observed two Englishmen strolling round the defences. They appeared completely unconcerned, and it is still in doubt who these persons are.

    Locations. Bn HQ 018866 (43° 56' 29'' N, 11° 31' 46'' E). S Coy 030873 (43° 56' 53'' N, 11° 32' 39'' E). 2 Coy 032876. 4 Coy HQ and one pl 032877(43° 57' 06'' N, 11° 32' 48'' E ) two pls C.CAMPAGNIANNI 034884 (43° 57' 29'' N, 11° 32' 56'' E). Patrols. A recce patrol is ordered to gulley area 038889 (43° 57' 45'' N, 11° 33' 13'' E) with objects to discover covered approach and start lone for subsequent advance north east. A suitable start line and covered approach was found leading from the area of the gulley north of CAMPAGNIANNI area 038889 (43° 57' 29'' N, 11° 32' 56'' E).

    15th Sept:

    Locations. Main Bn HQ: 018867 (43° 56' 32'' N,11° 31' 46'' E). Tac HQ Campogianni 033883 (43° 57' 25'' N, 11° 32' 51'' E). S Coy with Tac HQ with pl in VILLORE 0389 (43° 57' 48'' N, 11° 32' 37'' E). 2 Coy IL MONTE 042898 (43° 58' 15'' N, 11° 33' 30''). 4 Coy Pt 588 037893 (43° 57' 58'' N, 11° 33' 08'' E) with pl pt 658. 040895 (43° 58' 05'' N, 11° 33' 21'' E).

    Considerable ground was made during the day by all three bns of the Brigade, with no enemy opposition, and we were only handicapped by the difficult going and by mines on most of the tracks. Enemy defences were found as expected, but were quite abandoned, and the only sign of his recent occupation were some unimportant papers belonging to a member of the TODT organization. An Italian girl seen in VILLORE told us that she had been carried about by the germans for some weeks, but was abandoned last night because the enemy has to leave VILLORE in a hurry. They were expecting some mules to carry their stores away, but after waiting until 2300 hrs they went off, leaving their stores behind and said they were going back 8 Kiolometers. Another civilian at IL MONTE warned us of mines, which were later found on most of the roads and tracks.

    Patrols. After patrolling to pt 984 049907 (43° 58' 45'' N, 11° 34' 00'' E) a permanent patrol was est on this pt of 12 men with a wireless set. No movement was seen on M.GOIGO DI VILLORE 052910.

    16th Sept:

    Locations. Main HQ AMPINANA 018867 (43° 56' 32'' N,11° 31' 46'' E). Tac HQ CAMPOGIANNI 033883 (43° 57' 25'' N, 11° 32' 51'' E). S Cot with tac HQ with Pl in VILLORE 0389 ((43° 57' 48'' N, 11° 32' 37'' E). 2 Coy IL MONTE 0489 (43° 58' 15'' N, 11° 33' 30''). 4 Coy pt 588 037893 (43° 57' 58'' N, 11° 33' 08'' E ) with pl pt 658 040895 (43° 58' 05'' N, 11° 33' 21'' E). Positions were maintained throughout the day.

    17th Sept:

    The Bn was relieved by 8 PUNJAB BN during the course of the day. Three Sgts were killed on an unlocated minefield in the area on IL MONTE 0489 (43° 58' 15'' N, 11° 33' 30'').

    Bn is concentrated 998860.

    18th Sept:

    Recce party under command Major W.B. Harris leave.

    0800: ‘O’ Group (Coy Commands) Leave.

    Bn Moves in Coy Blocks.

    Arrive in new area 2835 (43° 29' 01'' N, 11° 52' 23'' E) approximately 5 miles NORTH of AREZZO.

    19th Sept:

    Bn moves to fwd conc area CHIUSI 3358 (43° 41' 31'' N, 11° 55' 39'' E).

    TAC BN HQ moves into House pt 907 326594 (43° 42' 16'' N, 11° 55' 20'' E) At last light Coys moved forward and took over from 4 BALUCH.
    Patrols. A patrol was sent into SILVESTRE 3363 (43° 44' 13'' N, 11° 55' 33'' E) which was found clear of enemy, but according to civilians visited by patrols. Another patrol went to GIAMPERETA 3562 (43° 43' 42'' N, 11° 57' 04'' E) which was likewise found clear. No direct contact was made with the enemy.

    Positions: Tac Bn HQ pt 907 326594. S Coy LE NOGNETTE 352642 (43° 44' 54'' N, 11° 57' 10'' E) with a Pl at 358658 (43° 45' 46'' N, 11° 57' 35'' E). 2 Coy LA FORNACE 341611 (43° 43' 12'' N, 11° 56' 25'' E). 4 Coy 345636 (43° 44' 34'' N, 11° 56' 40'' E) with a Pl at MONTE FATUTCHIO.

    20th Sept:

    Day was spent in learning the characteristics of the new location. Patrols. A working party was heard at 356651 (43° 45' 23'' N, 11° 57' 27'' E). BIFORCO 3364 (43° 44' 45'' N, 11° 55' 32'' E) was found clear.

    21st Sept:

    Brigadier visits Bn HQ to discuss patrols. He suggests day patrols in preference to night parties. A daylight patrol was sent out searching the ground between the Bn and 3 W.G. They made no contact with the enemy, and civilian reports were both conflicting and confusing.

    22nd Sept:

    The withdrawal of the enemy on 10 Corps front is now firmly established. All three formations have failed to make contact. The sector held by Gde Bde became virtually dead, and there was no longer any necessity to hold it with a full Bde. The Bn handed over the posns to 157 Bty of 53 ltAA Regt (who are acting as infantry), and moved to a concentration area in area 2837 (43° 30' 06'' N, 11° 52' 21'' E), 4 miles NORTH of AREZZO.

    The commanding Officer goes on Leave, and Major W.L. Steele assumes command of the Bn.

    23rd Sept:


    Bn is allowed to go on leave in AREZZO. The Bn Corps of Drums, recently reformed practices.

    24th Sept:

    Voluntary Church Parade.
    Leave party goes to 10 Corps Rest Camp.
    Weapons inspection by Mobile Armourers Shop.
    Day Passes to Arezzo.

    25th Sept:

    Resting, cleaning equipment, issues of clothing etc.
    Baths. Day Passes to AREZZO.

    No 3 Coy is reformed on a 2 Pl basis wef. P.m. 25 Sept ’44. by transfers from other Coys.

    Officers: Capt. D.A.H. Taler.
    Capt D.H. Percy
    Lt G.V.S. Le Fanu
    Lt. B.D. Till
    Lt. R.j. Stratten.

    26th Sept:

    Day passes to Arezze.

    27th Sept:

    1st Gds Bde reverts from Comd 10 Corps to Comd 6 British Armd Div.

    Bn Moves to area PELAGO 9967 (43° 45' 51'' N, 11° 30' 08'' E)

    Bn arrives and assumes same positions as occupied 9 Sep’ 1944

    28th Sept:

    Day leave to Florence.

    29th Sept:

    Day leave to Florence. Baths.

    30th Sept:

    Day leave to Florence. Commanding officer, I.O. and signal officer go on recce of the sector the Bn May take over in 88 U.S. Division area

    Casualties for the month of September (appendix E)

    Killed: Nil
    Wounded: Lt. D.R.G. NOEL. 8th Sept ‘44
    Missing: Nil

    Other ranks:

    S Coy: NIL
    Cold Gds 3

    Scots guards 1
    Coldm gdes 3


    Scots Gds NIL
    Coldm Gds 1
  12. Phaethon

    Phaethon Historian

    2nd Bn Cldm Gds
    Commanding officer: Lt Col R.L Steele
    October: 1944


    1st Oct:

    Major Steele, Acting commanding officer) Coy Comds and Captain R.J. Southey acting I.O, leave to recce new area. Bn posns will be on feature 065170 Monte BATTAGLIA (44° 12' 58'' N, 11° 34' 36'' E) at present held by a Bn of 88 U.S. Division.

    2nd Oct:

    Advance party u/c of lt R.E. Hyde Leaves to recce conc area and mark rout leaving guides to meet the Bn at D.P. rd and Track June 003138 (44° 11' 09'' N, 11° 30' 01'' E)

    3 Coy and A Echelon remain at Pelago (43° 45' 51'' N, 11° 30' 08'' E)

    Commanding Officer, Coy Comade and I.O; leave to recce coy areas.

    Bn moves off, leading vehicle to pass S.P. PONTASSIEVE at 1100 hours. Rout – DICOMANO + VICCHIO – BORGO S. LORENZO – Road June 860900 (43° 58' 02'' N, 11° 19' 53'' E) – SCARPERIA 8793 (43° 59' 41'' N,11° 20' 33'' E) FIRENZUOLA 9006 (44° 06' 45'' N, 11° 22' 29'' E) – MORDUCCIO 9913 – D.P. Rd Track June 003138 (44° 11' 09'' N, 11° 30' 01'' E), Order of march, 2, 4, ‘S’, Sp, HQ Coy.

    Due to the pouring rain all the afternoon the Bn is late in arriving.

