War Diary: 3rd Battalion IRISH GUARDS, Jan - Dec 1944

Discussion in 'The Brigade of Guards' started by dbf, Apr 19, 2013.

  1. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Reference: WO 171/1257
    Posting what I have, so that it's available.
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2019
  2. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    6 June 1944
    Today at last comes the news that we have waited for, for so long - the Second Front has been opened. From now on we are on our toes to move, but as yet no orders have been received.

    8 June 1944
    Today the Advance Party for going overseas was called to its concentration area at Div HQ. It is presumed that it will leave in a day or two, but this order may be much in anticipation of the move order yet to come. Lt. J.N. FINDLAY was in charge of the party.

    15 June 1944
    The past ten days have been spent in packing, loading and carrying out final preparations to go overseas. No serious training has been possible. Today the orders for the move were received. The Bn is moving tomorrow in two portions; the vehicle party, under comd Lt. Col. J.O.E. VANDELEUR, proceed through Marshalling Area T to embark at TILBURY, while the marching party under Major D.H. FITZGERALD, proceeds through Marshalling Area C to embark at SOUTHAMPTION.

    16 June 1944
    Both parties left for their respective Marshalling Areas.

    19 June 1944
    The vehicle party today embarked on the Liberty ship “SAMPHILL”. During their stay in the Marshalling Camp near WANSTEAD they had several unpleasant experiences from the German “pilot less aircraft”. They were allowed to go into LONDON one evening, which somewhat surprised everyone.

    20 June 1944
    The marching party embarked today on the ex Union Castle liner “LLANGIBBY CASTLE”. The Marshalling Camp in the area of BITTERNE was extremely well run and very comfortable under the circumstances. The party were allowed to walk out every evening. The ship put to sea but anchored off BEMBRIDGE.

    23 June 1944
    After being delayed for two days by bad weather, the ship put to sea in the early hours of the morning, and the marching party woke to find the shores of NORMANDY just coming over the horizon. It was a wonderful sight to see the shipping lying off the beaches. We were quickly transferred from our liner to L.C.T. and taken ashore. We got our feet wet somewhat to everyone’s annoyance. A tiring march took us to our assembly area in the fields just NORTH of CREULLY where we spent the night. The ship today set sail for NORMANDY, but since it had the longer journey to do it did not get further than DOVER.

    24 June 1944
    The marching party was today transported by T.C.L. to its concentration area. This was in some fields some 3 kilometres out of BAYEUX on the main BAYEUX - ST. LO road. The Advance Party, much to everyone’s amusement, had not yet arrived. The vehicle party today reached the shores of FRANCE, but no disembarkation took place

    25 June 1944
    Conc. Area near BAYEUX
    The Advance Party arrived this morning to be greeted with ridicule. The vehicle party also began to arrive during the afternoon.

    27 June 1944
    Lt. Col. J.O.E. VANDELEUR, Major D.H. FITZGERALD and Lt. R.W. REFORD today went up to HQ of a Bde which is holding a sector of the front, to get information as to any training points which should be carefully followed. This was in the sector held by 50 Div.

    28 June 1944
    The Bn moved up today to take over the position held by 5TH WILTSHIRES. This is very much in the nature of a reserve pivot for the advance of 8 CORPS across the R. ODON. The idea of this move is to give the Bn experience of being shelled and of life in the forward areas.

    29 June 1944
    Area LA GAULE
    The Bn suffered its first casualties today. Three men were wounded by shell or mortar fire.

    30 June 1944
    Area LA GAULE
    Three more men were wounded during the course of the day. Tonight, Lt. G. LLEWELLYN, SCOTS GUARDS, took out a recce patrol of 3 men to see if the bridge over the railway between VERSON and BRETTEVILLE-SUR-ODON (map ref on 1:50000 sheet 7F/1, 977665) was held. The patrol found 4 double sentries on the bridge and brought back the most useful information about the topography and the enemy positions.
  3. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    From 5CG War Diary:
    Map of CHEUX, Sheet No. 37/16 S.E., showing positions of :-

    5th Bn Coldstream Guards
    3rd Bn Irish Guards
    1st Bn Welsh Guards
    1 SS
    12 SS


    1 July 1944

    One more casualty from mortar fire in X Coy, SCOTS GDS today. Lt. P.A. McCall (1 Coy) took out a patrol to ascertain if there were any enemy in the buildings at 976667. Despite occasional mortar fire they were able to reach their objective and found it to be held.

    2 July 1944
    X Coy moved in the evening from their position by Bn HQ to La BYNDE 739672 to counter a German tank threat from CAPRIQUET Aerodrome. Lt. J.O. STANLEY-CLARKE (4 Coy) set off on a patrol to discover if the enemy held the buildings at 773670, but was unable to reach his objective owing to heavy shell fire.

    3 July 1944
    Four casualties in No. 1 Coy from mortar fire today.

    4 July 1944
    A dawn attack was put in by 3 Canadian Div on CARPIQUET, which was successful, though in the evening an enemy counter-attack drove them out of the Southern positions and the enemy reached the hangars about 800 yds West of X Coy. X Coy suffered three casualties from mortar fire, of whom one, Gdsm. JARDINE, later died of wounds, and there was one casualty from the same cause in No. 2 Coy.

    5 July 1944
    One casualty in X Coy and two in No. 1 Coy from enemy mortar fire today. A German patrol infiltrated into the position held by X Coy, SCOTS GDS, and there was a brief exchange of S.A. fire, after which they withdrew.

    6 July 1944
    The Commanding Officer replaced Lt. THORPE’s platoon (forward platoon of X Coy) by Lt. E.R. UDAL’s platoon of 4 Coy in order that Lt. THORPE might do counter patrol work to prevent enemy infiltration during the night. However, nothing was seen of the enemy during a quiet day. No. 4 Coy move to the wood immediately North of LA MARE (2 Coy area).

    7 July 1944
    Another quiet day, in the evening the Bn were able to watch the bombing of CAEN by 460 Liberators, prior to the 1st CORPS attack planned for the following morning.

    8 July 1944
    The 1st CORPS attack on CAEN started with a preliminary bombardment by arty and naval guns. The first objective was rapidly achieved and all goes well.

    9 July 1944
    CAEN falls and we advance to the banks of the R. ORNE. A quiet day for the Bn.

    10 July 1944
    43 Div attack and capture the line ETERVILLE - MALTOT, with Div HQ in the Bn area.

    11 July 1944
    Bn moves back to Div concentration area at ST. MARTIN-LES-ENTREES to the East of BAYEUX. Lt. E.R. UDAL becomes Intelligence Officer vice Lt. R.W. REFORD.

    12 July 1944

    13 July 1944

    All Bn officers witness a demonstration by 1 (Armd) COLDM GDS on Infantry co-operation with tanks in close country, in anticipation of possible fighting in the Bocage area.

    14 July 1944
    Bn exercise with 2 (Armd) I.G. - infantry co-operation with tanks. 2 Coy and two troops of Shermans.

    15 July 1944

    16 July 1944
    The Div Commander addressed all officers and briefed them for the forthcoming operation in the CAGNY-VIMONT area.

    17 July 1944
    The Bn was briefed for the forthcoming operation and the plan revealed that Gds Armd Div would follow behind 11 Armd Div in the advance, with 32 Gds Bde following 5 Gds Armd Bde. The 32 Gds Bde objective was to pivot in the area FRENOUVILLE 1162, prior to an attack by 2 Coy, 3. I.G. to secure the village of VIMONT 1461 during the afternoon of 19 Jul. “H” hour could not be fixed until late in the day owing to the importance of good weather for the large scale bombing programme which would precede the attack. The move was a complicated one, with tracked and wheeled vehicles moving on different routes. During the evening a message was received that the Bn would move as planned at 0200 hours tomorrow.

    18 July 1944
    Finally the Bn debussed, immediately prior to which, Capt. I.D.R. GRANT (1 Coy Comd) was hit in the stomach by shell splinters, and died of wounds next day. Lt. P.A. McCALL took over temporary command of No. 1 Coy. The Bn formed a hedgehog position round La PRIEURE farm 114657 which was a blazing ruin, and were digging in when the Bde Commander arrived with orders to push on the FRENOUVILLE 1162 before dark. It was then 2130 hrs and by the time the Bn moved off towards its objective, which was thought to be free from enemy, darkness had fallen. The Rifle coys with No. 2 leading, moved across country by compass bearing, and the F Echelon was ordered to proceed by road. However, the devastation wreaked by the mornings bombing attack made progress almost impossible for even tracked vehicles, which were rapidly left behind by the marching troops as the Bn approached CAGNY. No. 2 Coy, which was well ahead, came under heavy machine gun fire from the outskirts of FRENOUVILLE, and after rushing a M.G. post, Major EARDLEY-WILMOT decided to hedgehog for the night just short of the town, as enemy appeared to be in some strength. Part of No. 1 Coy under Lt. P.A. McCALL, remained under Major EARDLEY-WILMOT, and the remainder, together with No 4 Coy, were withdrawn by the Commanding Officer to try a different route via the North to the objective. Accordingly the Commanding Officer, with No. 4, X and part of No. 1 Coys, tried the route to the North, but, coming under heavy fire from the West, were unable to push on and dug in for the night to the North of CAGNY, 1164. The A Tk guns and supporting arms, being unable to make contact with the Bn returned to F Ech at La PRIEURE, and waited till daylight, when the I.O. (Lt. E.R. UDAL) set off in a Carrier to find the Bn’s positions. This was discovered without much difficulty, and the supporting arms were brought up to the Bn area, which was luckily close to the 2nd (Armd) Bn, who had provided the Rifele Coys with protection during the night. Major EARDLEY-WILMOT came back to contact the Bn, and later withdrew his Coy, which had put up a magnificent performance, to join the rest of the Bn. During the night at F Ech, there had been almost constant shell-fire, and at about dawn, the Adjt (Capt. H.C. NEILSON) was wounded, and two men beside him were killed. Lt. J.N. FINDLAY became Adjt in his place.

    19 July 1944
    CAGNY No 4 Coy sent a patrol of one L/Cpl and three gdsm, to a belt of trees immediately on their front. The patrol was successful and an identification of 125 PGR was obtained from a paybook taken from a dead German. The patrol was fired on as it attempted to return, and one gdsm was killed. Lt. Lord FITZMAURICE (4 Coy) took out a further patrol to the same area as the earlier one and reported no enemy. 1 WG moved to attack the village of Le POIRIER 0963, from X Coy (SG) and returned at 0300 hrs with very useful infm of enemy dispositions. Sjt. McCABE and one gdsm (4 Coy) discovered that the enemy still held the orchard North of FRENOUVILLE 1162. The total sustained during the day were: Capt. H.C. NEILSON (wounded), seven ORs killed and 25 ORs wounded, some of which occurred during the night 18/19th.

    20 July 1944
    5th Battalion COLDSTREAM GUARDS moved to attack and capture the village of FRENOUVILLE 1162 and by 1100 hrs this was reported to be completely successful and consolidated. The situation to the N.E. of our position appeared obscure with sporadic M.M.G. and Mortar fire from tanks and infantry on our front. Two snipers became casualties (one killed, one wounded) in front of X Coy. During the afternoon the weather completely changed - hot sunshine and blinding dust was changed to torrential rain and mud. Total casualties for the day were one O.R. killed and five ORs wounded. On the night of the 20/21st, an excellent patrol was taken out by Mr. HICKEY (1 Coy), which discovered the enemy to be holding orchards South of EMIEVILLE 1265. The information obtained by this patrol was remarkable and was especially praised by the Bde Comd.

    21 July 1944
    Very heavy shell-fire on Bn area caused several casualties during the day. On the night of the 21/22nd patrols were taken out by Mr. KING-HARMAN (2 Coy) and Mr. DREWE (X Coy, SG), which reported that the enemy still held the orchards S.W. of EMIEVILLE. Total casualties for the day were five men wounded and two missing.

    22 July 1944
    Bn received orders to withdraw from their hedgehog position at CAGNY 1164, to concentrate in area South of R. ORNE. Withdrawal commenced at 2300 hours over roads made almost impassable by the recent rain. By 0400 hrs 23 Jul, most of the Bn had arrived in the new area. Casualties suffered from shell and mortar fire before the withdrawal were three ORs killed and three wounded.

