War Diaries of 3rd Field Regiment Royal Horse Artillery

1943

 

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January 1943

Commanding Officer: Lt-Col R.B.T. DANIEL. R.H.A.

Place Date Hour Summary of Events and Information References to Appendices
BIR ZIDAN 1   Regt with 4 Lt Armd Bde in are west of WADI CHEBIR with role of observing and delaying any counter attack Order of Battle
      Two btys and one troop of third bty normally static in defensive area round BIR ZIDAN L.G. 4 LAB App "A"
      "J" Bty have one tp forward in are East of FORTUNO supporting the Royals.  
      Enemy carrying out defensive preparations between UADI CHERIDAN L.G. and the sea, and maintaining A/C patrols along BU NGEM road.  
      No other considerable body of own tps WEST of SIRTE.  
      Enemy air activity continued on a much great scale that has been seen since July 42; Bde are bombed and straffed by 15 M.E. 109's in the evening.  
      Regiment has some casualties, including Capt, C.A.M. GROVER, the Adjutant, who was severely wounded and died on Jan 2.  
      Capt. G.S. Foos, C.F. joined the regiment.  
  2   No unusual activity except the appearance of a few enemy tanks S.W. of CHERIDAN L.G. Enemy air activity continued.  
  3   Quiet day owing to bad visibility. Regiment now carrying out maintenance and organising administrative arrangements for the next phase of operations.  
  4   Visibility still bad. Tp of "J" Bty supporting Royals relieved by tp of "D" Bty.  
  5   Enemy  activity greater that usual; enemy A/C patrols seen again in BU NGEM.  
  6 1300-1500 Patrol of 3 MKIII tks recced as far as SONDA; withdrew when engaged by fwd tp of "D" Bty. Enemy fighter sweeps operating again.  
  7   Little activity on ground. Air activity as usual; 1 Macchi 202 shot down by "C" Tp 41 Lt A.A. Bty.  
  8   Great increase in M.T. movement behind enemy lines; in all, approx 2400 were seen to move W.S.W. from CHERIDAN area, the majority disappearing out of sight.  
      Object of move unknown. Enemy patrol of 3 A/C and 2 S.P. 75mm recced again towards SONDA; withdrew before coming in range of A/Tk guns.  
      Stuka attack on "J" Bty; three casualties and one gun out of action.  
  9   Tp of "D" Bty supporting Royals relived by tp of "M" Bty. Continued air activity; R.A.F. now in action again.  
  10 1300-1600 A third recce towards SONDA carried out by 3 A/Cs and 5 Mk IVs.  
  11   Quiet day. Tp of "M" Bty is forward area rejoined regiment.  
  12-13   Little activity. Regt engaged in completing preparations for the coming phase of operations.  
      10 days rations and water and 400 miles petrol to be carried by the regt.  
  14   8 Armd Bde passed through to the west during the night; this is the first time the 4 Lt Armd Bde has not been the furthest wet of Eighth Army since Dec 15th, Order of Battle App "A
      Bde move into concentration area west of BIR ZIDAN L.Cs after dark, moved on into position behind 8 Armd Bde and 131 Inf Bde ready for attack at first light.  
      Lt STOKES and Lt HAMPTON rejoined the regt, Lt BRICE joined the regt.  
  15   Bde remained stationary all morning as 8 Armd Bde's attack was help up.  
      Plan therefore altered, and at 1400 hrs, 4 Lt Armd Bde turned south through the N.Z. Div, moving across BY NGEN road at        , and the west parallel with enemy's flank.  
      The Bde was thus already in position to threaten the enemy's rear - a role which it was intended to maintain, while making straight for TRIPOLI.  
    1600 Distance covered 30 miles. "C" Tp went ahead to help Royals to clear FASCHIA. Topography of country ahead entirely unknown  
  16   Bde advanced across WADI ZEMZEM on bg 310Ί, making the crossing 2-3 miles North of FASCHIA. Good going.  
      After 40 miles, BDe turned on to bg 260Ί, and the going became extremely bad - consisting of loose slabs of rock, interspersed with steep wadis.  
      Bde leaguered on reaching WADI SCETAF.  
      No contact with enemy, though small columns were reported both to the North and south. Distance covered 60 miles.  
  17   Bde moved along the bed of WADI SCETAF, making good progress to BIR TALA, although single file was necessary in many places. Bde halt to reform at BIR TALA.  
      "C" Tp moved off with Royals towards GEBEL GATTAR, engaging enemy A/Cs and knocking out one.  
      Remainder moved on over bad going towards the junction of BENI ULID - BIR DUFN and BENI ULID - BIR TALA tracks (RR 3437); "M" bty and "J" Bty both leapfrogging tps forward, and engaging enemy patrrols.  
    1900- At last light, whole regiment massed in UADI GOBBIN and move continued by moonlight, and all Btys came into action to cover the BENI ULID - BIR DUFAN track.  
234 A/T Bty   2400 "D" to moved up to within 1500 yds of it, and with 2 KRRC and a tp of ^243 A/T Bty engaged enemy vehicles, which were moving nose to tail.  
      At least 12 were destroyed, and a counter attack made later by enemy tanks, 1 Mk IV and 1 Mk III Special were destroyed.  
  18   Progress held up by enemy mines and demolitions on the road in BENI ULID.   
      Bde swung south in BENI ULID, moved N.W. parallel to the BENI ULI - TARHUNA road, leaguering 12 miles through the town,  
      Casualties so far nil; vehicle casualties small; and almost all the straggles have now caught up, except the L.A.D.  
  19   Doubts as to the future role of the Bde were decided when orders were received to move West through thw mountains towards GARIAN, while the remainder f 7 Armd Div and N.Z. Div made for TARHUNA.  
      Bde moved for 12 miles parallel to the BENI ULID - TARHUNA road bad going, then turned on to bg 290Ί, and made very good going until foothills were reached at RQ 7472.  
      From there going became increasingly difficult, consisting of very steep rocky wadis, divided by rocky and hummocky ground.  
      This made numerous defile inevitable, and progress was very slow, as every part of the way had to be recconoitred.  
      Regt reached the area of BIR SLEDA RQ 6583 by last light.  
      Three Stuka raids on the Bde during the afternoon; casualties in "M" and "J" Btys, and one gun of "J" Bty out of action.  
      Considerable vehicle casualties owing to bad going,  
  20   No move during the day, to allow the Bde to close up, and the route ahead to be recceed. Three Stuka raids and many raids by fighters - on on R.H.Q. and one on "D" Bty.   
      Some casualties in "D" Bty. The pause allowed many vehicles to be repaired.  
    1900 The regiment formed up in column of router at last light, and moved along the route that had been recceed, by moonlight.  
      The route met teh TARHUNA - GARIAN road at RQ 6398, followed it westwards for 3 miles, and the struck off towards the coastal plain, which was reached at RL 5212 by 0200 hrs. Bde leaguered there.  
  21   One sqn of the Royals had gone to recce GARIAN; the main body of the 4 Lt Armd Bde now well to the rear if the main enemy forces, and in a position to threaten TRIPOLI directly.  
      However, the Bde had no tanks, and our main armoured forces were still held up by the escarpment west of TARHUNA.  
      4 Lt Armd Bde was therefore able only to harass and hasten the enemy's withdrawal, end to clear the southern part of TRIPOLITANIA.  
    1200 During the morning, the Bde was engaged by 88mm and 105 fire from he TARHUNA - CASTEL BENITO road, and therefore turned west along the line of the escarpment to the AZIZIA - GARIN road. A/Cs reached BIR GHNEM QP8908  
    1500 Enemy still holding TARHUNA PASS, AZIZA and GARIAN, During the afternoo, enemy tanks, eventually totalling 29, appeared wst of AZIAZA, and the forward elements of the Bde, including "M" Bty, were recalled behin the GARIAN - AZIZA road, to avoid being cut off.  
      Bde leaguered under escarpment 4 miles east of the road,  "J" bty remaining in action to cover the road.  
  22   Bde remained in same are, while the N.Z. Div came up to attack AZIZA.  
      At last light, Bde moved due West to cut the AZIZIA - JEFREN road. Leaguered after 15 miles, on tp of "J" Bty forward with 2/60 KRRC.  
  23 0630 Advance continued to BIR GNHEM L.G. Bde remained in this area all day with patrols of the Royals and one tp of "D" Bty moving to occupy JEFREN, and of the KDG and one tp of "J" Bty towards ZAVIA. GARIAN reported evacuated, TRIPOLI evacuated.  
  24-25- 26 Bde in same area; to of "J" Bty returned; to of "D" Bty still operating towards JEFREN and later towards GIADO.  
  27   G.O.C.  30 Corps, Lieut-Gen LEES, met all the officers of the regt.  
  28-29   No change.  
      Regiment inspected by Maj-General ERSKINE, new commander of 7 Armd Div.  
      Second tp of "D" Bty moved to join tp near GIADO.  
  30   Regt moved to take up defensive position cover rd junction at QU 7888.  
  31   DF tasks registered. "D" Bty still in the same area; not in action.  
      Regt now very short of transport after long distances over very bad going; it is expected that refitting will take place while regiment remains in its present position.  

