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3rd Battalion Coldstream Guards – War Diary October 1943

1st October 1943 - Salerno

0530 The battalion marched off in vehicles provided by the Divisional RASC Company to its new area in Fisciano 6741.

0700 - Fisciano The battalion arrived at Fisciano. The new area was a pleasant one, in a series of orchards, Battalion HQ was an old German HQ and B Echelon in an old German vehicle park.

1430 Balance to War Establishment transport reached the battalion, having spent the previous night in Salerno.

Five officers arrived. They were posted to Companies as follows: -

Major Clark H.Q.Company, Captain A. Yates MTO, Lieutenant C.M. Mander No. 2 Company,  Lieutenant N.D.T. Gardner No. 2 Company; Lieutenant R. Chaworth-Musters Support Company. Major J.G.C. Clark in addition to commanding HQ Company took over the duties of Signal Officer and IO. Lieutenant McKinchin-Smith returning to Support Company, Lieutenant A. Stillwell was posted to No. 3 Company from Support Company, Lieutenant C.H. Tuke returned to support Company from No. 2 Company. Captain D.W. Forgan the MO, went sick with jaundice.

2nd October 1943

The battalion was resting in its new area. Captain Shanks, RAMC temporarily loaned to the battalion in place of Captain Forgan who had jaundice.

3rd October 1943

1000 Church Parade Service outside Village Church. This service aroused much curiosity from the local inhabitants and children.

Col. GaitaniI, ADC to General Casteleani, visited the Battalion. He had been hiding in the hills around Fisciano for some days and was desirous of rejoining his Government at Brindisi.

1230 Brigadier Gascoigne took luncheon with the battalion.

1530 A recce party from the battalion moved under Brigade arrangements to select an area near Nola for the Battalion to move into on the following day.

4th October 1943

0840 The battalion moved off in vehicles provided by the Divisional RASC Company to its new concentration area near Cimltle . Route Fisciano 6641 – Sanserciano 6342 -Castel S.Gaoigio 5842 - Piedmonte 5539 – Sarno 5245 – Palma 4651 – Nola 4458.

1230 - Cimitle The battalion arrived at Cimitle. The new area was very cramped and muddy and there was considerable congestion before all the vehicles were properly parked. There were no breakdowns during this move and the Divisional Commander complimented 201 Guards Brigade on their march discipline.

2315 No. 4 Company which had followed in second wave, owing to lack of TCVs, arrived in new area.

5th October 1943

1100 Battalion had to provide road clearing party to deal with demolitions and to clear a path for traffic on the main axis of advance.

6th October 1943

0900 Company drill parade.

1000 Drill parade for all subaltern officers.

1100 New draft of two officers and forty ORs arrived at this battalion.

Captain N. Keith-Cameron was posted to No. 4 Company as 2 I/C. Lieutenant D. Quilter posted to No. 2 Company as acting 2 I/C.

1400 Commanding Officer went on recce with Brigadier.  Small parties from companies visited Pompei.

7th October 1943

0830 Battalion 'O' Group left present area to recce Company positions south of River Volturno.

1445 The battalion was moved by TCVs to S. Maria, route Margliano – Pomigliano – Afregola – Cariano – Caserta – S. Maria.

1730 - S. Maria The battalion arrived at debussing point and arrived in new positions as it was getting dark.

Captain Mackenzie RAMC posted to battalion as MO in place of Captain Shanks, who had been on loan.

0530 Companies stood to.

Battalion HQ & Support Company less anti-tank guns situated in Royal stables, which proved very welcome protection from heavy rainstorms. Intermittent gun fire from British & German gun positions on either bank of the River Volturno.

1000 Commanding Officer at Division commanders conference where outline plan for crossing River Volturno was given.

1400 Lieutenant R. Chaworth-Musters reported sick with jaundice.

9th October 1943

0800 Patrols which had been sent out by 6 Grenadier Guards and 2 Scots Guards reported that River Volturno was unsuitable for crossing from Capua 1778 to our eastern boundary.

