VERITABLE 1945: 51st Highland Division Reichswald Forest

Discussion in 'NW Europe' started by stolpi, Oct 8, 2018.

  1. stolpi

    stolpi Well-Known Member

    6.3 The last act: HD across the Kendel Brook (25 - 27 Feb 1945)

    The plan of attack of the 51st Highland Division for eliminating the last enemy resistance south-west of Goch was broken into two consecutive nocturnal operations. As a first step, during the night of 25/26 Feb, 152 and 153 brigades would close up on the Kendel Brook and clear the bends north of this waterway still in enemy hands, while the 154 would cross the Kendel and clear the area within the deep river loop around the village of Hülm. In the second phase, scheduled for the night of 26/27 Feb, the 152 Bde would clear the river loop around the Alte Hof and Neue Hof and seize Siebengewald. 153 would seize Gaesdonk Seminary and 154 would capture the area of Boyenhof.

    K_Kendel Hülm Grundkarte für Pieter aa1.jpg
    Base map courtesy Wolfgang Endemann. Green arrows indicate operations for the first phase (night 25/26 Feb); blue are those of the second phase (night 26/27 Feb).

    A detailed divisional operation order was issued on Feb 25, 1945 (51st HD, operation Instruction No. 32) which read as follows:
    Op Instr 32  Kendel Crossing 1.JPG Op Instr 32  Kendel Crossing 2.JPG Op Instr 32  Kendel Crossing 3.JPG Op Instr 32  Kendel Crossing 4.JPG

    The operations will be described below from the brigade point of view.
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2020
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  2. stolpi

    stolpi Well-Known Member

    152 Bde Boeckelt - Neue Huf (operations 25 - 28 Feb 45)

    25 Feb 45
    At 0930 hrs a warning order was received from division that the Boeckelt area must be captured that night. The Bde commander attended a Division Conference at 1100 hours and the remainder of the day was spent in laying on the party. Orders were issued to the Bde 'O' Group at 1500 hours including a warning and outline plan for the next day's operations. 2 Seaforth and 5 Seaforth were to liquidate the area of Siebengewald 8641, 8740.

    The 5 Camerons were given three objectives to deal with - a pill box at 890424, Boeckelt area at 884424, and enemy positions at 876427. Only two Coys were involved and the attack started at 2200 hours. At 2230 hrs the attack was reported to be going well and little or no opposition was being met on the first objective. By 2320 hrs the first objective was captured and 42 POW taken.

    26 Feb 45
    The second Coy was then passed through to the area of Boeckelt. Again only light opposition was encountered and the objective taken by 0100 hours. One platoon was then sent to deal with position 876427 (Alte Huf). The operation was successfully completed by 0230 hours. All together 170 POWs were taken and the battalion suffered only 6 casualties; enemy troops encountered were elements from the Fusilier Bn 180 Div and FJ Regt 20.

    According to the 'A' Sqn report in the War Diary of the 141 RAC (Crocodiles), the light enemy resistance was due to the fact that at the time of the Cameron's attack all enemy officers were away from their positions attending a conference, leaving their formations in command of senior NCO's. When the attack developed the senior NCO telephoned the pillboxes in his area and told the troops under his command not to fire, but to surrender. The reason he gave for his extraordinary behaviour was that he appreciated that if they did not surrender the following morning the Crocs would come and burn them out. Another proof of the psychological effect of the flame throwing tank.

    The 2 Seaforth started operations at 2100 hours and crossed the Kendel near the Knollenhof using a treadway bridge built by the engineers attached to 32 Guards Bde. The enemy were found to hold the first objective at Blumenthalshof quite strongly. The farm and its outbuildings had been converted into a veritable fortress. The approaches to the objective involved crossing very flat open country completely dominated and overlooked. POWs later confirmed that the taping party had been observed during the marking of the axis and taping of the Start Line. The leading 'A' Coy found it difficult and costly trying to make an entry into the buildings. An attempt was made to dislodge the enemy machine guns by firing PIAT bombs at the buildings but it was unsuccessful - all of the PIAT team becoming casualties. After the initial attack failed 'A' Coy, which had dwindled to platoon strength, withdrew 500 yards to the north of Blumenthalshof to allow the artillery to have another 'smack'. 'A' Coy was reinforced by a platoon of 'B' Coy, 2nd Seaforth.

