The Sherwood Rangers in January 1945

Discussion in 'NW Europe' started by Ramiles, Apr 26, 2015.

  1. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY

    Last edited: Sep 24, 2016
  2. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY

    The Sherwood Rangers in January 1945 - Links

    Other WW2talk threads:

    The Sherwood Rangers Yeomanry in NWE in 1944:
    Operation Blackcock - successful or unsuccessful :

    Books: Western Front - The Second World War :"Susteren"+blackcock+ww2+1944&source=bl&ots=hthQo6EdrC&sig=DcWXZtle7RDKbGfS_8cC4bmfF0s&hl=en&sa=X&ei=mRA9VeqCL4vxasalgNgG&ved=0CDQQ6AEwAw#v=onepage&q="Susteren" blackcock ww2 1944&f=false

    Wiki on "Operation Blackcock":
    Sadly nothing in there about the SRY :(

    Has a lot of examples of participation in Operation Blackcock by the 8th Armoured brigade

    Canadian operations and positions around the Roer Triangle (for Operation Blackcock in which 1st Canadian Armoured Carrier Regiment took part and were awarded the Battle Honour "The Roer" for participation in this battle.

    IWM - audio

    Evans, John Edward (IWM interview) - Reel 3: unit objective to capture Susteren during Operation Blackcock, 17/1/1945; problems with using artificial moonlight; method of capturing Susteren; German armoured counter attack; method of deploying company headquarters; calling down British artillery fire on Susteren: Evans, John Edward (Oral history) (15107)

    IWM - image

    A Cromwell ARV (Armoured Recovery Vehicle) being used to extricate a bogged Cromwell tank of 1st Royal Tank Regiment, 7th Armoured Division, near Echt in Holland during Operation 'Blackcock', the clearing of the west bank of the Roer River, January 1945.
    CROMWELL TANKS IN NW EUROPE 1944-45 (HU 99802)


    Roer Triangle (google images) ; Roer triangle 1944 - Google Search

    The Ardennes Area 26th December 1944-16th January 1945 (In area between Roermond-Aachen in the north-centre of this map): Europe/WWIIEurope73.jpg

    The Ardennes Area 17th January 1945-7th February 1945 (With the area of the Roer triangle picked out): Europe/WWIIEurope74.pdf

    Map of dispositions in the Roer Triangle in January 1945:
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2020
  3. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY

    The Sherwood Rangers in January 1945 - Events

    1st January 1945

    France joins the UN. German air raid on allied airports at Eindhoven/Saint-Trond/Brussels.

    7th January 1945

    A total German victory in the Ardennes is reported by Lord Haw-Haw on German radio. This was not strictly true ;)

    12th January 1945

    German forces retreat in the Battle of the Bulge.

    16th January 1945-17th January 1945

    On the 16th January as the operation began, a thaw set in; bridging difficulties delayed 7th Armoured and by the time the Brigade was launched the country was again a sea of mud. The plan was a bold one and depended for its success on the ground carrying tanks over the marshy area along the Pepinus Brook.

    18th January 1945

    The 4th/7th Royal Dragoon Guards fought their way forward throughout the night of the 18th and crossed the brook with success; by morning they were on the outskirts of Konigsbosch, the Headquarters of the enemy defensive system. Panic ensued and after a brief fight they occupied the town. By now, however, the crossing of the Pepinus was almost impassable and only one Squadron of the 13th/18th Hussars struggled over before a German SP came up and by knocking out 4 tanks in the bottle-neck rendered all further progress impossible. Efforts were made to cross throughout the day but the project had to be abandoned.

    The chance of the Brigade swanning through all the German rear areas was ruined by a thaw which only lasted three days. The operations of the 4th/7th Royal Dragoon Guards with the 4th King’s Own Scottish Borderers in the rear of the German line had great effect and 52nd (Lowland) Divisions frontal attack met with little resistance.

    Nb: Fusilier Dennis Donnini of the 4/5 Royal Scots Fusiliers, 52nd Lowland Division, received the VC after his heroic actions in the village of Stein in Selfkant on 18 January. Fusilier Donnini is buried at the Sittard War Cemetery (Netherlands).

    19th January 1945

    On the evening of the 19th the SRY made contact with the 4th/7th Royal Dragoon Guards. In the meanwhile the remainder of the 8th Armoured Brigade was withdrawn and came under command 52nd (Lowland) Division, and the 13th/18th Hussars were pushed through to exploit the success of the other two Regiments (SRY and 4/7th RDG).

    Nb: Between Friday evening 19 January and Tuesday 23 January the Dutch village of Montfort was shelled or bombed on seven occasions, and was hit by more than 100 bombs with many Dutch civilian casualties there.

