National Archives catalogue number WO 171/4164.

 

Abbreviation

059269

310300B

2IC
AA

Adjt

Adm

Adv

Airldg

Amb

Amn

AP

Armd

Arty

A/Q

A/Tk

Att

BBP

Bde

Bdy

Bks

BLA

Bldg

Bn

Br

Brhd

Brit

BST

Cas

Cmdg

CO

Comd

Comn

Comp
Conc

Coy

CRASC

CRE

DAQMG

Det

DID

Div

DMA

DP

DR

DZ

Elt

Eqpt

Est

Excl

Fd

FMC

FOU

Fwd

Gen

GOC

Gp

Gren Gds

HE

How

i/c

Incl

Indep

Inf

Infm

Instr

Int

Junc

LE

LO

L of C

Lt

LZ

Maint

Med

Mil Gov

Mor

MR
MT

O

OC

Offr

OO

Op

OR

Ord

Pdr / Pr

Pet

Pk

Pl

POL

PP

Ppn

Pro

Pt

PWX

RA

RASC

Rd

Rdhd

RE

Ref

Regt

Rep

Res

Resup

Rfts

Rly

RV

S
SAA

SDP

Sec

Sigs

Smok

Sqn

S Sup O

Sup

Sup P

TCV

Tp

Tpt

u/s

wef

Wksp

Wrls

X Rds

Map Reference

31st April, 03:00

Second-in-Command

Anti-Aircraft

Adjutant

Administration

Advance

Airlanding

Ambulance

Ammunition

Ammunition Point

Armoured

Artillery

Adjutant and Quartermaster Branch

Anti-Tank

Attached

Bulk Breaking Point

Brigade

Boundary

Barracks

British Liberation Army

Building

Battalion

Bridge / British

Bridgehead

British

British Standard Time

Casualty

Commanding

Commanding Officer

Commander

Communication

Composite

Concentration

Company

Commander Royal Army Service Corps

Commander Royal Engineers

Deputy Assistant Quartermaster General

Detachment

Detail Issue Depot

Division / Divisional

Divisional Maintenance Area

Displaced Persons ?
Despatch Rider

Drop Zone

Element

Equipment

Establish

Excluding

Field

Forward Maintenance Centre

Forward Observation Unit

Forward

General

General Officer Commanding

Group

Grenadier Guards

High Explosive

Howitzer

In-Command

Including

Independent

Infantry

Information

Instruction

Intelligence

Junction

Land Element

Liaison Officer

Line of Communication

Light

Landing Zone

Maintenance

Medium / Medical

Military Government

Mortar

Map Reference

Motor Transport

Officer

Officer Commanding

Officer

Operation Order

Operation

Other Ranks

Ordnance

Pounder

Petrol
Park

Platoon

Petrol, Oil and Lubricants

Petrol Point

Proportion?

Provost

Point

Ex-Prisoners of War

Royal Artillery

Royal Army Service Corps

Road

Roadhead

Royal Engineers

Reference

Regiment

Representative

Reserve

Resupply

Reinforcements

Railway

Rendezvous

Scottish

Small Arms Ammunition

Supply Dropping Point

Section

Signals

Smoke

Squadron

Senior Supply Officer

Supply

Supply Point

Troop Carrying Vehicle

Troop

Transport

Unserviceable

With-Effect

Workshop

Wireless

Crossroads

 

 

Month and year : March 1945

Commanding Officer : Lt.Col. F.A. Lovegrove RASC

 

1st March 1945

Place: Pernes

 

Dull cloudy morning, changing to heavy rain after 1700 hrs, fine at night.  398 Coy RASC est AUXI LE CHATEAU.  2 days collected ex DID.  No issues today.  Petrol no change.

 

2nd March 1945

Place: Pernes

 

Fine but cold with strong wind, later slight hail and rain.  2 days Sups delivered to units.  Petrol no change.  Weeks coal collected ex 111 DID LILLE.

 

3rd March 1945

Place: Pernes

 

Fine and fresh wind.  Normal routine.  2 days Sups collected ex DID.  Coal Point est LIGNY St FLOCHEL 10/2209.

 

4th March 1945

Place: Pernes

 

Dry and cold with bright sunshine at intervals.  Normal routine.  Visited by Staff Capt 'A' 12 L of C with ref to using 63 and 398 Coy Tpt.

 

5th March 1945

Place: Pernes

 

2 days FS collected ex DID.  Otherwise normal.  Pet normal.

 

6th March 1945

Place: Pernes

 

Dry and cold.  Normal routine.

 

7th March 1945

Place: Pernes

 

Weather dull, slight rain.  Normal routine.

 

8th March 1945

Place: Pernes

 

Weather dull - dry.  Normal routine.

 

9th March 1945

Place: Pernes

 

Weather dull - dry.  Normal routine.  Notification received from Staff Capt. 12 L of C that authority had been granted by 21 Army Gp for Div RASC tpt to be used for local details.

 

10th March 1945

Place: Pernes

 

Weather clear and sunny.  Normal routine.

 

11th March 1945

Place: Pernes

 

Weather clear and sunny.  Normal routine.  Conference held at Div HQ (Land Elt) attended by 2IC and Coy Comds.

 

12th March 1945

Place: Pernes

 

Weather clear and sunny.  Normal routine.  2IC proceeded on visit to 12 Corps in company with Comd Div (LE).

 

13th March 1945

Place: Pernes

 

Weather clear and sunny.  Normal routine.

 

14th March 1945

Place: Pernes

 

Weather clear and sunny.  Notification received from Div to be prepared to move 24 hrs notice from 17th.

 

15th March 1945

Place: Pernes

 

Weather clear and sunny.  Normal routine.

 

16th March 1945

Place: Pernes

 

Weather clear and sunny.  Adv party moved to new location.  Normal routine.

 

17th March 1945

Place: Noeux-les-Mines

 

Main HQ moved to 63 Coy location, NOEUX-LES-MINES.  Normal routine.

 

18th March 1945

Place: Noeux-les-Mines

 

Instr received for Main HQ to move 20th staging on route.  Normal routine.

 

19th March 1945

Place: Noeux-les-Mines

 

Preparation made for move otherwise normal routine.  Weather dry - sunny.

 

20th March 1945

Place: Noeux-les-Mines

 

Main HQ moved and staged area SONNIS.  Weather clear and sunny.  CRASC and S.Sup.O. returned from UK.

 

21st March 1945

Place: M.R. 059269

 

Main HQ joined adv party at M.R. 059269.  Weather clear and sunny.

 

22nd March 1945

Place: M.R. 059269

 

Warm, bright and sunny.  Sups - 10000 Compo rations collected 156 DID.  RASC Instr No.1. attached for infm as to routine.

 

23rd March 1945

Place: M.R. 059269

 

Bright and sunny.  Adm Instr No.1. issued and attached for infm.

 

24th March 1945

Place: M.R. 059269

 

D Day.  Fine, bright and sunny and little wind.

 

0948 - First airborne flight crossed R RHINE.

 

0950 - Recce party for DUKW Dump embarked, disembarked at 0953 contacted Bn HQ of 15 (S) Div Unit and proceeded to recce area, shellfire prevented recce continuing.

 

1020 - First jettison drop.

 

1030 - Recce continued, message passed by wireless to CRASC 15 (S) Div as to area report centre etc.  Contacted 3 Bde HQ and passed infm to Div HQ by their inter-comn.

 

1800 - 2IC arrived with 18 DUKWS.  These were unloaded into Dump.

 

2400 - Routes selected and signed.  Defence laid on.  Severe air attacks by enemy aircraft on bridges under construction throughout night.  DUKWs continue to arrive.  Det of 63 Coy Comp Pl arrived and est in Dump.

 

25th March 1945

Place: M.R. 059269

 

0200 - Bank Control contacted regarding arrival of Pl of Jeeps and trailers not yet arrived.  Asked to hasten if possible.

 

0600 - Arrival of Pl Jeeps and trailers which were immediately offloaded into PEGASUS Dump.  Pl employed for rest of morning in collecting containers, and salvage from jettison drop in near vicinity of Dump.  This jettison drop delivered to 3 Bde by 1130 hrs.

 

1200 - Jeep Pl sent to DMA in Div area where it was split over Div units to assist in first line tpt.

 

1300 - Arrival of CRASC who departed to contact A/Q at Div owing to small amount of stores sent over in Dukws.  CRASC left for 12 Corps with intention of expediting replenishment.

 

1300 to 2200 - Balance of pre-loaded Dukws arrived - 62 in all.  Issues POL & amn from dump made to 3 Bde and RA throughout day.  Issues Sups to all Div units.

 

26th March 1945

Place: M.R. 144433

 

0900 to 1200 - Arrival of 14 x 3-ton lorries with Sups & POL plus 2 x 3-ton Tpt Pls loaded with sups & POL.  This eased situation in Dump which previously was not very well stocked with reserves.

 

1600 - Arrival HQ RASC complete.

 

1700 - Arty Pls for 6 Fd Regt and 25 Fd Regt in complete and located area of PEGASUS Dump.

 

1800 to 2400 - Preparations for move to new location.  Nutcracker & PEGASUS Dump frozen w.e.f. 2400 hrs 26 Mar.

 

27th March 1945

Place: M.R. 257448

 

HQ moved to new location.  Tpt detailed to collect 750 rfts for Div.  Warning order received regarding move of HQ.  CO at A/Q conference.  Adjt fwd on recce.  AP opened 1947 at 1300 hrs.  Holdings one Airldg Bde Standard AP + Increment Lt Regt, increment two A.Tk Btys.  Pet Point opened 1100 - 1200 hrs in PEGASUS Dump.  No sups issued.

 

28th March 1945

Place: M.R. 396500

 

HQ moved to new location at 1300 hrs.  Movement Order No.1 att.  Instrs issued to Coys (63 and 398) to move to area ERLE by 1300 hrs 29 Mar.  Pls tpt detailed for tp carrying 29 Mar to move Bde tps fwd.  CO at A/Q conference.  Adjt fwd on recce.  No sups issued.  P.P. opened PEGASUS Dump.

 

29th March 1945

Place: M.R. 455509

 

Dull and cloudy - slight hailstorm in afternoon.  HQ moved from area ERLE to area 4550 RHADE.  2 Tpt Pls 398 Coy allotted to Bdes. together with 2 Tpt Pls 104 Coy RASC.  Sufficient to carry 2 Bdes - two fwd and one in reserve static.  CO at A/Q conference.  Adjt fwd on recce.  PP opened 0900 hrs and Sup P 1200 hrs.  Amn - no change.

 

30th March 1945

Place: M.R. 554655

 

Bright sunny and warm.  HQ moved from RHADE to area COESFELD 5565.  Road at and through COESFELD caused considerable difficulties owing to extensive RAF work on town.  Detours had to be carved around the outskirts this causing a delay in all TCV and other tpt.  CO at A/Q conference.  Adjt fwd on recce.

Sup P 695759 )                           1200 - 1600 Compo.

P.P.        do    ) Report Centre.    0900 - permanent.

A.P.        do    )                           0900 - permanent.

 

31st March 1945

Place: M.R. 855874

 

Dull and cloudy, slight wind and cool.

 

0800 - CO attended A/Q conference re move.  Adjt fwd on recce.

 

1300 - HQ closed and moved to staging area 793793 Sheet P.2.

 

2000 - Moved to area 8487.

Sup P )                                       1200 - 1600 Compo and bread.

POL   ) Report Centre 695759    0900 - permanent.

Amn.  )                                        0900 - permanent.

 

 

Month and year : April 1945

Commanding Officer : Lt.Col. F.A. Lovegrove RASC

 

1st April 1945

Place: MR 855874 (Sheet P2)

 

Dull, raining and cold.

 

0830 - 2IC, Capt Philo, plus 2 Jeeps and 2 M/Cs reported to Div HQ Main as HQ staff for movement of TCVs.  C.O. at A/Q conference, Adjt fwd on recce.  HQ moved to area map ref 934878 Sheet P2 1/100,000.  2nd line pet dumped fwd and replenishment brought up from FMC to facilitate movement of FMC.  Traffic and bridge position over river at GREVEN warrant this.

Sups. )                                         1200 - 1600 hrs.

POL. ) Report Centre 875886     0900 - permanent.

Amn. )                                         0900 - permanent.

 

2nd April 1945

Place: Greven P2/934878

 

Dull and cold, slight rain throughout day.

Comp Pt. Sups. )                                        1200 - 1600 hrs

                POL. ) Report Centre 928885    0900 - permanent.

                Amn. )                                        0900 - permanent.

4 Bn Gren Gds under comd.  HQ moved to area LENGERICH 0998.

 

3rd April 1945

Place: Lengerich P2/075995

 

Cold and dry.  

Sups. )

POL. ) Report Centre - Church at LADBERGEN 001931.  Times as on 2 Apr.

Amn. )

HQ remains at LENGERICH.

 

4th April 1945

Place: Lengerich P2/075995

 

HQ moved to area BLASHEIM.

Compo ) No drawings ex FMC.

Sups. )

POL. ) Report Centre - 128015.  Times as on 3 Apr.

Amn. )

 

5th April 1945

Place: Blasheim N3/568118

 

HQ moved to area FRIEDWALDE 7618.  Sups, POL, Amn. Report Centre 603122 (LUBECK).  Times as before.  15 (S) Div Recce under comd.  Drawings ex 61 FMC 1208.

 

6th April 1945

Place: Friedwalde N3/761182

 

Dull and cloudy.  Sups, POL, Amn - arrangements as for 5 Apr 45.  HQ remains in area FRIEDWALDE.

 

7th April 1945

Place: Friedwalde N3/761182

 

Dull and rainy.  HQ remains in area FRIEDWALDE.  Sups, POL, Amn Report Centre X Rds 748162.  Times of POL drawings 1200 - 1700 hrs.  581 Moonlight Bty RA under comd.  Drawings ex 61 FMC.

 

8th April 1945

Place: Friedwalde N3/761182

 

Dry and cool with sunny periods.  HQ moved to STEINHUDE area 1029.  Coys ordered to move wef 9 Apr to area 0625 as centre.  Sups, POL, Amn.  Report Centre X Rds 865198.  Amn as before except one A Tk Bty increment instead of two.  Drawings ex 61 FMC.

 

9th April 1945

Place: Steinhude N4/110299

 

Bright, sunny day.  HQ remains at STEINHUDE.  CO collected DDST re 2 tpt pls det for TCV to 15 (S) Div and further pl for lifting 3rd line for FMC.  No change in position.  Also ordered by A/Q to offload all 2nd line and A.P. to convey Bdes to new position with 3 pls as TCV.  Tpt provided:- 2 Pls 63 Coy RASC, 1 Pl 398 Coy RASC.

Sups. ) as before.

POL. ) as before.  Report Centre X Rds 042234.

Amn. ) as before.

119 Lt A.A. Bty under command.  Drawings ex 62 FMC FROTHEIM.

 

10th April 1945

Place: Steinhude N4/110299

 

Early mist later turning warm and sunny.  HQ remains at STEINHUDE.  Large food store incl meat frig discovered.  Corps informed.  3 Pls engaged on tp carrying.  1 Pl engaged on 3rd line work for Corps FMC.  20% Compo 80% TE issued.  Compo to 5 Bde.

Sups. ) as before.

POL. ) Report Centre  097283.

Amn. ) as before.

 

11th April 1945

Place: Steinhude N4/110299

 

Bright, sunny, dry and warm.  GOC addressed representative gp of RASC - congratulated all ranks on performance.  HQ remains est at STEINHUDE.  AP moves to BRINK 2235.  1st and 2nd line sup res made up to 5 days.  3 Pls on tp carrying.  2 Pls on 3rd line loading FMC.  Pet restricted to 800 gals for Div excl tps under comd.

Sups. ) BBP ALTENHAGEN - no change.

POL. ) BBP ALTENHAGEN - no change.

Amn. ) 075270.

 

12th April 1945

Place: Steinhude N4/110299

 

Bright and sunny - slight wind.  Sups, POL & Amn - no change.  Drawings ex 62 FMC.  Amn ex 63 FMC.  61 Med Regt.  25 Fd Regt 119 Lt AA Bty cease to be under comd.  Arrival of 1 Pl  from Gds Armd Bde Coy RASC for tp carrying work.  A total of 75 x 3-ton vehs provided for Bde lift from

        30 x 3-ton - Gds Armd Bde Coy RASC.

        30 x 3-ton - Pl 63 Coy RASC.

        15 x 3-ton - Pl 398 Coy RASC.

 

13th April 1945

Place: Steinhude N4/110299

 

Bright, warm, dry.  HQ remains at STEINHUDE.  Amn, Pet, Sups - Report Centre 097283.  FSTE & Bread.  5 Bde lifted to area CELLE.  Tpt harboured preparatory to reporting to 6 Bde for lift on 14 Apr.

