Operation Clipper - Geilenkirchen and the SRY - November 1944

Discussion in 'NW Europe' started by Ramiles, Apr 5, 2015.

  1. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY

    Hi all!

    Does anyone have any long term interest in or specific details or associations on this?

    (Place for details on "Operation Clipper - Geilenkirchen and the SRY - November 1944")
    Part of the thread at Sherwood Rangers Yeomanry (SRY) in North West Europe

    (Place for specific questions at the mo. )
    In their first battle of WW2 (after coming over to Europe from the US) the 84th Division seems to have suffered:
    "2,000 battle casualties, including 169 killed and 752 (!!) missing. Nonbattle losses, primarily from trench foot, raised the total by another 500"
    ...out of a total of 4,100 men. The according to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/84th_Division_(United_States) "after a short rest, the division returned to the fight taking Wurm, Mullendorf, 18th December before moving to Belgium to help stem the German winter offensive.

    1) 752 seems a lot to have "just gone missing",
    2) after battle casualties quoted as approx 50% it seems a bit extreme to have had "a short rest" before returning to stem the German winter offensive (Battle of the Bulge presumably).

    Note: There doesn't seem to be much being spelt out here. Though: The Siegfried Line Campaign: Chapter 23
    Seems to have overall a good account, and the fact that the 84th's inexperience of combat (this was effectively their "first" fight") might have been involved.

    Many thanks!

    [sharedmedia=gallery:images:28081]

    Rm.
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2018
  2. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY

    Books - mentioning - Operation Clipper, Geilenkirchen and the SRY - November 1944

    An Englishman at War: An Englishman at War: The Wartime Diaries of Stanley Christopherson DSO MC & Bar 1939-1945

    Assault on Germany: The Battle for Geilenkirchen by Ken Ford:
    http://www.amazon.com/ASSAULT-ON-GERMANY-Battle-Geilenkirchen/dp/1848840985

    By Tank into Normandy (Stuart Hills) - Chapter Ten - on the Siegfried Line - ref's the fighting in and around Geilenkirchen

    Andy Cropper's "Dad's War - A Tank Commander in Europe 1944-45 with the XXIV Lancers and SRY" e.g.
    Dad's War

    Hard Fighting: A History of the Sherwood Rangers Yeomanry 1900-1946 - By Jonathan Hunt: Hard Fighting

    Magazine Article

    "THE BATTLE FOR GEILENKIRCHEN - On November 18, 1944, the Allies launched an assault to capture the German town of Geilenkirchen. Located as it was right on the boundary between the British and American armies in Europe, it was reduced in a joint Anglo-American operation. Karel Margry tells this fascinating story"
    ISSUE No. 140 - After the Battle

    Warfarhistorynetwork article on: Cracking the Geilenkirchen Salient
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2018
  3. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY

    Links on Operation Clipper - Geilenkirchen and the SRY - November 1944

    Various IWM links

    IWM search with "Geilenkirchen" filter on
    Search objects | Imperial War Museums

    http://www.iwm.org.uk/search/global?query=GEILENKIRCHEN+&x=10&y=13

    Film

    IWM search with "Geilenkirchen" and film filter on
    Search objects | Imperial War Museums

    Nb. description only at present : US AND BRITISH TROOPS OCCUPY GEILENKIRCHEN [Allocated Title]

    DESCRIPTION
    Object description
    The British 43rd (Wessex) and US 84th (Railsplitters) Divisions consolidate gains made in the Geilenkirchen sector during Operation "Clipper".
    Full description
    Seen in the footage are : POWs (183rd Vilksgrenadier Division) being marched into captivity by 43rd Division 'Redcaps' along the Geilenkirchen-Gilrath road, roadsigns and a German 6th Army HQ signboard prohibiting all Wehrmacht and para-military organisations from using the road from Geilenkirchen to the frontier at Tuddern; the devastation and general atmosphere of gloom inside deserted Geilenkirchen, characterised here by the pouring rain and the curtains billowing from shattered windows and doorways, GIs from 33rd Regiment in a square with a band-stand in the middle and an US MP erecting a traffic diversion sign, Geilenkirchen's gutted Nazi Party HQ, devastation in the town centre on Hindenburg Strasse, Volksgrenadiers, one wounded, in US custody, GIs taking over a hotel and carrying looted mattresses etc to their billets, a bulldozer (309th Engineers Combat Battalion) street-cleaning, a Churchill Crocodile troop (141st RAC's A squadron), a deserted living room with an Adolf Hitler commemorative album, the 5th Battalion Dorset Regiment (?) marching into reserve on the Geilenkirchen-Gilrath road and SHAEF military government proclamations, banning the Nazi Party and announcing English as the official language and various currency regulations.
    Physical description
    35mm

