National Archives catalogue number WO 169/10360.

 

Abbreviations

A/T

Bde

Bn

Coy

Div

DZ

HE

Pr

Regt

RV

Stn

Anti-Tank

Brigade

Battalion

Company

Divisional

Drop Zone

High Explosive

Pounder

Regiment

Rendezvous

Station

 

Month and year: July 1943

 

 

1st July 1943

The Bn carried out Exercise HAMLET in the area of SIDI EL HANI.  Bn. HQ, and HQ coy, and skeleton Coy HQ's. dropped, the remainder of the Bn. was on the ground.  Control was established very quickly, and the Bn. moved off within an hour of the drop.  The latter part of the Exercise was combined with field firing.  Lessons from this Exercise were:-

        (a).  The ease with which the Bn. can be controlled by the Walkie Talkie (wireless) commanders net, in addition to the 48 net.

        (b).  More work is required on the Breda A/T gun suspensions, as only 1 Breda was complete.

 

Night 2nd/3rd July 1943

The Bn. carried out a night patrol Exercise in the area NORTH of Camp.

 

6th to 7th July 1943

The Battalion + attached troops carried out Exercise BELVOIR against 10 Bn. Parachute Regt. in the hilly country West of PAVILLIER Stn.  After a long night advance the attack was put in on 10 Bn. positions at 0400 hrs., and it was successful.  In the morning a further attack was made on to the high features near the Western defile (JANE), but 10 Bn. had withdrawn.  In this Exercise the Bn. worked well, particularly in the cross country movement for the final attack.  The Commanders walkie-talkie was found very useful in regulating the column during the night advance.

 

9th to 16th July 1943

Companies camp on the Sea South of Sousse.

 

12th July 1943

The Battalion was warned to be at 48 hrs. notice for an operation.  This notice died a natural death, but it was used to get equipment etc., to complete our War Scale.

 

22nd to 23rd July 1943

The Bn. carried out Exercise JERBOA, west of KAIROUAN.  The complete Bn. & Bde HQ were airborne, the remainder of the Bde. were represented by Skeleton HQ's.  A Troop of 6 pr. A/T. guns was under Command of the Bn.  In the initial drop, the Bn. was very widely scattered over an area of 10-15 miles round the D.Z., and there were 7 major, and twenty-four minor dropping casualties.  The Bn. moved from the R.V. at about 50% strength, but by the end of the exercise strength was about 350.  At the conference after the Exercise the Brigadier showed that he was satisfied at the manner in which the Bn. had carried out its tasks under the difficult conditions caused by the initial drop.  Lessons were:-

        (a).  In war we are likely to be dropped dispersed, and all men must know the area all round the D.Z's, and a system of progressive R.V's would aid in the collection of a large force.

 

24th July 1943

The Divisional Commander, 1st Airborne Div, visited the Bn.  After the initial inspection he spoke to the Bn.

 

30th July 1943

The premature explosion of a 2" mortar bomb, killed three men of the Bn.  The premature explosion of a Breda H.E. shell killed one man of the Bn.