Account: 3rd Tank Bn Scots Guards, Jul 1944 - May 1945

Discussion in 'The Brigade of Guards' started by dbf, Jun 16, 2011.

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    6th Guards Tank Brigade, 12 Corps
    P/165038 War Substantive Lieutenant, Acting Captain Rawdon Cecil George PEMBER, 3rd Tank Battalion SCOTS GUARDS

    Captain PEMBER was in command of the Recce Troop during the advance from OIRSCHOT to TILBURG on Wednesday 25th October 1944.

    About 1100 hours enemy Anti-Tank guns were reported in position just EAST of HEILIGEBOOM at the North-West end of the straight road running through marshy area between there and SPOORDONK. Captain PEMBER was ordered to locate their exact position. He himself led the patrol which was forced to go down the road straight at the enemy guns as it was impossible to by-pass their position for two miles either side. He did so in spite of the lack of cover and was able to report the position vacated by the enemy and the action was enabled to continue.

    About 1600 hours that day Captain PEMBER was ordered to take the six light tanks of his Recce Troop and advance from MORGESTAL in co-operation with a Company of Infantry in armoured carriers to seize the main road bridge East of TILBURG which was thought to be intact. About 1720 hours as there had been some delay in getting the Infantry over the broken MORGESTEL bridge Captain PEMBER started off ahead of the Infantry towards the bridge which lay some three thousand yards ahead of our leading troops. Owing to the difficult nature of the country which was very swampy and intersected by big ditches he was at 1810 hours still some 400 yards short of the bridge. As the light was then too bad to allow the Infantry who were following up to continue and they were then about 1,00 yards behind, he was ordered to withdraw. At that moment he found himself in the centre of the enemy company locality defending the bridgehead, and was engaged by heavy Machine Gun fire from all sides. In spite of the twilight Captain PEMBER's troop fought back most energetically, killing and wounding a number of the enemy who tried to surround them, but in withdrawing three of the light tanks got ditched in close proximity to the enemy. In spite of the fire of 6 - 8 Machine Guns Captain PEMBER directed the unditching of two of them, but the third which was lying on its side had to be left as it was then quite dark, though the crew were got out safely.
    Captain PEMBER's coolness, leadership and gallantry during this extremely difficult period were outstanding and enabled the troop to extract itself safely from an extremely awkward situation

    28th October 1944
    Granted Immediate Military Cross



    The National Archives | DocumentsOnline | Image Details
    Name: Pember, Rawdon Cecil George
    Rank: Lieutenant, Temporary Captain
    Service No: P/165038
    Regiment: 3 Tank Battalion Scots Guards
    Theatre of Combat or Operation: North West Europe 1944-45
    Award: Military Cross
    Date of Announcement in London Gazette: 01 March 1945
    Date: 1945
    Catalogue reference: WO 373/51
     

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  2. Wills

    Wills Very Senior Member

    Major Michael Fitzalan Howard 3rd Bn SG - 2nd Bn Scots Guards we had Major Fitzalan Howard as Adjutant,when his father major general Lord Michael Fitzalan Howard (late 3SG) was Gold Stick in Waiting.
    His Uncle, Michael's brother Miles, major general (late GG) Earl marshal and chief butler of England. Both holders of the MC and promoted major general within months of each other.


    Lord Michael had four sons, three of whom are Tom (Adjutant) Dick and Harry!
     
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    British forces advance through the area of Oisterwijk and Moergestel, on the way to Hertogenbosch, Netherlands, in WW II

    Date: 1944, October
    Duration: 3 min 26 sec
    Sound: Yes
    Map of the Netherlands with town of Hertogenbosch highlighted. Infantry move through the town of Oisterwijk, Netherlands, transported in "Kangaroo" armored personnel carriers of the 1st Canadian Armored Carrier Regiment. They are followed by armored vehicles of Squadron B,15th (Scottish) Reconnaissance Regiment. 15th (Scottish) Infantry Division Commander, Major General Sir Collin Muir (Tiny) Barber consults with two of his commanders at a river crossing in Moergestel (He is good-naturedly called "Tiny" because he is the tallest officer in the British Army. One of the officers with him may be Major Gordon or Major Mills.) British troops set up a battery of artillery and fire at German positions. British troops cross a canal in boats, while Churchill tanks and bren guns provide supporting fire. Soldiers climb the canal bank and proceed toward town of Boxtel. Several columns of the British 2nd Army proceed towards Hertogenbosch. Buildings on fire due to bombardment. British forces employ a flame-throwing (Crocodile) Churchill tank. Members of the 15th (Scottish) Reconnaissance Regiment rescue civilians trapped in an air raid shelter. Fire and smoke rises. British tanks enter the town of Hertogenbosch. Liberated citizens come from hiding after the battle.
     
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    I wonder which one of them signed a second-hand book that I bought.

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    Lord Michael Fitzalan Howard - Telegraph
    Major-General Lord Michael Fitzalan Howard, who died on November 2 aged 91, earned an MC in north-west Europe during the Second World War; later he became Marshal of the Diplomatic Corps, responsible for easing the tensions and uncertainties in ambassadors and high commissioners as he escorted them in the State landau to present their credentials to the Queen at Buckingham Palace.

    Tall, dignified and supremely elegant in cocked hat with white plumes, he had an easy, suggestively ducal manner that led many who saw them together to believe that he, not his elder brother Miles, was the 17th Duke of Norfolk.

    The brothers were only 15 months apart in age, and maintained a friendly rivalry throughout their military careers. Both won their MCs in 1944, and they followed each other up the promotion ladder to become colonels in 1958 and brigadiers in 1961 until Miles attained the rank of major-general in 1968, three months ahead of his younger sibling.

    Michael Fitzalan Howard was born on October 22 1916, one of four boys and four girls, all of whom were given Christian names beginning with M by their parents, the 3rd Lord Howard of Glossop and the 11th Baroness Beaumont.

    The children grew up in an atmosphere of piety and frugal economy at Carlton Towers, their mother's ancestral seat in North Yorkshire, said never to have been bought or sold since the Conquest.

    If guests came to lunch the children were not allowed to use napkins, but were told to leave them by their plates to save on the laundry bill.

    On rainy days Miles and Michael would run round the table in the nursery, pretending to be the Flying Scotsman and shunting their sister Mariegold, a goods train, into a corner that represented a siding.

    The two boys went to Ampleforth before Miles went up to Christ Church, Oxford, and Michael to Trinity College, Cambridge.

    Miles was commissioned into the Grenadiers, and Michael into the Scots Guards. After the declaration of war they knelt before their mother as she made the Sign of the Cross on their foreheads; they then left to rejoin their regiments. Their mother retained vivid memories of other brothers departing for the First World War and not returning.

    In August 1944 both young men were tank officers at Caumont, aiding the breakout from Caen in Normandy.

    Miles was brigade major of 5th Armoured Brigade and Michael a squadron leader with the 3rd Scots, while their younger brother, Martin, was a tank commander with the 2nd Grenadiers.

    As Miles's brigade became embroiled in a four-day duel with tough SS troops holding an isolated position at La Marvindiere, Michael and Martin were (unknown to each other) engaged a few miles to the south in the same battle.
    An attack on the hamlet of Estry met with unexpectedly fierce resistance from troops under orders to fight to the last man, and Michael was ordered to make the final assault of the day on the crossroads.

    Maintaining his squadron in the closest formation to secure the objective, he provided firm support for the Highland Light Infantry and the remnants of a Gordons unit, until finally ordered to withdraw under intense mortar fire at 3am.
    Martin then took the lead in an attack on Viessoix, just past Estry, in which his hands and face were badly burned when his tank was hit.

    Five miles away, on the same day, Michael was ordered to support a Welsh Guards' attack on an observation post, which involved using deep ravines that made the going all the harder under heavy fire as they moved up to capture a vital ridge near Chenedolle.

    In both his Estry attack and in this action, the citation for his MC declared, "Major Fitzalan Howard's cool leadership and undefeatable determination contributed more than any other single factor to the obtaining of those objectives".
    Shortly afterwards, Michael became brigade major of 32nd Brigade, alongside Miles in the Guards Armoured Division, for the advance on Brussels.

    With Miles on the left and Michael on the right, Major-General Sir Allan Adair gave them the objective of capturing Brussels, 70 miles away, declaring that the city's railway bridge was to be the winning-post in the fraternal race. Michael won.

    Later Michael broke through to Eindhoven, where Miles took over from him. Michael's men then paused for rest and refuelling, and his game book recorded some partridge shooting in the rain before the division pushed on to the Elbe. Looking back on a campaign that covered 1,500 miles and cost 956 killed and 545 missing, Adair wrote: "Special mention must be made of the two brigade majors – the Fitzalan Howard brothers."