    Audio

    David Desmond Render (inc recollections of St.Pierre, Geilenkirchen, Goch, Bremen)
    Render, David Desmond (Oral history)

    John Robert Lanes (SRY) tagged with Geilenkirchen by the IWM:
    Lanes, John Robert (Oral history)

    Ronald William Mole : For an account of his role during the Battle of Geilenkirchen 11/1944:
    Mole, Ronald William (Oral history)

    John Leonard Brooker (DLI) : Brooker, John Leonard (Oral history)

    Images

    ALLIES FIGHT INSIDE GEILENKIRCHEN, GERMANY : http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205223949

    Other weblinks

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Clipper

    Cites: Battle for Tripsrath : "Geilenkirchen itself was an American objective and fell to the 84th U.S. Infantry Division supported by the tanks of the Sherwood Rangers Yeomanry. For this action this American Division came under the command of XXX Corps."

    84th U.S. Infantry Division - by tradition this Division dates back to the Illinois militia a young Captain Abraham Lincoln served in in the Black Hawk War of 1832 & the Division patch was selected to honour this legacy: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/84th_Division_(United_States)

    Nice detail and a few pictures in: http://www.history.army.mil/books/wwii/Siegfried/Siegfried Line/siegfried-ch23.htm
    Plus "in clearing the Geilenkirchen salient, the two regiments of the 84th Division together had incurred approximately 2,000 battle casualties, including 169 killed and 752 (!!) missing. Nonbattle losses, primarily from trench foot, raised the total by another 500"

    The Worcestershire Regiment - with some detail on the events around Geilenkirchen November 1944 : Battle for Tripsrath

    Maps

    [sharedmedia=gallery:images:28081]
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2018
  4. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY

    Events just prior to, during and just after Operation Clipper - Geilenkirchen (and the SRY) - November 1944

    The Siegfried Line Campaign: Chapter 23

    Friday 17th November 1944

    General Horrocks http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brian_Horrocks#Europe visited the SRY.

    "B" squadron SRY are reported to have moved into their start positions. Rain hampers the full dress rehearsal of the breaching operation by the flail tanks of the "Lothian and Border Horse" regiment.

    Saturday 18th November 1944

    Apparently on this date the SRY are thought to have been the first British regiment to have attacked the Siegfried Line in 1944. Losses were suffered on both sides and the SRY were shelled day and night from the German lines.

    An SAS jeep manned by Sergeant Schofield and Trooper Jeavons of 1st SAS near Geilenkirchen, Germany, 18 November 1944.
    http://ww2talk.com/forums/topic/57200-vickers-equiped-jeeps-in-nwe/?p=665592

    Sunday 19th November 1944

    Casualties continued to be sustained by the SRY but "C" squadron SRY were said to have knocked out 3 Tigers during the morning and two SRY troops entering Geilenkirchen with US troops were able to take over 300 German prisoners with further loss.

    In "Dad's War" by Andy Cropper the loss of one of the "B" squad SRY tanks "Blue Light Special" is noted on 19/11/44 with its tank commander Lt. Charles and two others of its crew, Keith Cornish and Fred Gasson. This tank was hit by a German 88. Trooper Richardson - driver (Ritchie) was badly burned whilst bailing out. Trooper Tutin -co-driver (Toots) was also wounded there.

    Churchill AVRE of 617th Assault Squadron Royal Engineers near Geilenkirchen, 19 November 1944.
    http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205206477

    Monday 20th November 1944

    A quieter day for the SRY in more defensive positions, although a German pillbox was reported destroyed in "C" squad SRY's sector.

    Tuesday 21st November 1944 - 22nd November 1944

    Operation Clipper - rain intervenes: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Clipper#Rain_intervenes

    The direct road to Würm was or had been mined and an alternative side road was blocked by debris and could not be cleared until a bulldozer was used. When the British Crocodiles were able to advance and assault the defences, there was rapid progress, with the German defenders surrendering.

