National Archives catalogue number WO 171/1017 and 1019.

 

Abbreviations

1173

2 i/c

A/B

A/C

Adv

Airldg

A/L

Amn

Armd

Arty

BC

BD

Bde

Belg

Bldg

BM

Bn

Br

Bty

Cas

CCS

Cdn

CO

Comd

Coy

CPO

CRA

Det

DF

Div

Ech

Eqpt

Fd

FDL

FOO

Fwd

GOC

Gp

GPO

H

HAA

HE

HF

Hy

Inf

Infm

I/S

LCT

LO

Lt
LZ

"M"

Med

MMG

MO
MR

OC

Offr

OP

Pde

Posn

Pt

QM

RA

RASC

Rd

Rds

RE

Ref

Regt

Regtl

Rep

RHQ

Rk

RPG

RUR

SA
SP
SS

Tgt

Tp

U/C

Veh

Wt

X Rds

Map Reference

Second in Command

Airborne

Aircraft

Advance

Airlanding

Airlanding

Ammunition

Armoured

Artillery

Battery Commander

Battledress

Brigade

Belgium

Building

Brigade Major

Battalion

British

Battery

Casualties

Casualty Clearing Station

Canadian

Commanding Officer

Commander

Company

Command Post Officer

Commander Royal Artillery

Detachment

Defensive Fire

Division / Divisional

Echelon

Equipment

Field

Forward Defended Locality

Forward Observation Officer

Forward

General Officer Commanding

Group

Gun Position Officer

Highland

Heavy Anti-Aircraft

High Explosive

Harassing Fire

Heavy

Infantry

Information

In support

Landing Craft Tank

Liaison Officer

Light
Landing Zone

"Mike" Target - calling for fire from all Regimental guns

Medium

Medium Machine Gun

Medical Officer

Map Reference

Officer Commanding

Officer

Observation Post / Operation if in lower case

Pounder

Position

Point

Quartermaster

Royal Artillery

Royal Army Service Corps

Road

Rounds

Royal Engineers

Reference

Regiment

Regimental

Report / Representative

Regimental Headquarters

Rank

Rounds Per Gun

Royal Ulster Rifles
Small Arms

Self-Propelled / Support

Special Service

Target

Troop

Under Command

Vehicle

Weight

Crossroads

 

Month and year: June 1944

Commanding Officer: Lt-Col ADM Teacher

 

1st to 5th June 1944

Place: Bulford

 

Preparation for action.

 

6th June 1944

Place: Bulford

 

D-Day; the Regiment less 211 A/L Bty received its orders to move to the marshalling area.  211 A/L Bty went into action by glider from FAIRFORD aerodrome - passed over Bulford Camp at approx 2000 hrs towed by Stirling aircraft.  For details of activities of 211 Bty from 6-15 Jun. See Appx I.

 

7th June 1944

Place: Bulford

 

Movement order for the regt to move to marshalling area were issued.  Regt cleared up Bulford Camp preparatory to evacuation.

 

8th June 1944

Place: Bulford

 

0200 - Regimental vehicle parties left Bulford to rendezvous at Staines, Middx.  Met Metropolitan Police who escorted convoy through London on the North Circular Road to marshalling area (West Ham Stadium).  Vehicles sorted into ship loads.  Foreign currency, emergency rations and maps issued.

 

0800 - The Regimental Marching Party left for marshalling area at NEWHAVEN.

 

9th June 1944

0500 - RHQ and 210 A/L Bty vehicles to Victoria Docks for loading.  Capt RAM Goldthorp RA Adjutant as OC ship "EMPIRE CAPULET".  Major FE Allday, acting CO, to NEWHAVEN to brief the marching party.  Newspaper reported Major ME Gubbins RA as a prisoner of war (according to German News Agency).

 

10th June 1944

1000 - Loading of RHQ and 210 Battery vehicles completed.  The "Empire Capulet" sailed at mid-day; this ship had never transported troops before and was not well equipped to do so.  The men were in high spirits and shouted jokes at dockside workers.  Anchored at a "ship assembly area" off SOUTHEND-ON-SEA in the evening.

 

11th June 1944

Awaiting orders to move.  The ship containing 212 A/L Bty with acting C.O. joined the assembly ships.  Masters of the ships went to Southend Pier for convoy orders.

 

12th June 1944

0615 - Moved off in convoy from Southend.  Approached STRAITS OF DOVER approx 1100 hrs.  All men were ordered to wear steel helmets from then on and all were ordered below deck while passing through the danger of the Straits.  An uneventful journey at 9 knots along the British coast.  Convoy turned south towards evening.

 

13th June 1944

Place: Normandy

 

1000 - Anchored off LUC SUR MER on the Normandy Coast.  The Regimental marching party, who had sailed from Newhaven and joined the convoy, passed and landed.  Unloading commenced slowly.

 

2330 - Enemy aircraft attacked shipping in the harbour with anti-personnel bombs: a raft at the "Empire Capulet's" side semi-loaded with vehicles was set alight.  Raft was cut loose and allowed to burn.  210 Bty lost 2 3-ton vehicles including an ammunition truck and 1 lt wt motor cycle.  16 casualties on board "Empire Capulet" - no regimental personnel injured seriously - treated by Naval M.O.

 

14th June 1944

Place: Normandy

 

0330 - Further attacks on shipping off LUC-SUR-MER by aircraft - no damage done.  Unloading of RHQ and 210 Bty completed.  Loads proceeded to COLEVILLE-SUR-ORNE ("HOMER") on landing and dug in for the night.  Remainder of regiment assembled at "HOMER" as they were unloaded from ships.

 

15th June 1944

Place: Normandy

 

0600 - RHQ, 210 Bty and 212 Bty joined 211 Bty in action area 1075-1175 (On East bank of RIVER ORNE near BENOUVILLE).

 

16th June 1944

Place: Normandy

 

211 Bty moved to W. bank of River Orne.  210 Bty in support 6 A/L Bde,  212 i/s Para Bde,  211 i/s 1&4 SS Bde.

 

0445 - D.F. tasks engaged.  The enemy made an attack towards the "Pont Tournant" over the River Orne from the south with a small amount of infantry and armour.  One O.P. shifted its position to observe ESCOVILLE 1271 and neighbouring area from which activity was observed.

 

1050 - S.P. guns destroyed by a "M" Target from the Regiment.  Throughout the day several "M" targets were engaged (Infantry movement, odd tanks etc).

 

2100 - R.H.Q. moved to new location 106749 on advice of C.O. (acting C.R.A.).  A quiet night.

 

17th June 1944

Place: Normandy

 

0800 - A short machine gunning "straf" by low flying Messerschmitts along River Orne - no casualties.  The first mail arrived.  A mortar bomb (probably from 5.9 mortar) exploded in front of 210 Bty's gun positions.  One No.1 was wounded and died the following day.

 

18th June 1944

Place: Normandy

 

The fire plan laid on to support an attack E by 1 SS Bde at first light did not materialise due to bad communications with F.O.O.

 

1430 - Operation "MARMALADE" with 7 Para Bn - artillery fire plan organised by Capt Anderson (OC 212 Bty).

 

1600 - Check rounds fired for the evening concentration in support of 4 SS Bde plan - observed by Air O.P.

 

1700 - Registration for fire plan in support of 1 SS Bde.

 

2115 - Concentration brought down to support 4 SS Bde attack NE of SALLENELLES.

 

19th June 1944

Place: Normandy

 

First light - Concentration in support of 1 SS Bde attack SE of SALLENELLES.  A fairly quiet day for the regiment.  210 Bty converted a battery target PI into a regimental target M8 (148736) - this was later to be fired on a great deal.  Telegram of congratulation received from Comd 1 SS Bde "Very many thanks for faultless co-operation last night which enabled raid to achieve full success".

 

2030 - Tgt M8 fired on to cover the withdrawal of a patrol of 2 Ox & Bucks.

 

2115 - Regt fired on "FOXHOUNDS", an exercise with live ammunition.

 

20th June 1944

Place: Normandy

 

0315 - Regimental concentrations fired in support of a 1 SS Bde party.  Two marked maps of the defences around Fecamp were found by Lt JB Spittal and forwarded to HQ RA via RHQ.  There was some airburst ranging and subsequent shelling just forward of gun positions of 210 and 212 Btys.  Later it appeared that 211 Bty was being ranged on (from a different battery).  The C.O. returned to RHQ from his post of acting CRA.  Major FE Allday took over Command of the "RA Support Net" from Major C Russell, who returned to Command his Bty.  Operation "LILLEY and SKINNER" laid on.  D.F. Tasks as from 1800 given to the Regiment.

