Djebel Dahra

Djebel Dahra is a battle honour of The Parachute Regiment and took place in March 1943 during Operation Torch in North Africa. It is also known informally as the Bowler Hat Battle.

Following engagements with the enemy in the Tamera valley the 1st Parachute Battalion was withdrawn for rest and reinforcement on 13 March 1943. By 17 March it was back on the frontline providing relief to 2/5th Battalion, The Leicestershire Regiment.

The following day it provided patrols to counter infantry attacks against the 2nd Para Bn as it withdrew to new positions known as 'the Pimples' overlooking Nefza railway station. These positions were in reality one hill with two pinnacles, the largest of these (known as Sidi Bou Delaa) was called 'Bowler Hat' by the British.

The 2nd Para Bn was relieved from its positions on the Pimples by the 2/5th Bn, The Leicestershire Regiment on 19 March in order to rest and receive reinforcements. However, within a couple of days a German Panzer Regiment attacked the Leicesters and succeeded in dislodging them from the heights.

The 3rd Para Bn was ordered to hastily mount an attack on the night of 21/22 March. A and C Coys mounted an attack which was fiercely contested by the Germans. The two companies suffered a number of casualties and ran out of ammunition. There was no facility to re-supply or reinforce A and Coys on the hill and 3rd Para Bn was forced to withdraw.

The 1st Para Bn was tasked to retake Bowler Hat the following night with 3rd Para Bn in support, although it was exhausted from its previous engagements and still greatly undermanned.

On the evening of 22 March the 1st Para Bn moved from its positions through Nefza Station, which was held by B Coy 3rd Para Bn. Part of the enemy force withdrew and the hill feature was captured by 03:00 hours on 23 March at a cost of two 1st Para Bn casaulties - one killed and one wounded. Around 40 prisoners were taken.

The 1st Para Bn was relieved on the following day by two companies of the 3rd Para Bn. 

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