    Wednesday 22nd November 1944

    A flanking attack by the U.S. 405th Infantry Regiment toward Beeck on 22 November similarly bogged down against prepared defences. On the other side of the Wurm, British assaults were also beaten off by strengthened resistance
    "B" and "C" squadrons SRY made an attack on Beeck and one tank was lost on a mine.

    Thursday 23rd November 1944

    "A" squadron SRY made an advance of some 200 yards with US infantry for the loss on one tank. Operation Clipper - operation ended: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Clipper#Operation_ended

    The 84th Infantry Division reverted to U.S. command and further attacks were abandoned on the 23rd. The Worcestershires (in their forward positions in Tripsrath and Rischden) were relieved by 5th Wiltshires.

    Friday 24th November 1944

    SRY leave immediate combat area and return to Schinnen - just south of Sittard ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schinnen ). Conference at Bde. HQ.

    Saturday 25th November 1944

    SRY rest period - baths and entertainments. Another visit from Gen Horrocks who congratulated the SRY.

    Sunday 26th November 1944

    A church service in Schinnen. Evening entertainments by Schinnen Brass Band followed by regimental dinner.

    Monday 27th November 1944

    Recce for "Fox force"

    Tuesday 28th November 1944

    Reinforcements. Baths and mobile cinema.

    Wednesday 29th November 1944

    Rest at Schinnen. New officers arrived.

    Thursday 30th November 1944

    Medals and awards investitures for SRY at Hoensbrook, Montgomery attends.
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2018
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  5. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY

    Something to add to this thread that I have managed to pick out from the IWM audios:

    Ronald William Mole : For an account of his role during the Battle of Geilenkirchen 11/1944: http://www.iwm.org.u...object/80013136

    Detail from REEL 3: threat of Panzerfausts; opinion RAF Hawker Typhoon pilots; method of calling in Hawker Typhoon attacks. Recollections of operations as trooper with C Sqdn, 4/7th Royal Dragoon Guards in North West Europe, 1944-1945: liberation of Lille; result of SS attack on unit at Bechelon, 8/1944; attack on Bourg Leopold, 8/1944; sight of dead German snipers on bridge at Nijmegen; narrow escape from drowning in dyke near Elst; holding positions on The Island; role during Battle of Geilenkirchen, 12/1944; leave in GB, 1/1945; start of operations supporting 51st Div in Reichswald Forest, 2/1945.
     
  6. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY

    Some other links to the subject of Geilenkirchen at the IWM: Imperial War Museums

    With "Content descriptions" available at least where media is not available for immediate online download there.

    All the best,

    Rm.
     
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2016
  7. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY

    Hi all,

    Sorry for raising another "pub quiz" question ;) - but I'm sure now someone has the fast track to the "correct" reply :)

    Saturday 18th November 1944

    Apparently on this date the SRY are "thought" to have been the first British regiment to have attacked the Siegfried Line in 1944. Losses were suffered on both sides and the SRY were shelled day and night from the German lines.

    Does any other British regiment "claim" to have been the first British regiment to have attacked the Siegfried Line in 1944 ?

    I'm wondering if this:

    An SAS jeep manned by Sergeant Schofield and Trooper Jeavons of 1st SAS near Geilenkirchen, Germany, 18 November 1944.
    http://ww2talk.com/f...n-nwe/?p=665592

    IS suggestive that this "accolade" might also be claimed by the SAS ???

    If so though : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_Special_Air_Service#1944

    Has a "big gap" here for the "potential" achievement of the 1st SAS:

    "Also in August, men from 2nd SAS operated from forest bases in the Rennes area in conjunction with the resistance. Air resupply was plentiful and the resistance cooperated, which resulted in carnage. The 2nd SAS operated from the Loire through to the forests of Darney to Belfort in just under six weeks.[25]

    Near the end of the year men from 2nd SAS were parachuted into Italy, to work with the Italian resistance in Operation Tombola, where they remained until Italy was liberated.[26] At one point, four groups were active deep behind enemy lines laying waste to airfields, attacking convoys and derailing trains. Towards the end of the campaign, Italian guerrillas and escaped Russian prisoners were enlisted into an ‘Allied SAS Battalion’ which struck at the German main lines of communications"

    Any one know the numbers of 1st SAS at Gilenkirchen on 18th November 1944 - or what speciafically there were tasked there to do (or a good reference to that effect?)

