National Archives catalogue number ADM 202/105.
1st August, 09:00 hrs
Advanced Dressing Station
Adjutant and Quartermaster Branch
Forward Defended Locality
Forward Observation Officer
General Officer Commanding
No.3 Kompanie, 744 Grenadier Regiment
Light Machine Gun
Landing Ship Infantry
Medium Machine Gun
Panzer Grenadier Regiment
Prisoner of War
Royal Army Medical Corps
Royal Canadian Engineers
Royal Marines Armoured Support
Self-Propelled / Support
Month and year : June 1944
Commanding Officer : Lt-Col C.R. Hardy, R.M.
1st June 1944
P.M. - Assault unit (less Admn Section) left SHANKLIN by rail and embarked at EGYPT POINT, COWES, in LSsI H.M.S. PRINS ALBERT and SS Princess Margaret with full equipment for alternative operations - DEER (HOULGATE C.D. Bty) or FROG (BENERVILLE C.D. Bty) which were to be carried out on the night of D/D + 1.
6th June 1944
Place: Cowes Roads
1230 - LSsI sailed in company with H.M.S. ISIS (Destroyer escort).
Place: At Sea
1830 - Arrived at anchorage JUNO (off ST. AUBIN-SUR-MER) proceeding one hour later to anchorage SWORD (off OUISTREHAM) to report to Flag Officer, Force S.
2200 - The order was received that both operations were postponed as neither of the Btys was harassing our shipping and also because the weather was not altogether favourable for the operations. The LSsI returned to anchorage JUNO for the night.
7th June 1944
Place: At Sea
0600 - Signal received that the unit was to come under command 1 Corp and to be landed on NAN WHITE Beach as early as possible. Hasty re-adjustments and improvisations were made to equipment.
Place: Hernieres 002853
0900 - The unit was landed by the ships flotillas on NAN WHITE Beach. Orders were received that the unit was to capture strongpoint PETIT ENFER area 048833 - 052830 - 051829 - 047832 with u/c one troop RMAS Gp.
1330 - Attack in three phases commenced from rd junc 033838.
Place: Petit Enfer
1800 - Strongpoint surrendered; 65 prisoners (716 Coastal Div) were captured, together with a considerable quantity of enemy weapons and equipment. Own casualties - NIL.
2000 - Orders were received that two troops were to occupy LA DELIVERANDE 0881 jointly with 7 Black Watch that evening after a heavy naval bombardment.
Place: La Deliverande
2200 - 'B' and 'X' Tps with Command Post reached LA DELIVERANDE and occupied the town.
8th June 1944
Place: Petit Enfer
0215 - Wireless communication between unit HQ in PETIT ENFER and LA DELIVERANDE having failed, a patrol was sent out to find out the situation in LA DELIVERANDE and report back to 4 SS Bde.
0500 - Orders were received to push a patrol forward to DOUVRES 015806.
Place: La Deliverande
0800 - 'S' Tp left on patrol, returning at 1245 hrs, reporting that DOUVRES was clear of the enemy but that they had contacted the enemy in a strongpoint position immediately SOUTH of DOUVRES (this was the Radar Station between DOUVRES and BASLY 9979). The patrol suffered two casualties. DOUVRES was then occupied on orders received by 4 SS Bde. This task was carried out by 'A', 'Y', 'Z' and 'S' Troops who searched the village and took up positions to support an attack on the Radar Station which was to be made by 7 Black Watch at 1800 hrs with naval and air support. This attack was cancelled by 1 Corps.
9th June 1944
1200 - The remainder of the unit moved forward into DOUVRES.
1300 - Orders received that the Commando came under command 3 Canadian Div forthwith and was to proceed to COLOMBY SUR THAON 997777. Subsequently further orders were received from 3 Cdn Div that the Cdo was to come under command 8 Cdn Inf Bde and occupy a defensive position in the Bde fortress at ANGUERNY 016775.
1900 - The Cdo reached ANGUERNY and took over positions on the NE side of the village from the NORTH SHORE Regt, the Cdo position at DOUVRES having been taken over by 48 (RM) Cdo.
10th June 1944
All day - Day spent in patrolling and improving defensive position.
2100 - Orders received from 8 Cdn Inf Bde to move at 0615 11 Jun and clear the valley of LA MUC RIVIERE from incl BARBIERE 9777 to ROTS 9571 with in support 'A' Tp, 10 Armd Regt, one Tp RMAS Gp, one sec RCE and FOO with call on one Fd Regt.
11th June 1944
0615 - Cdo left the position and married up with supporting arms area rd junc 979778. CO gave orders for the operation to be carried out in four phases:-
Phase I - clear woods from BARBIERE 9777 to small wood 975754.
Phase II - clear CAIRON 9675.
Phase III - attack on ROSEL 9673.
Phase IV - attack on LE HAMEL 9472 and ROTS 9571.
Phase I was completed by 1100 hrs. 8 prisoners from 716 Coastal Div Arty were captured in the woods. Phase II - CAIRON was found to be already occupied by our own troops and was entered at 1120 hrs. The unit was heavily shelled in the area between 1130 and 1245 hrs. Phase III - Attack commenced at 1320 hrs, supported by Arty and a Cdn MMG Pl, firing from area pt 60 9573. The town and woods of ROSEL were cleared by 1500 hrs. Phase IV - Attack commenced at 1730 hrs. The assault on LE HAMEL was put in at 1800 hrs by 'Y' and 'S' Troops, who encountered heavy opposition. The assault on the positions surrounding the village was successful and two hrs of bitter street fighting followed in LE HAMEL against a resolute enemy subsequently identified as 1 Coy 26 PGR of 12 SS Pz Div. Meantime, 'A' and 'B' Tps had passed through into ROTS and encountered two PANTHER tanks which were destroyed by the Cdn Shermans after a hard fight. Street fighting in ROTS followed and by dusk both towns were in our hands. Enemy casualties were 122 killed (counted and buried subsequently by Reg de CHAUDIERE) and eight prisoners. Our own casualties were 17 killed, 9 wounded and 35 missing (majority believed wounded and evacuated by enemy). The Cdo was then ordered to withdraw from the towns by 8 Cdn Inf Bde but CO stated towns could be held and the Cdo was then ordered to hold the towns and infm that assistance would be sent fwd as soon as possible. The remainder of the Cdo moved into the town; two of the Shermans remained overnight to give assistance if required. All ranks stood to continuously throughout the night but no counterattack was put in by the enemy.
12th June 1944
0400 - One Coy Regt de CHAUDIERE arrived with supporting arms to come under command and give assistance.
0445 - Orders were received from 3 Cdn Div (through 8 Cdn Inf Bde) that the Cdo and Coy of Reg de CHAUDIERE were to withdraw from the town before dawn and return to CAIRON.
