Night Attack along Djebel el Ang,Tunisia.

Event
Thursday, 15 April, 1943

The 78th Division's fight to open the route to Tunis and complete the eviction of the Germans from Tunisia and North Africa continued. The final requirement in April 1943 was to capture the dominating mountainous area known as Tanngoucha and its key village of Heidous. A foothold on Tanngoucha had been established by 11 Brigade and 38 (Irish) Brigade moved forward to relieve its exhausted battalions. Bettiour, Tanngoucha, Pt 622, The Kefs, and a point to become famous as Butler’s Hill were features surmounted by 20 - 40 foot wide long 'dragon back' summits with sheer sides, its cliffs from 20 to 60 feet high, and with difficult approaches. And of course the Germans had spent much time carefully preparing and constructing defensive positions.

The 2nd Battalion The London Irish Rifles (2 LIR) moved forward to relieve the 2nd Battalion The Lancashire Fusiliers (2 LF) in the area of Djebel Bettiour, and although the position was fairly difficult to take over, as 2 LF was repelling an enemy night attack, the Relief in Contact was accomplished. The 1st Battalion The Royal Irish Fusiliers (1st Faughs) was ordered to attack Djebel el Ang, Djebel Tiour and Point 622 with the 6th Battalion The Royal Inniskillings held as the Brigade's reserve.

At 2045 hours, the 1st Faughs was on its Start Line on the west slope of Djebel el Ang. Some enemy was reported on the top. D Company was the forward left company with A Company on the right. The Command group with C Company followed behind them. The Battalion's pack mules carrying essential battle supplies followed in the rear. The Faughs swept over Djebel el Ang and then swung right over a small saddle to approach Kel el Tiour from the north west, keeping up well with the supporting artillery barrage. While waiting for the barrage to lift, a few rounds dropped short on A Company, with the result that Lieutenant P J Slattery and three men were killed, with Captain D L Jefferies MC receiving a fatal wound. The Battalion continued its otherwise successful advance but had to consolidate at 2330 hours on the objectives achieved as heavy mist prevented any further advance onto Point 622. When the mules arrived with ammunition, picks, and shovels, the Battalion began digging-in and patrols were pushed forward.

One such patrol from D Company arrived atop an escarpment and engaged a nine-man group of Germans that had arrived there at the same time. When a larger enemy party following behind them appeared, it too was engaged. The German officer leading them was shot and, as he tumbled 100 feet down the escarpment, the remainder fled leaving several taken prisoner.

The following day would see the 6th Inniskillings conduct another night attack to capture Tanngoucha, but fail to hold it. Thus began this most difficult fight for Tanngoucha and the village of Heidous that would continue until 3 May 1943, when 38 (Irish) Brigade, having succeeded, was relieved by French troops. The Battle Honour DJEBEL TANNGOUCHA on the Regimental Colours is the distinction awarded to our former Regiments for the eventual capture of Tanngoucha.

contact