1700 Captain A.R. McDougall, Signals Officer, returned to the battalion from hospital.

10th October 1943

0615 Holy Communion.

1000 Church Parade service at Battalion HQ.

1215 Commanding Officer and three rifle company commanders went on recce of 6 Grenadier Guards company positions in area Capua 1778.

1630 No. 3 Company moved up into new position area 1977.

1700 Lieutenant-Colonel Sir T.E.P. Falkiner Bt, returned to the battalion after having been wounded.

1800  - Capua Nos. 2 and 4 Companies moved up to take over from the 6 Grenadier Guards in the town of Capua.

11th October 1943

1100 The takeover was complete. The night passed without incident.

There was sporadic shelling throughout the day. OPs both in Capua and on No.3 Company’s front reported some enemy movement on the north bank of the river.

1400 Lieutenant-Colonel Sir T.E.P. Falkiner came up to the Tac HQ and resumed command.

1800 No .3 Company sent forward a standing patrol to the river bank. The Battalion was warned to assist by fire an attack which was to he made that night across the river by our left neighbours.

12th October 1943 - Capua

1600 An OP in No. 4 Company area on the west side of the river reported many assault boats amongst the trees opposite him, and German training in them. This target was engaged by medium gunners and our own 3-inch mortars.

13th October 1943

0200 A company of 6 Grenadier Guards moved through No.3 Company’s positions to take up positions on the river bank to carry out part of the deception plan.

A strong enemy patrol was reported to be digging in the south side of the river. One platoon of No. 2 Company was withdrawn from the town and made a sweep along the river bank from the blown railway bridge. This platoon found fresh diggings but no enemy were encountered.

14th October 1943

The 3-inch mortars had some successful shoots on the river bank.

Reports from Nos. 2 and 4 Companies of enemy movement on the banks west and east of the salient. These targets were engaged by our 3-inch mortars and the medium gunners causing casualties amongst the enemy.

1800 The battalion was warned that it would be relieved by the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry during the night.

15th October 1943

2000 The relief started.

0230 The relief was completed.

0415 The battalion was concentrated in barracks in S. Maria.

0430 The Battalion was warned to be ready to move by 0700 hrs to take up a position north of the river Volturno.

The Commanding Officer and company commanders proceeded on a recce ahead of the Battalion.

0815 The battalion moved in TCVs over the Corps Bridge and debussed 225833.

The battalion took over positions from the 1st Battalion 15 Inf. Regt. US Army on Monte Grande, 2 Company on left, 3 Company in the centre and 4 Company slightly in the rear and on the right. pf

The relief was carried out without incident. Battalion HQ 211839.

2100 Lieutenant R. Benson took out a strong recce patrol to Point 240, Point 210 and returned by the village of Bellona. All these points were found to be strongly held by the enemy. On the return journey Lance Corporal Morgan, who had got split from the main party, found a German sentry below the Monastery of Gerusaleme and strangled him with his bare hands.

Lieutenant C. Loyd took out a recce patrol to the highest point of Monte Grande and found it to be held by at least two sections of the enemy. He was heavily fired on but returned by 2200 hrs without casualties.

16th October 1943

0730 Lieutenant J. Hamilton took a recce patrol from No. 3 Company with the intention of finding an approach to the enemy positions overlooking No. 3 Company from the right flank.

1030 This patrol returned and, on its information, it was decided to attack the enemy positions with one platoon.

1100 Lieutenant Loyd took his platoon accompanied by Lieutenant Hamilton to the American positions on our right preparatory to assaulting the enemy positions. On emerging from cover on the right, this platoon was heavily fired on by Spandau posts from the ridge in front of them, and one section was dropped off to engage these posts. There were two wounded in this section.

Lieutenant Loyd led the remaining two sections to within seventy yards of the enemy but were then pinned after suffering casualties.

Lieutenant Hamilton came back to the company with this information and the remains of one section.

It was therefore decided that the positions were too strong for one platoon and Lieutenant Loyd was ordered to withdraw. The casualties were three killed, two wounded, and four missing.

1130 The Commanding Officer Lieutenant-Colonel T.E.P. Falkiner Bt., resigned his command for reasons of health and Major D.W.A.W. Forbes MC, took over command of the battalion.