    23 July 1944

    Day of rest after withdrawal from the line. Bn is concentrated to the East of FAUBG DE VAUCELLES 0867.

    24 July 1944
    Orders issued by Bde Comd for probable operations in area of the woods to the West of SECQUEVILLE-la-CAMPANGE 1160. Bombs fell in the night in the Bn area and nine ORs were injured.

    25 July 1944
    Bn was ready to move forward to an exploitation role under command of 8 Cdn Corps in the operations which started this morning. However, the opposition was greater than expected, and we were not after all required to move. The Bn remained in its concentration area on two hours notice. Lt. P.A. McCALL was evacuated with hernia and Capt. D.G. KINGSFORD (Sp Coy) took over command of No. 1 Coy.

    26 July 1944
    The Canadian Corps attack, having been held and contained by the enemy, the Bn passed to four hours to move, and awaited developments.

    27 – 29 July 1944

    During these three days the position was very uncertain and the Bn kept switching from 2 to 4 hours notice, until finally on the 29th orders were received that we were definitely not required for the CANADIAN CORPS operation and to be prepared to move from 0500 hrs the next day over to the AMERICAN sector where there was to be a switchover of 8 CORPS to take part in an advance through the BOCAGE country, with 11 ARMD DIV and 6 GDS TK BDE leading and GDS ARMD DIV in Corps reserve to be concentrated at ST. MARTIN-LES-ENTREES near BAYEUX and to be at 2 hours notice.

    30 July 1944
    The Bn moved in non-tactical order of march to the concentration area at ST. MARTIN-LES-ENTREES, arriving at 0900 hours. The Commanding Officer held a memorial service for the men who have fallen since we arrived in NORMANDY. Orders were unexpectedly received for the Bn to move in the G.A.D. advance to follow 11 ARMD DIV and 6 GDS TK BDE who were already in action on 8 CORPS sector. The Bn moved with 1 (ARMD) COLDM of 5GDS ARMD BDE under command.

    30/31 July 1944

    Left BAYEUX at 2330 hrs 30 Jul 44 and arrived LE TRONQUAY 7073 about 0200 hrs 31 Jul 44. The day was spent in resting.

    31 July 1944
    The Bn moved from LE TRONQUAY to an area 3 miles NORTH of CAUMONT, arriving about 2100 hours. Orders were received to spend the night here at one hours notice to move.
  4. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    1 August 1944
    N of CAUMONT
    Left this temporary concentration area and went by MT through CAUMONT to a point on the main road three miles SOUTH of CAUMONT.

    2 August 1944
    The Commanding Officer held an “O” Group when orders were given for the Bn to proceed on foot, with “F” Ech, and continue advance to ST. MARTIN des BESCASES 6750. No 2 Coy leading with tanks of 1 (Ardm) COLDM GDS in support. Further “O” Group held just before reaching ST. MARTIN. Fairly heavy shelling was experienced and L/Cpl. BARBER (X Coy) Jeep driver was killed and No. 2 Coy R/T truck damaged. Orders to attack high ground on either side of the main road 6846 -6746 were received. The Commanding Officer went forward with 2 and X Coy Comds, Bty Comd RA and Major R. BATT (Sqn Comd of 1 COLDM GDS tanks), to recce the Start Line. This was fixed at 673480. Attack went in about 1800 hrs with X Coy on the right and 2 Coy on left. Centre line was the main road and each coy had two troops of tanks in support. In the initial stages of the attack, considerable M.G. fire was met but it did not hold up the advance. In later stages 2 Coy came under Mortar fire and suffered four casualties. Objectives were reached without further incident, the enemy having withdrawn as the Bn approached. This was borne out by Lt. BOURKE (2 Coy) who located a PANTHER tank pulling out. The attack was watched from the high ground by the Commanding Officer - an unusual occurrence in this very enclosed country. During the consolidation of this position, X Coy was hampered by the friendliness of the local inhabitants - one elderly lady kissed each man of Lt. LLEWELYNN’S Platoon, and an old man provided cider for all. Patrols were then sent out - Lt. A.N. DREWE (X Coy) took one down to the river to the SSOUTH and met two German patrols on the way. He got shot at from all sides, and by both sides, but got valuable information. Contact was made with 1st MOT. Battalion GRENADIER GUARDS who reported LE TOURNEUR held in some strength (incl. tanks) by the enemy. During this period, 1 and 4 Coys carried out an offensive sweep to the river due WEST (river unnamed) - a few prisoners were captured by otherwise no incidents. Casualties totalled for today were two ORs killed and 9 ORs wounded.
    At approximately midnight 1/2 Aug, Lt. Col. FINDLAY (2nd Armd Battalion IRISH GUARDS) came to the Bn. Command Post with orders that two or three Bns were to attack and hold the bridge at 689453. It was obviously impossible for tanks to operate during the night, so the Commanding Officer ordered Major P.F.I. REID with 2 and X Coys to carry out this task. 0200 The attack was carried out successfully, no opposition being met, although there were many incidents of K.O.’d tanks having to be investigated, etc. Having reached their objective, X Coy sited their HQ in a convenient trench, subsequently discovered to be a German latrine. The remainder of the division passed through the Bn at about 0600 hrs. The morning started off quietly except for a few snipers being brought in - identified as 3/752 Gren R. of 326 Inf. Div. Patrols were sent out from the Coys and carrier pl. Majors STEWART-FOTHERINGHAM (X Coy, SCOTS GUARDS) and EARDLEY-WILMOT (2 Coy) were relieved for rest by their 2nd in Commands. Seven ORs wounded were the total casualties for the day.

    3 August 1944
    Today we received orders to capture the village of MONTCHAMP - it was subsequently discovered that this was a strong enemy point and contrary to original intelligence. The armour meanwhile had passed SOUTHWARD through ST. CHARLES de PERCY. We had quite an exciting night advancing along the road between ST. CHARLES de PERCY and MONTCHAMP and the leading Coy, No 1, were soon held up by German Spandau posts about a kilometre to the EAST of ST. CHARLES. Well backed up by two troops of tanks (1 Armd COLDM GDS) and after 3 efforts, they overcame the opposition and a combat group composed of No. 4 Coy and a troop of tanks, passed through No 1 Coy to deepen the penetration by 300 metres. They succeeded with very slight losses. Another combat group (composed of X Coy and one troop of tks) then again attempted to penetrate 400 metres further EAST to gain the village of COURTEIL, but were held up by a strong enemy resistance. During the day’s fighting, Lt. HICKEY (1 Coy) was rather badly wounded and other casualties were nine ORs killed and 18 wounded.

    4 August 1944
    The Bn held a position astride the road just to the WEST of COURTEIL. All coys were subjected to fairly heavy shelling and the two forward coys exchanged S.A. fire with enemy who were dug in not more than 100 yds in front of them. At Stand-To this morning, Bn HQ was itself attacked by enemy approximately a platoon in strength. This attack was broken up by a section of the Carrier platoon and Capt. W.R.R.S. BRUCE with a captured Browning mounted on his carrier - the enemy suffered heavy casualties. Casualties suffered during the day were four ORs killed and 16 ORs wounded, and were mainly caused by shelling and Mortar fire.

    5 August 1944
    Today we laid on a “full dress” fire plan. No 4 Coy gained COURTEIL. Then a combat group, consisting of X Coy, one troop of tanks of 2 Armd COLDM GDS, two 6-pr guns, two 17-pr guns, and two 3” Mortars (later reinforced by a platoon of No. 2 Coy) was pushed through COURTEIL to gain the village of MAISONCELLE, 600 metres S.E. They had a great fight, gained their objectives and although in immediate contact with at least 10 German tanks and a coy of infantry, held their positions for 48 hours, and, ably assisted by the two 17-prs, destroyed four MK 3 S.F. guns, one PANTHER tank, one lorry, and captured a Mk 3 S.F. gun intact. The knocked out lorry was from 2 (Armd) I.G. Two pls of No. 2 Coy (commanded by Capt. E.M. WOODS) and one troop of tanks (1 Armd COLDM GDS) with a section of carriers as escort, were ordered to the EAST of BEALIEU to support a bty of S.P. guns. They had some stiff fighting for 48 hours and Capt. WOODS, Major BATT (Sqn Comd of the COLDM GDS tks) were killed. No 1 Coy made a sweep SOUTH from Courteil, passing through No. 2 Coy and X Coys, searched some woods and returned to the area of Bn. HQ at COURTEIL. Total casualties for the day were three Offrs and one OR killed and three ORs wounded.

    6 August 1944
    Positions gained on the 5th were held throughout the day, with X Coy and No.2 Groups in contact with the enemy, but we suffered no casualties.

    7 August 1944
    During the night 6/7th, excellent work was done by the Pioneer PL, commanded by Cap. D.E. COMPTON, in clearing MONTCHAMP of mines and booby traps. No. 1 Coy cleared the village while the Carrier Pl distinguished themselves on patrols at the entrances. The Bn was ordered to secure the area between MONTCHAMP and ESTRY for a gun area for 15 (S) Div. No 1 Coy proceeded through MONTCHAMP to PONT a L’ECRIVAIN. X Coy passed through No 1 Coy to the area of Les ECOUBLET. These Coys met no opposition, except road blocks which were booby trapped. No 1 Coy later moved up to the right of X Coy, and Bn HQ, Nos 2 and 4 Coys moved into the area of PONT a L’ECRIVAIN. The whole Bn area was subject to sporadic mortar fire, and also to several “overs” of S.A. fire, but fortunately there were only a few casualties.

    8 August 1944
    The Bn held its positions throughout today - there was again mortar fire and S.A. “overs” which killed three men and wounded seven others. In the morning, a Bn of K.OSB. and a Bn of R.S.F. put in a frontal attack on ESTRY through our positions, but this was only partially successful.

    9 August 1944
    During the morning the Bn was told to stand by ready to move to take over a new position at SOURDEVALLE [sic] 7033, at present held by a composite Bn of MONMOUTHS and NORFOLKS of 11 Armd Div. 1200 The Commanding Officer, accompanied by Coy Commanders, tank representative of 1 Armd COLDM GDS and Arty F.O.O. went to SOURDEVALLE to recce the new positions - a task made difficult owing to heavy shell fire and close range S.A. fire. This position was in the tip of a salient created by 11 Armd Div. The recce party did not return until 1900 hrs, and all through the day the whole Bn area had again been subjected to sporadic mortar fire and S.A. “overs” - casualties suffered being three ORs wounded. 2100 Eventually the Bn completed the hand-over to a Bn of ROYAL SCOTS, and commenced the move to SOURDEVALLE. The marching personnel embussed in T.C.Ls at MONTCHAMP - nobody was looking forward to the journey as any dust on the roads was bound to bring down a lot of shelling. 1 (Armd) COLDM GDS were to move into the new position just before dark, and the Bn after dark. We only took the minimum number of vehicles into the position as the previous unit had lost an enormous amount of transport by taking it right forward - this fact was only too evident when one saw the graveyard of brewed-up vehicles in the area of Bn HQ. Our transport was divided into three groups - the actual vehicles we needed with us, confined to Jeeps, Carriers, rear link vehicle and the C.O.’s Scout Car. Secondly, those vehicles necessary to maintain the Bn in battle, such as petrol, amn, signal stores and Int. stores, and lastly the remainder of the Bn vehicles, 3 tonners and 15 cwts and T.C.Ls. Those three echelons were known respectively as F, F2 and A.

    10 August 1944
    The Bn took over this new position without incident and the take-over was completed by 0200 hours. All through the day the whole Bn area was subjected to shelling and mortaring and during this time, Capt. D.G. KINGSFORD (No 1 Coy Comd) was killed by a shell splinter, Capt. D.E. COMPTON was wounded and 17 ORs wounded. In the early evening, the two forward Coys - No. 1 (now commanded by Lt. P. DOYLE) and No. 4, were attacked by what was thought to be a recce force in strength - this was easily repulsed and the attack petered out, but unfortunately no identifications were obtained, although we inflicted several casualties on the enemy, but it was impossible to go forward in the daylight to search bodies. This was attempted after dark by the Intelligence Section and several dead Germans were found in the standing corn immediately in front of Nos 1 and 4 Coys, but the search still did not reveal an identification so urgently required by higher formation. In the evening, orders were received that the Bn would attack the next day, and as a preliminary to this, a strong patrol from No 4 Coy, led by Lt. KINGAN, was sent to recce the bridge and river by 1a JARRIERRE immediately to the SOUTH of SOURDEVALLE. They discovered the bridge to be strongly held, but no identifications could be obtained, and it was impossible to get across the bridge to the houses on the other side.