    27 Feb 45
    A heavy stonk was brought down on each objective and the renewed attack went in at 0330 hours under cover of it. The 2 Seaforth - from the outset reduced to three Coys, as 'D' Coy had been sent back to Cuijck in Holland on Feb 20th - now were reinforced by a Coy of 5 Seaforth ('C' Coy). The latter was ordered to take Jenkenshof and Haus Terporten. Again difficulty was found in breaking into either objective. 'A' Coy went forward but was unsuccessful, probably due to the late arrival of the 'B'Coy platoon which made it impossible to attack the objective immediately the artillery concentration had finished, thereby failing to obtain the maximun effect. 'C' Coy of 5 Seaforth, reinforced by two platoons of 'B' Coy 2nd Seaforth, gradually edged forward under heavy small arms fire and seized the Jenkenshof at 0530 hours. Eventually it was decided that the Coys should surround their objectives and dig in as close to them as possible. The objective being to contain them and then at first light reduce them to ruins with tanks.

    At 0600 hrs a patrol of 'A' Coy to Blumenthalshof found it unoccupied and at 0830 hours Terporten was also reported clear. The enemy had decided to get out under cover of darkness, but were only partly successfull; 40 POWs were taken. Enemy encountered in the area of Siebengewald were identified as I.Bn 1125 Regt (190 Div), the Fusilier Bn 180 Div and elements of 20 FJ Regt (now known as battlegroup Jensen), all under command of HQ 20 FJ Regt. The remainder of the operation was completed by 1200 hours and 5 Seaforth occupied Siebengewald without opposition or incident. This sudden slackening of enemy opposition clearly indicated that the enemy was abandoning the area.

    In early morning of Feb 27th the Jenkenshof was seized by 'C' Coy of the 5th Seaforth Highlanders against heavy opposition

    Approach Jenkenshof.jpg
    The terrain in the big loop to the north of the farm just is dead flat and offers little cover (view from the Jenkenshof to the north). 'C' Coy had to edge a way forward over this difficult terrain under heavy fire.
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2020
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  3. stolpi

    stolpi Well-Known Member

    Casualties in 152 Bde were:

    5 Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders:
    1. DUGUID WILLIAM, Lieutenant 264680, 25 February 1945, Age 22, MOOK WAR CEMETERY, I. A. 15.
    2. GRAY, STEPHEN EDWARD DRAKE, Lance Corporal 1837917, 26 February 1945, Age 25, MOOK WAR CEMETERY, I. B. 7.

    2 Seaforth Highlanders
    1. HAMNETT, ARTHUR EDWARD, Private 14747760, 27 February 1945, Age 20, RHEINBERG WAR CEMETERY, 12. B. 5.
    2. McKENZIE, WILLIAM ANGUS MACFARLANE, Private 14721803, 27 February 1945, Age 26, RHEINBERG WAR CEMETERY, 12. B. 6.
    3. SMART, JOHN, Private 2825749, 27 February 1945, Age 30, RHEINBERG WAR CEMETERY, 12. E. 13.
    4. TERVET, GEORGE, Private 14749150, 27 February 1945, Age 18, RHEINBERG WAR CEMETERY, 12. B. 3.
    5. GLENNON, JAMES, Private 14493463, 27 February 1945, Age 18, RHEINBERG WAR CEMETERY, 12. B. 4.
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2020
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  4. 51highland

