di Nick van der Bijl

No. 6 (Polish) Tp moved into the picturesque ski resort of Pescopennataro on the right flank of 56th Recce Regiment. Determined to stir up the enemy, a fighting patrol led by Capt Smrokowski crossed the Sangro and collided with a German patrol near a farm, losing one man killed. On 20 December the Poles learnt that two mountain-trained Jäger companies were planning to attack a British 25-pounder battery near Capracotta during the night of 21/22 December. Although the gunners fired on the San Angelo river crossing, within the hour the Poles were surrounded. They held their position and fought a nine-hour battle in the village, suffering just there lightly wounded.

On New Year's Eve, No. 4 (Belgian) Tp left San Pietro Avellano to join 2nd London Irish, and were replaced there by No. 6 (Polish) Tp. Next day heavy snowfalls trapped the Poles in the village, and it was only after Bachleda had skied to Capracotta on 5 January 1944 that supplies were dropped by parachute. Five days later the Troop withdrew to a rest area.

  • N. van der Bijl, No. 10 (Inter-Allied) Commando: 1942-45. Britain's Secret Commando, Osprey, Oxford 2006, pp. 59-60.

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