 

21st June 1944

Place: Normandy

 

0130 "LILLEY" fired.  "SKINNER" not required.  A quiet day - the Regt was given the task of locating and dealing with enemy mortars.  Two troops of Royal Marine S.P. guns were attached to the Regiment.  "X" Troop on 210 Bty frequency and "S" Troop on 212 Bty frequency.  Amended D.F. Tasks issued by BM RA 51 (H) Div.

 

22nd June 1944

Place: Normandy

 

Ammunition dump set alight during the night - reported by 212 Bty to be "E" Troop dump but subsequently discovered to be an RASC dump.  A quiet day - the Regt was relieved of its anti mortar role, except for the supplying of certain listening posts which the CO decided could be manned by senior NCOs as well as by officers.

 

1230 - The Regt fired a counter mortar programme.  The S.P. guns were finally sighted in their firing positions, one troop in 1175, the other in 1273.

 

2115 - Target M8 fired again.

 

23rd June 1944

Place: Normandy

 

0315 - St HONORINE 0971 attacked by 5 Camerons with assistance of naval bombardment.

 

0520 - Target M8 fired again.

 

1000 - DF Tasks 347 (vide) was fired by the Regt on hostile SP guns.  Tank activity south of the Caen Bridgehead was reported at intervals throughout the morning.  "27 tanks moving W from CUVERVILLE 1100 hrs" reported.  Tanks eventually disappeared leaving 2 burning.

 

1200 - Regiment fired a counter mortar programme.  Target M8 engaged again during the day.

 

1915 and 2030 - Regimental positions shelled intermittently.  Believed to be either S.P. guns at target M8 or heavy guns at ROBEHOMME 1873.  C.O. went to HQ RA to try to obtain the fire of medium guns on heavy battery (M150).  The regiment fired on this target and an observer was sent out to "the chimney" (137722 - by now a well used O.P.) - he arrived when it was too dark to observe.  The results of the shelling - one minor casualty from 210 Bty and one from 212 Bty.  A stray shell during the night caused one further casualty to 211 Bty.  Hostile Battery and Mortar List issued.

 

24th June 1944

Place: Normandy

 

Quiet morning.  Alternative positions were recced and digging and surveying commenced.

 

1400 - 5 reinforcement officers arrived by air.  A series of shells, many of which appeared to be "dud" landed some 400 yds from RHQ during the afternoon; (the whistle of these shells could be heard but in many cases no explosions followed).  OC 211 Bty reported large craters caused by these shells indicating possible delayed action.

 

2200 - B.Cs Conference (now standard at this time) - details of fire plan in support of a 12 Para Bn patrol.  211 Bty's gun positions shelled from the south - 2 casualties.  One troop from 211 Bty moved to alternative position 113763.  List of Mike targets issued to HQRA and Major FE Allday.

 

25th June 1944

Place: Normandy

 

0000-0020 - Regiment shot fire plan in support of 12 Para Bn.

 

0030 - Report of an enemy attack developing in the south and south west.  Regiment was laid on various D.F. tasks but did not fire.  Shelling continued at intervals.  The attack by the enemy appeared to die down.  Engaged a hostile 150 mm bty in area NE of SALLENELLES.  There was apparent retaliation but all shells landed some distance from gun positions.

 

0345 - Shelling from the south renewed.  The regiment was given the task of firing on hostile mortars in 162721.  During the day 211 Bty finished moving to its alternative position 113763.  The early morning enemy attack was discovered to be an enemy offensive patrol on the Div boundary.

 

0900 - Service held in a field behind RHQ position.  A quiet day.  Bavent, Varaville and Briqueville recorded as H.F. targets by 212 Bty on the request of C.R.A.  The C.R.A. decided that the factory chimney at 137722 afforded good observation east and west and that it was to be manned 24 hours per day.  A system of observation from a reference point was devised as it was impossible to take accurate compass bearings from the chimney.  At night, flash bearings were to be reported.  A quiet night.

 

26th June 1944

Place: Normandy

 

0730 - An attack W. of CAEN began, by 15 (Scottish) Division in the GRAINVILLE-SUR-ODON 9164 area: an almost continuous artillery barrage heard for several hours.  212 A/L Bty fired check rounds on H.F. tasks registered the day before.

 

1415 - Regiment engaged on fire plan (artillery concentration - trace attached).  Hostile mortars were engaged during the rest of the day.  Details of 4th alternative position ("D" - 120753) discussed at BCs conference.  The location of alternative positions were as follows:-

"A" (210)

"B" (211)

"C" (212)

"D"

111759

113763

106753

120753

 

2130, 2140, 2210 - Counter mortar tasks engaged.

 

27th June 1944

Place: Normandy

 

A quiet night.  2 i/c's jeep stolen from Div Car Park that morning.  A small attack by 3 British Inf Div commenced south towards CAEN - first two objectives reached making an advance of ¾ mile.

 

2200 - The regiment engaged 3 hostile mortar positions.

 

2220 - 211 Bty engaged the hostile 150 mm battery at ROBEHOMME.  There was no retaliation and a quiet night was had.

 

28th June 1944

Place: Normandy

 

0700 - A harassing fire task by one battery on VARAVILLE X Rds.  An O.P. reported enemy concentrations of guns at 088655 (SE of CAEN).  The shoot on to this target was taken by the C.R.A.

 

1600 - C.O. in 12 Devons area 1373 reported the same guns and requested suitable equipment with which to engage; there was no equipment or ammunition available.  A new list of hostile batteries and mortars were issued.

 

2200 - 210 Bty & 212 Bty engaged on counter-mortar and counter-battery targets.

 

29th June 1944

Place: Normandy

 

0305 - 211 Bty engaged on a counter battery task.

 

0700 - Regiment fired on hostile mortars and hostile batteries.  A quiet day.

 

2330 - Capt CE Stone wounded at his O.P. 1472.  Died in early hours of the morning.

 

30th June 1944

Place: Normandy

 

C.O. arranged to have O.P. with 1st Canadian Para Bn withdrawn to Bn headquarters until a satisfactory O.P. had been constructed.

 

1415 - Capt CE Stone buried in the Church at RANVILLE.  A quiet day.

 

2230 - 210 Bty reported that one of their jeeps had been smashed by an enemy shell - total write off of jeep - no casualties.

 

 

Month and year: July 1944

Commanding Officer: Lt-Col ADM Teacher

 

1st July 1944

Place: Normandy

 

The month began quietly.  Passes were now required to cross the Canal bridge 1074 westwards.  210 Bty OP registered Target M 55 148747 for a fire plan in sp of 2 Ox Bucks on 3/7/44 - each tp was fired.  Hostile mortars and batteries engaged at night & during early morning.

 

2nd July 1944

Place: Normandy

 

0100 - Fire plan with 12 Devons - whole regt engaged.  Operation not too successful from inf point of view.

 

0900 - Service held in the field behind RHQ.  Various services held throughout the regt during the day.

 

1400 - Gen Crawford visited 211 Bty.  Gen Crawford is Director of Air at War Office.  Datum shoot by 210 Bty (this was laid down as a daily task to check against the meteor telegram received every 4 hrs from 127 Fd Regt RA).

 

2130 - Hostile mortar task for 210 Bty.

 

2145 - Hostile bty task for 211 Bty.  New system of RHQ duty officer in which east bty assists in turn.

 

3rd July 1944

Place: Normandy

 

0230 - Fire plan in sp of 2 Ox Bucks - this op was a success.  Capt Mertens slightly wounded in the arm - not incapacitated.

 

1500 - Visit of Lt-Gen Browning, Comd Airborne Forces, to the regt.  He stayed for almost 3 hrs, visiting each gun det in turn.  He stated that the regt was the first fd arty ever to be flown into action.  Two additional DF tasks added to Regtl List.  These DFs were part of the defence of BREVILLE.

 

2100 - Hostile mortar tasks by 210, 211 and 212 Btys.

 

2130 - New Hostile Mortar and Bty List issued from HQ RA.

 

4th July 1944

Place: Normandy

 

0400 - Shot on fire plan in sp of 12 Devons.  It was considered that the need for the "RA Support Net" no longer existed owing to a return to more normal conditions.  See Appx V.

 

1800 - A reversion to a normal RA Command Net was made - for details see appendix.  Major FE Allday who had been controlling the RA Support Net returned to resume his duties as 2nd-in-Comd of the Regt.  A duty bty for mortar tasks etc during the night was inaugurated.

 

5th July 1944

Place: Normandy

 

1200, 1210, 1220 - Engaged various counter mortar tasks.

