Operation Date
01-02 April 1945
This operation report is taken from 40 RM War Diary, so is their role in operation.

Objectives and Tasks
40 R.M. Cdo
(i) To carry out feint aslt crossing of F. RENO on orders from Bde, simultaneously with attack by 9 Cdo.
(ii) To provide two Tps in area 637556 in immediate mob res.
(iii) To provide one tp under comd half sqn NIH for asslt along NORTH bank of RENO from 583559 to secure MARK 6055.
(iv) To hold the line.


MAP. ITALY 1:100,000 1:25,000
SHEET 89;89 1 SW

At 2000 hrs H.Q. were established in Dug Outs adjoining the pumping atation at 626531, and at 2230 hrs the Commando "Stood To".

Earlier covering fire was given by our mortars to assist "X" to who were driving stakes into the bank of the RENO in preparation for the feint attack. This was completed by 2230 hrs.

"Q" and "Y" tps holding the SPIT were under mortar fire for a short period at 2300 hrs when the Wood area was shelled. At 0400 hrs fwd tps from 43 Cdo passed through "Y" tp positions and were pulling back to the wood.

At 0455 the attack went in and 43 Cdo tps left the wood and went through our posns and had passed WOLF 1 by 0515 hrs. M/R 639567

The area was rocketted and shelled from approx 0520 hrs to 0645 hrs, a Spandau opened up from the other side of the river across the front of our posns.

At 0800 hrs, 6 sec in one of the pillboxes at WOLF 1 withdrew to WOLF 2 posn M/R 638557 on orders from the C.O., and shortly afterwards a direct hit from a heavy gun demolished the seaward pillbox and a near miss badly damaged the central one. "Q" tp withdrew to WOODFORCE H.Q. at 1400 hrs. PW's were coming in steadily and were escorted back to the cage by "y" tp throughout the day.

"Q" & "Y" tps withdrew to H.Q. area at 1100 hrs on 3rd Apl.45.

On receipt of "ATTACK", "X" tp hauled their boats over the top of the bank of the RENO to the water, unfortunately the ground was too rough and not all the boats reached the water. The rifles attached to the dummies were fired. Bren guns, 2" mortar and TSMG's and PLATS gave covering fire until the receipt of the word stop. Supporting fire from arty and 3" mortar was also received, and the enemy returned heavy fire from various weapons.

The feint attack was a success, it had achieved its purpose in drawing enemy fire.

"A" tp who were supporting the tank attack moved off at 0730 hrs from 583559 to secure objective MARK. At the first ditch it was found necessary to use fascenes to get over the dyke as the width and the supporting sub-sdl had been under estimated. The tks kept getting bogged and more fascenes were brought up. At 1330 hrs the first tk had crossed the dyke. The tp moved up in sections clearing foxholes on the way. The leading tk fired 2 or 3 shells into a house and about 5 mins later the enemy opened up causing 3 cas in the tk gp. The remainder took cover behind the tks and 2" mortars gave smoke and HE on the left as cover for Lt.Marsh's sec. The wounded were brought in under cover of this screen and of LMG fire of Mne Williamson who stayed out in the open with absolutely no cover at all for a full 18 mins whilst he was being sniped at and fired upon by enemy MG's. At approx 1515 hrs enemy were observed waving a white flag and PWs came through their minefields towards us being fired on by their own tps. Cpl.Ward's sec was brought up to the second tk, and the first one carried on through the minefield ahead. Lt.Marsh was contacted and found to be wounded and he ordered Lt.Seales to carry on to MARK with 'A' tp under his command. The first tk got bogged soon after leaving C; DELL OLMO M/R 596558 the second going back some 500x to a house and then coming back again by the lower river bank. The other tk was knocked out by a Tellermine. No enemy posns were contacted, and it was heard that 43 Cdo were in MATTHEW and contact was made. Receiving orders from SUNRAY the tp returned by the river crossing by Partisan Fwd HQ.

Wounded 1 Officer 16 O.R.'s

"A" Troop Report

Battle Report of "A" Troop on Operation "ROAST"
1/2 Apr 45.

On taking over the positions on the F.U.P. from the Italians, 3 positions had to be manned and guarded till first light. The remainder of the men into foxholes in the river bank.

At 0730 hrs 2nd Apr an O Group of Lieut Marsh, Lieut Seales and a covering section moved forward to start line to recce first ditch. It was found necessary to use the first lot of Fascenes to get over the dyke as the width and the supporting subsoil had been underestimated.

