War Diary: 160 South Wales Brigade HQ

Discussion in '53rd (Welsh) Division' started by Swiper, Feb 12, 2010.

  1. Swiper

    Swiper Resident Sospan

    Rest of Appendix (relevant stuff) to follow... including how to take tanks out with Phospherous and arguably the earliest use of WASPs!

    HQ 160 South Wales Infantry Brigade War Diary

    1st – 30th June
    Commanding Officer: Brigadier LG Whistler, DSO, MC
    Location: Herne Bay
    15th June– Brigade Advance Parties to embarkation area.

    16th June – Brigade HQ and Unit Advance Parties proceeded to embarkation area.

    18th June – Brigade Main Bodies proceeded to embarkation area.

    Location: Canning Town
    21st June – Brigade Advance Parties embarked for France.

    22nd June – Brigade HQ Advance Party embarked for France
    Location: UK
    - Brigadier LG Whistler, DSO, relinquished command South Wales (160) Infantry Brigade.
    - Lieutenant-Colonel CFC Coleman, OBE, assumed command South Wales (160) Infantry Brigade.

    Commanding Officer: Lieutenant-Colonel CFC Coleman

    Location: East India Docks
    24th June – Brigade Main Body embarked for France.

    Location: Port en Basin
    26th June – Brigade Advance Parties disembarked.

    27th June – Brigade HQ Advance Party disembarked.

    Location: Courseailles
    28th June – Brigade Main Body disembarked and proceeded to join Advance Party at Soubles.

    Location: Soubles
    30th June – Brigade moved to Putot-en-Bessin

    Location: Putot-en-Bessin
    30/31st June – Brigade moved into the line to relieve 46 Brigade of 15th Scottish Division and came under command of 8th Corps. During move into line some casualties were suffered by 4 Welch and 5 Welch through enemy mortar and shelling. Lieutenant-Colonel ERG Ripley, OC 5 Welch killed.

    1st – 31st July
    Location: France
    1st July – Brigade HQ established at 926653, 4 Welch area 912656 to 916645, 5 Welch at Grainville sur Odon 9164 – Le Valtru 9163, 2 Mons area Mondrainville 9263.

    2nd July – All units under persistent enemy mortar fire. Enemy made attempts to infiltrate between 4 Welch and 5 Welch with no success. 4 Welch destroyed one Tiger tank with 6 pounder anti-tank gun.

    Night 3/4th July – 5 Welch moved into reserve to area of Colleville 9265, responsibility for their area being taken over by 4 Welch. Role of 5 Welch is to counter-attack on to either Grainville sur Odon or Mondrainville with in support A Squadron Fife and Forfar Yeomanry.

    4th – 6th July – Brigade concentrated on patrolling in following areas: - Orchards 901642; buildings 907637; Cahir 908629, Horse Shoe Wood 906625, Bridge 922622.
    These areas were found to be generally occupied by the enemy, but when buildings at 907637 were raided on night 6/7th July by Company of 4 Welch they were fond to be unoccupied although they had been formed into strongpoints.

    7th July – Orders received that present position was to be made strong against possible enemy counter-attack and therefore on night 7/8th minefields were laid by 4 Welch and 2 Mons in support 282 Field Company RE, along the whole front. This was completed by first light 8th July with the exception of 200 years on the front of 2 Mons. Heavy shelling during the operation caused casualties amongst the Pioneer platoon of 2 Mons who were working on this panel.

    8th July – Patrol activity on all nights. Enemy shelling and mortaring on 4 Welch and 2 Mons throughout the period.

    10th – 11th July – 4 Welch fighting patrol located enemy MG post at 903638 in which they killed at lest 4 enemy. 2 Mons took one prisoner of 7 Company 2nd Battalion 991 Infantry Regiment 277 Division.

    Night 10th/11th July – 5 Welch took over from 8 Royal Scots and were put under command 44 Infantry Brigade in area Tourmauville 9362 to Les Villains 9263. 4 Welch were relieved by 1 East Lancs and moved to area Colleville 9265 taking over the counter attack role of 5 Welch.

    Night 11/12th July – 4 Welch, less one company, took over from 6 Royal Scots Fusiliers area of Baron 9462. One company 4 Welch took over area of 6 Kings Own Scottish Borderers 928637 – 931638. This company with in support one squadron 147 Royal Armoured Corps had counter attack role onto 4 and 5 Welch areas. 2 Mons remained in area of Mondrainville. Brigade HQ moved to Tourville 930642 and relief of 44 Infantry Brigade was completed by 0305 hours, 11th July.

