After a hard battle the Irish Brigade forced a crossing enabling the other two brigades of the 78th Division to pass through and capture further objectives. From the afternoon of August 1 to nightfall on August 5 the Irish Brigade had advanced twenty-five miles fighting battles at Centuripe, Salso, and the Simeto. Following Uncle Barry’s Footsteps by Stephen Pegrum, 9th Battalion Royal Fusiliers by Fred Collins. The town also has the misfortune to have a battle named after it. The 6th Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers and the Royal Irish Fusiliers were given the main tasks, and the 2nd Battalion London Irish Rifles were ordered to make a dangerous flank move. The night was very hot. [9] The Irish brigade then had the difficult task of house to house fighting which proved difficult against the tough paratroopers, by the evening it was thought the town was cleared but the Germans counterattacked and although it was largely repelled some units sneaked back in to snipe as the Irish cleared the streets and houses. As German defeats began to grow in the Second World War and the Allied Forces made progress across Sicily, ther Germans decided to establish a stronghold. The operation had been a tough one, in difficult country and chief credit for the success was due to the Inniskillings, who bore the brunt of the fighting. [3] This however had to be abandoned and soon plans were made to abandon the island of Sicily as a whole. The Irish Brigade passed through the positions held by 36th Brigade and captured the town that night. On the afternoon of 31st July, the battalion marched through Catenanuova to a forming-up position north of that town. By darkness the bridgehead was secure and the Germans withdrew during the night so that in the morning a fighting patrol from the London Irish located the Germans half-way up the hills on top of which was the next objective, the much-bombed town of Aderno. This time was also successful, though the supporting bombardment for this attack caused five casualties in C Company through one gun firing short. The Victoria Cross Awards for the Italian Campaign. A Panzer III tank knocked out during the fierce street fighting in Centuripe. Far from being the ‘soft underbelly of Europe’, Italy became one of the war’s most exhausting campaigns. This assault was greatly assisted by the supporting fire of two Bren guns, which were personally placed in position by Serjeant Obbard. The assault on Centuripe was the Irish Brigade’s first engagement during the Allied invasion of Sicily, which had started in early July 1943 and had involved the largest amphibious assault in history with more men and ships than during Operation Overlord in June 1944. Private Harry Scales died on 2nd August killed friendly fire. After logging in you can close it and return to this page. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. The Battle off Centuripe was fought from the 2 to 4 August 1943, as part of the Allied invasion of Sicily during World War II. In the division, itself the general belief was that had been worse than the Battle of Longstop, Tunisia April 1943. The comparatively small number of casualties suffered by the brigade compared to what was to come a few days later in the attacks on the rivers Salso and Simetto in the valley north of Centuripe suggests a more tempered approach to describing the battle for Centuripe might be in order, but as Salvatore Biondi’s eyewitness account confirms, Centuripe was no push over. During the move enemy fighter-bombers dived low and dropped bombs amongst the transport and on either side of the marching column, but there were no casualties. 0 Comments. [5], The key position in the German defense line across Sicily was Centuripe, a village perched on the top of a formidable line of steep hills along with its precipitous sides which gave it an almost impregnable position. After three nights ‘and two days’ bitter fighting the Battle of Centuripe had ended in a notable victory for 78th Division. [3][4] The British troops captured the town after heavy fighting and as a result caused the Germans to start contemplating abandoning Sicily altogether. For almost two years during the Second World War (1939-45), the Allies fought an attritional campaign in Italy against a resolute and skilful enemy. It was now intensely hot, the overloaded men were tired as well as thirsty, and the ground was so broken that the use of tanks was impossible. At 11.30 p.m., the attack was resumed after heavy bombardment by our guns, and A and B Companies of the 6th Battalion succeeded in capturing two steep features after a brisk battle with German snipers. The Commemorations held on 10th July 2020, My father, Reginald Arthur Hibbard RA by Ian Hibbard, Ted Needham, Freeman of the Parish of Swanley in Kent, VE Day 75, a Royal British Legion Announcement. [4], In August 1943, there was no respite after Centuripe had been captured and the Irish Fusiliers mastered heights beyond the village, and the London Irish, marching through Centuripe, reached rising ground overlooking the River Salso. Centuripe (Latin: Centuripae; Sicilian: Centorbi) is a town and comune in the province of Enna (Sicily, southern Italy).The city is 61 kilometres (38 mi) from Enna in the hill country between the Rivers Dittaìno and Salso.. Up to this time casualties in the battalion had been twelve killed and thirty-three wounded. On the afternoon of 31st July, the battalion marched through Catenanuova to a forming-up position north of that town. By this time the brigade had been on the mover and fighting continuously for nearly forty-eight hours against a determined enemy and, although it had been able to capture Centuripe, General Evelegh decided that it had done enough. The Irish Brigade had advanced from 1-5 August over a distance of some 25 miles, overcoming the enemy in three major intense actions at Centuripe, the River Salso and the River Simeto. The Battle off Centuripe was fought from the 2 to 4 August 1943, as part of the Allied invasion of Sicily during World War II. Centuripe was one of the most extraordinary towns in all of Sicily. Centuripe : Centuripe was a Battle Honour granted for actions near that town during the Battle of Sicily, a phase of the Italian Campaign during the Second World War.. Throughout the night more men from 38th Brigade moved into the town to reinforce those already there. [9], The successful capture of Centuripe had caused the whole German line to Catania to crack and thus had to withdraw to a new position the Etna line. Before dawn the start-line had been cleared, and the whole battalion moved forward. Winston Churchill mentioned the news of the capture in the House of Commons only a few days later, citing the capture as one of the greatest achievements in storming. [9], The Royal Irish Fusiliers pushed through the northern end of the town, fighting was stubborn and hard; two German Panzer MKIII's created the most problems; there were no British tanks up in support and these were knocked out eventually by Projector, Infantry, Anti Tank weapons. [7] The third hill however still held out and the decision had to be made whether to wait until it had fallen, or to carry on without delay and rely on the preoccupation of the Germans with the left-flank attack. Centuripe is a fair-sized town perched right at the top of a steep hill 2,000 feet high. La bataille de Centuripe est livrée du 2 au 4 août 1943 à la suite du débarquement allié en Sicile (Opération Husky).Les forces de la VIII e armée britannique sont engagées dans de violents combats dans et autour de la ville de Centuripe dans la partie centrale de la Sicile dans la région montagneuse située entre les fleuves Dittaino et Salso. That night, 1st August, the Eat Surreys from 11th Brigade were thrown into the battle between the Argylls and the 6th Battalion with orders to advance up a mule track. July -August 1943. Most of the fire was coming from high ground to the left of the town, and the advance in that direction continued slowly for the remainder of the day. Required fields are marked *. As dusk approached, two platoons of ‘G’ Company moved across the river with reserve ammunition, mortars, and machine-guns for the immediate support of the two other companies. 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