0600 - The unit arrived back in CAIRON and a defensive position was taken up around the village.
1200 - A signal was received to the effect that the unit was to come under command 9 Cdn Inf Bde and to move to their area not before 1000 hrs 13 Jun.
2100 - Information was received that an armoured attack on the CAIRON-ROSEL area was imminent from the direction of BURON 9972. A troop of light tanks arrived and the unit stood to with the task of guarding the vital road through CAIRON. Patrols were sent out into the woods between CAIRON and LASSONS 9674. The attack, however, was checked by defensive fire and did not develop.
13th June 1944
Place: Cairon, Anguerny
1000 - The unit moved embussed to the ANGUERNY area, now occupied by 9 Cdn Inf Bde. A main enemy armoured counter attack was expected in this area from the direction of CAEN and the unit was given the task of lying up, letting our armour deal with the enemy armour and then sallying forth to attack the Panzer Grenadiers. Information was received from 3 Cdn Div that the Regt de CHAUDIERE had occupied ROTS and LE HAMEL early that morning without having to fire a shot, and that in consequence the 8 Cdn Inf Bde fortress had been moved forward to the area ROTS - LE HAMEL - BRAY 9473 - LASSONS - ROSEL. A burial party was sent to bury our dead in ROTS and LE HAMEL. The enemy dead were buried by the Regt de CHAUDIERE.
14th June 1944
Armoured counterattack still expected, but push by our 7 Armoured Div developing in the TILLY Sector. No reports of enemy from our patrols.
15th June 1944
Push by 7 Armoured Div appeared to attract the weight of enemy armour. Danger of counterattack towards ANGUERNY now passing.
1700 - Orders received to come under command 4 SS Bde w.e.f. 0800 16 Jun. CO proceeded to 4 SS Bde area, SALLENELLES 1376.
16th June 1944
Orders received that move to 4 SS Bde was to be postponed for 24 hrs.
1430 - 'O' Gp proceeded to SALLENELLES to RV with CO and carry out recce of area covering low ground between River ORNE and rd LONGUEVILLE 1174 - SALLENELLES.
17th June 1944
0900 - Unit move embussed to new area and proceeded to dig in in area 124762 - 127765 - 126760.
18th June 1944
0800 - Orders received that unit was to take over position from 47 (RM) Cdo on forward slops of SALLENELLES feature by 2045 hrs that night; 47 (RM) Cdo was to take over area occupied by this unit. Normal take over procedure was carried out during the day and completed by 2045 hrs. A raid was carried out by 47 (RM) Cdo at 2115 on enemy FDLS. After the raid they withdrew through our positions to their new area. We were heavily mortared between 2200/2300 hrs.
19th June 1944
Patrols made no contact with enemy. Cdo area shelled between 1300/1400 hrs causing three casualties.
20th June 1944
1800 to 2100 - Patrols located position of enemy's extreme right flank, at 143772. Further patrol pin-pointed enemy positions at 141766.
21st June 1944
Patrols reported no enemy activity.
22nd June 1944
Patrols reported enemy activity at X tracks 138767. Further patrol reported no enemy activity observed from LA GRANDE FERME DU BUISSON 139764.
23rd June 1944
No Man's Land still dominated by our patrols. Patrols LA GRANDE FERME DU BUISSON and X tracks 138767 report no sign of enemy activity.
1330 to 1400 - Cdo area shelled causing one casualty.
2200 to 2230 - Cdo area shelled.
24th June 1944
2345 - Strong fighting patrol sent to area 141771 - see full report Appendix 'B'.
25th June 1944
Cdo area heavily shelled on return of fighting patrol between 0100 and 0300 hrs.
1700 - The Cdo moved back to area previously occupied on 18 Jun - forward slopes area being taken over by 47 (RM) Cdo. Cdo area shelled during later period of take over.
26th June 1944
0300 - Cdo area mortared causing one casualty. Heavy rain during the day restricted activity.
27th June 1944
0330 - Slight enemy mortar fire in area of forward troops.
1800 to 1830 - Cdo area heavily mortared. Standing patrol and counter mortar OP manned in area LA GRANDE FERME du BUISSON 1376 reported slight enemy activity.
28th June 1944
Slight mortar activity during the forenoon. Standing patrol and OP at LA GRANDE FERME du BUISSON heavily mortared between 2000/2045 hrs.
29th June 1944
No enemy activity during the day. Major General R.G. STURGES, C.B., D.S.O., R.M., G.O.C., S.S. Group, visited the unit this morning.
30th June 1944
Our patrols reported little activity during the day. An attempt was made to ambush the enemy in LA GRANDE FERME du BUISSON this evening but without success.
As will be seen from the above narrative, it was the original intention that the Unit should carry out a raid which would necessitate remaining ashore for a period of 4 hours and involving the carrying of much specialised equipment (Climbing Stores, Demolition charges etc) to the exclusion of normal Battle Loads. Consequently when ordered to land and operate as infantry on D+1, the Unit was barely equipped for such a role: a large no. of men being armed with pistols, whilst the number of rifles carried was exceedingly small. The initial engagement at PETIT ENFER and La DELIVERANDE did much to rectify this situation as a large number of infantry weapons were captured. No heavy weapons were landed but these were obtained through Ordnance sources during the month. No Unit Tpt was landed but this difficulty too was overcome initially by requisitioning a couple of civilian cars and shortly afterwards a German 6 Ton truck and a small half track were added. This formed the nucleus of the Unit "B" Echelon. During the month a number of 15 Cwts, Jeeps and m/cs were taken on charge from other units. No spare clothing was brought but some stocks were eventually obtained through the normal channels. On 28 Jun 44, a skeleton Amn Section arrived from the UK and quickly got to work with the Unit's A/Q problems. During the month, sickness in the Unit has been slight apart from one case of Spotted Fever. The Unit has at all times been adequately fed with Compo Rations and latterly permission was obtained to purchase fresh vegetables from local sources. Water has been plentiful at all times.
Month and year : July 1944
Commanding Officer : Lt-Col C.R. Hardy, R.M.
1st July 1944
The Cdo was occupying reserve defensive posn (4 SS Bde "C" Commando Area) astride road LONGUEVILLE (1174) - SALLENELLES (1376), in approx area 125759 - 124763 - 123759 (see Appendix 'A'). Our patrols operating in the area LA GRANDE FERME DU BUISSON (1376) made no contact with the enemy. The Cdo area was subjected to intermittent shelling during the night.
2nd July 1944
One of our patrols was heavily mortared in the neighbourhood of LA GRANDE FERME DU BUISSON at 0500 hrs and incurred four casualties. No further enemy action was reported. Heavy rain fell during the day.
3rd July 1944
The Cdo took over 'A' Commando Area (see Appendix 'A') from 47 (RM) Cdo at 1700 hrs. Normal take-over procedure was carried out. No enemy activity was reported during the day.
