3rd ANTI TANK REGIMENT RCA MAY 1945

Discussion in 'Canadian' started by Bluebell Minor, Feb 7, 2013.

  1. Bluebell Minor

    Bluebell Minor Junior Member

    As I have mentioned elsewhere I am involved in a project to research and record the history of the early years of the British Army of the Rhine which includes the significant Canadian presence in Summer 1945.

    I have seen the G War Diary for Headquarters 3 Canadian Infantry Division for May 1945 which gives me the information I require bar one unit.

    There is no mention of the whereabouts of 3 A/Tk Regt RCA (the majority of the Division were in the general area of Aurich and Emden)

    There are two possible explanations
    1. A clerical error (not unknown, as has been commented on this site a number of times)
    or 2. HQ 2 Canadian Corps had assessed there was no armoured threat from the German troops forming the Garrisons of Aurich or Emden and had therefore switched the Regiment to reinforce the advance east to the River Weser of the Canadian 2nd Infantry, 4th Armoured or Polish 1st Armoured Divisions.

    Can any of our expert contributors please confirm where RHQ 3 A/Tk Regiment RCA was in the period 4th May (the surrender of all German Forces in the Frieslan area) and the end of May when the majority of Canadian Forces (less 2 Infantry Division)had left for Holland.

    2/3 Anti Tank Regiment RCA were to return in late July 1945 as part of the 3 Infantry Division (Canadian Army Occupation Force) to the Wilhelmshaven area where they would remain till Spring 1946 when they would finally return home to Canada.
     
  2. dryan67

    dryan67 Senior Member

    The RCA history has no mention of the unit past April 1945.
     
  3. Bluebell Minor

    Bluebell Minor Junior Member

    Thank you for this information

    I shall have to check out the April 1945 War Diaries for HQ Artillery 3 Canadian Infantry Division the next time I visit Kew
     
  4. dryan67

    dryan67 Senior Member

    I have checked the War Diaries for the following 3rd Div units to see if there is a reference to the 3rd Anti-Tank Regiment, RCA but no luck:

    The Queen's Own Rifles
    The Royal Winnipeg Rifles
    The Regina Rifle Regiment
     
  5. Bluebell Minor

    Bluebell Minor Junior Member

    May I belated thank those who carried out personal investigations on my behalf, much appreciated

    At this stage I have nothing new to add as to the fate of 3 A/TK Regt RCA

    However the following might be of interest as general background information on the situation in the Canadian 2nd Corps area in Spring 1945.

    A Hitler Befehl had decreed that the naval port of Emden was now to be considered to be Festung (Fortress) to be held at all costs/last man/last bullet. However thr troops available consisted of "marooned" Kriegsmarine personnel, local Landsturm (Home Guard militia equivalent and Hitler Youth. There was virtually no effective Field Artillery or Armour capability. A similar situation existed in the nearby town of Aurich.

    Recent postings elsewhere on this site have highlighted the critical manpower shortages in both the British and Canadian Forces within 21 Army Group. There virtually no fresh troops to provide Battle Casualty Replacements to front line units , the only solution was to strip out the rear areas or disband relatively redundant frontline units in order to reinforce higher priority ones.

    Headquarters 2 Canadian Corps or HQ 3 Canadian Division must have judged that there was no credible armour threat in the divisional area and the necessary armoured support to the advancing Infantry Brigades could be provided by the 17th DYRCH or in an emergency the 1st Hussars. Indeed study of the relevant Brigade War Diaries (complimented by the German language History of the Town) indicates that the two Brigade Commanders were more concerned to persuade the Burgomeister (Mayor) of Aurich to surrender his town and thereby avoid a set piece attack with unnecessary of life to both sides. After some discussion the individual concerned did so reluctantly.

    Revert to listening watch but will return when I have the authorative evidence.
     