    After the war Michael Fitzalan Howard was best man at his brother Miles's wedding in 1949; and he continued with his Army career.

    He was brigade major with the 1st Guards Brigade in Palestine, instructed at the Haifa and Camberley staff colleges and was second-in-command of the 1st battalion, Scots Guards, in the Suez Canal Zone. He received command of the 2nd battalion, then became chief of staff, London District, and later commander, 4 Guards Brigade.

    In 1964 Fitzalan Howard became the first commander of the Allied Mobile Force in Europe, then chief of staff, Southern Command, and, finally, GOC, London District, and major-general commanding the Household Division. He was colonel of the Lancashire Regiment from 1966 to 1970, then of the Queen's Lancashire Regiment until 1978.

    In retirement he became Marshal of the Diplomatic Corps in 1982 and, after the assassination of Lord Mountbatten in 1979, Gold Stick in Waiting and Colonel of the Life Guards for the next 20 years. He was also chairman of the Territorial Army and Volunteer Reserve Council. In the mid-1980s he was involved in the Royal Commonwealth Ex-Services League as the driving force behind Prince Philip's appeal which raised almost £3 million for those who had fallen on hard times.
    He was appointed MVO in 1953, CBE in 1962, CB in 1968, KCVO in 1971 and GCVO in 1981.

    On his brother's succession to the dukedom of Norfolk in 1975 he was granted the title and precedence of a duke's son. In 1999 he became an extra equerry to the Queen.

    Michael Fitzalan Howard was a devout Catholic with an unassuming manner and a deep love of the countryside.
    He married, in 1946, Jean Hamilton-Dalrymple, daughter of Sir Hew Hamilton-Dalrymple, Bt; but she died a year later, shortly after the birth of their daughter. In 1950 he married Margaret Meade-Newman, daughter of Captain WP Meade-Newman; they had four sons (three of whom were Tom, Dick and Harry) and a daughter. After Margaret's death in 1995 he married Victoria Baring, widow of Sir Mark Baring.

    Major-General Lord Michael Fitzalan-Howard | Times Online Obituary

    Major-General Lord Michael Fitzalan-Howard

    Tank commander who won the MC for his leadership in attacks through the difficult Normandy bocage in 1944
    Michael Fitzalan-Howard was the second son of the 3rd Baron Howard of Glossop and consequent to his elder brother's succeeding a cousin as the 17th Duke of Norfolk in 1975 was granted the title and precedence of a duke's son. His military career closely matched that of his more extrovert brother. Both left the Army as major-generals but it was said that Lord Michael might have advanced to a more senior rank had he wished to stay on. As it was, he gave much of the rest of his life to public service and to his family.

    He was educated at Ampleforth and Trinity College, Cambridge, before being commissioned into the Scots Guards in 1938. He joined 3rd Scots Guards on its formation in October 1940 as second in command of “Right Flank” — regarded as the senior rifle company of a Scots Guards battalion. After attending the wartime Camberley course and serving on the staff in England, he rejoined 3rd Scots Guards in April 1944, by then converted to an armoured regiment for the Normandy campaign.

    He commanded Left Flank in the battle of Caumont on July 30, 1944, when the battalion was serving with the 6th Guards Tank Brigade. On August 11, one day after the battalion had been switched to being under command of the Guards Armoured Division, he took part in the attack through dense and therefore difficult bocage country on high ground round the village of Presles and exploitation to Chênedollé — “China Doll” — about 3,000 yards farther on.

    Fitzalan-Howard was awarded the Military Cross for the leadership of his tank company in these two actions. But just a week after them he was recalled to the staff to become Brigade Major (Chief of Staff) of 32nd Guards Brigade in the Guards Armoured Division. He remained in this appointment until the end of the war in Europe and was mentioned in dispatches.


    Fitzalan-Howard served on the directing staff of the wartime Staff College at Haifa, Palestine, during the summer and early autumn of 1946 before being recalled to England to undertake the same duty at the Staff College, Camberley.

    The decision to form 2nd Guards Brigade to reinforce the British and Gurkha battalions struggling to contain the communist insurrection in Malaya resulted in his recall to the post of Brigade Major, an assignment he accomplished with characteristic calm. He was appointed MBE in 1949 for his service in Malaya and MVO for his work during the funeral of King George VI while Brigade Major of the Brigade of Guards in London.

    From 1956 he commanded 2nd Scot Guards in 4th Guards Brigade with British Army of the Rhine until his promotion to brigadier to become Chief of Staff London District in 1958. He subsequently commanded 4th Guards Brigade in Germany until advanced to major-general for an assignment to which proven ability in command and on the staff, as well as his diplomatic skills, particularly qualified him.

    Concern for the vulnerability of the extreme flanks of Nato to pressure from the Soviet Union, in particular in northern Norway and Greek Thrace, had resulted in the formation of the Allied Command Europe (ACE) Mobile Force comprising land, sea and air force elements of several Nato nations. The aim was not to assemble a force capable of repelling a Soviet incursion on an exposed flank, but rather to demonstrate Alliance solidarity and determination in the face of any menacing Soviet move.

    Fitzalan-Howard was selected as the first commander of the ground force element of this multinational formation, frequently called on to exercise in the areas of likely deployment. Difficulties occasionally arose over holding these exercises since some nations without Nato troops (apart from their own) stationed on their soil were liable to cancel practice deployments at the last moment so as not to risk offending Moscow. The quietly spoken but operationally experienced Fitzalan-Howard proved the ideal person to allay such fears and ensure the exercises went ahead.

    His military career was completed by two years as Chief of Staff Southern Command, then with its headquarters near Salisbury, and as GOC London District and Major-General Commanding the Household Division. He had been advanced to CBE in 1962, appointed CB in 1968 and advanced to KCVO by the Queen on completion of his London duty.

    In 1972 he was appointed to the largely ceremonial duty of Her Majesty's Marshal of the Diplomatic Corps, of which the most publicly recognised responsibility is to accompany Commonwealth high commissioners and foreign ambassadors newly accredited to the Court of St James in an open carriage for their first audience with the Queen. A man of easy conviviality, well versed in the procedure and timing, was called for, and Fitzalan-Howard fitted the bill perfectly. He was advanced to GCVO by the Queen on retiring from this post in 1981.

    He was chairman of the council responsible for the administrative support for the Territorial Army and Volunteer Reserve Associations, 1973-81, Colonel of the Life Guards and Gold Stick in Waiting to the Queen, 1979-99, Colonel of the Queen's Lancashire Regiment, 1970-78, Honorary Colonel of Cambridge University OTC, 1968-71, and a Deputy Lieutenant for Wiltshire from 1974. Latterly he was the honorary recorder of the British Commonwealth Ex-Service League 1991-2001.

    He married Jean, daughter of Sir Hew Hamilton-Dalrymple, Bt, in 1946. She died in 1947, and in 1950 he married Margaret, daughter of Captain W. P. Meade-Newman, who died in 1995. In 1997 he married Victoria Baring, widow of Sir Mark Baring, who survives him with a daughter of his first marriage and four sons and one daughter of his second.

    Major-General Lord Michael Fitzalan-Howard, GCVO, CB, CBE, MC, Marshal of the Diplomatic Corps, 1972-81, was born on October 22, 1916. He died on November 2, 2007, aged 91
     
  5. Wills

    Wills Very Senior Member

    I wonder if that nice Scots Guards chap Michael Fitzalan Howard let it be known his brother was a butler!
     
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    III. OPERATIONS IN HOLLAND

    (ii) TO THE R. MAAS.

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    III. OPERATIONS IN HOLLAND

    (ii) TO THE R. MAAS.


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    057 Link FRENCH S 14259595 3RD BN 19/11/1944 SCOTS GUARDS

    058 Link GRIEVE ANS 2700988 - 20/11/1944 SCOTS GUARDS
    059 Link WILSON J 300849 3RD BN 20/11/1944 SCOTS GUARDS

    060 Link SHIELLS J 2701084 - 21/11/1944 SCOTS GUARDS

    061 Link IRVINE J 2693243 3RD BN 26/11/1944 SCOTS GUARDS
    062 Link MARSHALL HWS 267571 3RD BN 26/11/1944 SCOTS GUARDS


    :poppy:
    Nemo me impune lacessit


    N.B. As CWGC records do not include a battalion for many of the Scots Guards in their Roll of Honour, I have had to cross-reference casualties with Appendix A of The Scots Guards 1919-1955, Erskine. Apologies for any omission or erroneous inclusion.
     