    12th – 13th July – Heavy mortaring and shelling of whole Brigade area. Strong patrolling by 4 and 5 Welch into area South and South West of them. Object being to located enemy positions in order to assist planning by 15 Scottish Division for their operation “Greenline”. Two Polish deserters from 990 Grenadier Regiment 277 Infantry Division came over to 2 Mons – they came from area Les Nouillons 8963.

    Night 13/14th July – 5 Welch carried out raid with object of taking a prisoner in area of Gully 925616 – see appendix B1.

    Night 14/15th July – 5 Welch repeated raid on Gully and captured a prisoner. Identification 991 Grenadier Regiment of 277 Division – see Appendix B2.

    15th July – Daylight patrol carried out by 2 Mons who bought back considerable information of enemy dispositions of area Cahir 9063. Information had been received by Division from a deserter that the enemy were withdrawing from area Gavrus 9261. 5 Welch were ordered to send a small recce ptarol towards Gavrus in order to confirm this statement, as the attack by 15 Scottish Division (operation “Greenline”) was to be carried out on that night. The enemy was found to still be holding the area east of Gavrus.

    Night 15/16th July - Operation Greenline. 15th Scottish Division attacked through this formation.

    16th July – 1415 – 15 Scottish Division were holding general line Bougy 912619 – 924601 – 936604 – 943610 – Le Bon Repos 945615. On the right 1 Ox and Bucks of 71 Brigade of 53rd Division had cleared the line Cahir 907629 – Wood 909627 – Wood 913624 – Mill 916623.
    1900 – 2 Mons were placed under command 71 Brigade and were ordered to take over position held by 1 Ox and Bucks.

    17th July – 2 Mons relieved by Battalion, 227 Brigade, 15 Scottish Division and moved to area Tourville 9364, Company 4 Welch in that area rejoining its Battalion in area of Baron.
    Brigade relieved 227 Infantry Brigade in following areas:-
    5 Welch took over area Le Bon Repos crossroads 944614 – Houses 945615 – 945618 – 942617.
    2 Mons relieved 5 Welch in area Tourmauville 9362 – Les Villain 9263.
    4 Welch remained in area of Baron, but adjusted positions to assume responsibility for the area previously occupied by 6 HLI, 227 Brigade.
    2 Mons were placed in Divisional reserve with counter attck roles onto Le Bon Repos 9461, point 113 932604, and onto area 6 Kings Own Scottish Borderers area 925605 with in support 107 Royal Armoured Corps.

    18th July – Relief completed by 0200 hours.

    19/20th July – Lieutenant OF Plouffe carried out Brigade patrol into Esquay – see Appendix B3, and other ptrols of 5 Welch patrolled the outskirts of Esquay.

    21st July – 1515 – 5 Welch reported enemy 300 yards west of their right forward company (A Company) at 945614 and an attack developed onto that Company by enemy of approx Company strength. Heavy artillery and mortar fire was put down and at 1650 hours the enemy had been held off. A Company 5 Welch was still intact and claimed to have inflicted heavy casualties on the enemy. At 1800 hours the attack was resumed on 5 Welch and 4 tanks in hulldown positions firing on A Company, 5 Welch. Heavy medium machine gun fire bought down on enemy infantry but enemy were now too close to engage with arty. 1900 hours the tanks were 50 yards from A Company’s position. AT 2145 hours one tank had approached to 10 yards. 2204 hours the left Company, (C Company) were attacked by 4 enemy tanks and two Companies of infantry. 2230 hours right forward Company was over-run. 2245 hours 2 Mons was ordered to stand by for counter-attack on 5 Welch position. 2305 hours 5 Welch reported they had lost contact with two forward companies. 3 tanks penetrated Battalion position. One tank was knocked out, the other two withdrew. Medium arty was put down in rear of enemy at Esquay and Bas D’Esquay. At 2330 hours the battle had died down. During the night the following facts came to light: -
    5 Welch had lost 4 Anti-Tank Guns. 3 Officers and 116 ORs were missing.
    Le Bon Repos crossroads was now held by the enemy. C Company were badly dispersed and in an exposed position; casualties were not heavy in this Company but owing to shortage of ammunition and damage to weapons it was decided that they should be withdrawn to conform to the line of the crest with the other two companies.
    At 2145 a tank counter-attack was put in by 147 RAC but achieved little owing to failing light and the hulldown position of enemy tanks.