  6. 17thDYRCH

    17thDYRCH Senior Member Patron

    Bluebell Minor.
    I have the war diary of the 17th Duke of York's Royal Canadian Hussars and will check on Monday to see if there is any reference to the 3rd Anti-Tank Regiment. I suspect, however the 3rd Div HQ diary would hold more details.
    Cheers
     
  7. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    War Diaries at the National Archives:

    WO 179/4428 3 Anti-Tank Regiment 1945 Jan.-Nov.

    WO 179/4429 2/3 Anti-Tank Regiment 1945 June-Dec.
     
  8. dryan67

    dryan67 Senior Member

    Randy,

    I know we have been over this ground before, but you mentioned above that you have the war diary of the 17th DOY royal Canadian Hussars. Can you confirm the date the regiment left Montreal as Feb 26, 1941 and the date of arrival at Camp Debert, Nova Scotia as Feb 28, 1941?

    Thanks,

    David
     
  9. 17thDYRCH

    17thDYRCH Senior Member Patron

    David,
    I will check the war diary and regimental history on Monday...all docs are at the office.
    Randy
     
  10. dryan67

    dryan67 Senior Member

    Thanks Randy.
     
  11. Bluebell Minor

    Bluebell Minor Junior Member

    Gentlemen

    Thank you for this additional information, very helpful. The answer to my query lies within the Canadian Gunner War Diaries

    DYRCH
    You have already carried out a detailed search of the Regiment's War Diary for April/May 1945 on my behalf to answer an earlier query. The three Sabre Squadrons were forward with the advancing Infantry Brigades, RHQ was in Leer.
     
  12. 17thDYRCH

    17thDYRCH Senior Member Patron

    Bluebell Minor,
    Thanks for bringing back the memories!
    I had forgotten...
     
  13. 17thDYRCH

    17thDYRCH Senior Member Patron

    Randy,

    I know we have been over this ground before, but you mentioned above that you have the war diary of the 17th DOY royal Canadian Hussars. Can you confirm the date the regiment left Montreal as Feb 26, 1941 and the date of arrival at Camp Debert, Nova Scotia as Feb 28, 1941?

    Thanks,

    David

    David,
    I have a copy of the regimental history which confirms the date of departure from Montreal was indeed Feb 26, 1941. It does not show the date of arrival. Unfortunately, the WD that I have starts with May 1, 1944.

    Randy
     
  14. dryan67

    dryan67 Senior Member

    Thanks for the look-up. I will probably be getting the early war diary in the near future. I just received a bunch more over the past few weeks since my collaborator now has a job in Ottawa and can get to the Archives fairly often.
     
  15. Bluebell Minor

    Bluebell Minor Junior Member

    Finally made it to Kew and found the War Diaries for 3 A/Tk Regt RCA in the National Archives.

    Contrary to my earlier speculation the Regiment was fully operational in the last few weeks of the WW2 and had not been broken up to provide reinforcements to other Canadian Gunner units. The Gun Batteries were deployed forward in support of the three advancing Infantry Brigades of 3 Canadian Infantry Division (there is a comment that they had evolved a new tactic of taking on static targets not just armoured vehicles to aid the advancing infantry). RHQ was shadowing the moves of HQ Artillery 3 Division and ended the war in a farm complex to the west of the village of Westerloo north of Aurich. Their stay there was brief, moving to Holland on the 16th May as part of the complicated redeployment of British, Canadian and US formations into what was to become the future British Occupation Zone of Germany. The Canadians with the exception of one Division were spread throughout Holland prior to returning home to Canada.

    The omission from the earlier LOCSTAT I found must have been a clerical error (not unknown to students of this Forum)
     
  16. Joneman

    Joneman New Member

    Does anyone have 3rd anti-tank group pictures or any pictures at all? I am in Holland with 97-year old veteran William John Gay, D-day vet and cook for the 3rd Anti-Tank, RHQ. He is from Fredericton, NB, so was likely in the NB section. He is thorougly enjoying the 70th liberation ceremonies :)

    "3rd Canadian Anti-Tank Regiment R.C.A, 105th Battery from it's mobilization in May of 1940. The 105th was located in Saint Stephen, N.B."
     
  17. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Had this message come to the forum admin email account.

     

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