Irish Brigade attack Maletto and advance to Randazzo, Sicily.

Event
Wednesday, 11 August, 1943 - Friday, 13 August, 1943
Attack on Maletto

After five days of rest following the battle of Centuripe and the river crossings over the Salso and the Simeto, 38 (Irish) Brigade was ready for action. Its next task was to capture the German Maletto defensive positions south of Randazzo and then advance to join up with the 1st (US) Division on the route to Randazzo.

On 11 August, the Brigade moved to Bronte beyond which the going, in places was unsuitable for the pack mules. The Brigade Commander planned a night attack on Maletto to begin at 0230 hours on 12 August, following a Brigade night move from Bronte to the Start Line. The 1st Battalion The Royal Irish Fusiliers would be on the left with the area of Mt Capella as their objective and the 2nd Battalion The London Irish Rifles on the right tasked with capturing Mt Sperina. Unfortunately, the London Irish were badly delayed and did not get to the Start Line until 0400 hours because company commanders, advancing on compass bearings, had encountered innumerable obstacles including thick high walls, rocky tracks and close wooded country with thick undergrowth. However, the Faughs were in their Forming Up Position by 0030 hours and crossed the Start Line at 0230 hours.

By 0600 hours the Faughs had consolidated their positions and were digging in on Capella. During the day the Brigade's forward companies experienced incoming fire from heavy mortars, machine guns, well concealed snipers and shellfire from 88mm guns. This was especially true on the right where the London Irish had difficulty achieving their objectives; a company commander was killed on Sperina leading his company across ground swept by fire from an enemy depth position. The Faughs pushed on at 1600 hours and began house clearing in Maletto village. The London Irish finally achieved their objectives on Sperina by 1700 hours. The 6th Battalion The Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers (in reserve) assisted on the right and helped push back the enemy who were causing trouble from the la Nave hill to the east.

When the Germans were ejected from their positions around Maletto, the Brigader quickly prepared to advance to Randazzo. He moved the London Irish into reserve and pushed the Inniskillings on to clear la Nave and guard the right flank so that the Faughs could pursue the enemy astride the road from Maletto to Randazzo. The Faughs began their attack at 2230 hours and linked up with the 1st (US) Division at 0930 hours the following morning.

This was the Irish Brigade's last action in Sicily and the Allies entered Messina on 17 August. The casualties incurred during the fighting on the island were 25 officers and 365 other ranks. The proportion of Company Commander casualties was very high as there were 5 killed and 5 wounded.

Below: Americans advance through Randazzo.

THE CAMPAIGN IN SICILY 1943
THE CAMPAIGN IN SICILY 1943© IWM (NA 5893)

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