 

14th April 1945

Place: Steinhude N4/110299

 

Dull morning turning to bright warm sunshine.  HQ moved to MR 663601.  Sups - no change.  Move of 6 Bde with 75 TCVs.  On completion of move all TCVs harboured and Pl 63 Coy and half Pl of 398 Coy exchanged with Pl of 19 Coy RASC and Pl of 63 Coy released by 15 (S) Div.  One Sec of Wksps consisting of Wksp Lorry, Breakdown Lorry, and Stores Lorry given to 716 Coy on loan from 8 Corps Vehicle Park.  This done to enable Wksps to maintain heavy tpt now on their present strength.

 

15th April 1945

Place: MR 663601 Sheet M5

 

Dull and cloudy.  HQ remains at MR 663601 Sheet M5.  Amn, Pet and Sups - Report Centre 689626.  Compo on issue.  Two Pls of 104 Coy RASC reported during night to 3 Bde in area CELLE.  This tpt released by 15 (S) Div.  Tpt used to move 3 Bde to UELZON area during day.  TCVs with 6 Bde on 14 Apr released and returned to 5 Bde in CELLE area to convey them to this area on 16 Apr.

 

16th April 1945

Place: MR M5/663601

 

Bright and warm, continuous sunshine.  HQ moved to MR M5/882805.  Amn Pet & Sups - Report Centre 689626 Compo issued ex 64 FMC.  5 Bde drawing ex 716 Coy 527478.  All TCVs harboured by 2100 hrs consisting of 1 Pl Gds Armd Bde Coy RASC, 1 Pl 19 Coy RASC (now only 20 x 5-ton vehs after cas sustained when att to 15 (S) Div), 2 Pls 104 Coy RASC, 1 Pl 63 Coy RASC.

 

17th April 1945

Place: MR M5/882805

 

Bright sunshine and warm throughout the day.  HQ moved to M5/939817.  Instrs received from 8 Corps re disposal of TCVs.  Tpt despatched by 1800 hrs.

    (a) Pl Gds Armd Bde Coy RASC.  2 Pls 104 Coy RASC. ) report to 13 Inf Bde, 5 Bde to convey them to 8 Corps area.  Tpt not expected back until a.m. 20 Apr 45.

    (b) Pl. 19 Coy RASC.  Pl. 63 Coy RASC. ) proceed to 14 Army Rdhd to convey amn to 64 FMC.  Tpt not expected back until 1500 hrs 19 Apr 45.

Sups, Pet, Amn - Report Centre 857745.  Compo ex 64 FMC.  5 Bde Gp ex 716 Coy dump - 526475.  25 Fd Regt under comd.

 

18th April 1945

Place: MR M5/939817

 

Bright and sunny, fresh wind.  Amn, Pet & Sups. - Report Centre Church at LEMKE.  Compo issued ex 63 Coy. reserve.  Bread issued.  Drawings POL ex 64 FMC, amn ex 63 FMC.  5 Bde draw ex 716 Coy (9279).  6 Fd, 25 Fd and 61 Med Regts, 4 Bn Gren Gds under comd drawing ex 63 Coy.  65 x 3-ton vehs detailed to stand by as TCVs from own resources.  Maint of Div continues though system somewhat unorthodox, consisting of mobile AP and replenishment of Amn, Pet and Sups vehs.  All other stores grounded incl BBP G.1098 and Wksps of Coy.  Tpt ordered to stand down at 1600 hrs as replenishment by 5 Bde postponed.  Tpt remains offloaded until further notice.

 

19th April 1945

Place: MR M5/939817

 

Sunny, dry and strong wind.  Normal routine.  Sups, Pet & Amn - Report Centre at HANSTEDT II.  Compo & Bread.  Drawings ex 64 FMC all commodities.  Tpt - hectic day!

    (a) Pl 63 Coy and Pl 398 Coy despatched to 64 FMC, pm today will be detached for 4/5 days on Corps flog!

    (b) Return of 2 Pls 19 Coy to the fold and immediate withdrawal by Corps on FMC flog!

    (c) 3 Pls of Gds Armd Bde Coy and 104 Coy remain with 5 Div and will not come under control of 6 Airborne again.

 

20th April 1945

Place: MR M5/939817

 

Cool and bright sunshine.  Normal routine.  Notification received of requirement by 8 Corps for 6 Airborne Div to produce 3 Tpt Pls to pick up from GOCH 5400 rds 5.5 amn.  Two Pls already working for 64 FMC plus an additional Pl from 398 Coy provided and reporting to 64 FMC by 211230B.  With exception of amn at AP, all amn now grounded to comply with this detail as well as a ppn of POL reserves.  Sups, Pet & Amn - Report Centre X Rds 972885.  FSTE & Bread on issue.  All drawings ex 64 FMC.

 

21st April 1945

Place: MR M5/939817

 

Cool but intervals of sunshine.  Return of 3 Pls from 5 Div for period 211300B to 221000B.  Utilized to move 3 Para Bde to conc area near LUNEBURG.  Returned to 64 FMC by  221000B - for Corps flog!

Sups. ) Report Centre no change.

POL. ) Entitlement 8,000.

Amn. )

 

22nd April 1945

Place: MR M5/939817

 

Wet and rainy.  Tpt - no special details today.  Amn, Pet and Sups - no change.

 

23rd April 1945

Place: MR M5/939817

 

Dry and cool throughout day.  60 x 3-ton vehicles offloaded as follows:-

    32 x 3-ton   63 Coy.

    8 x 3-ton   716 Coy.

    20 x 3-ton   398 Coy.

and distributed to 5 Para Bde Gp for troop lift anticipated to take place on 24 Apr.

Sups. ) Report Centre TATENDORF 881984.  FSTE & Bread.

POL. )

Amn. )

POL entitlement restricted to 6000 gals.  All units rationed in Pet.  All drawings ex 64 FMC.

 

24th April 1945

Place: MR M5/790127

 

Bright and sunny intervals.  Troop lift of 5 Bde postponed until further notice.  TCVs remain attached to units 5 Bde.  Details of Div RASC Task Vehicles 1800 hrs today.

63 Coy

 

 

398 Coy

 

 

716 Coy

With 64 FMC.

With 5 Bde.

Remaing with Coy.

With 64 FMC.

With 5 Bde

Remaing with Coy.

Det as 1st Vehs

With 5 Bde.

Remaing with Coy

30 x 3-ton

32 x 3-ton

28 x 3-ton

60 x 3-ton

20 x 3-ton

10 x 3-ton

24 x 3-ton

8 x 3-ton

42 x 3-ton

 

Sups, Pet & Amn - no change.  Historical Survey of Supply and Replenishment Op Varsity/Plunder completed and despatched.

 

25th April 1945

Place: MR M5/799155

 

Warm, bright and sunny.

Tpt. (a) Return of 3 Pls from GOCH.

       (b) Arrangements made for 60 TCVs with 5 Bde to pick up amn and POL from 14 Arm Rdhd after debussing.  Anticipated time of return 28 Apr 45.

       (c) Arrangements made to pick up Div reinforcements with 9 x 3-ton vehs of 63 Coy on 26 Apr.

Sups, POL and Amn - no change except amn drawn ex 65 FMC.

 

26th April 1945

Place: MR M5/799155

 

Fair and warm.  Normal routine, no unusual incidents.  29 x 3-ton from 398 Coy attached to 5 Bde recalled to assist 398 Coy with 2 Pls on a detail from 8 Corps.  44 x 3-ton from 63 Coy remain with 5 Bde for move to conc area on 27 Apr.  Sups, POL & amn - no change.

 

27th April 1945

Place: MR M5/799155

 

Bright and sunny.

Tpt. (a) Two Pls for 8 Corps move to 14 Army Rdhd to collect stores for 65 FMC.

       (b) Return of 44 x 3-ton vehs from 5 Bde to 63 Coy by 2359 hrs.

       (c) 20 x 3-ton vehs detailed from 398 Coy (incl 5 x 3-ton 63 Coy) to collect special scale of amn & sups to dump in 15 (S) Div Dukw Dump. during night 27/28 Apr.

Amn, POL & sups - no change except POL & bread drawn ex 65 FMC.

 

28th April 1945

Place: MR M5/799155

 

Dull inclined to rain.  Detachment of 4 x 3-ton lorries to 286 Fd Pk RE for carriage of assault boat eqpt.  Amn, POL and sups - no change.  Preparations for op.

 

29th April 1945

Place: MR M5/799155

 

D Day Op "ENTERPRISE".

    Sups - Times of drawing from BBP changed i.e. Issue at 0700 hrs.  Drawings ex 137 DID.  Otherwise no change.

    POL - Scale of 2nd line raised to 20,000 gals.

    Amn - 12 amn vehs att to 6 Airldg Bde to form Div Fwd AP in new area.  6 amn vehicles (75mm) att to 53 Lt Regt for Fwd AP in new area.  Drawings ex 65 FMC.

    Tpt - 3 x 3-ton detached to 224 Fd Amb.  15 x 3-ton vehs detached to 716 Coy from 63 Coy.  This is to give 716 Coy a sufficient lift to maintain 5 Bde who will be detached from 6 Airborne Div for limited period.

Report Centre for Adm Units est over ELBE at 878358.

 

30th April 1945

Place: MR M5/799155

 

Dull and cloudy, fresh wind.

Tpt - (a) Forming up in conc area and reshuffle of loads preparatory to crossing R ELBE on night 30 Apr/1 May.

         (b) Recall of 15 x 3-ton to 63 Coy from 716 Coy as 5 Bde now remain under command 6 Airborne Div.

         (c) Recall of 4 x 3-ton from CRE and 3 x 3-ton from 224 Fd Amb.

Adm units located in brhd.  Very congested - vehs parked nose to tail throughout LAUENBURG 9835.  Class 9 br mainly used.  Attacked several times by air and shelling.  No RASC cas.  Class 40 br used for heavy vehs and towed vehs - no cas.  Amn, Sup and Pet Pts moved to FORST MEDLINGEN.

 

 

Month and year : May 1945

Commanding Officer : Lt.Col. F.A. Lovegrove RASC

 

1st May 1945

Place: M5/870167

 

Cool and fresh, inclined to rain.  HQ est at BOIZENBURG 9835.  63, 398 & 716 Coys est in LAUENBURG 8834.  By 1300 hrs all RASC Tpt over R. ELBE.  By 1800 hrs 120 x 3-ton vehs provided as undernoted and concentrated preparatory to guides from 3 & 5 Bdes arriving.

60 x 3-ton.

43 x 3-ton.

5 x 3-ton.

12 x 3-ton.

120 x 3-ton.

- 398 Coy.

- 63 Coy.

- 716 Coy.

1670 Arty Pl. (6 Fd Regt).

20 x 3-ton given to each Bn for tp carrying on 2 May 45.  By 2300 hrs 23 x 10-ton vehs from Corps collected and guided over R.ELBE.  Following days maintenance brought in POL & sups which were dumped at 63 Coy.  A further 7 x 10-ton being collected on 2 May making 30 x 10-ton in all.  These are being divided 3 secs to 398 Coy and 2 sec less 2 x 10-ton to 63 Coy, 2 x 10-ton to 716 Coy which will release the load carriers released for TCVs.  Amn, Pet & Sup Pt moved to LAUENBURG across ELBE.

 

2nd May 1945

Place: M5/993358

 

Dull, cloudy and cool.

Tpt.  3 Bde debussed in WISMAR and 60 x 3-ton returned to BOIZENBURG to assist 6 Bde in move.  No other special tpt commitments.

Amn Pet & Sups - Amn Pt follows B Ech of 3 Bde along Red Route.  2 x 10-ton amn veh loads attached to each Bde.  Sup & Pet Pt moves up Red Route behind 3 Bde and eventually est at WISMAR.

 

3rd May 1945

Place: Wismar M5/457945

 

Dull inclined to rain.  Rained p.m.  All TCVs withdrawn from Bdes.  18 x 3-ton vehs proceed to OSNABRUCK with UK leave personnel return via HELMOND with Ord Stores.  40 x 2-ton vehs US Army 18 Corps placed under command 716 Coy.  716 Coy RASC operate staging camp for PWX.  Amn - all amn in Coy location.  Sup and Pet. - Pt est in Station at WISMAR.  Drawings ex 65 FMC.  Feeding of POWs - German tpt report direct to FMC and draw for its cage.  These arrangements to come into force wef 4 May.

 

4th May 1945

Place: Wismar M5/457945

 

Fine and warm with sunny intervals.  Div RASC will be responsible for maintenance of PWX, DPs and POWs.  716 Coy will operate PWX and DP Camp at Infantry Bks WISMAR to be known as EASTLANDS CAMP.  RASC to collect tpt in Div area for conveyance and maintenance of PWX etc in Div area.  Up to 25 enemy vehicles (runners) collected.  7 x 3-tonners to LUNEBURG to convey 1 Coy 13 Para Bn for incl air lift.

 

5th May 1945

Place: Wismar M5/457945

 

Non arrival of Truck Coy US Corps.  Detail cancelled by Americans.  Amn - No change.  Pet - No change.  10000 gals Pet ex 66 FMC.  Sups - 1000 rations delivered to Luftwaffe Hospital WISMAR and 200 daily to German PWS at BAD KLEINEN.  POW - arrangements made for 32,000 rations to be drawn daily ex Supply Depot at SIEMS, East of LUBECK.  To be drawn by 63 Coy and collected by the following cages wef 6 May 45.

 

(i) GADEBUSCH.

(ii) WITTENBURG.

(iii) MUHLEN.

(iv) BOIZENBURG.

Strength as at 4 May.

15,000

4,000

5,000

4,000

PWX - 716 Coy draw 100 T.E. rations daily to meet this.  500 rations in Compo held as reserve.

Tpt - 12 x 3-ton Br. PWX.

         20 x 3-ton DP evacuation to LAUENBURG.

         716 Coy will operate captured enemy transport.

 

6th May 1945

Place: Wismar M5/457945

 

Dull and cloudy with rainy intervals.  Thanksgiving Church Parade for (1) Anniversary of Div's formation (2) Repeat of May's Church Parade before NORMANDY (3) In thankfulness for the Div's successes during the past 12 months.
Tpt - (1) Pl of 10-ton vehs returned to 66 FMC with 2nd line amn.

         (2) 30 x 3-ton 398 Coy Evacuation of DPs to LAUENBURG.

              10 x 3-ton 63 Coy Evacuation of DPs to LAUENBURG.

              20 x 3-ton 1670 Arty Pl Evacuation of DPs to LAUENBURG.

              4 x 3-ton 716 Coy Evacuation of PWX to LUNEBURG.

Sups, Pet & amn - No change.  All 2nd line amn returned to 66 FMC.

 

7th May 1945

Place: Wismar M5/457945

 

Dull and slight wind throughout day.

Tpt - Continuation of evacuation PWX and DPs.  Up to 60 x 3-ton plus captured tpt of 716 Coy.

Sups - Luftwaffe Hospital supplied with 1500 rations daily wef 7 May.  WITTENBURG, BOIZENBURG, and GADEBUSCH POW Camps maintained by Americans and ceased to come under our control.

 

8th May 1945

Place: Wismar M5/457945

 

Bright and sunny.  Half of each Coy to have day's holiday in view of surrender of GERMANY and peace being declared.  Tpt  Only 15 x 3-ton vehs plus captured tpt on PWX evacuation.  No change in Sups, Pet and Amn.

 

9th May 1945

Place: Wismar M5/457945

 

Fine and warm sunny intervals.  Tpt.  Captured tpt less 4 vehicles of 716 Coy handed over to 218 Mil Gov Det.  Other half of each Coy to have day's holiday in celebration of cessation of hostilities.  No change in Sups, Pet and Amn.

 

10th May 1945

Place: Wismar M5/457945

 

Bright sunny day, warm p.m.  Tpt for PWX and DP continues.  No of vehicles involved today only 20.  Normal routine.  No change in Sups, & Pet.  Bread 9 oz per man per day.  257 A.Tk. Bty leaves command.

 

11th May 1945

Place: Wismar M5/457945

 

Fine and Warm.  Normal routine.  Tpt for PWX and DP continues - only 8 vehicles involved today.  Sups & Pet. - No change.  Amn 1st line deficiencies collected by 398 Coy RASC.

 

12th May 1945

Place: Wismar M5/457945

 

Bright, sunny and extremely warm.  Civilian water transport engaged to fish for local populace and troops - catch satisfactory.

Tpt (i) Tpt for PWX and DP continues 52 x 3-ton supplied today:-

                        32 x 3-ton        398 Coy.

                        20 x 2-ton.       1670 Arty Pl RASC.

      (ii) Orders received re probable return of all captured vehicles within next two days.