    After a hot meal near VALSALVA 0013 the Bn moves off by march rout to conc area MONDUZZO. Bn slept in fields through pouring rain.

    3rd Oct:

    Pl Cods leave to recce pl posns.

    The Bn moves in order 4,2, Bn Hq, to take over Bn posns.
    The Bn is held up on a track due to tan unsuccessful c/A on the Americans.

    Locations. S Coy MONDUZZO 0113 (44° 10' 43'' N, 11° 30' 34'' E) (res, also act as muleteers). Tac Bn HQ 058166 (with tac HQ 3 Gren Guards) 2 Coy 056169. 4 Coy 064166 (44° 12' 45'' N, 11° 34' 32'' E)

    The Americans posns were left in a deplorable state, and all that night was spent in largening their slit trencges, which were only two feet deep. 1 Gds Bde comes u/C 88 U.S. Div.

    4th Oct:

    Relief complete. 3 Casualties were incurred during take over. 2 Coy was heavily mortared and shelled all day by guns ranging up to 210 mm. Its positions overlooked from both flanks, and no movement by day was possible. Petrol cooking was forbidden and tommy cookers were not plentiful

    5th Oct:

    Continuous rain makes paths feet deep in mud.
    Warning order for S coy to take over from two pls of the 7th U.S. armd Bn.

    3 Coy is sent for to take over muleteering from ‘S’ Coy.

    A pl of 2 coy moves posns owing to heavy shelling.

    6th Oct:

    We hear that 38 (Irish) Inf Bde (78 Div) have taken over on the left flank at Monte Capello.


    ‘S’ Coy recce party arrives Tac HQ to be shown their new posns 064164 (44° 12' 39'' N, 11° 34' 32'' E)

    Arty Offr from 1 Div came to look over ground for a possible 1 div attack by the N. Staffs in two days time.

    ‘S’ coy arrives in new area.

    Relief complete without incident.
    Owing to torrential rain great difficulty is experiences in getting sups fwf, as the tracks are almost impassible for mules.

    7th Oct:

    Fwd posns shelled throughout the day.

    Enemy mortar fire set fire to our 3” mortar amn. One mortar destroyed no cas.

    Mortars recce new posns in ‘S’ Coy area.

    ‘S’ Coy reports a possible enemy patrol in their area. One man fired on.

    8th Oct:


    2 Coy get warning order to move back, a pl of 1 Coy 3 W.G. are reliving them. The further the two pls of W.G. are to relieve 4 coy. The posns held by 2 and 4 Coys are now converted into one called ‘Counter attack’ Posn.

    ‘S’ coy send ambush patrol to house 062157

    Pl of 3 W.G. complete the relief of 2 Coy. Casualties 4.

    9th Oct:

    Polish Deserter gave himself up and gives very helpful information to Capt. R.J Southey (I.O) as to his units posns. From the artillery O.P he directed fire into his own posns.

    Bde Comd Visits tac HQ.

    3. W.G. relieve 4 Coy and Tac HQ. ‘S’ Coy stay in present positions (right flank).
    That evening join Coldm and Gren Gds tac received a direct hit from a shall inflicting cas on the Grenadiers. Lt M.A.F. Newton was also wounded.
    20 minutes after the commanding officer had left TAC it was successfully raided by a German Patrol.

    10th Oct:
    The whole Bn except 3 Coy and ‘S’ Coy back in billets resting in area 9711
    Bn attack from 715 Inf (German) Div at about 0300 hrs was a dismal failure. Its object was to cut off the BATTAGLIA feature and starve out the occupants.

    11th Oct.

    Having suffered casualties the attackers were caught at dawn in the open short of their feature, and retired in a body to a small house. The officer commanding the attack demanded and was allowed a truce of 20 minutes in which to evacuate his wounded. The W.G officer commanding the ‘Counter attack’ company informed him that after 20 minutes truce all weapons would be brought to bear on this house. After the house had received a direct hit from a mortar bomb 86 Germans surrendered. During this attack ‘S’ Coy captured one German Sgt who was a fanatical nazi

    Major General Budget Lloyd, commanding the Bde of Guards visits the Bn.

    Commanding Officer (Lt Col R.E.J.C. Coates) returns from leave in Cairo.

    12th Oct:

    3 Coy take up posns on BATTAGLIA WEST (44° 13' 05'' N, 11° 34' 35'' E) and ‘S’ Coy returns.

    Commanding officer and I.O recce ground for an attack on POSSEGIO.

    2 Coy Move up from billets to VALMAGGIORE

    (Researchers Note: Valmaggiore probably refers to Valmaggiore church at location: 44° 11' 50'' N, 11° 32' 12'' E, it is described in the orders as location 032150)

    13th Oct:

    4 Coy and Tac GQ up from billets to VALMAGGIORE.
    4 Coy and TAC HQ leave rest area. Tac HQ spends the night at VALMAGGIRE and 4 Coy at MONDUZZO (Note: this location is unknown).

    14th Oct:
    Recce for attack on POSSEGIO throughout the day. 2 Coy followed by 4 Coy will pass through 3 Coy on BATTAGLIA WEST and take the five peaks successively. Attack is to coincide with attack by 78 and 1st Division on either flanks, but since they were not prepared the attack was postponed for 24 hours.

    2 Coy moves up to farm buildings at 046157 (44° 12' 14'' N, 11° 33' 12'' E) in preparation for the attack.

    15th Oct:

    The attack is cancelled owing to a change of policy. ‘S’ Coy relieves 3 Coy on BATTAGLIA WEST (065172: 44° 13' 05'' N, 11° 34' 35'' E) and 2 coy takes up posn on BATTAGLIA EAST (incl castle) with 4 Coy in counter attack posn.

    TAC HQ moves from VALMAGGIORE TO 050162 (44° 12' 31'' N, 11° 33' 29'' E) with a pl of 2 Coy for its defence. Main HQ remains VALMAGGIORE with Maj W.B. Harris and Capt J.D.C. Fortescue organising the supplies. 4 3” mortars take over W.G. posns SOUTH of the Bn RAP.

    This complicated relief continued throughout the night and cas were suffered.

    16th Oct:
    Intensity of shelling has decreased. Fwd Cots have about 100 mortar bombs in their area per day. Pioneer Pl arrive at Tac HQ to build a new command post. Commanding officer and I.O. visit fwd coys.
    On the rout to 2 Coy HQ one has to scale a rope up a precipitous cliff. The rations have to be sent in haversacks owing to the steepness.

    17th Oct:

    Intermittent shelling and mortaring of the Coys. Weather improves. Divisional brigade commanders and CRA visit Tac HQ.

    Commanding officer and Adj visit Coys. Slight shelling of Tac HQ during the night.

    18th Oct:

    3 W.G. take over the three fwd posns and the bd in turn takes over the rear sector. Two HQ moves to 049153 (Two HQ moves to 049153 + 2 3” mortars ) + 2 3” mortars. 4 Coy moves up to 057167. 2 Machine Guns remain at 063166 (44° 12' 45'' N, 11° 34' 27'' E) and two at 052164 (44° 12' 38'' N, 11° 33' 38'' E)

    Attack on the flank by 36 bde of 78 division couples with a successful Chinese attack on our front. 61 Bde take over the area CAPELLO.

    19th Oct:

    Attention is now drawn to M.Cornazzano 0716 (44° 12' 27'' N, 11° 35' 00'' E) as our next objective.

    Recce patrol from ‘S’ Coy to the right flank of M. Cornazzano hear two enemy sentries talking in the area of pt 582 (0715: 44° 11' 54'' N, 11° 35' 01'' E). It was reported that owing to the state of the ground it would be impossible for a large number of troops to ascend the hill.

    20th Oct:

    Commanding officer and I.O. go to ‘S’ Coy for a reconnaissance of an attack on M. CORNAZZANO (44° 12' 27'' N, 11° 35' 00'' E). A recce patrol that night from ‘S’ Coy (Lt Blandy and one Gdsman) heard enemy ay highest point.

    21st Oct:

    Commanding officer holds ‘O’ group in S coy area to discuss attack on CORNAZZANO. The Div commander and Brigadier are present. Plan made between 6 Armd Div Comd (General Murray) and 1 Div commander (General ______ (LEFT BLANK) ) for attack on CORNAZZANO. Right boundary 075163 (44° 12' 37'' N, 11° 35' 22'' E). Left Boundary 068168 (44° 12' 52'' N, 11° 34' 49'' E). 1 Div (1 Loyals) is to capture extremes of the feature up to 075162 (44° 12' 34'' N, 11° 35' 22'' E). Pt 582 being the dominating feature.

    Owing to the precipitous nature of the country, the attack will consist of fighting patrols from 2, 3 and 4 coys approaching up different spurs. Loyals will attack pt 582 simultaniously. 2 Coy Coldm guards will attack py 620 itself while 4 coy attack the two hills 150 yards North West and a Pl from 3 Coy will adv from area of BATAGLIA castle to 068168

    ‘S’ Coy shelled for ten minutes.