 

February 1943

Commanding Officer: Lt-Col R.B.T. DANIEL. R.H.A.

Place Date Hour Summary of Events and Information References to Appendices
AZIZIA 1   Maintenance and training occupied the day for the Btys less 1 troop pf "D" which remained in GIADO area but not in action  
  2   1 troop of "D" Bty rejoined the regt and all moved to the junction of the AZIZIA and ZAVIA roads.  
ZAVIA area 3   The regiment moved in the morning to area QP. 9856 approximately 9 kilos west of ZAVIA.  
  4   Training, maintenance and refitting tool place during this period and leave was granted to all ranks to TRIPOLI and SABRANTH 7-12 (incl).  
  5   Handed over vehicles to 5/R.H.A.  
      Now quite stranded on the ground.  
  7   Leave camps establised, one at SABRATHA, one at TRIPOLO and one home camp in the regimental area, men spending two days at each.  
  7-12   Leave. The weather broke and heavy rain fell for two days.  
S ORMAN 14   R.H.Q. and moved into new area 3 kilos west along the road, each finding a farm house to use as H.Q.  
  15   Training and refitting begun in earnest.  
      First week devoted to Troop training, with lectures interspersed between training periods.  
      Course run at R.H.Q. for signallers, surveyors and medical orderlies.  
         
  22-28   Week of Battery training, drill orders and night occupations.  
      Course for Tank Drivers arranged by E.M.E.  
      Inter Battery rugger matches organised, also baseball.  
  28   Capt. HILTON of "M" rejoined the regt, and brought with him the news that Major O'BRIEN-BUTLER "M" Battery had been awarded the M.C.  
      The last fortnight of the month was spent in intensive training and refitting.  
      All guns were repainted and overhauled, new vehicles received and a little equipment obtained.  
         
      Everyone was keen to get back into action again after the period of rest, and looked forward to becoming fully mobile and equipped again.  
      The transport was still incomplete but it was hoped that this would be remedied very soon so that we should be "in" on the crack at the MARETH LINE.  

 

March 1943

Commanding Officer: Lt-Col R.B.T. DANIEL. R.H.A.

Place Date Hour Summary of Events and Information References to Appendices
SORMAN 1   Calibration and course shooting  
      "J" produced a lively and entertaining concert entitled "Swan Song" produced by 2/Lt. R.E. LINDSAY.  
  2   Received orders to send one Battery forward to join 4 Lt Armd Bde SOUTH of MEDENINE at (Y)E 7158. "J" Bty who had been at 4 hrs notice to move were immediately made up to establishment in vehicles by borrowing from the other Batteries, and left at 1300 hrs to do the 170 miles run to MEDENINE.  
      Calibration and course shooting continued during the day.  
  3   Zeroing of sights was carried out by D and M and Air Burst Fix was practices at the same time.  
      "J" Bty relieved 406 Bty, 146 Regt R.A. at RHONMERASSEN (E.6444) and were placed in support of 2/60 K.R.R.C under command 4 Lt Armd Bde.  
  4-7   During the four days priority was given to the regiment in 30 Corps w/Shops and all Chev vehicles requiring new engines were despatched for due execution of this operation.  
      A Mobile Wireless Repair Unit arrived and began work of repair and overhaul on the wireless sets in the regiment.  
      On the 6th Capt. B.G. NICHOL was posted to Rear Army H.Q. as Staff Capt Q and relinquished the post of Adjutant.  
      Pending the appointment of a new Adjutant the vacancy was filled temporarily by 2/Lt. L/R . HAWKES.  
      On the 6th the enemy advance on the MEDENINE - FOUM TATAHOUINE road but "J" Bty did not go into action. B.S.M. HINTON was ambushed and killed on the MEDENINE - FOUM TATAHOUINE road; 3 O.R. were reported missing believed POW.  
  8   MD and M Btys commence to move forward to the BEN GARDANE area. Shortage of equipment of equipment made the full journey impossible and each Bty ferried itself of a distance of 30 miles.  
      10 tractors F.A., 10 3-tonners and 5 15-cwts were collected from the 3 OFP.  
  9   The newly collected vehicles were despatched to the Btys at first light to enable them to continue their move.  
      At 0930 hours R.H.Q. proceeded to the BEN GARDANE area (J.6709) via the Moon track which ran east of a parallel to the road.  
      "J" Bty practised Air Burst Fix in the morning and course shooting in the afternoon.  
  10-11   More vehicles and trailers were collected.  
  12   Recce parties moved forward to the MEDENINE area.  
      "J" Bty zeroed sights for A/Tk practice at RHONMERASSEN. Map Tunisia
MEDENINE  13   The regiment less "J" Bty moved forward to the dispersal area  (E9278). 1/200,000 sheet
      On arrival R.H.Q. went forward to recceed positions E.7284 and at 1700 hrs the regt moved to a leaguer area E.7384. MEDENINE 
      "J" Bty went into action against enemy infantry and machine guns north of HEDADA E.6148.  
  14   The regiment remained in the leaguer area.  
  15   1 Troop 42 Bty, 15 L.A.A. Regt was attached to the regiment and allotted to "M" Bty.  
      At 1845 hrs the regt moved to E650921.  
  16   The 3 R.H.A. relieved the 58 Fld Regt in close support of 201 Gds Bde wef 1000 hrs.  
      "M" established gun positions in are 644943 and "D" at 648942. 1 troop 145/15 L.A.A. Regt were allotted to "D" Bty.  
      At 1830 hrs the C.O. proceeded to Tac H.Q. Gds Bde to liaise with the C.R.A. and at 1930 201 Gds Bde moved forward under a barrage supported by 128 Fd Regt, 146 Fd Regt, 5 R.H.A. and 31 Fd Regt in an attack on the HORSESHOE (pr B 130 E.582956 to SIERRA EL GUELAA E.567947 and pt 108 E.576929).  
      At 2037 hrs, the 3/R.H.A. began a time programmed of concentrations. See Appendix "A"
      "M" Bty O.P. moved with Bn H.Q. Grenadier Gds and D's with Bn H.Q. Coldstream Gds.  
      On the minefield Lt W. DOLPHIN-SMITH and 3 O.Rs were wounded and evacuated when 1 15-cwt W/T and a Stuart O.P. were lost.  
  17   3/R.H.A. with 7 Armd Div passed under the command 10 Corps.  
      The Btys moved to fresh positions as follows: "M" Bty E646929, "D" Bty 646920.  
      Lieut. A.I.S KNOWLES was wounded and evacuated; Lt(em) F.S. POTTER was posted to the Regt from 57A/Tk Regt as Q/M,  
      "J" Bty's O.P. reached RASS KERACHEFA but was forces to withdraw.  
      Later in the day the Bty advance to BIR KERACHEFA  (Y)E. 525575  
  18   O.P.s continued to work with Bn H.Qs and sent back much valuable information.  
  19   The C.C.R.A. Lt-Gen B.G. HORROCKS visited the Btys in their positions.  
      Capt. C.H. AITCHISON was wounded and evacuated.  
  20   At 2245 hrs the regt less "J" Bty assisted 30 Corps by firing a Counter Battery Programme, one of intermittent concentration as a simulated attach programme of concentrations in order to deceive the enemy.  
      As the guns went into action their flashes lit the narrow steep wadis but despite the attention of a few enemy a/c only an occasional bomb was dropped and mo damage done.  
      During the day orders were received to top up all vehicles with 200 miles of petrol, 5 galls of water per man and 5 days reserve rations See Appendix "B"
  21   The regiment, "J" having joined up once again, was placed at 30 mins notice to move.  
      The replenishment was switched to the 131 Bde in the environs of MEDENINE.  
  22   At 1800 hrs the regiment came under command C.C.R.A. 10 Corps, though in this event of 50 Div securing the bridgehead of WADI ZIZZAOU (Z.6411) the regiment was placed on ½ hrs notice to advance to across the WADI ZIZZAOU to ZARAT under command of 7 Armd Div which was in support of 30 Corps.  
  23   The 3 R.H.A. reverted to control C.R.A. 7 Armd Div at 2000 hrs but remained in its present area sq E.6492.  
      In view if the enemy counter attack in the NORTH and the replacement of the 50 Div bt the 51 Div plans were altered.  
      "J" Bty were ordered to put out a sniping troop to our left and forward in the area E.6391 also to supply a F.O.O. to contact the 2 R.B. on their arrival in the area of ABDALLAH FEATURE E.6189.  
      "J" Bty were placed in support of the 6 Gren Gds while the 201 Gds Bde were extended left down to inlc Pt 99 E.6191 and were ordered to hold that front.  
      As 7 Motor Bde, which served on the Regt's left front, were taken off on an important task before 2 R.B. arrived to take over from them, our flank was left rather bare during the night.  
      The Echelon was not too secure; their position on the main MEDENINE - GABES road at Kilo 14 made them rather exposed to enemy fire while they were also bombed and straffed.  
      Lieut. E. SUDBURY joined the regiment from "X" List and was posted to "J" Bty.  
  24   Heavy shelling tool place to our N.W. and once again the Echelon was driven to ground.  
      An allotment of 50 r.p.g. over and above the normal for D.F. tasks enable the guns to undertake counter battery work with vigour and determination.  
      Later the allotment was increased to 75 r.p.g. to enable the large number of Divisional "Stonks" called for and laid down.  
  25   During the afternoon news was received that 3 RHA was to be replaced by the 65 Fd Regt R.A; this was later changed to 78 Fd Regt TA. See Appendices
      Their O.Ps were shown the ground by the 3 R.H.A. O.Ps. C to F (incl)
      The allotment of ammunition was decreased to 20 r.p.g. and no D.F. tasks were fired.  
  26   The regt moved at 0230 hrs to a leaguer are 6 miles along the 201 Gds Bde Axis track E.7184, ant at 0600 hrs proceeded to E.579576.  See Appendice
      There the regiment went in to action in support of the 131 Bde. B and C
  27   At 030o hrs the regt proceeded along V track to take up positions by first light at E5477 in support of 5 Queens, who attached the pass in the East of DJEBEL TEHAG E.5183  
      Major G.J.B. MASTERS, DSO, RHA was killed and one O.R. wounded through a vehicle striking a mine. He was buried at E.489805  
      Capt. AITCHISON and Lt. DOLPHIN-SMITH rejoined the unit from "X" List.  
  28   At 0630 hrs the regt moved northwards along the Bde Axis Track to the bottom of the pass E.5183, and remained on wheels while R.Es  cleared the pass.  
      Lt, Barnet and 2 O.Rs. were wounded and evacuated when they went up on a mine.  
      Major W.B. STEWAR, DSO, MC RAH relinquished appointment as 2 i/c to O.C. "D" Bty; Capt. FISHER was promoted A/Major i/c "M" Bty vice Major P.T. O'BRIEN-BUTLER, who left for a Staff College Course at Haifa.  
      Capt. P HILTON MC and Bar assumed the post of Adjt to the regt.  
  29   At 0930 hrs the regiment moved to a position north of the METATEUR - TOUJANE road (E.6581) and came under command 22 Armd Bde.  
  30   The regiment was ordered to move to a concentration area at 0915 hrs to Z.3818 but the move was postponed till later in the At last light the regiment leaguered in area Z.1570owing to traffic jams.  
  31   The regt remained in position throughout the day awaiting further orders.  
      At last light orders were received to have recce parties standing by at 30 mins notice to move at first light on 1 April.  

