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along the high ground successfully assaulting the various enemy positions in its path. At 4.00 p.m., the last intermediate objective fell to D Company. The enemy had been deeply entrenched and very well equipped with heavy automatics. A platoon from B Company moved up to assist to clear and consolidate the feature. Enemy casualties counted thus far had been 98 killed and forty taken prisoner, while a large number had been wounded.

In the meantime the RNF soldiers had reached Hill 217. Although the pressure of their attack was maintained, they were unable to gain the summit of the hill. A Company, 3 RAR, had been creating a diversion for B and D companies by attacking along a spur leading onto the final objective (Hill 317) from the south-west, meeting stiff opposition.

As B and D companies had progressed, C Company had moved up behind them, and by 5.00 p.m. the last intermediate assault on Hill 317 had secured the feature. Ten prisoners were taken while C Company suffered no casualties. The pressure maintained by the RNF to the south-east and A Company's diversionary attack coupled with D Company's rapid advance during the day and the very close tank and artillery support, had outmanoeuvred the enemy. A Company's attacks had continued against heavy opposition and slowly the enemy had been forced back until a platoon from A Company had been able to join C Company in the consolidation of Hill 317. A Company's two other platoons withdrew to the rear. A Company had been the target of heavy shelling during the whole of its advance and shells again rained down on the diggers as they withdrew.

On 6 October a platoon from C Company moved forward of Hill 317 to secure a position so as to add depth to the defence. The RNF soldiers continued their attack on Hill 217. Although at one stage they were able to gain a toe-hold, they were unable to clear the hill in the face of very strong opposition. The RNF suffered 100 casualties during the two days' fighting.

On 7 October, 3 RAR was directed to take Hill 217. To achieve this, a feature known as 'The Hinge', which dominated Hill 217 from the north, had to be taken. 'The Hinge' was just east of Hill 317 and C Company's forward platoon. B Company's two leading platoons gained the summit, but company headquarters and the reserve platoon, moving up to join them, were counter-attacked from both flanks. After a fierce fight at close quarters, the enemy melted into the trees and long grass. For the remainder of the day, B Company on 'The Hinge' and C Company on Hill 317 were subjected to intense bombardment. The anti-tank platoon and the assault pioneer platoon reinforced C Company while a platoon from C Company moved forward to assist B Company.

At 9.00 p.m., 'The Hinge' and Hill 317 were subjected to a tremendous concentration of enemy shelling for about forty-five minutes followed immediately by strong counterattacks. A heavy mist hung over the area and this assisted the enemy to reach and at times penetrate the company perimeters. The attacks continued throughout the night until the enemy finally gave up at 5.00 a.m. At first light, when the enemy stretcher- bearers were permitted to approach and carry away their casualties, they found 120 enemy dead and wounded lying around the defences.


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