    22 Oct:

    Tac HQ, 2, 4 coys, Mortars, MMG’s, RAP, 20 SBs, 20 porters (from bn) and 40 italian porters move to area CORTINI, SOUTH WEST of ‘S’ Coy in preparation for attack on CORNAZANO in conjunction with attack by 1 loyals.

    Thick Mist made it possible to move in daylight and it was thought possible to attack at 1600 hours under this mist. But the mist rose and the attack had to be put off. Rain made the ground impossible for a large scale attack that night. There was no mortaring or shelling throughout the day.
    It was thought likely that the enemy had withdrawn. That night fighting patrol led by Lt Lumley and a fighting patrol from the I loyals were directed onto Pt 620 and Pt 582 respectively. Their Coys were to follow up if the features were found to be clear.

    The Loyal patrol reported p5 582 clear and two further coys were sent to consolidate the ground. AT 2330 hrs Lt Lumley reported over the air, having run into a minefield 250 yards North west of Pt 620 and having suffered 6 casualties. The patrol withdrew as order and the cas were evacuated.

    23 Oct:

    It is considered unlikely that any enemy remain on this feature. At 0900 hours Mt Mayes Pl of 4 Coy an Coy HQ pass through the 1 loyals on Pt 582, this being the best line of approach and head for pt 620 – our original objective. The second section suddenly found themselves in the middle of an ‘S’ minefield, and before they could heed the warning cry the rear man of the section had set one off. There were three casualties. The advance was impeded owing to the necessity of the pioneers sweeping the ground, but by 1400 hrs the pl had reached pt 620 to find as expected, empty slit trenches. By 1500 hours a coy of MSLI has arrived on the feature, and by 1600 they had taken over from the pl of 4 coy which returned to its original posns and then back down the hill…

    24th Oct:


    The Bn is relieved as a whole by KSLI and returns by 2300 hers to C. MELINA 9508 in the Bde Reserve.

    25th Oct:

    Mobile Baths

    26th Oct:

    Firing by Coys

    27th Oct:

    Coys firing.

    28th Oct:

    Raining and lectures.

    29th Oct:

    Lectures by Major Legget on the reallocation of man power.

    30th Oct:
    A possible move to the 1st Divisional front is anticipated,

    Appendix to War Diary October 1944
    Summary of events period Oct 1st – 24th.
    On Oct 1st the brigade was ordered to switch its axis of advance once more and to come under command of the 88 U.S. Div on the FIRENZUOLA – IMOLA road. We were required so we were told, to hold a position for 48 hours, after which time we would be relieved. 48 hours subsequently stretched to 24 days. The position consisted of six different hillocks, each held by a company, with a command HQ called PYRAMID, commanded by the different commanding Officers in turn controlling the complete position. The foremost and most important hill, BATTAGLIA (EAST), 715 meters high, had on the summit a small castle, by now in ruins, but inside which sat 9 men and an artillery OP overlooking all the surrounding country except that immediately ahead, which was blind to them unless they ventured outside their ‘cell’. The slopes leading up to the tower were so steep and of loose stone that nobody could hope to attack it with success.

    There was a company on the right and left flank of this position, another two company’s 400 yards behind, and the remaining company defending Tac HQ. On the noight of Oct 2nd 2 and 4 coys took over the two forward positions: BATTAGLIA EAST and WEST from the Americans, who had in fact won these positions unopposed on account of the speed of their advance. They had been continually counter attacked, but had held this ground in spite of heavy casualties. From this day until 24th Oct at least one company from the Battalion was occupying a forward position of PYRAMID force. For the first week the mortaring and shelling onto our positions was intense and very accurate, making movement by day from slit trenches impossible. Our only possible supply rout had been registered and our positions pin pointed, and to add to the fury of battle, a 210mm gun made the tower its chief target. The Misery of this rather normal existence for a battle, was increased 200% by the fact that throughout our stay a torrent of rain poured down, making all paths 1-2 foot deep in a slough of clinging mud, and slit trenches deep in water. It was a feat of endurance to live for some 20 days in such circumstances without weakening.

    The problem of supply was one of the greatest. Mule head was at Monduzzo, a farmhouse 1 mile from VALMAGGIORE, and 4 miles from BATTAGLIA. The tracks were small, complex, and almost impassable, and the Indian Muleteers impossible. They very soon announced that at this rate the mules would be dead in 6 days, and added to this they were only too often dumped the load and rode the mule, and even on some occasions the mule overturned down a precipitous hill. Major Harris, in charge of supplies at VALMAGGIROE, dealt with this thankless problem in a masterly way.

    On October 8th 2 coy was relieved by a coy of WG’s and on Oct 9th 4 coy and TacHQ came back up the hill, ‘S’ Coy remaining in the right flank position with the newly formed 3 Coy portering.

    During the period a battalion attack was made on the “counter attack” companies, held at that time by the WG, and 170 German prisoners were taken. The evening preceeding this attack, a German patrol had raided the Tac HQ, and thrown grenades through the windows. Major Steele and Captain Southey had been relieved 20 minutes before by the GG. That evening this HQ had a direct hit from a shell and Lt Newton was wounded.

    Oct 9th. Col Coates returned and took over command Major Steele, and the next day 2 Coys are ordered onto the hill again with the object of attacking POSSEGGIO RIDGE, a precipitous feature running WEST off BATTAGLIA. The arrack is to coincide with 2/attacks by 78 and 1 DIVs on either flank. Two days of reconnaissance completed the last details of the plan, but on Oct 14th the attack was postponed and Oct 15th was cancelled by a higher formation.

    The 88 U.S. Div, who, we had relieved a fortnight ago was now taking part in a 2 Corps attack 6 miles NORTH WEST, driving up ROUTE 65 towards BOLOGNA. Their success resulted in troops being drawn from opposite us and consequently our life became quieter.

    Oct 15th. PYRAMID command is replaced by two separate commands, forward positions and rear positions, each commanding officer commanding their respective coys.

    ‘S’ Coy BATTAGLIA WEST, 2 Coy BATTAGLIA EAST (the tower), with 4 Coy in “Counter attack” position. 3 Coys of GG held the reserve positions.

    It had been previously decided that 3 days was a quite sufficient time to live in the forward positions, and so on Oct 18th 3 W.G. took over our positions and we in turn moved back to the rear positions vacated by the GG who went into Brigade reserve. M. CORNUZZANO, an extremely precipitous ridge running EAST from M.BATTAGLIA is now indicated as our next objective and so during the nights of 19, 20, 21st patrols from ‘S’ Coy made reconnaissance of German positions, and approaches onto this ridge. Germans were found on Pt.620 and Pt.582, where they had been previously reported by a Polish Deserter. Rhere were very few possible lines of approach. A set attack was impossible, so an attack by a series of fighting patrols by 2,3 and 4 Coys, approaching simultaneously from different angles was ordered for the night 20/21st. All details of the attack and supply were completed, when it was decided that owing to the pouring rain, which had made ascent impossible, and also the pitch darkness of the night, it would be impracticable to attempt the scheme at night time.

    The following day General Murray (6 armd) and General Lorver (1st Div), Brigadier Scott (Gds Bds) – Brigadier Anderson (2nd Bde) with their respective subordinate commanders viewed the ground from ‘S’ coy position, which lat some 800 yards from M.CORNUZZANO itself. It was decided that, weather permitting, the hill should be taken the night 22/23rd, the main CORNUZZANO ridge running from BATTAGLIA TOWER to 100 yards EAST of Pt. 620 by this battalion, and the remainder of the ridge running SOUTH EAST with Pt. 582 as the chief objective, by the 1st Battalion LOYALS.

    Mist and rain prevailed throughout the day of 22nd, again postponing the main attack, however there had been indications throughout the day, of enemy withdrawing along the whole front and so a fighting patrol from 4 Coy CG, led by MR. LUMLEY, and one from 1st Loyals, were directed that night onto Pt. 620 and Pt 582 respectively. At 2200 Hrs 1st Loyals reported Pt 582 clear, and at 2300 hours Lt. Lumlet reported over the air, being 200 yards WESR if Pt 620, having had 6 casualties from boobytraps. His patrol returned. As it was now apparent that the feature was not held, at 0900 Hrs Lt MAYES platoon of 4 Cot followed by Coy HQ made its way to Pt. 620 through the 1st LOYALS positions (this being the best line of approach). The platoon suffered 3 casualties in an S mine field on the way. Having secured the feature unhindered at 1400 Hrs, a coy of KSLI relived it and the whol ebatalion went into Briagde reserve. Transport was waiting at CASTEL del RIO, about 6 miles distant, and the whole battalion whad embossed by 2200 Hrs, to return to its former billets, 23 day after leaving them.
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  13. Phaethon

    Phaethon Historian

    2nd Bn Cldm Gds
    Commanding officer: Lt Col R.E.J.C Coates
    November: 1944

    1st Nov:

    Major R.L. Steele (Acting c.o.) and I.O. driver for 4 hours to PALAZZUOLA 0305 (44° 06' 26'' N, 11° 32' 15'' E) for a conference at Bde HQ, reference taking over from a coy of Foresters and Duke of Wellington Regiment.