    51highland Very Senior Member

    5th Camerons war diary 25th February 1945: "A pleasant but cold day. Two Boche wandered into 'B' comp area and were taken prisoner. They claimed to be lost. Our Dutch L.O., Lt. van Roekel questioned them and gained a little information regarding the enemy being up to strength in the infantry. The M.M.G's (Middlesex) fired on the positions which the POW claimed to be occupied. The C.O., Lt. Col. D.B. Lang, D.S.O., M.C., went to Brigade H.Q. for a conference and upon his return a company commanders conference was held at 1400 hrs. The 'O' Group was ordered to meet at 1645 hrs. 'A' and 'C' comps were to attack during the night and 'B' comp was to remain in the same position. The two companies were on the start line at 2145 hrs. They passed through 5/7 Gordons position attacking from the North-East. 'C' comp went forward first at 2200 hrs. following a very heavy Barrage. By 2300 hours they had crossed the anti-tank ditch and taken their objective quite easily. 'A' comp left the start line at 2300 hrs., passed through 'C' comp at 2359 hrs. on their way to their objective. A very heavy Barrage supported them. Their objective was taken by 0100 hrs. Casualties were very light in both advances. Evidently the Artillery had prepared the way thoroughly and Jerry did not expect our attack from this quarter. At 0100 hrs. 'C' comp passed through 'A' comp on to their second objective and by dawn both comp's were re-organised and secure. The Anti-tank guns had moved in the early morning. During the action we took over 200 prisoners and suffered only 6 casualties -- 4 for 'A' comp and 2 for 'C' comp. Lt. Duguid, of 'B' comp was killed during some shelling by the Boche".
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  5. stolpi

    stolpi Well-Known Member

    153 Bde at Robbenhof - Angstforth - Gaesdonck (operations 25 - 28 Feb 45)

    25 Feb
    At 2200 hrs 5 Black Watch commenced their attack through 5/7 Gordons with Robbenhof and Angstforth in 8941 as their main objective with heavy artillery and mortar support.

    26 Feb
    By 0330 hrs 5 Black Watch were on all objectives with Coys as follows: Robbenhof 895413 - Houses 895411 - Angstforth 819415 - Woods 896416 and had contacted 1 Black Watch on their front. The road between Thomashof and Robbenhof was very heavily mined and could not be announced clear until 0650 hrs when unfortunately the AVRE bridge slipped off the road into the ditch. A recovery vehicle was soon available and the bridge put back on the road. By this time it was light and it was decided by Commander 154 Bde that the bridge would not be laid till after dark. 5 Black Watch took 106 POWs including three officers; the enemy encountered were elements from FJ Regt 20 and 21. Own casualties were - killed 2 Officers and 10 OR's; wounded 14 OR's. The last phase of the operation was due to take place that evening.

    27 Feb
    The attack of 5/7 Gordons commenced at midnight to the 27th. Passing through Robbenhof 'D' Coy quickly secured a bridgehead along the road south of the crater. This crater had been blown by the enemy and the engineers soon began their task of filling it in with the help of a bulldozer. 'A' and 'C' Coys at 0130 hrs moved through 'D' Coy, 'A' moved through the woods on the left and 'C' cleared the right flank with the intention of seizing the Seminary. They found the Seminary unoccupied but had difficulty in entering it owing to a ten feet moat that surrounded the complex. By 0430 hrs both companies had reported themselves firm on their objectives without opposition and 'A' Coy had reached the bridge at 881404. The bridge was found blown by the enemy but this did not stop the infantry. The men of the leading Coy waded or swum across and occupied the X-roads and customs house on the far bank at 0810 hrs. By that time the enemy started shelling the Seminary. The large crater at 887413 had taken a long time to fill in and was not finished until about 0730 hrs. By 0930 hrs the AVRE bridge was established at 881404 and one Coy exploiting along road to Groote Horst 8639. No serious opposition had yet been encountered by 5/7 Gordons. There was a notable absence of enemy artillery fire on the 153 Bde front. No artillery fire was met - with the exception of 210 mm fire on the Seminary - which might indicate that the enemy was moving his guns towards the rear. On both flanks especially the right, enemy resistance had been very determined. 5/7 Gordons ultimate Coy positions as follows: Seminary 8840 - Wood 876408 - 877402 - X roads 872401. At 15:50 hrs contact was made with 6 HLI of 52 (L) Division in area 866400 (SW of Kreftenheije), whilst patrol from 5 Seaforth and 7 Black Watch came in from the flanks. The battalion took 50 POWs including one officer and had two casualties. The 6 HLI moving in from the west over Koekoek and Kleine Horst had met little or no opposition, a clear sign that the enemy had started withdrawing his forces towards the Niers in order to escape the outflanking movements. The area previously had been stubbornly defended.