    11 August 1944
    Again this morning the forward coys were attacked by an enemy force - thought to be on recce - but were easily repulsed by S.A. fire. 0900 The Bn, supported by a sqn of tks of 1 (Armd) COLDM GDS and one Fd Bty carried out an attack to gain the line of the main VIRE-VASSY road SOUTH of SOURDEVALLE, being phased in with the remainder of the 32 Gds Bde directed on the village of CHENODELLE, and in concert with 1 MOT. GREN GDS and 2 (Armd) GREN GDS directed on the village of VIESSOIX. We were in the centre of a Div effort directed Southwards. The leading Coys, right - 2 Coy and left - 4 Coy, were supported by two troops of tanks, medium mortars and a Field Bty RA, came under intense fire on a convex slope running Southwards, as soon as they crossed the Start Line. The leading tks immediately suffered casualties from enemy A.Tk guns or dung in tanks SOUTH of their objective. The forward coys pushed on through root and cornfields, suffering very heavy casualties before they reached their objective at approximately 400 yds NORTH of their objectives. The enemy then crumpled heavily with arty and mortar fire on the forward slope of the hill down which the attack had been directed and at 1600 hours a contact patrol was sent forward to (a ) locate the centres of enemy resistance, and (b ) inform all possible survivors that they were to withdraw to the line of the F.D.Ls as soon as a smoke screen was laid to cover them. This contact patrol was led by Lt. A.N. DREWE of X Coy, who was himself wounded, one man of the patrol killed and another man wounded. 1630 The smoke screen was laid, duration 30 mins, and Lt. DREWE with stretcher bearers, again went forward into the smoke and did all he could in supervising evacuation of all possible wounded. Very heavy casualties were suffered by 2 and 4 Coys. Officers killed were Major A. EARLEY-WILMOT (2 Coy Comd), Lt. LORD FITZMAURICE (4 Coy) and Lt. P. BOURKE (2 Coy) and Major D.A. REID (4 Coy Comd), Lt. KINGAN (4 Coy) and Lt. RYDER (2 Coy) were all wounded. ORs suffered to the extent of 33 killed and 72 wounded. The men were splendid, advancing in spite of the severe opposition, and nothing further could be done to support them owing to the proximity of the opposing posts, and the fact that the bulk of the fire power had to be retained for the 32 GDS BDE attack on CHENODELLE. In the evening, the remnants of 2 and 4 Coys were successfully withdrawn to the reserve Coy area and their original positions were taken over by Nos 1 and X Coys. Nos 2 and 4 Coys were amalgamated into one coy, now known as No 2, under the command of Capt. HENDRY.

    12 August 1944
    An unfortunate accident during the night in X Coy position, when T mines were being fused, resulted in three men being killed and one wounded. A quiet day - patrols were sent out and were able to collect and bury the dead. Identifications of enemy on our front confirmed that we had been fighting elements of the combined 3 and 5 Para Divs and not 10 SS Pz Div “HOHENSTAUFEN” as had been expected.

    13 August 1944
    Orders were received for the Bn to move to the area of Le BUSQ a mile due WEST of ESTRY, and quite near the position we had held previously. The Commanding Officer spent most of the day receiving the new position. We were to be relieved at SOURDEVALLE by 2 HCRA supported by 2 (Armd) IG and their Commanding Officers spent most of the day in our Bn position recceing and taking over. 2100 The hand over was completed and the Bn left SOURDEVALLE - the move to Le BUSQ was completed without incident apart from an unsuccessful air attack.

    14 August 1944
    This day was spent in resting, re-fitting and bathing, although the enemy were still less than one mile away. The Bn still consists of only three rifle Coys, but a Fd Sqn RE is under command in the role of reserve coy. Patrols during the night kept contact with flanking units and information was received that the nearest enemy locality - ESTRY was now clear.
    15 August 1944 The Bn was visited by Corps Commander, who saw all company commanders personally, and informed us that we were likely to remain concentrated in the present area for some days.

    16 August 1944
    The Fd Sqn RE left the Bn, together with the supporting arms, and we returned under command 32 GDS BDE. Lts. R.C. TAYLOR and M. AIRD with ten ORs joined the Bn from the R.H.U.
    17 August 1944 Major G.E. FISHER-ROWE arrived with the Bn, and took over the command of No 1 Coy.

    18 August 1944

    19 August 1944
    A short memorial service was held in honour of those killed in the recent actions, at which a list of their names was read out to the Bn. News reached us that Major A.R. EARDLEY-WILMOT had been awarded the M.C., for his outstanding leadership at CAGNY.

    20 - 22 August 1944

    23 August 1944 The Bn received orders to move to a concentration area at MONTILLY (SOUTH of CONDE-sur-NOIREAU) where it was thought likely we would remain about six days.

    24 - 27 August 1944

    28 August 1944
    This day, G.A.D. came under command of 30 CORPS for an armoured thrust across the R. SEINE.

    29 August 1944
    The Bn left MONTILLY and after a very tiring journey reached Le COUDRAI 892367 (near LAIGLE) at 1430 hours. The Bn harboured the night and the Commanding Officer received orders for the crossing of the SEINE to a Div. Conc. Area, N. of VERNON.

    30 August 1944
    The Bn left Le COUDRAI and crossed the SEINE without incident and at 1700 hours reached La QUEUE d’HAYE

    31 August 1944
    The Bn left the conc area at la QUEUE d’HAYE (N.E. of VERNON) and motored all day, covering a distance of 60 miles. We harboured at 21:00 hours near FROISSY. No. 2 Coy went into a farm where Germans had left only that morning.
  5. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD


    August 31 1944 1a QUEUE d’HAYE
    The Bn left the conc area at la QUEUE d’HAYE (N.E. of VERNON) and motored all day, covering a distance of 60 miles. We harboured at 21:00 hours near FROISSY. No. 2 Coy went into a farm where Germans had left only that morning.

    September 1 1944 FROISSY to ARRAS
    A long day of movement still as reserve Bde. We travelled 70 miles and reached ARRAS as it was getting dark, to receive a great reception from the inhabitants.

    September 2 N of DOUAI
    The harbour party left ARRAS to recce an area in the vicinity of DOUAI 6907. The Bn arrived and concentrated just NORTH of the town at 16:00 hrs. This had only been a short move of 12 miles.

    September 3 DOUAI to BRUSSELS
    The Bn left DOUAI at 06:00 hrs, our object being BRUSSELS, via ORCHIES by-pass - TOURNAI - ATH - ENGHEIN - HAL. This was a distance of 80 miles but good progress was made once we got on the main road. We had a short and very bumpy trip across country and during this time crossed the BELGIAN frontier. As BELGIUM was entered the reception given us increased in enthusiasm - opposition was being by-passed all the time. For instance, there were several hundred Germans in ENGIENNCE and a battle raging with the MAQUIS as we went through. They could not understand why we did not stop but our orders were to push to BRUSSELS.

    At HAL about 18:00 hours, the C.O. held and O Gp for the entry into BRUSSELS. Our role with the 2nd Bn I.G. was to divert to the SOUTH and so up into BRUSSELS. Light was failing and it was very difficult to find our way through the suburbs, and progress was somewhat impeded by the enthusiasm of the civilians. As we were passing through a wood SOUTH of the city, a Spandau and A Tk gun opened up on the leading tps - an extraordinary contrast to what had been happening a few minutes before. It took a little time to clear up and then on we went again through cheering crowds and finally entered the AUDERGHEM district of the city about midnight. No 1 Coy was sent to take up a position covering one of the Eastern exits of BRUSSELS and No 2 Coy another one, whilst the remainder of the Bn were concentrated at important rd junctions just on the edge of the city.

    There was spasmodic firing throughout the night and No 1 Coy, whose position was just near the Airport (still in enemy hands) came in for a certain amount of mortaring.

    September 4 AUDERGHEM (BRUSSELS)
    The Bn spent a quiet day in a pleasant area, with the exception of the Commanding Officer who staged a private battle near WATERLOO with a pl and a tp of tks who were compelled to withdraw in good order with the loss of one scout car.
    Cas for the day were one OR killed and nine Ors wounded.

    September 5 AUDERGHEM
    Bn moved its posn from the main shopping centre to a chateau belonging to King Leopold, which was kindly placed at our disposal by the local Mayor. The Germans, as always, had left the house in some disorder, but no sooner had we put things straight that Orders Gp was summoned to Bde HQ and were told that the advance would be continued the following day to the line of ALBERT Canal.

    The only cas today was one OR wounded.

    September 6 DIEST
    We left BRUSSELS at 10:00 hrs amid the usual scenes of cheering and enthusiasm and move without incident through LOUVAIN as far as DIEST. 32 Gds Bde Gp was leading the advance with the I.G. Gp in reserve. On reaching the ALBERT Canal the W.G Gp found that all the bridges had been blown and we were compelled to halt whilst a bridge was constructed during the night.

    The only casualty during the day was one OR wounded.

    September 7 BERINGEN
    The Bn took over the Bridge head on the ALBERT Canal from the W.G. Group at noon. The day was an unpleasant one with considerable shelling from enemy S.P. guns which caused several casualties. Capt. W.R.R..S. BRUCE was killed early in the day and Capt.. WHITE and LORD PLUNKETT wounded.

    In the early evening, No 3 Coy (Major M.V. DUDLEY) carried out a sweep in co-operation with a sqn of tks to clear the Germans from a slag heap to the WEST of the town which was dominating the bridge head. The attack met with considerable success but was unable completely to clear the large factory area and had to be content with limited consolidation. Several S.P. guns were knocked out and from this moment, the shelling of the bridge head diminished considerably.

    Total OR cas for the day were 8 killed and 16 wounded.

    September 8 BERINGEN
    The Bn remained in the bridge head until 17:30 hours when the town was handed over to 11 ARMD DIV. In an unfortunate concentration of mortar fire during the morning, Capt. R.B.H. INGLEBY, Capt. G.A. JEFFRIES and Lt. M. AIRD were all wounded ["Lt Aird was peppered with shrapnel wounds"] - so the Bn was getting very short of officers.

    In the evening, the group moved up to HALCHTEREN and reached the town just as darkness was falling. A sqn and coy of the W.G. group were in possession but had been unable to clear up the local German resistance outside the town. We were therefore compelled to do a night clearing which proved eminently satisfactory and the W.G. moved on to join the remainder of their group.

    O.R. cas for the day totalled one killed and 8 wounded.

    September 9 HECHTEL
    14:00 hrs
    The Bn left to join the W.G. group in the woods to the EAST of HECHTEL. In the village itself the W.G. had met considerable opposition and towards evening were compelled to withdraw from it altogether. The Bn was ordered to by-pass the village on the following day and push N.W. towards the ESCAUT Canal. With this in view, the Bn harboured the night in the woods ready to move on next morning.
    O.R. cas for the day were 5 killed and 10 wounded.

    September 10 EAST OF HECHTEL
    As is often the case, the 1/50000 scale map bore no resemblance to the ground and after one coy and one sqn had been launched on the chosen axis it was proved that the going was entirely unsuitable to tks. Luckily, No 4 Coy, which had been sent forward for this task pf ground recce were able to disengage from the enemy with very light cas and the Bn group followed up the C.L. of the GREN GDS group who had discovered a bridge by means of which tks could cross the otherwise impassable ground. Having reached the main rd to the ESCAUT Canal, the I.G. group were ordered to hook right and make for the bridge over the ESCAUT at de GROOT BARRIER. During the approach march we met no opposition and civilians and elements of H.C.R infmd us that there were no enemy SOUTH of the Canal. We reached the area of the bridge as light was failing and the Commanding Officer, after a rapid recce, decided to try and rush it. No. 2 Coy and one sqn of tanks were detailed for the job. The tks put down a hail of fire on the area of the bridge itself and succeeded in knocking out several un-armed 88 mm AA/A. Tk guns.