    (Note: PAZAZZUOLA’s full name is Palazzuolo sul Senio)

    2nd Nov:

    Major R.L. Steele and I.O recce positions on BATTAGLIA and CORNAZZANO since we have a holding role it is decided to relinquish posns held in the valley north of CORNAZZO, and hold instead posns on the high ground on CORNAZZANO itself and BATTAGLIA ridge.

    Capt D.C Chichester M.C takes over no 2 Coy.

    3rd Nov:

    Although the supply rout is switched to the PALAZZUOLA Road the Bn itself uses ASCOT Rout from CASTEL DEL RIO to reach the posns. This is a 6 hour walk, and the track had deteriorated since we were here last. A tea point was provided half way.

    2 Coy relieves a coy of the duke of Wellington Regt forward of BATTAGLIA Castle. The Coy is very strung out and there is a gap of 600 yards between itself and S Coy.

    S coy relieved C Coy foresters in CORNAZZANO. 4 Coy is in reserve in Houses round Bn HQ.

    Breakdown over the sups on account of a very dark night and heavy rain. 2 mountain mules fall over a precipice and have to be shot. One mule for 2 Coy dies of exhaustion round BATTAGLIA and s coy mules were unable to climb the steep hill and had to remain round tac HQ until morning.

    4th Nov:

    C.O. and maj Lincoln (152 A.Y fd Regt) visit 2 coy posns, talking rout in full view of M.TAVERNA posns. No Shelling in our area today. 2 Coy send out 2 standing patrols fwd of their posns. Recce patrol by Lt Dill to house at Pt 589. Lt Dill crawled up to house and found himself at wrong end of a bazooka. 36 Grenade silenced Bazooka man. German digging party also observed, Enemy open heavy but unsuccessful small arms fire and patrol withdraws.

    Standing patrol from S coy to CHIESOLA (44° 13' 13'' N, 11° 35' 25'' E). Al three patrols N.T.R. Major R.L. Steel leaves to take over the 3rd Bn.

    5th Nov:

    C.O., I.O and Maj Lincoln visit S Coy posns on CORNAZZANO. The Posns vacated by the duke of Wellington regiment were shelled. The Bde intention is to make the Germans believe we still hold some posns as 37 Bde, where as we have withdrawn 200-800 yards. Standing patrols will frequently be sent out to the vacated posns and retaliation fire put down if vacated posns shelled. 2 Coy have two standing patrols throughout the night at CASA NUOVA at Pt 618 (44° 13' 51'' N, 11° 34' 43'' E), and at Pt 512 (079179: 44° 13' 29'' N, 11° 35' 38'' E). S Coy standing patrol at CHIESOLA 076174 (44° 13' 13'' N, 11° 35' 25'' E). NTR from all fwd patrol. MGS from CORNAZZANO harass pt 62 during the night, at the first light whilst very lights were sent up by an American sentry.

    6th Nov:

    Weather improves. Visit by General Murray and Brid Andrew scott and the C.R.A. 4 Coy change posns with 2 Coy. Lt Dill lead fighting patrols to a group of houses Pt 475 (072169) but found nothing except for an empty pill box. Standing patrol to Pt 512 (079179) from 4 coy had NTR. Standing patrol at CASA NUOVA was attacked by grenades by a small enemy force immediately after a sentry relief. The sentry in the slit trench was killed. The Germans then used the slit trench for cover and directed fire onto the test of the patrol who were in the house. John Jenkins MM rushed out of the house firing a bren gun and dispersed the patrol. He was wounded in the leg. Standing patrol to CHIESOLA from s coy had NTR. Standing patrol to San RUFFILLO had NTR.

    7th Nov:

    Very cold wind and snow. CASA NUOVA becomes a permanent fwd posns to breach the gap between ourselves and the Rifle Bde. A pl from the coy in reserve is sent on the ridge 300 yards North of the Castle to ensure that there is no infiltration between our two forward coys.

    There was a large conc of enemy arty followed by S.A fire onto pt 512, which tonight for the first time is unoccupied by our patrol.

    One green and 3 white very lights go up from this area. Presuming this to be the first stage of an attack we send a standing patrol to Pt 618 to ensure that 4 coy fwd pl is not cut off. However throughout the night everything was quiet so we concluded that the enemy were practicing a Chinese attack to draw our fire; The ambush patrol by Lt He Yanu?? Saw nothing but a DF by automatics was fired onto Pt 475. The standing patrol at CHIESOLA came under arty fire from both sides, and Spandaus from 300 yards range. Their house was hit 3 times, but there were no casualties. On Return, Gdsm PRESTON was wounded in the leg.

    8th November:

    Quiet Day.

    Ambush patrol at 073186 (44° 13' 51'' N, 11° 35' 10'' E) successfully surprised a German patrol of 10 men who were advancing towards them and by opening up with all automatics simultaneously inflicted at least 3 cas upon them. Recce patrol to Pt 512 did not find out for certain whether the enemy had occupied it last night.

    9th November:

    Recce patrols from 3 W.G. who are to take over our new area, arrive and are sent to respective coys. No shelling throughout the day. Recce patrol from 10 Pl to CASA BOSCO found nothing also. NTR from ambush led by Lt Lumley to 074176 (44° 13' 19'' N, 11° 35' 15'' E). Recce cum standing Patrol to CHIESOLA led by Lt Farnell never reached their objective owing to the mist but upon interrogation civilians in a house stated that the Germans had not returned since they left 10 days ago.

    Two inches of snow during the night.

    10th November:

    The only incident during the day was a lone mortar bomb which fell without damage to anybody within 10 yards of Tac HQ. There was much speculation as to whether this had arrived by chance or intent. The two recce patrols from 2 coy during the early part of the night to CASA BOSCO and to Pt 520 had NTR.

    11th November:

    An uneventful day during which it was possible for S Coy and 2 coy minus 10 Pl to be relieved. The relief of the remainder of the Bn by 3 W.G. was complete 2130 Hours. Artificial moonlight was directed over posns and facilitated the relief greatly. C.O. and I.O. stay the night at ADS at CORTINI and left to PALAZUOLA the next morning.

    12th November:

    By 0400 Hrs the whole Bn after a long and wearsome march reached PALAZZUOLA and slept the for the remainder of the night. Mobile Baths and a change of clothing a provided that morning and at noon they move off in TCV’s to their billets. The new coy areas are very spread out and 4 Coy is 20 miles from Bn HQ, however they are all comfortable situated, and all except for no 4 coy are within 2 hours run from FLORENCE. Bn HQ 986849 (43° 55' 30'' N, 11° 29' 25'' E), S Coy 986912 (43° 58' 55'' N, 11° 29' 16'' E), 2 coy PAVANICO 012859 (43° 56' 05'' N, 11° 31' 20'' E). 3 Coy 980846 (43° 55' 20'' N, 11° 28' 59'' E). 4 Coy 035972 (44° 02' 14'' N, 11° 32' 48'' E), Sup Coy 987847 (43° 55' 24'' N, 11° 29' 30'' E).

    13th November.
    Coys report their billets good, but cramped. HQ coy turn out to neighbouring farms.

    14th November:

    Bde Command visit the Bn and inspects Billets.

    15th November:

    Day leave to Florence

    16th November:

    Day leave to Florence

    17th November:

    Warning order that the Bn will be required to take over possns from 36 Bde (78 Div). This will entail switching axis once more to the BATTAGLIA road and consequently the sup organisation has to start afresh. C.O and adjutant visit 36 Bde HQ, a journey in a jeep which take 11 hours.

    18th Nov:
    Recce by C.O., I.O, Coy commands and specialist Pl Comds, Bn is to take up posn in houses in res area until the 22nd and in the meantime recconate posns on ACQUA SALATA (44° 16' 43'' N, 11° 32' 33'' E) and Monte VERRO (44° 17' 15'' N, 11° 32' 32'' E) which we will take over from the 5th Buffs.

    19th November

    Coys drive in TCV’s to within 2 miles of their posns, arriving at 1200 hrs after a hot mean they take up possns. 4 Coy 023328 (44° 21' 26'' N, 11° 31' 04'' E), S coy 018219 (44° 15' 33'' N, 11° 30' 57'' E), 2 Coy 016216 (44° 15' 23'' N, 11° 30' 48'' E). Mortars and MMG’s MADONNA DEL RIO 024233 (44° 16' 19'' N, 11° 31' 22'' E). Tac HQ 019235 (44° 16' 25'' N, 11° 30' 59'' E). Although these posns are periodically harassed they are well behind the front line and have little tactical importance. After lunching at 36 Bde HQ the C.O. and I.O. visit the fwd posns, which we will have to take over night 22/23. Although the shelling has lessened there in the past week, about a hundred mortar bombs a day still fall in coy areas. Tac HQ and the rear coy posns were in a filthy state and in neither place had effort been made to make adequate cover. Maj W.B. Harris will control admin from APOLLNARE (44° 09' 44'' N, 11° 34' 44'' E ) which will entail a 2 mile treck for mules along an extremely muddy rout. No alternative rout to tac HQ is possible, owing to the nature of the ground.

    20th November:

    The CASSINO method of Recce is adopted whereby reps from Coys and supporting arms spend the night in the fwd areas to obtain first hand information, and return the same night to brief their sub units.