 

April 1943

Commanding Officer: Lt-Col R.B.T. DANIEL. R.H.A.

Place Date Hour Summary of Events and Information References to Appendices
  1   At 0900 hrs recce partied moved forward to an area Z.185485 approx 10 miles north of GABES and remainder of the regiment was placed under 1 hours notice to move Map Tunisia 1/20,000
      At 1500 hrs the regiment moved to laager area in the second position. Sheet  28 Gabes
      Lt. KINLOCH rejoined the regiment from hospital and was posted to “J” Bty.

Appx A.

   “    B.

  2   At first light the regiment took up surveyed positions in the area Z195475 in order to cover WADI AKARIT, in which the enemy had dug himself in. A M.E. 109 was bought down near one of “M” Bty’s guns but no casualties were caused.  
  3   The regiment remained in position and Batteries registered their zones.  
  4   “J” Bty’s area was shelled but no damage or casualties caused.  
  5   The 3 R.H.A. were placed under command of 7 Armd Div, which was placed in support of 51 Highland Div. App C.
      The task of the latter was to establish a bridgehead over the WADI AKARIT and perimeter role allotted to the 3 .R.H.A. was firing of a barrage.  "     D,
      The regiment was also ordered to move to a concentration area Z.183370 – Z.200370 – Z183360, to recce the route to the concentration area and establish a T.C.P where the route crossed the main By-pass road.  
      Order of march was to be as given in Appx C.  
  6   The 3 R.H.A. opened up the first barrage at 0515 hrs and thereafter gave practically continuous support throughout the morning.  
  7   The enemy bombed the regimental area inflicting 6 O.R. casualties on “M” Bty.  
      The regiment was ordered to move under command 22 Armd Bde to WADI REML thence to WADI KRANI. At 1100 hrs recce parties moved forward.  
      The Btys moved ay 1440 hrs and were allotted armd regts as follows  
                       “D” Bty to 5 R.T.R  
                       “J” Bty to  
                       “M” Bty to  
      At last light the regiment leaguered in area Z.1570  
  8   The regiment moved forward at 0630 hrs and the enemy rearguard was engaged by the 3 R.H.A. who came into action in area Z.1990 (approx.) on High Air Burst Fix.  
      At dusk the regiment leaguered in area Z.1992.  
  9   The Bde moved at first light and headed N.E. for SFAX (U.8334).  Map Tunisia 1/200,000
      An enemy rearguard of 4 50mms and some tanks held every piece of high ground as long as possible.  Sheet  15 SFAX
      Btys came into action independently during the day and on the evening the whole regt was in action 2 m. S.W. of EL AGARES (F)U.5297 where tanks and A/Tk guns were engaged at 2500 yds and a quick smoke screen laid to cover our foremost tanks.  
      The 3 R.H.A. in co-operation with a number of tanks engaged a column of about 300 MET at dusk, a number of enemy were damaged or destroyed and 30 P.O.W. taken.  
  10   At first light the regiment moved without opposition EL AGAREB and across country to (T)U.7344.  
      Intensive maintenance was order and carried out.  
      Major C. ARMITAGE, M.C. joined the regiment and assumed the post of 2 i/c.  
  11   The 3 R.H.A. was placed in support 201 Gds Bde and place at 6 hrs notice to move; for purposed of the move it was placed under command of the 201 Gds Bde. For replenishment on the 12th the B Echelon would move to 201 Gds Bde. Appx E
  12   The C.R.A. visited the regt at 1730 hrs.  
      Parties were organised to visit SFAX and 1 R.H.Q. Signal Section vehicle was blown up by a mine in SFAX and 3 O.Rs were wounded, one being evacuated.  
      During the evening a warning order to move at 0630 on the 13th was received and the regiment reverted from support of 201 Gds Bde.  
  13   At 0630 hrs the regiment moved to pass the S.P at 0700 hrs.  
      The route was as follows:- S.P. road junctions (T)U.7146 – X rd U/5363 – X rd U.4555 – X rd U.1561 – concentration area (T)P.1325.  
      The regiment spend the night in the concentration area,  
  14   Maintenance and training were ordered during the morning and in the afternoon parties were organised to visit KAIRCAN. Appx E
      At 1500 hrs a warning order to move was received and at 2000 hrs the regiment moved to laager area (T)P.0257. Maps Tunisia 1/200,000
      At 1030 hrs the regiment had come under command 4 Lt Armd Bde. Sheet  11 KAIRCUAN
  15   The regiment moved at first light; recce parties went forward and the regiment came into action in area (T) P.0373 at 0900 hrs. Maps Tunisia 1/200,000
      O.Ps. went forward with the Royals and 2/60 K.R.R.C. Sheet  8
      Enemy patrols and A/Tk guns were engaged. During one action one Stuart O.P. received a direct hit; Capt BECKETT wounded, one O.R. killed, one O.R. died of wounds and once O.R. wounded and evacuated. Sheet  9
      At last light the regiment moved to a laager area (T)P.0871. The 4 Lt Armd Bde was relieved by 131 Bde and placed in Div reserve.  
  16   The Btys moved forward about 1000 yds from the laager area into action.  
      “J” Bty fired H.A.B for Div Arty Fix. Only 2 O.Ps. were sent out and little enemy movement was reported.  
  17   The regiment moved back 2000 yds and the guns came into action where they could be fought in case of emergency.  
      No O.Ps. were sent out and a day of training and maintenance was ordered.  
  18   Maintenance  took place during the morning, Appx G
      At 1300 hrs recce parties went forward to area P.0174, 0274, 0732. Appx H
      Btys followed and were in action by 1530 hrs, relieving 146 Field conformity with the task allotted to the 4 Lt Armd Bde of protecting the left flank of the Div on the axis of rd DJEBIBINA – KAIRCUAN.  
      “D” Bty sent one local O.P. to P.017257 but he had N.T.E. and to tgts were engaged.  
      There was a little enemy shelling in the regimental area but no damage was caused.  
  19   The regiment remained in the same area with the Btys as follows:-  
                   “D” at P.02970, “J” at P/032733, “M” at P.025727.  
       “M” had one O.P. with the Royals and one with 2/60 K.R.R.C. while “D” had one with 2/60 K.R.R.C. and one local O.P. “J” Bty   
      A few regimental concentrations were fired while a little shelling causes 2 O.R. casualties.  
  20   The O.Ps remained as for 19th and a few regimental and battery concentrations were fired.  
      The enemy was very quiet and no shelling took place in the Regtl area.  
  21   Regiment remained in the same position and O.Ps. were sent out as on preceeding days.  
      Long range tgts were engaged chiefly in a search for hostile Bty but there were well concealed.  
     