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    III. OPERATIONS IN HOLLAND

    (ii) TO THE R. MAAS.



    On the following day (October 28th) we had high hopes of entering TILBURG. But it was not to be. On the other side of the salient, in a sector held by the 7th US ARMOURED DIVISION, the Germans launched a counter-attack across the CANAL DE DEURNE, captured MEIJEL (7006) and were pressing on through the PEEL towards SECOND ARMY HQ in HELMOND. We were therefor warned to be ready to move East early the next morning. In the course of the day however reports became graver and by four o’clock we had already started off. We passed through EINDHOVEN and GELDROP, ‘A’ Echelon was dropped off at ZOMEREN (5911) and the tanks eventually arrived just West of ASTEN at 1.30 in the morning.

    On the 29th - a day full of extraordinary rumours concerning the progress and success of the German thrust - the three tank squadrons moved out to support units of 227 BRIGADE in covering the approaches to ASTEN from the South-East. Two PANZER DIVISIONS - the 9th and the 15th - were said to be involved in the attack, but American reports, though sensational, were vague, and in fact no enemy were seen during the day. SECOND ARMY HQ however began to evacuate HELMOND.

    Next day the Americans were withdrawn and 227 BRIGADE with the Battalion in support took over their positions - ‘S’ Squadron, with the ARGYLLs, in the village of HEUSDEN and Right Flank, with the HIGHLAND LIGHT INFANTRY, and Left Flank, with the GORDONs, forward of the village to the right and left respectively. The Right Flank troops of Lieutenant FLETCHER and Lieutenant RUNCIE took up a position in a wood nearly a mile ahead of their Squadron during the night. At dawn grey figures were seen close to the tanks moving towards the enemy lines. It was assumed that these were our own infantry deploying forward of the wood. Half an hour later however it became clear that what had in fact been seen was a German Company who had spent the night in the wood. The remainder of the 15th SCOTTISH DIVISION and 6th GUARDS TANK BRIGADE were meanwhile concentrating behind. Shelling and mortaring were fairly heavy but the expected attack did not materialise and Lieutenant CAMERON’s troop of Left Flank was able to carry out an attack with a Company of the GORDONs on an occupied farm from which they brought back 23 prisoners. During the night the enemy regained possession of the wood from which Right Flank’s harbour area had to be repelled at dawn.

    After two days of comparative quiet, the Reconnaissance Troop, on the 2nd November, brought in the first detailed information about the enemy to the East and South-East. Among other positions, an enemy company had been located in the peat bogs and an attack was quickly improvised by a company of the ARGYLLs supported by Lieutenant HICKLING’s troop from ‘S’ Squadron. Soon after the start of this the Infantry came under heavy and accurate mortar fire while the ground was practically impossible for tanks and two of these became bogged. Smoke laid to cover the work of extrication was mistaken by the Infantry for the pre-arranged signal to withdraw and the tanks, left unsupported in the gathering dusk, were attacked by enemy infantry. According to one of the other side, who passed through our hands six months later in SCHLESWIG, the troop killed about 130 men in a very few minutes; but in the action one of the bogged tanks had to be abandoned until next day when it was recovered intact. From the same prisoner we learnt that an SP gun that had opened fire with HE was unable to attack the tanks with AP shot since it had none left. The remaining two tanks of the troop eventually withdrew, after blowing up an enemy ammunition dump in the peat hags. The enemy, as it proved later, also withdrew.

    On the 4th November shelling was much diminished and it became apparent that the enemy were falling back to the Canal. MEIJEL was retaken on 5th November by 44th (L) BRIGADE, supported in most difficult conditions by the GRENADIERS. On the 5th November we were able to move back to HELMOND (now vacated by SECOND ARMY HQ) and there we remained until the 20th November.

    The enemy’s thrust had thus been driven back to where it started: but it still remained to clear him out of the wide stretch of country West of the MAAS. Plans were now made therefore for an operation beyond the DEURNE CANAL. This was to open with a clearing movement South of the CANAL DU NORD by 51st (H) DIVISION and 49th (WR) DIVISION and to develop into a general sweep of the area between the PEEL and the MAAS from South to North so as to link up with the 3rd (Br) DIVISION and the COLDSTREAM near VENRAIJ. As it turned out our part was to be an advance in a North-Easterly direction from the Canal-crossing near MEIJEL to TIENRAIJ and the banks of the MAAS beyond - a distance of some 20 miles. During the week occupied by this advance rain fell continuously for four days and intermittently thereafter. The previous ten days had also been wet or showery. In consequence the ground, naturally flat and low-lying, quickly became a morass and the track which formed the axis of the attack, and for six days constituted our only link with ‘A’ Echelon, was eventually all but impassable.

    On the night of 18th November Captain GRAHAM and Captain BANKES accompanied patrols of the HIGHLAND LIGHT INFANTRY to reconnoitre the ground between MEIJEL and the CANAL DE DEURNE. They found the going suitable for tanks and detected some slight enemy activity on the near side of the canal. On the 19th, Captain PEMBER, whose Reconnaissance Troop had for a couple of days been clearing minefields in the MEIJEL area, was unfortunately blown up on a mine and both he and his driver, Piper TAYLOR, were injured.

    At seven o’clock in the morning of the 20th November we left HELMOND, passed through MEIJEL, crossed the DEURNE CANAL and formed up North of the VENLO road close to the village of BERINGE where we were sharply shelled by an SP gun. We had under command a squadron of FLAILs (C/Sqn, W Dgns), a batter of SP guns (146th Anti-Tank BATTERY) and a troop of AVsRE, including a bridge. We also had a couple of CHURCHILL bridge-layers. The FLAILS and SPs we shared out - a troop to each squadron. From BERINGE a track leads North-East to the village of SEVENUM (818140). This track was to be the axis of our advance. At 11.15 a.m. Left Flank and the GORDONs moved off. Within a mile they came under heavy mortar and Spandau fire from some houses just ahead and from the surrounding woods. This stopped the Infantry; but the tanks advanced amongst the houses, destroyed them by gun-fire and silenced the Spandaus. The “bag” destroyed them by gun-fire and silenced the Spandaus. The “bag” consisted of about 20 killed and 46 prisoners. After the attack however SP guns, first on the right and then on the left flank, opened fire from thick cover and, before being forced to withdraw, knocked out the tank of Lieutenant J. WILSON, killing him and wounding two of his crew. Two other CHURCHILLs were hit through not damaged and Lieutenant I.L. THORPE was severely wounded by small-arms fire. Left Flank then withdrew, after dark, to a Forward Rally on the left of the track while ‘S’ and the ARGYLLs harboured in the wood on its right. Right Flank, in the course of the afternoon, sent two troops off in a North-Westerly direction to support 44th (L) BRIGADE. They were soon sent back however. No contact was made with the enemy but one tank was lost on a mine and the driver, Guardsman GRIEVE, killed. As for the Reconnaissance Troop, they sent numerous patrols to the wooded area ahead. On one of these sorties Lance-Serjeant FENTON’s tank broke a track and he and the crew were captured. (See http://www.ww2talk.com/forum/407568-post80.html)

    At first light on the 21st November Left Flank and the GORDONs moved off again and reached a Canal nearly two miles beyond the scene of their fight on the previous day. No opposition was encountered. The bridge over the Canal however was blown and a CHURCHILL bridge and an AVRE bridge had to be laid to enable the tanks and infantry to cross. On the far side a bridgehead was formed which came under fairly heavy fire from guns, mortars and nebelwerfers. A patrol of Reconnaissance Troop meanwhile went to explore the village of VORST (819123): Lance-Serjeant BROWN’s tank was lost on a mine and the driver, Guardsman SHIELLS, was killed; but the other tank successfully completed its mission.

    Rain had been falling heavily now for two days and nights and the ground was rapidly becoming a swamp. The approaches to the crossing were so bad that it was decided not to pass anyone else over that night and just before dawn the bridges themselves were shifted a few yards.


    image.png
    IWM Ref: B 12026
    At first light the news was received from Divisional Reconnaissance that the villages of BROEK, VORST and ACTERSTE STEEG had all been evacuated by the enemy and Right Flank, moving off at about nine o’clock, pushed through the village; ‘S’ Squadron and Left Flank harboured at VOORSTE STEEG and ACHTERSTE STEEG respectively. In the evening and early morning of the next day Battalion HQ was sharply shelled. By this time the Brigade Group was right out several miles in front of any other troops and only just within range of our own guns.