    21st November:

    911 Daylight the C.O visits 5 Buffs HQ accompanied by Capt Theobald Davidson? Who is to take over the res posn. General Murray visits the Bn in it res area.

    22nd Nov:
    Between 1900 and 2300 hours the Bn takes over the buffs posns without cas. Although there was a certain amount of mortar and Spandau fire. Almost continually throughout the night the enemy fired MG’s on forward lines across our supply tracks.

    23rd November:

    During the night 3 germans from I/754 are challenged and taken prisoner by an S Coy sentry. Two of them had been drafted from the arty a few weeks previously and all three seemed pleased to be in our hands. Throughout the day there was continuous mortaring and shelling the Bn area mainly behind MONTE DEL ACQUA SALATA and in No 2 Coy area. CARRE House received 2 direct hits.

    Now started a series of patrols to find the lay out of the enemy possns, which up until now were almost unknown.

    24th November:

    A quiet day. The area between the two fwd cots was mortared during the afternoon. MMG’s fire on fixed lines intermittently throughout the night, directed onto the remaining houses which we occupy and and on the mud track. A recce patrol from S Cot led by Lt Joseph? Examined german possns from 300 yards south of CAMAGGIO and saw Germans on the outline of CAMAGGIO. A listening Patrol led by Lt Page heard nothing. Recce patrol from 4 coy led by Lt Bunden found house at 048245 (44° 17' 00'' N, 11° 33' 09'' E) clear, but heard mules loading up at C.FAMOSA, and was shot at from C.BOSCHI DELL ACQUA SALATA. The patrol returned, since the moon was too bright for such open country.

    25th November:

    Quieter day- no patrols but harassing fire from MG’s (Kensington support group) and arty throughout the night. Usual intermittent Spandau fire throughout the night.

    26th November:

    Misty Day- a certain amount of shelling. A contract patrol from 4 coy was sent to Ro Lothians on our right. Recce Patrol of 1 Sgt and 2 men heard German voices on spur running between C.FAMOSA and M.PENZOLA, but dense mist and fear of losing direction prevented him from pursuing farther forward. Recce patrol from ‘S’ Coy led by Lt Frazer was sent out.

    Arty fired a harassing programme.

    Saw some signs of German habitation and a light showing from a trench. We learnt later from a deserter that he had passed close to a German outpost.

    27th November:

    Dew mist limited visibility to 10 yds. Enabling C.O and I.O. and the Rev Forbes M.C. to visit fwd coys during the morning. MMG and Mortar harassing fire throughout the night. A Polish deserter from 5 Coy 754 GR gave himself up to ‘S’ Coy.

    28th November:

    German arty registered on coy possns and tac HQ. 20 rounds fall round tac HQ.

    Almost full moon, with visbility of 500 yds, thus patrolling limited to standing and listening patrols. Ro Coy send small patrol to within 20 yards of gully House and ascertain that the house is definitely empty. They were able to pin point 3 MG’s firing from area of CANAGGIO, but made no contact themselves.

    Lt Ginster? Led a standing patrol to gully by CASETTA DI SOTTO, and although they were visible at 500 yards they were not shot at. A recce patrol from 4 coy led by Sgt Peacock, established the fact that the house which earlier had been unoccupied, now had Germans in it. We conclude that this is either to cover a withdrawl or a stepping stone for an attack on the Bn area.

    Quiet night. We are warned that our next objective is to be M.PENZOLA.

    2 exhausted mules lay down on the journey to coys, directly on an enemy fixed line. Food and water has to be portered to fwd coys by the pioneer section of tac HQ.

    29th November:

    The peace at tac HQ was disturbed by 16 well aimed shells from a troop of 10.5 mm guns. The already battered house suffered further damage but the only casualties were two gdsm who’s slit trenches was filled in with debris.

    3 Gren Gds took over from the Bn, and the relief was completed by 11.50. The Bn returns to former possns in B (reserve area).

    30Th Novemeber:

    Commanding officer and I.O visit 2 Lothians HQ, to liase since our own mortars and MMG’s are supporting them

    Appreciation of enemy situation in Area CAMAGGIO
    Ground. The ground definitely favours the defence, being composed of a series of parallel ridges, whose southern slopes are deeply cut up by gorges. While the northern slopes are on the whole much gentler. In the case of PENZOLA ridge we are faced with a cliff, which along most of its length is unscalable, the widest gap is one of 200-300 yds either side of pt 315 (058239). The heads of these ridges are joined by the main SW-NE ridge. M.Verro-Parra di M. MAGGIORE – CROARA, all of which pts therefore form in succession, the key to the whole sector between the SANTRNO and SALLUSTRA Rivers. Between M. VERRA and M.MAGGIORE, which are strong points of the British and German posns respectively, the causeway is sharply cut away on the eastern side by the streams running into the MESCOLA, but on the western slopes the gentler slopes afford room for several small farms and inf Mvt across country would in no place be impossible. Two of these farms CAMAGGIO and SCONCOLA, are the main parts of the enemy FDL, but undoubtedly PARRA di MONTE MAGGIORE is his firm base, being the highest pt of the area, and dominating the vallies on either side. The approach from CAMAGGIo to M. MAGGIORE is further narrowed by a minor ravine, filled by undergrowth, which, in the optinion of M.A.I.U (WEST), would be passable with difficulty, to lightly equipped inf. Much depends on following the capture of the CAMMAGIO- SCONCOLA posns before the enemy have time to re-organise on the northern edge of this small ravine. Once M.MAGGIORE is captured, we would dominate the locality, but from the enemy’s point of view, the ground is suitable for counter-attack. It is questionable whether out possession of M.MAGGIORE would either force his withdrawl from the PENZOLA ridge, or drive him back to the CROARA posns; for from our new height we would threaten his comns up from the river vallies on either flank little more than we do at the moment.

    The enemy attaches a great deal of importance to this area, if we can judge by the density of the tps he has placed upon the ground. Between the SALARA ridge and the R.SANTERNO, a width of little more than 4,000 yards, he has concentrated all the bns of 334 INF DIV, with the exception of I/756 of 335 Fus, which may well lie in close reserve. Of the five bns in the line, four lie between incl M. MAGGIORE to incl the SALARA ridge. Z/754 is concentrated with its FDL on SCONCOLA and CAMAGGIO. 2 coy hold the area of SCONCOLA in force, with outposts on the ridge running NW from the C in CAMAGGIO, and its HQ in SCONCOLA farmhouse. 1 coy has its forward posns NW from the C in CAMAGGIO, and holds a small reserve of 10 men behind M.MAGGUIORE. The whereabouts of 3 cot is unknown. A civilian has put it with BN HQ at C. ZULA 060272, but it is likely that it lies around C.CAVINA 054261. The second Bn has recently been deploying a switch line of some strength along the track running NORTH from SCONCOLA to BOSCHI di CLIVA 0427. For the moment it maintains a strength force forward on the heights above the CASETTA di SOTTO. The house at Pt 237 (040263) is also occupies. On the far side of the SALLUSTRA stream, but incl the SALARA spur, is II/756. II/117 of 98 Div lies a short way to the NW in the next valley. M.PENZOLA is probably held by II/755, and the area between this spur and river by I/755. 715 Div startrs on the eastern bank of the river. This layout puts emphasis on the enemy’s deg on the main SW-NE Spur. They have available for immediate counter-attack, if we seise M.MAGGIORE, first the assault section from 1 coy, which would probably have been involved in the fighting for CAMACCIO; secondly, 3 coy, which could probably arrive in the centre of operations within the hour, if not sooner, and thirdly, one of the reserve bns of the Div. It is not out of the question that II/754 might also be called up to the assistance of her sister bn, if it was hard pressed, for we ourselves have no trps immediately facing the narrow sector of this bn.

    From the nature of the ground, the counter-attack would inevitably come from the NORTH or NE, i.c. eother from the direction of PIANA NUOVA, which is the normal supply line of the two bns of 724, or along the spur from the direction of CROARA. Of these two possibilities, the first is probably more likely, since the reserve bns must lie somewhere in the SALUSSTRA valley, and approach along the spur would be made difficult by the narrowness of the causeway, and the case with which we would cover it with fire from our newly gained posn.

    In short, the enemy disposns of a force about half as large as out own, if we include all his available reserves. We have the advantage of surprise, and it might well be that the enemy would not undertake a costly counter attack having almost as good posns to fall back on as those he holds at the moment, having been prepared to give ground under heavy pressure. He will also be in some doubt whether the attack on this sector is designed to develop into a first class offensive, and will be anxious to conserve his reserves until he sees where the main blow is to fall.
    Owen likes this.
  14. Phaethon

    Phaethon Historian

    2nd Bn Cldm Gds
    Commanding officer: Lt Col R.E.J.C Coates
    December: 1944

    1st Dec:

    The battalion is in houses in ‘B’ area, the Reserve area, having returned there one day previous, after a week in the forward positions. The commanding Officer attended a conference at Brigade and Learnt that the big attack to include MONTE MAGGIORE and PIANA NUOVA is cancelled but notwithstanding this MONTE PENZOLA is still to be taken. 2CG will take it on the night 4th/5th. The feature is to be cleared so that REs can build bridges on the main IMOLA road at 037224 44° 15' 51'' N, 11° 32' 22'' E) into FONTANALICE without being overlooked from close quarters.