    All the best,

    Rm
     
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2016
  8. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY

    Last edited: Nov 6, 2016
  9. NeilSkelton

    NeilSkelton New Member

    My Grandfather was 1 of the 169 casualties. How do i find out more details about what happened that day (18th)

    .
     
  10. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY

    Some German Newsreel - on youtube - with sound (in German) - 2mins 13secs long
    Battle for Geilenkirchen



    This is the associated description with the youtube film:

    Deutsche Wochenschau Newsreel report on the fighting in and around the German town of Geilenkirchen. The Allied battle fought in November 1944 by the 43rd Wessex Infantry Division and the US 84th Infantry Division in the Geilenkirchen region under the command of XXX Corps. A bitter lesson in attrition and savage combat. Neither side was victorious. Casualties on all sides were heavy. A high price to pay for the few miles of ground covered. Newsreel shows soldiers of the German NCO School (Unteroffiziersschule) preparing the defensive positions in town, usage of Panzerfausts against allied tanks and US prisoners brought in.
     
  11. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY

    Though there is a "neither side was victorious" quote in the description for the German newsreel above...

    Geilenkirchen - And Beyond - with sound (in English) - 2 mins 52 seconds long



    Associated description:

    "Anglo-American troops have captured the town of Geilenkirchen. German civilians are being evacuated from the town and nearby villages."
     
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  12. Seroster

    Seroster Canadian researcher Patron

    Taking Geilenkirchen was not really the problem. It was advancing out of and around it. It poured with rain and the SRY were unable to push forward to support the infantry because of the deep mud. There were bitter infantry battles fought by the British to the west and the Americans to the east, with heavy losses.

    Ken Ford's book is a good if grim read. There's also a description of the DCLI in action there in their own history.

    I think it was really a case of pushing forward an attack which the weather rendered impossible.
     
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  13. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY

    Thanks, I have seen reviews and ref'd Ken Ford's book "Assault on Germany: The Battle for Geilenkirchen" in post #2 above.

    upload_2018-10-9_23-39-41.jpeg

    "The Anglo-American battle for the Geilenkirchen salient in November 1944 was infantry warfare at its worst, and it is described in vivid detail in this new edition of Ken Ford’s classic study. The onset of winter saw the Allied advance from the Normandy beaches forced to a halt on Germany’s doorstep. The clock had been put back to the days of the Great War – the Allies had arrived at the Siegfried Line and were forced to attack the fortifications from the hell of the trenches.

    Geilenkirchen was the first battle on German soil to be fought by the British since Minden in 1759. For them, it was just one more battle on the way to Berlin, but for the American 84th Division, it was a first faltering step into war and a bitter lesson in the attrition and savagery of combat. The story is told by the men who were there – the British, the Americans, and the Germans who were fighting desperately for their homeland. Neither side was victorious - both lost more men than they could afford and paid a heavy price in young lives for a few miles of ground
    ."
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2018
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  14. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY

    Warfarehistorynetwork article on: Cracking the Geilenkirchen Salient
    (From October 17th 2017)

    "American and British forces coordinated an effort to eliminate a German threat to the U.S. Ninth Army."

    "Geilenkirchen had been a thorn in the side of the Allies ever since the first penetration of the Siegfried Line had been made just to the south. It was a strongly fortified northern anchor of the Siegfried Line and a highly important road and rail center for movement both forward and to the rear. The salient also threatened the flanks of the 12th U.S. Army Group under General Omar N. Bradley and the neighboring 21st Army Group of British Field Marshal Bernard L. Montgomery. It was about to become the Ninth U.S. Army’s first major battle along the German frontier."

    etc.

    About the author: "Nathan N. Prefer is the author of several books and articles on World War II. His latest book is titled Leyte 1944, The Soldier’s Battle. He received his Ph.D. in Military History from the City University of New York and is a former Marine Corps Reservist. Dr. Prefer is now retired and resides in Fort Myers, Florida."
     
  15. Seroster

    Seroster Canadian researcher Patron

    I'm going to try to summarize here part of the actions of 5 DCLI in the Battle of Geilenkirchen from Major Godfrey's history of the DCLI.