 

1700 - Various counter mortar tasks given to the Regt - the Regt was ready to fire on them between 1930 and 2230.

 

2110 - Two Victor targets ordered - only one fired as the co-ordinates of the order arrived too late.  Hostile btys and mortars were engaged during the night to a small extent.

 

6th July 1944

Place: Normandy

 

Additional Victor targets given to the Regt, most of which were outside the Regtl Zone.

 

1100 - Factory chimney reported that ROBEHOMME church, which had been used as a ref pt was no longer there and BAVENT church was used in its place.  It was thought after enquiry by HQ RA that the boche himself had blown the church down.  The reason for this was not obvious since he could well have used it as an OP in the event of 6 A/B Div making an adv eastwards.  It was decided that at night the only wireless stations which were to remain on the "H" Net were control, the factory chimney and the duty bty.  Communication at night was to be primarily by line.  A glider in a nearby field was dug in and used as an officers' mess.

 

1850 - A Victor tgt was fired on BAVENT - a fire was caused in which the CRA expressed interest.  Thick black smoke which eventually died away was observed.

 

2200 - The RURs requested 2 minutes on a 210 Bty tgt A 11 at 0800 hrs 7 Jul -granted by CO.  More hostile mortar and bty tgts given to the Regt - ready from 1930 - 2230 hrs - none were engaged.

 

7th July 1944

Place: Normandy

 

0140-0150 - Harassing fire targets shot.

 

0600 - Machine gunning by hostile a/c - two minor cas.

 

0800 - Further machine gunning and cannon fire from 5 MEs.  Sweeping down the River Orne from the north.  D.M.A. east of bty gun posns suffered again and more amn went up in smoke.

 

0800 - Tgt A 11 fired.

 

1225 - Details of a tgt registration shoot with observation by an Air OP.  This registration entailed a series of 5 Mike tgts in connection with a fire plan to sp a 5 Para Bde attack.

 

1600 - The shoot with Air OP began.  After commencing the first registration, enemy a/c appeared and OP was forced to land.

 

1630 - A bty tgt shoot was conducted by the CRA on what was described as an enemy HQ.  This was ultimately registered as a Mike Tgt and co-ordinates passed to HQ RA.

 

1510 - Air OP shoot was commenced again and completed.  The fifth tgt was not observable by OP.  More Counter mortar tasks on which the Regt was to be ready between 1930 and 2230 hrs.  The mobile bath unit which was to have bathed 435 of the Regt by the river side was discovered finally to be non-workable with salt water as the salt clogged the pipes etc.  Personnel were able to get baths either at RANVILLE MDS or at a bathing installation at a local quarry.  They were able also to bathe in the River Orne.

 

2030 - A spectacular bombing of CAEN area was observed - a continuous stream of Lancasters passed over CAEN for an hour - few were hit by flak and dense clouds of smoke spread over the countryside from fires burning in CAEN.  The factory chimney OP was able to get a fairly good view of the raid until smoke obscured his vision.  HF and Hostile mortars allotted and fired.

 

8th July 1944

Place: Normandy

 

0400 - A hy arty barrage heard to the West.  This continued for 4 hrs and was part of the concerted attack on CAEN by 3 Cdn Div and 3 Br Div.

 

1540 - Orders were received from HQ RA to register an area 145766 - this was done by 211 Bty from an OP provided by 4 SS Bde.  Several Hostile mortars were engaged by sub-units.

 

2000 - An enemy bty was observed at 054629 and a med bty was obtained to fire on it.  During ranging a report was received from HQ RA that the corrections had made the med guns reach their maximum range.  HQ RA asked for a more satisfactory map ref in order to request the Air OP to take the shoot.  The CO then at the OP reported that the last ranging round was in the area and called for gunfire from the mediums but permission was not granted to engage.  Hostile mortars tasks detailed for engagement throughout the night.

 

9th July 1944

Place: Normandy

 

0040 - LO sent to HQ 51 (H) Div to receive orders for fire plan in sp of an attack on Columbelles.

 

0200 - Firing a fire plan commenced and continued until 0340 hrs.  It was learned during the day that the arty shooting during the attack on Columbelles was good.  As a result of the op several prisoners were taken - no ground was gained.

 

1200 - Hostile guns were engaged at 153721.  Hostile mortars engaged during the afternoon.

 

2220 - Several hostile mortar tasks were allotted to the Regt for engagement during the evening.  It was discovered by the CPO of 212 Bty that two of the mortar tasks were in the proximity of our own tps.  These tasks were subsequently cancelled.  A fresh list of Victor tgts were received by the Regt.  A quiet night.  No tgts were engaged.

 

10th July 1944

Place: Normandy

 

A quiet morning.  A fire plan with the 7th Para Bn was arranged.  This was in sp of a 7 Para Bn attack on a group of bldgs though to be a HQ.

 

1630 - Regiment was engaged on the fire plan.  The attack was not successful and the Regt was called upon by the CO who was with the inf to continue firing.  Approx 500 rds were fired on this fire plan during the afternoon.

 

2000 - Orders for harassing fire tasks (HF 13) at 152766 at 2300 hrs and 0600 hrs.

 

11th July 1944

Place: Normandy

 

A quiet day.  It was decided by the CRA that during the ensuing 2 days counter mortar tasks should only be fired in emergency.  The object was to give the enemy an opportunity to show himself.

 

2233, 2303 - Engaged on HF Task 13.

 

12th July 1944

Place: Normandy

 

0603 - Today the 107 HAA Regt came into action in the area OUISTREHAM and was allotted to 6 Airborne Div for use in a ground role.  No OPs were established by them but they were in wireless communication with both 150 Fd Regt and 53 Light Regt on the RA Command Net and use was to be made of the Regts OPs which covered the eastern front concerned.  In addition 107 HAA Regt was in line communication with this Regt and also on the Regtl domestic wireless net.

 

13th July 1944

Place: Normandy

 

An uneventful day.  A new trace giving slightly amended DF tasks was issued.  This was a 1 Corps trace and put DF tasks on a corps basis (NOTE: 1 Corps was now only responsible for the front E of the River Orne).

 

1930-2030 - HAA Regt was ranged on two tgts by our OPs.

 

2110, 2243 - Counter mortar tasks fired.

 

14th July 1944

Place: Normandy

 

0050-0120 - Guns were to be laid on tasks as per appendix so that they might be on call to assist in a propaganda broadcast operation.  They were not required.

 

0430 - Counter bty tasks for 14 Jul were issued.  These were given the code names SPLASH I, II, III.

 

1305 - Splash III fired by the whole Regt.  Orders were given for 107 HAA Regt, 53 Light Regt and 53 Med Regt to engage a concentration of hostile Neberwerfers at MR 1555 7412.  This was duly done at 1905 hrs.

 

2215 - A hostile bty was engaged by one sub-unit.

 

15th July 1944

Place: Normandy

 

0930 - Check rounds were fired on M7, 9 and 11.  (the tgts registered by the Air Op on Jul 7) one bty on each tgt - observed by Air OP.

 

1745 - Target M 48 and Hostile Mortar 114 were registered and observed by Air OP.  Tgt M 15 was also registered, on the request of the CO.  The registration was not too successful as the ranging bty omitted to cancel smoke for pivot gun ordered by the Air OP for the first salvo ranging round.  The result was that the smoke tended to obscure the tgt and accurate observation was not possible.

 

1830 - 210 Bty fired an old friend M 8 on the request of the forward inf who were being troubled with mortaring from that area.

 

1900 - 212 Bty engaged 4 hostile mortars scale 2 on the request of the inf.  A HF task 182723 for 1 tp to be fired 3 times during the night.

 

16th July 1944

Place: Normandy

 

An uneventful day.  211 Bty OPs were relieved by 212 Bty the former taking over the factory chimney commitment.

 

1810 - A fire plan by the Regt on a suspected enemy HQ.

 

2026 - Several Hostile mortars and btys engaged by sub-units.

 

17th July 1944

Place: Normandy

 

A change in OP allotment.  211 Bty were to provide OPs to 1 and 4 SS Bdes to look after their front.  OC 211 Bty was to be permanently with 4 SS Bde HQ.  211 Bty relinquished its responsibility for the factory chimney OP and 53 Light Regt were no longer responsible for manning it.  Visit of General Montgomery to 6 A/B Div for presentation of decorations.  107 HAA Regt severed its connection temporarily with 6 A/B Div.

 

1745 - Counter mortar programme received from HQ RA - Scale to engage was omitted - included later.  An additional 200 r.p.g. were obtained (total 600 r.p.g) for the 18th July.