    Typhoon Gaesdonk attack IWM C 5042.jpg
    On 25 Feb 45, prior to the infantry attack, the Seminary building of Gaesdonck in the deep bend of the Kendel Brook to the southwest of Goch was attacked by Typhoons. German artillery observers were suspected to operate from the upper storeys or the small tower of the main building. The rectangular moat surrounding the Seminary is clearly visible on the picture.The road is the Gaesdonckerstrasse, main road running from Goch across the Dutch border to Groote Horst; also note the loop of the Kendel around the area and the flooded river banks. That same day the church tower in Siebengewald was also attacked by Typhoons (photo © IWM C 5042).

    Typhoon Gaesdonk attack 2.jpg
    Though severely damaged the Seminary school survived the war and still exists; a prewar (?) picture of the complex. The large building in the foreground with the turret on the right hand side is the building that was targeted by the Typhoons
    (photo courtesy Eine Gaesdonck für alle)

    Casualties in 153 Bde for this period were:

    5 Black Watch:
    1. DELVES, LESLIE FREDERICK, Warrant Officer Class II 2930998, 25 February 1945,Age 30, RHEINBERG WAR CEMETERY,12. E. 24.
    2. LAIDLER, JAMES E., Private 14765575, 26 February 1945, Age 18, MILSBEEK WAR CEMETERY,I. G. 3.
    3. McNIVEN, THOMAS MONCUR, Lance Serjeant 2757977, 25 February 1945, Age 25 REICHSWALD FOREST WAR CEMETERY,60. A. 10.
    4. LETT, MAURICE LEWIS, Lance Corporal 14426088, 25 February 1945, Age 19, RHEINBERG WAR CEMETERY,12. E. 18.
    5. McCUBBIN, ARCHIBALD THOMAS, Lance Corporal,3328118, 25 February 1945, Age 22, RHEINBERG WAR CEMETERY,12. E. 19
    6. MacDONALD IAN LESTER, Lieutenant 249062, 25 February 1945, Age 21, RHEINBERG WAR CEMETERY,12. E. 20.
    7. McGOWAN, BERNARD, Private 1568710, 25 February 1945, Age 29, RHEINBERG WAR CEMETERY,12. E. 12.
    8. McINNES, WILLIAM, Private 2983222, 25 February 1945, Age 24, RHEINBERG WAR CEMETERY,12. E. 17.
    9. REYNOLDS, WALTER FREDERICK, Private 5834766, 25 February 1945, Age 32, RHEINBERG WAR CEMETERY,12. E. 21.
    10. ROBERTS, KENNETH LAWRENCE, Private 14440647, 25 February 1945, Age 19, RHEINBERG WAR CEMETERY,12. E. 23.
    11. VERNON, ALFRED, Private 14703002, 25 February 1945, Age 19, RHEINBERG WAR CEMETERY,12. E. 25.
    12. WARDLAW, ALEXANDER, Private 14768911, 25 February 1945, Age 20, RHEINBERG WAR CEMETERY,12. E. 22.

    5/7 Gordons:
    1. NICHOLLS, WILLIAM JOHN, Private 14757839, 26 February 1945, MILSBEEK WAR CEMETERY, I. G. 2.
    2. RIXON, AUBREY CLIFFORD, Lance Corporal 5392796, 27 February 1945, Age 22, LACEY GREEN METHODIST CEMETERY, N.E. Corner.

    Siebengewald border.jpg
    Just south of the Seminary was the Dutch border. The bridge over the Kendel was destroyed but men of the 5/7th Gordons waded or swum across and occupied the crossroads with the custom houses. The crossroads in a post-war picture; view to the north, across the border down the Gaesdonckerstrasse which leads towards Goch; the Seminary is to the left, but not visible on the picture. The border still was closed with a barrier, but it has long since disappeared.(photo courtesy Siebengewald Limburg Archief Well).