    They had been involved in initial operations, taking points to the north of the town including an effective ambush location on a road to the north of the town. (The Wurm river runs from the south in a mainly northern direction, passes Gielenkirchen on the east side, and then heads in direction roughly north-north-east.)

    For the next two days the 5th remained in position. On November 22nd the villages of Hoven and Kraudorf needed to be taken and the only unit not "deeply committed" was the 5th so back they went.

    From the captured village of Hocheide to Hoven was a narrow wood about two miles long and six hundred yards wide with a neck in the middle. The southern part of the wood had been taken by the 7th Somersets. The northern part was occupied by the Germans, with a line of posts at the thin neck area which gave them a fairly clear field of fire.

    Lt Col Taylor "felt it was his duty to express his doubts about the ability of his battalion to undertake the task single-handed, the only time during the whole campaign he had cause to take such a step." Most of the companies were low on strength, and there was no tank or anti-tank support available. Rather than a long bombardment which would deny sleep, a bombardment was laid down on another area as a bluff. A Company DCLI was unavailable so D Company 7 Somersets were placed under Taylor's command.

    At noon on the 22nd the attack began. The support fire of the Somersets in the wood didn't do a lot. As C company crossed the neck they were hit by heavy MG and mortar fire and the reserve platoon was almost completely wiped out. The company was somewhat pinned down and fought back against the Germans; B Company came up to support them and they slowly gained the upper hand but with heavy casualties.

    Taylor then sent D Company (which was originally intended to go to Kraudorf) clear of the wood on the east side with some artillery support and they successfully swept along that way and reached the edge of the wood. The company commander seized the southern end of the Hoven in a pincer attack, but it was now getting dark. D Company 7 Somersets, intended to back them up, came under "murderous" fire on the way and got involved in that fighting in the wood.

    "Years after the event those who survived could recall the intensity of the enemy fire and the sloppy ground over which they had to move to reach their objective... What is difficult to describe is the physical agony of the infantrymen when fighting forward against two enemies at once, men and their lethal weapons and adverse weather conditions... The day and night were wet. The November rain seemed piercingly cold."

    Major Kitchen was told to form a composite company to reinforce D Company. They established a line of posts behind D Company and got up some food, rum, and ammunition.

    Just before dawn the Germans counterattacked, with the first sign of trouble (because the village had not been completely cleared of Germans) an attack on the building which was company HQ. The artillery wireless was put out by a grenade. D Company fired on Germany infantry coming along the hedgerows (so from outside the village I guess) but then the Germans brought up SPs and tanks. Somehow the noise did not carry back to Kitchen's company but they were also under attack.

    "In Hoven, D Company were hard pressed. Casualties were heavy, much of the village was in flames, and when the survivors were forced to use such captured weapons as they could lay hands on because they had run out of ammunition of their own, Major Lonsdale decided that he would fight his way out with the survivors rather than be rounded up and taken prisoner one by one. Aided by the smoke of the burning buildings, Major Lonsdale and a party of fifteen, which is all that was left, made their way out of the village". They and the screening company were then pulled back under a smokescreen.


    This is what I meant about the conditions. Without tanks an essential support factor was missing that might have prevented these heavy casualties. The Americans had to deal with a similar lack of tanks and for some of the battle their infantry were trying, more or less on their own, to neutralize German bunkers armed with machine guns and IIRC supporting fields of fire.
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2018
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  16. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY

    Concurring on conditions there is a post Geilenkirchen battle summary in Stuart Hill’s “By Tank into Normandy” –

    "Progress remained slow. The enemy’s defences were strong and both the weather and conditions on the ground were terrible. Geilenkirchen itself fell, and then the focus turned towards Wurm and yet another Beek, but the going had become desperately difficult and it was with some relief that the Regiment was withdrawn on the evening of November 23, returning to Corps Reserve in the pleasant Dutch village of Schinnen, about six miles from the front. So ended six days of most unpleasant and costly fighting. (In the SRY) There were *sixty-three casualties, including three officers and twelve other ranks killed. Ten tanks had been destroyed and another ten seriously damaged, but we have broken through the Siegfried Line.”