    Lt. STANLEY-CLARKE’s pl. preceded by a tp of tks then rushed the bridge itself and succeeded in reaching the opposite side. The remainder of No. 2 Coy and No. 3 Coy were quickly pushed across to join them and the posn was rapidly consolidated.

    The RE Offr with the Bn succeeded in disconnecting all the charges which were in position to blow the bridge, and the crossing of the ESCAUT had been successfully achieved.

    Total cas for the day were one OR killed and 5 Ors wounded.

    September 11 de GROOT
    At about 09:00 hrs, the posn S.W. of the Bridge was counter-attacked by a mixed group of S.P. guns and inf who were trying to get back across the canal. At one time, one of the S.P. guns was within 100 yds of Bn. HQ but the posn was quickly restored and the enemy driven off with heavy losses.

    During the attack, Capt. E.E. RAWLENCE (M.T. Offr) was unfortunately killed whilst trying to stalk a S.P. gun with a PIAT. The RSM also was evacuated suffering from blast and burns about the face and eyes. The C.O.’s staff car and several other vehicles were wrecked by enemy shell fire.

    The total O.R. cas were three killed and 10 wounded.
    September 12 de GROOT
    A quiet day was spent by the Bn in rest and maintenance, and received a visit from the Corps Comd (Lt. Gen. HORROCKS) to congratulate those concerned in the capture of the bridge over the ESCAUT Canal, which had already been christened and signposted “JOE‘s BRIDGE” in honour of the C.O.

    The only cas suffered today was one OR wounded.

    September 13 de GROOT
    The Bn was ordered to move into the Woods N.W. of the bridge head to enlarge it and took up a defensive position in this area during the afternoon.

    September 14 de GROOT
    An enemy counter-attack was launched in some strength against the bridge head. A number of the enemy with spandaus and bazookas succeeded in infiltrating into the area held by No 3 Coy on the left, and the whole Bn and the bridge itself were subjected to fairly heavy mortar and shell fire throughout the day. During the evening , although the attack had by then been halted, we were compelled to re-organise to closer dispositions that those we had previously held. At nightfall, the shell and mortar fire intensified and was subsequently proved to be a cover for the enemy’s withdrawal, as there were no signs of them the following morning.
    During the day, Lt. KENNARD and six ORs were killed, 23 ORs wounded and five ORs missing, but on the whole, casualties were lighter than might have been expected as the result of a two Bn co-ordinated attack.
    September 15 OVERPELT
    A Bn of the HAMPSHIRE REGT took over our posn during the morning and the Bn moved SOUTH of the Canal to the area of OVERPELT for a short rest and an opportunity to maintain the vehs, which after the long advances of the past few days were badly in need of attention.

    Today’s casualties were one OR wounded and five ORs missing.

    September 16 OVERPELT
    A quiet day in the concentration area.

    It was decided as result of casualties and lack of reinforcements, to re-organise the Bn temporarily on a three coy basis and to this end, Major M.V. DUDLEY and his Coy HQ were for the time being L.O.B. During the evening an O Gp was held at 5 BDE HQ, under whose command the I.G. group now came, and orders were issued for a break-out of the bridge head on the following day and an advance NORTH to the ZUYDER ZEE.

    Today’s casualties were one OR killed and one OR wounded.

    September 17 OVERPELT
    The I.G. group was to lead the 5 BDE and effect the initial break-out of the bridge head. We had in support of us, 10 Fd Regts RA, 2 Med Regts RA and one heavy battery RA, and the call on a cab rank of 11 Sqns of TYPHOONS.

    The Bn Group crossed the Div S.L. behind a rolling barrage, but we had not gone far before the leading sqn was halted by enemy battle groups with 88 mm guns and spandaus in the woods which flanked the roads. Progress was then slow, but the Typhoons who made 200 sorties during the afternoon, were able to overcome the enemy opposition, and after taking approx 100 PWs we crossed a small bridge just SOUTH of VALKENSWAARD in the evening and entered the town just as night fell.

    During the day, Lt. RUSSELL was wounded by an enemy sniper, and seven ORs were killed and 18 wounded.

    September 18 VALKENSWAARD
    After a quiet night, we were due to resume the advance early, but were delayed by the inf Bn of 50 DIV which was to take over form us and did not arrive until about 09:00 hrs. However, we got under way again and advanced along the C.L. as far as AALST where again we encountered a nest of A Tk and MG posts in concrete emplacements supported by inf. Unfortunately, owing to bad weather, we were unable to obtain air support but the gunners did good work and at 17:00 hours the enemy decided to withdraw after destroying their weapons, and we were able to have a clear run through EINDHOVEN 4219 to the WILHELMINA Canal. Here we found tps of a U.S. AIRBORNE DIV who were guarding the canal where the Germans had blown the bridge. The Bn group accordingly harboured the night SOUTH of the canal, during which time an excellent bridge was constructed by the REs.

    September 19 SOUTH of ZON 4425
    The GREN GDS Group took over the lead and the advance continued along the axis via ST. OEDENRODE 4232 - UDEN 5342 - GRAVE 6253 - MALDEN 7055. Several bridges along this route had been captured by the paratps and only one diversion having to be made owing to the bridge having been blown by the enemy. On the outskirts of NIJMEGEN 7162 however, it was discovered that the enemy were still in possession of the centre of the town, and the bridges, though intact, had not been captured between the GREN GDS Gp and the enemy and we succeeded in advancing as far as the main POST OFFICE, but not in reaching the river which was protected by well sited forts and emplacements. Accordingly, the Bn group was ordered to harbour in the area of MALDEN 7055 until the situation cleared.
    The only casualty today was one OR killed.

    September 20 MALDEN
    During the day, heavy street fighting again continued in the town and in the afternoon and American Paratp Bde, supported by tks of 2 (Armd) IG were able to effect a daylight crossing of the river WEST of the town. Although they suffered heavy casualties on the water, they were able to make their way to the NORTH end of the rly bridge and support the GREN GDS group who were bale, with this assistance, to capture both the vital bridges intact. As darkness fell, the Bn group moved forward to harbour the night on the NORTH bank of the R. WAAL protecting the road bridge from counter-attack.

    The only casualty today was one OR wounded.

    September 21 NORTH of NIJMEGEN
    The advance was resumed at mid-day, but stiff opposition was encountered soon after leaving the outskirts of the town, which later proved to be thick screens of some 7 x 7.5 cm and 2x 8.8 cm Assault Guns, supported by inf who lined the ditches with spandaus and squeeze guns.
    The I.G. group were again in the lead, but the country was totally unsuitable for the employment of armour as the main road was embanked and the country on either side of it dyked and impassable to tks. Lacking the support of Typhoons, the Bn was unable to advance and was compelled to form a tight laager for the night in its present posn area 702662.

    During the day, LTS. WILSON and GORDON - SHEA were wounded, which left the Bn with only two Pl Comds, and one OR was killed and 17 wounded.

    September 22 NORTH of NIJMEGEN
    It was decided that the axis should now be cleared by elements of 43 DIV and accordingly the Bn group was ordered to remain where it was until this operation was completed. During the day, there was a certain amount of shelling in the Bn area as a result of which, a house in which Bn HQ was situated, was unfortunately burnt to the ground.

    Capt. G.S. CORBETT was wounded by a shell splinter, six ORs were killed, 21 wounded and one missing.

    September 23 NORTH of NIJEMEGEN
    The Bn was still holding their positions on the main road NIJMEGEN - ARNHEM while 43 DIV endeavoured to clear the C.L. There was some air activity towards evening and the bridge over the R. WAAL was subjected to constant shelling and air attack. Behind us, the C.L. had been cut by a German battle group and was making supplies of ammunition and petrol an anxious matter.

    September 24 NORTH of NIJMEGEN
    The C.L. behind us was temporarily cleared of the enemy and Bn. H.Q. moved into the HUIS von OOSTERHOUT 694657 - a very comfortable chateau just WEST of the C.L.

    At last we received some reinforcements - 70 men with Lts. REYNOLDS, GALLOWAY, MORRISEY, and WARNOCK.
    The only casualty today was one OR wounded.

    September 25 NORTH of NIJEMEGEN
    An uneventful day spent in rest and maintenance in the conc. area.

    September 26 NORTH of NIJEMEGEN
    The Bn group was moved into 30 CORPS reserve with the task of counter attacking any enemy threats to the now enlarged bridge head. To this end, the group was divided into 3 columns - one at 1 hr, one at 2 hrs, and one at 4 hrs notice.

    It is expected that we shall not again be committed to action before a bridge head over the R. NEDERIJN has been established and consolidated by 42 DIV.

    September 27 NORTH of NIJEMEGEN
    A day of peace and quiet.
    September 28 AAM
    The Bn received orders to move into a defensive posn in the area of AAM 7170 to relieve 1WG. We had one sqn of 2 (Armd) IG tks in support and the take over was completed by 18:00 hrs. During the night, heavy mortar fire fell on No. 4 Coy area and 5ORs were killed and 5 wounded. Otherwise the day was uneventful. Patrols were sent out to recce the ground to the NORTH of the Bn posn but found no enemy.

    We also made contact with 7 GREEN HOWARDS on our Eastern flank.

    September 29 AAM
    Very little happened on the Bde front today and the enemy seemed to have withdrawn slightly from their posns, Patrolling was carried out as on the previous evening and no enemy were found.

    September 30 AAM
    After a peaceful night the morning was spent in laying defensive mine belts and harassing the enemy with mortar and M.G. fire. In the afternoon, Major FITZGERALD (2 i/c) was ordered to recce a new concentration area N.W. of GRAVE 6253.

    6 Offrs and 155 ORs arrived as rfts.

    Patrolling was again carried out during the night and proved to be uneventful.

    Ten ORs were wounded during the day.
  6. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    October 1
    At about 06:00 hrs, a strong counter attack began to develop from the NE and Eastern flanks. In on place the enemy succeeding in infiltrating into the are held by No. 3 Coy and into a copse NORTH of No. 4 Coy. After hard fighting and a liberal use of arty. sp., the enemy eventually started to crack about 14:00 hrs and by evening the posn was once more stabilized. 91PW were taken by the Bn during the counter attack and came for the most part from 9 Pz Div. During the early hours of darkness, No. 2 Coy relieved No. 1 Coy in the most northerly posn, with their leading elements across the embanked rd running Westwards to ELST at 722717 (Sheet 6 NW, scale 1/25000). Late in the day a Coy of 1WG was sent up to assist us and was placed by the CO NORTH of Bn HQ area at 717723.
    Contact patrols from 4 SOM L.I. who were in the area of ELST, failed to make contact owing to enemy infiltration between themselves and us.
    A recce patrol which investigated the area of RIJKERSWAARD 7272, reported no enemy seen.
    APPENIIX A: Map Series: GS, GS. 2541, Scale: 1/100,000

    October 2
    At dawn a counter attack began again in some strength, this time directed from the NORTH on to the area of No. 2 Coy. It consisted of inf, sp by tks and flamethrowers and succeeded in over-running the left hand pl posn. This compelled No.2 Coy to withdraw from their isolated posn to the rd parallel with No. 4 Coy at 719708. Very hy arty sp succeeded time and again in breaking up the enemy inf attacks before they were ever able to get properly under way, and by 12:00 hrs the attack had definitely proved itself a failure and the enemy were withdrawing.
    Another Coy of 1WG was placed under comd during the morning and positioned on the NW flank at 712705. At noon we were informed that 5 Gds Armd Bde was to be relieved by 21 Gds Bde the ensuing night, and shortly afterwards recce parties from 5 COLDM GDS arrived to recce their new area. The hand-over was completed without much difficulty and during the early hrs of darkness, the Bn withdrew to a conc area SOUTH of the NIJMEGEN br at 656556.

    October 3
    NE of GRAVE
    The Bn settled into its conc area and received visits from the Bde Comd and from the Div Comd, to congratulate the Bn for the performance it had put up in the br head.
    In the con area we were to rest, re-fit and train the men who had just arrived, or were expected, as rfts. There was also an op role of counter attack on either the GRAVE or NIJMEGEN bridges in the event of airborne landings.

    October 4
    NE of GRAVE
    Conc area.

    October 5
    NE of GRAVE
    Conc area.

    b]October 6
    NE of GRAVE[/b]
    Conc area.

