Banana Ridge Tunisia 76th Anniversary
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18th April 2019 at 4:43 pm #16558Chris HarrisParticipant
The 19th April was the beginning of the actions which culminated in the Fall of Tunis.
On 19th April 1st Infantry Division Artillery were making preparations for the battles south of Medjez el Bab.
67th Field Regt were quietly dumping ammunition forward of the Front Lines of Defence in preparation for moving their guns on the night of 20/21 April. They were digging in their guns and laying communications when the fighting began. German paras infiltrated between the Regiments forward positions and the protecting Infantry screen on Banana Ridge. B Troop found German Paras on one or their guns. Fierce fighting ensued much of it hand to hand. 25 pounders were fired at advancing Artillery tractors and Panzers at point blank range over open sights. The German General Von Arnim had sent in a spoiling attack which resulted in him losing many men and much equipment including tanks. The British plans were not seriously affected and the battle for Tunis went ahead as planned.
Has anyone got relatives who fought in this action or the following battles of Anzio or the Gothic Line involving 67th Field Regiment RA (TA).
22nd April 2019 at 11:06 am #16559Chris HarrisParticipant
Tunisia 20/21April, 1943: The night of the 20/21 ended the Regiments period of interim action and the Battle Proper began. On the night of 20/21 the Regiment was to send forward its second load of ammunition, one section of every troop was to be put into action, link lines were to be laid and Command Posts to be prepared. The enemy were largely unaware of the Regiments forward positions. They attacked and over ran the infantry on Banana Ridge (a company of the Duke of Wellingtons Regiment) and all three forward sections of the Regiment came under attack. 446 Bty were hit first. They were digging in and in no position to open fire. Lt Gilberg ordered his men to scatter taking the firing mechanisms from the guns. He and Sgt Knight stayed with one gun which they loaded, waiting for an opportunity. A tank narrowly missed them and as it passed they fired an armour piercing round with supercharge at point blank range (7 yards). The tank exploded blowing off the turret but the accompanying infantry took them prisoner. 266 Battery BHQ at Commando Farm was over run, a tank firing a shell into the Aid Post, killing one man, the rest were taken prisoner. the forward section of C Troop took cover until dawn when Lt France was able to see targets clearly and opened fire on the Enemy on Banana Ridge killing many and causing them to withdraw . 265 Bty experienced what they thought was an infiltrating patrol attack then came under fire from their own Divisional Artillery. B troop was largely over run but A troop were able to place guns on the road in an anti tank role. Sgt Thatcher opened fire on a tank but missed. It returned fire killing him and gnr Everett when the ammunition trailer exploded. After a quiet spell a half track towing an anti tank gun approached at speed, a German Sgt jumped out expecting them to surrender but a second gun opened fire destroying the half track, killing all the occupants and severely wounding the Sgt. A second vehicle towing a gun was also hit together with an armoured car. Several prisoners were taken. Fighting took place all the next day, the enemy eventually withdrew and the battle to take Tunis proceeded as planned on 22nd April.
I am part of a study group hoping to contact relatives of those who served in the Regiment.
We have a collection of documents, maps and family photos and are constructing a website which is currently private and work in progress.
I would welcome your contacting me on 07902494696 to discuss your interest.
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