    On the 23rd November Right Flank advanced across the HELMOND-VENLO railway and entered the town of HORST (8319). Battalion HQ and ‘S’ Squadron followed in and we all received something of an ovation. Left Flank stayed a mile and a half to the South-East. Here we remained while, on the 24th, Sappers constructed bridges over the Canals to the North of the town and at OOSTENRIJK, a mile further on. By this time the condition of the supply route from ‘A’ Echelon at HEUSDEN was quite indescribable and it was eventually decided to use as an alternative the line of the VENLO-HELMOND railway as far as DEURNE.

    Early on the 25th November, the bridges being completed and the road to the North cleared of obstacles by two of our ARVs, Right Flank advanced with the HIGHLAND LIGHT INFANTRY to EIKLENBOSCH - (850207) and ‘S’ Squadron with the ARGYLLs formed up just North of the OOSTENRIJK bridge for an attack on TIENRAIJ (8523). By mid-day they were in the place, having encountered no opposition apart from some heavy shelling. In the afternoon Left Flank and the GORDONs passed through them and bore off Eastwards to SWOLLGEN (875227) which was reached just before dark. During the night shelling was intermittent over the whole area and, at about eight o’clock the next morning (26th November), when it was particularly heavy in the region of Left Flank’s harbour, a shell burst under Lieutenant MARSHALL’s tank, killing him and two of his crew, Guardsmen IRVINE and PETTY. At ten o’clock Right Flank with the HIGHLAND LIGHT INFANTRY moved up towards BLITTERSWIJK (8727). A water obstacle prevented all the tanks from approaching the village, but Lieutenant H. LAING got two tanks across and, in close support of the leading infantry, had a lively engagement. They silence some Spandaus and Faustpatronen and thus helped the infantry to enter the place. At the same time Left Flank were assisting the GORDONs to reach BROEKHUIZEN (996222).

    With 227th BRIGADE thus established on the MAAS the operation was really over. For a couple of days however we remained where we were and during this time (28th November) a troop of Left Flank supported the GORDONs in occupying KASTEEL and in demolishing booby-trapped houses in BROEKHUIZEN. The same night R.S.M. BROWN was blown up on a mine in his Scout car but escaped injury. On the 29th November we returned to HELMOND and on the following day were honoured by a visit from the Supreme Commander, General EISENHOWER and the Army Commander, Lieutenant General DEMPSEY.
     
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2018
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    6th Guards Tank Brigade, 8 Corps
    P/134557 War Substantive Captain, Temporary Major John Pelham MANN

    On Monday 20 November 1944, the Battalion was in support of 227th (H) BRIGADE during the advance from BERLINGEN towards SEVENUM. Major MANN was commanding Left Flank in support of the leading Infantry Battalion.

    About 1630 hours, after advancing about 2000 yards, a strong enemy defence line consisting of at least two Companies of Infantry in depth in fortified houses and slit trenches was encountered. These were supported by a minimum of two S.P. Anti-Tank guns from dug-in positions in the woods which lay to the front and both flanks of the position.

    On reaching this opposition the leading Battalion found itself completely unable to get on as every movement drew extremely heavy and accurate mortar and shell fire.

    Major MANN was very quick to appreciate that most energetic action was essential since should the enemy manage to hold, our surprise thrust on this unexpected axis they would certainly reinforce this very strong position during the coming night, and at once led his Squadron forward to attack it.

    He first dealt with the infantry in the farmhouses - so successfully that their garrisons, when the houses were set burning around them finally surrendered to the tanks; 46 prisoners being taken in addition to at least 20 others killed. This vigorous advance however resulted in the Squadron being a considerable distance ahead of any infantry support and engaged at ranges of 400 - 600 yards by the Anti-Tank guns whose positions were so well concealed as to be almost unidentifiable in the twilight. Nevertheless so skilfully did he handle the Squadron, so outstandingly gallant was the way in which he fought his own tank and so quick was he to spot and attack the guns, that the S.P.s were forced to withdraw having only knocked out one of this tanks, though one of their dug-in positions when examined later showed that no less than 17 rounds of A.P. had been fired from it.

    The result of this action was that the German defensive crust was most effectively broken through and the column was able to advance practically unmolested.

    29th November 1944.
    Granted an Immediate Military Cross


    The National Archives | DocumentsOnline | Image Details

    Name: Mann, John Pelham
    Rank: Captain
    Service No: P/124557
    Regiment: 3 Tank Battalion Scots Guards
    Theatre of Combat or Operation: North West Europe 1944-45
    Award: Military Cross
    Date of Announcement in London Gazette: 22 March 1945
    Date: 1945
    Catalogue reference: WO 373/52
     

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    III. OPERATIONS IN HOLLAND

    (iii) MAASTRICHT APPENDIX


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    063 Link MALCOLM A 2698188 3RD BN 14/12/1944 SCOTS GUARDS

    064 Link DUNN JK 2698496 - 31/01/1945 SCOTS GUARDS


    :poppy:
    Nemo me impune lacessit


    N.B. As CWGC records do not include a battalion for many of the Scots Guards in their Roll of Honour, I have had to cross-reference casualties with Appendix A of The Scots Guards 1919-1955, Erskine. Apologies for any omission or erroneous inclusion.
     
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    III. OPERATIONS IN HOLLAND

    (iii) MAASTRICHT APPENDIX

    For three weeks we rested and trained in HELMOND. Our Operational role was limited to counter-attack in case of an enemy penetration on the 8th CORPS but it was also expected that, soon after Christmas, we should go into the line on the MAAS as infantry and conversion training was accordingly begun.

    The news of the German break-through in the ARDENNES brought this to an abrupt halt. On December 20th we were suddenly moved 30 miles South to the town of BREE in Belgium to join the American 9th ARMY, now under the command of Field Marshall MONTGOMERY. Throughout the 21st little information could be gleaned of the progress of the German thrust or of the extent to which the 9th ARMY had been able to hold it: Preparations were made to fall back on LOUVAIN in support of the 153rd BRIGADE of 51st (H) DIVISION and block the road to BRUSSELS; but the Germans failed to cross the MEUSE and, on December 22nd, we moved Eastwards into the “MAASTRICHT APPENDIX”, to support 154th BRIGADE in case it should be called upon to attack Southwards into the bulge.

    For five days, in the neighbourhood of VALKENBURG, we waited so. The unexpected spell of inactivity, the kindness of our Dutch hosts and a short spell of fine frosty weather, in exchange for fog and rain, enabled us to enjoy a splendid Christmas. Then, on the 27th, the BRIGADE was put under command of the 43rd (WESSEX) DIVISION to guard against any attack between the MEUSE and AACHEN and for the next fortnight plans were concerted with 214th BRIGADE to counter-attack in three likely areas -
    ELSLOO on the MEUSE,
    NUTH South of SITTARD and
    EYNATTEN South of AACHEN.

    No German attack however materialised and on January 12th 43rd DIVISION was sent up to relieve 52nd DIVISION who were holding the line just inside the German frontier, from GANGELT to GEILENKIRCHEN. The Battalion moved up in support in very wintry weather. Much snow had fallen in the New Year, and on the 8th and 9th it amounted to a blizzard. Shelter was found for most of the ‘S’ Squadron in the cellars of GANGELT but two troops had to be pushed forward into the village of HASTENRATH and VINTELEN. Right Flank meanwhile occupied the village of STAHE on the GANGELT-GEILENKIRCHEN road along which they dug in their tanks, while Left Flank, after remaining for one day with Battalion HQ at SCHINVELD, on the Dutch side of the border, moved into GEILENKIRCHEN itself. Each squadron had with it a patrol of the Reconnaissance Troop.

    On January 17th the whole Battalion moved into cellars and dug-outs in the snow-covered debris of GEILENKIRCHEN. The bitterly cold weather continued and tanks were whitewashed or camouflaged with sheets and old white parachutes. Meanwhile plans were being laid for an attack North-East from SITTARD to HEINSBERG to push the Germans back to the R. ROER and give the Americans a better jumping-off ground for their Spring Offensive. In this operation we were given a two-fold task.
    In the first place, from the heights North-West of GEILENKIRCHEN, we were to obliterate the villages of PUTT, WALDENRATH and STRAETEN by fire, as a preliminary to their capture from the West. This operation, known as “PEPPER-POT” was prepared with meticulous care and elaboration by the Adjutant, Captain BALFOUR.
    Secondly we were to co-operate at a later stage with 5th DUKE OF CORNWALL’S LIGHT INFANTRY and CROCODILEs in an attack North-Eastwards on the villages of HOVEN, NIRM and KRAUDORF.