Enemy shelling was less vigorous.

 
  22   “J” Bty pushed a section forward to harass the enemy at short range and the various batteries fired harassing tasks; prisoners of war stated that at least one burst of harassing fire hand been very effective.  
     

One Stuart O.P.’ operating with the Royals, ran over a mine and was a total loss, one O.R., being wounded and evacuated.

 
  23   “D” Bty moved one section forward on the left and “J” one gun forward on the right to engage targets at long range.  
      At dusk “D” Bty moved 2000 yds N.W. while one tp of “J” Battery rendezvoused with Royals near DJEBIBINA in order to come into action at first light.  
  24   In the morning one tp of “D” Bty and B.H.Q. moved back to their former positions. O.Ps. were established as follows:-  
                “D” Bty P.008778 and home O.P at 017757.  
                “J” Bty P.085834 (with Royals) and O.976755 (also with the Royals).  
                “M” Bty P.028778.  
      Enemy guns were more active and in the evening 2 x 105m shelled the area about 1000 yds in the rear of R.H.Q while probably 3 x 105mm bombarded “D” Bty’s forward troop, the shells landing 30 - 40 yds away.  
  25   The O.Ps. remained in the same are except that “D” Bty took over “J” at O.976755, this having three O.Ps.  
      Except for a few bursts of harassing fire there was little activity.  
      A counter battery programme was prepared for captured 170mm for a position recced in the area P.20176 but these plans were cancelled. Appx
      A harassing fire programme was prepared for firing during the night in conjunction with a fighting patrol of 2/60 KRRC; “M” Bty send one troop forward about 4000 yds at last light.  
      At same time “J” Bty move 1 gun forward to go into action the following day.  
  26   “M” Bty’s forward troop fired its harassing fire tasks from 0300 to 0330 hrs but part of the original plan was omitted as the fighting patrol found no opposition.  
      O.Ps. were out as usual but could not be used owing to the receipt of orders to move, and the air O.P. was recalled.  
      19 French Corps had successfully attacked on the left of the regiment and the enemy had withdrawn.  
      The 4 Lt Armd Bde was split into three columns; one under command Royals; one under command of K.D.Gs and one under the 3/R.H.A, the last being known as BOBCOL.  
      At last light “M” Bty moved to harbour with the Royals; and “D” with K.D.Gs.  
  27   At 0630 hrs R.H.Q. plus “J” Bty and the Tac H.Q. BOBCOL moved to the concentration area while one troop “D” Bty and one of “M” moved forward with their respective armoured cars. By 1600 the regiment less two troops had concentrated in are 1275-1375 while Bty areas were recced for the following day.  
      At 1900 hrs “L” forces came under command 4 Lt Armd Bde which was ordered on the left of 19 Corps with the task of protecting the Corps left flank.  
  28   At 0400 hrs the regiment moved to prepared positions as follows:-  
                R.H.Q. P141789  
                “D” Bty less one tp P.136789.  
                “M” Bty less one tp P.142804.  
                “J” Bty P.142794.  
      Local O.Ps. were manned, one by each Bty.  
      The two forward troops and F.O.Os with the Royals and K.D.Gs continued to make good progress.  
      “B” Troop harboured at 061875; their F.O.O. reached 0494.  
      Java Troop went into action at 062840; their FO.O. operated with Royals in area P.0888, P.0889.  
      A liaison officer from L Force was attached to R.H.Q.  
  29   K.D.Gs. were taken from the Brigade, and “B” Tp after some actions in the morning rejoined “D” Battery towards last light.  
      Java F.O.O. went out with carriers towards Pt 398 (P.0792) but met very bad going. Java Troop remained same position.  
      A quiet day, all O.Ps. reported the impression that the enemy had withdrawn some of his guns.  
  30   Java F.O.O. succeeded in occupying Pt 398, overlooking SAOUAF, but saw little movement during day.  
      Java Troop remained same position.  
      Java Troop position was badly shelled, but there were no casualties. One F.O.O was out with the Royals.  
      Java Troop put down harassing fire on suspected enemy positions during the day, one tp of “J” Battery went forward after dark with the same object.  
      In the evening recce parties of 78 Fd Regt R.A. arrived to over positions.  
      Orders to rejoin 7 Armd Div and move before first light on the 1st May. Tp join First Army, were received in the afternoon, and necessary preparations were carried out.  

 

May 1943

Commanding Officer: Lt-Col R.B.T. DANIELL. R.H.A.