    Church Siebengewald.jpg
    The destroyed church at Siebengewald as seen in May 1945. The church was targeted by Typhoons (photo courtesy Siebengewald Limburg Archief Well)

    oude-kerk Siebengewald.jpg
    The church of Siebengewald as it looked like before the war (photo courtesy Kerkgebouwen in Limburg)

    Last edited: May 14, 2020
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  6. stolpi

    stolpi Well-Known Member

    Fight for Robbenhof 5 Black Watch (25 and 26 Feb 45)

    The 5th Black Watch on 22 Feb 45, after being relieved by the 1st Black Watch, had moved to a reserve position near Asperden. At 10:00 hrs on the 25th the 5th Black Watch was warned for a night attack south of Thomashof, although it was far from being the battalion's turn to attack again. Commanding Officer and Coy commanders carried out recce from Thomashof in the afternoon. The operation was to mop up the enemy between Thomashof and the river at Robbenhof 1000 yards to the southwest, in conjunction with an attack of 152 Bde on the right and 154 Bde on the left. 1 Black Watch passing through 7 A&SH were to advance north and meet the 5th Black Watch at Robbenhof bridge.

    Orders were given out at 17:00 hrs. At 20:15 hrs the battalion moved to an assembly area near Thomashof; Bn HQ being established in the main building. The battalion attacked at 21:10 hrs with artillery fire plan, with two Coys forward followed by the other two. 'C' Coy's objectives were the trenches at 895416 and 'B' Coy's a wood to the left. 'B' Coy were quickly on their objective which was waterlogged, and sent in 12 prisoners. The Coy raced forward as the artillery lifted. 'C' Coy met more opposition from odd MG-posts and Lieutenant Stewart was killed. They picked up a number of prisoners. 'A' Coy then advanced through 'B' Coy and attacked Robbenhof, while 'D' Coy followed to their left. with objectives the farms to the left of Robbenhof. Both these Coys met some stiff opposition from the buildings, 'D' Coy in particular having problems with a big pill-box camouflaged as a barn. 'D' Coy lost Lieutenant MacDonald and C.S.M. Delves in the attack. However both Coys continued to fight aggressively and took the positions. 'A' Coy then patrolled to the Angstforth farm, and 'C' Coy liquidated an enemy post in the house on the main road to their right.

    R.E.s then cleared the track forward, but the first carrier to move through blew up on a mine, and although the track was cleared again other vehicles blew up. Eventually all was ready for the AVRE bridge 1 Black Watch urgently required, to come up, but it then went into a ditch and a recovery vehicle had to be sent for. Contact was made with 1 Black Watch at about 02:00 hrs (26 Feb) and their HQ was established with 'A' Coy. Meanwhile 'B' Coy had moved forward to Angstforth and the main road had been cleared of mines. The enemy shelled the track intermittently and set fire to one carrier. About 100 POWs were taken by that time. A large batch surrendered at the Robbenhof. The 5 Black Watch remained in position throughout the day, though 'C' Coy were withdrawn to the houses in rear of Thomashof in the afternoon. Bn HQ improved its accommodation at Thomashof which appeared an unpopular place with many, though it was a good roomy building.

    Robbenhof 5 BW.jpg
    Map fragment taken from the War Diary of the 5th Black Watch. This was the third action of the battalion in and around Goch, hence the indication on the map of Phase III; the first being the capture of the western end of the town and the second the fight for Slavanien.

    Trees Robbenhof.jpg
    The elongated woodlot which was seized by 'B' Coy of the 5th Black Watch. From here attacks were launched on the Robbenhof ('A' Coy) and the farms to the left of it ('D' Coy). The picture was taken from the Greversweg, the narrow countryroad that runs south from Thomashof towards the Kendel Brook. Behind the trees is the modern Autobahn and beyond that the Thomashof (both not visible on the picture).