4th July 1944
In the morning, Sniping reconnaissance was carried out in the fields and orchards EAST of track 138771 - 137764, during which one N.C.O. was wounded by MMG fire from enemy strongpoint MOULIN DU BUISSON (1377). At night an ambush was laid at cross tracks 138767 with the object of obtaining a prisoner but no enemy were encountered, although a sentry was seen in front of their FDLs at 140766 and transport was heard moving behind their lines.
5th July 1944
The Cdo area was shelled between 1245/1330 by suspected 105mm gun causing no casualties. Our snipers were active in front of enemy FDLs but could not claim any definite successes. Further attempts to ambush the enemy were made during the night but without success.
6th July 1944
During the morning one of sniping patrols ran into an ambush at 142764. They were fired upon at point blank range by an LMG and Capt B.J. TEAGUE was killed - the remainder of the party (2 ORs) managed to get away. It is though that the enemy patrol consisted of 6/8 men who had been lying up in this posn and were well concealed in the thick hedgerow. Capt TEAGUE's body was subsequently recovered by the standing patrol at LA GRANDE FERME DU BUISSON and he was buried in the Military Cemetery at RANVILLE (1173). None of our other patrols reported any contact with the enemy.
7th July 1944
Our patrols were active again, but made no contact with the enemy. The Cdo area was shelled between 2045/2100 hrs by about 40 rds 7.5cm: Of these four hit a house used as a counter mortar OP and about eight failed to explode. No casualties were caused.
8th July 1944
No enemy activity during the day. By night, a recce patrol was sent forward to examine the obstacles in front of enemy FDLs at 141772. The patrol went out at 2000 hrs and returned about 2330 hrs with the information required (see Appendix 'E').
9th July 1944
Our mortars engaged enemy FDLs between 0200/0400 hrs - results were unobserved. The enemy retaliated by firing a salvo of 15cm Rocket Projector (N.B.W. 15cm) at 0430 into the Cdo Area - no damage was caused. At 1030 hrs a Polish Deserter from III/744 Regt reached our lines and on interrogation gave much valuable information about enemy dispositions and confirmed practically everything we already suspected about the enemy. He also stated his Bn was about to be relieved. Between 2200/2230 our mortars and MMGs took part in a Bde harassing shoot directed against the enemy FDLs. A patrol was sent forward to observe results and enemy re-actions. This patrol reported that the mortars appeared to be finding their mark, but MG fire was unobserved owing to the closeness of the country. There were no violent enemy re-actions to this shoot.
10th July 1944
A quiet time, no patrols were operating.
11th July 1944
The Cdo (less one Tp) moved back into 'C' Commando Area at 1700 hrs. 47 (RM) Cdo taking over the forward posn. Move was carried out without incident. 'B' Troop moved to area 115761 - 110762 to provide a guard for bridges across the Canal and R. ORNE.
12th July 1944
At 0600 a standing patrol was sent to LA GRANDE FERME DU BUISSON to relieve 47 (RM) Cdo. This patrol was maintained continuously by the Cdo occupying 'C' Area (see Appendix 'D'). The patrol was mortared whilst passing through 47 (RM) Cdo lines at 0530 and the relieving section again at 2130 hrs. No other enemy activity was reported.
13th July 1944
The patrol at LA GRANDE FERME DU BUISSON again spent a quiet day but at 2100 hrs, the farm area was mortared and any movement drew MG fire from the enemy FDLs. During the night, enemy fired a number of white Verey lights and may have had patrols out in front of the farm. There was no enemy activity in the rest of the Cdo area.
14th July 1944
Enemy air activity over the R. ORNE bridgehead was on a slightly greater scale than on recent days. Making use of low-lying clouds, a number of fighters made low-level attacks during the day, machine gunning roads and troop concentrations. No casualties were caused in the Cdo area. The standing patrol was mortared at 1800 hrs about 20 x 8.1cm falling in the area causing one slight casualty.
15th July 1944
At 0430, the Farm patrol reported that they were being shelled by suspected 15cm Rocket Projector from area of strongpoint at 139775 - about 6 rds fell in the Farm including a number of oil bombs. No casualties were caused. In the Cdo Area, no activity was reported - the day being one of the quietest on record. Awards for the action at ROTS on 11 Jun were announced today. Major J. LEE was awarded the Military Cross and Military Medals were awarded to Sgt S. COOPER, Mne T. VARDY and L/Cpl R. McCARTHY, RAMC.
16th July 1944
This morning, the ranks mentioned above attended a presentation of Medal Ribbon by General Sir Bernard L. MONTGOMERY, K.C.B., D.S.O. at 6 Airborne Div. No activity was reported during the day, but there was some air activity at dusk. A number of bombs were dropped including one close to LA GRANDE FERME DU BUISSON.
17th July 1944
Another quiet day in the Cdo area. About fifteen enemy aircraft flew over during the afternoon. The patrol at LA GRANDE FERME DU BUISSON reported movement in the area 148762 during the day and at about 1900 hrs saw an MG being set up in a trench in the same area.
18th July 1944
Early this morning, the offensive EAST of the River ORNE was opened. The main thrust being in a SOUTH and SOUTH-EASTERLY direction did not affect our immediate front. The attack was supported by over 2000 bombers and 660 guns. The Cdo (less one Troop) was ordered to be ready at one hours notice to move forward to establish a firm base in the area of the present enemy FDLs from which patrols could operate in the event of an enemy withdrawal. In the event of this happening, 'B' Troop were to remain guarding the bridges. Recce patrols from 41 and 47 Cdos were active during the day but there was no indication that the enemy intended to pull out. The standing patrol at LA GRANDE FERME DU BUISSON was maintained. At 2300 hrs the area SALLENELLES - PONT TOURNANT (1074) was attacked by a number of fighter-bombers. HE and AP bombs were dropped - no casualties were caused.
19th July 1944
The main offensive continued in area TROARN - BOURGUEBUS, but all was quiet on our own sector. The standing patrol remained at LA GRANDE FERME DU BUISSON, and the remainder of the unit was still on short notice to move forward if required.
20th July 1944
Another quiet day on our own sector. Patrols reported some enemy movement in the area of their FDLs during the day, but no contact was made. A severe thunderstorm broke during the evening, later developing into continuous heavy rain.
21st July 1944
At 0500, our patrol at LA GRANDE FERME DU BUISSON engaged an enemy patrol about 20/25 strong who were approaching the farm through the orchards on the NORTH side. They were engaged at close range with rifle and LMG fire and replied by throwing stick grenades at the farm and with LMG fire, but as soon as they realised that the farm was held, the enemy withdrew speeded on their way by our mortars. Our patrol suffered no casualties. Enemy casualties unknown but believed that some may have been wounded. Heavy rain re-commenced at about 0800 and continued almost unceasingly throughout the day. Many parts of the Cdo area were flooded out. No enemy activity of any sort was reported apart from the early morning patrol clash.