    October 7
    NE of GRAVE
    Conc area.

    October 8
    NE of GRAVE
    Conc area.

    October 9
    NE of GRAVE
    Conc area.

    October 10
    NE of GRAVE
    Conc area.

    October 11
    NE of GRAVE
    Conc area.

    October 12
    NE of GRAVE
    Conc area.

    October 13
    NE of GRAVE
    Conc area.

    October 14
    NE of GRAVE
    The Corps Comd (Lt. Gen. HORROCKS) gave a lecture to Offrs, Wos and Sjts in the Div Club at GRAVE. He congratulated the Div on its performance in the battles of the past and explained in detail the course that ops had taken and the reasons which lay behind various moves which we had been compelled to make. Finally, he concluded with a brief forecast of future ops, which now depended entirely on the clearing of the harbour at ANTWERP, which was the only means of obtaining adequate sups for a final thrust into GERMANY itself.

    October 15
    NE of GRAVE
    Conc area.

    October 16
    NE of GRAVE
    Towards evening the Bn received a warning order that it would be required on the morrow to take over the def of the brs over the R. WAAL at NIJMEGEN from 1 DORSETS who were moving up into the br head.

    October 17
    During the morning, recce of the new area was carried out and the take over was completed by 14:00 hrs. The role was one of static defence and permitted the continuation of trg programmes which had already been started. The day was uneventful except for one light bombing attack on searchlight installations to the EAST of the bridges. During the continuation of this op role the Bn was under comd of 100 AA Bde.

    October 18
    The Bn was visited in the morning by the 5 Gds Bde and Div Comds who gave a forecast of ops which were to take place, on our Western flank. Otherwise the day was uneventful.

    October 19
    The Bn remained in the area of the NIJMEGEN bridges and carried out a role of local protection. The period was quiet and uneventful and from time to time the Bn was visited by the Corps, Div and Bde Commanders for the purpose of inspecting the defences. On 29 October 1944, we were called by the G.O.C., London District, Lt. Gen. LLOYD, Maj. General Commanding Bde of Guards, who had come from ENGLAND to see units of the Gds Armd Div.

    October 20
    The Bn remained in the area of the NIJMEGEN bridges and carried out a role of local protection. The period was quiet and uneventful and from time to time the Bn was visited by the Corps, Div and Bde Commanders for the purpose of inspecting the defences. On 29 October 1944, we were called by the G.O.C., London District, Lt. Gen. LLOYD, Maj. General Commanding Bde of Guards, who had come from ENGLAND to see units of the Gds Armd Div.

    October 21
    The Bn remained in the area of the NIJMEGEN bridges and carried out a role of local protection. The period was quiet and uneventful and from time to time the Bn was visited by the Corps, Div and Bde Commanders for the purpose of inspecting the defences.
    3IG Int Summary Up to 23:00 hrs 21 Oct 44 To be destroyed within 48 hrs of receipt
    Very little activity has been reported during the last 24 hrs on the whole of the Second Army front. Thanks to a deserter from 2 Coy 1V Bn 21 SS PGR, who not only talked freely but was also intelligent, [!!] the enemy Order of Battle on the Eastern part of the ‘island’ has been nicely tied up as follows:-
    41 Fortress ?G Bn from the PANNERDENSCH Canal to the rd and rly crossing on the 735 Northing; then 37 Fortress MG Bn to 7?5720, followed by 1 Bn 21 SS PGR to 725705 ? 11 Bn 21 SS PGR to 745690 followed by iv Bn 21 ?? ?? TO 759673 and III Bn 21 SS PGR from there down to the river.
    On the ? part of the ‘island’ our Allies sent some patrols from DODEWARD and it took them some time to contact the enemy. Area 529701 is held in coy str and some skirmishing is going on there. Further NORTH it is noticed that the enemy withdrew and it is appreciated that he went back to the general line OCHTEN-KESTEREN to shorten his line.
    A captured map shows HQ84 Div at 89205770 and HQ 190 Div at 87334652. Corps bdy was given to the NORTH as R. WAAL excl and in the SOUTH rly line from GCHQ to the MEUSE, inter-div bdys being along the 542 Northing. Both Dive Hqs were taken as Typhoon targets.
    The last enemy pockets in AACHEN have been cleared up.
    Two of our neighbouring frms last night picked up several Dutch enemy agents. They all had similar stories to tell. Before this mission they were all in German service uniform but got civilian clothes for the job. They were trained in sabotage and unit recognition. One group was carrying a large quantity of explosive and their task was to make a dump for the use of German soldiers who would follow shortly in civilian clothes. Another party got orders to damage a small but important bridge, while a third party was to look out for and report on unit signs. All were briefed by German Offrs before being sent into our lines. Their instrs were also to get in touch with local civilians and get infm from them about movements.

    October 22 - 28
    The Bn remained in the area of the NIJMEGEN bridges and carried out a role of local protection. The period was quiet and uneventful and from time to time the Bn was visited by the Corps, Div and Bde Commanders for the purpose of inspecting the defences.

    October 29 - 30
    On 29 October 1944, we were called by the G.O.C., London District, Lt. Gen. LLOYD, Maj. General Commanding Bde of Guards, who had come from ENGLAND to see units of the Gds Armd Div.

    The Bn remained in the area of the NIJMEGEN bridges and carried out a role of local protection. The period was quiet and uneventful and from time to time the Bn was visited by the Corps, Div and Bde Commanders for the purpose of inspecting the defences.

    October 31
    During the day the Bn was relieved by 1 WG and went to MALDEN 698555. Here, we were at six hours notice to move, with an operational role of counter-attack to the Eastward. It was expected that we should be here for some days and preparations were made for as much trg as possible to be carried out in these comparatively peaceful conditions.
  7. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    3IG SUMMARY as at 11:00 hrs 4 Oct 44 SECRET to be destroyed within 48hrs of receipt.
    1. Enemy Situation
    In the early hours of this morning the enemy made a small attack down the main Rd towards ELST 7371 but it was a very half-hearted affair and was broken up by shell fire. Four prisoners captured gave the new identification of 11 Bn 156 PGR. Since this rather poor effort the enemy has been quiet the whole day round our bridge head NORTH of the WAAL. Between WAAL & HAAS the enemy has not been aggressive but nevertheless resisted strongly an attack by our American allies to gain commanding features overlooking the FORST REICHWAL. In spite of this resistance the Americans now hold HORST 7745, BRUICK 7753 & probably MIDDEL AAR 7448.
    2. The Corps on our right has also had a quiet day but the American push SE is still meeting strong opposition on the line VORTUN 7837 - OVERLOON 7632 where it is fighting 107 Pz Bde & what soon to be the remnants of battle Gp RIC?. The corps on our left is still clearing up a lot of enemy & reports a withdrawal on its left flank. s‘?OSCH 3246 is still holding out & there is enemy at 4247, but the line is being gradually straightened out. Identifications in this sector have been of remnants of 719, 245, 59 & 712 Inf Divs between TILBURG & s’H?BOSCH, & of Battle Gps of 711 & 346 Divs around TUR?OUT. Further afield the Gdn Army still pushes on & the attack on DUNKIRK is in full swing. Our allies new attack down in the SOUTH is going well and they are reported tonight to have reached BUR?H 3759.
    3. Air
    Oct 2nd produced good results from Air support & apart from destroying the Brs at RI? 5274 & R??NKUN 7773, our fighter-bombers claim several vehicles destroyed & ten damaged, one loco destroyed & ten damaged, twenty tugs destroyed & a hundred damaged, three barges destroyed & three damaged, Railways marshalling yards were straffed as well, & three enemy aircraft shot down for certain with seven probable.
  8. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    3IG SUMMARY as at 23:00 hrs 5 Oct 44 SECRET to be destroyed within 48hrs of receipt.
    1. Enemy Situation
    Defensive build-up has been going on across the ELST ?rry 4678 for some time & it is believed that the enemy has a pontoon bridge in this area, & at 3576, which he puts across at night only. The enemy is known to be preparing a line along the dyke from 3339 to 513700. Today the defensive was turned into the offensive when American troops in OPHEUSDEN 5473 were attacked from the ??ST 957 GR of 363 ? & forced temporarily to withdraw. They soon counter attacked & restored the situation. Upon recapture OPHEUSDEN was found to contain 200 German dead, so that their attack, which was met by hy arty fire, came to nothing.
    On other fronts around NIJMEGEN the has been no enemy activity other than shelling. Patrols of a neighbouring f?m today went into H?L??REN 7664 & the factory 7466 & found no enemy. This is strange since 10 SS Pz Bde were thought to be holding this area. It may be that the enemy is withdrawing his attack forces on the “island” SE of ARNHEM, though there are no indications of this elsewhere yet. A captured map today showed three lines of resistance, first the present line, second 784654 - 787663 - X rds 791675 - factory 794696, third rd junction 806666 - bend in rd 805678 - rd junction 807688.
    The enemy’s line has mustered 200 guns round the corps front from ? MEUSE to NORTH of ARNHEM, incl by fl?k, approx 100 NORTH of the WAAL & 100 SOUTH. This is the heaviest concentration since AL?MEIN. No doubt the enemy’s improve? sup posn in view of his vastly improved rail comms now that he is based on the German railways has enabled him to concentrate these guns here & keep them supplied with amn.
    The American attack NORTH OF AACHEN is going well. They are almost through the SEIGFRIED line on a 5 mile front. In this sector the line runs K6587-8566-8660-8859-8756-8450-excl AACHEN. Further NORTH American armd forces driving SE have reached a line 7330-7835.
    From reports arriving from our tps NORTH & NE of ANTWERP it would appear that the withdrawal started yesterday SOUTH of TILBURG has spread. Westward already we have occupied ?LPHE 0525 & reached a general line 6710 - 5?06 & at several points have lost contact with the enemy. Where this withdrawal will halt is difficult to say, though it may well not be before the line of the canal running NORTH of TILBURG but its importance in helping to free the port of ANTWERP can be scarcely be overestimated. It must also mean that the enemy has completed the evacuation of the remainder of 15 army, that there is nothing new to prevent the establishing of his defence along the much stronger line on the WAAL.
    2. Air
    Tac/R and Armd Recce today has shown the now customary railway activity on all lines leading to the front. Many successful attacks were made and many trucks and engines “brewed.” Trains are being brought to AMHEM, GOGH ?9243, and ?M??RICH was devoted.
    A cut in the railway NE of ARNHEM was made between 28683 and 6784.
    Much ?et activity was observed immediately to the EAST of ARNHEM and a little in area ARNHEM-EMMERICH-DO?TINGH?D? ?0175.
    There are signs that the enemy may have decided to cease his attacks on NIJMEGEN from the NE. He has had appalling casualties and achieved nothing, and has probably decided it would be uneconomical to go on trying.
    This afternoon’s attack on OPHEUSDEN 5473 may have been intended as a diversion. At any rate 10 SS Pz Bde ????s, both from the map captured from them (mentioned above) and from the lack of opposition in HALD???? And the factory 7466, to be on the way out presumably across the PANNERDEN ferry. The ??? activity mentioned above EAST of ARNHEM may be connected with a withdrawal 9 Pz and 116 Pz Divs are likely to follow, if parts are not already gone. The AACHEN sector and the Forest of REICHSWALD both require reinforcements, especially the former. In this catse 9 and 10 SS Pz Divs are likely to go back to their old areas N and NE of ARNHEM, and of 9 and 116 Pz Divs, one may return to the American sector and one might got to the REICHSWALD Forest. Meanwhile the front SE of ARNHEM will probably be held by the battle groups that were holding it before the Pz Divs arrived, and through whom the Pz Divs attacked.
  9. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Appx D SECRET 3 I.G. Op Instr No 1 19 Oct 44.
    Ref Map Sheet 6 S.W. 1:25,000