    On January 21st, after a postponement, the tanks moved up the icy hill and took up position in line along the ridge for “PEPPER POT”. Again the shoot was postponed and crews were obliged to bivouac in the snow or seek shelter in a ruined factory till dawn on the 22nd. From then until eleven o’clock we pumped shells into the three villages, but the infantry attack which should have followed was delayed by the number of mines encountered and no sooner were our tanks back in GEILENKIRCHEN than they were ordered to administer another dose. In the short interval the town was attacked by four of our own Fighter-bombers which machine-gunned the tanks and dropped eight bombs - fortunately without causing damage or casualties. In the evening, after the renewed bombardment, we again learnt that the infantry attack was held up; so for a second night the tanks and crews remained upon the hill. On the 23rd we fired on STRAETEN from dawn until 9.30, when the last of our ammunition expended. About 12,000 rounds had been fired in all - a total weight of something like 28 tons. There is no doubt of the effectiveness of “PEPPER POT”. It was testified to not only by prisoners taken a few days later at HEINSBERG but by a large, tell-tale area of blackened snow around the wrecked buildings. A film of the operation was made by an American Newsreel Unit.

    As for our second task, it was never required. After a rehearsal on January 25th, news was received that the objectives were already in British hands. An attempt to use Left Flank’s tanks to support the infantry holding them had to be abandoned on account of the icy roads and frequent mines; and so the whole operation ended. The Germans had been pushed back all along the front to the line of the R. ROER and our task in the South was over.

    On January 27th the battalion moved back to VALKENBURG and two days later the tanks slithered somehow to WATERSCHEIDE in Belgium where they loaded on to transporters for the long march North to TILBURG and our old friends in the 15th SCOTTISH DIVISION.
     
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    IV. THROUGH THE SIEGFRIED LINE

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    IV. THROUGH THE SIEGFRIED LINE

    The Battalion reached NIJMEGEN after a long night march from TILBURG on Saturday February 3rd and the next four days, during which the Commanding Officer rejoined us from England, were spent in making plans for the big offensive which was to clear the REICHSWALD, cross the SIEGFRIED LINE and reach the RHINE near WESEL. The whole town was full of troops, army vehicles of every sort were parked in every square and open space and it is difficult to imagine that enemy reconnaissance was unaware that a large-scale assault was in preparation. There was however some chance that the use of CHURCHILL tanks would not be expected on account of the very unsuitable nature of the ground to be traversed. All signs had therefore been removed both from vehicles and battle-dress and troops were confined to their billets.

    The ground over which the attack was due to take place consists of the flood-plain of the RHINE, bounded to the South by the wooded hills of the REICHSWALD. Across this marshy plain and skirting the edge of the high ground, runs the road from NIJMEGEN to CLEVE, some 20 miles to the South-East, passing successively through the villages of WYLER, KRANKENBURG and NUTTERDEN. Near the last of these villages it swings away North-East to avoid the hills, which here crowd down to the road, and, for its last few miles, steep, wooded slopes overhang its right-hand verge up to the outskirts of CLEVE itself. Just where the road makes its change of direction and about mid-way between KRANKENBURG and NUTTERDEN lay the Northern extremity of the SIEGFRIED LINE.

    The plan was briefly as follows. On our left flank, in the marsh-land, two Divisions of CANADIANS were to operate between the road and the RHINE. On our right 46th BRIGADE, supported by the COLDSTREAM, were to seize the heights of the REICHSWALD. Between the two, with the main road as our axis, 227th BRIGADE and ourselves were to push straight ahead for KRANENBURG, while the GRENADIERS, with 44th BRIGADE, were to follow up and, during the night, to start breaching the SIEGFRIED LINE between the road and the hills.

    At a quarter to five on the morning of February 8th we moved out along the WYLER road until, at a point just north of BERG-EN-DAL, we struck Southwards along a narrow lane between thick woods. About dawn we passed through the gun area and were greatly heartened by the colossal noise of the preliminary barrage. We halted at half-past seven in our Forwards Assembly Area in NEDERIJKSCHE WOOD (7457). To have reached this without incident must be regarded as a very satisfactory start to the operation, for the road looked very doubtful and if a tank had broken down it would have been impossible for those behind to get past.

    At a quarter past nine ‘S’ Squadron debouched from the wood and started to move Eastwards. From the start it was clear that the going was to be the trouble and very soon all the Flails were bogged in the area short of the GROESBEEK-WYLER road, where, despite great efforts, they remained throughout the operation. ‘S’ Squadron however managed to get on through the American mine-field where the mines were lying on the surface, to cross the Start Line, with their infantry, immediately behind the barrage and to reach the edge of the German minefield. Here it seemed likely that the whole plan would break down; for there were no Flails and very little Sapper assistance while the leading Infantry, who tried to walk through, suffered considerable casualties. Unless something could be done quickly the barrage would be lost for good. Lieutenant STEVENSON who commanded the leading troop of ‘S’ Squadron was not however to be beaten. Spotting a tiny track that he thought might indicate a gap, he led his troop along it. The tanks exploded many “Schu-mines” as they went and the infantry and the remainder of teh tanks were able to follow through in his tracks with the loss of only two tanks. Once through the minefield the infantry and tanks contrived to close up behind the barrage in good time and the advance continued. So far enemy ground opposition had been crushed by the speed with which our leading troops had followed up the heavy barrage and many prisoners began to come in. Small arms fire had been light and shelling negligible.

    Right Flank now started to move up on the left; but they had great trouble with the going, which was now very bad indeed, and in finding the minefield gaps. They lost two tanks on mines before they found their way through and were able to catch up their infantry. However they were in time to shoot them into the forward edge of KRANENBURG (8056). Here they found to their surprise that the bridge on the main road (806563) was intact. They were therefore able to pass Lieutenant SCOTT-BARRETT’s troop into the town to help in mopping up. The ground just short of the bridge however was very boggy and 8 tanks got stuck. Some resistance was offered in the town itself but on the whole the opposition on this flank was not strong and it seems that the enemy were so overcome with the weight of the barrage and so surprised by the appearance of tanks in such impossible country that they gave themselves up without a fight. Much the same story can be told of the Right Flank where, largely owing to the determination of the Squadron Leader, Major FARRELL, and of Lieutenant STEVENSON, ‘S’ Squadron managed to get five tanks on to their final objective - a very fine performance. By fire o’clock in the evening the infantry were firmly established on their objectives and nearly 300 prisoners (including Officers) had been taken. We had only lost one tank - that of Lieutenant CAMPBELL in Left Flank which struck a mine, presumably attacked to an aerial bomb. The tank exploded and Lieutenant CAMPBELL died later of wounds. Several other tanks however were so deeply bogged that they were never recovered.

    At nightfall Battalion HQ moved up with HQ 227th (H) BRIGADE to the hamlet of HETTSTEEG (799557) about a mile west of KRANENBURG: Right Flank rallied beside the bridge on the main road and ‘S’ Squadron at the Railway Station South of the town.

    Meanwhile the GORDONs had not yet advanced beyond the Start Line and Left Flank, after advancing as far as the German minefield, had once more withdrawn to rejoin the infantry. During the night they moved up along the WYLER-KRANENBURG road and their attack which had been scheduled to start in the evening of the 8th eventually went in at eight o’clock on the morning of the 9th. The axis of the attack was up the main road. But this means the Anti-Tank ditch was easily crossed and NUTTERDEN was reached with little opposition. In the village itself, it is true, there was a certain amount of resistance, but Left Flank had no casualties and lost no tanks while quite a number of Germans were killed and about 200 prisoners taken. It is believed that by this action the Squadron had the first British tanks through the SIEGFRIED LINE. In the evening Right Flank moved up with the HIGHLAND LIGHT INFANTRY to the hamlet of WOLF-sB (844545) [pencil note in margin - WOLFSBERG?] on a spur of high ground South of NUTTERDEN. They were shelled on the way by an SP gun in the forest and Captain J.W.O. ELLIOTT was wounded.

    During the night of 9th/10th February plans were made for the capture of CLEVE. The town was to be cleared by the ARGYLLs and ‘S’ Squadron on the right and the GORDONs and Left Flank on the left. Right Flank and HIGHLAND LIGHT INFANTRY were to remain in their positions. The FUP was to be just this side of the Look-out Tower (881560) on the Western edge of the town. Its left flank and the way up to it, which lay through a narrow “isthmus” of the REICHSWALD were to be protected by the Reconnaissance Troop. Accordingly ‘S’ Squadron and Left Flank, carrying the ARGYLLs and GORDONs, were formed up on the main road by eight o’clock in the morning; but the congestion of traffic, caused by 43rd DIVISION (who failed to clear the road when ordered) made progress very slow. Eventually when the leading tanks had just reached the narrow neck of wood (at 855556) orders were received to halt and get off the road. Meanwhile the Reconnaissance Troop had gone on ahead and had taken up their positions on the edge of the wood by the Look-out Tower. Here they met sharp opposition and bazooka fire. Two HONEYs were knocked out and Serjeant RAMSAY died of wounds he received. The remainder of the Troop withdrew when it was clear that their presence was no longer necessary. They had killed many men and forced the enemy from several entrenched positions. ‘S’ Squadron remained near the neck of the wood for the night, Left Flank returned to NUTTERDEN and Battalion HQ moved up to some buildings just short of the village.

