Inniskillings reach Salerno

Wed, 09/22/1943
Bren Gun Carrier
The Universal Carrier, or Bren Gun Carrier, on display in the Inniskillings Museum in The Castle of Enniskillen.

In 1943, there were two Inniskilling battalions in General Montgomery's Eighth Army. The 2nd Battalion The Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers was in 13 Infantry Brigade and its sister battalion, the 6th Inniskillings, was part of 38 (Irish) Brigade as the Allies advanced from Sicily to continue the liberation of the Italian mainland. The 2nd Inniskillings landed on the 'toe' of Italy just north of Reggio on 3 September, and then on 6 September was again at sea aboard landing crafts as it jumped forward to land some 15 miles north of the Straits of Messina.

On 22 September 1943, the Battalion reached a point due east of Salerno. In 19 days the 2nd Battalion had advanced 240 miles, 100 of them on foot, the balance by sea or motor transport. They had a comparatively peaceful advance with regard to the enemy, but nevertheless had suffered a number of casualties, even among the Battalion's nimble mules - owing to the dangerous mountainous tracks along which they had advanced. The 2nd Inniskillings's next major action would be fighting the German 26 Panzer Division holding the Isernia Pass.