 

18th July 1944

Place: Normandy


A fresh offensive SE of CAEN was started at 0600 hrs by hy aerial bombardment on Columbelles and villages east, firstly by British planes with HE bombs and then by American a/c with fragmentation bombs.  Tps taking part in the attack: 3 Br Inf Div, 3 Cdn Div, 51 (H) Div, 7, 11 and Guards Armd Div.  The role of the Regt was to engage and neutralise hostile btys and mortars to the east who were or were likely to be shelling and mortaring our tps in their adv south.  A busy morning.  The Regt engaged 10 hostile mortars and 2 hostile btys between 0855 and midday.  Hostile guns were engaged at intervals throughout the day.

 

1640 - 210 Bty fired a tp tgt in sp of a RUR patrol which went out possibly to ascertain whether the enemy on our front showed any signs of pulling out eastwards as was half expected.

 

1830, 1835 - The Air OP engaged areas 157721 and 157711 with 1 tp salvo smoke on each in order to mark possible bounds of areas containing 6-barrelled mortars.

 

2230 - A mock attack was staged by 8 Para Bn in which no inf took part buy 1 tp of 212 Bty fired on DF task 350 and another on X rds 1550 7226 for 15 minutes.

 

2337 - 212 Bty fired 6 rounds gunfired on M 421 on request from 13 Para Bn.

 

2400 - Attack by enemy a/c on LZ where A Ech of attacking Div were drawn up.  Several fires started.

 

19th July 1944

Place: Normandy

 

A quiet day.  Tgt M 19 was prepared for firing.  This tgt consisted of 2 frontages each of 200 yds, the centre points of which were 14970, 72150 and 15000 72100.  As airbursts were to be used, 211 Bty discovered the fuze correction by observed shooting from its OP at Sallenelles.

 

1841, 1900, 1908 - 211 and 212 Btys fired on Tgt M 19 - believed enemy mortar concentration.  25 Fd Regt came under comd 6 A/B Div for one night only.  A line was laid from their RHQ to our own.  210 Bty was given four harassing fire tasks for the night - one gun on each task firing at irregular intervals throughout the night.  An order was received from the CRA that in the event of hostile aircraft appearing in the vicinity during the night all firing would cease.  Btys were ordered to keep a daily log of events and timings which was to be fwded each day to RHQ.  This was to prove invaluable for purposes of checking.

 

20th July 1944

Place: Normandy

 

107 HAA Regt returned on partial attachment to the Regt once again.  OP at Sallenelles was asked to observe a shoot by this Regt to verify the co-ordinates of a harassing fire task but OP was unable to observe.  A quiet day.  In the afternoon the rains came, taking everyone unawares - there was a great deal of water in all dugouts and clothes were by no means dry.

 

2025 - The Regt fired 3 hostile mortar tasks.  Due to a misunderstanding 211 Bty fired a DF task bearing the same number.

 

2230 - Regt fired Victor tgt 961.  The CO directed that calculations and arty board work for SOS and DF tasks be checked in each bty by an offr not below the rk of capt.  No tasks were given to the Regt during the night.

 

21st July 1944

Place: Normandy

 

A further day of rain.  Visibility was particularly bad and a check datum point shoot by each gun in the Regt to be observed by the CO was cancelled.

 

1850, 1905 - Counter mortar tasks fired by the Regt.  Batteries were to be on call to fire certain mortar tasks between 0315 and 0345 hrs 22 Jul.  Additional DF tasks were received during the day.  212 Bty was given 4 harassing fire tasks - one gun on each task to expend 100 rds per gun at irregular intervals between 0030 and 0500 hrs.  The tgts engaged were supply routes.  It was pointed out by OC 212 Bty that some wireless frequencies allotted were not very satisfactory for working at night from OPs as interference was often too great - he pointed out that this was particularly inconvenient as enemy shelling activity precluded one from placing any great reliance on line communication.

 

22nd July 1944

Place: Normandy

 

Counter mortar tasks on call were not required.  Hostile mortars engaged during the morning and afternoon.

 

1600 - The check datum shoot was conducted and each gun's performance was checked.

 

1824 - Regt engaged on a hostile bty scale 10.

 

2000 - OP commitments of the Regt at 3 and 5 Para Bdes were taken over by 150 Fd Regt.  RA LOs at 4 SS Bde, 6 Airldg Bde, 3 and 5 Para Bdes still provided by the Regt.

 

2000 - LOs were called in from btys to receive orders for a fire plan with the 4 SS Bde to take place at approx 0430 hrs 23 Jul.  Three tgts COW, LION and TIGER were allotted to 210, 212, 211 Btys respectively and the CPOs calculations were checked by the Regtl Survey Offr.  Four Victor tgts were given to the Regt for firing during the night.

 

23rd July 1944

Place: Normandy

 

0454 - Regt shot on its fire plan.  It was subsequently learned that the op had been a success for all points of view and that several prisoners had been taken, including one officer, by the Commandos.  All prisoners were anxious to talk and one, a Sudeten German, whose ambition seemed to be to damage as many of his friends as much as possible, gave very valuable infm about rest areas and supply pts, providing new meat for harassing fire tasks.  Hostile btys and mortars were engaged throughout the day.

 

1725 - 210 Bty fired "REVENGE".  This tgt 156742 thought to be an enemy HQ, was laid on to be fired every time an enemy mortar in the area opened up.  The call for fire was to be the one word "Revenge" and 210 Bty would, assuming it had no other commitments, immediately fire 6 rds gunfire.  The CO at his conference laid down that maintenance parties for the "Mortrep" communications should be provided by btys on a 6-day roster.  An officer from the bty providing the party to ensure daily that communications are satisfactory by visiting posts daily.  Harassing fire tasks on points supplied by prisoners infm (211 Bty).

 

24th July 1944

Place: Normandy

 

0550 & 0615 - Regt engaged on 2 Victor tgts.  From 1205 to 1305 hrs 8 Victor tgts (Airbursts) were fired.

 

1500 - A hostile bty was engaged by the Regt and observed by the Air OP.

 

2020 - The Air OP called for a harassing fire tgt which it was subsequently discovered could not be observed due to bad visibility.  Harassing fire tasks for the night allotted to 212 Bty between the hours of 2332 and 0022 hrs.

 

2300 - Several bombs were dropped in the vicinity of regtl posns by enemy a/c who were presumably bombing the bridges.

 

25th July 1944

Place: Normandy

 

Harassing fire, hostile mortars and Victor tgts engaged during the day.  A check was made by all RA LOs at their various bde HQ that they had up to date records of Mike and Victor tgts, HF and DF tasks.

 

26th July 1944

Place: Normandy

 

1130, 1205 - An Air OP Registration with 211 Bty for 2 Mike Tgts both on supply routes.

 

1340 - Hostile mortars engaged.

 

2315 - Two Victor tgts engaged.

 

2345 - 1 gun of 211 Bty was given harassing fire tasks for the night between 2330 and 0500 hrs.

 

27th July 1944

Place: Normandy

 

0130 - A bombing attack by enemy a/c on the div area was carried out on a larger scale than usual.  What was originally thought to be a heavy bombing on the bridges was subsequently discovered to be a general "strafing" of the div area.  No personal casualties were suffered in the Regt despite several extremely close HE bombs and showers of anti-personnel bombs.  Some minor damage was done to half-a-dozen vehs.  A quiet morning and afternoon.  Btys fired several bty tgts.

 

2100 - 2 btys, 210 and 212 engaged on a Victor tgt at BURES 1769 - 211 Bty were unable to engage due to the extreme range of the tgt.  The shoot was very successful and clouds of smoke were observed from the tgt area.  A counter mortar bombard task table was received containing 4 bombards upon which btys were to be prepared to fire as from 1200 hrs 28 Jul.  211 Bty were on harassing fire tasks (Varaville X rds and Briqueville X rds) from 2223 to 0548 hrs.

 

28th July 1944

Place: Normandy

 

0915 - 211 Bty engaged on a Mike tgt registration (LE HOME Church 1879).  Hostile mortars engaged at various times throughout the day.  210 Bty fired "Revenge" three times during the day.  A new adv on the west, south of the Cherbourg peninsular was reported by the BBC - no details were available but it was thought that it might be a push of some considerable proportions.  210 Bty engaged a harassing fire task throughout the night.

 

29th July 1944

Place: Normandy

 

1028 - A hostile Bty engaged west of PETITVILLE 1174, 4 bombards were fired during the day in accordance with the Bombard Table.  A speed response was obtained from the btys.