    22nd July – During 22nd, Le Bon Repos crossroads was engaged with heavy mortar nad arty fire. Enemy was known to be digging in in this area.

    23rd July – 43rd (Wessex) Division on our left captured Maltot 9862. 53rd (Welsh) Division were ordered to be prepared to take over 43rd Division’s front with 4 infantry Battatlions.
    Operation ‘Clement’ carried out by 4 Welch – see Appendix B4. Prisoners taken were from 5 Company, 21 SS Panzer Regiment of 10th SS Panzer Division. From their statements and from evidence provided by 4 Welch it seemed that the attack on 5 Welch on 21st July had cost the enemy a large number of acasualties.

    25th July – 2 Mons relieved 5 Duke of Cornwalls Light Infantry of 214 Infantry Brigade, 43rd Division, in area point 112 9562.
    5 Welch less one Company moved to area of Gournay 9663 with in support 147 RAC less one squadron.
    4 Welch with under command D Company 5 Welch, remained in area of Baron.
    158 Brigade took over area of Chateau Fontaine – Eterville – Maltot on our left.
    160 Brigade HQ remained at same location.
    160 Brigade assumed command of sector at 2300 hours.

    26th July – 53rd Welsh Division assumed command of whole area at 0200 hours.
    5 Welch have counter attack role onto Baron and area point 112.

    27th July – Trace of Brigade layout as at 2100 hours is attached as Appendix C.
    Patrol acitivity by 2 Mons in area of point 112.
    4 Welch provided standing patrols by night North of road Le Bon Repos – point 112.

    28th July – Apart from mortaring and shelling at the usual periods of 1230-1330, 2030-2130 and 2230-2330, a day of little activity. Plans were made for a raid by 2 Mons on Square Wood at 967623 to be carried out on the night of 29th July. 147 RAC were relieved by 107 RAC who came in support of 5 Welch. One squadron took up dug in positions on right flank of Brigade.

    Night 28/29th July – Deception fire plan fired by two Field Regiments and Heavy Mortar Company 1 Manchester on targets at 97006220, 96106165, 95906137, 956616 and 968617. No patrols were sent out under this fire – preparation for raid by 2 Mons on the following night.

    29th July – Lieutenant-General NM Ritchie BC, CBE, DSO, MC, Commander 12th Corps visited Brigade HQ at 0630 hours accompanied by Major-General RK Ross, DSO, MC where they met Lieutenant-Colonel WFH Kempster, 2 Mon who described the situation on point 112 and gave his outline for operation ‘Travers’. The Corps and Divisional Commanders then visited HQ 4 Welch where they met Lieutenant-Colonels Williams and Gibsen, COs 4 and 5 Welch respectively.

    Night 29th July – Operation Travers – see appendix D1 attached.

    30-31st – Patrol activity on le Bon Repos and point 112.

    Summary of Events and Information
    July - General

    • Patrol Reports for month of July attached as Appendix E.
    • South Wales Infantry Brigade Operation Instruction Notes No1 attached as Appendix F
    • South Wales Infantry Brigade Operation Instruction Notes No2 attached as Appendix G.
    • Report on employment of Carrier Universal “Wasp” Flamethrower attached as Appendix H.
    • Operations throughout the whole month hampered by bad flying weather – heavy rain and low cloud being the prevalent conditions.
    • The enemy used his mortars in great numbers along the whole Brigade front but counter mortar fire by our arty proved most effective.
    • On July 13th a female agent was passed through our lines by 15th Scottish Division. She was attempting to gain information in the area of Esquay and was timed to return within 36 hours. Nothing more was heard of her.
    • The German Airforce has appeared rarely by day by period of 12-15th July the Brigade area was bombed between the hours of 2300-2400 each night. Large number of AP bombs were dropped and a few High Explosive.
    • Situation reports attached as Appendix J.
    • Defence of Odon – Orne Line attached as Appendix K.
    • Brigade Casualties for month.



    4 Welch
    5 Welch
    2 Mon

    Brigade HQ


    Lieutenant-Colonel CFC Coleman (Welch) – Brigade Commander
    Captain (Temporary Major) AJA Arengo-Jones (Gloster Regiment) – Brigade Major
    2nd Lieutenant (Temporary Captain) G Dennis-Jones (Welch) – G3
    2nd Lieutenant (Temporary Captain) – TAH Milton (Somerset Light Infantry) – SC
    2nd Lieutenant (Temporary Captain) – PE Knowles (Mons) Intelligence Officer

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