5th Sherwood Foresters Salerno September 1944

Discussion in 'British Army Units - Others' started by Uncle Target, Nov 23, 2021.

  1. Uncle Target

    Uncle Target Turn the page

    I am particularly seeking information regarding the attack by 139 Brigade(edit)/ 5SF on the S.Cruce 625328 Near Salerno on 20th to 25th September 1943 (edit) or Il Telegrafo 628334
    Where could I locate on line maps, memoires, stories or books.
    Any suggestions considered. This is a little out of my normal area of study.
    I am trying to relate this to the advance of the 46 Div and the 5th Division.
    The various rivers crossed are at the moment very confusing. Namely the Garigliano and the Volturno.
    No doubt I will get there eventually.
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2021
  2. ClankyPencil

    ClankyPencil Senior Member

    So just to clarify a few things:
    1. Assume your reference to the attacks around Il Telegrafo and S.Cruce were those that were part of the breakout from the Salerno beach-head.
    2. These were in September 1943 (not 1944)

    3. The 139th Division wasn't involved. It was the 46th Division which consisted of the 128th, 138th and 139th Brigades.
    4. The 5 SF were generally referenced as the 2/5th Bn Sherwood Foresters.and were part of the 139th Brigade.

    5. i think The Volturno crossing were later (October 43) and the various Garigliano crossings started in December 43 continuing into 1944.
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  3. ClankyPencil

    ClankyPencil Senior Member

    So just for reference info here's the British X Corps Order of Battle for the time of Salerno and also that of the 46th Division

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  4. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

  5. ClankyPencil

    ClankyPencil Senior Member

    So with regard to the 2/5th Sherwood Foresters 20-25th September 43, it appears the main objective of the 46th Division was to attack/control the high ground either side of the Vietri defile (route that runs North from Vietri sul Mare to Cava di Tirreni) to allow Armour to advance.

    Main attack was scheduled night of the 22/23rd Sept.
    Interesting to note that they mixed the units of the 138th and 139th Inf Brigades (i.e. 6 Y&L fought under the command of 139th Bde whilst the 16 DLI were with the 138th).

    Unfortunately i haven't got the War Diaries of the 2/5th SF or the 139th Bde HQ for that time but do have the 138th Bde HQ and other units of the 138th and 139th Bde's.

    Added a few snippets below from some of them, and can add more depending how much more info/details you want.
    WO_169_10252 Sk1.JPG
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2021
  6. minden1759

    minden1759 Senior Member

    Uncle Target.

    Here you go.

    By 22 Sep 43, 46 BR Inf Div was ready to undertake Phase 2 of the original X (BR) Corps plan – the opening of the two Passes in order to allow 7 BR Armd Div to sweep forward into the Naples Plain.

    The line of advance for 46 BR Inf Div was Route 18 through the La Molina Pass to Cava de Tirreni. Having taken the lead in the landings, 128 Inf Bde was to be in reserve whilst 139 Inf Bde was to probe forward on either side of Route 18 through Cava and beyond. This was difficult country with the Germans sustaining a strong rear-guard action to cover their heavy demolitions in Naples.

    It began that night on 22 Sep 43. It was intended to establish a firm base from Corpo di Cava on the left, through La Molina to San Croce and Telegraph Hill on the right, from which to launch the main attack by 138 Inf Bde on the night of 23 Sep 43.

    The 138 Inf Bde thrust up the La Molina Pass to Cava and beyond did not go as planned and in the event became a general advance by both 139 Inf Bde and 138 Inf Bde with Bns mixed in where required probing northwards through the terraced rocky hills and scattered villages on either side of Route 18 towards Cava di Terreni. Over on the right flank, 5 FORESTERS occupied most of San Croce early on the night of 23 Sep 43 but 2/4 KOYLI were heavily shelled on their LD and, suffering casualties, were unable to reach San Pietro and San Adiutore Hill two miles beyond. 6 Lincolns secured the eastern end of the Costa Piano spur overlooking Cava[1] and 2/5 Leicesters surrounded Alessia.

    Still on the right flank, on the night of 24 Sep 43, 5 FORESTERS attacked and secured Telegraph Hill (Il Telegrafo) and 2/4 KOYLI tried again and secured San Pietro and San Adiutore Hill by the morning of 25 Sep 43. 5 FORESTERS also pushed on and by the evening were in Pregiato. The advance had succeeded in outflanking the German positions in Cava astride Route 18.

    Along Route 18, 6 Y&L pushed into La Molina on the morning of 23 Sep 43. Meanwhile, on the left flank, 16 DLI had pushed forward from Corpo di Cava and 6 Y&L got into Cava di Terreni on the morning of 24 Sep 43 where engrs had repaired the bridge by the afternoon. 16 DLI pushed on to Passiano during the night of 24 Sep 43. By the time 128 Inf Bde passed through Cava on the morning of 25 Sep 43, two strong prongs had been thrust out a mile on either side of Route 18 although the ground had not been fully cleared.

    As 128 Inf Bde pushed up the valley floor, they were heavily shelled in Cava. 2 Hampshires were held up at the Cemetery and 1/4 Hampshires were continually sniped on Route 18 during the day. Progress was slow and casualties were taken. The Cemetery was cleared on the night of 25 Sep 43 and 5 Hampshires took the lead to reach San Lucia by dusk. The main problem for 128 Inf Bde was San Martino Hill and so under a heavy barrage, 2 Hampshires put in a successful attack. On 27 Sep 43, 6 Y&L advanced to Camerelle and on the right 2/5 Leicesters were established on Monte Citala before dawn on 28 Sep 43. 7 BR Armd Div moved through 128 Inf Bde positions at San Lucia on 28 Sep 43 and pushed on to Naples.


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  7. Uncle Target

    Uncle Target Turn the page

    Thanks Clanky Pencil I got a bit twaddled up with these infantry terms. Thanks also to Frank.
    Here is the WD page sent to me by a friend showing the 5th Foresters on the sheet marked Quitted
    zoomed in to make it clear.
    (edit) three names Quit 16 DLI transferred to 5th Foresters. Smith F S Crane K Clark LW
    signed 139 Infantry Brigade bottom right corner of the main sheet (not visible).

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Nov 26, 2021
  8. Uncle Target

    Uncle Target Turn the page

    Thank you everyone for the information so far. I need to settle down to read The Story of 46 Division 1939-1945 online in three parts part 2 and get the topography into my head.
    Franks explanation is clear and Clanky Pencil has added much visual detail.
    I am afraid my progress on this has been impeded by an ambulance with blue lights which whipped me off to hospital on Wednesday. Ten hours of tests and I am back home but a little shaken and stirred.
    Should be ok in a while to get back into it all. I think that's why I made such a mess of the first posting, should have realised something was wrong.
  9. Hi
    I am currently writing a history of 5th Bn SF, so have lots of material on their operations at Salerno, Volturno and Garigliano - far to much to post here! There is nothing on-line specific to the battalion that I am aware of except for a few audio archives at the IWM. I have gathered my source material primarily from the National Archive, Mercian Regimental Archive and Nottinghamshire Archives. If you want to write to me and tell me further what you are specifically interested in I'm sure that I'll be able to help.

    Incidentally, the exchange of units between brigades was a feature of 46th Division operations not only throught the whole of the fighting at Salerno but also on the Garigliano and later on the Gothic line. I would be interested to hear whether it was also common in other divisions or whether it was a practice peculiar to the 46th Division.

    Mike Somerville

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