By Tony Buttler
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Extra resources for Bristol Beaufort
D ' Company held the front face of the position and had been savagely mauled. Company Headquarters had been hit and the company commander wounded; the Japanese had blasted the forward bunkers with a 75 mm. field gun at a range of 500 yards and had blown away half the forward platoon. O. took over. Reinforcements were called for from Knoll; the battery commander, who had survived by a miracle, worked frantically to restore communications with the guns. By evening standto some sort of order had been imposed.
During the day ' D ' Company marched in, and the Patialas, their task completed, returned to their parent battalion. The view from Ben Nevis was superb. The curves of the T a m u road were exposed to view, almost as far as the Lokchao River. While Ben Nevis was in British hands, a major offensive by the Japanese on the Shenam Heights was virtually impossible. Clearly the Japs would regard its recapture as a high priority. The Battalion prepared to hold what it had won. Trees were cut down and the timber used to build head cover over weapon pits.
They had heavy machine-guns covering the ridge approach and he thought they probably numbered a company. At this moment the Brigadier came up on the air; the 1st/16th were to attack the position and clear the Japanese out forthwith. A troop of a field battery, four guns, would give support; the gunners were limited to firing eighty shells, but, it was generously added, they were prepared to fire them any way that Colonel Newell wanted. A straightforward attack down the ridge would certainly be costly and would most probably fail.