11th Armoured Division and the Crossing of the Weser, Leine and Aller - April 1945

Discussion in 'Higher Formations' started by PhilGraham1, Dec 17, 2012.

  1. PhilGraham1

    PhilGraham1 Junior Member

    Dear Fellow Members,

    I am trying to determine the historical picture regarding 11th Armoured Division’s fighting passage between the rivers Weser and Aller in April 1945. My centre of gravity, for personal reasons, is around the villages of Laderholz, Steimbke, Mandelsloh, Nordrebber and Rodewald, but clearly the days before (Schneeren and Eilvese) and after (Grindau, Schwarmstedt and Essel) are also of great importance. I have read the likes of No Triumphant Procession by John Russell (The Forgotten Battles of April 1945), Just a Walk in the Sun by Robert Stanley Price (1st Battalion The Herefordshire Regiment) and Major DM Hatton's The Devil’s Own’ (The Inns of Court Regiment) and I’m looking for further clarification through war diaries, photographs, personal accounts and references to any of the other literature focussed on this particular area of operations. The divisional order of battle during 5 April – 15 April 1945 consisted roughly of:

    11th Armoured Division

    Divisional Troops

    15th/19th The King's Royal Hussars
    The Inns of Court Regiment
    13th Field Regiment RHA
    151st Field Regiment RA
    75th Anti-Tank Regiment RA
    12th Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment RA
    13th Field Squadron RE
    612th Field Squadron RE
    147th Field Park Squadron RE
    10th Bridging Troop RE
    11th Armoured Division Signals

    29th Armoured Brigade

    23rd Hussars
    3rd Royal Tank Regiment
    2nd Fife and Forfar Yeomanry
    8th BattalionThe Rifle Brigade

    159th Infantry Brigade

    4th Battalion The King’s Shropshire Light Infantry
    3rd Battalion The Monmouthshire Regiment (replaced by 1st Battalion The Cheshire Regiment, in April 1945)
    1st Battalion The Herefordshire Regiment

    Any assistance would be greatly appreciated and I will also post what information I have in order to assist anyone else trying to research this area/phase in the war.

    Kind regards,

    Philip
     
    stolpi likes this.
  2. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Hi Phil and welcome to the forum.....Thats some War Diary list there. I have a couple of the Regimental Histories but I suspect Idler (Andrew) will be your man for those.

    I'll reply to your PM now mate.

    Cheers
    Andy
     
  3. grimmy

    grimmy Guest

    Hi Philip,

    Here's a fragment from the 23H History:

    The situation facing the Division at the moment was an awkward one, for we were at the confluence of two rivers, the Leine and the Aller. If we captured the Norddrebber bridge, only one mile beyond it, we would have to capture another bridge over the Aller. Naturally, the enemy knew this to be a danger point and, helped by thickly wooded country, he was determined to make this his next stop line. On our south the Sixth Airborne had temporarily dropped out, to be replaced by the Fifteenth Scottish, who were now endeavouring to force the Leine. On our northern flank, the Seventh Armoured had not yet drawn level with us, and before them had a stiff fight to force the crossing of the Aller.

    The next three days were very boring, but while we chafed at having to sit still for so long, 159th Brigade made a crossing at Mandersloh. On the 13th [April], we crossed behind the Third Tanks, and harboured quietly between the two rivers, though the Third Tanks were now across the Aller, having a very unpleasant day with Tigers and 105-millimetre anti-aircraft guns, which proved to be most effective anti-tank guns as well. Early on April 14th we, too, crossed the Aller, and followed the 15/19th Hussars towards Winsen, which they did not capture until evening, and which was a hard nut to crack.

    I'll dig out more.
     
  4. SDP

    SDP Incurable Cometoholic Patron

    Hi Philip and welcome to the forum.

    You may be interested in the following thread. Although it relates to the latter part of your requested timeframe, it describes in some detail the 'Aller and unpleasant day with Tigers' mentioned by Grimmy in the preceeding post.

    http://www.ww2talk.com/forum/allied-units-general/42033-battlegroup-fehrmann-tiger-v-three-british-comets.html

    Do you have close interest in one particular Regiment/Unit etc. You mention very specific villages and a knowledge of your precise focus of interest would help us to help you.

    Incidentally, John Russell also posts on this forum (reference also the above thread link).

    I've got a copy of the 3RTR War Diary for the period mentioned and can post it here if you wish.