    1. General
    This op instr deals with the def of the three brs over R. WAAL at NIJMEGEN. A serious threat to the brs by enemy ground forces or airborne tps is NOT now considered so likely as in the earlier days of the br hd or “ISLAND” between NIJMEGEN and ARNHEM. Water-borne attack or attempted sabotage from the land are now considered the greatest dangers.
    For details regarding all possible types of attack see Appx A.
    2. Tps available and def lay-out
    4. 3IG and tps under comd (Br Def Force) will destroy any attempt made by the enemy to interfere with the brs.
    4. Tps
    (a) 1 Coy will be responsible for close def of EAST (rd) br, with one pl at NORTH end of br at 714634, one pl at SOUTH end at 717628 and Coy C.P. at 716626. [Insert Dad‘s floating mine story, and J.O.E.s comment here.]
    (b ) 2 Coy in area LENT 7163, with Coy HQ at 713641, will have counter-attack tasks against enemy threatening the northern end of the three brs. Alternatively, coy will be available to reinforce the close def of northern end of these three brs.
    (c) 3 Coy, with under cod sec carrier pl, will be responsible for close def of Pontoon br and Rly br, with one pl at northern end of Pontoon br 711632, one pl at southern end 711630, one pl and one sec carrier pl at both ends of Rly br and Coy C.P. at 705631.
    (d) 4 Coy remains conc with Coy HQ at 727617 with counter-attack tasks against enemy threatening southern end of the three brs. Alternatively coy will be available to reinforce the close def of the southern end of these three brs.
    (e) One sec carrier pl will be in posn at 722623 overlooking and able to cover by fire the flat country to the N.E.
    (f) Carrier pl, less two secs, will be in mob res in area Bn HQ.
    (g) Two dets mortar pl with carrier sec at NORTH end of rly br. Mortar Pl are allotted.
    (h) A tk pl in local res 713615.
    5. Patrols
    (a) A DUKW patrol by night will be found by 1 Coy. By day one DUKW patrol will stand by to go out in the event of fog or in emergency. The area to be patrolled will be R. Wall between the Boom just EAST of EAST br and Pontoon br. R.E. will accompany DUKW to deal with mines or other “infernal machines” which may be met with in the water.
    (b ) Other close patrolling as ordered.
    6. Boom defence
    The Boom across the river just EAST of EAST br forms the main obstacle to any water-borne effort ot reach the brs. This obstacle will be covered by fire, and sentries will particularly watch for attempts to dislodge it or interfere with it. By night, the Boom will be illuminated.
    7. Def Lighting
    (a) Apart from AA SLs, Lyon lights will be in posn at each end of the Boom to illuminate this obstacle throughout the hrs of darkness.
    (b ) Pls def each end of the brs will have 2” mortars and bombs illuminating, available to be fired to supplement or replace SLs in emergency.
    8. Med
    (a) Amb car post est at 712622 with task of collecting cas caused by shelling of brs.
    [Admt No 1 to 3 IG Op Instr No 1
    Ref par 8 - Med sub-para (a). For ‘712622’ substitute ‘(i)716624 contacted through Pro TCP (ii) 707622 (on roundabout) contacted through Pro.’
    (sgd) JN Findlay, Capt Adjt 3 IG]
    (b ) RAP at 726617.
    9. Pro
    Det Corps Pro, assisted by FS sec and Free Dutch Police, are responsible for control of br area and prevention of unauthorised persons using approaches to and from brs.
    10. Adm
    Adm of NIJMEGEN is responsibility of:-
    10 Garrison HQ
    Col. C.H. MONTAGUE
    Signboard designation still 10 GARRISON HQ this to be later changed to figures 899 on a black background with a diagonal white stripe. Shellreps, bombreps, (incl damage and cas) and any incidents to be reported to this HQ as well as 100 A.A. Bde.
    11. Eng? HQ 726617
    12. ACK.
    Time of Signature: 18:00 hrs.
    Method of Despatch: DRLS.
    Distribution: List A, plus
    Copy to No 23 - 128 A Tk Bty
    Copy to No 24 - 368 Lt AA Bty
    Copy to No 25 - 356 SL Bty
    Copy to No 26 - 11 AGRE
    Copy to No 27 - APM 30 Corps
    Copy to No 28 - 10 Garrison HQ
    Copy to No 29 - Lt. Col SLATER
    Copy to No 30 - Capt. J.A.D. CAMPBELL
    Copy to No 31 - HQ 100 AA Bde.
    Copy to No 32 - HW 231 Inf Bde.
    Appx A to 3 IG Op Instr No.1 SECRET
    Type of attack enemy may launch
    (a) River Borne
    Either by midget submarines - human torpedoes - floating mines - boats manned by enemy or collaborators with explosives. Barrels or casks filled with explosives. E Boats or possibly larger craft. RIVER BORNE IS THE MOST LIKELY TYPE OF ATTACK TO BE MET.
    (b ) Saboteur attack
    From land by infiltrating civilians or soldiers onto the Br approaches - setting up delayed action mines or tampering with the br approaches.
    (c) Airborne
    PARACHUTE or GLIDER attack - probable areas on flat open ground WEST and EAST or Rd and Rly br.
    (d) Breakthrough
    From NORTH or either flank.
    (e) In addition to the above, spasmodic shelling of a harassing nature must be at present accepted.
  10. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Appx B to 3 IG Op Instr No.1SECRET
    1. Order of Battle for Br Def Tps - NIJMEGEN
    Unit Comd Location
    100 AA Bde Brig E.N. CROSS, MC. 699609
    3 IG Lt. Col. J.O.E. VANDALEUR 725617
    Br Def Comd.
    (b )
    Tps under comd 3 IG for def of brs:-
    C.R.A. Lt-Col. SLATER
    128/86 A tk Bty. Maj SWEET
    O i/c Eastern Defs Capt COOK
    O i/c Western Defs Capt STROUD
    O i/c Br Lighting Maj TAYLOR
    (356 S/L Bty) (3 S/L Bty)
    536 Gen Tpt Coy Maj HURMAN
    368 LAA Bty 3” Mortars Maj JOBLING
    Tps in Sp
    810 Pnr Smoke Coy Maj CHITTENDEN
    8 (GHQ Tps) Bn R.E. Lt-Col ADAMI
    108 Provost Coy Lt BRENNAN
    F.S.O. Capt COLE
    2. Organisation of Defences
    (a) Defs fall under three main headings:-
    Composition of Tps: Unit
    WEST Def.) Two 3.7” Guns each 107 HAA Regt RA
    Each three Befors 113 LAA Regt RA
    EAST Def. ) Two S/Ls 350 Ind SL Bty
    One A tk tp 128/86 A Tk Bty RA
    Plus six 3” Mortars at 71964 368/113 LAA Bty RA
    Composition of Tps
    (a) Rd Br )
    (b ) Boat Br ) See para 4 of 3 IG
    (c) Ry Br ) Op Instr No 1
    (d) DUKW Patrol )
    (iii) LOCAL RES
    (i) WEST DEF Area: 704644 Task: To prevent E Boats, human torpedoes or any enemy craft approaching upstream from the WEST in the direction of the Ry Br.
    (ii) EAST DEF: Area: 723645 Task: As for (a) above but to prevent enemy approaching DOWNSTREAM from the EAST.
    (iii) INNER DEF See Para 4 of Op Instr No. 1
    (iv) Local Res. See Para 4 of Op Instr No. 1
  11. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    3IG S? as at 23:00 hrs 20 October 1944. (To be destroyed within 48 hrs of receipt)
    The only activity on our front during the last 24 hrs was in the TIEL area where a small party of enemy tried to cross the river last night, but those were easily disposed of and since then everything has been quiet.
    No new progress is reported from the VENRAIJ area. Since the start of the advance (Oct 12) this Corps took 1100 PW incl 18 Offrs from 180 Div and 6765 PW incl 15 Offrs from Div WALTHER. Considering today’s average str of German Inf Divs, this represents nearly half of their effective inf strength. Only the fact that they fight nearly on the frontier of their Fatherland, and that they have fairly well prepared defence lines to fall back to explains why this defeat did not turn into a rout. The enemy there is yielding only to strong pressure, falling back from one prepared posn to the next.
    Further SOUTH our Allies today nearly finished mopping up in AACHEN and only one pocket in the Western suburbs of the town is holding out. Morale of Pws taken on this front is very low and the few counter attacks with which the enemy tried to stem our Allies’ advance were spiritless and easily beaten back.
    The attack along the ANTWERP-BREDA rd mad good progress today and reached the line 7517-8317 and it seems that enemy opposition is getting weaker.
    Further to the SW the line 105175-100120-175085 was reached and 3000 PW have been taken since the beginning of this operation. The enemy’s bridge head there is shrinking and it is thought that it now only contains about 4000 men, mainly from 64 Inf Div, supported by paratp elements and coastal artillery.
  12. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Appx J
    Subject: - Security Controls
    All Coys.
    1. The rules for the passage of civilians over the major bridges in 30 Corps area are as set below.
    2. Civilians will NOT be allowed, under any circumstances, to cross any of the bridges over the following rives during the hours of darkness: WAAL, MAAS, MASS-WAAL Canal.
    Darkness will be defined as the time during which it is impossible to see one end of the bridge from the other end.
    3. Civilians will NOT be allowed at any time to cross the rivers MAAS and WAAL by equipment bridges.
    4. Civilians will be allowed to cross the NIJMEGEN road bridge, any of the bridges over the MAAS- WAAL Canal and GRAVE Road bridge during the hours of daylight provided that they carry one of the necessary passes as set out below:
    5. PASSES
    (a) For civilians resident SOUTH of River WAAL
    No civilian may pass over the NIJMEGEN bridge without one of the following passes:
    (i) A pass issued by HQ 10 Garrison bearing the 10 Garrison stamp and signed by an officer of that HQ. This implies that the bearer has been checked by the CA[?] and FS.
    (ii) A pass originated by ?SI of 12 or 30 Corps superimposed with the stamp of 10 Garrison and counter-signed as in sub-para (i).
    (iii) A permanent pass issued by the ??S 30 Corps and signed by him personally. Only six of these have been issued and a further issue is unlikely.