    "German prisoners trudge past a Sherman tank in a German frontier village of Hongen, 19 January 1945"

    "Infantry of 1st Glasgow Highlanders ride on white-washed Sherman tanks of 8th Armoured Brigade in Hongen, 19-20 January 1945."

    20th January 1945 - 26th January 1945

    Snow and frost now returned and for six more days the battle continued in temperatures as low as 12° of frost.

    24th January 1945

    Village after village fell to 8th Armoured Brigade attacks and the operation culminated in the capture of Heinsberg, by the Scottish 52nd Lowland division where brilliant work by the Air O.P., Captain Mollison, destroyed 3 Panther tanks which were covering the forward slope leading into the town.

    Nb: A VC was awarded to Lance Corporal Henry Eric Harden of the Royal Army Medical Corps (RAMC), a medical orderly attached to 45 Commando, for his heroic action during the bitter fighting at the Dutch villages of Brachterbeek and Linne on 23 January. Lance Corporal Harden is buried at Nederweert War Cemetery (Netherlands).

    24th January 1945
    At dawn 4th K.O.S.B. went into HEINSBERG, A Sqn had to cross 800 yards of open ground covered by SP’s before they could support the infantry in the built up area. They lost 3 tanks trying to get in but at last succeeded in getting the troop forward under Sgt Lanes*. HEINSBERG was utterly destroyed and derelict.

    * Sergeant James (aka "Johnny" ) Lanes MM...
    Recommendation for Award for Lanes, James Rank: Acting Serjeant Service No: ... | The National Archives

    25th January 1945
    B Sqn moved forward from SELSTEN at 04.00 hrs and formed up north of HEINSBERG for an attack on KIRCHHOVEN. There was no opposition in that village and the Germans appeared delighted to see us. Their houses were full of ammunition and rifles but there was no ??????pt to use them. RHQ moved up to LAFFELD and secured an undamaged house.



    26th January 1945

    Meanwhile elsewhere: Soviet forces reach Auschwitz concentration camp

    SRY - War Diary - 26th January 1945
    Sqns remained concentrated all day except 1 troop of A Sqn which picketed HEINSBERG. Maj.
    (Basil) Ringrose visited the regiment.

    27th January 1945

    "Official" end of Operation Blackcock. See wiki section on the aftermath here:

    SRY - War Diary - 27th January 1945
    Operation “Black Cock” now completed for 8th Armd Bde, regiment ordered to return to Holland for rest. Maj. Lord Leigh left with recce party to look for billets.

    28th January 1945

    Swedish ships bring food to starving Netherlands.

    29th January 1945

    News of great Russian advances was now being received on this date their leading troops were reported 100 miles east of Berlin. On this day the Essex Yeomanry came out of action for the first time since 14th of November.

    31st January 1945

    Russian troops reach the Oder River, less that 50 miles from Berlin

    Subsequent events: 8th February 1945 - Operation Veritable :

    With the objective to clear German forces from the area between the Rhine and Maas rivers, east of the German/Dutch frontier, in the Rhineland.



    Last edited: Jan 24, 2022
  4. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY

    This letter for the New Year from 1945... when the SRY seemed to have been in the vicinity of SCHIMMERT, in the Dutch province of Limburg.

    7880500 Sgt.B.Symes
    Sherwood Rangers

    Dearest Phyl & Rob,

    There has been no mail for a few days, I expect they are clearing up after the Xmas rush, I hope they soon get back into their stride.

    Another wedding anniversary has come and gone, I sincerely hope we shall be together next year and able to celebrate in the approved manner, a theatre and dinner in some decent restaurant would be quite good.

    Well, and what have you decided to name Marjorie, she’ll be Marjorie if you aren’t careful.

    The Boche gave everyone a surprise by his push in Belgium. But if he pushes his neck out like that he’s in for a rough time, even so it’s a nuisance, the darned weather is too cold for fun and games.

    The lady of the house where I am staying has three children, one of them has a very nasty knee and its been giving him a lot of pain. An army doctor has fixed him up this evening and now he is sleeping.

    Freddy Grieswood has just been giving the news and in it he says that those who have landed first in France will get leave first, well as I have already mentioned in my last letter for us this is not so, so in case you may think I’m spoofing I’ve mentioned it again. We all think the B.B.C. could have put it better or left it out of the news as it’s bound to give plenty of wives to think and I think that the M.P.’s will get quite a lot of nasty letters when D.Day men fail to get leave until late in March as some are bound to under present arrangements.