 

2357 - One hostile mortar engaged by 211 Bty.  211 Bty moved 1 troop to its alternative posn behind RHQ to fire harassing fire on Varaville X rds during the night.  Telephonic communication was laid directly between this tp and RHQ.  210 Bty fired "Revenge" 5 times during the day.  This has now become a popular item with the forward inf who almost look forward to being mortared in order to hear our shells whistling over their heads immediately afterwards.  A message was received from HQ RA that there would be no firing during periods of enemy activity except when in direct sp of our own tps and when firing corps tasks.  Notes on harassing fire received - they included the following points:-

(1) Harassing fire on roads by night (3 to 4 guns required).

(2) Anticipated that Air OP co-op will be available for spotting day movement in which went one or more regts will be detailed to answer calls for fire.

(3) Special harassing fire posns should be used.

(4) Fire to be intermittent, irregular, covering a frontage of 100 yards sweeping and searching if necessary.

(5) Determination of fuze length for airburst shooting (OPs at HAUGER 1371 and at Factory Chimney).

 

30th July 1944

Place: Normandy

 

Harassing fire tasks table 30/31 Jul received Regt engaged on hostile mortar tasks during the day.  210 Bty fired "Revenge" twice.  212 Bty went to its alternative posn to shoot its night harassing fire tasks.  As from 0900 hrs a new Shell Rep Net was brought into operation which allowed the RA Command Net in theory to remain free of all but the most urgent shell reports.  The net consists of HQ RA and the RA LOs at brigade HQ.  A new allocation of wireless frequencies was made to the Regt.  These frequencies issued to 211 and 212 Btys were too high to permit the use of 68 sets on their domestic net.  The use of these sets in such a way has proved itself of value in the past as it enabled an FOO to pass orders directly back on his btys net without the use of a relaying set.  The signals offr was asked to obtain frequencies which would permit this use - this was done.

 

31st July 1944

Place: Normandy

 

A quiet day from the point of view of shooting.  One bombard was fired at 1510 hrs.  A considerable change over took place on the div front.  3 Br Inf Div and 51 (H) Div were withdrawn into Army Reserve and the front of the 6th Airborne Div was extended.  The Regt was placed in sp of 4 SS Bde and 6 Airldg Bde in the north.  The mortar rep situation was affected and fresh orders were issued on the subject.  In order to obtain greater range, the Regt was ordered to move to fresh posns east of the River Orne.  The CO held a conference and recces were carried out of the gun posns previously occupied by 126 Fd Regt (15 (H) Div) in areas 1173 and 1174.  210 Bty moved to its alternative posn to fire night harassing fire tasks.

 

 

Month and year: August 1944

Commanding Officer: Lt-Col ADM Teacher

 

1st August 1944

Place: Normandy

 

In the morning HF tasks were fired on VARAVILLE X rds 1975 with an amn expenditure of 200 rds.  Several Mike tgts were fired during the day including one on an enemy working party at 149760.

 

2nd August 1944

Place: Normandy

 

0625-0655 - An early morning target on an enemy breakfast party.  It had been ascertained by SS Bde patrols that a breakfast queue formed in a wood and the  Gde Ferme du Buisson area 1476 every morning they were given the appropriate welcome by the fire of 2 btys at 0625, 0635,  0642 and 0655 hrs.  Mike tgts engaged during the day.  "Dog" bombarded once.  212 Bty to be on harassing fire task from 0225 hrs to 0520 hrs 3 Aug.

 

3rd August 1944

Place: Normandy

 

0200 - New Regtl frequency allotment taken into effect.

 

0945 - The Regt moved to its new position east of the River Orne.  (For exact posn see map "Regimental Advance 17 - 22 Aug).  HQ RA ordered a change in DF SOS Task which was to be temporary only.  Bty Comds were instructed to find out from the inf they were supporting any DF SOS tasks which the inf Comd would like.  Hostile btys and mortars engaged during the day.  One Victor tgt fired.  211 Bty reported finding enemy anti-tank amn on their new gun posn (107 rds).  It was reported by 210 Bty that during the registration of tgts by one of its OPs, enemy mortars were active.  This was thought to be for the purpose of confusing our own observation.

 

4th August 1944

Place: Normandy

 

From midday a fairly active firing period.

 

1600 - Concentrations and HF task tables received from HQ RA.  These tgts were all fired upon.  All 3 btys were ordered to have Bombed "Dog" as their DF SOS task night and day (except 210 Bty who were to be laid on M8 from 2200 - 0700 hrs nightly.  Guns to remain unloaded except between the hours of 2200 and 0600 hrs.  It was decided that in view of the regular nightly occurrence of HF tasks, there should be a HF battery detailed in addition to the duty bty.  Both these btys to remain open on the "H" net during the night.  211 Bty was ordered to obtain fuze correction twice daily, circulating the result through RHQ to the remaining btys.

 

5th August 1944

Place: Normandy

 

An uneventful day.  Several hostile btys engaged.  "Dog" bombarded at 1835 hrs.  Amn expenditure limited to 30 r.p.g. daily wef 1600 hrs.  HF Task table for 5/6 Aug.

 

6th August 1944

Place: Normandy

 

1220 - 211 Bty was ordered to lay on a hostile mortar task as an SOS task, to be fired on receipt of the code word "COBRA".  "Dog" bombarded during the afternoon.

 

2000 - 212 Bty ordered to lay on a hostile bty as an SOS task to be fired on receipt of the code word "VIPER".  Neither COBRA nor VIPER were fired.  It was decided that all guns should be loaded, both day and night when laid on their DF SOS tasks.

 

7th August 1944

Place: Normandy

 

0355-0930 - Tasks fired by the Regt in sp 49 Div in the Troarn area.  Hostile mortars and btys were engaged throughout the day.  No harassing fire tasks during the night.  RA 6 Airborne Div Operation Instruction re a further extension of the Div front to the South.  4 SS Bde was to take over the Troarn sector from 49 Div and the 5 Para Bde to come out of the reserve and take over the northern (Sallenelles) sector.  53 Light Regt now in sp 5 Para Bde and 6 A/L Bde.  The counter mortar organisation to remain the same with its plotting centre at 5 Para Bde HQ under Lt Hastings RA.

 

8th August 1944

Place: Normandy

 

0500-0700 - Concentrations fired as per concentration table issued by HQ RA.  Course shooting for officers commenced today from an OP in the HAUGER area.  This was continued for some days and proved to be extremely valuable training for officers who normally did not get the opportunity of conducting shoots.  The CO ordered that wireless remote controls should be used to the OP to ensure their good working order.  Preliminary orders were received from 6 Airldg Bde re Exercise "PADDLE", an operation which was to take place in the event of the withdrawal of enemy tps from the Divisional front.  An adv was to be made in which 53 A/L Lt Regt was to be in sp of 6 A/L Bde.  BCs were instructed to liaise with their respective bn comds the following morning.

 

9th August 1944

Place: Normandy

 

0800-1000 - 2 guns of 212 Bty engaged on a harassing fire task with an amn expenditure of 50 r.p.g.  A quiet day except for a counter mortar programme.  An order was received that there was to be no firing on the 4 SS Bde front (Troarn area) until further notice.

 

10th August 1944

Place: Normandy

 

No harassing fire tasks during the night of 9-10 Aug.

 

1430 - A datum point shot was conducted with all tps pivot guns.  Hostile mortars engaged during the afternoon and evening.  The CO of 1 Belg Fd Bty arrived and was shown the gun posns on the banks of the River Orne, previously occupied by the Regt.  It was confirmed today that for all items of fire sp other than barrages the initial timing of any task should be that at which the shells arrive on the tgt and not the time at which the guns fire.  For Divisional dispositions as at 10 Aug see Appx VIII.

 

11th August 1944

Place: Normandy

 

No harassing fire tasks during the night of 10-11 Aug.

 

1430 - The survey of the Regt was checked again by the CO with a Datum Point shoot, and was found to be satisfactory.  "Charlie" and "Dog" were bombarded during the afternoon and evening.  6 Airldg Bde Op Order No 5 (PADDLE) issued.

 

12th August 1944

Place: Normandy

 

An uneventful shooting day during which several hostile mortars were engaged.  The 1 Belg Gp and Royal Netherlands Gp came under the comd of 6 A/L Bde, the Belgians taking over the Sallenelles - Hauger sector previously occupied by 5 Para Bde and the Royal Netherlands Gp the position previously occupied by the centre bn of 6 Airldg Bde.  The Royal Netherlands Tp Fd Arty (4 25-pdr guns) came under comd of 53 Airldg Lt Regt and was incorporated in the Regtl "H" Net.  The positions of Regtl RALOs and OP offrs remained unchanged.