The O Group stayed and the troops were brought up to help lay fascenes under guidance of Sappers and Tank men. The Tanks kept getting bogged and having to be taken out and more fascenes brought up. Eventually at 1330 hrs the first tank crossed.

With Lieut Marsh's group of two sections and HQ moving round to The left flank via a dyke, and Lieut Seales section and Tp HQ following the second tank, the first having a small section behind it to be used for clearing foxholes. The Troop set off. The leading tank fired 2 or 3 shells into the house as it moved down. About five minutes later the enemy opened up causing 3 casualties in the tank group. The remainder took cover behind the tanks and down the right hand side of them. Our 2" Mortars then opened up to give smoke and H.E. on the left as cover for Lieut Marsh's section. This only gave partial cover, had the 38 sets been working proper and contact made range could have been altered. However the smoke served to screen the enemy fore from the tanks till our wounded could be brought in. Smoke was stopped after a while as it was thought that it would stop the tanks fire. The last wounded were brought in under cover of L.M.G. fire of Mne Williamson who stayed out in the open with obsoletely no cover at all for a full 18 minutes, while he was being sniped at and brought under fire from enemy M.G's.

During the operation observation was kept up from the corners and the back of the tank and enemy posts located. There were no enemy in the house all having put in the foxholes lining the bank of the river. A sniper who later turn out to be a German officer kept firing at the corners of the tank. Tracer taken from Bren Mags and put in rifles put the tanks onto enemy positions. Spasmodic Bren fire from Williamson kept the enemies head down for a pause of 2 minutes. Contacts were very bad with 38 and 18 sets. The noise of the tank engines made it very difficult for any orders to be heard or any messages received or given. Contact was mainly through Lieut Wilkies 38 set and his 18 set in rear HQ. a force to bring in reserve ammo S.B.A'S and to keep further contact with the tanks.

On receiving messages for stretchers to be brought up two Medical Orderlies who had missed the landing with 9 Cdo and volunteered to come with us, together with L/Cpl Payne with utter disregard for there own safety came up to the tanks with an improvised Red Cross on a white flag. The walking wounded and stretcher case were sent back to start line. There upon the same party came in answer to a call from Lieut Marsh's section on the left flank. At approx 1515 hrs enemy were observed waving a white flag and prisoners then came through their minefields towards the tanks. Some were fired on by their own troops. The sniper still kept firing at the tank. I went up to the first tank to Cpl Ward's group to get closer to the prisoners and wave them in. During my absense the sniper shot Mine GRIFFEN through the head. Our own troops were seen behind the prisoners and on the enemies positions and when the prisoners reach the second tank all firing ceased.

The tanks would not move until orders were received from Lieut Marsh to go forward. I brought Cpl Wards section to the second tank and the first one carried or through the minefield ahead.

On contacting Lieut Marsh I found him wounded and I was ordered to carry on to MARK with "A" Tp under my command. The leading tank officer, Lieut Wilkie myself, and the MOA's did a short reccy. I then held a O Group on lines of advance etc I told the troops what we were doing and asked for

(a) The sappers to be brought up
(b) To have the R.A.P. established at Casa del Olmo
(c) Detailed a S.N.C.O. and a Mrn to take back wounded, prisoners to the start line.
(d) Divided the tps into three fresh groups, under myself lieut Wilkie, and Cpl Dixon.
(e) Carry on to MARK.

The first tank got bogged soon after leaving Del Olmo, there was a pause while the second tank went back some 500 yds to a house and then back to us again by lower river bank. Waited for the other tank which was knocked out by a Tellermine. No enemy positions were contacted and we heard that 43 RM. Cdo in Matthew. I asked for orders from Sunray Contacted 43 RM.Cdo and received orders to return. Picked up as many weapons and Bren megs as possible on the way back. Sent the troop back by the river crossing near Partisan forward H.Q. I stayed behind with Lieut Wilkie and our M.0.A.'s to collect Mne Griffen personal effects and gather material for the "I" sec.

Signed :- Watson E. Seales
Lieut R.M.
"A" Tp.

"P" Troop Report

Battle Report of "P" Troop on Operation "ROAST"
1/2 Apr 45.
2230 hrs 1 Apr"Stand To"
0207 hrs 2 Apr2/3 "Stand Down" on receipt of message from Sunray
0420 hrsBarrage commenced.
0815 hrsShelling at 0815 hrs consisted of about 9 rounds thought to be 105mm which landed 100 yds to the left of the dug in positions. Two rounds at least falling into the river.