    Picture of the Robbenhof as seen from the south from the point where the Greversweg crosses the Kendel Brook. At the farm the leading section, five men under command of Cpl Tom Renouf, dug out dozens of German POWs from the cellar under the barn. Luckily for them the Germans readily surrendered. The elongated woodlot is visible in the background.

    The Angstforth farm to the right of the Robbenhof was checked by patrols of 'A' Coy of the 5th Black Watch which were sent out from the Robbenhof. Later 'B' Coy occupied the farm.To the right the tree-lined Gaesdonckerstrasse, the main road leading from Goch (right) to Gaesdonck (left).
    Last edited: May 14, 2020
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  7. stolpi

    stolpi Well-Known Member

    Last edited: Feb 12, 2020
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  8. stolpi

    stolpi Well-Known Member

    154 Bde at Hulm - Winkel - Boyenhof - Kerkenhof (operations 25 - 28 Feb 45)

    The summary of the plan of attack for the 154 Bde was as follows:
    154 Bde War Diary 25.2.jpg 154 Bde War Diary 25.2 2.jpg

    Engineer support came from the AVRE's of 82 Assault Squadron RE and Buffaloes of 11 RTR.

    25 Feb
    At 19:45 hrs L.O.3 reported Buffaloes and assault boats in parking area 918410 and the Bde I.O. took over the T.C.P. at 21:45 hrs. He reported heavy shelling of th egeneral area. At 21:40 hrs 274 Fd Coy reported that AVRE bridges had not yet turned up but that they were prepared to build Bailey's.
    At 21:45 hrs 7 A&SH reported themselves present in their F.U.P. which was the area of the Buffalo Park.
    At 22:20 hrs 7 A&SH had one Coy over the bridge at 907405 but were still uncertain whether or not it was fit for vehicles. Just as this information was coming in 53 (W) Division reported an enemy counter-attack at 907411. Then 7 A&SH reported that they had two Coys over the bridge and that it was definitely blown. The counter-attack, if any, did not materialize.
    At 22:40 hrs 7 A&SH were on both objectives. Opposition was light from small arms but mortaring was heavy. They were making recce of a site for Buffalo crossing. K hour was fixed for 24:00 hrs. At 00:50 hrs the I.O. moved off with Buffaloes to 1 Black Watch.

    26 Feb
    The first news to come in of the 1 Black Watch since they started at 24:00 hrs was from the Bde I.O. at 02:30 hrs. They had one Coy over the river and it appeared that opposition was light. At 03:00 hrs 1 Black Watch reported two Coys in position with no news of third Coy. Contact had been made with 5 Black Watch south of Robbenhof. At 03:50 hrs the task of 1 Black Watch was complete and they reported locations as follows: Bn HQ at Robbenhof and Coys at 893410, 886405, 889404 with platoon at 893403 Winkel. They claimed about 40 POWs. 7 A&SH locations were HQ at 912407, one Coy in Hülm, which consisted of about fifteen houses on one side of the road only, one Coy at 899405 with a platoon at buildings 905400. Thusfar the Argylls had taken 1 Officer and 16 ORs POW.
    At 04:00 hrs L.O.3 reported that AVRE bridge for 1 Black Watch was broken and that Buffaloes were only means of crossing. 1 Black Watch did not wish to have their tanks up in daylight. The Coy in reserve of 7 Black Watch was not required. A single house which had been holding out against the 7 A&SH throughout the night was not finally cleaned up until 07:00 hrs and 12 POWs were taken from it. It was found that any movement in the battalion areas brought shelling and the 1 Black Watch bridge site was under observation. There was no progress with the bridge on this day.

    A further task was allotted to 154 Bde i.e. to capture Boyenhof 8839 and Kerkenhof 8939. This was to be carried out the night of 26/27 Feb. 7 Black Watch would take Boyenhof and one Coy of 7 A&SH would take Kerkenhof. This would involve crossing a deep AT-ditch running across the fronts of 1 Black Watch and 7 Black Watch, and in the case of the 7 Black Watch also the Kendel stream which was still in flood. On the right the 153 would clear the area at Gaesdonck and 152 Bde would attack Siebengewald. The Bde commander gave orders to O.C. 7 Black Watch and O.C. 7 A&SH in the morning and at 14:00 hrs briefed all supporting arms.