Sups - Fish collected by WISMAR fishermen.  Pet - Units rationed in Pet.  Amn - 1st line deficiencies issued.

 

13th May 1945

Place: Wismar M5/457945

 

Bright with warm sunshine, fresh wind at night.  Tpt for PWX and DP continues.  62 x 3-ton supplied, 32 x 3-ton 398 Coy.  30 x 3-ton 1st line vehs from Para Bdes.  Visit by Russian Concert Party of 17 Army of Red Army U.S.S.R.  Greatly enjoyed by all ranks.  Sups & Pet - no change.  (Fresh meat issues).  Conference held at HQ to discuss troop welfare.  Result - A Sports Days a Concert to be run for two night 15 & 16 May and troops to be encouraged to take advantage of the sea bathing and boating facilities.

 

14th May 1945

Place: Wismar M5/457945

 

Cloudy with sunny intervals, fresh wind.  Tabloid Sports held in the afternoon for all Div RASC.  CO attended DDST 8 Corps Conference held at KIEL.  HQ remains at WISMAR but warning order received to expect recce party of 5 Br Div who are taking over.

Tpt (a) Evacuation of DPs from EASTLAND Camp to CELLE - 20 x 3-ton from 1670 Arty Pl RASC and 10 x 3-ton 63 Coy RASC.

      (b) 5 x 3-ton with Ord Fd Pk to clear stores in dump at WESTERWAYE, approx 3 days detail.

Sups and Pet - No change.

 

15th May 1945

Place: Wismar M5/457945

 

Fine with sunny intervals.

 

0800 - Tpt (a) Tpt suspended owing to projected move.

 

1100 - Tpt (b) Move changed and tpt reverted to normal.  Concert by Div RASC in LICHSPELL Theatre.  Sups - No change.

 

16th May 1945

Place: Wismar M5/457945

 

Fine with bright sunshine.

 

0800 - Tpt rested with exception of details previously out.

 

2300 - 80 x 3-ton vehs 398 Coy required as TCVs for 6 Airldg Bde Air Party.  Sups - No change.

 

17th May 1945

Place: Wismar M5/457945

 

Fine, bright and warm.  Slight breeze.  Sups Rep from CRASC 5 (Br) Div arrived to arrange taking over of surplus sups and pet.

 

18th May 1945

Place: Wismar M5/457945

 

Fine, bright and warm.  HQ moved to Staging Area at LUNEBURG preparatory to splitting up into Air and Sea parties for return to UK.

 

19th May 1945

Place: Bulford 122/629642

 

Fine bright and warm.  Air Party of 2 Offrs and 11 ORs left LUNEBURG by air at 1330 hrs, landed NEWBURY 1715 hrs and proceeded to BULFORD.  Sea Party moved and staged overnight area SOLINGEN.  2 Pls Tpt 929 Coy under command.

 

20th May 1945

Place: Bulford 122/629642

 

Dull and dry.  Instructions received by Air Party regarding leave.  Sea Party moved to and staged Area VENLO.

 

21st May 1945

Place: Bulford 122/629642

 

Fine, bright and warm.  Normal routine for Air Party.  Sea Party moved to and staged area BRUSSELS.

 

22nd May 1945

Place: Bulford 122/629642

 

Fine, bright and warm.  Normal routine for air party.  Sea Party moved to and staged area OSTEND.

 

23rd May 1945

Place: Bulford 122/629642

 

Fine, bright and warm.  Sea Party embarked OSTEND.  Majority of Air Party signed Warning Rolls and proceeded on leave.

 

24th May 1945

Place: Bulford 122/629642

 

Fine, bright and warm.  Notification received to expect Sea Party P.M. today.  Sea Party arrived approx 1800 hrs - no casualties en route.

 

25th May 1945

Place: Bulford 122/629642

 

Dull and dry.  Normal routine.  Sups drawn direct from CSD.

 

26th May 1945

Place: Bulford 122/629642

 

Dull and dry.  Sea Party signed Warning Rolls and proceeded on leave.

 

 

Appendix

 

TOP SECRET.

6AD/ST/X/210.

16 Mar 45.

Op. "VARSITY/PLUNDER".

COPY NO 13

RASC 6 AIRBORNE DIV O.O. NO.1.

Ref Maps. GSGS.  GERMANY 1/250000 Sheets 2A, 3A, K52.

                                                   1/100000 Sheets R.1., Q.1.,

                                                   1/25000 4204, 4205, 4206, 4304, 4305, 4306.

 

INFORMATION.

 

1.  Enemy.

See Summary of Int. issued as Appendix "A", and Enemy Battle Order Map.  Appendix "K".

 

2.  Own Tps.

(i) 12 Corps of which 6 Airborne Div forms a part will make an assault crossing of the R. RHINE, using 15 (S) Div as spearhead, on the general line BISLICH 1442 and MEHR 1248 - HAFFEN 1149 at H hr on D Day.  Subsequently 15 (S) Div will capture the brs over the ISSEL WEST of DINGDEN 2253 and relieve 6 Brit Airborne Div in area HAMMINKELN 2048.

 

(ii) 6 Brit Airborne Div will land area HAMMINKELN 2048 - SCHNEPPENBURG Feature 1646 and clear and hold this area.

                Right.   6 Airldg Bde Gp.  (HAMMINKELN 2048).

                Centre. 5 Para Bde Gp.

                Left.     3 Para Bde Gp.  (SCHNEPPENBURG feature).

 

(iii) 6 Airldg Bde Gp consists of

                6 Airldg Bde.

                3 Airldg A.Tk. Bty. RA (less 2 6-pdr Tps and one 17-pdr Sec).

                Det. 591 Para Sqn RE.

                195 Airldg Fd Amb.

            In Support.

                One Med Regt, RA.

                One Bty. 53 Airldg Lt Regt, RA.

    5 Para Bde Gp consists of

                5 Para Bde.

                4 Airldg A.Tk. Bty, RA.

                One Tp. 591 Para Sqn RE.

                225 Para Fd Amb.

            In Support.

                One Med Regt, RA.

                One Bty. 53 Airldg Lt Regt, RA.

    3 Para Bde Gp consists of

                3 Para Bde.

                One 6-pdr Tp, 3 Airldg A.Tk. Bty, RA.

                One Tp, 3 Para Sqn, RE.

                224 Para Fd Amb.

            In Support.

                Three Field Regts.

For further details see Battle Order.  Appendix "B".  17th U.S. Airborne Div will be on the right of 6 Airborne Div.

 

3.  Additional Tps.

    8 ORs 22 Indep Para Coy under comd 716 Coy for marking SDPs and setting up Talking Eureka Rebecca.

    Pioneer Coy.  )

    DUKW Coy. ) Landborne.

    1 Tpt Pl, 716 Coy RASC.  Landborne.

    50 Jeeps and Trailers from Airldg Bns and RA to report to DMA P + 6.

 

INTENTION.

 

4.  716 Coy RASC (consisting of HQ, three Para Pls and Carrier Section) will fly in with 6 Airborne Div and maintain Div in Sups, Amn and Pet so long as the air phase of op lasts.

 

METHOD.

 

5.  Gen. Outline.

    A dump in area 192470 (clearing in wood just SOUTH of Railway Line) will be selected, by OC 716 Coy on landing.  Into this dump, to be known as DMA, all commodities will be collected, sorted and recorded.

    Sources of supplies will be

        (i) P. hour.  Pannier Loads from Hamilcar.

        (ii) P. hour.  2 Compo Packs per Glider less those gliders used by Armd Recce Det and Para Bdes.

        (iii) P + 3 hrs.  One Div Day resupply mission (air).

        (iv) D + 1 dawn.  Two Div Days resupply mission (air).

        (v) One Div Day resupply at call (air).

        (vi) 1500 containers special pack at call (highlevel air).

        (vii) Dump Stocks EAST of river in area 1546 or as subsequently notified (Land) from D + 1 onwards.

        (viii) Certain items of supply from jettison drop.

    For lists of resupply mission and Land Dump loads see Appendices "C" (Pannier Loads), "D" (Div Day for P + 3 and D + 1) and "E" (on call items) "F" (Highlevel resupply list) "G" (Land Dump List) "H" (Jettison Drop List).

    All supplies (Less Land Dump) will be dropped on SDP area 2046, 2047, or such place as OC 716 Coy in conjunction with A/Q 6 Airborne Div may decide if area 2046, 2047, is not practicable owing to enemy situation.  Main alternative area 1347 - 1447.

    Formations and units will draw all commodities from DMA.  DMA will issue on demand, according to stocks he has collected at time of demand.

    DMA will be established by P + 3.

    716 Coy Land Assault Pl will be responsible for transporting Land dump commodities to DMA if required until link up when OC 716 Coy will assume responsibility and take Assault Pl under command.  Dumps to remain separate if possible.

    CRASC will be responsible for operating DUKW Coy, Pioneer Coy and for selecting and forming land dumps.

 

6.  Grouping.

    O.C. 716 Coy.                        Major C.P.R. Crane, RASC.

    O. i/c SDP.                              Lt. Starkey, RASC.

    O. i/c DMA.                            Capt. S. Sutherland-White, RASC.

    O. i/c Glider Compo Clearing.  Lt. Roberts, RASC.

    O. i/c Transport.                      Lt. Jose, RASC.

    O. i/c Clearing Parties.             Lt. Starkey, RASC.

    O. i/c Defence.                        Capt. Lewenhaupt, MC, RASC.

 

7.  Definitions.

P. Hour is the time of the landing of 6 Airborne Div on DZs and LZs.  H. Hour is the time of commencement of Land assault.

 

8.  Landing Areas and Timings.

    (a) LZs and DZs.  see Appendix "L".

    (b) Para and Glider landings will start simultaneously.  Order of landing as follows.

 

(i)

(ii)

(iii)

(iv)

(v)

(vi)

(vii)

Para.

3 Para Bde.

 

5 Para Bde.

Glider.

 

6 Airldg Bde.

 

Div HQ Gp (includes 716 Coy RASC)

RA Gp (4 men).

Para Bdes Glider Elt.

Hamilcar Loads (12 for 716 Coy).

 

9.  Tasks for each group as defined in para 6 will be given to them by OC 716 Coy.

    The Carriers should be held for the work of clearing Hamilcars initially and resupply mission P + 3 until such time as 50 Jeeps and Trailers arrive from Airldg Bns and RA, when the Carriers should (less 4) be given the task of clearing rations from Gliders (see Para 5(ii)).  The four retained in DMA, should be used as need arises.

    Tasks in order of priority are as follows.

    (i) Clearing Hamilcars and selecting DMA site, marking SDP.

    (ii) Depositing Hamilcar Loads in Dump to free Carrier transport.

    (iii) Collecting resupply P + 3 from SDP 1 or 2 whichever has been decided.  No.1 will be used for resupply P + 3 probably.  Collecting Compo Packs from Airldg Bde, Gunner and Div HQ LZs.

    (iv) Distribution of commodities on demand from Dump.  To begin P + 3 Compo Packs from Gliders must be ready for distribution D + 1 1000 hrs onwards.

    (v) Collecting resupply of two Div Days D + 1 from SDP.

    (vi) Collecting natures not required by Para Bdes from the jettison drop areas (Low priority).

    An accurate record as possible will be kept of all stores going into the Dump and of issues.

    An account of the resupply drops will be kept and handed to CRASC on his arrival.  Time, accuracy, height, % candles, quantity collected, etc. are all important.

    Defence, even to patrolling wooded area, will be vigorously dealt with.

    The Landborne Pl of 716 Coy will have orders to link up with Air Party.

    The 8 ORs of 22 Indep Para Coy will be under command of 716 Coy and will be flown in with the Coy.  Their duties will be to mark out SDPs and set up Talking EUREKA REBECCA.

 

10.  Bdys.

    (i) Between 6 Brit Airborne Div and 17 U.S. Div (Airborne).  Incl to 6 Div - BRUNEN 2748 - X Rds 253482 - Rd to Junc 229481 - Rly Crossing 219477 - excl Bldgs 207473 - Rly Crossing 196468 - track junc 182465 - incl X Rds 169462 - excl rd to bldgs 155458 -  thence line of water ditch to br 144447.  513 Combat Regt will be on left of 17 U.S. Div position; this regt will therefore be adjacent to DMA.

 

11.  Mines.

    Gaps cleared in enemy minefields will be marked in normal manner.  SDP clearing parties must be prepared to clear own safety lanes.  Marking tape and signs will be taken therefore.

 

12.  Glider Pilots.

    A/Q 6 Airborne Div will allot approx 2 Pls of Glider Pilots to OC 716 Coy RASC for protection of SDP as soon after P hr as possible.  OC 716 Coy will assume command of this force and lay down their tasks etc.

 

13.  Recognition.

    (a) Recognition sig between air tps and ground forces will be the displaying of yellow celanese triangles.  These will be carried by all tps of 6 Airborne Div.

    (b) Red berets may be worn after the initial drop as an aid to recognition therefore OC 716 Coy RASC will exercise his discretion on the spot concerning this matter.

 

14.  Pyrotechnics.

    (a) No RV signals will be made by OC 716 Coy on landing.

    (b) No Lt Sigs at all will be used therefore.

 

ADMINISTRATION.

    Separate instructions will be issued.

 

15.  Location of HQ.

HQ 6 Airborne Div.

HQ 3 Para Bde.

HQ 5 Para Bde.

HQ 6 Airldg Bde.

Rear HQ 12 Corps.

HQ 716 Coy.

- Bldgs 189479.

- Vicinity 1646.

- 195495.

- 204486.

- WINKELSCHER BUSCH 0633.

- Vicinity 194465.

 

16.  Liaison.

    Capt. C.H. Turff will fly in with 6 Airborne Div HQ and will act as L.O. between OC 716 Coy RASC and A/Q 6 Airborne Div.

 

17.  Wrls.

    OC 716 Coy will maintain wrls communication with his groups according to own wishes.  Control will be at 716 Coy HQ.  Capt. Turff will be provided with 1 set and operators on landing.  Listening watch will be maintained from H + 1.  RASC net will be on wavelength F.27. on Sig List i.e. 4.2 - 4.3.

 

18.  Line.

    Line communication will be est by Div Sigs as soon as possible.  All links to be considered liable to interception.  Enemy communication installations will be reported to Div HQ at once when found.

 

19.  Sig Time.

    Official time will be B.S.T. (designated by letter A).  Time will be checked from BBC Broadcasts.  Time Sigs are radiated every hr at the hr on 6195 Kcs.

 

20.  Slidex will not be used.

 

21.  Passwords.

    Common Passwords and replies for use by airtps and tps 12 Corps will be issued separately.  Passwords other than above will NOT be used.  17 U.S. Div (Airborne) will be using passwords.  These will be notified later by G. 6 Brit Airborne Div and must be known by all concerned.

 

ACK.

 

[Signed] Lt Col,

CRASC, 6 Airborne Division.

Time of Signature ... 161100A.

Method of Despatch ... D.R.L.S.

 

THIS ORDER WILL NOT BE TAKEN INTO THE AIR ON D. DAY.

 

 

Appendix "C" to RASC 6 AIRBORNE DIV O.O. NO.1.

 

PANNIER LOADS 12 HAMILCARS ALLOTTED TO 716 COY RASC.

 

Nature.

2" Mor Smoke.

2" Mor HE.

PIAT HE.

25 Pr Coloured Smok. )

                         RED   )

                         BLUE )

25 Pr Carts normal.      )

3" Mor HE

75mm How HE M54.

75mm How HE M48.

MT 80 in Jerricans.

TOTAL

Ordnance Stores.

Medical Stores.

TOTAL

No. of Panniers.

4

4

15

6

 

 

 

21

30

10

10

100

33

29

162

Quantity.

600 Rds.

600 Rds.

630 Bombs.

48

24

72

 

567 Bombs.

420 Rds.

140 Rds.

200 gallons.

 

Note.

List is subject to reduction, owing to loading difficulties of Hamilcar Gliders.

 

 

APPENDIX "D" to RASC 6 AIRBORNE DIV O.O. NO.1.

 

Total Resupply Mission P + 3.

Total Resupply Mission D + 1 equals double quantity.

 

AMMUNITION.

Nature.

9mm

.45 Auto

.303 Bdr.

.303 Ctn.

.303 Tracer.

.303 MkVIII & Strip Belt.

20mm Oerlikon HE and AP.

6 pr SABOT.

6 pr HE.

17 pr SABOT.

17 pr APCBC.

17 pr HE.

75mm Pack How HE Fuze 48

75mm Pack How HE Fuze 54

75mm Pack How HE Fuze HEAT

75mm Pack How HE Fuze Smok.

PIAT HE.

2 in Mor HE.

2 in Mor Smok.

2 in Mor Ill.

2 in Mor Red.

2 in Mor Green.