22nd July 1944
No activity reported by patrols or in the Cdo area during the day. Heavy rain continued to fall.
23rd July 1944
Shortly after mid-night, two Polish Deserters surrendered to the patrol at LA GRANDE FERME DU BUISSON. They were identified as 11 Coy 744 Gren Regt and stated that they had been laying mines in the fields 143767 - 144766. They were immediately sent back to 47 Cdo (in 'A' area) who were making a raid on the enemy FDLs in this area at 0445 hrs. At 0400 hrs a further deserter approached the farm and surrendered. He was found to be a Sudeten German of 9 Coy 744 Gren Regt and had deserted from a patrol. He was also sent to 47 Cdo for immediate interrogation. The raid by 47 Cdo eventually took place without further incident and proved highly successful - an officer PW was captured and at least 4 of the enemy were killed. As an immediate result of this raid the enemy brought down defensive fire on our Farm Patrol but being fully cognisant of the enemy's habits they had taken the necessary precautions and sustained no Casualties. At 1700 hrs the Cdo moved up to 'A' Cdo area to relieve 47 Cdo. The change over was carried out without incident.
24th July 1944
The standing patrol at LA GRANDE FERME DU BUISSON was relieved by 47 Cdo at 0600 hrs. Activity on the Cdo front during the day was limited to an Offrs recce for future patrols and sniping. The enemy showed no signs of aggressiveness until 1900 hrs when a salvo from his mortars landed in Y Tp area causing 6 casualties (3 evacuated to ADS - 3 retained in Unit). At Dusk snipers were sent out into the orchard NORTH of LA GRANDE FERME DU BUISSON but found no targets.
25th July 1944
Our own activity was again confined to sniping and observation in the orchards around LA GRANDE FERME DU BUISSON. Some movement was observed in area 146766 - but bad light and extreme range prevented any definite kill from being registered.
26th July 1944
Our snipers were active in LA GRANDE FERME DU BUISSON area during the day but again were disappointed by the unwillingness of the enemy to provide a target.
27th July 1944
Enemy aircraft were active in the early hours of the morning. A number of bombs (HE and AP) were dropped close to the Cdo area and a single HE bomb was dropped by 150 yds in front of our forward posns at 0730 hrs. No casualties were sustained. Between 0020 and 0120, our MG Section fired along road 155767 - 155768. Several PW have reported that enemy horse drawn transport use this route for bringing up their evening meal at this time. No results of the shoot were observed, but it drew retaliating fire from the whole length of the enemy FDLs. During the day, sniper/observers were sent out to the orchards around LA GRANDE FERME DU BUISSON.
28th July 1944
At 0300, the enemy sent over a few mortar bombs which fell close to our forward posns without causing any damage. Snipers again had a blank day.
29th July 1944
Another quiet day. Intermittent mortaring of our fwd troops at 1930 hrs and 2145 hrs caused three casualties in 'Y' Troop.
30th July 1944
After a lull of several days, a determined effort was made at 0130 to ambush the enemy in the orchard NORTH of LA GRANDE FERME DU BUISSON. The hedgerows were boobytrapped and a strong force from 'Y' Troop lay up to await the approach of the enemy; but shortly after first light, when it was quite certain that he would not be coming, the patrol withdrew to our lines.
31st July 1944
Orders were received for the Commando to take over the standing Patrol at LA GRANDE FERME DU BUISSON as a permanent commitment w.e.f. 010900 hrs. Snipers/Observers in the farm area reported that between 2130 and 2200 hrs there were sounds of firing and shouting from inside the enemy FDLs. There was no indication of the cause of this phenomenon.
During the month, the activities of the Cdo have been confined to dominating the enemy and generally adding to his demoralization. This has been achieved by active patrolling and sniping; by retaliatory mortaring (with interest) and by harassing shoots with our mortars and MMGs. Before the end of the month, there was no possible doubt that our object had been achieved. Although our own patrolling was relaxed, the enemy made no attempt to wrest the initiative from us: on the contrary, he seemed less inclined to come out of his line than ever before. Four deserters have come over to our lines during the month, all of whom testified to the accuracy of our mortar and arty fire.
The defences of 'A' Commando Area have been considerably strengthened by the laying of an AP minefield along the NORTH and EAST sides of the posn and by extensive wiring.
Our casualties during the month amounted to 2 killed and 10 wounded, bringing our total casualties since D day to 20 killed, 30 wounded and 33 missing. Unconfirmed reports from German wireless have indicated that at least three of the missing are PW.
During the period 9 Jul - 30 Jul, the Cdo provided a personal guard for General Sir Bernard L. MONTGOMERY, K.C.B., D.S.O. (C-in-C) at Tac HQ, 21 Army Group.
Health and morale of the troops have remained high. Compo rations have been supplemented by a daily ration of fresh bread. A number of ranks have been to Rest Camps, and Cinema Shows.
Month and year : August 1944
Commanding Officer : Lt-Col C.R. Hardy, R.M.
1st August 1944
The Commando took over the Standing Patrol at LA GRANDE FERME DU BUISSON as a permanent commitment and commenced strengthening the defences by wiring the approaches to the Farm. During the day, much work was also put in to improve general conditions at the farm - dead animals were limed and buried. No enemy activity was reported on our front during the day.
2nd August 1944
During the night the Commando area was subjected to intermittent mortar fire by mortars of French origin. No casualties were sustained. At 0420 B Ech area was shelled by 105 mm and a direct hit was obtained on a captured half-track loaded with amn. Superficial damage was caused to a number of vehicles in the area, but no casualties were caused. During the day our standing patrol at LA GDE FERME reported sounds of digging in the area 142767 and between 1845/1915 the Farm was engaged with MG fire from enemy FDLs. The fire was high and inaccurate. Targets in the FDLs area 145766 were engaged by 53 Air Landing Lt Bty during the evening.
3rd August 1944
The Commando area was again shelled between 0100/0105 hrs - about 20 x 105 mm falling in the area without causing casualties. In LA GRANDE FERME DU BUISSON area, more activity was reported than on recent occasions. A working party at 142761 was engaged by our mortars at 1345 hrs and again at 1440 hrs. Results of the shoot could not be observed. A sniper was located in the hedgerow 142765 at 1445 hrs. At 1620 hrs the farm area was mortared but this was quickly stopped by our own counter mortar fire and shortly afterwards a further mortar at 150762 was dealt with in a similar manner. An enemy sentry was located in a bomb crater at 143765 at about 2120 hrs. A further shoot by 53 Air Landing Lt Bty was conducted by the 2 i/c between 2000/2200 and an explosion in area 144767 seemed to indicate that a small amn dump had been hit.