    Steve
     
  5. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    Don't know if these'll help, Phil. Or if you've already got/read them.
    Relevant Map & Pages from The RTR Official History: 'The Tanks' - Liddel-Hart 1959.

    438-439.jpg

    View attachment 90978
     

    Attached Files:

  6. dryan67

    dryan67 Senior Member

    Here is the war diary for the 3rd RTR for the period:
     

    Attached Files:

    von Poop likes this.
  7. dryan67

    dryan67 Senior Member

    Here is the war diary for the 2nd Fife and Forfar Yeomanry for the period:
     

    Attached Files:

  8. dryan67

    dryan67 Senior Member

    Here is a brief blurb on the 23rd Hussars for the period:

    On the 5th the 23rd Hussars lead the division to Weser. It attacked Stolzenau then crossed the Weser through Luccum, Petiburg and Schneeren. It took Steimbke on April 9th and then crosser the Aller at Mandershoh on the 14th toward Winsen. The 23rd attacked Barum on the 17th then advanced toward Lunenburg the next day.
     
  9. dryan67

    dryan67 Senior Member

    I do have regimental histories covering the four infantry/motor battalions of the brigade and will post some more information when I have done some scanning.

    dryan67
     
    CL1 likes this.
  10. Andreas

    Andreas Working on two books

    Here is a brief blurb on the 23rd Hussars for the period:

    On the 5th the 23rd Hussars lead the division to Weser. It attacked Stolzenau then crossed the Weser through Luccum, Petiburg and Schneeren. It took Steimbke on April 9th and then crosser the Aller at Mandershoh on the 14th toward Winsen. The 23rd attacked Barum on the 17th then advanced toward Lunenburg the next day.

    Just to help find these places.

    That would be Loccum, my old home village. Petiburg is actually Rehburg. Schneeren is correct and so is Steimbke. Mandelsloh, while Winsen (Aller) and Barum are correct, and then to Lueneburg.

    All the best

    Andreas
     
  11. dryan67

    dryan67 Senior Member

    Here is the war diary for the Inns of Court Regiment:
     

    Attached Files:

  12. dryan67

    dryan67 Senior Member

    These pages are from the Rifle Brigade regimental history by Hastings:
     

    Attached Files:

  13. PhilGraham1

    PhilGraham1 Junior Member

    I'm amazed how much information has surfaced in a day. Thank you to all of you who have helped thus far.

    Here is an extract from Robert Stanley Price's book, Just a Walk in the Sun, who served with 1 Bn Herefordshire Regt throughout the NW Europe campaign:

    Just a Walk (4).jpg
     

    Attached Files:

  14. PhilGraham1

    PhilGraham1 Junior Member

    Attached Files:

  15. PhilGraham1

    PhilGraham1 Junior Member

    The local area:

    11 Armd Div Map 1.jpg
     
    stolpi likes this.
  16. dryan67

    dryan67 Senior Member

    Here is the pertinent section from Manu Forti: A History of the Herefordshire Regiment 1860-1967 by Lt Col TJB Hill:
     

    Attached Files:

  17. dryan67

    dryan67 Senior Member

    This is the section from the Cheshire Regiment's history by Crookenden. The 1st Cheshires replaced the 3rd Monmouths during this action.
     

    Attached Files:

  18. dryan67

    dryan67 Senior Member

    Here are the scans from the 4th KSLI history, After Antwerp: The Long Haul to Victory" as narrated by Major Ned Thornburn.
     

    Attached Files:

  19. dryan67

    dryan67 Senior Member

    Here is the rest of the 4th KSLI history scans:
     

    Attached Files:

  20. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    If you search IWM collections for 'Weser', there are good photos of 11th Armoured in the area.
    I assume you've seen 'em, but you never know.

    Search results for "weser" | Imperial War Museums
    Collections Search for "weser" | Imperial War Museums

    Couple of examples:
    [​IMG]
    THE BRITISH ARMY IN NORTH-WEST EUROPE 1944-45. © IWM (BU 3200)IWM Non Commercial Licence
    Comet tanks of the 2nd Fife and Forfar Yeomanry, 11th Armoured Division, crossing the Weser at Petershagen, 7 April 1945.



    [​IMG]
    THE BRITISH ARMY IN NORTH-WEST EUROPE 1944-45. © IWM (BU 3201)IWM Non Commercial Licence
    Comet tanks of the 2nd Fife and Forfar Yeomanry, 11th Armoured Division, crossing the Weser at Petershagen, 7 April 1945.
     

Share This Page