    At 22:00 hrs the 7 Black Watch and the one Coy of the 7 A&SH started for their objectives. The 7 Black Watch objective was called PHEASANT and the 7 A&SH PARTRIDGE. At 22:30 hrs 7 Black Watch reached the right hand half of their objective but the left hand Coy was meeting stiff resistance. At the same time the Argyll Coy was meeting a good deal of opposition about 300 yards short of PARTRIDGE and a burning building was lighting up the area. They were suffering very heavy casualties and were hoping that the troop of tanks in support would join them soon.

    At 23:00 hrs L.O.2, Lieutenant Duncan Colquhoun, who was lighting the route for 7 Black Watch transport, was severely wounded. Sergeant Hewan the C.M.P. Sergeant was killed and the C.M.P. Corporal and Lieut. Colquhoun's Driver were also wounded. Lieutenant Colquhoun died of his wounds the following day. First reports stated that a mine had blown up and caused the casualties. It was later found that shelling was the cause.

    At 23:15 hrs the left Coy of 7 Black Watch were still held up and were getting more ammunition from 1 Black Watch. A troop of tanks was sent up to assist them through 1 Black Watch.

    27 Feb
    At 00:10 hrs the tanks joined the Argyll Coy. The Bde commander ordered that another Coy of 7 A&SH should be ready to move to Kerkenhof from the west by going through Boyenhof if this proved necessary. At 04:10 hrs all objectives were taken without the reserve Coy being used. A number of POWs were taken.

    By 04:00 hrs all Coys of both battalions were firm on objectives and the S.P. troop of 241 AT Btty was ready to support them if necessary. Later in the morning things quieted down considerably and it appeared that that the enemy on the immediate front was withdrawing. Movement was kept down to a minimum however, as the new positions were under observation. It was estimated that the Bde had suffered about 40 casualties. Approximately 80 POWs were taken and these had been evacuated via 153 Bde.

    Casualties in 154 Bde during the operation were:

    7 Black Watch:
    1. BOYD, JAMES AINSLIE, Private 14434183, 26 February 1945, Age 19, RHEINBERG WAR CEMETERY, 12. E. 10.
    2. McDONALD, DONALD, Private 14717877, 26 February 1945, Age 21, RHEINBERG WAR CEMETERY, 12. C. 19.
    3. SLY, RONALD JAMES, Private 14766573, 26 February 1945, Age 24, RHEINBERG WAR CEMETERY, 12. E. 9.

    7 Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders:
    1. ADAMS, JOHN WILFRED JESSE, Lance Corporal 5393364, 25 February 1945, Age 20, RHEINBERG WAR CEMETERY, 12. D. 13.
    2. COLQUHOUN, DUNCAN LOUIS, Lieutenant 181369, 27 February 1945, Age 29, MILSBEEK WAR CEMETERY, I. G. 1.
    3. DEVITT, JOHN HENRY, Private 1530278, 25 February 1945, Age 27, RHEINBERG WAR CEMETERY, 12. D. 8.
    4. EADIE, JOHN, Private 14748453, 27 February 1945, Age 18, RHEINBERG WAR CEMETERY, 12. D. 2.
    5. FOUBISTER, JOHN ALEXANDER, Private 1433346, 25 February 1945, Age 25, RHEINBERG WAR CEMETERY, 12. D. 14.
    6. JEFFREY, EDWARD ORD, Private 14730051, 25 February 1945, Age 21, RHEINBERG WAR CEMETERY, 12. D. 7.
    7. LEE, JOHN, Private 14814808, 25 February 1945, Age 19, RHEINBERG WAR CEMETERY, 12. D. 15.
    8. MASSIE, JAMES, Private 14775606, 25 February 1945, Age 18, RHEINBERG WAR CEMETERY, 12. D. 12.
    9. McGREGOR, DUNCAN, Private 14806341, 27 February 1945, Age 18, RHEINBERG WAR CEMETERY, 12. D. 1.
    10. MULVEY, HAROLD, Private 14729771, 25 February 1945, Age 30, RHEINBERG WAR CEMETERY, 12. D. 11.
    11. WADE, ROBERT DOUGLAS, Serjeant 5674441, 26 February 1945, Age 26, RHEINBERG WAR CEMETERY, 12. C. 17.
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2020
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  9. stolpi