    2nd Dec:

    Recce and preliminary ‘O’ Group from a position held by the LOTHIANS at 037224 (44° 15' 51'' N, 11° 32' 22'' E). Feature precipitous from the SOUTH side.

    3rd Dec:

    Company commanders viewed the western and Northern slopes of MONTE PENZOLA from Ops on ACQUA SALATA.

    Commanding officer gave out orders at TAC HQ.

    4th Dec.

    No.4 Company moved up to ‘Dead Cow Valley’ (44° 17' 02'' N, 11° 32' 42'' E), south of CARRE to assembly area where it remained until moving forward for the attack.

    At first dark the remainder of the Battalion guided by Lothians marched to their lying up position.

    Tac HQ was established at CASA UCCELLAI (44° 16' 37'' N, 11° 32' 43'' E). S Company rested underneath the cliff above the house. 2 Coy remained at CASA FORUNA in the valley.

    Except for a few mortar Bombs round TAC HQ there was no German activity between this time and H hour.

    2 and 4 coys begin to move forward.

    ARTHUR (44° 16' 10'' N, 11° 32' 35'' E) reported by No 2 Company. Occasional shells dropping in their area.

    S Company started from assembly area and passed through

    S Company requested BASHER (supporting fire from MMG on ACQUA SALATA) to continue for another 15 minutes. They were themselves on PICCADILLY (FAMOSA RIDGE) and had seen no sign of the enemy or No. 4 company. No. 4 Company signaller had fallen over with his wireless set after the first 100 yards and since then he had been out of Contact.

    S company on Point 411 (44° 16' 41'' N, 11° 33' 32'' E), MONTE PENZOLA, reported it unoccupied.

    S Company report MONTE PENZOLA occupied but situation in hand and 10 PW taken.

    5th December:

    S company ordered to exploit down the ridge to WOKING (44° 16' 41'' N, 11° 33' 55'' E). RE’s with No 2. Company begin to clear SCHU mines between BUDRIOLA and Point 411 but are heavily shelled.

    No. 4 Company on the air but not yet in position. It is now too late for them to send a patrol to Point 312 which was the original plan. On reaching their objective No 4. Coy found one dead German behind a Spandau.

    4 Coy consolidating FAMOSA RIDGE.

    4 Coy withdrawn from their positions to area TAC HQ.

    S Coy counter attacked by about 40 Germans coming from the north. They were driven off by small arms fire and grenades. DFs put down on all possible approaches.

    Recce patrol from S Company to within 100 yards of Pt 312 shoot one and see another seven Germans in trenches.

    At first light 2 Coy have positions west of BUDRIOLA. S coy have positions on and around pt 411.

    4 Company in reserve by TAC HQ.

    TAC HQ at CASA UCCELLAIA (042238)
    Prisoners taken, 1 Officer and 26 OR’s.

    During the morning the Germans concentrate their shelling on the area of CASA BUDRIOLA, our best supply route.

    Commanding officer visits companies and find the ascent to S Company Headquarters almost precipituous.

    During the evening No 4. Company relieves 2 Company so that 2 Company may rest before the impending attack tomorrow to clear remainder of PENZOLA ridge to Pt. 312.

    Lt. PATRICK leads a recce patrol to area Pt 312 and captures one German from 5 Company 755 G.R. who was carrying water cans in both hands and had his rife slung. PW stated that the area was held by a company and not by a few men as previously thought.

    A recce patrol by S Coy later in the evening found Germans closer to their ridge then on the previous night. Bee Hive AP mines were laid on a 200 yard front covering the approaches to Pt 411 from the North.

    6th Dec:

    On account of Information from PW taken previous night that attack by 2 company on Pt 312 was cancelled and plans for the same attack by 3rd Welsh Gards began. 2 Company relieved S company on Pt 411.

    7th Dec:

    2 Company very accurately mortared even though a thick mist prevented ovserved shooting. Casualties.

    A recce patrol from 2 company ascertained that the Germans were still on the ridge to the East and could hear a standing patrol of three men within 200 yards of their own position.

    8th Dec:

    During the day there was a certain amount of shelling but little mortaring on BUDRIOLA and Pt 411.

    Weather broke and made the ground almost impassable for Mules. S Company were relieved by a company of Welsh Guards and returned after a night at MADONNA DEL RIO to the new Battalion rest area at STRADA.

    Major Sale arrived at TAC HQ with an advance party of 3 WG and the remainder of the Battalion were to arrive next evening prior to the attack.

    However Lt Page who had led a Recce patrol to within 100 yards of pt 312 reported that in his opinion the area was clear. From Bde we learnt that BORO TOSSIGNANO was also clear so it seems likely that the germans had withdrawn to the line TOSSIGNANO-FIGNA DI SOPRA – MONTE MAGGIORE.

    A welsh guards platoon from the company which had relieved S Company preceeded by a recce patrol from 2 Coy 2 CG to diret them, approached Pt 312: inside the house the Welsh Guard platoon found 5 ill – fed germans from 2 Coy. 334 Fusilier Battalion who claimed at first to be a rear party covering the withdrawl of their Battalion who had left the night before; they were in fact deserters influenced by their section leader, a strong minded student, who brough with him into captivity enough literature to keep him occupied for the next two years.

    The W.G platoon took up positions in the House on Point 312 and in CASA UCCELLAIA EAST. OP from 4.2 mortars accompanied them.

    9th Dec:

    On interogatrion PW state that PENZOLA ridge down to the main Road is clear and a civilian adds the information that the houses in the MESCOLA Valley were evacuated two nights ago. Decreased mortaring during the day. An Unlucky mortar bomb killing Gdsm HOUGHTON on the reverse slope of P 411, Gdsn SWALES is wounded by the same bomb.

    During the night 3 WG took over our positions and exploited further down the ridge. The relief was completed by 2245 Hours. The Bn. Billets were an eight hour march on the most mud ridden tracks ever encountered; after descending to the valley south of FONTANALICE No.4 Coy, Support Coy and TAC Headquarters had to climb a hill 100 feet higher than the one they had just left. Although they all arrived at their new billets.

    10th Dec:

    The whole Bn were in houses though very cramped. Locations: Headquarters 005203 (44° 14' 39'' N, 11° 30' 01'' E), 2 Coy 040209 (44° 15' 02'' N, 11° 32' 38'' E), 4 Coy MADALENA 015215 (44° 15' 19'' N,11° 30' 44'' E). Since only jeeps can reach the companies on the hill reorganisation is impossible.

    11th Dec:

    In the late evening we hard the Battallion was to return to the rest area at STRADA for seven days.

    12th Dec:

    Battalion embussed at LA VECCHIA 025200 (44° 14' 32'' N, 11° 31' 31'' E) in TCV’s.

    Main body arrived at New Locations.
    HQ STRADA (8255) (43° 39' 04'' N, 11° 17' 47'' E) S Coy (832541) (43° 38' 36'' N, 11° 18' 41'' E), 2 Coy 831523 (43° 37' 38'' N, 11° 18' 40'' E), 3 Coy (837536) (43° 38' 21'' N, 11° 19' 05'' E), 4 Coy (843539) (43° 38' 31'' N, 11° 19' 31'' E), and support Company 853532 (43° 38' 09'' N, 11° 20' 16'' E).

    Extremely good billets for the Battalion and only half an hour to FLORENCE.

    13th Dec:

    No 3 Company possesses one whole platoon and a nucleus of another. Periodically this full platoon relieves platoon of other companies in the line enabling them to remain behind for rest and training.

    14 Decth:

    Mobile baths and day leave to Florence.

    15th Dec:

    Day leave to Florence/

    16th Dec:

    Day leave to Florence.

    Warning order for 2 company to return to positions on PENZOLA under command 2n Bn. LOTHIAN and BORDER HORSE.
    Films shown at Strada.

    18th Dec:

    Major SKIMMING O.C. No. 2 company, goes forward to Bde headquarters at FONTANALICE to reconnoitre PENZOLA.

    19th Dec:

    0600: No.2 Coy with 2 mortars and 2 MMG’s come under command of 2nd LOTHIANS. The remainder of the Battalion are to take over PENZOLA area from the 2nd LOTHIANS next day.

    20th Dec:

    Bn. HQ, 4 Coy, and S Coy., Move up to LA VECCHIA in TCV’s. On arribal at Bde HQ the HQ the CO found that the plan was changed we now have to return to our oginal positions on Monte VERRO and ACQUA SALATA.

    The Bn Stayed the night in Billets in FONTANALICE. Commanding officer and intelligence officer visit the ARGYL and SUTHERLAND HIGHLANDERS at CARRE to arrange takeover for the next day.

    21st Dec:

    The lay up of the Bn Positions has been changed by the ARGYLLS since were there last. The commanding Officer decided to take over the positions exactly as they were.