1900 It was decided to attack the enemy position with two companies with artillery support. The first concentration was fired from1900 - 1905, No. 3 Company was withdrawn to the right of No. 4 Company during this shoot to allow for the safety margin.

2100 The attack was. postponed until 0500 hrs.

2200 Lieutenant D. Quilter took out a patrol from No. 2 Company.

17th October 1943

0115 A German officer of a Panzer Grenadier Regiment was captured and reported that the positions on Monte Grande were held by a company.

0300 Lieutenant D.C. Quilter returned from his patrol and reported that the positions were still used by the enemy on a line running from Monte Grande west to Bellona.

0430 Artillery concentration.

0500 No. 2 Company and No. 4 Company advanced.

0630 Both companies were on the objective, having found no opposition and suffering no casualties. The position was consolidated.

18th October 1943

0900 All companies were warned to be on the track half a mile east of Bellona, dumping all kit except battle necessities in that area. The Commanding Officer and company commanders assembled at 2 Scots Guards for orders.

1230 The battalion was ordered to capture the high ground north west of Rocchi 1687 1787, route over the saddle east of Point 240, through Camigliano – Rocchi, in the order No. 4 Company, No. 2 and No. 3 Company.

1345 The battalion left the area north east of Bellona with No. 4 Company leading. This company skirted the northern slopes of Point 240, Point 150 and led on up to La Santella feature. No. 2 Company followed but went through the village of Camigliano and then along the southern slopes of Santella. No. 3 Company followed the route taken by No. 4 Company. No. 4 Company, on reaching the north east end of this feature, met resistance from the little feature Point 220 and from the south west outskirts of a group of buildings at 162896. This company was pinned but No. 2 Company swung right-handed and No. 3 Company were ordered to put in a right hook behind Point 220. This combined effort brought the three companies onto and full in front of their final objective on a line running north east and south west through the northern tip of La Santella feature.

No. 4 Company suffered three killed, four wounded and three missing. No. 2 Company one wounded and No. 3 Company no casualties. No. 2 Company took some prisoners including one officer and during this very quickly and well executed attack twelve Spandau posts were routed. The line was established by 1900 hrs.

2030 Lieutenant Alderson-Smith took a fighting patrol of eight men to the top of Point 415 Monte Giano which was the Scots Guards objective for the morning.

19th October 1943

0200 The patrol returned after finding the objective clear.

0530 The Scots Guards advanced through 3 Coldstream Guards and established themselves on Point 415 without opposition. The battalion was firmly established, and replenished during the morning.

1200 The battalion moved off in open formation along the ridge. There was sporadic shelling during the advance in which the battalion lost two killed and three wounded from No. 4 Company. In Battalion HQ the Signal Officer, Captain A.R. McDougall, and one signaller were killed, and the Intelligence Officer, Lieutenant Montague-Jones and one signaller wounded when the jeep in which they were travelling was blown up on a mine.

1800 The companies were in position, No. 2 Company on the forward ridge, Nos. 3 and 4 Companies on the south west slope.

There was some shelling during the night during which two men in No. 2 Company were killed and two wounded.

20th October 1943

0500 Guides met the CO and company commander of the 10th Battalion Royal Berkshire Regiment who were to relieve the battalion during the night.

1100 Nos. 3 and 4 Companies were relieved and returned to the battalion concentrations area 155872.

1400 No. 2 Company’s relief was complete and the battalion was present in the concentration area.

1430 The Brigadier came to Battalion HQ and held a conference during which the Commanding Officer was put in command of replenishing parties for the 6 Grenadier Guards and 2 Scots Guards during the next operation.

1800 Companies were allotted their tasks in the replenishment plan. Nos. 3, 4 Companies and Support Company proceeded by route march to Pozzilio 162892, to form a dump in the area of the village and another dump at the top of the hill near the rear of positions held by 6 Grenadier Guards 1620.

During the night all supplies sent by AQ 56 Division were dumped in the village and half the ammunition was taken up the mountain.

21st October 1943

1900 During the day the supply route was further organised. The carrying party was increased by two companies the London Irish, one company Basutos and one company Mauritanians. Further supplies were dumped in Pozzilio and carrying parties went up the mountain all night.

