Major Harry Craggs MC of the 70th Field Regiment Royal Artillery was awarded the Military Cross for his actions during the Battle of Sedjenane. The following eyewitness account has been transcribed from an original typescript written by him in 1945, presumably for a proposed unit history. I am extremely grateful to Major Craggs' son, Chris Craggs, for sending me a copy of this fascinating and superbly detailed document. There are quite a large number of arcane Royal Artillery terms and abbreviations used within the text, so I have added a brief set of explanatory notes on the next page. Click on the hyper-links at right below to read the manuscript.

A pre-war North Country territorial unit, the 70th Field, Regiment Royal Artillery supported 139 Brigade of the 46th Infantry Division throughout the campaigns in Tunisia and Italy.

A World War Two Royal Artillery Field Regiment consisted of 24 guns, these being 25-pounder gun/howitzers. The guns and their limbers with ammunition for immediate use were towed by 'Quad' four-wheel-drive vehicles. The nominal strength of the unit was 36 officers and 636 Other Ranks.

The guns were organised into three numbered batteries of eight guns each. Each battery was then further divided into two troops of four guns each, for a total of six troops designated A to F.

For the 70th Field Regiment, the three batteries were:

277 Battery, with Troops A and B
279 Battery with Troops C and D
449 Battery with Troops E and F.

Each Battery would have a nominal strength of 10 Officers and 194 Other Ranks. The Battery HQ consisted of four Officers and 74 Other Ranks, while each Troop of four guns would have a nominal strength of three Officers and 25 Other Ranks.

Due to the extremely muddy conditions, 277 Battery had to spike and abandon their eight guns at their original Green Hill positions in late February 1943, so only 16 guns were available to support operations during the ensuing Sedjenane Battle.

The other Royal Artillery unit mentioned in the manuscript is the 5th Medium Regiment (the 15/17 Battery of eight guns), which would have been equipped with heavier calibre weapons, most probably 5.5 inch, and also possibly a few of the longer-ranging 4.5 inch.

The 'Lincolns' mentioned in the text were the 6th Battalion The Lincolnshire Regiment. The 'Guards' were the 2nd Battalion Coldstream Guards.

Since posting this item on the site, I have been contacted by the son of James Shackleton, who was a Sergeant in C Troop, 279 Battery in March 1943. Photographs and information on James Shackleton’s war service are included in the 70th Field Regiments Photographs listing at right.

Sedjenane Index Page.

The 70th Field Regiment Royal Artillery at Sedjenane

The eyewitness account of Major Harry Craggs MC is arranged as follows:

February 26th 1943, 139 Brigade and 16th DLI orders

February 27th 1943, with D Company 16th DLI, the first attack

February 28th-March 1st 1943, with C Company, 16th DLI

March 2nd 1943, with C Company, 16th DLI for the last attack

March 3rd 1943, with the 6th Lincolns, the Battle for Sedjenane Village

March 4th 1943, the withdrawal from Sedjenane

March 5th 1943, Aftermath

The MC Citation for Major H T Craggs, 70th Field Regiment RA

Letter of Commendation from Brigadier T Rigby RA to all the gunners of the 46th Division. 9/3/43

Letter of Commendation to his troops from Major General Freeman-Attwood, Commander of the 46th Division 6/3/43

A Selection of Photographs and documents of the 70th Field Regiment Royal Artillery
Capt H Craggs MC