After the recce 0900 to 1000 hrs plans were made for one Bren Group to cross the river to Casa del OMO in a small river boat which was lying in "FRANKLIN" position, covered by the remainder of the section. It is considered that this operation could have been carried out and if more boats had been available the whole of the section could have crossed the river. Permission could however not be obtained for anyone to cross the river.

It was impossible at anytime between 0900 and 1700 hrs to give the attacking troops any support, as small arms fire would not have reached them and 2" mortar would have been unobserved and therefore dangerous as their exact positions were unknown.

At no time during the operation could either the enemy or our own troops be seen and no enemy movement was observed. No P.O.W's crossed the river into "FRANKLIN" and our own troops suffered no casualities.

From 0900 direct communication between "FRANKLIN" and 61 HQ was unobtainable owing to breaking of the cable between "ROOSEVELT" and "EISENHOWER" with the result that there was some delay in the transmission and receipt of messages.
Signed P. Wedgwood,
Lieut RM.
O.C. "P" Troop
6 Apr 45

"Q" Troop Report

Battle Report of "Q" Troop on Operation "ROAST"
1/2 Apr 45.
1 Apr
Sgt Scott and the two Bren teams moved through Wolf 2 to their position on the river bank.
2115hrsNormal enemy harrassing mortar fire on forward edge of wood MR 636563.
2130hrsForward troops of 43 R.M. Commando began to infiltrate to the Pillbox positions Wolf 1 in sub-section strength. No enemy fire.
2330hrsSgt Scott reported Five wheeled vehicles moving away from him on the opposite side of the river. Our Arty fire followed a few minutes later in the correct area. Sgt Scott reported a line running from the TONGUE across the river. This was cut at 2355 hrs.
2 Apr
Forward troops of 43 R.M. Commando began to infiltrate back through Pillbox positions, by 0445 hrs approx a troop strength had passed through.
0455hrsBarrage on our sector began.
0505hrs43 R.M. Commando forward troops returned to their original positions and had passed through WOLF 1 by 0515 hrs.
0520hrsEnemy fired into rockets into our positions and then mortared the area, odd shelling continued until approx 0645 hrs. Meanwhile Spandau fire from end of TONGUE and across the other side of the river opened up across the front of our positions.
0545hrs to 0615hrsKangaroos and Churchill tanks were forming up on the beach at MR 640566.
0615hrsSgt Scott and his Bren gunners returned through our positions.
0800hrs6 Section in WOLF 1 withdrew on orders from the C.O. Just afterwards a direct hit from a heavy gun demolished the seaward Pillbox and a near miss from the same gun badly damaged the central one.
1400hrs5 Section and Troop HQ withdraw from WOLF 2 position on orders from the C.O. to WOODFORCE HQ.
Signed F.H. Bristowe,
Capt, RM.
OC. "Q" Troop
6 Apr 45.

"R" Troop Report

Battle Report of "R" Troop. Operation "ROAST".
1/2 Apr 45.

Communications were checked at 2100hrs 1/4/45 and the telephone and 18 Set were found to be satisfactory. The 38 sets were found to be netted on a very busy frequency and although efforts were made to re-net no communication was established between "ROOSEVELT" and "FRANKLIN".

At 2235 I reported "R" Tp as being at "Stand To" to HQ 61. They remained at this state of readiness throughout the night.

At 0452 on the 2/4/45 the signal was received from HQ 61 "ATTACK at 0455.

The P.I.A.T. firer therefore opened fire on the shutter of the enemy observation hole on the opposite bank of the F.del RENO. Four bombs were fired, all landing in the target area. The third apparently exploded in the bank and was presumed to have entered the shutter.

At about 1000hrs a signal asking for supporting fire to enable "A" Tp to continue was received from HQ 61. A certain delay followed as the key to the M.E. Map Ref Code had to be procured from "X" Tp. before the position of "A" Tp could be established. It was found that, owing to "MARK" and "MATTHEW" still being occupied by the enemy it was impossible to give observed fire support from either "FRANKLIN" or "ROOSEVELT".

"R" Tp therefore had no further part in the operation.