3 in Mor HE.

3 in Mor Smok.

Cart 1 in Sig Ill.

Cart 1 in Sig Red.

Cart 1 in Sig Green.

Gen Smok No 26 Mixed.

Gren 36M.

Gren 75.

Gren 77.

Gren 82 (incl PE).

25 pr HE.

25 pr Smok.

25 pr Smok. Red.

25 pr Smok. Blue.

25 pr Cart.

37mm APCBC (two fuses).

.300 Browning AP and Tracer mixed belt.

4.2 in Mor HE.

37mm HE.

Rounds.

170,400

5,000

598,900

475,200

158,400

372,000

12,600

1,040

156

240

160

80

1,224

2,376

72

144

4,160

5,600

5,600

1,400

1,050

1,500

6,000

900

1,425

1,425

1,425

552

4,704

3,149

1,360

2,320

100

20

100

60

280

80

16,000

192

60

Total Tonnage - 228 Tons.

 

ORD STORES.

 

Eqpt.

Bren, w/spares and 50 filled mags.

PsIAT.

Vickers .303.

2-in Mortar.

3-in Mortar.

Snipers Rifles.

75mm Spares.

Jeep Tyres and Tubes.

Wireless Set No.68.

                          62.

                          38.

Batteries for 68 Sets.

                    38 Sets.

Batteries Secondary Portable 12v 22 amp.

Mine Detectors No.4.

Batteries WB.3384.

Tele Sets "L".

Cable Electric D.3. Single.     Miles.

Charging Sets 300-w.

Quantity.

20

18

4

12

6

8

Sets   2

Sets   6

12

3

24

240

220

24

6

50

14

18

2

Total Tonnage - 12 Tons.

 

MED STORES.

 

Normal day's requirements as detailed at Appx "C" in HQ AirCorps/7537/5/Med dated 24 Feb 45.

Total Tonnage - 8 Tons.

 

R.E. STORES.

 

PACK.

RE 1/C

RE 10/C

RE 21/C

RE 33/C

RE 34/C

RE 35/C

RE 36/C

RE 50/C

RE 52/C

RE 53

CONTENTS.

Explosives.

Mines Mk V.

Mine Markers.

Sandbags.

Picks and Shovels.

Sledges, Axes.

Saws, Axes.

S Tanks.

Sludge Pump.

Pump Accessories.

QUANTITY.

7

40

10

50

50

10

30

6

6

6

Total Tonnage - 20 Tons.

 

 

APPENDIX "E"  to RASC 6 AIRBORNE DIV O.O. NO.1.

 

List  showing commodities which will be flown in on receipt of Emergency call for one Div Day.

 

Emergency re-sup D + 2.

    Amn.

    66 2/3% of Appendix "D".

    Ord.

    50% of Appendix "D".

    Med.

    100% of Appendix "D".

    RE.

    66 2/3% of Appendix "D".

PLUS

    Sups.

    14 man compo     1286 packs.

    POL.

    8000 gals Pet.

    Normal percentage of Oils.

Total Tonnage - 260 Tons.

 

 

APPENDIX "H" to RASC 6 AIRBORNE DIV O.O. NO.1.

 

List showing commodities scheduled to be dropped in "Jettison Drop".

 

Nature.

9mm.

.303 Bdr.

Carts Sig 1" Ill.

Carts Sig 1" Red.

Carts Sig 1" Green.

 

.303 Ctn.

Bren Mags.

Carts Sig 1" Ill.

Carts Sig 1" Red.

Carts Sig 1" Green.

 

.303 Ctn.

Bren Mags.

 

.303 Ctn.

 

.303 Tcr.

Bren Mags.

 

.303 Str./Belt Mk VIIIIZ.

2" Mor HE.

2" Mor Smok.

 

3" Mor HE.

9mm.

 

3" Mor HE.

3" Mor Smok.

PIAT HE.

36 Grens.

75 Grens.

77 Grens.

82 Grens.

75mm How HE M54.

75mm How HE M48.

17 pr APCBC.

6 pr SABOT.

Ordnance Stores.

RE Stores.

Medical Stores.

Number of Containers.

6

50

 

 

 

 

33

 

 

 

 

 

5

 

 

1

 

9

 

 

60

9

9

 

100

 

 

50

15

66

25

30

4

20

33

33

25

29

QUANTITY.

43,200

100,000

216

42

42

 

82,368

396

200

200

200

 

12,480

60

 

2,876

 

22,464

108

 

135,000

486

486

 

1,200

120,000

 

600

180

792

1,200

720

272

800

297

297

100

261

 

 

APPENDIX "J" to RASC 6 AIRBORNE DIV O.O. NO.1.

 

RASC BUILD UP PRIORITIES (LAND).

 

Ser

Unit

Personnel

M/Cs

Jeeps

Tractors

25

Pdr

17

Pdr

6

Pdr

Trlrs

Amb

Scout

Cars

Carriers

15-cwt

trucks

3-ton

vehs

Total

Vehs

Remarks

D.DAY

5

 

One Pl 716 Coy RASC

 

60

 

5

 

35

 

 

 

 

 

35

 

 

 

 

 

 

70

 

Pre-loaded Sig Stores.

D+4 onwards.

24

 

 

398 Coy RASC

 

 

400

 

 

34

 

 

34

 

 

8

 

 

 

 

 

4

 

 

 

 

 

16

 

 

111

 

 

173

 

25

63 Coy RASC

400

34

34

8

 

 

 

4

 

 

 

16

111

173

 

   -              716 Coy RASC            R  E  M  A  I  N  D  E  R

 

 

APPENDIX "L" to RASC 6 AIRBORNE DIV O.O. NO.1.

 

LOCATIONS OF LZs, DZs, SDPs.

 

1.  Para Bde.  DZs and LZs

        A. 3 Para Bde.  Centre at 158483.

        B. 5 Para Bde.  Centre at 185508.

2.  6 Airldg Bde LZs.

        2 Oxf Buck.  Centre at 205495.  )

        1 RUR.  Centre at 208478.         ) Bde HQ will land on one of these.

        12 Devons.  Centre at 195478.   )

3.  R.A. LZ.

        Lt Regt & A.Tk. Bty.  Centre at 183482.

4.  Div HQ.  LZ. includes RASC Hamilcars

        Centre at 190477.

5.  Jettison Drop Areas.

        3 Para Bde.  Centre at 150480.

        5 Para Bde.  Centre at 180503.

6.  S.D.P.1.  Centre at 200471.

     S.D.P.2.  Centre at 148475. alternative only in worst case.

 

If others are required, they will either be on Para DZs or Glider LZs as circumstances dictates.

 

NOTE: DIRECTION OF FLIGHT will be from SOUTH WEST to NORTH EAST in all cases.

 

 

Appendix "K"

REPORT ON OPERATION VARSITY/PLUNDER

 

This report covers the air phase of operation Varsity/Plunder as it effected 716 Coy RASC (Airborne Light) and deals with the period of briefing, landing and work on the ground until the Land Element of the Coy linked up at approx 1800 hrs on D plus one.

 

The air operational party consisted of 6 Officers and 77 Other Ranks with under command 1 Offr and 9 Other Ranks of 22 Indep Para Coy, 3 Other Ranks REME and 2 Other Ranks Ord and a party of 10 from Public Relations.  This force was conveyed in 12 Hamilcar Gliders which took off from WOODBRIDGE airfield on 24 Mar 45.  Prior to take off the force was concentrated at GLEVERING HALL transit camp where briefing was carried out and glider loads finally checked over.  A thorough briefing took place and was spread over two days, 22 and 23 Mar.

 

The plan for the operation as it effected the Coy was as follows:-

 

1.  The force was split up among the 12 gliders so that should one become a casualty, there was as nearly as possible a corresponding load in one of the other craft to carry on the work on the ground, and attached personnel were also spread among the craft for the same reason.  The chalk numbers of the craft were 267-278 inclusive.

 

2.  On landing the crews of Gliders 267 and 269 together with carriers and all available fire power were to proceed at once under command of Capt. S. Sutherland-Waite to recce the area of the clearing in the forest at MR 193468 as a possible dump area.

 

3.  The remaining glider crews were to RV at the hedge junction 193476 with carriers and trailers and await the signal from the recce party that all was clear to proceed.

 

4.  The trailers would then be offloaded and the work of clearing the panniers from the gliders would start.  While this was in progress Lt. Campbell and the 9 ORs of 22nd Indep Para Coy together with six spotters and as many men as could be spared for defence would proceed to the SDP ready for the marking out and observation of the supply drop at P + 3.

 

5.  All available tpt would then be turned on to clearing this resupply and 40 Jeeps and Trailers from Airlanding units would become available at approx P + 6 hrs to assist in this.  On the arrival of the Airlanding tpt, Lt. Roberts and 6 carriers and trailers would then be detached to clear the compo packs from the gliders on the surrounding LZs so that compo would be ready for issue by 1000 hrs D + 1.

 

6.  Finally, when all the other tasks had been completed, the Coy would set about collection of any supplies left over from the jettison drop on 3 and 5 Para Bde's DZs.

 

With so small a force, it was fully realised that this was indeed a mammoth commitment, and all ranks were advised that they could expect little or no rest for at least 48 hrs.  However, all were quite confident of their ability to carry the job through and were in excellent spirits and high morale when they emplaned on the morning of 24 Mar 45.  Take off was at 0730 hrs and promptly to time the first RASC glider was airborne.  The flight was quite uneventful until the RHEIN was reached when the air became very bumpy and it could be clearly seen that there was considerable flak opposing the landings.  Visibility at this stage was very bad.  Until this time the flight had been in glorious sunshine but as soon as the river was crossed there was a blanket of either smoke or dust from the artillery barrage which made it quite impossible to see the ground beneath until the glider was perhaps only 200 feet from the actual LZ.  This made the task of the Glider Pilots even more difficult and hazardous than usual and it is not therefore surprising that the landings were at widely separated points and not on the LZ for which briefing had been carried out.

 

Landings were made between 1040 and 1055 hrs and in all cases flak of varying intensity was experienced.  Once on the ground, the gliders came under either small arms fire or mortar fire which caused considerable damage to the loads and in some instances, the personnel also.  Of 12 gliders flown in, 8 eventually landed within the Div perimeter, 1 crashed in the WESEL area, 1 was found well outside the area later with no trace of the crew or contents and two are as yet unaccounted for.  (One now known to have crashed in U.K.)  Great difficulty was experienced in getting the trailers out of the rear of the gliders as the force of landing on rough ground and the stretching of the ropes which bound them had caused a slight shifting of the panniers which were lashed forward of the trailers and therefore blocked the way for getting the trailer out.  It was not possible to waste time at that stage in cutting lashings and removing panniers as the gliders were under fire and in most cases it was decided to salvage the trailer later.  The gliders themselves stood up to the rough landing very well but the Germans were using incendiary bullets and shells which caused great havoc amongst them, both when landing and when they became an easy target on the ground.

 

The following is a debriefing of the crews of the gliders concerned:-

 

Glider 267.

A good landing.  The carrier was out in very quick time but almost immediately a shell hit the glider which set it on fire and burnt it out completely.  The carrier was called to assist in evacuating a wounded man from another glider and while on the way to do this was itself hit by another shell, set on fire and burnt out.  Cas to personnel - Capt. S. Sutherland-Waite and 4 ORs wounded, 1 Glider Pilot killed, 1 OR of 22 Indep Para Coy and 1 Public Relations signalman wounded.

 

Glider 268 and 269.

Missing.  (see page 3 this Appx).

 

Glider 270.

A good landing on DZ of 12 Para Bn, where a considerable battle was in progress.  Tail struck by flak but no personnel injured.  Carrier out at once and all ranks made for cover of nearby wood, until 12 Para Bn had the situation well in hand.  The trailer was then got out after great difficulty and the party moved off to RV.  Owing to the intervening country not being mopped up this party did not arrive at RV until 1600 hrs.

 

Glider 271.

Hit by flak and crash landed, breaking up very badly.  No casualties sustained but carrier shed a track.  This was subsequently recovered and put in working order by unit fitter.

 

Glider 272.

Hit by flak and managed to make a fair landing, although crashing through a fence and losing a wheel.  No casualties were sustained by personnel.

 

Glider 273.

Missing.  (see page 3 this Appx).

 

Glider 274.

Hit by flak and right wing damaged and finally torn off on landing, which was really a crash.  Carrier was however intact and no injuries were sustained by personnel.

 

Glider 275.

Missing.  (see page 3 this Appx).

 

Glider 276.

Hit by flak and set on fire.  Managed a fair landing although the glider was destroyed completely on the ground, not however before the carrier had been got out.  Casualties were 2 ORs wounded.  This glider was quickly surrounded by the enemy and it is assumed that the remaining occupants are now P.O.W.

 

Glider 277.

Hit by flak, crash landed and broke up.  1 OR and 2 War Correspondents wounded.  This glider came down almost on the railway track and it is remarkable that no worse casualties were sustained.

 

Glider 278.

No casualties and a fairly good landing.  Carrier struck by small arms fire as soon as it emerged from the Hamilcar but not damaged.  Some flak experienced but not much damage to the glider.

 

Glider 273.

Was subsequently found well outside the Div perimeter with the two Glider Pilots dead but no sign of either airborne personnel or equipment.

 

Glider 275.

Previously reported missing and is now known to have crashed in the WESEL area.  It was badly hit by flak and broke up on crash landing.  The carrier and load were badly damaged.  Lt. G.H. Starkey and 1 OR were injured and evacuated.  The other members of the crew after fighting with Americans eventually reported on D+2.  The glider was finally hit by shell fire and it is believed that the whole contents was destroyed.

 

Glider 268.

It is now known that this craft crashed in UK and that all the members of the crew were badly injured.  This news has just been received from one of the crew in hospital in UK.

 

One crew under comd Sjt Whittall landed very near the RV and were therefore first on the scene at approx 1100 hrs, and this party were the only men of the Coy present until at about 1300 hrs Capt Lewenhaupt and his crew with their carrier and trailer arrived.  Capt Lewenhaupt then went at once to recce the area as he realised that the recce party which had been briefed for the job had failed to show up.  Very shortly after this recce party had moved off, the crews of three other gliders reported to the RV and Capt. S. Sutherland-Waite though wounded in the arm pluckily carried on in the absence of the OC Coy and things began to take shape.  At this stage, there were available for work, 3 carriers and 1 trailer.  There was, however, a German 3-ton vehicle loaded with amn which was quickly offloaded and pressed into service after certain minor repairs had been carried out by the fitter.  From this it will be seen that at the time the supply drop took place at 1300 hrs, there was in fact NO tpt available to clear the SDP.  The only personnel on the scene were the party under Sjt Whittall who were very busy giving covering fire to Lt Campbell of 22 Indep Para Coy who was marking the SDP.

 

The supply drop which was carried out by Liberators was extremely scattered as will be seen from the attached sketch map which has been marked up in red.  Not only was it very widely dispersed but it was also dropped from a very low altitude which caused much of the amn to be damaged.  In fact many of the container chutes did not properly develop before the container had hit the ground.  With the very limited tpt which was at the disposal of Capt. Sutherland-Waite it was quite obvious that too much space would be take up in the trailers etc if the whole container was brought into the dump as had been the intention and it was therefore decided to open the containers on the SDP and bring in the contents only.  This was in progress when OC Coy arrived and assumed command of the proceedings.

 

The situation at 1600 hrs was tense as far as the supply side was concerned.  Both 5 Bde and 6 Airldg Bde were wanting amn and there was very little available.  There was at that time, no Cpl Storemen on the spot and issues were being made direct from the container as it was demanded.  The position gradually improved and by 1800 hrs there were 6 carriers and 3 trailers at work together with the German vehicle.  A dump had been set up which contained most natures of amn but there appeared to be a shortage of 9mm and superfluity of stripless belt.  No contact had been established with the CRASC rep, Capt. C.H. Turff, RASC, so at 1830 hrs, OC 716 Coy went direct to A/Q to advise him of the position.  There it was learned that Capt. Turff had been badly wounded and evacuated and that A/Q too had not arrived.  It was arranged with DAQMG that as many Airldg Jeeps and trailers as possible should be sent over to help in the clearance at once and that if the enemy would permit, the clearance should go on during the night by the light of the moon.  In fact of the 40 Jeeps and Trailers which were supposed to report for this work, 10 only did arrive and they came so late as to be of little use until first light on D+1.