4th August 1944
Although the Bde area was mortared during the night, no bombs fell in our own boundary. Snipers claimed one possible in the orchards around LA GDE FERME. Little other activity was reported during the day.
5th August 1944
In the early hours of the morning, the Cdo area was subjected to another period of very heavy mortaring by French mortars, but no casualties were caused. At 0135 a deserter (CSM (Medical) III/857 Gren Regt) detonated a mine in front of 'Z' Tp area and was subsequently brought into our lines and evacuated through medical channels. He stated that enemy suspected units in our sector had been relieved and that they were patrolling in considerable strength in an endeavour to obtain identifications. At 1520 hrs, our farm patrol engaged a working party in area 146766 with SA and M fire. At 2130 an enemy patrol about six strong approached the farm from NE but rapidly withdrew when engaged by our own patrol and no prisoners could be taken. An enemy MG opened fire on the farm at 2330 hrs. At 2100 hrs, orders were received that the Cdo (together with 41 and 47 Cdos) was to be prepared to take over the area NORTH of TROARN 1667 from 70 Inf Bde, probably on 7 Aug. The Cdo was given 'Z' Tp, 48 Cdo, and one Tp, 6 A/L A/Tk Bty, u/c 'B' Sqn, 6 A/L Armd Recce Regt, in sp for this task.
6th August 1944
During the night enemy activity was again on a considerable scale, in the area of our outposts at LA GRANDE FERME DU BUISSON. At 0250 hrs SA fire was heard to SE of the farm and a report from 41 Cdo was received stating that one of their patrols had clashed with a strong enemy party which they thought was making in the direction of the farm. A Section from 'B' Tp was sent forward to reinforce the farm garrison, but the enemy must have withdrawn as no contact was made. The Commando area received its usual quota of mortaring at 0100 hrs and at 0700 Cdo HQ was shelled by 5cm Sp gun from the area MOULIN DU BUISSON 1477. Two cas (wounded) were caused. During the day 'O' Gp and Recce Parties moved to area Brickworks 146688 to recce the new Cdo area. Further orders were received that our own area was to be taken over by 13 Para Bn by 070630 and recce parties from that unit arrived in our area during the evening.
7th August 1944
Commencing at 0500 elements of 13 Para Bn started to take over our posns and our own tps began to move to the new area by march route at 0630 hrs. The route taken by our marching tps was HAUGER 1375 - AMFREVILLE 1274 - HEROUVILLETTE 1272 - ESCOVILLE 1271 - TOUFFREVILLE 1368 - BRICKWORKS 1468.
The move out was completed without incident, although B Echelon area was heavily mortared during the afternoon. The marching tps arrived in new area at 0930 and occupied posns. In some places our fwd posns were no more than 100 yards from the enemy listening posts. Owing to the proximity of the enemy and the considerable movement of tpt which the change-over involved, it was not possible to conceal our intentions and the whole area was subjected to heavy shelling and mortaring during this period. No casualties were sustained by our own unit, but several were caused within the Bde.
8th August 1944
The Cdo area was heavily shelled at 0145 and 0345 hrs and very heavily at regular intervals during the day, causing two casualties (wounded) within the unit and four (1 killed, 3 wounded) in 'Z' 48 Cdo, and 2 wounded in 'B' Sqn, 6 A/L Armd Recce Regt. Our own activity during the day was confined to fwd listening posts, digging and generally improving our posns. Between 2100/2200 tracked vehicles were heard moving in area 156694 which was engaged by 150 Field Regt as an UNCLE target.
9th August 1944
The BRICKWORKS area was again subjected to heavy shelling during the night at 0145 and 0415 hrs. No cas were caused. No enemy activity was reported during the forenoon. At 1530 hrs a report was received from TYNESIDE SCOTTISH on the Bde right flank that the enemy had withdrawn. Consequently we were ordered by 4 SS Bde to send a fighting patrol, strength one Tp, to TROARN approaching from the NORTH. The patrol left our lines at 1700 hrs and immediately found that the enemy were still occupying their posns in their normal FDLs and consequently the patrol was ordered to return. Later in the evening the enemy's presence was made quite obvious by spasmodic MG fire, sounds of digging and general movement along the whole front.
10th August 1944
During the night, there was spasmodic mortaring, shelling and MG fire over a wide area. No cas were caused. Little activity was reported during the forenoon, but the BRICKWORKS area was heavily mortared throughout the afternoon. During the day, orders were received that 48 (RM) Cdo was moving up in posns on our left flank on 13 Aug and would take over the area at present held by 'A' and 'X' Tps, 'Z' Tp 48 Cdo (which would revert u/c 48 Cdo) and 'B' Sqn, 6 A/L Armd Recce Regt which would be withdrawn. Consequently digging of new posns was commenced and it was decided to move Cdo HQ forward into the orchards in area farm 152687. At 1945 hrs two deserters (2 Coy, 858 Gren Regt) crossed our lines at 154691. Both were Poles who had only been in the line a few days and neither could give any very accurate details about enemy's dispositions.
11th August 1944
Activity during the night was on a reduced scale. There was some mortaring and MG fire and sufficient movement to satisfy our listening posts that the enemy was still in posn. There was no activity during the day apart from spasmodic mortaring which caused two cas (wounded) to our att tps. Digging of our new posns was continued.
12th August 1944
Enemy activity during the night was again confined to mortaring and shelling of our area, but no casualties were caused. There was little activity during the day, but mortaring of our posns in the evening caused two casualties.
13th August 1944
Normal mortaring and shelling continued during the night. The Cdo moved into the new posns during the forenoon - the change-over taking place without incident. There was no other activity during the day.
14th August 1944
No enemy activity was reported during the night. One slight cas was caused by heavy mortaring during the day, which was spent in wiring and strengthening our defences. Enemy aircraft dropped bombs behind our lines between 2300/2315. No other activity apart from local mortaring.
15th August 1944
Although enemy mortaring was on a far greater scale than usual, no casualties were caused apart from one slightly wounded by one of our own defective bombs. By night, a recce patrol located enemy posts in the area track 156680. No mines or wire were detected in front of the posts and the patrol withdrew without making contact.
16th August 1944
Four deserters (POLES) from 1 Coy, 346 Fus Bn crossed our lines at 0945 this morning and were able to give much valuable information about their dispositions. They also stated that orders to withdraw had been given the previous day but had then been cancelled. Mortaring during the day was again on a fairly heavy scale. During the evening reports again seemed to indicate that the enemy might be withdrawing and orders were given to send out recce patrols at first light to obtain confirmation. Listening posts during the night reported no activity.
