Djebel Azzag 1943

Djebel Azzag 1943 is a battle honour of The Parachute Regiment and took place in North Africa between 5 and 7 January 1943, during Operation Torch. It is also known as the Battle of Green Hill.

Green Hill was one of the features which commanded the Sedjenane to Mateur road in northern Tunisia. An offensive operation was mounted by 36 Infantry Brigade using the 5th Battalion, The Royal East Kent Regiment, known as the 5th Buffs.

The defensive positions on Green Hill were held by men from Fallschirmjäger Regiment Barenthin (German Parachute Infantry) and Witzig’s Parachute Engineers who had fortified the hill with concrete machine gun emplacements, barbed wire and mines. The highest part of the hill, Point 396, overlooked a second peak, known to the British as Furze Hill.

The 3rd Parachute Battalion was ordered to move to the northern sector and support the assault.

On the evening of 4 January the battalion, less A and B Companies, took over the Buffs’ defensive positions.

A Company was placed under command of 5th Buffs and ordered to take the western flanks of Green Hill, while the Buffs mounted an assault on the hill on the night of 4/5 January. Although the Buffs’ attack failed, A Coy had secured the western flank by mid-morning on 5 January.

B Company was ordered to mount an assault the following night. B Coy attacked the enemy positions on the early hours of 6 January and a fierce firefight ensued - reminiscent of the Falklands battles some forty years later.

By 03.00 hrs B Coy had neutralised all except one machine gun post on Furze Hill but remained under heavy fire from Point 396.

Members of B Coy were attacked by a chanting line of some 80 German Para infantry and were forced to give ground. B Coy regrouped and regained the line with a bayonet charge forcing the Germans to retire, leaving behind some 20 casualties.

B Coy also checked a second larger assault, of about 180 men, but by 03.45 hours had run out of grenades and practically used up its ammunition stock. Major Dobie, OC B Coy, therefore gave the order to withdraw down the hill.

Following this battle the 3rd Para Bn was withdrawn to Souk el Khemis and then to Algiers.

Twelve members of the 3rd Parachute Battalion died at Green Hill. It was estimated that 50-60 Germans died in the battle.

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