    (b ) For civilians resident NORTH of the River WAAL.
    The only valid pass is an official form signed by CA and FS and entitled ‘Exemption from security restricted.’
    (a) Out of NIJMEGEN
    A pass originated by the Burgomaster NIJMEGEN and countersigned by CA and FS.
    (b ) Into NIJMEGEN
    A pass originated by Burgomaster of the civi concerned and countersigned by CA.
    No pass required.
    Passes are checked by 30 Corps Pro assisted by Dutch Resistance personnel (OD) who are frequently contacted by FS personnel.
    (b ) Bridges over MAAS - WAAL Canal.
    On Bridge 10 (67268?4) Dutch Resistance personnel (OD) and Dutch Police are on duty and right to check passes.
    These police are controlled by FS personnel.
    The remaining bridges over the MAAS - WAAL Canal are manned day and night by OD under the supervision of FS.
    Civilian passes are checked by these personnel.
    (c) GRAVE Bridge.
    Corps Pro assisted by OD carry out identity and baggage check of civilians crossing the bridge and ensure that there is no loitering.
    7. Organised CA convoys of civilians evacuated from the Island are allowed to cross any bridge en route to CA Transit Centres. Passes for individual members of such parties are not required and Pro or Dutch Resistance personnel merely check that the convoy is a properly organised one and under military control.
    BLA, 21 Oct 44, TM
    (sd) ER Udal, Capt., IO, 3 IG
  13. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    SECRET 3IG Int Summary up to 23:00 hrs 22 Oct 44 To be destroyed within 48 hrs of receipt
    OPERATIONS - AACHEN SECTOR [This copy is extremely faint in places and is difficult to follow the text.]
    A US Inf Div reports that on 17 and 18 Oct 5000 rds of arty and mortar fire fell in their area and 460 PWs were taken. A disabled Sherman NE of AACHEN managed to knock out 2 Panthers. Enemy counter-attacks slackened off, there was considerable loss enemy move in the V??????????IS?-STO????G area and it is thought that 3 Pz Gren Div which hads received several bloody noses may be pulling out. Dogs? use by German units as messengers have been observed swanning about making good use of cover.
    PW were taken in the Northern outskirts from Battle grp ?IN? which represented the remains of 1 SS PGR 1 SS Pz Div. All the ???, having been told that SS PWs were shot, had torn off their SS emblems. An Offr PW from 394 Assault Gun Bde alleged that he was tired of the regime and wished to help the Allies; as his independent mobile unit had been committed in many different parts of the front, he was able to pinpoint ten HQs incl that of a corps. He stated that HQ Army Grp W ST ?? IN ??D ??S EAST OF COBLENZ.
    28 PWs from 116 Pz Div were captured on 14 Oct at ???S ??N. All PW were united on two issues; their disgust with the war and admiration of Gen SCHW?R??. They claim that they would go through fire and water for Gen. SCH??? Because the Gen. is a man who respects soldiers’ lives and does not sacrifice them in vain like other German Generals do.
    Competitors in the Liberation Stakes will be interested in the infm of a refuge from COLOGNE who states “much destruction has been achieved by our air raids. However, most was done to the INNENSTADT (city centre) where no important mil objectives are located. Many historic and artistic areas are destroyed. The Cathedral has been hit. All larger factories are on the outskirts of COLOGNE. These have not been hit only the chemical works at COLOGNE-KAL were slightly damaged. The fact that the FORD works at COLOGNE-RI??L were not hit at all, not even attacked, aroused some comment among the people who thought that British and US investments had something to do with it. Damage to the railrds up to the time of informant‘s leaving was negligible. Trains never stopped actually running, and at the most they had to use detours for 4-5 days only. Street cars were running but not as frequently as before. During the summer the well known pleasure steamers were still running up and down the RHINE, but they had only a few passengers, since one of them had been attacked by two US fighter planes in May.
    Food was rationed, but people were for the most part always able to get what they were entitle to according to their ration books. Sometimes some items would come in late, but they always came. Subject did not know of any food stores that might have been se? up for a possible siege. If they existed, they were kept so secret that nobody knew about them.”
    A captured enemy document states that the Americans are expected to make a main effort between JULICH F 06 and DUR?N F15. This infm, the doc states, is confirmed. Photo interpretation reveals considerable enemy activity, digging of posns, emplacements, etc between JULICH and DUREN, especially EAST of the R ROER. The 353 Inf Staff is reported to have withdrawn from the line leaving 275 Inf Div in charge of the various units, on this zone of US Inf Div sector. Previous docs show that 353 Inf Div Staff was in charge of def org of the SIEGRIED LINE. It is poss, then, that 353 Inf Div Staff in org the R. ROER as a now def line for the tps mentioned under ??? and those now in line.
    The gen line reached by 1 US Army runs approx MAAS????CHT 7185 - ROOST???? 6678 - BR??R?H 7871 - BRIGDEN 8168 - all incl FR?L?N??RG 8562 - BEGGENDORF 8959 - BA?SW?ILER 9057 - OIDT??IL?R 9156 - SCHAUF?N??RG 9054 - ?UCHEN 8950 - WURS?LEN 8748 - V??L?UT ???IDE 8945 - 9143 -9643 - 9741 - 0042 - -434 - 9928 - 9617 - 0206. Of this sector the vital portion stretches from FR?L?N??RG to 9643 because here the SIEGFRIED Line has been broken clean through and the ground is suitable for further exploitation. Further SOUTH the line continues to be penetrated fro some distance but a glance at the map will show that the terrain is not suitable for armd fighting.
    It is interesting to trace the enemy’s reaction to this potent threat aimed directly at COLOGNE and DUESSELDORF. The Northern US Corps penetrated the SIEGFRIED Line to a depth of approx 4 miles on a ten mile front while the earlier ghrust from the Southern Corps, while itself in less dangerous country, was calculated to double that throat if the two could be linked up. It was for this reason rather than because of urgent danger to AACHEN that all the available enemy res have come rushing to this sector like wasps to a jam-pot.
    The attack by Northern Corps was made on 2 Oct. The following day counter-attacks were made by local res of 49 and 103 Divs who were holding the sector, all being under bn str. Within the next three days all the local res were called in and two attacks in approx two bn str were made one by 49 Div and the other by 246 Div which had been brought up from AACHEN for the purpose. On the fifth and sixth days, elements of the 12 Div arrived from SOUTH of AACHEN and Mob Regt von FRITSCHEN from LUXEMBOURG. Two days later 108 Pz Div turned up from the F???ST REICHSWALD, followed in quick succession by 116 Pz Div form ARNHEM, 506 Hy Tk Bn, elts of 1 SS Pz Div from the interior of GERMANY and of 2 Pz Div from NORTH HOLLAND. The last arrival so far has been 3 Pz Gren Div which came all the way from SOUTH of TRIER.
    In other words the enemy has produced virtually all the available res even at the risk of dangerously weakening the other sectors of the front. In the last case he has even transferred a div from Army Gp G to Army Gp B, 3 Pz Gren Div being one of these which until recently was helping to deal with the thrust of US 6 Army Gp EAST of NANCY. One of the most curious features is the way in which each res is committed piecemeal on arrival and no attempt at co-ordination seems to be made. The earlier attacks were all made on the Northern pincer, while the last two, both by 3 PG Div were made on the Southern pincer. They would obviously have had so much more chance of success if they had come in together, particularly as the distance was such as to allow the arty of each corps to be used in sp of the other. This symptom noted in this sector by our allies, is precisely what we had so much reason to comment on in the enemy counter attacks on our own NIJMEGEN br head. It runs counter to all normal German doctrine, and is probably due to two causes.
    In the first place, the battle is runs so increasingly by Nazis who act largely on political rather than on military considerations, while in the second the wastage in senior offrs has been so severe that efficient staff work on any level higher than regtl is almost impossible to achieve. Whatever the cause we can ask for nothing better than the continual opportunity which the enemy seems to afford us of defeating each successive counter- attack in detail on arrival.
    The Americans experienced the same difficulty as ourselves in identifying the tk units in contact with them. All the latter attacks have been sp by either tks or SP guns, and a large number have been claimed as knocked out but although PANTHERS and other types are known to have been engaged, the only unit so far satisfactorily identified is 506 Hy Tk Bn of TIGERS. Again, as has been our experience, only a few have ever been used together and though 116 Pz Div is now reported to have 60-70 t?? and some 50, thought to be there, were reported in G?IL???????????N area a few days ago, nothing approaching this number have ever been committed at the same time.
    Another interesting point is that the Americans report as we found on the ‘island’ who [when?] we consider how near we now are to their main sources of supply in the RUHR. They have also experienced some of the same curious rockets of which we have heard in our own area recently, but they report that apart from a great deal of noise, they are surprisingly ineffective.