    We got very good baths here. The mines all have large bath houses with 30 to 100 showers continuously running with the heat just right and the only limit to the number of baths is the amount of work we have to do, so we keep quite clean. Great Britain could learn a lot from Holland on mine heads, there no dust or bad fumes here and everything looks quite neat. The miners homes too are nice. In fact the standard of living here was twice as good as in England before the war, so you can imagine how they hate the Germans who have taken so much from them.

    There doesn’t seem to be anything more to say this time and the letters are still not coming through so I’ll send all my love to you, Rob and the little one with best wishes for a Happy and Prosperous New Year.

    From your loving husband Ben xxx.

    The War Diary of the SRY has:

    January 1945 Lt Col S.D. Christopherson M.C. Sherwood Rangers Yeo

    Monday 1st January 1945: Colonel of 4/7 Dragoon Guards visited the regiment and looked over Sqn positions before taking over from us on the next day.

    Tuesday 2nd January 1945 Colonel visited Sqns in the morning, in the afternoon pulled (back?) and the 4/7 DG took over, regiment moved back to SCHIMMERT, settled into billets.

    Wednesday 3rd January 1945: Day spent in maintenance and settling down, RHQ set up in a convent, cordial relations were established with the mother superior.

    Thursday 4th January 1945: Regiment ?????? rest period was given a counter attack role which necessitated the regiment being at 4 hrs notice. Reconnaissance of counter attack positions was carried out by the Colonel and the Sqn Ldrs and the Gunner O.P.’s. Very heavy snow fell at this time and it was bitterly cold.

    Friday 5th January 1945: Colonel inspected A Sqn during the morning and C Sqn drill parade in the afternoon, while out of battle 3 drill parades a week were included in the training programme. Lts Perry, Elmore and Howard who had been wounded in NORMANDY rejoined the regiment. Capt Hildyard T.O. 7th Armd Div visited the regiment.

    Saturday 6th January 1945: Colonel inspected B Sqn in the morning and attended a conference at SCHINVELD on operation “Black ????”, in this operation 8th Armd Bde were to support 52 Mountain Div in an attack on HEINSBERG and ????? to the north . In the afternoon the Colonel and Sqn Ldrs with the Gunner O.P’s went over the ground GEILENKIRCHEN, PRUMMEREN and BEEK over which we last fought in support of 84th ???????? Div.

    Sunday 7th January 1945: Universal service held for those who had been killed in the GEILENKIRCHEN battle. The padre preached an excellent service. Cpt Walker joined the regiment also 7 N.C.O.’s picked by Maj. Lord Leigh ???? the Royal Gloucestershire Hussars. Colonel ?????? at 8th Armd Bde, in the evening Maj. ?????? came to discuss the fire place for operation “Blackcock”.

    Monday 8th January 1945: Colonel attended conference at 8th Armd Bde HQ’s where the Army Commander General Dempsey gave details of the Ardennes offensive and confirmed that it was not under control owing to severe weather conditions. We would not be able to ???? ??????, to take as many prisoners as had at first been hoped. Colonel attended conference on the cooperation of a ????? company with an armd reg at HQ 12 KRRC and dinned with Colonel Edwards.

    Tuesday 9th January 1945: Colonel inspected stables of C Sqn. A special ????? commanding ????? started for the next N.C.O.’s from the R.G.H. Lt Bethell-Fox rejoined the regiment after being wounded 3 times.

    Wednesday10th January 1945: Colonel and adjutant attended conference at Bde HQ for operation “Blackcock”. The weather was bitterly cold, never have been 2 officers so frozen in a jeep. “C” Company 12 K.R.R.C. joined the regiment.

    Thursday 11th January 1945: All leave to BRUSSELS was cancelled. Day spent in training with 52 Div for operation “Blackcock”.

    Friday 12th January 1945: O.P.’s joined the regiment, conference at 52 Div HQ decided that the regiment would support 153 Bde.

    Saturday 13th January 1945: A conference with 156 Infantry Bde decided that ????? Sqn would support 1 Bn from the Bde.

    Sunday 14th January 1945: Sqn Ldrs and Bn commanders held conference. Tanks have been painted completely white, snow continued to fall.
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2022
  5. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY

    The Sherwood Rangers Yeomanry 1939-1945

    "Whitewashed tanks of C Squadron Sherwood Rangers wait in the Dutch town of Sittard on the Dutch/German border in preparation for their attack on Hongen in Germany on 18th January 1945 as part of Operation Blackcock.
    Infantry of the 6th Battalion Cameronians, 156 Brigade, 52nd Lowland Division pass by.
    The Sherwood Rangers supported the Scottish infantry Regiments of 156 Brigade throughout the operation to capture a series of towns and villages along the Saeffeler river in what was known as the Roer Triangle
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2020

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