British infantry in hilltop battles
30th April 1943: Graphic accounts of attacks on heavily defended German hilltop positions - John Keneally makes another Bren gun attack and earns a VC
In Tunisia, as the US Army tackled the approaches to Bizerte the British Infantry were also engaged in hilltop battles for positions that were critical position for the advance on Tunis. These battles were as intense as any close-quarters infantry engagement.
There was no time for fear; a strange 'don’t-give-a-damn’ feeling took a grip - something every infantryman feels when he is constantly exposed to death in brutal and violent forms. Two German figures loomed over us and I cut one of them in half with the Bren. Pollock shot the other in the face.
R.L. Crimp1 found himself with the 2nd Battalion Rifle Brigade’s signals truck watching as the rest of the battalion mounted a nighttime assault on the ‘Two Pimples’ feature - Bou Kournine. “At close quarters the mountain looks huge and very evil.”
He watched and listened as the battle unfolded during the early hours of the 30th:
The uproar continues with hardly a break. But time passes quickly under the cold starlight and by two o'clock no news has come in. Soon things get rather more fierce. Mortaring starts in earnest, crashes and brief red burst-glows on the upper slopes.
Red and green flares rise from about halfway up, and the 2 i/c grows quite excited, surmising the success signal. But ‘success signal my foot!’ is the opinion of the rest of us, for whenever the greens and reds go up, or rather an exactly regular number of seconds after, salvos of heavy shells - probably 105mm - roar through the air like express trains from somewhere over in the hindward mountains and land with shattering, scattering crashes on the slopes of Bou Kournine.
… walls and caves and all sorts of cunning defensive devices on the summit, piled round with the dead of previous assaults.
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