 

13th August 1944

Place: Normandy

 

Hostile mortars engaged during the day.  Operation Order No 1 issued by the Regt for "PADDLE".  For the purpose of this operation the Royal Netherlands Fd Tp Arty and the "X" Armd Bty to be under comd 53 Light Regt.  210 Bty engaged on a harassing fire task SE of BAVENT from 2300 hrs 13 Aug to 0500 hrs 14 Aug - to have an amn expenditure of 200 rds in all.

 

14th August 1944

Place: Normandy

 

An uneventful firing day.  It was decided by HQRA that Uncle Tgt procedure needed to be practiced.  With this end in view the afternoon and evening of 15 Aug and 16 Aug was to be utilised for practicing Uncle Tgts.  The Regt was allotted the HAUGER OP with a choice of tgts in the FRANCEVILLE PLAGE area.  The artillery available:- 150 Fd Regt, 191 Fd Regt, 60 HAA Regt, 1 Belg Fd Bty and 53 Light Regt.  Scale 2 per Regt was to be expended at fire for effect.  Communications to be via the RA Command Net.

 

15th August 1944

Place: Normandy

 

Three Uncle Tgts fired by the Regt between 1300 hrs and 1715 hrs.  The first at 1300 hrs conducted by the CO acting as the CRAs Rep, had a successful result but was somewhat marred by bad communication.  The second and third Uncle Tgts were conducted by reps from 150 Fd Regt and 191 Fd Regt.

 

16th August 1944

Place: Normandy

 

Attempts to continue Uncle Tgts practice were unsuccessful today owing to bad visibility.  One section 210 Bty was given a harassing fire task in the BRIQUEVILLE area to engage from 0115 to 0700 hrs with a total amn expenditure of 200 rds.  Reports were received from 6 A/L Bde that the enemy was believed to be pulling out eastwards.  This was based upon infm received from deserters.  See Appx XI.  The GOC stated that if in fact the enemy had pulled out he did not want to see the division sitting down the following morning.  The CO ordered FOOs to report to their respective bns immediately and ordered that the Regt should be prepared to embark upon PADDLE.

 

17th August 1944

Place: Normandy

 

0420 - Orders from BM RA 6 Airborne Div that the Regt must be prepared to cease firing on HF 2 at any moment.

 

0550 - Reported that fighting patrols from 6 A/L Bde were going out to feel for the enemy.  The fact that the enemy had withdrawn was established and the two leading bns of 6 A/L Bde began their adv, 211 Bty FOOs advancing with the bns on GREEN route (North) and 212 Bty FOOs on RED route (south).  The areas from which the enemy had withdrawn were found to be heavily mined and progress was slow.  Sniping and some machine gunning held up tps at 149762 (north of LONGUEMARE X rds) but they were able to move on after a successful close tgt shoot by 211 Bty prior to their continuing.  The Regiment moved in the late afternoon along the route taken by 1 RUR into an area north of BAVENT, recces having been carried out by the Second in Comd with the assistance of Div REs and mine detectors.  En route, several "old favourites" of Regtl tgts, including M8 (at 146735) were seen to have been effective.  RHQ established in a deep bomb crater.  The Dutch Tp Fd Arty under comd were brought fwd to the area 153747 and were in action as darkness fell.  Forward tps of 6 A/L Bde had by nightfall reached the coast rd west of LE HOME SUR MER and were also occupying the GONNEVILLE SUR MERVILLE area.  The 1 SS Bde on the right flank were in the western VARAVILLE 1875.

 

18th August 1944

Place: Normandy

 

0100 - Operation order received for the artillery sp in connection with the 5 Para Bde advance towards DOZULE 2673.  53 A/L Lt Regt was to remain in sp of 6 A/L Bde and was given a rep from the 60 HAA Regt to assist.  1 Belgian Fd Bty was placed u/c of the Regt and the bty itself moved into the area 151676 (north of the Regimental gun area) at 1000 hrs.  The Regt took its first prisoner of war.  Lt SS Aylard, investigating a chateau at 167752 discovered a lone German soldier in one of the rooms.  He gave himself up quite quietly stating that his comrades had left the night before but that he thought it was "Too far to walk" so he had stayed where he was.  He was found to be carrying a large number of metal knick-knacks which he said they had been ordered to collect - presumably a scrap metal campaign.  SOS tasks of X rds in CABOURG 2179 were given to the btys.  Fairly strong opposition was being encountered from stray points on the outskirts of CABOURG.  210 Bty OPs were up with the fwd tps along the coast rd.  No more for the Regt today.  The principal activity was on the right flank of 6 A/L Bde where 5 Para Bde supported by 150 Fd Regt were pushing on through GOUSTRANVILLE 2271.

 

19th August 1944

Place: Normandy

 

0400 - Instructions were issued from HQ RA as to artillery sp of the inf in the event of a successful penetration through Goustranville.  The 4 SS Bde received 191 Fd Regt under its comd for its adv along the div axis GOUNSTRANVILLE - DOZULE - X rds 4201.  53 A/L Lt Regt to sp 1 SS Bde in addition to 6 A/L Bde and OC 211 Bty was sent to liaise with 1 SS Bde.  During the day several tgts were engaged on the high ground east of the River DIVES.  The Canadian Centaur Bty (X Armd Bty) was taken from under comd of the Regt and given instructions to cross the bridge at TROARN as soon as the REs had made them fit to cross, and to advance to the GOUNSTRANVILLE area.

 

2100 - The Regt received details of a fire plan which was to support an adv by 1 and 4 SS Bdes on to the high ground east of the River DIVES in the BRUCOURI 2274 area.  This fire plan was in the form of a series of DF tasks each with a code name, called for if and when necessary by a 211 Bty FOO with the fwd tps.  In order to facilitate communications between FOO and Regt a step-up wireless set was sent out to assist.

 

20th August 1944

Place: Normandy

 

There were no calls for fire during the night.  Several times during the morning "Worthington" was called for (i.e. fire in the area "LA COUTURE" 2476).

 

1200 - Orders received for the Regt to move with the object of supporting 6 A/L Bde in a further advance.  2nd-in-Comd carried out a reconnaissance of an area west of GOUSTRANVILLE in conjunction with the Bty CPOs and at 1400 hrs the Regt moved, via LE MESNIL X rds and TROARN, whose bridges were now fit for traffic.  The first bty (211) were in posn by 1535 hrs.

 

2200 - "Worthington" fired again with infm that the enemy were withdrawing.  In the late evening the Regt was given orders to sp 3 Para Bde in an adv eastwards and a conference of BCs was called at RHQ, attended also by reps from 191 Fd Regt, 150 Fd Regt, and 65 Med Regt.  The CO was called to HQ RA for a change of plan - the Regt was to revert to the sp of 6 A/L Bde who had been brought down into a concentration area at ST RICHER 2069 preparatory to a move forward to the high ground north of DOZULE.  The CO was instructed to report to HQ 6 A/L Bde with a CRAs rep (OC 211 Bty).  210 Bty FOOs with 2 Ox & Bucks.

 

21st August 1944

Place: Normandy

 

This was a day of almost unopposed advance for the 6 A/L Bde.  2 Ox Bucks and 12 Devons advancing on foot made good progress and at 1300 hrs the Regt was ordered to move to new areas.  A series of "leap frog" bty posns - 211 Bty moving first, followed by 212 Bty, with 210 Bty moving last into the new Regtl gun area.  The move was made through country which the 1 SS Bde had been clearing the previous day - at the leapfrog area of 212 Bty, Commandos were still engaged in clearing enemy snipers from neighbouring farm buildings when the Bty CPO was preparing the gun positions.  There was now increasing signs of recent enemy occupation and various French civilians pointed out enemy gun posns occupied until the night of 20 Aug.  Final Regtl posns established on the high ground north of DOZULE at approximately 1700 hrs.  DF and HF tasks allotted to btys for night.

 

22nd August 1944

Place: Normandy

 

0230 - HF tasks shot.

 

0400 - At first light a company of 12 Devons with a 210 Bty FOO pushed from the rd triangle 3078 in a southerly semicircular movement to BRANVILLE 4003 - which was found clear of enemy - no arty fire was necessary.  The main 6 A/L Bde adv continued in a north easterly direction.

