Pictures

A map accompanying Lieutenant-Colonel Hope's account

Lieutenant-Colonel Maurice W. Hope

 

Unit : 191st Field Regiment, RA

Awards : Distinguished Service Order

 

The following is a brief summary of the 191st Field Regiment's activities by their commander, Lieutenant-Colonel Maurice Hope DSO.

 

Operations Near Dozulé, 20th - 21st August 1944

by 191st (Herts & Essex Yeomanry) Fd Regt RA in support of 6 Airborne Division.

 

From "D" day the 6th. Airborne Division had been holding the line of the Ridge running South from Sallenelles through Le Plein, Breville, Le Mesnil to the fork road junction 2 miles South of Le Mesnil. They were protecting the East Flank of the Bridgehead and denying observation from the ridge onto the open country South & South West of Ouistreham. The Red Road was more or less the line of F.D.L's [Forward Defended Localities].

 

In addition to its own 3 Brigades (3rd Para, 5th Para & 2nd Airlanding (gliderborne) & its own Field Regt. (Worcester Yeomanry with Pack Hows [Howitzers]) it had under command

        1st Army Commando Bde (4 Commandos)

        4th Marine Commando Bde (4 Marine Commandos)

        150th Field Regt                                                }

        191st (Herts & Essex Yeomanry) Fd Regt         } 25 Pounders.

 

The Division broke out of the beachhead position on 17th August & advanced East with the Airlanding Brigade supported by the Pack How Regiment moving up the coast road while the two Commando Brigades supported by the two Fd Regts advanced up the main road TROARN, DOZULE, PONT L'EVEQUE, BEUZEVILLE - St MACLOU - River RISLE arriving there on 26th August when 6th Airborne Division was sent home to prepare for its next operation (the Crossing of the Rhine).

 

The Commandos & Para Brigades leap frogged through each other in successive day & night attacks on the German rear guards. As there were only 2 Fd Regts for the 4 Brigades these two Regiments were almost continually in action or moving for 9 days supporting day & night attacks by the Paras & Commandos alternately & continually changing the formation to which they gave close support.

 

We (191) supported all 4 Brigades at some time or other during the advance & changed our allegiance at least 10 times.

 

On 20th August 5th Para Bde failed in a daylight attack on the summit of the Ridge "Z" South of DOZULE losing some 20 men killed by short range spandau fire in the close hedges.

 

191 came into action at "X" by Putot en Auge in the evening to support a night attack on the Ridge by 4th Marine Commando Brigade.

 

In the late evening while the Brigade Commander (Brig Jumbo Leicester R.M.) was holding an "O" Group in the cottage just North of the lane at "X" as shown in the background in the photograph a mortar bomb burst alongside & wounded one of my Battery Commanders (Major Nicholas Norman-Butler now on the council of the Stock Exchange).

 

His replacement (Captain & F Troop Commander but at once became Acting Major & Battery Commander E.V. Hollis (runs the KIDDERMINSTER SHUTTLE local newspaper) having completed the "O" Group sought a place to doss down pending the launching of the attack one hour before dawn. He chose the North end of the barn in the photograph - at the South side of the lane at X which passes between it & the cottage where the large wooden doors are shown closed. He shared the shed with about 12 sleeping Paras. I chose the South end by the stairs.

 

One Marine Commando carried out a brilliant attack on the summit one hour before dawn formed up almost shoulder to shoulder in two lines 40 yards apart & sweeping through three lines of hedges to the summit in a matter of minutes & completely overwhelming the Bosch rear guard who were taken by complete surprise.

 

On returning to the shed, after the attack to collect his kit "Holly" found that his 12 sleeping companions were dead Paras laid out there after being killed in the day attack on the summit. We found the remaining dead only a few yards from the summit after its capture by the Marines.

 

After daylight on 21st the Regiment advanced through Dozulé some of whose houses were burning, picking up some abandoned German breakfast's en route & came into action again near LE BOURG to support an attack by 3rd Para on Annebault in the afternoon.

 

END.

 

Hope was later promoted to Brigadier.

 

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