Battle Honour 'ARGENTA GAP'.

Tuesday, 17 April, 1945
Map showing the locations of the two battalions of The London Irish Rifles.

The Battle Honour ARGENTA GAP is emblazoned on the Queen's Colours of The Royal Irish Regiment.

The Allies in Italy launched the Spring Offensive in 1945 to break into the Po Valley in northern Italy. The Eighth Army had taken part in an assault crossing the River Senio on 9 April, followed immediately by a vigorous battle to cross the River Santerno and position the 56th Division and the 78th Infantry Division on the River Reno ready to seize the Argenta Gap from the Germans.

The 2nd Battalion The Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, having already absorbed men from the disbanded 6th Battalion, was in 38 (Irish) Brigade alongside the 2nd Battalion The London Irish Rifles and the 1st Battalion The Royal Irish Fusiliers. KangarooThey were organised as a brigade group, including additional supporting armour and armoured personnel carriers called Kangaroos (left). The London Irish, mounted in the majority of the Kangaroos, formed the nucleus of the mobile force that was a forerunner of the modern Battle Group. The Irish Brigade, commanded by Brigadier T P D Scott, had moved to the bridgehead in readiness for the breakout.

(Left, a Priest Kangaroo personnel carrier of 209th Self-Propelled Battery, Royal Artillery, transports infantry of 78th Division near Conselice, 13 April 1945. Second from right wears a 38 (Irish) Brigade shoulder flash. © IWM (NA 24043))

The Brigade's advance from the Reno bridgehead began on 17 April and included the 1st Faughs clearing a route across the Fossa Marina canal. The 2nd Inniskillings quickly followed and, despite a fierce attack by German tanks, the enemy, by the afternoon, was in retreat once again. The next morning the London Irish, aboard their Kangaroos, led the advance and made good progress. The combination of armour and mechanised infantry proved too much for the enemy who fell back from the vital ground in the Argenta Gap. D Company of the Faughs was rightly proud of Sergeant Lang whose patrol captured two German Panzer Mark IV tanks in good running order - complete with their crews.

By the evening of 19 April 1945, the Argenta Gap was in Allied hands and the route to the River Po was open.