    Early on the 11th February Left Flank were ordered to advance with the GORDONs on the axis of the main DONSBRUGGEN-CLEVE road; Right Flank were to follow them up with HIGHLAND LIGHT INFANTRY and eventually pass through and clear the town. At the start Left Flank had some trouble with bazookas from the wooded slope on their right but this ceased when a troop was sent up into the wood. At the cross-roads (893564), near the entrance to CLEVE, Right Flank and the HIGHLAND LIGHT INFANTRY passed through into the town just as it was getting dark. There was little opposition but some confusion with 44th BRIGADE who had simultaneously entered the town from the South. Eventually fighting ceased. Right Flank rallied back to a point just North of the Cross-roads; Left Flank harboured on the main road a quarter of a mile behind; ‘S’ Squadron lay at ZU DONSBURGGEN (863567) and Battalion HQ at HAYSENHOF, two and a half miles to the rear.

    For the next three days no move was made. The two forward squadrons were subjected to some shelling; but the real problem during this period was one of communication with the rear. Our ‘B’ Echelon was still at TILBURG in central Holland and we were hardly less cut off from ‘A’ Echelon in NIJMEGEN; for the country to the North of the road back was now a vast, inland lake stretching away to the RHINE. By the 12th of February the road itself was flooded to a depth of three feet and the next day was impassable except to DUKWS. A DUKW point for the BRIGADE was therefore established at the Railway Station in NIJMEGEN and each Battalion was allowed to make two trips a day with supplies. ‘A’ Echelon, under Major Sir Charles MacLEAN, never failed us and the work of the D.R.s at this time was especially good in spite of the shocking conditions. Handicapped by a temporary absence of maps and forced to make long detours to the South through the REICHSWALD, they invariably found their destinations by day and night. Meanwhile the tanks which had been bogged near KRANENBURG and had not yet been extricated disappeared completely under the waters - though not before essential kit had been extracted from them by boarding them from a WATER-WEASEL.


    On the 14th of February - on which day Field Marshal MONTGOMERY visited the HQ of 227th (H) BRIGADE which were alongside us - a plan was made with 227th BRIGADE for an advance to capture some high ground about seven miles away near the village of CALCAR (0050) but on the next day the Battalion was put instead in support of the 7th CANADIAN INFANTRY BRIGADE and a new plan was made for an advance in the same direction.

    On this side of CLEVE (into which Battalion HQ now moved) three main roads radiate. The first runs South, skirts the Eastern edge of the REICHSWALD crosses the R. NIERS after 8 miles at the small town of GOCH (9143) and runs on, through WEEZE and KEVELAER to GELDERN 21 miles away. The second runs out South-East, keeping roughly parallel to the RHINE through CALCAR and MARIENBAUM to the old town of XANTEN. Between the two runs a lesser road to the fortified village of UDEM and WINNEKENDONK. The large wedge of sandy country bisected by this road is for the most part open and agricultural. At its Northern tip however it is constricted between the old Forest of CLEVE to the South of the town and the woods around MOYLAND which fringe the CALCAR road; while further South the valley of the NIERS is thickly wooded and to the East great stretches of wooded upland, known as the HOCHWALD and BALBERGER WALD (and believed to be strongly held), cut it off from XANTEN and the RHINE.

    The plan was to attack between the CALCAR and UDEM roads. Right Flank were to advance to a small lump of high ground (964495) a mile South of MOYLAND; Left Flank, withe the WINNIPEG RIFLES in KANGAROOs, were to come up on their right and seize the village of LOUISENDORF (961488) while ‘S’ Squadron and the REGINE RIFLES were to move up on the Left, along the Southern fringe of MOYLAND Wood to a knoll (976487) above the hamlet of ROSSKAMP.

    Accordingly on the 16th the Battalion moved out beyond the village of BEDBURG. The morning was very misty but it cleared about mid-day. The attack started about half-past one. Right Flank reached the village and held it alone for some time until the WINNIPEG RIFLES came up. The shelling was the heaviest that the Battalion had ever known. At its height Captain R.W.O. BURNETT set a magnificent example of bravery. He got out of his tank and went on foot from KANGAROO to KANGAROO, encouraging the infantry to dismount and guiding them to their positions. He was killed by a shell a few minutes later. But his splendid leadership had its effect: the WINNIPEG RIFLES entered the village, some 90 minutes after the tanks, and by dark they were firmly established there and on the high ground which, for two hours, Right Flank had been holding alone.

    Meanwhile ‘S’ Squadron and the REGINA RIFLES had met very heavy opposition, including counter-attacks from the woods on their left. The infantry in the wood had heavy casualties and made no progress but the tanks reached their primary objective. After dark all squadrons rallied back somewhat along the line of the road. All the objectives on the right had been gained against very stiff opposition and very heavy shelling, but the left flank was very vulnerable. Many Germans had been killed and about 300 prisoners - mainly paratroops - captured. Our own casualties were Captain BURNETT killed, the Adjutant, Captain P.E.G. BALFOUR, Lieutenant C.J.O. CLARKE, the Technical Adjutant, Captain I.S.R. BRUCE and Captain D.L. BANKES wounded. The last two however were not evacuated. Two Other Ranks were killed and five wounded. One tank only had been knocked out.

    All through the night the shelling was very heavy. In the morning ‘S’ Squadron shot the REGINA RIFLES into the wood immediately South of MOYLAND, but the infantry attack in the wood was not a success. At two o’clock Right Flank with the CANADIAN SCOTTISH were ordered to attack the Knoll above ROSSKAMP (976497). The wood on the left was to be smoked off. The attack went in at 4 o’clock supported by fire from the other two squadrons. It was a complete success through the machine gun fire and Anti-Tank fire was very strong and the shelling very heavy indeed. About 150 prisoners - again mainly paratroops - were taken. Lieutenant SCOTT-BARRETT’s tank broke down on the objective. It was towed back about a mile but finally had to be abandoned. It was found to have an 88 mm shell embedded in it: there were no other casualties.

    The Battalion, with the exception of Left Flank, was released in the afternoon of the 18th and moved back into the ruins of CLEVE for much needed rest and maintenance: Left Flank rejoined during the night. The town was subjected to regular shelling but we suffered no casualties though one shell went straight through the building which the Battalion was suing as an Officers’ Mess.

    On 21st February the Battalion less Left Flank was put under command of the 46th BRIGADE of 15th SCOTTISH DIVISION and very early in the morning of the next day moved off, carrying 9th CAMERONIANs, in the direction of GOCH. For the next ten days we were to be engaged in pushing down South-East to clear the enemy out of the wooded country between this town and WINNEKENDONK.

    ‘S’ Squadron with 9th CAMERONIANs and 7th SEAFORTHs successfully established a “bridgehead” in the woods across the GOCH-UDEM railway in the face of severe shell and mortar fire. This done, 2nd GLASGOW HIGHLANDERS with two troops of Right Flank completed the job by clearing some houses on the right flank of this “bridgehead” overlooking the R. NIERS and destroying an ammunition dump in the woods there. Left Flank meanwhile with 227th BRIGADE were guarding the left rear in the region of the GOCH-CALCAR road. About 100 prisoners were taken. The next day Left Flank sent two troops to support 2nd GORDONs in occupying SCHLOSS CALBECK just short of the railway. The other squadrons returned to GOCH for maintenance where they were joined on 24th February by Left Flank. For the next two days shelling of our area was considerable but maintenance was proceeded with and no casualties occurred.