    * Edit: There is a ref. in "An Englishman at War" that 30 of these SRY casualties were suffered by "B" squadron of the SRY: An Englishman at War: The Wartime Diaries of Stanley Christopherson DSO MC & Bar 1939-1945

    The SRY wardiary for the period 21st November 1944 - 24th November 1944 has:


    21st : The intention to day was that we should capture WURM + BEEK, “A” Sqdn: with 333 dealing with the former, “B” Sqdn: with 2 Bn 334 dealing with the latter + “C” Sqdn: with 3 Bn 334 to secure the high ground N. of BEEK. However it turned out to be a day spent at “half cock” due to pill boxes and anti-tank guns which not only “brewed” 1 from “B” + one from “C” but 3 Churchills (Crocodiles) as well – who were operating + the attack was laid on for the morrow.
    The Americans sent through for names from the regiment for decorations.

    22nd: A quieter day. “C” + “B” Squadrons combined made an attack on BEEK and reached the outskirts in the evening. One was lost on a mine and
    (?) from enemy tanks were knocked out
    Trouble occurred in the evening when the squadrons were due back in PALENBURG. Relief (M10’s) did not turn up until the early hours of the following morning and the searchlights (artificial moonlight) did not operate so that “B” + “C” were left out the whole night.

    23rd: “A” Suadron were still with 333 U.S. Inf Regt + made a final advance of some 200y towards WURM with their forward positions at 897672 and 894660. They did this with the loss of one tank. Two pill boxes were evacuated and 1 75mm: destroyed. “B” + “C” Sqdn combined attacked BEEK at 0730 hours, but it was to no avail. Both Squadrons were very depleted owing to bogging on the previous night. At 1430 the Americans laid on another attack on the same objective with a Sqdn: of their own tanks + on ours as fire support. However some of the American tanks were bogged + one was brewed + that attack was also fruitless. The ground + weather were appalling. The Squadrons returned to PALENBURG in the evening. We were to be relieved tomorrow.

    24th: We set off at 1000 hours and returned to SCHINNEN where we received a terrific welcome. The Colonel attended a conference at Bde: HQ. We are to be Corps Reserve under the Brigadier.

    I did note the ""neither side was victorious" quote above (post #10), but only really in passing - i.e. as a contrast between the "allies being halted" tone of the German newsreel vs. that of the Allied one I posted below it (post #11).

    A glance at: Operation Clipper - Wikipedia

    Currently shows:

    Operation ended
    Despite the frustrations of 21–22 November, and the failure to capture the final objectives, the purpose of the operation had, in fact, now been achieved. The Geilenkirchen salient had been substantially removed and the U.S. XIII Corps now had room to manoeuvre. The 84th Infantry Division reverted to U.S. command and further attacks were abandoned on the 23rd.[16]

    On 23 November, the Worcestershires were relieved by 5th Wiltshires, who had been holding the village of Birgden for the last 12 days. This was welcome for the Worcester men who had suffered continuous shelling in their forward positions in Tripsrath and Rischden

    And I saw: Operation Clipper - Wikipedia

    Having the SRY attached at this time to the US bit, ref's to the 4th/7th RDG may have some relevance in respect to the DCLI?

    Allied

    British XXX Corps

    British 214 Infantry Brigade (assigned to the 43rd Infantry Division)
    7th Battalion, Somerset Light Infantry (attacking Niederheid)
    1st Battalion, Worcestershire Regiment (attacking Tripsrath and Rischden)
    5th Battalion, Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry (attacking Hochheid)
    5th Battalion, Dorset Regiment (detached from 130 Brigade) (attacking Bauchem)
    4th/7th Royal Dragoon Guards

    U.S. 84th Infantry Division


    333rd Infantry Regiment (attacking Geilenkirchen and Sueggerath)
    Sherwood Rangers (British)[5]
    334th Infantry Regiment (attacking Prummern and Beeck)
    Drewforce, two troops of flail and flame-throwing tanks (British)
    one troop of 357th Searchlight Battery, Royal Artillery (British)
    405th Infantry Regiment (detached from 102nd Infantry Division) (attacking Beeck)
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2018
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  17. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY

    After Geilenkirchen Stuart Hills writes in "By Tank into Normandy" -

    "After the investiture had been held at Brigade on November 30 (A Thursday), I had the chance to visit Brussels twice. The Brigade had a rest camp at Louvain, but we tended to spend our time at the Plaza Hotel in Brussels, which was comfortable and not too expensive. There was a bathroom with each bedroom, early morning tea, a shoe-cleaning and suit-pressing service and excellent food, all for 90 francs for 48 hours (a little less than 10 shillings). My monthly allowance was about £30, and each visit to Brussels made a large hole in it. There was the opportunity to shop, eat mountains of rich food, drink more than was good for us and search out what entertainment we could find. I bought some Coty scent for the Emtages, and in the clubs and cabarets there were plenty of girls to dance with."