Capt. RM.
O.C. "R" Troop.
6 Apr 45

"S" Troop Report

BATTLE REPORT of "S" Troop on Operation "ROAST"
1/2 Apr 45.
2100 hrs
1 Apr
Mortars started to fire on "MATTHEW" I and II to cover "X" Tp who were putting stakes in the river bank. This firing was stopped after 5 minutes owing to the fact that "X" tp were not ready to start their work.
2150 hrsCovering fire for 30 minutes from I sec Mortars 40 R.M. Cdo (4 R.P.Min) and I sec 9 Cdo (2 R.P.Min). After this shoot new baseplate position had to be made because of the soft ground.
2230 hrsTroop "Stood To".
0315 hrs
2 Apr
Owing to delay of assault troops Troop ordered to "Stand 2/3 Down".
0430 hrs"Stood To".
0455 hrsCodeword "ATTACK". Mortars and M.M.Gs commenced firing on their various tasks. Mortars (9Cdo & 40 Cdo) feint assault between 611561 am 624563. M.M.Gs (2 Sec 40 Cdo I Sec 43 Cdo) on H.F. & D.F. tasks between 632564 and 634567.
0540 hrsM.M.Gs ceased firing having fired approx 16 belts per gun.
0610 hrsMortars ceased firing having fired approx 400 rds per mortar. Neither M.MGs or Mortars fired again.
It was found that a rapid rate of fire could not be sustained for long with the mortars, owing to the barrels over-heating and consequent premature firing of secondaries.
Base-plates on Nos 2,3,4; mortars had to be taken out and rebedded twice during the shoot.
(2) No counter fire was experienced by either Mortars or M.M.Gs.

G.M. Russell.
Lieut R.M.
O.C. "S" Troop

"X" Troop Report

2045 hrs"Stand To".
Pickets and pulleys were placed in the four different positions at the waters edge and ropes attached to the rubber boats.
2300 hrsEnemy mortar fire bombed the area and severed the telephone communications between the sections. This was immediately mended.
2350 hrsEnemy mortar fire ceased.
The remaining of the night was reasonably quiet.
0455 hrsThe signal "ATTACK".
The boats were hauled over the top of the bank down to the water. Unfortunately the ground was too rough and all the boats did not reach the water. The rifles attached to the dummies were fired. Bren guns, 2" mortars, and Piats gave covering fire and continued to fire until the receipt of the word "STOP". Rifles and TSMG's also fired. We received supporting fire from 3" mortars and hy arty. The latter's fire was falling short and endangering our own men. I asked them to increase their range which was done. The effect of all this was to draw very heavy fire, of various kinds from the enemy.
0608 hrsThe signal "STOP". By this time the enemy were only firing one spandau spasmodically, a few rifles and MP's, which they continued to do until captured by 43 RM Cdo, at 1530 hrs. On receipt of the word "STOP", we were almost out of ammunition. The few remaining rounds and bombs that we had were fired at the spandau position which had been located.
1530 hrs43 RM Cdo took the enemy positions opposite us and we ferried across the river some 60 prisoners and three of 43's wounded. The prisoners were marched to the POW cage by some of the Tp.
Capt., R.M.
O.C. Troop

"Y" Troop Report

Battle Report of "Y" Troop Operation "ROAST"
1/2 Apr 45.

At 1600 hrs 1 Apr "Y" Tp moved into the Bde reserve area at "WOODFORCE" and proceeded to dig in. At 2230 hrs the Troop "Stood To".

The night was fairly quiet except for one short period at 2300 hrs when the enemy mortared the Wood area. Tanks could be heard moving up the beach area, about this time, but it is doubtful if the sound would have carried to the enemy lines. At 0215 hrs the order was received over the telephone to "Stand Down" a third of the Troop for an hour.

At 0400 hrs the 2I/C. of 43 R.M. Commando contacted O.C. "Y" Troop and passed the information that 43 R.M. Commando were pulling back into the wood.

O.C. "Y" Troop passed this information immediately to Sunray 61. At 0430 hrs 43 R.M. Commando were still pulling back. But at 0440 hrs the order to attack at 0450 was passed and 43 R.M. Commando were observed moving very rapidly into the attack.

The first 3 P.O.W. came back to R.A.P. area at about 0700 hrs followed shortly by a continuous flow. These P.O.W. were escorted to the P.O.W. cage by "Y" Troop who were keeping up a ferry service between the R.A.P. and the cage. This continued throughout the first day.

During the afternoon a signal arrived at "WOODFORCE" from BDE it was franked immediate and written in cypher this had to be return to Bde unread as no Cypher personnel were available. The Troop was ordered to withdrew at 1100 hrs 3 Apr 45.

D.T.M. Thomson
Capt, RM.
O.C. "Y" Troop.
6 Apr 45

Roll of Honour