    Our next task was to help the 9th INFANTRY BRIGADE of 3rd BRITISH DIVISION in an advance through the woods South-East of SCHLOSS CALBECK to cut the WEEZE-UDEM road. In preparation for this Captain PEMBER and an Officer of the ROYAL ENGINEERS carried out an extremely hazardous night patrol to ensure that a small bridge in the wood was intact and would carry CHURCHILLs. To do this they had to thread their way through a Schu minefield in which five lives were subsequently lost; but the answers they brought back were encouraging. Before midnight Right Flank moved out of GOCH and harboured in a V-shaped night in the woods North of SCHLOSS CALBECK, the ruins of which were to be Battalion HQ next day. The plan was for 2nd LINCOLNs, covered by Right Flank, to secure a bridgehead over the stream near the farm of KRUSHECKS-HOF (957418) and then for the 1st KING’S OWN SCOTTISH BORDERERS on the right and 3rd ROYAL ULSTER RIFLES on the left, each supported by two troops of the Squadron and following a barrage, to advance through the bridgehead to cut the WEEZE-UDEM road. Right Flank accordingly moved off at 5.15 a.m. on an eventful march. For an hour the narrow track was completely blocked by the ROYAL ENGINEERS Tanks of 11th ARMOURED DIVISION coming in the opposite direction on a route to which they had no right. In addition, despite the work of Sappers throughout the night, the prepared tank track proved impassable owing to mines and mined vehicles. An unreconnoitred route had therefore to be taken, but luckily proved clear, and the shoot in was successful after a very difficult journey. By great determination the Squadron managed to get across the stream by a very narrow causeway and bridge in time to form up for the second phase. This attack went extremely well and our tanks effectively silenced the main opposition which was from the houses in a clearing on the right. Approximately 300 prisoners, including a number of Officers, were captured, and many more Germans were killed, and by one o’clock the infantry were firm on their objectives. It was now decided that one Company of the KING’S OWN SCOTTISH BORDERERS should push further forward still and seize a bridgehead over the tributary of the River NIERS called MUHLEN FLEUTH at a point near WETTERMANSHOF (973397) half a mile South of the main road. A quick fire plan was arranged - a concentrations from two batteries for ten minutes. In the event, owing to the haste of the planning, nearly all the shells landed short and gave trouble to the infantry as they formed up. As the tanks and infantry debouched from the road they were met by the heavy close range fire of Spandaus and three SP guns, situated near WETTERMANSHOF. Two tanks were knocked out, and three others bogged in full view of the enemy but were recovered later. At the same time the infantry received heavy casualties and the force was withdrawn into the wood. The Gunners now redeemed themselves handsomely by laying an extremely accurate smoke screen. This was arranged by a Forward Observation Officer who was forced to bale out from his own tank but immediately jumped on to another as it withdrew and, fully exposed to enemy fire, coolly directed our own guns. The whole incident however must, it is confessed, be regarded as an excellent example of the folly of attempting too much too hastily with too little. During the afternoon ‘S’ Squadron were called out with the object of going through to KERVENHEIM (990383) with 2nd LINCOLNs, but after the failure of the KING’S OWN SCOTTISH BORDERERS attack this plan was abandoned and ‘S’ Squadron harboured in the big clearing in the wood. Right Flank harboured close by.

    On 28th February our HQ moved up to the village of STEIN (968417) and Left Flank moved up to the houses in the clearing. We were shelled intermittently throughout the day and the next day which were given to maintenance and rest. It had now become apparent that the enemy had strong positions along the line of the MUHLEN FLEUTH from WEEZE to KERVENHEIM. A plan was made on 1st March for forcing these, seizing BERBERH Wood (9936) and finally capturing the town of WINNEKENDONK. ‘S’ Squadron and 1st KING’S OWN SCOTTISH BORDERERS were first to break out of the bridgehead secured the day before by 2nd WARWICKs at WETTERMANNSHOF and attack behind a barrage to capture the strongly held German position in the woods and houses about REYSHOF crossroads (979371). Left Flank with 2nd ROYAL ULSTER RIFLES in KANGAROOs were then to seize the BERBERH Wood. The enemy grip on KERVENHEIM would by then, it was hoped, be loosened sufficiently for Right Flank and 1st LINCOLNs to capture WINNEKENDONK before dark. Since the enemy were known to be paratroops and fierce opposition was expected, a barrage was also arranged to cover the attack on this place. The day started well, as in spite of every tank in ‘S’ Squadron bogging before the stream was reached, the bridge which had been reported unusable was found to work and ‘S’ Squadron crossed the Start Line on time and the objective was reached by nine o’clock without difficulty. Some difficulty was then experienced in getting the KANGAROOs up to the ROYAL ULSTER RIFLES, but they eventually crossed the Start Line on their feet at half-past twelve. It had been arranged for TYPHOONs to engage targets in BERBERH Wood, but since the wood appeared clear of enemy as viewed from the Start Line, the ROYAL ULSTER RIFLES had asked for the air attack to be countermanded. Unfortunately, owing to a misunderstanding, it nevertheless took place. The aircraft came in from East to West and their “overs” strafed the leading tanks and infantry as they approached the wood. However no serious damage resulted and by two o’clock we were firmly in possession of the West end of the wood. ‘S’ Squadron and the KING’S OWN SCOTTISH BORDERERS moved over at once to capture the East end of the wood, but, though they succeeded in doing so, they were prevented from exploiting to BRUCH, as had been intended, by a vast crater at the far end of the only ride. So far ground opposition had been slight but shelling and mortaring had been growing steadily heavier and it was obvious that stiffer opposition lay ahead. Left Flank on the right had considerable trouble in the hamlet of BLEICKSHOF which they shot up. In the meantime Captain PEMBER with two HONEY patrols was told to moved down both the East and West edges of the wood to find out what opposition there was in WINNEKENDONK. The right-hand patrol got held up by a very large crater on the road and got bogged getting round it. The left-hand patrol got down to the tip of the wood and reported that the wood was clear but BRUCH held. At that moment Serjeant BROWN’s HONEY was knocked out by an SP gun from near the road-junction North of the town. The crew baled out unhurt but were in an exposed position in the open. Captain PEMBER in the other tank, went into the open, under a smoke screen (which was beautifully placed by Lieutenant FEARFIELD’s troop and the HQ tanks of Left Flank), and rescued them. It was now four o’clock and there seemed just enough time to put in an attack on WINNEKENDONK. 1st LINCOLNs who had only just been released from 185th BRIGADE in KERVENHEIM were linked up with Right Flank at the North-West corner of the wood, a quick reconnaissance was carried out and it was decided to attack at a quarter to six. Only the previous provision for a barrage enabled such a hastily prepared attack to succeed. The plan was to attack due South astride the main road with two troops of Right Flank leading followed by two companies of infantry who were in their turn supported by the remaining two troops of tanks. Right Flank reached the Start Line over very difficult ground with 30 seconds to spare, and all went forward behind the barrage. For the first 400 yards things went smoothly but immediately the leading tanks came into the open South of BRONKSHOF they were met by a hail of armour piercing shot from the front and flanks, with plenty of high-explosive shell thrown in. All three tanks of the right forward troop, commanded by Lieutenant MacDONALD-BUCHANAN, were hit by AP, one tank no less than five times, and the F.O.O.’s tank which was close behind blew up. In spite of this and extremely heavy going those who could do so continued steadily on. Seeing the plight of his right forward troop, the Squadron Leader, Major the Earl CATHCART, ordered the supporting troop forward to engage the SPs and guns firing from the right. Lieutenant RUNCIE immediately took his troop right forward in the open, which was the only place from which he could see, and engaged to such effect that they knocked out two SPs and one 88mm Anti-Tank gun. They also dealt with a number of Spandaus holding up the infantry on that side, and thus enabled the LINCOLNs to get on and into the town.

    On the left, although there was some trouble from BRUCH and the shelling and mortaring was very heavy indeed, the tanks and infantry pushed ahead, over ran an 88 mm gun and several 50 mm guns, and entered the town.

    It was now quite dark. Very close hand to hand fighting took place with a large number of paratroops in the streets and houses. Lieutenant MacDONALD-BUCHANAN’s troop, though several times Bazooka’d and grenaded, shot the infantry right up to the back end of the town and stayed with them there. One tank fell into a bomb crater and had to be abandoned. The crew were making their way back when it was discovered that the Slidex Card had been left behind and Lieutenant MacDONALD-BUCHANAN and Guardsman HUNT went back through the enemy-infested town to retrieve it. The crew then returned to the forward rally on the other tank of the troop: on the way they were Bazooka’d and sniped and fought hand to hand in the narrow streets. By nine o’clock the situation was under control and the Squadron was able to concentrate for the night around the LINCOLN’s HQ, in the houses near the road junction North of the town.