    And also a few refs to Brussels and the leave camp established at Louvain in "An Englishman at War": An Englishman at War: The Wartime Diaries of Stanley Christopherson DSO MC & Bar 1939-1945

    For what looks like quite a similar trip to Brussels at about the same time, my grandfather wrote the following account:

    7880500 Sgt.B.Symes
    Sherwood Rangers
    B.L.A.

    Dearest Phyl & Rob,

    Everyone here thought the Brussels trip would be a frost so most of them weren’t keen to go. Added to which they didn’t like the idea of a long truck journey.
    The idea of retracing or steps appealed to me, there is so much one misses the first time, so I was glad of the chance, and of course it’s our escape for a few hours.
    We started off on Monday at 8am and got there about 12.30pm. There was dinner and pay and then a bus to Brussels. We slept at a Monastery in Louvain, the Monks were…

    …kind enough to allow the army to use a part of it. I have some pictures of the place, it is quite interesting but of course we were not looking for pretty buildings but cafe's with beer, wine and spirits and we found them. Obviously they were expecting troops, there were Cabarets, pictures, Nervo and Knox at the theatre, the first evening I went to see “In Which we Serve” Noel Coward, it was French spoken but I wasn’t bored for a moment. I drank beer and didn’t feel so good. The next morning I walked from Louvain toward the place where I know…

    …those people, I was lucky and I got a lift. They were very surprised to see me and I had a really good dinner, celery soup, home cured bacon, potatoes and another veg, the name of which I knows not. I left there at 1.30 and got a lift right through to Brussels where I walked around the shops I just wouldn’t buy, stockings were about 15/-, and there’s no guarantee that they’d reach you. Toy tin cars 18/- so I gave it up and bought myself a really good pipe…

    …it cost 125 Fr, the exchange is 168 to £1, but it’s cheaper than I’d get the same pipe in England. I didn’t drink much beer but went on wine, I’ve liked Dubbonet and its still good at 15 Fr, beer is 10 Fr. It was a very good trip but, 1) it didn’t last long enough 2) one doesn’t get properly organised on the first visit, 3) I wore shoes which I borrowed and they were rather tight.
    Your letter with the saccharine arrived today and the powders for which many thanks.
    We have Yanks my dear, tho. We don’t see much of them now. The jokes were quite good especially the one…

    …about the uniforms. You say the babies are on the increase, actually of course they are just arriving. I take it that Lawrence is quite happy about this and hoping for a boy?
    What is the matter with Les. Do you imagine he’s found a girl friend as that’s the symptoms, or is he ready for oversees and it worries him to say so.
    I’ve a couple of new stamps for John, he is a good lad, it’s a treat to give him anything.
    Well I shall stick to Sylvia now and or!!! Charles. It’s very cheering to know you are quite well my dear, praps…

    …it’s a sign that it’s a girl.
    Sorry to hear about C.Cook and the other chap, they may be prisoners, I hope so.
    They are very canny about cash so it may be a few days as they look up my account, the money is just about there.
    Haven’t had a word from Spud, I still miss him, and I kept a look out all the way to Brussels and back but couldn’t see him.
    I did meet a lot of the 24th in Brussels and they all have very nice cushy…

    …jobs, and I didn’t think to ask any of them if they’d seen him, that was silly of me.
    I’m feeling O.K., but I don’t enjoy this weather, it’s raining now and there’s enough water here normally. We soon break the top crust of a road, in a few days it ceases to be a road and you have thick mud, then not as thick, then slush. The main roads are fairly good but the by-roads are lousy.
    It’s time to turn in so I’ll pipe down. Give my regards to the folks and here’s hoping they soon start leave. Lot’s of love to you and Rob. From your loving husband Ben xxx.
     
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