    21st Dec:

    No.4 Coy CG with a platoon of 3 Coy CG under command took over the whole of the forward area on MONTE DEL VERRO 2 coy had one platoon and COY HQ on ACQUA SALATA, one platoon living in CASA UCCELLAIA and Section on Pt 423 and a platoon less that section defending TAC HQ. S Company were in reserve in the house on the far end of the causeway with one platoon on MONTE LA PIEVE and another at 473. Conditions on the ground had become far worse since our previous visit; the mud had become deeper, paths almost non existent and many dugouts had fallen in.

    However the mortaring and shelling had decreased considerably and the only remaining MG fixed line was onto LA CASETTA. The relief was completed by 2230 Hrs without incident.

    22nd Dec:

    During the night a german crawled up to the forward right hand platoon, No. 18 and threw a grenade at the Sentry. Lt Bovil leading a recce patrol from No 4 Coy searched the area of CASETTA DI SOTTO and Pt 237 without finding any signs of habitation. Gully house was searched byanother small patrol and SCHU mines not previously discovered were found lying unlaid by the side of the house.

    23rd Dec:

    Lt STRATTON with a small patrol searched the house at CASETTA DI SOTTO finding it definitely unoccupied.


    2 Germans again crept up to 18 Platoon and exchanged Grenades with the Sentries. Gdsn _____ was slightly wounded. Three inches of snow fell during the night,

    24th Dec:

    A quiet day. Any movement on either side was obvious against the white background. So far no white clothing has arrived.


    Bells of TOSSIGNANO rang out a Christmas peal and a silent agreement for a peaceful christmas was only broken during the night by one Spandau which fired two short bursts over the leading Company: it was duly punished by ‘HENRY’ one 25 pdr gun previously registered on it.

    25th Dec:

    The medical officer held a sweep as yo who would visit us on Christmas day. Amongst some seven runners who appeared was the Brigadier, the Bde Majpr, and the Bde I.O., Major Lincoln and Major Fields.

    Gdsn Walker was killed on a S mine whilst guiding his platoons Mules to Pt 392.

    Snow clothing for the forward companies arrived.

    26th Dec:

    3 WG advance party arrived during the afternoon and the Bn began to take over at 1930 Hrs. Owing to insufficient mules being sent up our MMGs did not leave till 2315 hours. After a hot cup of tea at the mule base the Battalion less S coy and 2 Coy embussed in TCV’s at LA VECCHIA and drove back during the night to STRADA.

    S Company were to remain in billets in FONTANALICE, to be used by Bde if needed, to patrol along the Banks of the River SANTERNO. 2 coy were to remain in FONTANALICE for two nights.

    27th December:

    Bn Arrived in STRADA.

    28th December:

    All day leave to FLORENCE cancelled by higher authority.

    29th December:

    2 Coy take over PENZOLA feature supported by 2 MMG’s and 2 Mortars from the battalion. Headquarters and Support have the long awaited XMAS DINNER.

    30th December:

    Mobile Baths at GREVE. Film show at STRADA. Sgts Mess Dinner major POPE, acting C.O., and Intelligence Officer together with representatives for the mule base go forward to FONTANALICE.

    31st December:

    4 Company, One platoon of 3 Company. Two mortars and two MMG’s together with TAC HQ. Leave STRADA.


    Arrived and debussed at LA VECCHIA.
    The relief was complicated by the fact that 2 coy was then on ACQUA SALATA before they themselves could take up reserve positions around MONTE PIEVE.

    2 Plns of S Coy with one platoon of 4 Coy and 1 Pln of 3 Coy under command held the forward sector whilst 4 coy less one platoon were responsible for ACQUA SALATA and the defence of TAC HQ.

    2315Relief Completed.

    2358. Throughout the length of the Italian battlefield the Germans celebrated the coming on the new year by firing multi coloured VEREY LIGHTS and Tracer, ranging from MG to heavy AA Guns.
  15. Redblair

    Redblair Junior Member

    Great info Phaethon. I am wondering if you can help me? I have a friend who served in the 2nd Coldstreams, 2 coy (Sgt William 'Harry' Summerhill) at the battle of Ornito. He is trying to find memorials put up by the Coldstreams for the fallen and wounded at Ornito. Do you know if any were erected? If so, are there any photos/postcards anywhere?

    Any help would be much appreciated.

  16. Phaethon

    Phaethon Historian

    2nd Bn Cldm Gds
    Commanding officer: Lt Col R.E.J.C Coates
    Jan: 1945

    1st Jan:

    0001: The Germans heralded the New Year with a magnificent firework display along the complete Italian front and in the plains. It consisted of AA guns firing tracer straight up in the sky, MGs opening up, and different coloured Verey Lights fired indiscriminately. It lasted about ten minutes and was no doubt enjoyed by both sides.

    During the day S Coy fwd pl was shelled, but owing to the steep gradient of their posns; the shells were either plus or minus.

    At Dark Major Pope (Acting C.O.), IO and Major Lincoln visited the fwd coy.

    4 coy sent and will send, each night, a standing patrol of three men to POPSKI house (+44° 16' 60.00", +11° 33' 9.00") to protect the mule train.

    An unusual amount of MG fire at first dark and especially a MG firing at a different rate from the previous night gave the first indication that a routine night of peace was not to be expected.

    1930: A large concentration of mortar bombs and 28cm rockets fell throughout the BN area, the majority round the fwd coy. At the same time the formation on each flank particularly the SALARA RIDGE were worried by harassing fire and a continuous German DF by two guns was put down in the SALARA VALLEY. This continued with equal intensity for about three quarters of an hour during which time we could only speculate on the fate of the fwd pls since they were out of contact.

    Lt Shenton, Coming the pl of 3 coy in the right hand fwd posn, reported over his 48 set ‘Enemy on Hill Send more men and grenades.’ To counteract this awkward situation all possible DFs were put down in force and brought nearer to our own FDLs’ 4.2”mortars, the Kensignton MMGs and the Canadian tanks on GESSO shot at CAMAGGIO- SCONCOLA area, whilst our own MMGs and mortars shot their separate DFs. 12 Pln was ordered up to TAC from the reserve positions to act as a counter attack force.

    During this activity Capt. Dalryple, commanding the leading coy (consisting of 2 plns Coy, 17 Pln 4 coy and a pln of 3 coy) was endeavouring to find out the true situation and to counter attack the hill if necessary. However, when he managed to contact his lading pls he found out from Lieut. Wilson of the left hand pln that the situation was now in hand. The Germans had advanced under cover of the barrage up to the leading pls. When it lifted to the next ridge they had penetrated under cover of the noise into our positions and in the first wave Gdsn Brideman and Gdsn Evans were taken prisoner out of the furthest slit trench. After the fighting had gone on for about 15 minutes the Germans were driven off, leaving behind one dead and one badly wounded. They almost certainly had further casualties in the valley. Our Casualties were only Gdsm Austin and L/Cpl Heap wounded. The attacking force was from 3/754, the bn which had been on this front over a month. Whether the object of the attack was to take the hill or solely to gain a prisoner is not known, but it is thought unlikely that the enemy would have expended so much ammunition on such a wide front if the sole object was to take a prisoner.

    3rd Jan:

    An unusually quiet day. One dead German seen lying on CAMMAGGIO. Sappers laid bee hives as AP mines in front of leading Coy. 2 protection parties provided by 2 Coy who went to CASETTA DI SOTTO – 30 yds south of ‘GULLY HOUSE”.

    4th Jan:

    Quiet day and continuance of mine laying programme in front of leading coy. Two covering parties again found by 2 Coy.

    5th Jan:

    3 WG take over Bn positions and relief is completed by 2230 Hrs.

    1800: Movement heard in front of leading coy and DFs were put down by our mortars and guns. Nothing materialised.

    2330: Whole Bn Embusses and returns to STRADA.
    Area of mule base shelled for last few days.

    6th Jan:

    Sp Coy at tail of Column arrives at STRADA – an eight hour Journey.

    7th Jan:
    Bn in original billets.

    8th Jan:
    Commanding officer talks to coys about the amalgamation of the 2nd and 3rd Bns.

    9th Jan:
    CO and a/IO (Capt Southey) go in advance to FONTENALICE (44° 15' 33'' N, 11° 33' 35'' E) and spend the night at brigade.

    10th jan:

    2120: Relief of 3 WG complete. Very cold night: slippery paths cause deaths of a number of WG mules.

    11th Jan:

    Bright sunshine. Very quiet day except for one stray mortar bomb on the fwd pl. During the day the fwd pl’s OP observed a number of tracks, wiring, and even some idle enemy who wrongly believed they were not in view, shook aired, and neatly folded their blankets under full observation by us. They disappeared before a stonk could be laid on. There were two patrols: the first ‘ALBERT’ to POZZO D’ACQUA SALATA, was found by S Coy- NTR. The second ‘VICTORIA’, consisting of a sergeant and 4OR’s plus one officer (Lt Long) under instruction, went to CASETTA DI SOTTO with the object of ambushing enemy believed to patrol there. When within 20 yds of the house they were met with schmeisser fire and grenades which caused three wounded in our patrol. The wounded were brought back but Lt Long is still missing.

