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6th Battalion Grenadier Guards

History

The 6th Battalion Grenadier Guards was formed in October 1941 in the UK. It left for the Middle East in June 1942, joining 201 Guards Brigade in Syria in September 1942 and it first saw action in the latter stages of the Tunisia campaign. Throughout its time in Italy the battalion continued to serve under 201 Guards Brigade which was attached to 56th (London) Infantry Division from September to December 1943 and with 5th Infantry Division from January to March 1944. 

On 9th September the battalion landed at Salerno as part of the second wave with rest of 201 Guards Brigade. It saw heavy fighting around Battipaglia with the rest of the Brigade. The battalion then took part in the advance to Capua and the River Volturno before reaching the Bernhardt Line in early November 1943.

The battalion led the assault on the Monte Camino massif in the first battle of Monte Camino and suffered heavy casualties. It took part in the second battle of Monte Camino in December 1943 before it was transferred with the rest of 201 Guards Brigade to 5th Infantry Division in early January 1944. In late January 1944 the battalion moved into the Minturno area which formed part of the bridgehead over the River Garigliano. It remained here until early March, seeing mostly low-level but continuous fighting, until it was relieved by American units.

The battalion was withdrawn to the Naples area where it was informed it was being reduced to a cadre and returned to the UK. As the battalion had not been overseas for very long only a very small number of personnel returned to the UK; most were transferred to 5th Battalion Grenadier Guards, which had taken severe losses at Anzio, and the rest were sent to the IRTD for use as future reinforcements for the Grenadier Guards battalions still in Italy (the 5th and 3rd).

On its return to the UK the battalion served in a variety of holding and training roles until it was officially disbanded on 4th December 1944.

Commanding Officers

The following were the unit's Commanding Officers during its service in Italy.0 results

Organisation

The battalion landed in Italy organised as a standard British infantry battalion based on WE II/233/2. Its companies were named No. 1, No. 2, No. 3 and No. 4 Company.

Due to heavy casualties during the first battle of Monte Camino in early November 1943, the battalion was forced to convert No. 2 Company to a reinforcement company and the battalion fought the second battle of Monte Camino with three rifle companies.  On 7th January 1944 No. 2 Company was reformed as a rifle company and the battalion reverted to a four rifle company establishment. However, this did not even last a month as casualties in the Garigliano bridgehead forced the battalion to convert No. 4 Company into a reinforcement company on 3rd February 1944. The battalion then operated on a three-company basis for the rest of its time in Italy.

After being withdrawn from the front in early March 1944 it was decided that the battalion was to be reduced to cadre and from 11th - 13th March 1944 most personnel were transferred to the 5th Battalion Grenadiers Guards which had suffered heavy casualties at Anzio. Those that were not earmarked to return to the UK with the battalion were sent to the IRTD.

Strength

The following table is based on the WE 3008 returns in the war diaries. The standard WE for a Guards infantry battalion at this time was for 36 officers and 811 NCOs and ORs, for a total of 847 personnel - it was officially allowed two drill sergeants over and above a line infantry battalion. The WE included the Regimental Medical Officer and attached personnel such as cooks and mechanics are included in the figures below. Personnel not part of the WE (i.e. the attached chaplain and his driver) have not been included. Lance-Corporals were included in the ORs and not as NCOs.

The battalion war diaries do not have the WE 3008 returns for September, October or November 1943 but strength returns for these months can be found in 201 Guards Brigade daily returns and also in 56th Infantry Division daily returns.

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Casualties

Not yet fully compiled.