    All through the night and the next morning prisoners continued to be brought in, the final count being 250, all from the PARA LEHR REGIMENT. They had fought fanatically and then suddenly given up. But it was not until the next day that the strength of the position was fully realised. In addition to the two 88 mm and two SP guns knocked out tracks of other SPs were discerned and six dug-in 50 mm Anti-Tank guns were found: two more 88s were captured at the back of the town and the haul of Spandaus and infantry weapons of all kinds was very large. For it appears that one Battalion of the PARA LEHR REGIMENT and a Fortress Battery had been holding the place and that it was regarded as a Key point in the German defence scheme. Indeed, so open was the approach, so strong the Anti-Tank screen and so well dug in the infantry that it was hard to believe that one infantry Battalion and a Squadron of tanks could have captured it against the pick of German troops. The speed with which the attack was launched, the pre-arranged barrage and the magnificent courage and success which will surely rank as one of the finest small-scale tank-infantry battles ever executed.

    By dawn on the 3rd March when Left Flank and the ROYAL ULSTER RIFLES put in an attack to capture the big wood South of WINNEKENDONK the enemy offered no further opposition, the wood was occupied and the way was clear for the ARMOURED DIVISIONS to exploit.

    The only other incident of note on this final day of our share in the advance occurred when the Corps Commander, at 11.30, urgently requested a report on whether the bridges over the NIERS at KEVERLAER and WETTEN would carry Class 40 tanks. This entailed a 6 mile patrol by Serjeant FRASER into enemy territory which came close to linking up with the American drive from the South. In a little over an hour affirmative information was in the Corps Commander’s hands and the patrol could claim some successful skirmishes as well.

    Thus ended the 3rd Battalion’s share in the Advance to the RHINE now only some 10,000 yards away. It had entailed twenty-four days in the line, during which fifteen actions by a Squadron or more were fought and a total of over 1500 prisoners was captured by the Battalion and the units with which it worked!
     
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    065 Link BRAZIER F 2698632 - 08/02/1945 SCOTS GUARDS
    066 Link HALLIWELL SD 2697822 - 08/02/1945 SCOTS GUARDS
    067 Link PROUDFOOT A 2697406 - 08/02/1945 SCOTS GUARDS

    068 Link BRUCE W 2701177 - 16/02/1945 SCOTS GUARDS
    069 Link RAMSAY FJ 2697124 - 10/02/1945 SCOTS GUARDS

    070 Link WARDROPE AM 2699629 - 11/02/1945 SCOTS GUARDS

    071 Link BURNETT RWO 108142 3RD BN 16/02/1945 SCOTS GUARDS
    072 Link REEDER JJ 2698361 3RD BN 16/02/1945 SCOTS GUARDS
    073 Link RICHARDSON B 2698648 - 16/02/1945 SCOTS GUARDS
    074 Link SAVAGE F 4609714 - 16/02/1945 SCOTS GUARDS

    075 Link CAMPBELL C 311832 3RD BN 17/02/1945 SCOTS GUARDS

    076 Link ORME H 3769016 3RD BN 27/02/1945 SCOTS GUARDS

    077 Link CAMPBELL J 2698627 - 02/03/1945 SCOTS GUARDS
    078 Link LEES F 2698629 - 02/03/1945 SCOTS GUARDS
    079 Link SMITH W 2693155 - 02/03/1945 SCOTS GUARD


    :poppy:
    Nemo me impune lacessit


    N.B. As CWGC records do not include a battalion for many of the Scots Guards in their Roll of Honour, I have had to cross-reference casualties with Appendix A of The Scots Guards 1919-1955, Erskine. Apologies for any omission or erroneous inclusion.
     
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    6th Guards Armoured Brigade, 30 Corps
    P/251987 War Substantive Lieutenant Anthony Ronald Guy STEVENSON, 3rd Tank Battalion SCOTS GUARDS

    On 8th February 1945 South-East of NIJMEGEN this Officer commanded the right leading troop of his squadron who formed part of the first attacking wave in support of 2nd ARGYLL & SUTHERLAND HIGHLANDERS for Phase I of Operation "VERITABLE". The task was to break into the main German positions. Two minefields lay in front of this, which were to be flailed, but unfortunately all the flails bogged before reaching the first minefield. Lieutenant STEVENSON when he reached it dismounted and made a recce for a gap, and though under heavy shell fire by which he was slightly wounded, succeeded in finding it and got his tanks and the infantry company through, and up to the second minefield. There appeared to be no gaps through this and though the infantry made every effort and lost a number of men, it could not be penetrated. Seeing that there was every chance of the whole attack being held up at this point and the barrage lost, and in spite of seeing another tank close to him blown to bits by a particularly powerful mine Lieutenant STEVENSON unhesitatingly charged his tank at a place where he thought there might be a gap, got through and by exploding the schuss mines made a passage for the infantry also. Other tanks which later did not follow him exactly blew up on Anti-Tank mines.

    This gap was then used by the two leading infantry companies and the tanks to get through the minefield, and the attack was so able to keep up with the barrage.

    Subsequently this Officer by this amazing drive and determination kept his troop up in support of the infantry over the most appalling going many times unbogging his and other tanks under heavy shell and mortar fire until he finally shot his infantry into the objective South-East of KRANENBURG.

    But for this Officer's magnificent determination and initiative the attack in this sector might easily have failed.

    Granted an Immediate Military Cross

    The National Archives | DocumentsOnline | Image Details
    Name Stevenson, Anthony Ronald Guy
    Rank: Lieutenant
    Service No: P/251987
    Regiment: 3 Tank Battalion Scots Guards
    Theatre of Combat or Operation: North West Europe 1944-45
    Award: Military Cross
    Date of Announcement in London Gazette: 19 April 1945
    Date 1945
    Catalogue reference WO 373/53
     

    Attached Files:

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    6th Guards Armoured Brigade, 30 Corps
    P/75604 War Substantive Captain, Temporary Major Charles O'Meara FARRELL, 3rd Tank Battalion SCOTS GUARDS

    Major FARRELL was in command of the leading squadron in support of 2nd Battalion ARGYLL & SUTHERLAND HIGHLANDERS in Phase I of Operation "VERITABLE" on 8 February 1945, North East of GROESBEEK 7555.

    Immediately after crossing the Start Line the going became so bad that all the flails and other supporting tanks bogged down. In spite of this by his leadership, personal example of debugging tanks under heavy fire of all kinds, Major FARRELL got his squadron through two minefields and over 4,000 yards of the most appalling going in which any that sank were quite unrecoverable.

    There is no doubt that Major FARRELL's magnificent determination and great personal courage was the impetus that kept his squadron going under the most impossible conditions, with the result that throughout the attack the infantry received all the support that they required to enable them to reach their final objective.

    14 February 1945
    Granted an Immediate Military Cross

    http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/documentsonline/details-result.asp?Edoc_Id=7669327
    Name Farrell, Charles O'Meara
    Rank: Temporary Major
    Service No: P/75604
    Regiment: 3 Tank Battalion Scots Guards
    Theatre of Combat or Operation: North West Europe 1944-45
    Award: Military Cross
    Date of Announcement in London Gazette: 24 May 1945
    Date 1945
    Catalogue reference WO 373/53
     

    Attached Files:

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    6th Guards Armoured Brigade, 30 Corps
    P/224216 War Substantive Lieutenant David William SCOTT-BARRETT, 3rd Tank Battalion SCOTS GUARDS

    During Phase I of Operation "VERITABLE" on 8 February 1945 Lieutenant SCOTT-BARRETT was in command of the leading troop of tanks in support of 10th Battalion HIGHLAND LIGHT INFANTRY. When passing through the second minefield his tank was blown up and disabled. Lieutenant SCOTT-BARRETT immediately got out; ran through the minefield which was also Anti-Personnel and had already killed several infantry and took over his troop Corporal's tank with which he continued the action, until when approaching KRANENBURG his tank with many others got bogged. Seeing that one tank was still going, he led it forward on foot over the bridge which he knew was prepared for blowing and then acted as Liaison Officer between it and the infantry, an action at a very critical moment, since the tank was able to give great assistance to the infantry in dealing with Machine Gun nests and snipers, and it is doubtful whether without it KRANENBURG could have been captured before dark.

    This Officer's determination not to allow the co-operation and support for the infantry to fail under any circumstances is worthy of the highest praise and undoubtedly materially influence the outcome of the battle.

    15 February 1945
    Granted an Immediate Military Cross


    The National Archives | DocumentsOnline | Image Details
    Name Scott-Barrett, David William
    Rank: Lieutenant
    Service No: P/224216
    Regiment: 3 Tank Battalion Scots Guards
    Theatre of Combat or Operation: North West Europe 1944-45
    Award: Military Cross
    Date of Announcement in London Gazette: 24 May 1945
    Date 1945
    Catalogue reference WO 373/53
     

    Attached Files:

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