Operation Order No. 76
Sferro, Sicily, 24th July 1943
51ST HIGHLAND DIVISION OPERATION ORDER NO.76
29 Jul 43.
Ref Map:1/25,000 MUGLIN. PATERNO. GERBINI. M.TRUCISI
The enemy are holding:-
(a) Outpost posn on approx line Coast at H9574 - thence WEST and NW
along line of rly to CATENANOUVA - AGIRA.
(b) Main posn on general line Coast just SOUTH of CATANIA - PATERNO -
ADRANO - TROINA.
Details of enemy posns on 51st Highland Division front are given in latest
2. Own Tps.
(a) I Cdn Div are to capture a secure a bridgehead at CATENANOUVA as soon
as possible, and operate towards REGALBUTO.
(b) 78 Div are taking over CATENANOUVA bridgehead from 1 Cdn Div and are
to attack towards CENTURIPE.
(c) 5 Div take over responsibility for SFERRO bridgehead night D minus 1/D.
3. Additional Tps under comd 51st Highland Division.
"D" Sqn 51 R.T.R.
(a) Between 51Div and 5 Div :
(after relief of SFERRO bridgehead)
All incl 51 Div, rd junc 690796 rd junc 732809
(b) Between 51 Div and 78 Div :
All incl 78 Div, track 6788-6482, rd junc 620755.
5. 51st Highland Division will enlarge present bridgehead on Night of D/Day+1 in conformity with advance of 73 Div, by attacking and holding the high ground Pt. 224 6881 and Pt.193 6781 prior to a further advance.
6. The Attack.
Will be carried out by :
152 Bde right - Objective : Hill feature Pt.224 from incl Spur 6980 to incl
Wadi VALLONE FONTANA MORATA 6781.
154 Bde left - Objective : Hill feature Pt. 193 from excl Wadi FONTANA
MORAT to incl X-rds 658817.
7. 152 Bde Attack.
The attack will be carried out in two phases.
(a) PHASE "A" - One Bn to cross rd SFERRO - CATENANUOVA about Kilo 9
at Zero and advance up the spur under artillery barrage to capture Pt. 224.
This Bn to mop up the Northern slopes of Pt 224 as far NORTH as the rd about 688823.
(b) PHASE "B" - One Bn to move behind the loading Bn and then at zero plus 100 mins to begin an advance from MASSA IAZZOVECCHIO 6800 to clear the spur running SE from Pt. 224 up to the rd about 697801. This advance to be covered by artillery concentrations on known enemy posns.
(c) Reorganisation The Bnd will be reorganised and dug in ready to meet a counter-attack by first light with :
(i) One Bn holding Pt. 224 area.
(ii) One Bn holding the Spur as far S.E. as 695801 and linking up with 13 Bde in SFERRO bridgehead.
(iii) One Bn in depth holding the S.W. slopes of the hill S.W. of Pt. 224, prepared for a counter attack role for Pt. 224.
8. 154 Bde Attack.
(a) One Bn to cross the rd SFERRO - CATENANUOVA about 668809 at Zero under cover of arty barrage to attack, capture and hold feature Pt,193.
(b) A strong fighting patrol to be located silently opposite enemy post at X-rds 658817 by Zero minus 1 hr to deal with it should it open fire on the forming up of either Bde attack.
9. Assembly of 152 and 154 Bdes.
Loading Bns of attacking Bdes will assemble in areas NORTH of M. TURCISIS on night D minus 1/.D. Those areas will be shown in the attached Trace "A". All tps in these areas will be kept under cover during daylight and Bdes will ensure that no movement is visible to enemy observation. 154 Bde will co-ordinate moves into these areas.
10. Axis of Leading Bdes.
Axis for movement of tpt will be :
152 Bde : rd and track junc 678773 - MASSA TURCISI 6678 - river crossing 669798 .
154 Bde : rd leading NORTHWARDS from rd 6476 - crossing 652813.
11. 153 Bde in Div reserve will :
(a) On relief D minus 1/D concentrate in area SOUTH or rd about 655762 and 6575.
(b) Provide Inf protective parties for M.Gs and Mortar supporting the 152 Bde attack from SFERRO bridgehead.