 

The job of clearing the SDP therefore proceeded after darkness had fallen but it became apparent at about 2330 hrs that the enemy was infiltrating into the woods beside the dump and also crossing the SDP itself.  Operations were therefore suspended and all ranks stood to ready for any eventuality which might develop.  It was a very eerie experience but all ranks behaved splendidly and complete silence was maintained while the stand to was in progress.  This lasted until 0200 hrs when 50% of the personnel stood down and snatched a few hours sleep.  During the night spasmodic shots were fired across the dump area without causing either damage or cas, and persons could, at time, be heard moving about in the undergrowth.  No attack however came in and at first light after the morning stand to, a roll call was held and the work of collection resumed.  The roll call elicited the fact that Lt. Roberts and 4 ORs were absent.  Of these 3 ORs had been sent with the captured German vehicle to evacuate wounded from Div HQ to the MDS and had not been seen since, while Lt Roberts and 1 OR had not returned from 6 Airldg Bde. HQ whence they had departed after delivering an urgent supply of amn.  The following is the story of their adventures.

 

The 3 men with the German vehicle had been surrounded by enemy just outside the dump area and been taken prisoner.  They had been put in charge of wounded Germans and had moved off with a party of approx 200 enemy across the SDP in the direction of HAMMINKELN.  Lt Roberts and the remaining OR were returning to location when this same body of enemy opened fire on the Jeep and also took them prisoner.  Then began a long walk around the interior of the Div perimeter during which time the party disintegrated and was reduced in strength to some 50 - 60 men.  They were fired on periodically by our tps and morale among the Germans was clearly weakening.  Lt Roberts seeing this state of affairs began talking to the Germans and told them that their situation was quite hopeless for at first light they would most certainly be shot and it would be far better for them to give themselves up to him and he would guarantee them safe conduct to a POW cage where they would be well treated and looked after.  Gradually the Germans came round to this way of thinking and after a little further persuasion from Lt Roberts the whole party laid down their arms and were marched off to HAMMINKELN where they were handed over to the cage.  Lt Roberts and the 4 ORs then returned to duty.

 

The strength of the Coy on the morning of D+1 was 4 Officers (incl 1 wounded pending evacuation) and 44 ORs incl 3 wounded.  This left a total of missing and already evacuated of 2 Officers and 32 ORs.  Known fatalities at this stage were 1 OR killed whilst carrying out work on the SDP.

 

Lt Roberts and 2 carriers proceeded to the Airldg Bde's LZs to clear compo rations but results were very poor, and the remaining vehs were all busy collecting in the amn etc. from the first supply drop until 1200 hrs on D+1 when a halt was called for lunch and preparation for the marking, spotting, etc. for the next resupply mission due at 1300 hrs.  This mission was cancelled and OC Coy had just returned to dump area to order the tpt to carry on collection when at approx 1400 hrs, CRASC arrived having made the journey up from the Rhine by road.  He brought with him information that the Pl left in BLA would be rejoining for duty that afternoon and at approx 1800 hrs, Capt. Ballard and this Pl duly arrived in location.

 

This tpt was immediately detached to Bdes for duty and did not help the difficult job of SDP clearance at all as only two Jeeps were available after all detachments had been made.  However the fitter had managed to repair one more carrier which had shed a track on landing and a further German vehicle had also been acquired.  Work continued until dark when all ranks of the airborne party turned in and guards were mounted by the Land Element which had just come along.

 

By this time, there were tps of other formations, gun lines and veh parks all over the SDP and the work of collection and salvage which was just about to be started was greatly handicapped.  Parachutes disappeared overnight and panniers also were greatly damaged and made u/s by tracked vehs which ploughed straight over anything that was in its way.

 

On D+2 the work of salvaging containers chutes and other equipment was started and the collection of outlying containers and their contents continued.  At approx 1900 hrs the remainder of the Coy came into location under command of Capt. H.E. Cubley.  Workshops were established at 194470 in a farm house and out buildings and the remaining vehs of HQ and C Pls parked up under the trees for the night.

 

On D+3 all available tpt was put on to salvage and two large stacks of containers and panniers were made.  The actual contents of these stacks were not recorded because a representative of Corps Salvage Unit reported that he had been instructed to take over the whole business of salvage and took over these two stacks from the Coy.  During this day one Jeep containing an Officer and 2 ORs struck a mine whilst on salvage work and fatally injured the driver, the Officer and spare driver being wounded.

 

On D+4 the Coy had the task of returning to FMC all cased amn and disposing of the amn in the PEGASUS dump.  This was carried out during the day but no start could be made on the PEGASUS dump until the following day.  Even then no start could be made on this amn as an urgent petrol requirement took precedence and it was not until the late afternoon of D+5 that approx 25 tons of amn was cleared from PEGASUS dump to FMC.

 

The task of clearing the amn was resumed on D+6 but FMC would not accept this as it was moving up.  The amn was therefore left in situ and notified to Corps via the usual channels.  The unit was now under orders to move forward and an advance party was ready to come forward and recce the selected area.  On D+7 (31 Mar) the Coy moved forward to COESFELD and rejoined the rest of the Div RASC which had been moving up with the general advance.

 

CASUALTIES SUSTAINED.

Known casualties for this operation are as follows:-

Killed.

Wounded.

Missing believed POW.

Missing.

Known to be in hospital in UK.

2 Other Ranks.

2 Officers and 8 Other Ranks (incl 2 on det).

1 Officer and 5 Other Ranks (incl 2 ORs known to be wounded).

1 Officer and 17 Other Ranks (incl 4 det to 5 Para Bde).

5 Other Ranks.

 

GENERAL OBSERVATIONS.

1.  Owing to the wide dispersal of landings great difficulty was experienced in getting the collection of the supply containers started as so few personnel were actually on the spot when the supply drop took place.

 

2.  Having to leave the panniers in the Hamilcars while the trailers were offloaded was unfortunate as in many instances it was impossible to get back to them for two or three days owing to fighting and then when they were reached the contents had been rifled, or the glider set on fire by enemy action.

 

3.  The carrier proved itself a very useful article of equipment on this operation and there is no doubt that it gave the drivers and passengers added confidence and was able to get over the rough country with ease whereas the Jeep did experience bog and wheel spin on occasion.

 

4.  The men were magnificent and gave a most excellent account of themselves.  They were all extremely tired when the Land Element joined up but their morale could not have been better and they stuck to the hard work splendidly on very little rest and scanty rations.

 

5.  It is felt that the RASC element was quite insufficient in strength to cope satisfactorily with the job on hand though at no time to the best of my belief did we have to turn away any demands.  Further than the actual work to be done we also had to cater for our own defence all the time.  The Glider Pilots who were supposed to be on hand for defence did not turn up and it is felt that if a job of such dimensions is to be carried out effectively the RASC emphasis must be on the clearance of sups etc and not on fighting if it can possibly be arranged otherwise.

 

(Signed) C.P.R. Crane.

Major Cmdg,

716 Coy RASC (Airborne Light).

BLA.

2 Apr 45.

 

 

Appendix

R.A.S.C. 6 AIRBORNE DIVISION

Historical Survey of Supplies & Transport.

Period 27 March to 2 May 45.

Compiled by Capt. M.N. HUGHES, RASC.

11 May 45.

 

FOREWORD

 

    The Pioneers of Airborne Forces do not appear to have envisaged use of an Airborne Division in an ordinary ground role in a war of movement thus the equipment placed at such a Division's disposal, including M.T. is far from adequate when such a role is undertaken.

    However, probably due to this very fact, the manoeuvrability of an Airborne Division is of an extremely high order.

    Thus when we, in the 6th Airborne Division, knew we had to lead the advance of 8 Corps alongside the 11th Armoured Div, from after the RHINE crossing on 24 Mar 45, we were extremely confident in our ability to keep up the pace and even hoped that we would be able to lead the advance, a hope which proved to be well founded.

    In the RASC, this manoeuvrability, produces an extraordinary set of circumstances and problems.  You have got to think carefully and quickly and be right every time, otherwise you are left without a vehicle, but with a vast collection of things which have to be transported long distances.

    In a static ground role, there are no special problems; it is with a war of movement which this survey deals.

    The ammunition expenditure tables given in Appendix "J" reveal the slight nature of the opposition met with during the advance of the Div from XANTEN to WISMAR, but from day to day we never knew beforehand whether or not the enemy would oppose us with stronger forces, therefore a proper second line holding of ammunition had to be maintained right forward, thus transport was always "locked" up on this work.  The distances were too great to permit a risk being run by reducing holdings to any appreciable extent.

    Risks enough were taken, for the advance was usually by M.T. along one or two roads, no sweeping action being taken by the leading elements over the country on each side.  The Div "Tail" therefore in their efforts to maintain those forward, just had to motor along the same road and pray that the enemy were not within too close proximity on either side.

    One or two advance parties of the Div RASC had narrow escapes in this connection and one or two prisoners were taken from amongst us, but no vehicle or load was lost through this cause although some of the vehicles carrying the forward troops found themselves under fire and a few were knocked out.

    The method of controlling the Div RASC was by verbal orders at CRASC's daily conference at 1000 hrs, CRASC having obtained the "form" from A/Q at his conference at 0900 hrs daily.  Amendments and alterations were communicated to Coys by radio or D.R.  It was agreed that, though this plan involved many early starts and long journeys by the Coy Comds, it was the easiest for everyone, since the minimum of changes occurred and difficulties as a result of receipt of orders could and were settled verbally on the spot and everyone knew the entire picture daily.

 

F.A. LOVEGROVE.

Lt. Col.,

CRASC 6 Airborne Division.

16 Jun 45.

 

 

A.  INTRODUCTION

    1.  The following survey deals with the activities and achievements of the RASC of the 6th Airborne Division between the period 27 March to the 2 May 45.  The survey itself may be regarded as a continuation of the previous survey in respect of Operation Varsity Plunder, and completes the picture up to and including the occupation of WISMAR by the Division on the BALTIC littoral.  The most significant feature of the RASC plan during this drive to the BALTIC was its mastery of a situation that came as a complete surprise, and of the supply and transport problems that arose from this situation.  It may be said that the RASC history during this period is one of continual improvisation, adaption and juggling with the available personnel and vehicles, in many instances totally inadequate for the purpose in view.

    2.  The constitution of the Div RASC needs, therefore, to be disclosed if only for the purpose of demonstrating the availability of men and material, and most important of all, the methods adopted to ensure the fullest possible exploitation of this material.  The fact that the Div RASC, with valuable but necessarily limited assistance from Corps, on a basic organisation of two heavy composite coys, one employed on ammunition and one on petrol and supplies, together with a Light Airborne Coy trained and equipped more for an airborne rather than a land operation, not only supplied the Division with all RASC commodities but also motorised it for the purpose of a rapid advance, is adequate testimony to the flexibility of this organisation and the work it can achieve if properly exploited.  Appendix "A" shows the commands and constitution of the Div RASC during this period.

    3.  It will be recalled that on 27 Mar 45 - D+3 of Operation Varsity/Plunder - the Div RASC had modified its organsiation to meet the new land role of the Division.  At the time preparations were well in hand for the proposed advance of the Division towards the East, and two Bdes were made completely mobile on RASC vehicles.  From 29 Mar onwards the RASC knew hardly any rest until the 2 May 45, when the Bdes were finally debussed in WISMAR, and the operations of the Division in GERMANY had come to a close.  For the purpose of convenience we may divide this period into FOUR main phases, the determining feature of each phase being a special task allotted and fulfilled by the Div RASC:-

        PHASE I - Leapfrog Supply and Replenishment of the Division between the RHINE and the ELBE, together with work achieved in Troop Carrying.

        PHASE II - Planning of Operation Audacious, involving a parachute drop over the ELBE by 5 Bde, maintained exclusively by 716 Lt. Coy.

        PHASE III - Operation Enterprise - crossing of the ELBE.

        PHASE IV - The advance to the BALTIC on 2 May 45.

    4.  Appendix "B" gives a list of the standard maps used for the entire period, together with a diagrammatic lay-out of the map squares.

 

B.  PHASE I - Advance from the RHINE to the ELBE (Maps Q1, P2, P1, N2, N3, N4, M4, M5, L5).

    For a few days after crossing the RHINE the situation remained static to enable the air, land and sea elements of the Division to re-assemble and re-organise themselves in readiness for the 'Drive to the East'.  CRASC's HQ and the Coys harboured in the vicinity of Pegasus Dump (i.e. BISLICH - N.E. of XANTEN).  Some difficulty and uncertainty were caused initially by the fact that the Division, having been under the operational command of 18 U.S. Airborne Corps and the administrative command of 12 Corps, was now being transferred to the command of 8 Corps.  This was accentuated by the fact that 8 Corps installations were not, at this time, across the RHINE and the arrangements for replenishment were naturally difficult and vague.  However, there was enough reserve held in 1st and 2nd line to meet the demands of units for quite a few days.

    Besides maintaining the Division the next most important task given to the RASC was the motorisation of two-thirds of the Division.  The policy was to make the Division mobile on a two-Bde front, whilst allowing the third Bde to move forward on foot until such time as RASC transport could be released to bring them up.  This meant a total commitment of 6 RASC Tpt Pls, which in view of the fact that it constituted the total availability of vehicles in the Div RASC would have been impossible without supplements from outside resources.  The following transport was therefore allocated to the Div RASC for the purpose of maintaining the Division.

        19 Coy RASC - 2 x 5-ton Platoons.

        104 Coy RASC - 2 x 3-ton Platoons.

        229 Coy RASC - 1 x 3-ton Platoon.

    The following vehicles were released for troop carrying duties:-

        63 Coy RASC - 1 Tpt Platoon 3-ton vehicles.

        398 Coy RASC - 3 Tpt Platoons 3-ton vehicles.

        104 Coy RASC - 2 Tpt Platoons 3-ton vehicles.

    In order to co-ordinate this RASC transport and to allocate to Bdes as and when they were required an RASC Control was set up in HQ of Main Div consisting of the 2nd in Command of CRASC (Major A.C. Bille-Top) and his assistant (Capt. G.C.G. Philo, MC,) and one clerk.

    As it was not known then the degree of rapidity with which the Div could advance, and in order to forestall any possibility of the Bdes task being hindered through lack of petrol or supplies, it was decided to load each troop carrying vehicle with the following:-

        14-man Compo Packs................. 10.

        4-gal Jerricans M.T.80.............. 36.

    This constituted a total load, therefore, of 1,800 Compo Packs and 6,480 jerricans of M.T.80 on troop carrying transport equivalent to 2 days reserve of sups for the entire Division, and enough petrol for approx 150 miles.  In addition to this reserve each unit carried one day's reserve in 14-man Compo and 2 days reserve in 14-man Compo were carried by 63 Coy RASC (2nd line).

    The operation of this troop carrying transport to the best advantage for the Division was carried out effectively by the RASC Control in Main Div and is the subject of a special report submitted by the 2nd in Command (see Appendix "C").

    Subsequently it was found to be uneconomical in HQ Officer personnel to allow a separate detachment to remain with Main Div.  Thus when called upon again to perform a similar transport task, the 2IC and his staff remained at HQ RASC, merely liaising with Main Div. HQ.

    The task of maintaining a Division that was advancing each day, moving into areas far in advance of the "Day's objective" could only be done by the forward establishment of ammunition, petrol and supply points.  It was frequently the case that areas had to be forecasted even when they were not cleared of the enemy.  One instance of RASC recce activity brought this rather unusual procedure out capitally, when, in the area of LENGERICH, the recce party of HQ RASC were called upon by the platoon commander of one of the Bns to get out of the way as they were obstructing their line of fire against the enemy!

    The experience of this Div RASC is, I think, rather unique in this respect, because it was an impossible task to ask units to draw direct from BBP and some way had to be devised to get the supplies, petrol and ammunition forward, indeed occasionally to their Bn lines, at a time when the very locations of the Bdes concerned was a matter of conjecture rather than fact.  Frequently, no time was available for reconnaissance of these forward points, (and certainly no opportunity when it is realised that the enemy was still in possession of certain areas selected).  The policy was, therefore, adopted to establish Report Centres at nodal points where units could report and be re-directed to the various points selected by the Composite Platoon Commanders of the Coys with the proviso that ammunition points must always be situated on the right of the Div Axis, and petrol and supply points on the left.  The locations of these various Report Centres, together with dates applicable to each are shown in Appendix "D".  Units of the Div had about 12 hrs warning of the location of these various Report Centres.

    The problem of replenishment was always a serious one and the time of the turn-around for the vehicles was out of all proportion to the distance involved when bringing up further supplies chiefly owing to the shocking road conditions and it became a problem that demanded some ingenuous planning on the part of the Coys concerned, as well as great powers of endurance on the part of the drivers who had to remain at the wheel with very little sleep and very little prospect of getting any.