    stolpi Well-Known Member

    The end

    As February 1945 came to a close, the 51st HD was pinched out of the battle by the advance of the 52nd Lowland division along the Meuse, on the right, and the 53rd Welsh towards Weeze, on the left. On the evening of the 27th the 152 Bde was relieved by the 156 Bde and next day returned to Nijmegen. The rest of the Highland Division stayed in the Goch area but was no longer operational. The division sector passed to the 52 Lowland at 01:00 hrs on the 28th. The Lowland Division also took over command of the 32 Guards Bde. The Highland Division remained in the Goch area until March 7th. From that date onwards the division moved back across the Dutch border and the Meuse towards the 12 Corps area near Roermond to prepare for its part in the coming operation: 'Operation Plunder' the crossing of the Rhine (See: RHINE CROSSING 1945: The Rees bridgehead (30 Corps in operation 'Turnscrew')).

    A highlight of this period was the visit of Churchill. Accompanied by Montgomery and Crerar, the Prime Minister visited the 51st Highland Division at Kloster Graefenthal in the afternoon of March 4th, 1945. Here the Prime Minister watched the Retreat played by the Pipe and Drums of the Highland Division.

    Watch from 04:38

    With military precision a program was drafted by Div HQ for the visit of the Prime Minister and his VIP entourage, including a plan 'B' in case the weather turned foul:

    Churchil visit 1.JPG
    Churchil visit 2.JPG
    Last edited: May 18, 2020
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  10. stolpi

    stolpi Well-Known Member

    Bump - 75 years ago 'Op Veritable' the Rhineland Offensive started
  11. stolpi

    stolpi Well-Known Member

    Old Soldiers never die:

    Old Soldiers.jpg
    Today I attended a ceremony at the Reichswald Forest War Cemetery where five veterans of the 51st Highland Division brought a salute to their fallen comrades. They were invited by the town of Gennep to remember the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the town during Op Veritable. With the youngest being 94 and the eldest five weeks from his 100 anniversary, this might have been a last salute. Well done boys!

    Old Soldiers 3.jpg
    In front Joe Cattini (Royal Artillery) behind him Jim MacLeod (2nd Seaforth Highlanders) bringing a military salute. Unfortunately I took the photograph a bit too late. McLeod features in a well-known photograph taken of the 2nd Seaforth advancing along the Kartenspielerweg in the Reichswald (See: VERITABLE 1945: 51st Highland Division Reichswald Forest).
    Last edited: May 13, 2020
    Wapen, ecalpald, 17thDYRCH and 2 others like this.
  12. stolpi

    stolpi Well-Known Member

    Added pictures to posts #60 (Hassum), #98 (Haus Terporten), # 102 (Jenkenshof), #105 (Siebengewald), # 106 (Robbenhof/Angstforth) and # 109 (The End)
    Wapen and mark abbott like this.
  13. Wapen

    Wapen Member

    Go Stolpi! I've been delayed by PhD admin nonsense again. Only on Monday got back on to 53 Div through Weeze. Chat soon. :)
  14. stolpi

    stolpi Well-Known Member

    I've revisited the Reichswald area lately and added some new pictures to this thread. Also enhanced the text a bit.

    You'll find the new pictures in posts: #3 (D-Day Op Veritable), #5 (Freuden Berg), #48 (Black Watch HQ Viller), #96 (Terporten), #97 (Terporten).

    Also new is Wapen's find of the documentary 'Urban Battles no. 3', re the capture of Goch. I inserted the link in post: #92

    Still have to visit the Rheinberg Cemetery.
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2020

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