17th August 1944
At 0600 a recce patrol was sent out to area 157686 to contact enemy but reported there was no sign of his presence. At 0715 Command Post with 'X' and 'Z' Tps moved forward towards FDLs which were found to be empty, after a minefield in front of the posns had been located and a gap cleared. This patrol then crossed the railway at 162682 and entered TROARN at about 0900 hrs. The remainder of the Cdo was then brought up and a patrol pushed forward to ST. SAMSON 1867. The patrol reported that ST. SAMSON was clear but that three out of five bridges between TROARN and ST. SAMSON were blown. The Cdo moved into ST. SAMSON at about 1200 hrs and were ordered to remain there until further notice. Later, orders were given for the Cdo, less two Tps, to return to our original location. Two Tps were left in area ST. SAMSON to protect bridging parties which were active all night. The Cdo was put at one hours notice to move.
18th August 1944
The Cdo remained ready to move all day and at 2030 hrs orders were received for the whole unit to move to ST. RICHER 2069. At this time 3 and 5 Para Bdes had cleared as far as GOUSTRANVILLE 2271. The whole Cdo was in posn in ST. RICHER by 2330 hrs and occupied orchards around the village. The Cdo was given orders to seize the high ground SOUTH-WEST of DOZULE 262719 as part of the Bde plan for the capture of the town. The attack was to take place during the night 19/20 Aug.
19th August 1944
An attempt was made during the day to carry out ground reconnaissance of the area for the attack. The area forward of GOUSTRANVILLE was subjected to very heavy shelling and a thick ground mist reduced visibility and consequently it was decided to take the Cdo 'O' Gp forward to 13 Para Bn at 253717 at about 2000 hrs. This party was detected by the enemy and the ensuing mortaring caused four slight officer cas. As a result of this, it was again impossible to view the ground, which owing to the close country, and the very dark night, was to make the attack exceedingly difficult. Two staff officers from HQ 4 SS Bde, were borrowed to replace Tp Leaders wounded during the 'O' Gp and the whole Cdo was in the assembly posn at 255718 by 0030 hrs 20 Aug.
20th August 1944
It was decided to attack in two waves, each of two Tps, 'A' Tp being left in reserve. The attack which was to be silent (without arty sp) started at 0100 and proceeded without incident until the first wave was about ten yards from hedgerow 260710 when the enemy put up Verey's lights and opened fire from the opposite side of the hedgerow. Our own tps returned the fire and charged through the hedgerow driving the enemy out of his slit trenches and killing several in the process. The next phase of the attack was to clear the houses at the top of the hill at 262719. This was completed by 0230 and we consolidated our gains and prepared for an expected counter attack. As soon as the dawn came, enemy patrols started probing our defences but were kept at bay by our mortar and LMG fire. Our cas during the attack were one killed and two wounded. Known enemy casualties were six killed, 3 wounded and one offr and fourteen other ranks captured. During the night, 'A' Tp which had been left in reserve at the bottom of the hill was subjected to heavy mortaring and suffered nine cas wounded. During the day, enemy patrols and snipers were very active and there were several sharp exchanges of fire. Our own snipers were also active and claimed two killed. Our own cas were two wounded from snipers and one killed and five wounded from shelling. Interrogation of prisoners during the day revealed that they had not intended to withdraw from this feature but had been taken completely by surprise by our attack which one described as "the best co-ordinated night attack he had ever seen".
21st August 1944
During the night the enemy withdrew from DOZULE and the town was occupied by 41 and 47 Cdos. The day was spent in resting and re-organizing before continuing our advance.
22nd August 1944
At 0700 orders were received for the Commando to move by march route to the area EAST of ANNEBAULT 4201. The Commando commenced marching at 0915 and arrived in the area LA VALEE 4301 at 1100 hrs. At this time 5 Para Bde was reported to be fighting in the outskirts of PONT L'EVEQUE 5204 and at 1345 hrs the Cdo was ordered to occupy a defensive posn on the high ground SOUTH EAST of ROUX in area 5002.
The posn was occupied by 1700 hrs and at 1900 hrs the Cdo was ordered to sent two Tps across the R. TOUQUES and occupy the houses NORTH of COUDRAY-RABUT at 523059 before first light. This operation was subsequently cancelled as the town of PONT L'EVEQUE was burning fiercely and the bridge across the river had been destroyed. Under these circumstances, it was not considered possible to pass through the town. During the night, the main road running SOUTH-WEST from PONT L'EVEQUE was continuously shelled by a long range gun from the direction of LE HAVRE. Three cas (two killed, one wounded) were caused by this shelling.
23rd August 1944
During the day the Cdo was put at four hours notice to move, but no orders were received until 1800 hrs. At this time orders were given for the Bde to cross the R. TOUQUES and secure the area MANNEVILLE-LA-PIPARD 5400 - ST. JULIEN-SUR-CALONNE 5403. The Cdo was to follow up 41 Cdo and secure the area NORTH-WEST of ST. JULIEN-SUR-CALONNE. This operation was to commence at 0230 and it was intended to pass 1 SS Bde through our posns at first light to attack PONT L'EVEQUE from SOUTH-EAST. This operation was eventually cancelled at mid-night by GOC, Airborne Div.
24th August 1944
There was little activity during the day. The Commando remained at four hours notice to move and spent the day cleaning up and resting. During the day, the enemy withdrew from the line of the R. TOUQUES. The award of the DSO to Lt-Col C.R. Hardy, RM, for gallantry at ROTS on 11 Jun was announced today.
25th August 1944
At 0200 orders were received for the Commando to move embussed at 0600 to an area EAST of PONT L'EVEQUE. The Bde 'O' Gp went forward to LA FOSSERIE 568053 and GOC, 6 Airborne Div explained how the enemy were attempting to stage a "DUNKIRK" across the SEINE from BERVILLE-SUR-MER 6618. The Bde was given the task of securing the area ST. MACLOU 6811 - TOUTAINVILLE 7210 and preventing any further enemy penetrating into the beachhead.