    CRASC's Headquarters during this period moved with HQ Rear Div whilst the Coys moved up behind, sometimes the same day, sometimes a day later as and when circumstances allowed.  The following locations were occupied by CRASC's Headquarters between 27 March and 24 April (i.e. Phase I):-

27 Mar 45

28 Mar 45

29 Mar 45

30 Mar 45

31 Mar 45

1, 2 Apr 45

3, 4 Apr 45

5 Apr 45

6, 7 Apr 45

9, 10, 11, 12, 13 & 14 Apr 45

15, 16 Apr 45

17 Apr 45,

18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23 Apr 45

24 Apr 45

... ... ... ... BISLICH (P1/144432)

... ... ... ... ERLE Area P1/7489.

... ... ... ... RHADE Area P1/4550.

... ... ... ... COESFELD Area P1/5565.

... ... ... ... Area P1/8487.

... ... ... ... GREVEN P2/934878.

... ... ... ... LENGERICH P2/075995.

... ... ... ... BLASHEIM P2/568118.

... ... ... ... FRIEDEWALDE N3/761182.

... ... ... ... STEINHUDE N4/110299.

... ... ... ... Wood M5/663601.

... ... ... ... Wood M5/882805.

... ... ... ... KLEINE BOLLENSEN M5/939817.

... ... ... ... DEUTCHES EVERN M5/790127.

    It will be seen, therefore, that CRASC Headquarters moved 12 times within 28 days.  Coy locations were invariably somewhere in the vicinity of HQ RASC.  Some of the problems arising from these frequent moves was that of vehicles proceeding to FMC for replenishment and returning to find their Coy had moved.  The whole problem was simplified by the briefing of each driver to the effect that, should he find that his Coy location had moved during his absence, he would have to follow the Divisional Axis until such time as he could find it.  This was found to be a very satisfactory method of working especially from the RASC angle where vehicles were as much as 36 hours and more away from the fold.  The Div Pro Coy signed the Axis Route superbly.

    The general plan of co-ordination of Coy tasks and responsibilities was made by a series of daily CRASC's Conference at which all Coy Comds and CRASC's staff attended.  At these conference everybody concerned was briefed for the day's work, and were also given the general 'G' picture to enable them to keep up with the rapidly changing situation.  Indeed the situation changed so rapidly that anyone absent from such conferences would find himself hopelessly out of date, and one of the greatest problems that beset the RASC officer at this stage of events was holding down the tremendous administrative problems arising from the changing situation.  In addition to one's normal responsibilities, for instance, vehicles were called upon to help move forward FMCs thus helping to lessen the ever lengthening lines of communication; and in clearing roads of the endless streams of POWs that were surrendering in all parts.  There was, in addition, the constant danger of sniping which necessitated the use of 'Armoured Jeeps' in lieu of Motor Cycles and the prospect of passing through wooded territory was never looked upon with any degree of optimism!  716 Coy helped in this respect by providing 18 jeeps and drivers for this purpose, allocated as follows:-

HQ 3 Para Bde

HQ 5 Para Bde

HQ 6 Airldg Bde

HQ CRASC

63 Coy RASC
398 Coy RASC

... ... ... ... 3

... ... ... ... 3

... ... ... ... 3

... ... ... ... 3

... ... ... ... 3

... ... ... ... 3

    From the supply, petrol and ammunition standpoint what constituted the greatest headache for the RASC was the constant flow of 'foreign' units into the Divisional command.  Appendix "E" is a list of all attached units under the adm command of the Division between 27 Mar to 2 May inclusive.  The Divisional feeding strength consequently fluctuated as will be seen from the details in Appendix "F".  Every unit was, however, supplied and fully satisfied, and the only problem was that of Bread which was later issued on a scale of 6oz per man per day.

    A complete list of petrol drawn from FMC together with daily records of issues is shown in Appendix "H" and a record of ammunition received and issued by natures is shown in Appendix "J".

    After a short stay in BOLLENSEN, south of UELZEN, the entire Division moved into a concentration area south of LUNEBURG, where further planning was carried out for another airborne operation over the ELBE by 5 Para Bde in which 716 Coy RASC (Airborne Light) was to play an important part.

 

C.  PHASE II - Planning for Operation Audacious - Role of 716 Coy RASC (Airborne Light) - Maps M4, M5, L5.

    The broad plan of Operation Audacious was a commitment given to 5 Para Bde to carry out an airborne operation over the ELBE in support of an assault Division, (15 (Scottish) Div), together with elements of 6 Airborne Div acting in a 'ground' role.  For this purpose it was necessary to detach 5 Bde from the main body of 6 Airborne Div and, in addition, to maintain it exclusively and independently.

    This operation never materialised.  But it is being discussed here in order to demonstrate the novel use to which 716 Coy RASC (Airborne Light) was put, a task which it fulfilled without any technical help from outside.  As will be seen from Appendix "A" this Light Coy is not equipped with either the personnel vehicles and equipment for a supply and replenishment role in the same way as a normal Composite Coy.  From the Bde point of view, the parachute drop never took place; but the RASC part in the proposed drama took place nevertheless.

    The initial phase of the planning was as follows: 6 Bde and 5 Bde to proceed to concentration areas on the West bank of the ELBE in area LUNEBURG.  3 Bde to remain as Garrison force in the town of CELLE.  Whilst 3 Bde garrisoned CELLE, 6 Bde and 5 Bde were being maintained by 63 and 398 Coys (Airborne Div Comp) and 3 Bde was maintained by 716 Coy RASC (Airborne Light).  This would appear, at first sight, to be confusing.  However, at this time, 6 Bde was in a static role and 5 Bde was 'mobilising' for the proposed air operation.  The maintaining of 3 Bde in CELLE was a very useful preliminary to the maintaining of 5 Bde in this coming operation.

    The most important part of the planning in all operations in this theatre was the task of determining the quantities of material required to maintain a given formation or part of a formation for an indefinite period of time.  For instance, ammunition tables were devised to show the amount of ammunition required to be held at an AP for a Parachute Bde; other tables for an Airlanding Bde; and other tables for increments like A.Tk. Btys, Armd Recce and so forth.  The same principle applied to Petrol, Supplies and Miscellaneous items and Medical Comforts.  With the aid of these tables the RASC were capable, given the necessary transport, of meeting any emergency situation that arose, and emergency situations at this period became more the rule than the exception.

    On 12 Apr 45, a representative of 716 Coy RASC (Airborne Light) recced the area between CELLE 5960 and FUHRBERG 4343 for the site of a Composite Dump for the purpose of maintaining exclusively with all RASC Commodities the following units:-

HQ 3 Para Bde.

8 Para Bn.

9 Para Bn.

1 Cdn Para Bn.

224 Para Fd Amb.

716 Coy RASC

)

) Total Feeding Strength: 2,800

)

)

)

    The constitution of this Dump is shown in Appendix "K".  These figures had been worked out as the result of experience rather than 'entitlement'.  All these stocks were to be held purely as 2nd line reserve and the Coy itself had to draw its daily requirements from 63 FMC in area NEUSTADT 1737.  The task of 716 Coy was made easier at this time by the fact that all supplies were in the form of 14-man Compo Packs, and did not, therefore, constitute a Bulk Breaking problem.

    In the meantime, 5 Para Bde was preparing itself for Operation Audacious.  This operation was always the subject of great uncertainty; the exact date was not known; it was not known from which base the operation would be mounted; these uncertainties violently affected the organisation of the RASC because the task of transporting personnel to base and maintaining such personnel, devolved upon them.  As will be seen from the M.T. Report in Appendix "C" the daily changes in the transport commitments resulting from this uncertainty demonstrate a masterpiece of jugglery with the vehicle availability.  Apart from this transport commitment, 716 Coy RASC was to play the following part:

        i.  Maintain 5 Para Bde until mounting of Operation.

        ii.  Maintain 5 Para Bde Rear (i.e. Land Element).

        iii.  Provide an assault party to cross the ELBE with the Assault Division.

    As the operation was ultimately cancelled (ii) and (iii) were not carried out.  Task (i) was however carried out to the full.

    On 17 Apr 45 the position was briefly as follows: 3 Bde had ceased to garrison CELLE and was now back in the Div fold.  The whole Div was concentrated south of UELZEN, south of LUNEBURG.  At this time 716 Coy was located in area NETTELKAMP after having lifted their composite dump from area CELLE to this locality.  From 17 Apr 716 Coy commenced to maintain 5 Para Bde exclusively.  For this purpose the following vehicles were attached to the Lt. Coy:

        From 63 Coy RASC (Airborne Div Comp)........... 5 (3 Pet, 2 Sups).

        From 398 Coy RASC (Airborne Div Comp)......... 10 (Ammunition only).

    With the aid of these 15 vehicles 716 Coy was in a position to maintain the Bde daily.

    At this period a change-over was effected by FMC in the issue of Sups from 14-man Compo Packs to FSTE.  This presented a serious Bulk Breaking problem for a Coy not trained and equipped for this task.  However, equipment was loaned to the Coy by 398 Coy RASC and one offr and various ORs reported to 63 Coy Composite Platoon for rapid instruction in bulk-breaking.

    In addition to this daily maintenance, preparations were made for the build-up of 2nd Line holdings of all commodities for 5 Para Bde.  These commodities were collected by 716 Coy from FMC and held in Coy location, constituting in all 15 vehicle loads (see Appendix "L").  Certain types of ammunition that were not available in the theatre together with certain Miscellaneous Items were handed over by 398 Coy and 63 Coy respectively.  In addition to quantities outlined in Appendix "L" 15 jeeps and trailers were loaded with emergency supplies and formed the 'assault element' that would cross the ELBE with the assault division.

    On 17 Apr Operation Audacious was postponed until 23 Apr.  But it still remained uncertain whether the op would be mounted from RHEINE or CELLE.  A total of 60 vehicles from RASC resources were standing-by for this lift to the Base, provided as follows:-

63 Coy RASC

398 Coy RASC

716 Coy RASC

Total

... ... ... ... 32 x 3-ton

... ... ... ... 20 x 3-ton

... ... ... ... 8 x 3-ton

... ... ... ... 60 x 3-ton

    Of these 60 vehs 45 were to be used for the troop lift.  The remaining 15 vehs were already with 716 Coy for build up of 2nd Line for 5 Bde.  Should the 45 vehicles for the troop lift report to base at RHEINE an additional commitment was placed on them in the form of collecting 45 loads of ammunition from 14 Army Roadhead, especially 75mm Pack How which was in very short supply at FMC and which was used exclusively by 6 Airborne Division.

    To meet the contingency of having to maintain 5 Bde Rear in the event of the operation taking place, OC 716 Coy liaised daily with DA & QMG of 5 Bde.  On the 29 April the operation was considered to be unnecessary and 5 Bde reverted to a normal ground role on 1 May and further independent maintenance ceased; stocks at the Composite Dump were returned to FMC.

    In conclusion, as far as this phase is concerned, it may be worth noting that a Light Coy such as 716 Coy RASC can perform varied tasks as and when need arises.  The role of a Composite Coy is cut and dried; its limitations known.  Normally one would think that after the air drop the use of a Light Coy would cease, but this is not the case because experience shows that it can carry out a multitude of tasks for which it is not basically designed.  A considerable proportion of this Coy's jeeps and trailers were scattered in the Division which reduced its composition at times to a Headquarters and a Workshop!  The maintaining of these scattered vehicles presented a great problem to the Workshops Officer.  The following survey of general tasks given by the OC is interesting enough to include here:

    "By far the greatest problem facing the Coy was that of maintenance of the very large number of Coy vehicles which were, and still are, detached throughout the Division.  In the first phase of the advance, that is up to the pause prior to the WESER crossings, this was carried out with success by a blitz team under a Sjt, who were out daily carrying out inspections and minor repairs, returning to Coy locations at night.  However, as the advance continued, it was felt that the system could be improved upon, and this little team could be given a less hectic existence.  Accordingly the Sjt in charge and his team were detached to deal with affiliated transport and an Advance Workshop Detachment under an MSS was pushed out as far forward as possible to deal with vehicles detached to Bns, etc.  This proved to be a most successful way of dealing with the problem and great credit is due to my Workshop Officer for the way that he kept abreast with it.

    "During the whole of the advance another problem facing the Coy was to keep that part of the unit NOT detached mobile and had it not been for the addition of two captured German vehicles this would not have been possible without assistance.  Even the arrival of 27 x 3-ton Austin vehicles did not help a lot because

        (a) they were of doubtful vintage and

        (b) they too, were immediately detached to units.

    However, by a lot of juggling and overloading the Coy managed to lift itself from A - B throughout the advance.

    "Other tasks undertaken by the Coy during the period were:-

        (i) Provision of a guard of 12 men from Para Pls for the guarding of Pegasus Surplus Stores Dump, first at LADBERGEN and later at WESTERWEYHE.  Whilst guarding the former the guard was no less than 200 miles away from its Coy location.

        (ii) The staging of reinforcements for the Division and the passing back of PWX to FMC.

        (iii) The provision of No.1. Para Pl to act as POW Guard at the Div Cage.  The platoon under the command of Lieut. Roberts has now been allotted a similar task although the numbers of prisoners has become so great as to be beyond the management of one Para Pl.

        (iv) Forming of a 'Scratch' Composite Pl with one Amn Officer and one Supply Officer and various ORs to maintain 5 Para Bde for several days.

    Finally the Coy was represented in the Div RASC effort of troop carrying from the ELBE to WISMAR on the BALTIC coast, in the form of 5 x 3-ton vehicles driven by the Para Pl drivers.

 

C.P.R. CRANE.

Major.

6 May 45.

 

D.  PHASE III - Operation/Enterprise - Crossing of the ELBE.  Maps L5, L6.

    ENTERPRISE was the name given to an operation on a Corps level designed to effect an assault crossing of the river ELBE on both sides of LAUENBERG on 29 April 45.  The actual assault over the river was to be carried out by two brigades - No.1 Commando Bde and one Bde from 15 (Scottish) Division.  The task allotted to 6 Airborne Division was the extending of the RIGHT flank of the bridgehead around LAUENBERG secured by the two-Bde assault force and to hold their objectives preparatory to further advance.

    For this operation two Bdes of the 6 Airborne Division - 3 Para Bde and 6 Airldg Bde - were committed.  5 Para Bde was to remain on the West Bank of the river until 1 May, maintained by 716 Coy RASC when they would be called forward to rejoin the Division in the intended concentration area in area BOIZENBURG.

    Until D Day (29 April) the battle order of the Division was in a state of constant flux, because it was not known until late D-1 whether 5 Para Bde would be committed to carry out an airborne operation, in support of the assault force over the ELBE.  Consequently, in order to replace 5 Para Bde, No.1 Commando Bde together with a Mountain Regt RA were placed under command, which necessitated some rapid changes in the 2nd line holdings of amn, pet and sups in the RASC.  However on D Day Commando Bde and the Mountain Regt RA moved out of command of 6 Airborne and into the command of 15 (Scottish) Division for the operation, and 5 Para Bde, although still maintained independently by 716 Coy RASC rejoined the Division.

    The following tasks were allotted to 3 Para Bde and 6 Airlanding Bde:-

        3 Para Bde... ... to relieve Commando Bde of brs at L5/898849 and L5/898359.

        6 Airldg Bde.. .. to advance to high ground at L5/9636, capture NOTSDORF and WIESDORF.

    For this task these two Bdes were to cross the Class 9 Bridge at 8834 on D+1 while the remainder of the Division were to be phased over between 1200 hrs D+1 and 1200 hrs D+2.  It was intended that the whole Division would concentrate eventually in area LAUENBURG - BOIZENBURG and brace itself for the final stage of advancing to WISMAR on the BALTIC littoral.

    The above may be considered the general 'G' plan of the operation, a plan which eventually transpired to be a complete success.

    In addition to the two Bdes of 6 Airborne Div, the 15 Inf Bde Gp., was under command of the Division for the operation, with the following tasks:-

        (i) Relieve Bde holding line DALLDORF - LUTAU and advance as early as possible to capture rd and rly brs 9146 and canal and river brs 9246.

        (ii) Initially occupy the area POTRAU 9046 - BUCHEN 9346 - WITZEEZE 9143 later moving forward on the left in conformity with advance of 15 (Scottish) Div to occupy MUSSEN 8748.

    It will be seen therefore that the 15 Inf Bde Gp was leaving command of the 6 Airborne Div after crossing of the ELBE; and as this Bde was self-contained throughout the operation, the organisation of the Airborne Div RASC was not in any way affected.  The same was applied to the 4 Armd Gren Guards, which, together with the 15 Bde, came under operational command only on D-1.

    The maintenance project for this operation proved to be a complicated but very interesting one, especially so by virtue of the fact that it heralded back to the days of the RHINE crossing and the establishing of Dukw Dumps.

    The Div RASC on D+1 moved into concentration area, together with other Div adm units, in readiness for the phasing over the ELBE.  The following locations were occupied by Div RASC:-

HQ RASC

63 Coy RASC

398 Coy RASC

716 Coy RASC

... ... With Rear Div in VASDORF 8815.