 

1130 - The Regt received orders for a rapid move as the inf were advancing swiftly.  210 Bty moved first into an individual bty posn at 4006.  The remainder of the Regt behind the 2 Ox Bucks moved into a Regtl gun area VAUVILLE 4207 - TOURGEVILLE 4308 with RHQ establishing a temporary HQ in the same field as the intermediate 210 Bty posn.  All sub-units were finally settled in the Regtl area by the late afternoon, the Dutch troop of artillery being brought up to the intermediate position vacated by 210 Bty.  The fine weather and the complete absence of war damage made this days advance a very pleasant one.  However, in order to remind us that they had not entirely disappeared the enemy sent several shells into the village of TOURGEVILLE in the evening from the east bank of the River TOUQUES.  OC 210 Bty decided that his bty gun area was an unsuitable as it was overlooked by the high ground east of the river.  He therefore requested permission to move, and occupied a new posn in square 4209.

 

Infantry situation night of 22 Aug.  1 RUR along west bank of River TOUQUES south of the rd TOURGEVILLE - TOUQUES.  2 Ox Bucks pushing on to the high ground west of the River and south of Deauville.  12 Devons in reserve in the area round triangle 3078.  The Belgian Bde advancing on DEAUVILLE.

 

23rd August 1944

Place: Normandy

 

There occurred no change in the immediate front during the day.  Reports from forward OPs on the high ground overlooking the east bank of the River Touques indicated that the enemy appeared to be digging in to a limited extent.

 

1030 - A datum point shoot was conducted - the results were satisfactory.  Various battery targets were registered and engaged during the day.  211 Bty FOOs were now with 1 RUR who during the afternoon sent fighting patrols across the River Touques with the object of probing the enemy strength:- finding some stiffish opposition they withdrew under cover of smoke provided by 211 Bty.  A quite day from the Regtl point of view except for several more shells sent over in the evening by the enemy.

 

2200 - A French civilian brought into RHQ by a Belgian LO produced a German map on which was marked fixed German bty posns south and east of Trouville.  The civilian was able to vouch for and describe the positions in some cases and the CO decided on several hostile bty tgts for the regt for the following morning at 0900 and 0915 hrs.

 

24th August 1944

Place: Normandy

 

Restriction on firing east of the River Touques indicated that the advance was to continue.  Bridges over the river had been blown and no bridging equipment was available north of PONT LEVEQUE where REs were constructing bridges for the advance on that sector.  Improvisation was necessary as 2 Ox Bucks and 1 RUR had already ferried their inf across the river and were advancing rapidly.  A ferry service at TOUQUES was being organised, assisted by civilians, for the transport of inf vehicles and it was decided to have a similar arrangement for the crossing over of the Regt.  The 2nd-in-Comd and bty captains fixed up with the assistance of a small barge, glider loading ramps and tow ropes a means of ferrying across a jeep and a gun in one trip.  FOOs from the Regt had crossed over the river with 68 sets and were with forward inf.  A representative from 60 HAA Regt was ferried across on the "Regimental ferry" as early as possible so that he might be able to call for the fire of his regiment on targets out of range to 53 Light Regt.  In the afternoon, 210 Bty was brought into action as far forward as possible west of the river into the area 4509.  G Tp 211 Bty was ferried across the river in the afternoon but the process was essentially slow.  The remainder of the Regt were routed via the PONT LEVEQUE bridges to the new gun area east of the River TOUQUES.  It was found however that the bridges at RONCHEVILLE 4905 were negotiable and consequently the Regt except the heavy vehicles were able to avoid the congested bottleneck of PONT LEVEQUE.  The Regt was established in its night Regtl gun area north of ST PHILIBERT X rds 5111, 311 Bty being in a particularly interesting HAA site on which the enemy had constructed elaborate underground dugouts.  The inf were reported to have reached HONFLEUR.

 

25th August 1944

Place: Normandy

 

This morning there was another fairly rapid move due to the swift adv of the inf.  12 Devons were advancing from HONFLEUR and 2 Ox Bucks eastwards from St Philibert area.  There were 2 Regtl positions following a single battery posn astride the HONFLEUR - PONT LEVEQUE rd 543133.  The first regtl posn was occupied only until midday.  The move to the second area at le Gros Ghêne 5913 gave the Regt its first view of the River SEINE.  From this posn a considerable amount of firing was done by the regt, the principal targets being observed retreating enemy.  Targets numbered M 150 and M 152 were engaged by the regt at 5 mins normal and Scale 20 (repeated scale 10) respectively on orders from OC 212 Bty who was with 2 Ox Bucks.  In the evening 1 RUR was given the task of passing through 2 Ox Bucks during the night and advancing to BERVILLE SUR MER 6619 before daybreak with the object of cutting off any enemy between BERVILLE and River LA MORETTE.  OC 211 Bty gave the CO details of the move and it was arranged for the regt to have several DF and HF tasks ready in support.  The FOOs with the advancing inf were to be OC D Troop with the leading company and OC 211 Bty with bn HQ 1 RUR.  In order that communication should not breakdown two step-up wireless sets were arranged, one being the 212 Bty FOO set with the 2 Ox Bucks (area 6112 and operative for the first part of the move) the other being the 210 Bty FOO set with 12 Devons (area 6116 and operative for the second part of the move.)  It was important that communication should not breakdown since the inf had taken no wireless sets themselves and the reporting of the progress of their advance to Bde HQ was therefore a Regimental responsibility.

 

26th August 1944

Place: Normandy

 

No news as to the progress of the 1 RUR was received until almost first light when report lines were given, indicating the posn of fwd tps to be half-way to BERVILLE, having met no opposition during the night.  At 0730 hrs the 2 Ox Bucks began advancing once more eastwards in the direction of FOULBEC 7014 and the Regt prepared to move.  This was again a day on which two Regtl positions were occupied.  The first position was quite a brief one, enabling some members of the Regt to study the results of targets M150 and M 152 where the dead bodies of the enemy bore silent testimony to successful shooting.  The inhabitants of the house in whose orchard RHQ was established showed their feelings on being liberated by producing large quantities of fruit and drink including champagne saved for victory celebrations.  German gunners had left the orchard the previous evening.  The second regtl area LA BIGRERIE 6613 moved into during the afternoon was destined to be the last posn in which the regt was in action.  The 6 Airldg Bde now reached the approximate line of the River RISLE from the Seine of FOULBEC.  1 RUR and 12 Devons in the north and 2 Ox Bucks in the South.  The troops of the division were informed that the final divisional objective had been reached and that although they were still technically in action they would be resting.

 

27th August 1944

Place: Normandy

 

The last day for the rgt in action.  A fairly quiet day with much speculation as to the future movements of the Division in general and the regt in particular.  At midday the Regt was ordered to come out of action and proceed to a rear rest area to be chosen by the CO.  The 2nd-in-Comd and bty captains set off on a recce and an area 3 kilometres south west of HONFLEUR was finally selected as it provided pleasant surroundings and good accommodation and was within easy reach of both TROUVILLE and HONFLEUR in which towns a certain amount of entertainment could be found.  In the village of EQUEMANVILLE a large empty house which for the past 4 years had been used as a German headquarters was found to be suitable for a Regimental Offrs Mess.  So in the afternoon of the 27 Aug, the Regt came out of action for the first time since landing in France.

 

(1) The principal tactical events of the day from the domestic point of view were two interesting patrols in which Regtl FOOs took part.  210 Bty "O" Party in sp 12 Devons at GONTREVILLE maintained one OP in church tower overlooking hills EAST of R.RISLE.  No enemy move was observed and 12 Devons were not patrolling Eastwards.  At about 1600 hrs an arty patrol of the Bty Comd and the two tp comds moved furtively to the West bank; intention to find whether any enemy remained on the east bank as likely arty tgts.  They crossed the river in a boat brought across by a civilian hailed by them.  Local population stated that between 200 and 300 enemy had been in area the previous night, clearly resting en route and had left at 1300 hrs for QUILLEBOEUF where they intended to cross the SEINE by raft at night.  One POLISH deserted then appeared and surrendered: from 731 Inf Regt.  Leaving the prisoner with the local civilians the patrol moved up the hillside and "liberated" the village of LA ROCQUE.  Great enthusiasm from the natives.  Patrol moved to hill top giving excellent view of flat country as far as the SEINE and QUILLEBOEUF.  Having scouted around the patrol returned collecting prisoner en route and reported as above to 12 Devons at about 1930 hrs.  Prisoner was disobeying MT standing orders by smoking a cigar in X truck and was handed over to the inf bn.