22nd October 1943

During the day the supply line was working so that by last light almost all stores had been taken out of the village.

Battalion Tac HQ was moved up into the village of Pozzilio. A Echelon was established in the battalion concentration area 155872.

Further supplies were carried up the mountain during the night and the Scots Guards and Grenadier Guards were replenished.

23rd October 1943

By first light two days replenishments were at the forward dump. ‘B’ Echelon moved from Caserta to Bellona where Support Company was.

With the help of carrying parties from the Royal Fusiliers of 167 Bde, Mauritians, Bde Mule transport and our own Battalion the replenishments reached the two forward Battalions smoothly. 

24th October 1943

0800 The commanding Officer visited the dump in the hill. During the morning Major General J. Whitaker who commanded the 3rd Battalion Coldstream Guards from October 1936 to November 1938 visited the battalion on the hill and had a conference with our Brigadier at Tac Brigade HQ. General Whitaker, who is now Director of Military Training, stated that it had been one of the most pleasant days of his flying visit to Italy and the Middle East.

25th October 1943

The road to Rocchietta 1392 having been cleared it was decided to replenish in the normal way and one dump was moved forward to Rocchietta.

1300 Major Beck was sent forward to Brigade HQ in Petrulo 1190 to recce new battalion concentration area.

26th October 1943

0700 The IO was sent forward to Petrulo to allot company areas in concentration area.

1000 A Echelon area moved up to Pertulo. B Echelon arrived in former A echelon area.

1430 Companies paraded in Rocchietta and moved by march route to new concentration area.

1830 By nightfall replenishment dump had been completed in Rocchietta and the whole Battalion had been reassembled in Petrulo.

27th October 1943 - Petrulo

The battalion had a day of rest in Petrulo area. This enabled Companies to sort themselves out after the four days in the hills.

28th October 1943

0900 Commanding Officer and company commanders went to recce new positions which the battalion was ordered to take up. This area was viewed from Scots Guards OP on Hill 420 north-west of Rocchietta 1392.

1400 Platoon commanders were shown same area by their company commanders.

1900 The Brigadier, J. Gascoigne, dined with the battalion.

1930 Lieutenant A. Stilwell took out a successful recce patrol. He found a route which was suitable for all types of vehicles into our new area 0894.

2000 Battalion was placed at half-an-hour notice to move from first light on 29th.

29th October 1943

0700 Battalion moved off by march route in the order of No. 3 Company, No. 4 Company and No. 2 Company, Battalion HQs with A Echelon vehicles behind their respective companies.

1030 Battalion arrived in new area square 0894.

Battalion took up defensive positions with No. 2 Company on the right, No. 4 Company left, No. 3 Company in reserve. The role was to ward off any possible counter-attack by troops from north-west of Teano 0594.

1500 No. 2 Company made contact with the Americans who were on our right flank.

30th October 1943

During the morning the 6 Grenadier Guards took over from our three rifle Companies who were then moved forward approximately 1000 yards with No. 4 Company right, No. 2 Company centre, No. 3 Compnay left. The companies took up a new defensive position particularly watching he left flank as there were known to be Germans still in Teano although 168 Brigade had reached their objective on the line Glorianu 0496 – M. Lucno 0595. Battalion HQ remained in is former positions 086946. The battalion was still in contact with the Americans on our right.

1400 The sappers continued to lift mines which were in our area and about sixty-five were lifted in all.

A quiet night.

31st October 1943

1000 Captain G.L. Falkiner, Lieutenant R. Benson and Lieutenant D.C. Quilter went on patrols to recce routes through Teano to the north. The results were negative owing to heavy demolitions and mines but sappers reported road to Teano would be clear by last light. Lieutenant Quilter reported that it would be possible to move by foot through Teano to probable concentration area.

1400 Lieutenant A.S. Clownes arrived at the battalion. with a draft of eighty ORs from UK. Lieutetnant Clownes was posted to 2 Company.

1500 Lieutenant Ker-Wilson returned to the battalion after an attack of malaria. The battalion was placed at two hours’ notice to move from 1000 hrs on 1st November 1943.