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9th Battalion Royal Fusiliers – War Diary October 1943

1st October - 3rd October 1943 - 606417

Battalion remained concentrated in this area.  Men had baths and companies carried out maintenance and training.  Battalion was at two hours’ notice to move from the moment we arrive.

4th October 1943

Battalion ordered to move.  Route via Sarno-Palma-Nola-Saviano.

1400 Battalion arrived at Saviano.  Battalion concentrated in area 431559 and at four hours’ notice to move.

1415 Battalion now at 48 hours’ notice to move.

5th October/6th October 1943

Companies training emphasis on patrols.  Battalion ordered to move at first light route via Nola-Marigliano-Mariglianilla-Pomigliano-Afrigola-Marcianise.  Harbour party left under Major Maltby.

7th October 1943

0615 Battalion moved off by motor transport.

0945 Battalion are concentrated in area 1970.  Battalion HQ 197708.

8th October/9th October 1943

Battalion training in the use of assault boats.

10th October 1943

1105 Number of 88mm shells fell in the area. No casualties.

11th October 1943

2100 Battalion moved on foot to concentration area at 186756 prior to crossing River Volturno.

12th October 1943

 Brigade O group.  7 Ox and Bucks are to cross first in assault boats and make good the right flank of the brigade objective.  We are to follow them consolidate on the left flank.  Two crossing places are to be used at 173786 and 172783.  Our boundaries are 165777 to 162789 and Fso. Cunella.

Battalion O group.  Battalion to move 172772 at 2050 hrs. A Company-B Company-C Company-TAC and Main HQ-C Company.  When we cross companies are to seize following places: A Company 156782, B Company 158787, C Company 162782 and D Company 162789.

2050 Battalion moved off.  Root picketed by I section.

2300 7 Ox And Bucks unable to cross owing to mortars and machine guns covering the river.

2330 Battalion less D Company moved back to old area 186756.  D Company under command 8 Royal Fusiliers.

2358 Brigade report that enemy patrol has cross the river.  Battalion stand to.  No sign of enemy.

13th October 1943

Battalion rested.  Enemy very quiet.

14th October 1943

Battalion ordered to send a company preceded by recce patrol a cross river.

1845 D Company recce patrol attempted to swim river.  Current too fast.

1945 Another unsuccessful attempt.

2245 Patrolled endeavoured to cross in assault boat but two sections of enemy seen manning positions on opposite bank.  Tracked vehicles heard on opposite bank.  Patrol withdrew and we plastered the opposite side with Brens, mortars and bazookas.

15th October 1943

1800 B Company patrol attempted to cross and 168780.  Boat holed and current too strong.

1830 Patrol succeeded in crossing 250 yards further downstream.  They went along bank to railway: -along railway to Rd at 166786 and then back.  No contact made.

2200 B Company crossed the river and took up positions at 167778.  Patrol reports enemy machine gun post at 169783.  Unable to deal with it owing to approaches being bad and bright moonlight.

16th October 1943

D and C Companies with TAC HQ crossed the river in assault boats.

1600 Companies moves forward to take up positions.  TAC at 167778.

1612 Nebelwerfer projectiles falling on B Company.

1700 Enemy approaching us on three sides.  Approximately two companies strong.  Enemy machine gun fire intense.

Enemy incorporating our positions.  All companies cut off - TAC HQ withdraw to riverbank to protect rear.  Enemy approximately 150 yards from TAC HQ firing machine guns in all directions.  Enemy machine gun sets up position on bank to our right and fires into opposite bank.

B and D Companies ordered to withdraw to hold a bridgehead. 

17th October 1943

0100 C Company clear area to our right to take up positions.  One German deserter from Hermann Goering Regiment.

0130 All companies move forward.  A Company crosses.

0630 D Company patrol leaves to recce airfield at 1578.

0730 C Company patrol leaves to contact 169 Brigade on our right.

0915 A Company patrols leaves to recce canal.

0930 C Company contacted 169 Brigade at 168797.

18th October

0600 Battalion O group left for recce.

0750 Battalion moved following positions area of canal: A Company 142809, B Company 143806, C Company 142797, D Company 156808, TAC HQ 159799.

19th October - 22nd October 1943

Battalion moved to following positions: A Company 144813, B Company 145823, C Company 151819, D Company 139886, TAC and Main at 147822.

23rd October 1943

0800 Battalion moved off to concentration area.  A Company 141853, B Company 143856, C Company 146859, D Company 142852. Battalion HQ at 143854.

24th October - 28th October 1943

Companies training.  Discussion on man loads and mountain warfare.  Companies porter for 201 Guards Brigade.

29th October 1943

1030 Battalion moved to concentration area east of Sparanise.

30th October 1943

0300 Battalion marched off.

0420 Battalion crossed jeep crossing and formed up south of railway.

0625 Battalion crossed railway and proceeded up sunken road at 050892.  D Company escorted Commanding Officer of Ox and Bucks back to his battalion after he had been cut off.

0830 Leading companies (A and B) heavily mortared at 052090.  Probably due to Shermans in area.

0900 A Company caught up with 8 Royal Fusiliers and had to stop.

1020 Battalion HQ and C Company shelled by 88mm at 044809.  Approximately 14 casualties.  One man carrying 2-inch mortar ammunition was hit which caused this high number.

1040 D Company returned having met no opposition.

1200 Battalion took up positions north of road behind 8 Royal Fusiliers.

1500 Battalion moved into 8 Royal Fusiliers positions.

1515 A and B Companies heavily shelled.  Approximately 22 casualties.

1600 Battalion dug-in.  A Company at 032908, B Company at 034906, C Company at 038908, D Company at 037910, TAC HQ at 038908.

1715 Patrol from C company went west to recce proposed roadblock at 020899.  Shelled by 46 Division artillery so had to withdraw.

31st October 1943

0800 Battalion moved forward to 0295.  C Company disbanded owing to casualties.

1430 A Company 024944, B Company at 021951, D Company 018947, TAC HQ at 024942.  No contact made with the enemy.

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