 

(2) "C" Coy of the 2nd Ox Bucks had on 26 Aug taken up a posn on the heights to the west of FOULBEC.  An OP was established on the hillside with a good command of the demolished bridge over the River RISLE.  Enemy movement was seen in the neighbourhood of a house about 2000 yds away on the far side of the river.  212 Bty engaged the area around the house during the hours of daylight expending approximately 200 rds.  By this time the enemy were crawling where a few hours previously they had been walking upright.  On 27 Aug further movement was observed in the area and fire was brought down several times.  By 1700 hrs the house itself had had 5 direct hits.  OC 212 Bty was the first to observe a white flat - a white sheet hung out of a top storey window waving in the breeze.  Two more quickly appeared.  "C" Coy 2 Ox Bucks were asked for a fighting patrol and a jeep, trailer and MMG with an officer and 4 men were produced.  In anticipation of treachery a 68 set and a Verey pistol were taken to bring down supporting fire.  As soon as the OP party and patrol reached the river they received a setback - a 30-ft gap in the bridge a strong flowing deep river and no boat or raft.  They approached the bank cautiously and waited.  Presently a solitary Hun appeared on the other side with a white bandage round his steel helmet.  From him they gathered that 6 more were still at the house and the rest had fled.  It was therefore imperative to get across the river.  So the infantry officer and the OP officer stripped down to their BD trousers and vests and carrying a sten gun apiece attempted to swim the river.  After a struggle both officers and one sten gun reached the other side.  Boots and socks were flung across the gap and two semi-clothed officers were presently marching up the road with the Hun a few paces ahead.  They reached the house and tgt area and found an anti-tank gun complete and sighted to cover the bridge and road and the layout of a coy position.  At the house they took 3 wounded and 4 unharmed prisoners without any difficulty.  Everywhere there were signs of a precipitous flight.  Two dead were lying outside an outhouse, a car complete but without any petrol stood in the roadway loaded with 3 officers kit.  The remains of a handcart which had received a direct hit were strewn about in the ditches.  Clothing equipment and arms of all kinds were lying about in the slit trenches and outhouses.  The prisoners made it clear by signs that the Arty fire had been too much for them.

 

29th to 31st August 1944

Place: Normandy

 

The Regt at rest.  General cleaning up was the order of the day until 29 Aug when it was learned that the division was to return to the UK to reform when the energies of the Regt were principally directed towards the disposal of equipment which was not to travel back.

 

 

Month and year: September 1944

Commanding Officer: Lt-Col ADM Teacher

 

1st September 1944

Place: Normandy

 

The Regt still in rest area SW of HONFLEUR, preparing for return to UK.  Capt QM and "Q" Party left today for England.

 

2nd September 1944

Place: Normandy

 

The Regtl Marching Party moved off from its rest area on the first stage of its homeward journey.  In TCVs to ARROMANCHES (60 Transit Camp) where the night was spent.  It was anticipated that embarkation would take place the following morning but unsatisfactory weather indicated a possible delay.

 

3rd September 1944

Place: Normandy

 

6 Airldg Bde finished embarking on the morning and the Regt marched down to Arromanches "port" in the afternoon to embark.  Taken from the pier by LCTs the Regt boarded the "BEN MY CHREE" which was also carrying the 2 divisional anti-tank batteries the div Provost Coy and subsequently due to an error in loading a complete parachute bn for whom there was inadequate accommodation.  The ship anchored outside the harbour for the night.

 

4th September 1944

In the early morning the convoy of 4 vessels escorted by destroyers set sail slowly towards Southampton, arriving off the harbour in the late evening.  It was though at first that disembarkation would not take place until the following morning but the ship docked and the Regt disembarked at 2330 hrs and was transported to Moor Hill Transit Camp for the night in TCVs.  This was an extremely efficient camp with meals and accommodation provided immediately on arrival.

 

5th September 1944

The Regiment left Moor Hill Camp in TCVs for EASTLEIGH Station - thence to Bulford.

 

6th to 7th September 1944

The Regiment "settling in".  Cleaning up, rendering of deficiency returns and preparation for block leave.  A health inspection of the Regt revealed that it had returned to England 100% fit.

 

8th to 21st September 1944

Block leave.  Originally 10 days - a further extension of 4 days was granted on the Regt's receiving orders to mobilise.

 

 

Appendix I

211th Airlanding Light Battery RA, 6th to 15th June 1944

 

Month and year: June 1944

Commanding Officer: Major J. Craigie

 

6th June 1944

Place: Normandy

 

2130 - Landing by gliders complete.  Bty moved to contact "PARKER FORCE".  The battery at RANVILLE 1173 ordered under command of 6 Airldg Bde.

 

7th June 1944

Place: Normandy

 

0130 - Bty went into action north of RANVILLE (Zero Line 180°).  Engaged on battery targets.

 

1500 - Bty moved to alternative position in BAS DE RANVILLE - subjected to heavy mortar fire; 2 casualties.  1 Jeep and trailer destroyed.  Lt Yapp acting as F.O.O. was wounded and evacuated to C.C.S.  On return to original positions one troop engaged enemy infantry over open sights.

 

8th June 1944

Place: Normandy

 

0630 - Battery was ordered onto a zero line of 60° to support mopping-up of coastal area of FRANCEVILLE PLAGE by the Commandos.  Bty supported SS Bde.  Shelled BREVILLE, SALLENELLES until late at night.

 

9th June 1944

Place: Normandy

 

Bty remained in support of SS Bde and fired heavy concentrations throughout the day.

 

10th June 1944

Place: Normandy

 

0730 - Bty fired harassing fire tasks in the area of BREVILLE 1374.

 

0800 - "C" Troop subjected to heavy shelling.  The G.P.O. Lt J Blower RA was killed outright on the gun position.  2/Lt Barrass, the troop leader, was seriously wounded and evacuated (subsequently died the same day); 2 O.R. casualties.  The C.P.O. moved the troop to its alternative position.  Lt WF Withecombe and 2/Lt JA Coultas took over the duties of G.P.O. and Troop Leader.  The bty continued to support SS Bde firing continuously all day.  Enemy attack on HAUGER 1275 was held up for 10 hours (2000 rounds expended).  The 13/18 Hussars passed through the battery position to go into action on its immediate front.

 

11th June 1944

Place: Normandy

 

Bty in the same position.  Only harassing fire tasks engaged.

 

12th June 1944

Place: Normandy

 

The bty began the day with harassing fire tasks on SALLENELLES and BREVILLE.  Capt HW Ward, "C" Troop Commander acting as F.O.O. in BREVILLE was killed.

 

13th June 1944

Place: Normandy

 

First of Regimental seaborne parties began to arrive.

 

14th June 1944

Place: Normandy

 

Remainder of the Regiment assembled in COLEVILLE-SUR-MER.

 

15th June 1944

Place: Normandy

 

Joined in action by the remainder of the regiment.

 

 

Appendix V

 

OC 210 Bty.

 

Fire Plan to sp 12 Devon, 4 Jul 44.

 

Object

 

To catch the enemy in his battle posn area 14577420.

 

Fire Plan

 

Engage 0400 hrs 4 Jul Tgt Map Ref 1457 7420 Lt 30-m 4 mins normal sweep 30 mins.  pause 3 mins whilst 12 Devon fire SA and smoke into tgt area.  Then fire 2 mins normal Amn HE.

 

Timings 0400 - 0404        Rate Normal.

             0404 - 0407        Pause.

             0407 - 0409        Rate Normal.

             Stand Easy.

 

L. Fuze pt 2.

Fired Ch 3.

 

 

Appendix XXI

General Notes on Eqpt.

 

F.O.O. Equipment.

The greater part of our front consists of flat, close wooded country.  Observation by FOOs is therefore extremely difficult: shoots often have to be undertaken from the F.D.Ls. within 200 yards of the enemy.  It is therefore of literally vital importance that FOOs should be in possession of Telescopes Stereoscope No 18 Mk I (These are not included in the G 1098 of a Lt Regt RA, although Fd Regts possess them).  So far we have managed by using captured German equipment and borrowing from fd regts as they are attached: but this is obviously an unsatisfactory state of affairs.

 

Gun Equipment.

Tannoy loud speaker equipment, as issued to Field Regiments, is absolutely essential for communication between troop command post and guns to enable dispersed, concealed gun positions, to be adopted and further, so that orders may be given from a sheltered position.  We have none of this equipment on our G 1098 although it was eventually obtained just before D Day.

 

Remote Control Units for Wireless (No 22) Sets.

Again, these are not included on our G 1098 although we managed, by cutting across all official channels, to obtain shortly before D Day.  At the OP, a 22 set without a remote control unit is useless: they are also required at the gun and so that, particularly in mobile operations where the set is left in the truck, sets can be dispersed to the best advantage.

 

 

Appendix XXII

Summary of Casualties During July 44

 

 

Killed

Died of Wounds

Wounded

Missing

Sick Evacuated

Total

Offrs.

-

-

-

-

-

-

O.Rs.

2

-

6*

-

14

22*

 

* Incl 5 Wounded - not evacuated.