    OPERATIONS - 22 Oct 44
    As no activity is reported from our Corps front today, most of our news comes form civ sources. It seems that about a bn of SS and Wehrmacht tps are in the area [G]??NT 7865 - 7866 with about 10 tks, and a SS HQ is at 795676. According to a PW statement, there are some SS and Herman Goering tps in the ?LD?N area, also with a few tks. It seems, therefore, that a sqn, probably from 10 SS Tk Regt has been att to these units kept in res to sp the in the event of a counter-attack. Further to the ??ST, civ reports small ??rts going du? at 200 yard intervals along the NORTH bank of the WAAL from OCHTEN to TIEL an that all civs in this area are evacuated. The orchard at 529702 was being used as an arty OP but this was soon stopped by our ?? And Fd arty. ??HTEN itself is strongly held and the rd leading to it is mined from 543696 on. A minefd is reported in area 5470.
    Further SOUTH the adv against s’HERTOGENBOSCH made some progress against opposition and extensive minefds and line from 3755 along the rd to 3859 - 3943 and then SW to 375402 was reached and 400 PW taken. The main opposition of came from 712 Inf Div as expected - 745 Gp holding NORTH of the main rd. has of ANTWERP progress has slowed down and opposition stiffened. Fwd elts crossed the BELGIAN frontier.
    BLA, 25 Oct 44, TM
  14. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    3IG Int Summary up to 23:00 hrs 23 Oct 44. To be destroyed within 48 hrs of receipt
    Today was again very quiet on our Corps front. 957 GR and 958 GR were both identified again in the Western part of the ‘island’ and patrols report the OCHTEN - KESTEREN area very heavily mined. This shows that the enemy has given up the idea of attacking from this side and is concentrating on defensive activity.
    The Corps attacking around s’HERTOGENBOSCH made very good progress today although they had a very difficult time dealing with mines and boggy ground. The line 3549 - 3948 - 3540 was reached and some of our tps are only about 2,500 yds from s’HERTOGENBOSCH. Most of today’s prisoners came from 745 GR whose commander was also captured. 481 Regt from 256 Volksgrenadier Div was also identified in today’s advance and it must be assumed that the whole of the div is now in this area.
    The presence of this div does not mean that the enemy has decided that SW HOLLAND is so vital to him that it must be defended at all costs. It probably means that he wants to delay us as long as possible, and when strongly pushed, to make a fighting withdrawal across the RHINE. To prolong this resistance available resources were and might well be in the near future brought down to slow down our advance.
    331 Div which is reported to be in the ROTTERDAM area might easily come down to help the battered 712 Div, or alternatively one of the Gotterdammerung Divs may be produced for this purpose.
    Resistance SOUTH of ROOSENDAAL was very stiff and our Allies report only little progress.
    24 Oct 44,
  15. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    3IG Int Summary up to 2359 hrs 24 Oct 44 To be destroyed within 48 hrs of receipt
    The has been very little activity today on the REICHSWALD front, though last night enemy arty fired a considerable number of rds at the NIJMEGEN Br. An Allied patrol produced the identification at 777587 of 3 Coy 9 Para Regt but from prisoner’s statements it appears that personnel of this regt. Are functioning as part of a Battle Group WOLF, worth one weak Bn. To the left of this unit PW stated there is a Flak Coy known as FF2, and to the left of this, some part of 15 Para Regt, functioning as another Battle Group. PW stressed that these units had been in the area since 19 Sep and that their Battle Groups had no relation with their original fmns.
    On the ‘Island’ II/958 GR was identified along the dyke at 585700 and 959 GR was stated by PW to be NORTH of this. An Offr PW last night said that the HQ of 363 Div was in ?? 5885 on 20 Oct. On the Eastern half of the ‘island’ reliable reports say that there are res probably of bn str each in G?NT 7865, HUISS?N 7672 and ?LD?N 7375, but there have been no new identifications on this sector. Civ reports from NORTH of the N?D?RRIJN said that a Div with the fmn sign of two hobby horses have crossed, has been identified along the IJSSEL by its Div Arty in ?72 and its Div Cyclist Bn area Z9122 (it is thought poss that this may be 216 Div). Civs also report an armd colm in B???KOM 5879 and this is probably a counter-attack force held in case we attempt to break through NORTH of the N?D??RIJN. PzKp Hummel, once identified on the ‘island’ is now in the area 0075.
    In the SOUTH, the Americans around AACHEN have nothing to report, nor has the British Corps on our right. But the Corps attacking on our left has captured s’HERTOGENBOSCH and has tps all down the line from 3148 to 3125. The br at s’HERTOGENBOSCH was captured intact, but went up in smoke a short while afterwards. The enemy’s intention in this area is quite definitely to get out as quickly as possible, and this he is trying to do over the crossing at 2152. Two of our ?ed guns were sniping the br at ZALT?O???L 2960 today and caused the enemy to remove the charges in case we blew it up. Much traffic has been crossing this br going NORTH an there are persistent reports of digging along the Northern bank of the R. MAAS. Identifications in this area have been 712 Div EAST of s’HERTOGENBOSCH with any scraps it had been able to collect under its comd. SE and SOUTH of this was a Paratp BG of about four weak bns, while in BO???L 3235 was 1035 GR of 59 Div. As a corollary to the identification of 476 GR of 256 Volksgrenadier Div, ?? I Bn of 481 GR of the same Div was identified today in s’HERTOGENBOSCH and II Bn in OIRSCHOTT 3135.
    The Cdn attack has also going well today. The br hd SOUTH of the SCH?LDT is now compressed into the area 0717 - 0110 - 0008 - 9006. 4000 men of 64 Div are still fighting ferociously and show no signs of giving up. Another Cdn attack has penetrated the WALCH?R?N neck Westwards to the 54 ?asting and the line of the front here is now 6022 - 7025 - 7725 - 8019 - 9016 - 0016. Identification here are of 70, 85 and 346 Divs in the neck and of 245 Div, which attacked down the main rd from BREDA to ANTWERP. This unfortunate fmn had only just been pulled out of the line from SOUTH of TILBURG and found itself attacking today, having had no rest at all.
    Tonight at 17:00 hrs a “ghost ship” in the shape of a torpedo about 15 ft long was soon on the river at 437682. It first went downstream and then turned and went upstream into a small harbour at 433684. There is no explanation of this activity as yet, but our guns are being attentive to its harbour area tonight.
    25 Oct 44
  16. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    3IG Int Summary up to 23:00 hrs 25 Oct 44 To be destroyed within 48 hrs of receipt
    Civs report this evening that Germans are retreating NORTH across the SALTBOMMEL br in disorder, some without their weapons. There is no doubt that the enemy has allowed the Eastern flank of Fifteenth Army front to be dangerously weakened at the expense of holding the Cdns pushing NORTH from ANTWERP, and that with some units at any rate (esp 712 Div) the retreat has become disorganised. There are unconfirmed reports of 5 - 6 trucks each containing 20 men going today from TIEL 4267 to GELDERMALSEN 3167. An atttempt by our tps to push WEST between the MAAS an WAAL at 3758 found the rd cratered but NO enemy.
    There are, however, still pockets of enemy holding out. Mopping up continues in the Western part of s’HERTOGENBOSCH whilst further SOUTH there are still enemy holding out on the main rd SOUTH of VUGHT at 324? and VUGHT itself has not yet been reported clear. This, combined with the very bad going, mines and some 88 mms, has held up the adv of our armour SOUTH of s’HERTOGENBOSCH. BOXTEL and OIRSCHOT 3125 fell yesterday, when, in all, our tps took 1600 PW.
    In the TILBURG area, recce reports the br at ?83? Intact, and civs state there are no enemy in TILBURG itself, though this has not yet been confirmed by our won tps. The enemy some days ago destroyed all the rly installations at TILBURG, repair shops etc, and it is likely that the enemy will retire to the NORTH of the WILHELMINA Canal.
    It will be recalled that 712 Div suffered very severe losses at H??SCH 4851 towards the end of last month, and even with a Par BG B??G to help them, have collapsed when faced with an attack at s’HERTOGENBOSCH. B?rth [Both] 1034 and 1035 Grs of 59 Div between s’HERTOGENBOSCH and TILBURG are very much depleted, and no doubt 236 Div newly arrived, has found the task of providing a Bn (I/481 GR) for s’HERTOGENBOSCH and defending TILBURG too much, and it may be that this div has withdrawn N of TILBURG.
    On the REICHSWALD front the only news today is of the identification by PW of 3 Coy 3 Para Eng Bn at 76860? PW did not know if he belonged to BG WOLFF or not. ? Bn 9 Para Regt was identified at WYL?R yesterday, belonging to BG WOLFF. This is therefore the second unit of 3 Para Div to be identified on 84 Div’s sector. Further SOUTH 4 Coy 469 Trg Bn has been identified at HORST 790538 which is straightforward, since this bn belongs to 1?0 Div.
    There is no news today from the Cdns or from AACHEN.
    500 Lancasters attacked ESSEN today.
    The past week has not seen much change in the enemy’s dispositions. He had three main considerations. First to seal off the American’s penetration at AACHEN; second, to deny us the use of ANTWERP as long as poss; third, to stop andy American adv WEST of NANCY, as well as further SOUTH towards the B?L?FORT Gap. These three sectors, and METZ, have been the scenes of fighting during the past week. Elsewhere the enemy is relatively thin on the ground.
    26 Oct 44
    (sd) ER Udal Capt., IO, 3 IG
  17. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    3IG Int Summary up to 23:00 hrs 26 Oct 44. To be destroyed within 48 hrs of receipt
    Today’s activity on the Corps front has once again been very little. Identifications in the REICHSWALD by patrolling have been 10 Coy 5 Para Regt at 7857 and 3 Coy 3 Para Engr Bn at 7760. Neither of these identifications have yet been tied up with the presence of their parent fmns in the area. On the ‘Island’ to the EAST, 3 Coy 21 SS PGR was identified at 7369 and down the rd from the NORTH there has been such a definite increase of MG fire and patrolling that it would seem that the enemy tps here have been reinforced during the last few days. The Corps on our left has continued its advance today and this evening had reached the old fort in s’HERTOGENBOSCH and its drive from VUGHT 3243 had gone due EAST as far as 2038 (UDENHOUT). The opposition here has been 712 Div, worth 2 Bns, Para tp battle groups worth another two bns and I/481 GR. In VUGHT II/476 was encountered and also II/957 GR with 363 Engr Bn and 1409 MG Bn, all three of which were, until a few days ago, on the Western flank of the ‘Island’ around KESTEREN 5273. The removal of these units must have left the enemy forces on this Western flank extremely weak. Our tps tonight are still about a mile short of TILBURG. Here 59 Div, worth about four bns, and paratp groups worth two bns, are holding us up, together with the four bns of 256 Div which arrived in this area quite recently and were thrust into the line rather prematurely.
    Away to the WEST the Cdns today took the initiative into their own hands and attacked NORTH across the SCHELDT in the area 2819 - 3219. This now landing is reported to be going quite well. Along the WA?CHEREN neck they have advanced up to the 49 Easting.
    From the Corps on our right and from the AACHEN sector there is nothing to report.
    BLA, 27 Oct 44, (sd) ER Udal Capt., I.O., 3 I.G.
  18. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    3IG Int Summary up to 23:00 hrs 27 Oct 44. To be destroyed within 48 hrs of receipt
    This morning the enemy attacked from the V?NLO direction. He made four thrusts, at HEL?NAV??N 7412, at m?ij?l 7106 (200 inf) and at 6101. The latter was really a demonstration by men of Para Lehr Regt H?ARMANN. The enemy made an initial penetration into M?IJ?L and was thrown out again. Four Tigers penetrated to 6913 and one was KOed. The Americans report all attacks satisfactorily held. The fmn making these attacks in 9 Px Div, helped by some of Par Div ERDMANN. The imprssion gained is that these attacks were meant to be on an impressive scale but that they came to nothing. PW state that they had limited objectives. Further NORTH the enemy have flooded the EAST bank of the MAAS between the 29 and 42 Northings up to a mile in depth.
    To the WEST, our tps entered the SE of TILBURG today and found the flags out. Civs state the Germans have withdrawn. Further NORTH our armour has reached the bend in the canal at 18:45. S’HARTOGENBOSCH itself has been cleared.
    It is clear from this that the enemy’s resistance on the Eastern flank of Fifteenth Army is crumbling (712, 59 and 256 Divs with two para battle gps and the 363 Div Gp, worth in all about fifteen bns, proving inadequate); first the battle GP of 363 Div was sent to stop the rot; now civs report that on 26 Oct 20 lorries containing FRUNDSB?RG (10 SS) tps from V??N?NDAAL 5183 crossed the ELST 4677 ferry, presumably to reinforce this front.
    On the Cdn front as well the enemy is going back. Our armour has today ??t the TILBURG - BREDA rd from the SOUTH at 06:35. On the ??V??AND isthmus our tps pushing EAST have reached the 41 Easting. The Scotsmen who landed yesterday at D2819 and 3219 have made slight progress today against considerable opposition. It is now estimated that the enemy has up to 10,000 men on ??VEL?ND. Some of 64 Div from the rapidly dwindling BR???ENS pocket have been ferried across the SCHELDT estuary to reinforce 70 Div and it is estimated that not more than 1000 men are now left in the BR?S???S pocket.
    It is reported that the enemy have quit ?ALCH??EN owing to the flooding.
    BLA, 28 Oct 44, (sd) ER Udal Capt., I.O., 3 I.G.
    Dated 27 Oct 1944
  19. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Subject: - German Stay-behind Pigeon Services
    OCs All Coys.
    Reports have been received that the enemy is running an organised network of stay behind pigeon services in liberated countries, and captured agents have stated that pigeon agents are twice as numerous as W/T agents.
    The lofts are of two kinds: -
    (1) Small clandestine lofts from which birds would be despatched with information to central lofts beyond our lines.
    (2) Central lofts where this information would be relayed by W/T and which could organise supplies of birds to agents. Central lofts are known to exist at COLOGNE, FLUSHING, BERG (in the island of TRIEL) and possibly at PARIS and BRUSSELS which may still be operating from underground.
    Apart from their own birds the Germans have commandeered French, Belgian and Dutch pigeons. The German birds carry rings of the following types:-
    (a) WBNI plus number (WBNI standing for WEHRMACHT BRIEFTAUBE NEIDERLAND)
    (b ) WBB0 plus an number (WBB0 standing for WEHRMACHT BRIEFTAUBE BELGIEN)
    The majority of the German birds also carry on their rings the word WEHRMACHT or WEHRMACHT BRIEFTAUBE. The ring numbers of the commandeered birds would be of the following types:-
    (a) HOLLAND-BELG-FRANCE 41 053917
    (b ) HOLLAND-BELG-FRANCE 40 336810
    (c) HOLLAND-BELG-FRANCE 42 342180
    Units should be warned of the German use of pigeons for espionage purpose. Apart from the agents, the birds themselves are of value and should be seized, together with any message, forms, and message containers.
    Should any pigeon agents be captured, this HQ should be informed immediately through the normal channels.
    BLA, 27 Oct 44, TM.
    Copy to 2 I/C, IO
    (sd) E.R. Udal, Capt., I.O., 3 I.G.
  20. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    3IG Int Summary up to 23:00 hrs 28 Oct 44. To be destroyed within 48 hrs of receipt.
    This morning there were rumours of an enemy withdrawal in the EAST of the ‘Island’. An ominous silence seemed to bear out the fact that something like this was happening, but from our own patrolling later in the day it has become evident that it was merely a local relief taking place and 11 Coy 21 SS PGR was identified at 7772 in place of 37 Fortress MG Bn. Down this flank we now have from NORTH to SOUTH, III, I, IV, and II Bns of 21 SS PGR and it may well be that their won weakness here had occasioned their complete lack of activity. The remainder of the ‘Island’ has been quiet though from TIEL to the WEST digging along the NORTH bank of the WAAL is persistently reported by civs. Another civ report told us that 3500 Wehrmacht tps arrived in UTRECHT today from the area PHEMERT 3864, having presumably come from the SALTBOMMEL br. The digging along the WAAL therefore probably a delaying line to hold us for as long as possible if we reach this river before the enemy withdrawal from the SOUTH has been properly carried out. The main news of the day comes from the Corps on our right, where the Germans continued yesterday’s attacks and came in today in greater str. They were active in five areas:-
    (1) K 6683 where a German attempt to br the river was broken up by the RAF
    (2) E 6300 where a Coy “demonstration” was put on in an attempt to take our eyes off the ball.
    (3) A larger attack at 6910 by II/10 PGR of 9 Pz Div, I/104 PGR of 15 PG Div, together with 30 tks.
    (4) An attack at MEIJEL 7207, once again by a mixed gp, elts of 104 PGR and I/11 PGR (of 9 Pz Div), this attack being supported by 15 tks
    (5) Activity by dug in inf and 88 mm guns at 6913. Possibly BG HUBNER?
    All the enemy bns met today are said to be weak numerically (approx 300 - 400 men) but, coming from good divs, they are fighting well and to night had succeeded in reaching 680085 in one sector.
    These attacks undoubtedly meant as major diversions to assist the evacuation of Fifteenth Army from the WEST of HOLLAND and it is certain that they will continue at least for tomorrow if not for another two days. Fortunately our renewed attack in the SCHELDT area has gone more quickly than the Germans thought probable and therefore 9 Pz Div and 15 PG Div have been committed prematurely and once again quite obviously without any truly co-ordinated plan by the Higher Command.
    The Corps on our left has met stronger resistance today, inf and A Tk guns dug in on the line 0938 - 1339, but they have taken over 200 PW and are confident of pushing on tomorrow.
    The Cdn sector has also seen little mov today around BERGEN OP ZOOM or along the Isthmus. But the fact that they have taken 1000 PW in the course of the last 24 hrs is quite probably a pointer to some break up in the enemy’s fighting withdrawal here. On the EAST of this sector our fwd patrols are tonight reported just short of BREDA D 9637. Fifteenth Army is indeed showing the signs of dire plight. With the diversionary attacks in the MEUSE pocket having little success, its fighting withdrawal of the last fortnight shows increasing evidence of disorder.

Share This Page