INVICTA

di Robert Tooley

The day of the CYR's move was fine for once with a mixture of sun and cloud. On arrival at Carovilli, the CYR and R22R were ordered to establish patrol bases of at least one platoon in Capracotta and San Pietro respectively. Number 7 Platoon of A Company (Lieut E.C. Leblanc) was sent off to Capracotta, while #17 Platoon of D Company (Lieut Lome Groom) investigated Agnone. The arrival of the CYR at Capracotta did not pass unnoticed by the enemy, who reported that «an enemy battalion in winter dress and with mountain guns carried by mules has been observed». Neither patrol saw any sign of the enemy, but #7 Platoon found the road blown in eight places. The R22R patrol reported San Pietro burning and not a house left standing: as a deliberate policy of denying the Allied troops winter quarters, the Germans had set about systematically destroying all the villages in the vicinity of the south bank of this section of the Sangro.

The new Brigade Commander, Brigadier Gibson, was not satisfied with the aggressiveness of the patrols, and directed that they would all be aggressive and inquisitive, and at least one third of each unit's strength would be out on patrol at a time. The next day A Company's platoon at Capracotta was strenghtened by the arrival of the remainder of the company, an artillery FOO, a mortar detachment, 2 pioneers, 2 Intelligence Section personnel and 15 mules, seventeen animals and drivers having been attached to the battalion that day. At the same time the Carrier platoon relieved D Company in Agnone. Patrols from Capracotta went right up to the Sangro but found no enemy. This same day the battalion began using an uncommitted company (B Company) to repair the road to Capracotta, and an excellent job was done.

  • R. Tooley, Invicta. The Carleton and York Regiment in the Second World War, New Ireland Press, Fredericton 1989, p. 178.

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