... ... FORST MEDLINGEN 884124.

... ... FORST MEDLINGEN 900122 - 895112.

... ... FORST MEDLINGEN 895112 - 889100.

    During this period all supply and petrol points, as well as ammunition points were in the Coy locations concerned, that is for the period of concentration only.

    Before we pass on to the maintenance project, it is necessary to outline the plan for the phasing-over.  This became an RASC responsibility although it catered for units other than RASC.

    Intercommunication was established as follows: a Report Centre was opened at 1500 hrs D+1 (30 Apr 45) manned by the 2IC of HQ RASC at rd junc L5/879358 (i.e. across the ELBE).  This Report Centre was in wireless communication with another Report Centre established WEST of the ELBE near the Class 9 Bridge at 8834.  This post was manned by the Tpt Offr of HQ RASC and was in wireless communication with CRASC's HQ at VASDORF.  In addition reps of other adm units were located at this latter Report Centre in order to convey timings of phasing over back to their respective units.  Consequently a duel form of intercommunication was established - D.R. and wireless - to ensure that messages would reach the units concerned.

    The Class 9 bridge at 8834 could not take vehicles towing trailers nor any vehicle exceeding the 3-ton load.  Consequently orders were issued to all adm units in the Div to despatch all trailers, breakdowns, etc., to location of 63 Coy RASC who would be responsible for conducting them across the Class 40 bridge which was in process of being built.

    Finally, the Adjt of HQ RASC proceeded on D+1 to the bridgehead area to recce locations for the whole of the Div adm units; he would liaise with the 2IC at the Report Centre who would pass the necessary information on to the units concerned.

    It will be seen therefore that the activities of the RASC during this operation went far beyond its normal responsibilities of maintaining the Division.  This maintenance task is in itself a 'separate' episode and will be dealt with accordingly.

 

MAINTENANCE PROJECT - Operation ENTERPRISE.

    In many respects, one might, on a smaller scale, compare the planning and organisation of the ELBE crossing to that of the RHINE crossing.  In each case the maintenance project was rather similar - that of maintaining a formation before an obstacle in the form of wide river.  Results proved on both occasions that the planning and organisation was an outstanding success; and two methods producing two successful results, slightly modified to meet varying conditions, must go to prove the validity of these methods.  It is an interesting fact worth noting that on the RHINE crossing, which in many ways marked the beginning of the RASC's contribution to the success of the Airborne Div's operations, as in the ELBE crossing which one might call the 'beginning of the end' of the RASC contribution, the task of supply and replenishment was achieved through the dual means of Dukws and 3-ton load carriers.

    During the entire period, from the RHINE to the BALTIC, the RASC were requested to surmount, in its task of replenishing and supplying, two great geographical obstacles - (a) Distance (b) Wide rivers.  From the RHINE to the ELBE, life, to the RASC, was one long continuous battle of trying to maintain daily contact with rapidly advancing troops and rapidly receding FMCs.  It must be mentioned however that 8 Corps always managed to bring up Amn, Pet and Sups to within a reasonable distance in a manner which was always miraculous.

    In all operations, the success of a 'G' plan depends primarily on the ability of the Services to meet the requirements of this plan.  And in planning the 'Q' side of an operation, such measures must be adopted to ensure the complete absence of the element of chance, or luck, and to prepare simultaneously for any emergencies that might arise.

    The maintenance project of the operation was designed, therefore, to forestall any possibility of failure in the name of the RASC.  And the abundance of Amn, Pet and Sups that were placed at the disposal of the Divisional forces is adequate testimony to this fact.

    Considering the general 'G' Plan as outlined in the foregoing paragraphs we can summarise the main tasks of the Div RASC in this particular operation, to be as follows:-

    (i) The supplying of two Bdes of 6 Airborne Div situated across the ELBE.

    (ii) Ensure adequate reserves to follow up in the case of emergencies.

    (iii) The supplying of the remainder of the Division West of the ELBE.

    (iv) Replenish stocks from Base Installations.

    (v) Provision of M.T. as attachments to Units.

    These responsibilities taxed the Div RASC resources to the full, and it may be said that every possible vehicle that was roadworthy was engaged in some task or other.  To economise in transport, to increase availability, it was found necessary to carry out dumping programmes for ammunition, petrol and supplies within Coy locations (see Appendix "C").  Moreover, as the result of the ever-changing plans, extra commodities had to be collected from FMC, and subsequently returned as being unnecessary.  The Ammunition Coy (398 Coy RASC) performed miracle feats in the handling of the ammunition problems, and the Supply and Petrol Coy (63 Coy RASC) was similarly called upon to solve many an 'impossible' problem.  The feeding of foreign units was no small problem, especially considering that they paid the Division lightning visits, and invariably said 'Goodbye' as soon as their maintenance problems had been tackled and solved.  Again with Petrol, which for many days had been rationed, the task of keeping up adequate reserve stocks & of meeting the demands of units at the same time - this problem was solved by foresight and careful control of stocks.  Supplies were issued in two forms - 14-man Compo and F.S.T.E. - and here again the issuing to differing units was a problem for the Composite staff of the Coy concerned.  The above problems may be now considered as general routine problems; they are revealed here in order to give an idea of the general background against which the ENTERPRISE drama was played.

    Knowing the general tasks of the RASC in the operation we may now proceed to outline the technique adopted to fulfil these tasks, and subsequently to give a survey of their actual execution.

    (i) The Supplying of Two Bdes of 6 Airborne Div across the ELBE.

        (a) For this purpose a 'cushion' stock of supplies and ammunition was placed in a Dukw Dump established by 15 (Scottish) Div.  This stock amounted to 6,000 rations Sups and 40 tons Amn.  These commodities were, however, treated as a separate dump for the Airborne Division, manned by Airborne RASC personnel.  The Report Centre of the Main Dump (15 (S) Div) was also the one used for our own and was located at 867303.

        (b) In addition to (a) 12 vehicle loads of ammunition were attached to 6 Airlanding Bde and 6 vehicle loads of ammunition to 53 Lt. Regt RA to serve as a forward Ammunition Point.

    (ii) Ensure adequate Reserves Available.

        Based upon a system of priorities, ammunition, petrol and supplies were to be loaded on to vehicles and were to follow up on high priority of the Class 9 Bridge over the ELBE to re-inforce the Fwd Point as in (i)(b) above.

    (iii) Supplying the remainder of the Division.

        All remaining units until such time as they crossed the ELBE were to be maintained from normal 2nd Line.  5 Para Bde, as will be remembered, was being maintained exclusively by 716 Coy RASC.

    (iv) Replenishment from Base Installations

        8 Corps Installation (65 FMC) was conveniently situated in area LUNEBURG.  Supplied in the form of 50% 14-man Compo and 50% F.S.T.E. were issued; POL was drawn ex 230 Petrol Depot; and amn from the Amn Depot at the same FMC.  At this time the turn-round for replenishment was not great and it helped considerably with the vehicle situation.

    (v) Provision of M.T. as attachments.

        Full details of this may be gathered from the M.T. Report (Appendix "C")

    The above five headings may be considered to be the technique or method adopted to fulfil the tasks.  The actual execution, however, involved far more detail and for the purpose of simplicity, commodities will be dealt with separately.  However, before we proceed with this it is necessary to consider a few more factors affecting the whole task.

    The most important factor governing the supply situation at this time was, that no return traffic was allowed over the Class 9 and 40 bridges until D+2.  This meant, of course, that adequate supplies, petrol and ammunition had to be held until at least D+3.  In addition, all convoys proceeded over the bridge on the usual system of priorities, and the following were allotted to the RASC:-

12 x 3-ton (6 Airlanding Bde)

6 x 3-ton (53 Airldg Lt. Regt RA)

80 x 3-ton

HQ RASC

63 Coy RASC

398 Coy RASC

... ... W + 845.

... ... W + 160.

... ... W + 1060.

... ... W + 1470.

... ... )

... ... ) To follow in the rear of HQ RASC

    In each case W is 1200 hrs D+1.  It was designed for the whole of the 6 Airborne Division to cross the ELBE in 24 hrs, between 1200 hrs D+1 and 1200 hrs D+2.

    It was arranged that Supply and Petrol Points would be opened by 63 Coy RASC on the East Bank of the ELBE on D+2 (i.e. the day they actually crossed the river.)

    The following is detailed survey of how each of the three main RASC commodities were dealt with.

 

AMMUNITION.

    As a sort of overture to the main theme, 398 Coy RASC had to play with ammunition problems presented to it by the delightful uncertainty of the 5 Para Bde airborne commitment over the ELBE.  First of all the commitment was on; then the commitment was off; then the possibility of a commitment at some future date in some other place arose and the work was started again.  And so it went on.  On each occasion a cancellation was made 10 vehicle loads of ammunition alone had to be off-loaded or on-loaded in 716 Coy location by 398 Coy.  And this was in the very middle of the ammunition commitment for operation Enterprise.

    This latter operation was, however, pleasing in its certainty.  On D-1 398 Coy RASC delivered 40 tons of ammunition to the 15 (Scottish) Div Dukw Dump located at 867303.  The total amount by natures is shown in Appendix "M".  An ammunition state clerk was provided by 398 Coy in order to make the dump independent of the main 15 Div Dump.  By the night of D-1 this task had been completed.  The intention was for this ammunition, together with some supplies, to be transported across the ELBE by Dukws on D Day (29 April) to another Dump to be established on the other side in area 8734 - NORTH of LAUENBERG, and to act as a reserve from which the two Bdes of 6 Airborne Div could draw in cases of emergency.

    The next ammunition task was the formation of a Forward Point under the control of 6 Airlanding Bde in the one instance and the 53 Light Regt RA in the other.  The 2IC of HQ RASC had, as a special task, that of recceing a suitable site for this forward A.P.  The composition of this A.P. was as follows:-

6 Airlanding Bde

53 Light Regt RA

... ... 12 x 3-ton loads of amn.

... ... 6 x 3-ton loads of 75mm Pack How.

    These were loaded as follows:-

        Fuse M.54 ...... 792 rds )

        Fuse M.48 ...... 720 rds ) 6 x 3-ton loads.

        75mm Smok ... 72 rds   )

    These 18 vehicles were loaded and joined their respective units as above on D Day.  The intention was to place these vehicles under the command of the 6 Airlanding Bde and 53 Light Regt respectively until such time as the 398 Coy could link up.  On D+1 these vehicles proceeded across the ELBE with these units and constituted the Forward A.P. as outlined above.

    The next task was that of loading up another 40 x 3-ton vehicles with general natures of ammunition to act as a build up to this forward point.  These 40 vehicles formed part of the 80 that were on a high priority to cross the ELBE.

    398 Coy RASC moved across the ELBE on D+2 and established itself in area LAUENBERG.  From this time onwards the responsibility of all ammunition points became theirs.

    In conclusion here it may be said that the shortage of vehicles and the comparatively small quantities of ammunition expended resulted in a reduction in the amount carried in 2nd Line.  Appendix "N" shows the normal 2nd Line entitlement of 2nd Line amn holdings as against what was actually carried previous to and after the ELBE crossing.  The amended 2nd Line could now be carried on 78 x 3-ton vehicles as against the previous total of 90 x 3-ton vehicles.

 

PETROL.

    On 28 May all units of the Division made up their 1st line holding of petrol from 63 Coy resources.  The following scale was to be carried in 1st line:-

        (i) Full vehicle tanks.

        (ii) 5 x 4-gal jerricans for each vehicle other than jeeps.  3 x 4-gal jerricans for each jeep.

    The problem of meeting the demands of units who had been eating into their 1st line holdings owing to the fact that petrol had been rationed (this was due to a shortage of jerricans at Base) became rather acute at one period and special releases were obtained from 8 Corps for a speed-up in the Div's entitlement.

    In addition to the 1st line carried by all vehicles the following stocks were carried in addition:-

        (a) 15 x 3-ton loads of M.T.80 plus oils to form part of the 80 x 3-ton vehicles proceeding on high priority over ELBE.  This amounted to approx 10,000 gals of petrol.

        (b) 2nd line reserve to be carried by 63 Coy RASC amounted to approx 20,000 gals, which crossed the ELBE on D+2.

    There was no petrol dumped at the Dukw Dump as it was considered that it was unnecessary.  The policy behind the large quantities of petrol held was that of preparing for a rapid advance to the BALTIC - dealt with in the next phase.  On D+2 63 Coy opened a Pet Pt in LAUENBERG.

 

SUPPLIES.

    As no move of the Division across occurred until 30 April (D+1) a Supply Point was opened at FORST MEDLINGEN in the Coy location of 63 Coy RASC. at 0700 hrs.  This point remained open until 1100 hrs of the same day.  Rations issued this day were for consumption 1 May 45.

    Each unit that crossed the ELBE carried with it, in its B Echelon, the following rations:-

        1 days reserve in Compo.

        1 day for consumption day after move across the ELBE.

        Unexpired portion of day travelling across ELBE.

    Consequently all units were rationed up to 1 May 45, plus one day's reserve.  63 Coy carried one day's reserve for the whole Div in 2nd Line.

    63 Coy, in addition delivered 6,000 rations (14-man Compo) to the 15 (Scottish) Div Dukw Dump which were transported over the ELBE on D Day.  These 6,000 rations were subsequently available in case of emergency at the forward Dukw Dump in area 8734 North of LAUENBERG.

    In case of delay in crossing the ELBE, which would mean that the Supply Point, scheduled to be opened on D+2 in area LAUENBERG, would be held up, it was decided to send across one day's rations over on high priority across the ELBE.  15 x 3-ton vehicles carrying approx 14,000 rations proceeded over the ELBE on D+1.  These 15 vehicles formed part of the 80 vehicles mentioned above.  This meant that 63 Coy RASC could open a Supply Point and Petrol Point in LAUENBERG on D+2 irrespective of whether the Coy itself had crossed the ELBE.  In addition, with its resources in its own remaining vehicles, it could also open a point for those units that had not been able to cross the river.  However, 63 Coy crossed the river as per schedule on D+2.

    The following were also carried by the Division in the way of supplies:-

Rum

 

 

 

Self Heating Soups

Units one issue.

Bdes one reserve issue.

2nd line (63 Coy) one issue for Div Tps plus

    one for the whole Div.

2,000.  These were distributed before the operation to the

    majority of the Div units on a scale laid down by A/Q.

    As a form of conclusion to this Operation, the following extract is given from a report by OC 63 Coy RASC on his Coy's experience on the ELBE crossing:-

        "On 30 April 45, the Coy moved from TATENDORF where it had been located since 22 Apr 45 into its concentration area at FORST MEDLINGEN (M5/893115).  The first party to cross the bridge consisted of supply and petrol vehicles for the point on 1 May and the Coy recce party.  At 310300B orders were received by wireless for Serial 13 (Supply and Petrol vehicles) to leave location at 2230B.  The vehicles reached the bridge at approx 010300B, having been held up by traffic jam some three miles long.  Information that main bodies of Coys were due at the bridge at 010630B was received at the bridge and in view of this an immediate recce for the Coy location became necessary on arrival at the RASC Report Centre.  A suitable Supply Point and B.B.P. had already by recced by 2IC HQ RASC and unloading Sup vehicles commenced at dawn.  The remainder of the Coy was allocated an area, which, it transpired had already been earmarked for 15 (Scottish) Div RASC which arrived at 011130B necessitating the recceing of a new area for the Coy.  Owing to the congestion in LAUENBERG this had not been completed by the time the main body of the Coy arrived at 011130 B and HQ was temporarily located by the roadside.  The main body of the Coy less certain heavy Workshops and captured vehicles which crossed by the Class 40 bridge, crossed the ELBE by the Class 9 bridge at approx 1100 hrs.  Coy HQ moved in the afternoon to the Brickworks (L5/880358).  Supply and Petrol Points were located in LAUENBERG for the Div less 5 Para Bde which was supplied from vehicles which had remained in the concentration area for that purpose.

                                D.J. BRADLEY,

                                       Major RASC.

                                       6 May 45. "

    This marks the end of ENTERPRISE, an operation that transpired to be an outstanding success.  On D+2 all the RASC had moved across the ELBE, the Coys located in area LAUENBERG, whilst HQ RASC was located with Rear Div in BOIZENBERG.  The time that was spent in this locality was very short indeed, because the next day the whole Division moved northwards like a meteor to the BALTIC.  This particular episode is short, but from the RASC point of view it marks a phase in itself....