Place Date Hour Summary of Events and Information References to Appendices
  1   The regt came under comd 7 Armd Div at 0300 hrs and moved at 0400 hrs to join the rest of the Div on the march Ref Map 1/200,000
      Progress throughout the day was slow, as the road had been blown in a number of places. Tunisia  Series
      Finally, the coln halted, the regt a few miles WEST of CUSSELTIA (O.6446) Sheets 11 (KAIROUDA)
      Bedded down at 2330, as units in front reported further progress impossible until daylight. & 8 (MARTAR)
      One great loss during the day - Capt. UNWIN, MC, RAMC was seriously injured by an an anti-personnel mile, and evacuated. Appx "A"
  2   We rose at 0430. but were unable to do more than brew up and admired the very scenery before 0900, as units were very slow in negotiating the tricky section of road. Ref Map 1/200,000
      Once past the obstacle we moved much more quickly through SILINA a concentration area 3 miles N.E. of LE KRIB (0.2095) Tunisia  Series
      A welcome NAAFI issue - all British - was obtained from LE KRIB Sheet 8.
  3   Recce parties went forward to the regimental area (J.6838) about 7 miles N.E. of MEDJEZ-EL-BAB, and some 600 yds behind the FDLS which were held by 78 Div. Ref Map 1/200,000 TUNISIA Serial No.5
      Rest of regt remained in concentration area. Appx "B" (Trace)
      Regt came under command of 4 Brit Div and received plan of forthcoming attack. Appx "C"
      This was not broadcast throughout the regt until 5 May.  
  4   Main body of the regt moved up to the positions previously reconnoitred. All gun positions were surveyed.  
      The area contained scatted mines, and one quad of "J" Bty was wrecked while B.S.M RAMSBOTTOM of the same Bty was wounded.  
      One or two shells landed in the regimental gun area, but did no damage.  
      Local O.Ps. only were occupied, and the guns were to remain silent except in an emergency.  
      4 Brit Div RASC dumped 400 r.p.g. in troop areas.  
  5   Plan of attack was communicated to the regt. 4 Brit and 4 Ind Div were to attack on narrow front of 3500 yds. Appendices 
      To support them a programme of a barrage and a large number of concentrations was to be fired by some 400 field guns, 48 medium guns and a 7.2" How Bty D, E & F.
      Once the initial break through has been made by the infantry 6 & 7 Armd Divs were to pass through, the former on the right, both directed on TUNIS.  
      3 RHA, after firing their part of the programme were to come under comd of 132 Bde, come out of action and join the column as ordered.  
      Full operation orders and Adm instructions were issued by 131 Bde.  
  6   Programme started at 0300 and firing went on solidly for several hours.  
      The attack by the two Inf Divs was successful, and their objectives were rapidly secured Appendice 'G'
      At 0700 hrs the regt came out of action and formed up to join the coln.  
      Progress was slow at first, but improved later, and the regt, after an uneventful march, went into action NORTH of FURNA (J.7941) inside a tight semi-circle of FDLs manned by the QUEENS.  
      22 Armd Be and our O.Ps. accompanying them, reached their objective SIDI ACHOUR, before last light.  
      Our air superiority was continuously evident. In the evening a few rounds from 88 m.m landed in the regimental area but did no damage.  
  7   The advance continued at first light and the regt went forward to ACHOUR feature, where all Btys came into action and linked by H.A.B.  
      About eight enemy tanks were vigorously engaged, the C.O. controlling the fire of the regt from one of "J" Bty's O.Ps.  
      Hostile shelling caused four casualties, one of the fatal, and set an amn lorry on fire. The latter was a total loss.   
      The opposition melted away, and the advance continued at 1500 hrs.  
      AT about 1630 hrs word came through from our forward O.Ps with the leading armd cars and tks that they were entering Tunis.  
      Further sitreps contained interesting details of their welcome by crowds delirious with joy.  
      The regiment leaguered NORTH of ST. CYPRIEN (J.9153). The night was unpleasantly wet but undisturbed.  
  8   The enemy has been thrown into considerable disorder by the speed of the armour's advance, and had now split into two groups, once going NORTH up the line of the TUNIS  - BIZERTA road, and one WEST, headed for CAP BON. Appx 'H'
      7 Armd Div were ordered to pursue the former, 6 Armd Div the latter group.  
      131 Bde were to form a base astride the TUNIS  - BIZERTA road, and the regiment was ordered into action about 5 miles N.W. of TUNIS to cover the River MEDJERDA in the vicinity of PROTVILLE.  
      22 Armd Bde, still pursuing, reached but failed to cross this river.  
      On the move to the new area, the regt passed through LE BARDO (K.0457), a suburb of TUNIS, and received a tumultuous welcome from the populace.  
  9   Moved to area SIDI TABET and leaguered. Parties were sent into TUNIS from Btys and R.H.Q, and enjoyed the reception accorded to "liberators". Ref Map 1/200,000 
      Small parties were sent out to salvage enemy equipment, and in addition to a number of guns which we handed over, the regiment acquired several captured vehicles. TUNISIA Sheet No.2
      The Germans in the PORT FARNIA area surrendered unconditionally. Appx "I" & "J"
      The Div Comd sent his congratulations to all ranks, and the CRA to Div Arty, mentioning particularly 3 RHA, 65 A/Tk and 15 L.A.A.  
  10   Regimental Church Parade was held in the morning.  
      Service was conducted by the Senior Chaplain, and was followed by a short address of congratulation from the CRA and the CO.  
      A day of rest.  
  11   Leave to TUNIS continued. Movement Order for move of Div Arty to an area near BOU ARADA was received. Appx K (Div Order)
      Remainder of Div moving to neighbouring area Appx L (Regtl Order)
      A rude shock as were expecting a longer stay in the present area, and had to do some swift packing.  
  12   Moved off in morning to new area. Route - DJEDEIDA J8558 - TENOURBA J.7758 0 TESTOUR J.4422 - EL ARCUSSA x-rds J4704. Ref Map 1/200,000 TUNISIA series
      Leaguered at J.6202 Sheets 2, 5, 11
  13   Small leave parties sent to TUNIS.  
      Message received stating that all organised resistance on North Africa has ceased. Appx M
      Enemy losses since 6 May  estimated at 135,000 prisoners, 250 German tanks, 100 Italian tanks, 180 88mm guns, 500 a/tk guns.  
      Maintenance was carried out, and painting of guns commenced.  
  14   General ALLFREY, GOC 5 Corps believed to be visiting regt tomorrow, 15 May.  
      Maintenance, both personal and vehicles, and painting of guns was continued.  
  15   General ALLFREY's visit unfortunately cancelled. Painting continued.  
  16   Maintenance, painting and rest.  
      Movement Order and Adm Instruction for move of Div to Tripoli area was received. Appendices N and O
  17   Intensive preparation for "full dress" inspection by GOC 7 Armd Div.  
      Turn-out of men and guns was brought up to an excellent standard.  
      All guns of the Div Arty were lined up, 3/RHA in front, with 5/RHA, 146 Fd, 65 A/Tk and 14 L.A.A. each in their own line, behind.  
  18   The G.O.C. Major-General ERSKINS inspect the Div Arty  
      All ranks drew up in a hollow square, and after his inspection the General address them congratulating them on the splendid part in the North African campaign.  
      Regimental Movement Order for move to TRIPOLI was issued.  
  19   Regt commenced move. Order of march -R.H.Q., "B" Echelon, J, D, M. Ref Map 1/200,000 
      A number of diversions slowed the column considerably; as a result R.H.Q. moved 400 yds in 5 hours, the regiment covered a mere 25 miles before leaguering for the night. TUNISIA Sheet 8
      Route BOU ARADA - PONT DU FAHS.  
      The 2 i/c went ahead with Div H.Q. to prepared night leaguer area, which the regt failed to reach.  
  20   Move continued at first light. Order of march -R.H.Q., "B" Echelon, D, M, J..  
      Progress considerable faster, and we passed KAIRCUAN, continued SOUTH till we joined the TEBESSA - SFAX rd, turned EAST, and finally turned SOUTH off the main road. a few miles short of SFAX, leaguered near EL AGARES.  
      Distance covered 160 miles approximately.  
  21   The C.O. and a small advance party moved off at 0300 and went forward to TRIPOLI to visit the regimental area. Ref Map 1/200,000 
      Remainder of regiment resumed march at first light. TUNISIA sheets 
      Order of March R.H.Q., "B" Echelon, J, M, D. They joined the main coast road at MAHARES (U.6207) and moved down to WADI AKARIT; thence by the track to area MARETH line TO MATAMEUR and leaguered south of MEDENINE. 19 & 23.
      Approximate distance covered 160 miles.  
  22   Regt moved off again at first light and struck coast road a few miles EAST of MEDENINE. Ref Map Tunisa 
      The surface of the road was almost as bad as it had been  1/200,000 
        Sheets 23, 28, 24/29
        1/200,000 Tripolitania
        Sheet 1
  23   March continued through TRIPOLI and HOMS to leaguer area NORTH of rd 23 kilos from HOMS. and near the sea.  
      "J" and "M" Btys had not reached this area by 2100 hrs, and therefore leaguered some way short of it  
      New area location M 6624.  
  24   RHQ and Batteries proceeded to occupy their respective areas.  
      All guns were lined up in front, facing the road, with vehicles behind them, and tent lines, cookhouse and messes behind the vehicles.  
      The beach was excellent, and bathing safe, except in a rough sea.  
 

25

26

  Apart from necessary fatigues to ensure comfort and hygiene, complete rest and relaxation were ordered. A bathing picquet was mounted and almost the entire regt entered the sea,  
  27   Short leave to TRIPOLI commenced for about 360 O.Rs. and 25 Officers.  
  28)      
  29)   Leave continued.  
  30)      
  31)   Lt. COS from "D", Lts. BENTLY and SUDBURY from "J", and Lt. STEWARD from "M" were posted to First Army.  

 

June 1943

Commanding Officer: Lt-Col R.B.T. DANIEL. R.H.A.

Place Date Hour Summary of Events and Information References to Appendices
  1   The regiment is still bivouaced at M.6624. Leave continues.  
  2   Individual training commence, including a subalterns Course taken by Major C. ARMITAGE, M.C, R.H.A. The regiment sent off one 3-tonner to the delta to purchase sports kit.  
  7   All officers travelled to Miremare Cinema, TRIPOLI to hear a lecture by the Army Commander.  
  15   Anti-parachute and Anti sea landing preparation, in the form of Mobile Inlying Picquets, were taken as a result of a recent night landing of enemy parachutists at BENGHASI AND CASTEL BENITO.  
      Battery Sports were held.  
  19   Regtl Sports were held at 1600 hrs. The attendance was good and the competition keen, but "M" Battery established an early lead and finally triumphed with a well established lead.  
      "D" and "J" Btys tied for second place with R.H.Q. third.  
  20   After two postponements the regiment moved off to Kilo 25 on the TRIPOLI - BEN GARDENE road to be inspected by General LION, generally presumed to be H.M. The King  
  21   At 1430 hrs the regiment formed up on both sides of the road, "Right of the line for the 7 Armd Div." At 1550 hrs H.M. (General LION) arrived.  
      The Commanding Officer,  Lieut-Colonel R.B.T. DANIEL. R.H.A was introduce to H.M., who inspected the regiment.  
      Photograph record of this memorable occasion is attached. The Div Comdr subsequently congratulated the regiment on being the most smartly turned out of the whole parade.  
      The regiment left to return to HOMS at 1700 hours.  
  22   The the accompaniment of vivid sky flashes (the first normal activity for some time) the regiment arrived back in camp at 0200 hours,  
      The 22nd of June was consequently a day of rest.  
  26   Both the Commanding Officer, Lieut-Colonel R.B.T. DANIEL. R.H.A and "D" Battery's Commanding Officer, Major W.B. Stewart, DSO, MC. RHA left for GAZA to attend a unit Commanders Course.  
      Major C. ARMITAGE, M.C, R.H.A. assumed command of the regiment.  
      The regiment was well represented on the Div Sports.  
  29   The whole regiment attended stagger performances of "Desert Victory" at the cinema in HOMS, and was unanimous in its approval of the film.  

 

H.M. King George VI with 3rd RHA 21 June 1943

 

July 1943

Commanding Officer: Lt-Col R.B.T. DANIELL. R.H.A.

Place Date Hour Summary of Events and Information References to Appendices
  1   The regiment was still encamped at M.6624 and individual training continued  
  5   Major BUCKWELL R.H.A. (Commanding "J" Bty RHA) evacuated to hospital.  
  8   Major C. ARMITAGE, RHA (Second in Command) promoted Acting Lt-Colonel, and assumed command of the regiment.  
      Capt. L.P. HICKS (Bty Capt "J" Bty RHA, 16 NCOs and 2 Gunners posted to Home Establishment.  
  11   Individual training ceased and Troop training commenced.  
  16   Major BUCKWELL R.H.A. returned from hospital and re-assume command of "J" Bty RHA.  
  19   L-Col R.B.T. DANIELL RHA, who had commanded the regt since December (when the regiment was at MASSEAT) visited the regiment to say goodbye, on being posted to Home Establishment.  
  20   Lt. N.A. Nisbett, who was wounded at NOMILIA, rejoined the regiment from Base Depot.  
  27   Lt. H.A. Parsons and Lt. A.I.S. KNOWLES RA. rejoined the regiment.  
  28)   Drivers were practised in loading and unloading vehicles on Tank Landing Craft at HOMS Harbour.  
  29)   There were no vehicle casualties.  
  29   Capt. G.H.P. LAWRENCE RHA awarded Military Cross for gallantry.  
      Bdr. TAIT E. awarded Military Medal for gallantry.  