(c) From the SOUTHERN half of the Div base by holding M. TURCISI with one Bn from daylight on D.1 Day.
(d) Be prepared to support 13 Bde in SFERRO bridgehead with one Bn, if this is attacked.
12. 23 Armd Bde
One Sqn 50 R.T.R. under comd 51st Highland Division will assemble in area 6574 on "D" Day and will move by main rd through SFERRO approx to K.8 6879. On arrival Sqn comes under comd 152 Bde for close support of crest of hill 224 against counter-attack from first light. Arrangements for move are detailed in para 19
a) The following additional is available :
Under comd : 11 R.H.A.
In support :
91 Fd Regt.
80 Med Regt
Bty 75 Med Regt
(b) Div arty will :
(i) Support the attack of the leading Bns of 152 and 154 Bdes by a barrage.
(ii) Support the attack of 152 Bde in PHASE "B" by a series of concentrations on main posns which will also be engaged during PHASE "A".
(iii) Be prepared to fire named D.F. tasks as required by 152 and 154 Bdes after capture of objectives and as detailed in Div R.A. Orders.
(iv) Be prepared to fire present D.F. tasks on the front of 13 Bde if required.
(i) 241 A.Tk Bty under comd 154 Bde for A.Tk defence of left flank and firm base.
(ii) 243 A.Tk Bty in support 152 Bde for A.Tk defence of
(a) Junction between 152 and 13 Bdes.
(b) VALLONE FONTANA MURATA 6781
(iii) 61 A.Tk regt (less two Btys) will undertake the following tasks:
(a) Additional A.Tk defence at SFERRO bridgehead if required.
(b) Additional A.Tk defence at Pt.224 features required by 152 Bde.
(c) Maintain two Tps in Div Reserve in area 153 Bde.
(b) O.C. 61 A.Tk Regt will:
(i) Co-ordinate A.Tk defence EAST of R. DITTAINO from SFERRO bridgehead to incl VALLONE FONTANA MURATA in conjunction with Bdes concerned.
(ii) Move forward R.A. A.Tk guns (less those under comd 154 Bde) required for A.Tk defence EAST of R. DITTAINO in accordance with para 19.
(iii) Be responsible for the positioning and digging in of guns of 61 A.Tk Regt within the sector co-ordinated by him
(c) A.Tk Mines.
A.Tk mines as under may be drawn from A.P.
152 Bde - 50
154 Bde - 100
239 Fd Pk Coy - 20
(a) Indication of Direction. As a guide to direction four Bofors guns will fire as follows, from Zero to Zero plus 4 hrs, at intervals of 10 minutes.
(i) Line of rd, rd junc 715778 - rd junc 748807 (Dummy)
(ii) Line of rd, rd junc 690796 - 748806.
(iii) Line of valley 675810 - 678821
(iv) Line of rd, Xrds 658817 - 670824.
(b) Defence of H.Q. and gun Areas.
Remainder of 40 Lt. A.A. regt under comd C.R.A. for defence of Div HQ and gun areas.
1/7 Mx will undertake the following tasks :
(a) Support the attack of Bns of 152 and 154 Bdes with two Coys from area NORTH of M. TUSCISI firing overhead on a timed programme.
(b) Support of the attack from SFERRO bridgehead with one Coy.
(c) Guns to move forward for consolidation of objective captured.
152 Bde - Two pls
154 Bde - One pl.
Trace and details of timed shoots have been sent direct by 1/7 Mx to those concerned.
(d) Call for M.G. defensive fire - GREEN GREEN GREEN
2/7 Mx (Mortar Coys) are placed under comd of Bdes as follows:
(a) 152 Bde - Two pls.
(b) 154 Bde - Two pls (one with 1 A.&.S.H.)
(c) 153 Bde - One pl, which will be employed neutralise known enemy posns in area
6980 by mortar concentrations fired at intervals from Zero to Zero plus 2 hrs. Thus pl will undertake their task from SFERRO bridgehead under orders 153 Bde.
(a) Allotment of Div R.E. is :
152 Bde - Under comd - Two secs 275 Fd Coy R.E.
In support - 275 Fd Coy, less two Secs.
H.Q. at 654765.
154 Bde - Under comd - Two secs 274 Fd. Coy.
In suppor - 274 Fd Coy, less two secs.