Consequently the Cdo moved by transport to the area BLACQUEMARE 6307 where we de-bussed and were ordered to move in rear of 41 Cdo along the track 633075 - Rly 662086 - LEMONT 684098 - ST. MACLOU. The enemy were reported to be holding the Cross roads and junction points with small parties of men. 3 Para Bde were to clear the track as far as the Rly Crossing at 662086 before 41 Cdo commenced to move. 3 Para Bde met stronger opposition than they had anticipated and the Cdo was ordered to by-pass the track by moving SOUTH to rd and tr junc 640064 and along the track running NORTH-EAST to the Rly Crossing. The enemy were reported to be holding the junction of 5 tracks at 644073. The Commando started moving at 1145 hrs and almost immediately came under mortar fire. The CO sustained shrapnel wounds but was able to continue to advance with the leading troops. On reaching rd/tr junc 639069, the leading tps came under MG fire from area tr junc 640064 and 644073. 'B' Tp pushed forward and eventually worked up the track to 641065 and 'A' and 'X' Tps moved across the fields to the track 641066. A further enemy post in the houses 644069 then opened fire and 'X' Tp became pinned down in the lane together with one section from 'A' Tp. The remaining section of 'A' Tp managed to cross the track but were held up by the post at 644069. By this time the Commando had sustained fairly heavy casualties and it became evident that the enemy were in too great a strength to be dislodged without support and it was decided to contain the enemy posts with fire whilst 48 Cdo moved round our right flank and 3 Para Bde attacked from the NORTH. The fire fight continued for some three hours during which time further casualties were caused chiefly by enemy snipers. At about 1700 hrs the enemy withdrew and the Cdo moved forward to the area 644072 and were ordered to hold a defensive posn in this area. Immediately we had moved into this posn, the whole area was mortared. Our total casualties during this operation were - killed: one offr (Major J. LEE, MC) and 10 ORs - wounded and evacuated: 1 Offr (Lieut. D.T. BURROWS) and 30 ORs - slightly wounded: 2 offrs (Lt-Col C.R. HARDY, DSO and LIEUT A.J. ALLEN) and 4 ORs - Missing (believed POW): 1 OR. Enemy casualties were not known, but 2 wounded were left behind when they withdrew. At 2100, 48 Cdo arrived and took over our defensive posns and the Cdo was withdrawn into Bde reserve in area 641074.
26th August 1944
At 1000 hrs the Cdo was ordered to move up to the area ST. MACLOU where the remainder of the Bde had moved overnight without meeting opposition. The Cdo arrived in the area at 1300 hrs and moved into billets at LA FOSSE 6909.
27th to 30th August 1944
Place: La Fosse
This period was spent resting, re-organizing and re-equipping the unit. It was the first time the unit had been out of contact with the enemy since it landed on D + 1. During this period liberty trips were run to HONFLEUR and the Band of Plymouth Division, RM, visited ST. MACLOU.
31st August 1944
Place: La Fosse
4 SS Bde left the command of 6 Airborne Div and became Corps Troops under direct command of 1 Corps. Orders were received for the Bde to move embussed to the area ANNEVILLE-SUR-SEINE 0418 and cross the R. SEINE and secure the line of R. STE AUSTREBERTE from DUCLAIR 0320 - BARENTIN 0927 - PAUILLY 1029. The unit moved at 1000 hrs and debussed at ANNEVILLE-SUR-SEINE at 1330 hrs.
The SEINE was crossed during the afternoon in assault boats without incident and the unit occupied a defensive posn on the high ground above DUCLAIR at 033206 to protect the river crossing. No contact was made with the enemy.
During the month of August the activities of the Cdo have been somewhat varied. After remaining in a static posn at SALLENELLES for nearly eight weeks, the unit moved to the TROARN area on the 7 Aug and again started to advance on 17 Aug. During the last fortnight of the month, the unit advanced some 60 miles in close pursuit of the retreating enemy. About half of this distance was covered on foot. Our casualties during the month totalled 1 Offr and 15 ORs Killed, 2 Offrs and 66 ORs Wounded and 1 OR Missing.
46 (RM) Commando - War Diary JULY 1944
Some Lessons Learnt on Patrolling
The following conditions obtained:-
(a) Ground. Mainly orchards enclosed by thick hedgerows and ditches, fields of view restricted.
(b) Enemy Approaches to his FDL well covered by OPs, some OPs located in trees. Disinclined to patrol - fieldcraft of patrols generally poor. Own movement in front of his FDL generally draws inaccurate SA fire but rapid and accurate M fire. By night, the enemy makes extensive use of illuminants and makes no attempt to hold his fire.
2. Recce Patrols
(a) Strength Most convenient - 1 offr and 3. Firm base of one LMG Gp kept out of sight of enemy to prevent any attempt at ambush.
(b) Routes - Daylight Patrols - should be selected to give short bounds - patrol to have "one LMG on the ground" for mutual support when in vicinity of FDL. Bounds must provide good cover. Hedgerows with ditches should be treated with suspicion as they are frequently cleared to give enemy snipers and fwd posts cover for movement. On one occasion on MG 42 was moved down a cleared ditch to meet a patrol. One man should be detailed to watch Snipers favourite hides in trees. One round fired by a Sniper was sometimes used as a signal for MG fire on the line of a hedgerow.
(c) Night Patrols (i) If possible view all ground in daylight - may entail laying up for several hours.
(ii) Avoid hedgerows - reason, fixed lines and noise.
(iii) Whole patrol moves at one time.
3. Fighting Patrols
(a) Strength - One Offr and one Sub-Sec generally sufficient in conditions obtaining at the time. R/T Comns always provided, this enables 3" M or Arty fire to be brought down quickly.
(b) Tasks - MUST be definite - the task "To dominate an area" generally leads to aimless wandering. A number of patrols may be used to dominate an area, but each must be given a definite part to play.
(c) Every man must know what part he is to play to counter likely enemy action: this requires rehearsal and ample time for briefing.
(d) The tendency for groups to bunch requires careful checking. In close country gps should make short bounds, one pair of men being covered by the other pair.
(e) Air burst grenade fired from cup discharger using the 4 Sec fuse is useful for dealing with Snipers in trees and behind banks.
(f) It is useless to try and lay down rigid patrol formation, each patrol will differ from the patrol before. The formation to be used for each stage of the patrol must be rehearsed.
4. Standing Patrols or Battle Outposts
These have frequently taken the form of ambushes.
(a) Posts should never consist of less than a gp, single men or pairs sent out to give warning of enemy approach are easily rushed, become nervous and fire prematurely and generally fail to give the necessary warning.
(b) Since the patrol must not be observed getting into position, and it is difficult to make good dispositions on strange ground in the dark it is generally desirable for the patrol to rehearse on the ground in half light, some days previously.
(c) Some means of Comn must be provided between the various parts of the Patrol, telephone or R/T are best but satisfactory results have been obtained by tying up the Ops with assault cable and arranging a code - e.g. One Tug "Enemy approaching from right" etc.
(d) Standing Patrols should have 3" Mortar or Arty sp available.
Commanding 46 (RM) Cdo
46 (RM) Commando - War Diary July 1944
A successful Recce Patrol - 8 Jul 44 - carried out by A Tp.
To answer the following questions:-
(i) Is there any wire fwd of enemy's FDLs along line of hedgerow 142770 - 141772?
(ii) If so, what type and thickness of wire - is it a Bangalore task.
(iii) Distance of obstacle from line of FDLs.
(iv) Are there any indications of mines - in the wire, or fwd, or in rear of it?
(v) What is the best route for a small raiding party up to line of FDLs.
Time out 2245 hrs
Time back By 0200 hrs.
Strength of Patrol
1 and 2, with covering support of one LMG group (A Tp 46 (RM) Cdo).