 

August 1943

Commanding Officer: Lt-Colonel J.A. NORMAN, RHA.

Place Date Hour Summary of Events and Information References to Appendices
  1   The regiment is still encamped at M.6624  
  4   Regimental calibration of guns and drill order to exercise O.Ps.  
      A standard gun was provided by H.Q.R.A. 7 Armd Div.  
  5   Inspection of regimental vehicle packing by the Commanding Officer.  
      The regiment was now reduces to a European establishment of vehicles, entailing economic packing for forthcoming combined operations.  
  6   Divisional Artillery High Air Burst Scheme.  
  7   First beach landing practice (dress F.S.M.O). All ranks scrambled quickly ashore from a Landing Craft Infantry in water waist deep,  
  10   High Air Burst Scheme which was followed by a skeleton Divisional Arty Concentration (one gun per regt engages the target_.  
      The scheme was attended by General B.G. Horrocks, D.SO, M.C.  
  12   All ranks were conducted round the 131 (Queens) Ind Bde "mock up" landing beach at LEPTIS MAGNA.  
  13   Second beach landing practice. This time a new record speed was set up for disembarkation.  
      Lt-Colonel J.A. NORMAN, R.H.A. assumes command of the regiment, and Major C. ARMITAGE, R.H.A. (Regt 2IC) relinquished temporary Comd.  
  Night    Divisional Dryshod Beaching Landing scheme.  
  15/16   All vehicles and crews "boarded" L.S.T affected a landing and quickly found their way to assembly and concentration area.  
  17   Further calibration of guns.  
      "J" Bty RHA participated in an "Advance Guard Exercise" with 5 Bn the Queens Royal Regt.  
  19   Major W.B. STEWART, DSO, MC, RHA. OC "D" Bty RHA promoted Lt-Colonel and assumed command of 53 Anti-Tank Regt R.A.  
      Lecture at Divisional cement model, on future operations, by Lt-Col J.A. NORMAN, R.H.A  
  20   Muster parade for an address by our new Commanding Officer,  
  23   Major-General A. MAXWELL, C.B.E, M.C (MGRA, MEF) visited the regiment, accompanied by the G.O.C. and C.R.A.  
      Second lecture at Divisional cement model.  
  27   Lt-General R.L. McCREERY, DSO, MBE, MC. our new Corps Commander met the senior officers of the regiment.  
  28   Batteries moved out of regimental lines and lived, in troops, on their vehicles.  
  30   Major-General ERSKINE, CB, DSO, the Divisional Commander, addressed all officers and N.C.Os. at LEPTIS MAGNA on future operations.  
      He expressed his appreciation of the hard work put into training and congratulated the Division.  
      "J" Battery R.H.A. left the regiment and proceeded to waterproofing area.  
  31   The Commanding Officer, 2 IC and Battery Comds met the C.C.R.A,  
      Majore T.J TIRRELL MC, DCM assumed command of "D" Battery RHA.  

 

     
 

NARRATIVE  

August 1943

 

            It has now become known that the 3rd Regiment, Royal Horse Artillery, in support of 131 (Queens) Infantry Bde were to take part (as the Division had been promised) in an assault against the enemy, probably involving Combined Operations. Its programmed therefore involved training on lines differing widely from Desert Warfare. Fresh subjects considered were therefore varied and included, Operations on Main Roads and in Mountainous Country, Mountain Warfare, Embarkation and Disembarkation from Landing Craft, Waterproofing of vehicles and Route Marches in F.S.M.O.

             The L.A.D. and Regimental Quartermaster were also fully occupied in re-equipping and making battleworthy every single item of equipment vitally necessary to the regiment's fighting efficiency. The month of August was consequently a busy period in Regimental History.

 

 

 

September 1943

Commanding Officer: Lt-Colonel J.A. NORMAN, RHA.

Place Date Hour Summary of Events and Information References to Appendices
  1   Preparations for move to waterproofing.  
  3   Special Church Parade on fourth anniversary of the outbreak of the war.  
  7   Informal visit by the Div Comd  (Gen Erskine)  
  9   Regt left for TRIPOLI to be inspected by REME before vehicles were waterproofed.  
      The Fifth Army under General Clark landed at SALERNO.  
  10   Waterproofing was started on vehicles early this morning, but at 1500 hr orders were received to stop waterproofing .  
  11   The Regt let the waterproofing area for the docks at 0545. There was a long wait at the Docks until 1300 hrs when the LSTs arrived.  
  16   We were all aboard by 1530 hrs - The was loaded as follows D Bty in one LST M Bty in another LST and RHQ and 1/5 Bn Queens in another.  
      Regt sailed at Midnight 16 for unknown destination. J Bty has already sailed in the Advance Party.  
      J Bty landed at SALERNO and moved to concentration area S.W. PONTEGANAGNO. Enemy counter attack.  
  17   Normal Ships routing, Vehicles which had been waterproofed were dewaterproofed the landing was likely to be dryshod.  
      J Bty still in the concentration area. Enemy attack continued.  
  18   Sicily and Mainland sighted in early evening. Regt Advance Party recced a new concentration area for RHQ. D & M Btys RHA South of R. TUSCIANO  
  19   D Bty and RHQ landed on beach S of SALERNO N741309 and moved to conc area.  
      M Bty could not get ashore owing to "false" sand bar some 30 yds off shore.  
  20   M Btys LST managed to get off the sand bar and the Bty landed.  
      D J & M Btys came into action at N 786272 in support of Queens Bde, 2 men wounded in hit and run straffing raid by FW190s  
  22   Skeleton gun groups were placed under command of 46 Div for concentration and fired from 704255.  
  23   Recce parties ready to move with 7 Armd Div. Regt under command 172 Fd Regt Group. Progress of 46 and 56 Divs slow.  
  25   Standard barrage fired at 1630 hrs - all at supercharge.  
  26   Moved to SALERNO sea front and spent a wet night there.  
  27   Move through CAVA DE TIRRENI to get in position at 591395.  
  28   131 Bde too over the task of taking the pass leading to the plane of NAPLES from SALERNO. Progress satisfactory.  
      The Regt moved through NOCERA to area N 413387. DF and HF was used extensivey during the late evening and through the night.  
      Which resulted in breaking up enemy counter attacks on SCAFATI. A wet and active night.  
  29   Enemy still withdrawing from SCAFATI area. Regt moved to area PASSANTI (N 422418). A barrage was fired on the SAN GUISSEPPE area.  
      The enemy who overlooks us from VESUVIUS fired off shells back into the village but further concentrations with the help of No 2 AGRA quietened the considerably.  

 

October 1943

Commanding Officer: Lt-Colonel J.A. NORMAN, RHA.

Place Date Hour Summary of Events and Information References to Appendices
     

General Narrative.