H.Q. at 647755.
Lt. Col.Bilson. - Under comd - Recce Det 276 Fd Coy.
Div Reserve - 276 Fd Coy.
H.Q. at 645735.
19. Move of 50 R.T.R. and R.A. A.Tk guns.
"B" Sqn 50 R.T.R.
243 A.Tk Bty
Additional R.A. A.Tk Guns required by 152 Bde.
Recce Det 276 Fd Coy
will concentrate by 1700 hrs on "D" Day in area 6574 under comd Lt. Col. Bilson 61 A.Tk Regt and his staff.
(b) As soon as 152 Bde are established on hill feature Pt. 224 this prty will move forward through a SFARRO bridgehead as follows:
(i) R.A. A.Tk guns under Lt Col Bilson to the areas from which they are to carry out their tasks.
Recce Det 176 Fd Coy will accompany H.Q. 61 A.Tk Regt.
(ii) "B" Sqn 50 R.T.R. will move behind the A.Tk guns and proceed to R.V. with 152 Bde in area Kilo 8 6879.
Once clear of the SFARRO bridgehead all guns and vehs halting must clear the road.
(c) Orders for the move of this party will be given by Div H.Q. to lt. Col Bilston who will be at the H.q. 153 Bde.
(d) Comds 152 Bde and 13 Bde will inform Div H.Q. as soon as it is known that 152 Bde objective has been taken and the situation is such as to allow this party to proceed.
(e) An L.O. from 50 R.T.R. is accompanying the lead Bn of 152 Bde and will keep in contact with "B" Sqn R.T.R. and report progress of the attack.
All other tpt of 152 and 154 Bdes will move by Bde axis.
One - H.Q. 51st Highland Division.
One - 153 Bde.
Calls for air support from 152 and 154 Bdes to be made through Div H.Q.
(b) Ground to Air Recognition.
C.R.E. will be prepared to construct day and night landmarks to assist air attacks in forward areas as required.
(ii) Coloured Smoke.
A temporary landmark of RED or BLUE smoke may be requested by ASC when calls for air support are accepted. This will be burnt not forward of Coy H.Q. at a distinctive point selected by the formation and the map reference notified to ASC.
Forward tps will, on one white verey light being fired by aircraft identify themselves to the RAF with YELLOW smoke grenades. The majority of those should be issued to but not forward of Coy H.Q.
The following codes will be used on ASC communications:
Ops Codex (CORPS Keyword)
Air Support Syllabic Cipher.
M.E. Map ref Code.
Tentacle holders will not originate signals in the air support code, but they will be prepared to receive them.
No officer or man who, by nature of his duties might fall into the hands of the enemy, is to be told the plans for this operation until the last possible moment.
Administrative Instructions will be issued separately.
24. Location of Headquarters.
Tac 51 Div - 652770
Main 51 Div - Present location.
152 Bde - 652785
153 Bde - 654740
154 Bde - 650799
Forward Signal Centre at 652770. Line to all Bdes and Ra. Line will be laid from Bde H.Q. to all attacking Bn H.Qs as soon as possible after the advance begins
26. Success Signals.
The following success signal will be fired (by 2" Mortar where possible and code word passed by W/T or Telephone.
Formation : Event : Success Signal : Code Word
152 Bde : Capture of Pt.224 (PHASE A) : RED RED RED : MILK
152 Bde : Capture of Spur 6780 (PHASE B) : GREEN RED GREEN : SUGAR
154 Bde : Capture of Pt.193 : GREEN RED RED : TEA
152 Bde : Link up with 13 Bde complete : --------- : COFFEE
27. Code Names
Attached at Appendix "A" are two lists off code names for places, List 1 will be taken into use at 0001 hrs 29 Jul, and will cancel all codenames in use up to that time. List 2 will, if necessary, be taken into use on instructions from this H.Q. and will cancel List No.1. Instructions for change will be issued by signal with Codeword "MERCHANT" followed by a time.
28. ZERO - 31 Jul/1Aug.
Zero is the hour at which at which the arty barrage opens and will be notified verbally to all concerned.
Time of Signature 2210
Method of Despatch SDR & LO
N D Leslie (signed)
51st Highland Division.