Battle for San Fatucchio, 38 (Irish) Brigade, Italy.

Wednesday, 21 June, 1944 - Thursday, 22 June, 1944

38 Irish Bde flashAfter advancing north from Rome, 78th Division exhausted two of its Brigades in the fighting in the western area of Lake Trasimeno. Then it was 38 (Irish) Brigade’s turn. The next battle was set for 21 June 1944, but soon it was discovered that all possible lines of advance were in view of the enemy. The plan adopted was that the 2nd Battalion The London Irish Rifles should flank the town of San Fatucchio from the west and then attack from the north.

At 0730 hrs the battle began. Six hours later, resistance in the town collapsed and H and G Companies which, until then, had not been committed into battle, went forward and cleared the area around the town. The 6th Battalion The Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers had married up with their supporting armour (tanks) by 1430 hrs, but did not begin their attack on the right flank until 1700 hrs. The Germans had by no means given up; they fought on desperately. H Company had a particularly hard struggle against well-concealed strong points in a cemetery, where hand-to-hand fighting was common, as it was in the church itself. By nightfall, the London Irish had not cleared the enemy completely. By dawn the next day, there were still some 70 enemy holding out in two large groups of buildings on the ridge beyond. Lieutenant Gartside took his platoon into the buildings, and, supported by three tanks, systematically cleared the area room-by-room, house-by-house.

By 1030 hrs on 22 June, the enemy was cleared from the gap between 2 LIR and 6 INNISKS. The 2 LIR Battalion Main and Tac HQs were established in San Fatucchio by 1645 hrs. The 2 LIR action in the capture of San Fatucchio had cost the battalion 14 killed and 80 wounded.

The Irish Brigade and its parent Division were withdrawn from operations on 27 June, and in early July, embarked on Troopships and sailed to Egypt for well-deserved Rest and Recuperation (and of course - training).

Pipe Major Norman McCutcheon, Pipe Major The Royal Irish Fusiliers (1957-62), would later compose the march 'The Dusty Road to Trasimeno'.