 
      Between 2nd and 6th. Octover 22 AB supported by 5 RHA continued the advance with two regts. up; 1 RTR and CC Bty RHA, directed on AFRIGOLA to AVERSA, 4 CLY and K Bty RHA; on MELITO de NAPOLI and ALBANOVA.  
      On 5th. October 22 AB was established with bridgeheads over the REGILAGNI Canal at 1970 and 1271.  On 6th. October 1 RTR advancing up the AVERSA - CAPUA road were in contact with the enemy on the line SANTAMARIA VETERE to SANTA MARIA LA FOSSA,  
      1/5 Bn Queens, supported by 5 RTR too over from inclusive X roads 1576 to SANTA MARIA LA FOSSA and regiment came into action in the area 1270 in support. On 7th. October, 1/7 Bn, Queens and HQ 131 Bde. moved up to take over the line exclusive SANTA MARIA LA FOSSA inclusive GRAZZANISE. D Bty RHA. were in support of 1/5 Queens, J Bty. RHA in support of 1/7 Bn. Queens. 4CLY were under comd 131 Bde. and protected the left flank of the 1 /7 Bn. Queens.  
      Between the 7th. and 11th. October 1/5 Bn. Queens and 1/7th Bn. Queens actively patrolled the South bank of the river VOLTUNO, after enemy has withdrawn to North bank.  
      They did recces of possible crossing places and small patrols crossed the river the far banks but in almost all cases were heavily engaged by MG's and mortars and had to withdraw without making an deep penetrations.  
      On the 9th. October M Bty. RHA were moved to a new position North of the REGILAGNI Canal in area SPINELLI, 1712.  
      On the night 10/11th. October the Regt, fired heavy concentrations on enemy positions as a "deception" plan.  
      On the night 12/13th. October, 10 Corps made an attack on the VOLTURNO with the intentions of establishing bridgeheads; by 56 Div. at CAPUA, by 46 Div. at CASTEL VOLTURNO. 7 Armd. Div. were to make a diversion with 131 Bde. at GRAZZANISE and if only light opposition was met, were to form a bridgehead.  
      This diversion was carried out by the 1/7 Bn, Queens, supported by the Divisional Arty. of 7 Armd. Div, and 2 A.G.R.A. Heavy concentrations were fired on all know enemy strong points.  
      Elements of 1/7 Bn. Queens succeed in crossing the river and by the 13th. had 2 Coys, and 4 A/Tk  gns. across   
      Capt G. Buchanan, RHA; of J Bty. RHA has established an OP with the leading Coy. and a line of communication by 0600hrs. on the 14th. Opposition was negligible except for casual shelling and mortaring.  
      In the meantime 1/5 Bn. Queens had patrols North of the river at SANTA MARIA LA FOSSA, but had been unable to get an vehicles or A/Tk. guns across, and therefore could not establish themselves.  
      On the 16th. BREZZA was occupied but the enemy were still holding the river bends at 1078 and 1278.  
      At first light on the 17th., 1/6 Bn. Queens, supported by "M" Bty. RHA and two troops of 4 C.L.Y. passed through the 1/7 Bn. Queens and advance astride the road BREZZA - SANADRIA 0482. Immediately afterwards 1/5 Bn. Queens passed through and moved Eastwards from BREZZA to eliminate those Germans still holding out on the river bends.  
      By last light 1/5 Bn. Queens were at 1179 and 0981, and 1.6 Queens were at 0780 and 0778. The bridges across the canal had been blown and progress was held up as there was no further bridging material available.  
      On the 19th. 1/5 Bn Queens established a bridgehead over the Canal at 0981 and pushed two Coys. across, but could advance no further as A/Tk. guns could not be got across.  
      At the same time 1/6 Bn. Queens occupied the further end of SANADRIA and reported it clear, but withdrawiug at nightfall it was re-occupied by the enemy.  
      On the 20th, Carrier Patrols supported by Captain P.G. Franklin re-entered SANADRIA but were driven out by enemy M.G. fire. 1/5 Bn. Queens sent patrols to the main road at 1086 and 0585 where contact was made with 56 Div, in the area 1284.  
      The regiment moved forward in the morning and occupied gun positions in the South West edge of GRAZZANISE.  
      Between 21st. and 25th. no further advance was made, but strong patrols activity continued between cross roads 0886 and SANADRIA by both Bns. The front was held by the enemy in small strength with a few M.Gs and mortars and a troop of  105 mm. guns.  
      In the meantime 56 Div. has moved up until on 25th. they were established on a line ROCHETA 1393 to SPARANISE 0880  
      On the night of 25/26th. 46 Div. took over the line from, inclusive, Rd Junc. 0786 to inclusive, Rd Junc. 0282 and 7 Armd. Div, took over the live from MASSICO feature to the sea with on the right 131 Bde on the axis CANCELLO to Rd. Junc. 0089, and 22 Armd. Bde. on the axis CASTEL VOLTURNO to MONDREGONA.  
      On the 26th. the regt moved across into positions in the area 0273. 131 Bde. front was taken over by 1/7 Bn. Queens supported by "J" Bty. RHA. They were opposed bt enemy M.G. posts in the area 9880  
      On the 27th. Capt. R.A. Stokes, R.H.A. accompanied a patrol in daylight. It was engaged by Spandan fire and the Spandanu was effectively dealt with by a regimental concentration.  
      On the 28th., patrol activity in this area continued and targets were engaged by "J" Bty. O.Ps, mostly houses thought to be occupied by the enemy. One troop of "J" Bty. R.H.A. was moved forward to the area 0079. By this time 22 Armd Bde, on the left had made a bridgehead across the Canal at 9376 and had advanced to within 1500 yds. of MONDREGONA.  
      131 Bde., less 1/7 Bn. Queens. were moved round to this flank and on the morning of the 30th. an attack was made with the following objectives:-  
      (1) S. ANGELO 9280   MONDREGONA 9179 Rd. Junc. 9076 to be captured by the 1/ Bn. Queens and the 2 Bn. R.B. (2) 1/6 Bn Queens were then to pass through and capture the ROCKA DA MONDREGONA 9281. (3) The 1/5 Bn. Queens were then to go on again and capture the feature 8883.   
      By 0900hrs. 1/5 Queens with O.Ps from "D" Bty. RHA had captured the first objective with slight opposition, and by 1200hrs. the 1/6 Bn. supported by "M" Bty. RHA. had occupied the second objective with no opposition. 1/5 Bn. Queens pushed out patrols up to 2200 yds. up the coast area and encountered opposition. No further attempt was made to advance that day.  
      At first light 31st/ 1/5bn. Queens advanced to take the third objective. They reached the foot of the feature at 0962 and then came under heavy mortar and M.G. fire, the Bn. having 2 Coy. Cmds. casualties and Capt. D.D. Yonge, R.H.A. "D" Bty. R.H.A. also wounded.  
      By this time the Regt. was not in range of the enemy, and could not move round the left flank because there was no "road space" available. Support was given by 5 Regt. RHA. and 24 Fd. Regt. R.A.  
      At last light, Major T.J. Tirrell, M.C. D.C.M., R.H.A., who had established an O.P. on the high ground at 9182 put-down an effective concentration on a troop of 105 mm. guns in the area 8886. At least one lorry was destroyed and the guns were later found abandoned with several dead bodies on the position.  
      At first light on 1st November, 1/5 Bn. Queens reached the third objective with no opposition and 22 Armd Bde. passed through with 1 R. Tanks supported by 5 Regt. R.H.A. and 24 Fd. Regt. R.A. Meeting mortars, demolitions and mines they advanced to the railway-road junction at 9186 and to CELLOLI 8889 with patrol across to the sea. The regiment moved during the morning via. CELLOLI to positions in the area 9381.  
      An O.P. was established on the feature 8883, but was purely in a defensive role and did not shooting.  
      On the 2nd. November, 22 Armd. Bde. made further advance reaching the line 0852 to sea at 8389.  
      No further shooting was done by the Regiment.  
         
  1943      
  Oct.1   Regiment moved to area 417472 with OPs SOMMA VESUVIANO and N 415502.  
      "D" Bty. RHA. RHA sent out a sniping gun which was able to shoot beyond ACERRA. An extra rum ration was granted for achievement. NAPLES was occupied.  
  2 & 3   Little contact with the enemy. Quiet days.  
  4   A hasty move on the road behind 22 Armd. Bde. via S. GUISEPPE to POMIGLIANO. Here the Regt. was held up on the road and leaguered in blocks of flats.  
  5   Skirting NAPLES the Regt. moved on to a concentration area 2 miles S. of AVERSA in the orchards.  
  6   The Regt. occupied position S. of REGILAGNO canal and in the ALBANOVA area at N115704 preparatory to 131 Bde. assault on R. VOLTURNO. A very wet night.  
  7   More heavy rain, - Vehicles nearly all bogged down. Although further positions just N. of canal were recced. at SPINELLI (1712) it was not possible to move in the morass of mud. Sporadic shelling by enemy.  
  8   More rain. Forward position at SPINELLI (1712) prepared.  
  9   Regt. managed to extricate itself and occupy SPINELLI position. Roads in S. MARIA LA FOSSA and GRAZZANISE, registered and "stropped up"  
  10/11   Harrasing Fire as shown in RA 7 Armd. Div. Task Table No.2 (seed appd) Appd A
  11   Concentration fired on BREZZA, S. MARIA and GRAZZANISE. Further harrassing fire deception plan as shown in Rgt. Task Table of 11th, (see appd B)
  12   Series of concentrations on loop to N. of the R. VOLTURNO.  
  13   1/7 Queens ordered to make a limited attack across the R. VOLTURNO. 2 Plns. established a kidney loop of the River (N ......) during night 12/13 and later enlarged to 2 Coys and 4 A/Tk. Guns.  
      "J" Bty. RHA. established on OP. with leading Coy. Opposition negligible except for casual shelling intermittant mortaring.  
  14   Silent policy for Div. Arty. RE. ferried Jeeps and A/Tk. Guns across the river and a brideg was started.  
  15   Quiet Day.  
  16   BREZZA occupied. Patrols reached canal REGIA AGNENA 1½ miles to NW.  
      Spasmodic shelling of enemy Spandau posts by "J" Bty RHA.  
      Regt. moved to a new gun area N 069755 at GRAZZANISE.  
  17   Regt. again slightly bogged down by rain. "D" Bty. RHA and one OP. with 22 Armd. Bde. clearing ground between VOLTURNO and the canal REGIA AGNENA.  
      1/5 and 1/6 Queens advancing on to S. ANDREA supported by an OP. from "M" Bty. RHA. Only small targets of isolated post were engaged.  
  18   Area between R. VOLTURNO and canal REGIA AGNENA clear. One OP. from "J" Bty. RHA. joined a patrol from 11 Hussars SW. of S. Andrea.  
      On the right by nightfall an OP. from "M" Bty. RHA. in support of 1/5 Queens had pushed on to within 1 mile S. of S. Andrea.  
      During the night they were pushed back to our D.F. line but likely D.F. with a barrage 1800yds. long (fired by "M" Bty.  RHA.) enabled patrols to continued and enter S. ANDREA and PIAND PIZZONE.  
  19   1/6 Queens held up by M.Gs at S. ANDREA. "D" Bty. RHA. in support of 1/7 Queens fired an outline barrage to support a patrol which was in difficulties.  
      The OP. walked forward on foot to N 092830. Recce. N. of R. VOLTURNO as most tgts. now out of range.  
  20   1/7 Queens supported by "D" Bty. RHA. experiencing opposition in SPARANISE area.  
  21   1/6 Queens still held up although an OP. from "M" Bty. RHA. had accompanied a patrol to S. ANDREA. They were driven out by M.G. fire. Op. consistently shelled.  
      Only indication of enemy positions were from sand bags indication enemy on CARANOLA and FRANCOLISE. Small bridges so difficult to cross that one OP. Honey Tanks was ditched and could not be pulled out for 2 days as it was in full  view of the enemy.  
      During the night a strong enemy patrol came down the road into S. ANDREA. "M" Bty. RHA. engaged successfully and fire 900 rds in the process.  
  22   An OP. from "D" Bty. RHA. at N 055842 engaged a house with his tanks 37mm. as well as with 25 pdrs. and 2 prisoners were taken. Rd. S. ANDREA - BREZZA harassed by hostile shelling wrote of one truck and slightly wounded and officer and the driver.  
  23   "M" Bty. OP. with 1/6 Queens in S. ANDREA.  
  23-26   Quiet  
  26   Regt. moved to area 0273.  
  26-29   Maintenance and rest.  
  30   Our guns crossed the R. VOLTURNO for the first time via the Bride at CANCELLO and went into action at M 990790 to support the action in MASSICO feature.  
      Very few of the RA 7 Armd. Div. Task Table No. 4 (Appd) were fired and after a very successful attack. ROCCA di MONDRAGONE (M9080) was taken with very little firing. Appd "C"