    12th Jan:

    Bn was visited by Brigadier and the war artist Capt Ardizzone. Weather dull and grey with promise of snow. Promise fulfilled during the night. There were two patrols, one from 2 Cot, to lay an ambush on the track NORTH of CASETTA DI SOTTO, found that the enemy had beaten them to it and returned without incident. The other, from S Coy to POZZO D’ACQUA SALATA brought back three young Italian civilians (male). They were questioned; fed and dispatched to the mule base.

    13th Jan:

    Early in the morning Lt Farnell Watson reported noises of sawing in the wood between him and CAMAGGIO. This activity, whatever it was, was terminated by a 25 pdr stonk. Snow fall continued. Day cloudy and dull. Lt Sartaglini with a patrol from S Coy visited POZZO D’ACQUA SALATA and returned with some interesting information. Snowshoes issued.

    14th Jan:

    Heavy snowfall and blizzard and thick mist, making movement possible fwd of Tac HQ. Visibility improved about 1600 hrs. There were two patrols – one, an ambush patrol to CASETTA DI SOTTO under Lt Stratton, returned after fulfilling its task, but met no enemy. The other, to CASA I BOSCHI DELL ‘ACQUA SALATA, accompanied by Lt Bartaglini, returned with valuable information, two eggs and a bottle of while. The eggs were issued to the commanding officer and Lt Bartaglini on the basis of one per man and the bottle was presented to OC S coy.

    15th Jan:

    Perfect visibility and bright sunshine with resultant thaw. NTR during the day. 3 WG came up to relieve during the relief S Cot were stood to owing to a suspicious noise which was probably only a small avalanche.

    2315: Relief completed and the Bn returned to STRADA.

    16th Jan:

    Usual cleaning up and sleep.

    17th Jan:

    Day leave to Florence.

    18th Jan:

    Day leave to Florence. Dance at Villa Ombrettini.

    19th Jan:

    Major Pope (A/CO), IO, Major Harris and Major Windsor clive (the last mentioned having just returned from leave in England) stay the night with B battery HQ, 152 AY.

    Major Harris and Major Windsor Clive are to deal with administration. Major Lincoln returns from Florence in the early hours of the morning, having lost his jeep.

    20th Jan:

    1330: Bn Arrives at LA VECCHIA (44° 14' 32'' N, 11° 31' 31'' E) and after a hot meal, walk up the hill via the mule base to the cemetery at pt 508 (+44° 16' 45.00", +11° 31' 39.00"). New moon reflecting off the snow prevented anyone moving forward of LA CASETTA without being sniped by a Spandau. Thus the relief was not complete until 0045 hours. Blizzard blew all night. 4 Coy with one pl S coy took over fwd VERRO posn. 3 Coy complete (50% new RAF reinforcements) took over ACQUA SALATA posns and two pls S Coy were in reserve at Pt 508 and pt 473).

    40 primus stoves per coy to warm dugouts,

    21st Jan:

    3 Coy sends permanent standing patrol to POSKI house (048245). The purpose of this is to bridge the gap between ACQUA SALATA posns and those round M.PENZOLA. They found the house almost undamaged with beds and other comforts inside. Same trouble as previous nights and porters for two forward pls were shot at by a spandau whenever they attemped to pass LA casetta.

    After several futile attempts during the early part of the night they gave up trying until 0300 hours when the moon went below the skyline.

    22nd Jan:

    0305: Major Falmer reported the mysterious disappearance of Gdsm Foot and his Bren gun from the fwd right hand pl. His fellow sentry had apparently left the position for 10 minutes to relieve himself, during which time four Germans who had crept unseen to within a few yards of the crest, took the opportunity of the other mans absence to remove the Bren gunner and his gun. Although a party of five men was seen walking away at 400 yards range they were not shot at for fear of killing Gdsm Foot who was among them.

    23rd Jan:

    Slight mortaring during the morning. Canadian tanks at GESSO shoot at CAMAGGIO and CASETTA DI SOTTO.
    Patrol at POPSKI imagine they see men in white clothing between their house and PENZOLA, they disappear in the now.

    24th Jan:

    New RAP being built outside the remnants of CARRE house.

    25th Jan:

    Quiet day. Poor visibility.
    3.W.G Once again take over from us without incident.

    26th Jan:

    0730: Bn arrives at STRADA (8255) Baths etc.

    27th Jan:

    Day leave to Florence. Baths.

    28th Jan:

    Day leave to Florence.
    1115: C of E church parade at STRADA
    1200: ‘O’ Group conference at Bn HQ.

    29th Jan:

    0730: Advance party goes forward. Bn Photographs taken.

    30th Jan:

    During the period of 1 and a half hours. Between dusk and the rise of the moon, the two forward plns and POPSKI standing patrol were relieved. After this time the reflection of the moon on the snow lit up the mules ½ a mile away and it was only through luck or a mutual understanding between the Germans and ourselves that the mule train was not shot up.

    3 coy with one pln 4 coy come under command went forward. S coy on ACQUA SALATA finding a standing patrol of 8 men at POPSKI and 4 Coy less one pl in reserve on the far side of the causeway.

    2230 Relief completed.

    The remainder of the night passed without incident. We agree with RIF on SALARA RIDGE to take turns with them to man s standing patrol during the moonless period in the Salara Valley. Tonight 3 Coy sent one which after visiting the house at Pt 237 (+44° 17' 57.00", +11° 32' 30.00") lay up within 100 yards of Casetta DI SOTTO.

    31st Jan:

    Heard sledges being dragged around.

    1500: 6 Germans seen leaving CASETTA DI SOTTO (44° 17' 48'' N 11° 32' 40'' E).
    Previously during the afternoon the MMG OP on Pt 508 had spotted 6 Germans near the house and had opened fire at them with his MMG.

    Gdsn. Bulmer is killed by a sniper bullet through the head when in the OP in the forward position.

    2230: a Sentry on Pt 508 shoots at Imaginary Kraut.
    2 Poles and 1 German desert to LA CASETTA, they are from 3/754 GR.

    2330: 50mm Mortar from behind CAMAGGIO fired 12 bombs to the North of LA CASETTA.
    dbf likes this.
  17. Phaethon

    Phaethon Historian

    The entire Italy Campaign for the 2nd Coldstream has now been mapped and is on line, accesible by the first post of this thread. Almost every single location mentioned in the war diary from 1944 to may 1945 has been now been translated onto google maps!

    This has been a product of over a years work, and numerous trips to the national archives. Its been enfuriating and yet highly enlightening for me at the same time (The final push through the argenta gap was particularally difficult as it involved codewords for locations; I had to find many of these in other Bn's war diaries, as well as going to brigade and corps level diaries... often finding the cordinates burried in appendicies, movement orders, and hidden ammongst communications). As a result it's been a labor of love more then anything else and I hope you find it as informative and useful as I have! (i've already been tracing my own grandfathers footsteps using the maps).

    Incidentally, if you are a family member of a 2nd Bn member, drop me a message (clicking on my name to the left) as I have been collecting diaries and accounts on the Bn for the last three years and may be able to help you re: your family member.
    MyOldDad likes this.
  18. jmullins49

    jmullins49 Junior Member


    I truly thank you for your hard work and dedication.

    My father was a Guardsman in the 2nd Battalion from 1940 until 1946. He spent a lot of the early war years in Regents Park Barracks, Checkers, Driving his superior officer, stories of SGM Timmy Brittain, at the Palace guarding the Princesses etc,etc. When it came to combat in Italy he was silent. He never told me about the conflicts or where he fought; all I got was the good times. I have photos of him in Florence on horse back etc, etc and the good days off etc, but never the true story.

    He passed away quite suddenly in 1992. As I have lived in Canada since 1972, I never got the chance to really get my questions out to my Dad and to get down to what really happened. It has been a great desire of mine to learn his whereabouts and what he came up against for over 10 years now.
    I too went to Wellington Barracks, the Museum and contacted the Archivist. Never was satisfied.

    I stumbled on your cronicle and I am truely grateful for what you have done. This was exactly what I was looking for. The links to the maps puts the physical locations accessible.
    I do intend to trace his steps one day and walk the same ground.

    Again, I thank you. My father was a very proud Guardsman his whole life.
    These men fought courageously and their stories should be told.

  19. Rotherfield

    Rotherfield Senior Member

    I thought you might be interested in my 20th visit to Italy, going to Monte Camino again where as you are a resercher on the Coldstream Guards, you will know that the 3rd Btn fought there with the 6th Gren Guards and 2nd Scots (201st Guards Brigade) During th first Battle for Camino the Coldstream had to take the foot hills first to allow the Grenadiers to climb th mountain, unfortunately the Coldstream were held up due to heavy mines and machine guns taking terrible casualties around the small village of Callabritto, I will be visiting there where I shal pay my repects to all those that lost their lives. The Coldstream lost their C.O (Col Forbes) there. Calabritto is now fully restored and a flourishing vilage
    I am leaving on the 9th Sept coming home on the 14th.
  20. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Hi Mike
    I moved your post to one of Phaethon's CG threads.

    Hope you have an enjoyable trip.

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