Own FDLs to bridge 136767 along gulley to NORTH, EAST through orchard to hedge/track junc 138769. Thence fwd on own initiative.
In view of light being bad at 2245 hrs, permission was obtained to move out at 2000 hrs in order to study ground by daylight.
Patrol moved along route detailed to hedge/track junc 138769 where LMG group was dropped off, with one TSMG each NORTH and SOUTH of pt 138769 in track. LMG was placed of gate in hedgerow running EAST of pt 138769.
Recce Party (1 and 2) moved up the line of hedgerow running NE from pt 138769. Care was taken NOT to move along the hedgerow itself, but about 20 yds inside the orchard, crawling from one clump of nettles and weeds to the next: frequent pauses for observation. Corner of hedgerow 139770 was made without incident at 2115 hrs - a rifleman was left here in ditch along hedgerow to observe the two bomb craters in area hedge junc 140769, as these seemed a likely place for either an OP or an LMG Group to put down flanking fire. Own LMG was ordered to engage these craters if rifleman opened fire.
Tp Comd - TSM moved along line of hedgerow running NORTH from junc 139770 to gap about half way along - crawled into fwd orchard and went to ground in clump of nettles to observe with glasses. Remained static until 2200 - following points were noted:-
(a) Wire - triple strand horizontal wire running parallel with FDLs and about 30/40 yds fwd of them. Rusty barbed wire stretched from tree to tree. No mine indicators - though it gave the impression of a cattle fence.
(b) Diagonal wires stretched 1' from the ground fwd of cattle fence and secured to base of tree trunks and stakes.
(c) No obvious trip wires.
(d) No attachments to trees.
(e) No new digging, or possible fwd defence or OP posts in orchard itself.
(f) New fruit saplings recently planted in the lines of fruit trees. Earth at bases newly turned. Not noted on similar patrol two weeks previously.
(g) Newly turned earth observed along line of hedgerow containing enemy's FDLs but no LMG posns located.
Moved fwd covered by TSM testing ground for trip wires. Carefully examined base of two of the new saplings - prodded and scraped with jack knife; no indication of mines or trip wires. Moved up to diagonal wires and examined - no trips to booby traps or flares. No mine indicators visible along hedgerow of FDLs. Movement observed in corner 141772 at 2240 hrs. Fat German (previously seen) lit cigarette with lighter - showed up MG on earth bank of hedgerow apparently pointing at hedge junc 140769 or hedge/track junc 140767. Query fixed line? This man walked backwards and forwards along hedgerow in area of corner 141772. Moved back carefully to TSM, collected rifle man and withdrew (avoiding hedgerows) to LMG group.
Withdrew whole party into track. Very thick high hedges put track in complete darkness (2315 hrs). Movement heard coming towards patrol from SOUTH up the path itself.
Movement ceased at "Halt" being called. No reply was given to orders called in both English and German. Impression gained that those responsible for movement were creeping into undergrowth along hedgerows. Order given for three TSMGs to fire, LMG to stand by. Recce revealed dead cow fifteen yards up track in the undergrowth.
Patrol withdrew without further incident - except for dead German Paratrooper (located by smell) in orchard between track and gulley.
Answers to questions:-
1. Three strand rusty barbed cattle fence stretched between trees about 30/40 yds from and parallel with line of enemy FDLs. Forward of this diagonal wires are stretched about 1' from the ground - again rusty barbed wire. Cattle fence approx 3' 6" from ground.
2. No. Not a bangalore task. Obstacle could easily be vaulted, climbed or tackled by wire cutters.
3. Total distance of furthest forward wires from FDLs about 50 yds.
4. No visible indications of the existence of mines anywhere in orchard 140770. But MG (? fixed line) located in corner 141772 - certainly manned (though not efficiently) at 2240 hrs. (previously located at 2005 hrs). (Temptation to throw grenades and use TSMGs after dusk in order to draw fire from and locate other MG or LMG posns was resisted). Craters at 140769 were unoccupied during the whole period of patrol observation.
5. Best routes for raiding party would seem to be through the centre of Orchards from track up to FDLs. Hedgerows to be avoided. The NORTH/SOUTH hedgerow 139770 - 139772 is in a depression - i.e. the track and enemy's FDLs are both rather higher; hence movement between the two would be in lower ground and fire is likely to pass overhead if tps keep low.
1. Hedgerows avoided for several reasons:-
(a) Possible fixed line task.
(b) Easy place to fix booby traps.
(c) in low ground with clumps of weeds about to screen crawling one is protected from observation by the low overhang of the orchard foliage; and one is therefore less liable to observation than if using the cover of hedgerows (which are so obvious that observation is concentrated on them).
2. Fruit trees harbour a lot of birds which set up a noise if disturbed and will give away ones posn. Great care must be taken - it was found that slow steady shuffling through grass did not worry them, but the slightest tinkle of metal (rifle slings etc) caused a great flurry and commotion. Cattle will amble over and, as in this case, will lick one and "MOO" - only solution is to lie on ones back and milk the damn things sufficiently to make them more easy - this was tried successfully.
3. Cover -
(a) keep the sun behind you - dazzles observers and enables one to control ones own shadow and merge it with other local shadows. If own shadow is in front, one knows what it is doing.
(b) never pause to observe unless you are confident that you cannot be observed in return. Suddenly, to locate an enemy, is to make one feel exposed and naked. Know that you are invisible and you merely get excited with a satisfying sense of superiority.
(c) in moving forward, select next local cover (if only ten yds away) with the certainty that you can completely disappear into it. Selection of route should be devious (so that you can study flanks during movement forward without having to switch body round in uncomfortable contortions.) Get comfortable before observation is taken up - you may need to hold posn for a long time if anything of interest is to be studied.
4. Unless an individual stalk is contemplated recce patrol should consist of 3 - it is the ideal number. Two can cover the observers flanks and if one becomes a casualty, two can get him out satisfactorily.
5. Essential to have a firm forward base (one LMG group). Men will not go forward with confidence unless rear is protected.
6. The excitement of a patrol which has been successfully completed its task has dangers:-
(a) Carelessness in withdrawing.
(b) Over-confidence in wanting to play pranks on enemy before withdrawing.
(c) Keenness to do more than was laid down in briefing. These must be held sternly in check. Withdraw one man at a time, other two covering. Leap frog back whole way to own FDLs. Over-confidence is a real danger.
7. Give thought to local conditions before going out. Flies, mosquitos, can cause such irritation that one is forced to move in order to flick them away. Solution - denim trousers over B/D with creosote sprinkled on bottom of legs. Gaiters worn - face veil well sprinkled with creosote over entire head and face; Leather gloves. Mosquitos can "prod" through one thickness of wool or cloth easily. Creosote and two pairs of trousers foxes them completely.