 

November 1943

Commanding Officer: Lt-Colonel J.A. NORMAN, RHA.

Place Date Hour Summary of Events and Information References to Appendices
  1943  

General Narrative.

 
  Nov 1   Nov. 1st found the Regt, in the area 2 miles of CANCELLO to support the attack which was to capture the MT ROCCA feature.  
      This operation was concluded successfully & by Nov. 3 the Regt. was virtually out of range.  
      On the 5th. Nov. a Regt. parade was held, and the C.O, announced that the Division was returning to the U.K.  
      The Regt. moved back to VILLA LITTURNO area on the 7th. November, and prepared all its equipment for handover to a Canadian Armd. Div. which was taking our place.  
      The remainder of the month's activities were spent recceing and securing the rest area at PIANO di SORRENTO, after the actual hand over to the Canadians.  
  1943      
  Nov.1   Regt. in action 2 miles North of CANCELLO, Recce of position just South of MASSICO feature.  
  "      2   The Regt. occupied gun positions M928811 just under the MASSICO feature. Little firing took place as the enemy had withdrawn North of the R. GARIGLIANO.  
  "      4   Enemy out of range - O.Ps called in. Brig. L.W. WHISTLER, DSO. Comdr 131 (QUEENS) Lorried Inf. Bde, paid an informal visit and inspected the Regt.  
      He expressed his gratitude, on behalf of all ranks of the Bde., for our keen support, particularly during the attack on the R.VOLTURNO.  
  "      5   Tremendous excitement when, on a Regtl. Parade, the C.O. announced that the Div. was returning to the U.K.  
  "      7   The Regt. moved back to the area VILLA LITERNO N 0667.  
  "      8   Sorting out and checking of all equipment commenced  
  "      9   Advance parties sent to recce. SORRENTO, the new "rest" area.  
  "     13   Gen. G.W.E.J. ERSKINE, CB. DSO. (the Div Comdr) inspected all officers and NCOS of both 3rd. and 5th. Regts. RHA and congratulated them of their fine performance throughout the campaign.   
  "     14   A small force of fighter bombers attacked the Regtl. area, which was share by a D.I.D., fortunately the only damage was the loss of a three tonner and slight splinter wounds to an officer and two NCOs.  
  17&18   Handing over of equipment to Canadian Div.  
  "     19   Regt. (less advance party) moved to PIANO di SORRENTO, the rest area.  
  "     20   Regt. advance party sailed for U.K. It consisted of Major C. Armitage, MC. RHA. (Regt. 2 i/c) the RQMS and 3 BQMS's.  
  "     24   Inspection of billets by acting Div Comdr., BRIG. W.R.N. HINDE., DSO.  
  "     25   A Sherman Tank Course for Drivers was commenced at POMPEII.  
  "     30   The Commanding Officer inspected the Regiment.  

 

December 1943

Commanding Officer: Lt-Colonel J.A. NORMAN, D.S.O., RHA.

Place Date Hour Summary of Events and Information References to Appendices
      Narrative. The first day of December found the regiment still bileted at PIANO di SORRENTO eagerly awaiting movement orders for the voage back to England.  
      This period 1st. to 12th. December was occupied with the training of officers and other ranks on "Priest" S.P. guns (105mm) with which we hoped to be re-equipped on arrival in England; and with the checking. replacement and cleaning of personal kit and belongings/  
      On the 12th. December Movement Order Instructions were received, which contained instruction for the movement of personnel and baggage on a D day basis.  
      Heavy "Not wanted on voyage" baggage was to go to NAPLES under an officer and advance baggage party, and personnel were to proceed to docks in 3 stages.  
      The stages were a march of 8 miles to CASTELAMARRE, then by train to a tented staging area at CASSORIA, and finally a march of 7 miles from CASSORIA to the docks at NAPLES.  
      On the 14th. December the heavy baggage, with its fatigue party, moved off to NAPLES.  
      Between 18th. and 20th. men and their personal kit were despatched in stages to the CASORIA transit area.  
      At 0330 hrs the Regiment formed up and marched 7 miles from CASSORIA to NAPLES docks.  
      Throughout the month on 4 x 3 tonners and 6 x 15 cwts were retained by the Regiment for all purposes.  
      Baggage was transported the 35 miles into NAPLES with the sole addition of 3 RASC. 3 tonners.  
      Communications between Regiment Headquarters and Batteries was confined to 4 telephones on an omnibus circuit.  
      The weather was mainly fine and sunny with intermittent days of heavy rainfall.  
      The acting Divisional Commander, Brid W.R. Hinde, DSO (22 Armd Bde). who commanded the Division whilst Gen. Erskinse, CB. DSO was in England with the advance party, inspected Regimental billets on 3d December.  
         
ITALY 1943 1.   Regt. billeted at PIANO di SORENTO.  
  2.   Capt. P. HILTON, MC. RHA. having terminated his tour of duty as Adjut and was posted back to "M" Bty. RHA.  
  3.   Brig, W.R. Hinde inspected "M" Bty. billets.  
  6.   2 Offrs and 60 ORs. left for a "mysterious" fatigue. This later turned out to be a replenishment of a Bn. of KOYLI on MT. CANISCIO and MONASTRY HILL.  
      The difficulty of maintaining supplies up muddy steep mountain sides to forward companies has exhausted the A/Tk gunners and Pioneers who had been performing this task.  
      One gunner was injured during this fatigue which lasted 4 days.  
  13,   Capt. GHP. Lawrence, MC. RHA. left for CASORIA, the embarkation staging camp, with a Regimental Advance Party.  
  14.   Baggage Party under Capt. P. Franklin, RHA proceeded with the "not wanted on voyage" baggage.  
  16.   It was announced that Lt-Colonel J.A. Norman, RHA and Major B.A. Buckwell MC. RHA ("J" Bty. RHA) had been granted the DSO., and Capt. D. Yonge, RHA. ("D" Bty. RHA.) the M.C. and Gnr/Sig. McKenzie, ("D" Bty. RHA.) the M.M.  
      All immediate awards.  
  18.   "D.2" day. Headquarters and Batteries were transported to CASORIA staging camp direct by existing transport.  
  19.   The whole day spent in cramped tented camp. The weather was very cold and damp after the fine weather at SORENTO.  
  20.   "D" day. At 0300 hrs. the Regiment formed up and marched with the remainder of the Division to NAPLES DOCKS.  
      Kit bags and valise were ferried by transport. The Regiment arrived at 0700 hrs. and had embarked upon H.M.T ORMONDE (Orient Line) by 1100 hrs.  
  21.   Boat stations and normal ship's routine.  
  Dec.22.   Africa Star ribbon issued.  
    "    23.   The ship arrived and moored at quay about 4 miles outside ORAN  
    "    25.   The ship left teh quay for an anchorage just outside ORAN.  
      Ship's prohibition regulations were slightly relaxes and wine was served with the Christmas meal, together with pork, nuts oranges and chocolate.  
      The Officers waited on the men and as there was a heavy sea running an exceptionally high standard of "service" was demanded.  
    "    27.   H.M.T Ormonde put to sea again, passing through the STRAITS OF GIBRALTER during the night.  
    "  28-30.   Ship still sailing west.  
    "    31.   Muster Parade to see Hygiene film.  

 

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