 

E.  PHASE IV - THE ADVANCE TO THE BALTIC on 2 May 45.  Maps L5, L6, K5, K6.

    The end of the last phase saw the whole of the 6 Airborne Division across the ELBE, with all its objective gained.  This was the position on 1 May 45.  The Division was fairly concentrated along the LAUENBERG - BOIZENBERG road and to the East and North-East.  On our left flank, extending the bridgehead were the formations of 8 Corps - 11 Armoured Div, 5 Inf Div, 15 (Scottish) Div, 6 Guards Armoured Bde, 1 Commando Bde, and the ROYALS.  On our right flank were the formations of XVIII U.S. Airborne Corps - 82 U.S. Airborne Division, 8 U.S. Inf Div. 7 U.S. Armoured Div.  The link-up of the British and American forces across the ELBE was the signal that the day's objectives had been reached.

    On this day, the Div RASC were firmly installed in what were to become very temporary locations indeed.  The supplying of the Division with ammunition, petrol and supplies proceeded as planned from the LAUENBERG points.  The supplies at the Dukw Dump - food and ammunition - had been left untouched, superfluous to the needs of an already well-stocked Division.  These stocks were later eaten down by 2nd Line.

    On 1 May 45, 6 Airborne Division came under the operational command of XVIII U.S. Airborne Corps, although for maintenance it still remained under 8 Corps.  This change of command signalled in the next phase, a phase that was to see the Division within 24 hrs on the shores of the BALTIC Sea - a distance of approx 80 miles from the ELBE.

    The aims of the Division were threefold:-

        (i) To reach objectives on BALTIC Coast before any of our friends in XVIII U.S. Corps reached their objectives.

        (ii) To reach WISMAR before the Russian troops advancing from the East.

        (iii) To be the first British Division to link up with the Russians.

    The 'G' Plan at the time was very ambitious indeed, as little knowledge of a very reliable nature existed as to the disposition of enemy forces between the ELBE and the BALTIC Sea.  Nevertheless the 'G' Plan was worked out and, as usual, however colossal the plan, the RASC had to meet its requirements.  The achievements of the Div RASC on this occasion were the most extraordinary in all its active history, because it fulfilled two demands upon it, two demands of great dimensions, and on which the success of the operation depended.  These two demands were as follows:-

        (i) The supplying of 120 x 3-ton vehicles for troop carrying of two Bdes of 6 Airborne Division.

        (ii) The maintaining of the Division along an advance, whose degree of rapidity at the time was an unknown factor.

    Let us therefore outline the general 'G' Plan.  The intention was to make 3 Para Bde and 5 Para Bde plus attachments completely mobile; 6 Airlanding Bde could not be provided with vehicles but had its eye on a German train complete with engine and rolling stock which it intended using to the fullest advantage.  The advance was to be made along two axis, with a third thrown in if 6 Airlanding Bde succeeded in its mission.

    3 Para Bde.

        This Bde was to advance along the RED Route at 0800 hrs 2 May on Div RASC vehicles.  The RED Route was also the Divisional Axis along which Rear Div and Adm Units were to travel.  It led originally from BOIZENBERG 9835 - ZAHRENSDORF - WITTENBURG.

    5 Para Bde.

        This Bde was to advance along the BLUE Route at 0800 hrs 2 May on Div RASC vehicles.  This route began in BOIZENBERG to GRESSE - LUTTOW - ZARRENTIN.

    6 Airlanding Bde.

        This Bde would advance as well as it could by train, or if it failed in this, it would remain static until vehicles could be released to bring it up.

    All this is very important if one is to grasp the magnitude of the task which the RASC succeeded in fulfilling.  No less important, however, is the grouping of these Bdes, because it was on the basis of this grouping that the RASC plan was worked out.

    Bdes had the following units under command:-

    (i) 3 Para Bde....         224 Para Fd Amb.

                                      25 Field Regt RA.

                                      3 Airlanding A.Tk. Bty RA.

                                      1 Sqn Royal Scot Greys.

    (ii) 5 Para Bde....        225 Para Fd Amb.

                                      6 Field Regt RA.

                                      4 Airlanding A.Tk. Bty RA.

                                      Armd Recce Regt.

                                      1 Sqn Royal Scot Greys.

    (iii) 6 Airlanding Bde.  195 Airlanding Fd Amb.

                                      53 Light Regt RA.

                                      1 Sqn Royal Scot Greys.

    We may now proceed to outline the tasks given to the Div RASC based on the grouping of the Bdes and on the 'G' Plan.  The task of providing 120 x 3-ton vehicles is given in the M.T. Report (Appendix "C") and need not be enlarged on here, except to stress that it magnified the problem of maintenance immensely.

    The Division was advancing on two separate Axis, possibly three.  The duty of the RASC was to 'deliver the goods' wherever the Bdes were.  The shortage of vehicles made it imperative that a central plan be worked out, and to inform all the Div units of it and to hope that nobody would misunderstand it!  The essential point was the Bdes must always know the whereabouts of the RASC and the RASC equally were to know the whereabouts of the Bdes.  That was the first task.  The second task depended on the first, and it was to open Ammunition, Supply and Petrol Points to meet the requirements of the Bdes.

    Let us now consider the method adopted to fulfil these two major tasks.  It was ruled that all RASC movement would be along the RED route (i.e. that on which 3 Bde travelled) later to become the Divisional Axis.  This route was the central route between the BLUE route on the left (i.e. that of 5 Para Bde) and another route on the right along which 6 Bde would travel if it got its engine started.  Consequently all RASC Sup, Pet and Amn Points would be located somewhere along the RED route and the whole Division was informed accordingly.  To facilitate the locating of these points, a 'Signal Squad' was formed from personnel of 716 Coy RASC equipped with a jeep and a multitude of Pegasus signs who would travel along the RED route behind the advancing RASC Composite vehicles, and accordingly mark the route to these various Points.  It was fully understood by the two Bdes, one on each of the two flanks of the central route, that if any urgent supplies, petrol or ammunition were required they would have to travel cross country to this route and move along it until they reached the various Points.  This was unlikely to happen because, as will be seen later, adequate provisions were made to ensure self sufficiency for the Bdes for a considerable time.

    The first of these provisions was the loading of each troop-carrying vehicle with 36 jerricans of M.T.80 - equivalent to 160 gallons in each vehicle exclusive of its full tank and normal 1st line of 5 jerricans.  The second of these provisions was the detaching of two 10-ton vehicles to each Bde HQ loaded with certain types of ammunition that would probably be in most urgent need.  The following natures of ammunition were loaded on to these ten-tonners:-

    3" Mor HE.     .303 Mk.VIIIZ Strip Belt.     25-pr HE.     9mm Sten.

    These vehicles were ordered to report to Bde HQ on the night of 1 May before the advance on the next day.

    No provision was made for supplies in this manner because the B Echelons of units already carried their reserve as well as their daily maintenance.

    As shown above the following attached units came under the command of the Division, together with their respective RASC organisations:-

Unit.

6 Field Regt. RA.

25 Field Regt RA.

Royal Scot Greys.

257 A.Tk. Bty RA.

RASC Organisation.

1670 Arty Platoon RASC.

1659 Arty Platoon RASC.

1 Platoon of 5 Coy, RASC.

Nil.

    In the case of the Field Regts, one each was placed under the command of 3 and 5 Para Bdes.  As each Regt had its own Arty Platoon this did not present any serious maintenance problem.  But in the case of the Royal Scot Greys its three Squadrons were dispersed, one to each of the three Bdes, thus disrupting the organisation of the platoon of 5 Coy RASC which could not possibly maintain three separate entities on the organisation it had.  The 257 A.Tk. Bty RA became a part of Div Tps and became absorbed therefore in our own organisation.

    It was resolved, therefore, to have these attached RASC organisations based entirely on 63 Coy RASC who would meet their requirements of 2nd Line Sups and Pet.  In the case of ammunition, they were based directly on FMC.

    The answer to the Royal Scot Greys dilemma was as follows: its platoon of RASC vehicles would move up with those of 63 Coy Sup and Pet vehicles.  Extra petrol, ammunition and supplies had already been loaded on to the tanks as an emergency measure, and in any case the Bde to which it was attached could reasonably be expected to help if need arose.  As a point of interest the following constituted the organisation of this platoon:-

Vehicles.

6 x 6-ton

9 x 3-ton

1 x 3-ton

1 x 3-ton

Load.

Ammunition.

Petrol.

Oils.

Sups.

    The following holdings in 2nd Line of 1659 Arty Platoon may be taken as general for an Arty Platoon:-

Sups

 

Petrol

Ammunition

1 days reserve.

1 days maintenance

1,400 gals.

25-pr HE    3,200 rds

25-pr AP    200 rds.

25-pr Smok    200 rds.

S.A.A.    1 x 3-ton

    The above were carried on the normal establishment of 30 x 3-ton load carriers in the Platoon.

    The next important problem was the organising of the Div RASC themselves for their tasks.  It was decided to move up commodities along the Axis in order of priority, which was decided as follows:-

        1st Priority   - Ammunition - 398 Coy RASC.

        2nd Priority - Petrol, Oils   - 63 Coy RASC.

        3rd Priority  -  Supplies.     - 63 Coy RASC.

    At the time these priorities were worked out it was not known whether the battle would be one of movement, or of heavy fighting.  As little resistance had been met on the ELBE crossing it was assumed that the enemy would now be in some position to offer resistance.

    Consequently, in the movement up along the Axis the Ammunition Point vehicles would move up first, followed by the Petrol vehicles, followed by the Supply vehicles.  The A.P. of 398 Coy RASC was to advance along the RED route (i.e. axis) until it came into contact with the B Echelon of the last unit of 3 Para Bde travelling along that route.  It would follow that B Echelon until the final objective.  Similarly, the Pet and Sup Vehicles would follow close upon the wheels of the A.P., and when necessary the old methods would be adopted of forming a Composite Point, with the aid of a Report Centre.  As an additional precaution four Petrol vehicles travelled with the A.P.  to meet emergency demands on the spot.

    In the case of supplies the Coy was ordered to issue sups each morning at the following times:-

3 Para Bde

5 Para Bde

6 Airlanding Bde

Div Tps

0800 - 0900 hrs

0900 - 1000 hrs

1000 - 1100 hrs

1100 - 1200 hrs

    The Supply vehicles would then move up again each afternoon and repeat this procedure the next day, if necessary.  All the time the SIGNING SQUAD followed in the tracks of these Composite vehicles to indicate to the units coming up in the rear the location of these points.

    It can be seen, therefore, from the above that the whole of the RASC plan was designed to deal with a situation that might be prolonged over a number of days.

    The execution of all those tasks outlined above became totally unnecessary.  The Bdes commenced their advance from BOIZENBURG at 0800 hrs on 2 May 45.  At 1430 hrs on the same day the 3 Para Bde reached WISMAR on the BALTIC.  It was reported quite officially by this Bde that with all the ammunition at its disposal in 1st and 2nd Line the total expenditure within the Bde was one single round of .303 Bde which was directed at a sniper.  After covering 80 miles which was the length of the advance, the A.P. vehicles reached WISMAR shortly after 3 Para Bde, followed by the Petrol and Supply vehicles.  Before midnight of the same day the whole of 6 Airborne Division, less 716 Coy RASC and one or two other Adm Units reached its concentration area near WISMAR.  The whole of the three aims which the Division had in mind 24 hrs previously had been fulfilled.

    HQ RASC reached WISMAR at approx 2230 hrs on 2 May 45.  398 Coy RASC and 63 Coy RASC also reached WISMAR and were led to their respective locations recced by their advance parties.

    On 3 May 45, 63 Coy RASC opened its Supply and Petrol Points in the Railway Station at WISMAR, at 0800 hrs.  Troop carrying vehicles returned to their Coy locations by approx 2000 hrs on 3 May 45.  On this day 716 Coy RASC reached WISMAR and located itself in the Barracks.  On this day, therefore, the whole of the RASC was assembled together and prepared itself for other tasks that were pending.

    The RASC drivers who drove the troop carrying vehicles can be said, therefore, to have had the rare privilege of taking a vital part in, and of witnessing first hand, the complete collapse of the German armies N.E. of the ELBE.  The endless stream of prisoners, civilian refugees from the Russians, and Displaced Persons that stretched ten deep for more than 20 miles along the main WISMAR - GADEBUSCH road was but the beginning of a series of vast problems which the RASC had to cope with during the next week or so.

    It is not the intention here to elaborate on the details of this work of maintaining the POWs and PWX and the Ambulance Trains that were daily arriving from the Russian lines into the hospitals at WISMAR and environs.  The feeding of these prisoners, and of the PWX; the provision of medical comforts for the overflowing hospitals; the staging of the countless Displaced Persons in the Barracks at WISMAR; the evacuation of PWX to airfields in LUNEBURG; the evacuation of Displaced Persons; these became urgent and vital RASC problems and which were dealt with by the Div RASC of 6 Airborne Division.

    With effect from 5 May 45 all drawings of Amn, Pet and Sups were from 66 FMC located in LUBECK.  On the 6 May, all 2nd Line ammunition was returned to FMC by 398 Coy RASC.

    On 17 May 45, a Div RASC Concert Party organised by Major W.H. Horton gave a concert at the theatre at WISMAR to the whole Division.  On 19 May the air party for the UK arrived at the airfield in LUNEBURG, and the land party the following day started on its long journey to OSTEND and thence to the UK.

 

M.N. HUGHES,

Capt.

 

CONCLUSION.

    This survey has been completed in the hope that it will serve a useful purpose to those who carry the flag after us.  The work has been done by Capt M.N. Hughes, my Supply Captain on HQ, to whom I am very much indebted.

    The period 27 Mar - 2 May 45 saw the final phase against German ideas of conquering the world, and we of the 6 Airborne Div RASC were privileged to witness the surprising collapse of their great organisation.  The period was also one in which we played a big part and a successful one.  The problems imposed on us could doubtless have been solved differently and just as successfully but the foregoing survey sets out at least one successful way of doing it.

    The four secrets of success, were I think

        (i) Possession of three first class Companies, all fully trained and eager to 'get going'.

        (ii) Simple orders and an insistence that everyone be put well into the picture, no mysteries being tolerated.

        (iii) Superb vehicle maintenance before and during the operation.

        (iv) A magnificent team spirit within the Division.

    Tribute must be paid to the Div Provost personnel, without whose excellent road signing, many 'dead' miles would have been travelled by RASC 'three tonners', however, the signing would have been even better if they had realised that Adm Units have to perform extremely important journeys to the rear as well as forward, for no signs were ever placed that indicated the route to the rear.

    In spite of all peace time reports, the road conditions in GERMANY are shocking, exclude types of surfaces which had more than likely become deteriorated during war time, and even then no-one could say they were good.  Main roads are good, but too narrow; secondary roads are only tracks with no metal surface.  This factor imposes a very severe strain on M.T. demanding long hours of slow going and first class maintenance.

    The value of air superiority was brought right home to all the men for every German vehicle and installation, no matter how small, was necessarily camouflaged most skilfully against air observation, involving hours and hours of labour and a severe curtailment in manoeuvrability.  We, on the other hand, were quite unhampered by any such necessity; if we had to crowd up vehicles we did so without a qualm; we filled the roads and fields and went where we pleased.  Again, one only had to view the many 'military targets' along our advance to see that the RAF had not been wasting their time, whilst overhead, something was wrong if one did not hear the familiar whine of the Spitfires and racing car like exhaust note of the Typhoons.

    The value of reafforestation to provide timber for war purposes has been fully appreciated by the Germans, besides which these pine forests afford an excellent cloak for military activities to which the unharmed factories and unit locations in them bore witness, an interesting fact appreciated by most of us.

 

F.A. LOVEGROVE,

Lt. Col.

 

 

Appendix "C"

 

TRANSPORT ARRANGEMENTS DURING ADVANCE OF 6 AIRBORNE DIV FROM R. RHINE TO THE BALTIC COAST.

Covering the period 25 March - 2 May 1945.

 

    During this period transport commitments for troop carrying, 8 Corps FMC, evacuation of POW and Div maintenance were extremely heavy.  Distances involved added to the difficulties.  Transport from Army resources was made available during certain phases of the advance and the diary below gives details how all RASC transport was organised to satisfy the heavy demands on it.

    The diary gives a day to day record of control.  There were five main phases covered:-

        1. Advance from R.RHINE to R.WESER.  25 Mar - 6 Apr 45.

        2. Advance from R.WESER to R. ELBE.  6 Apr - 28 Apr 45.

        3. Planning for 5 Bde Operation "AUDACIOUS".

        4. Advance across R.ELBE.  30 Apr - 1 May 45.

        5. Advance from R.ELBE to BALTIC Coast.  2 May 45.

    The standard of control by Pl Officers and NCOs was extremely high and that with the unflagging and cheerful spirit of the drivers contributed very largely to the success of the organisation.

 

25 March.

    Div RASC transport on WEST side of RHINE less one assault Pl of Jeeps and trailers being used for ferrying stores from PEGASUS Dump to fwd tps of 6 Airborne Div.

 

26 March.

    Arrival of two and a half Pls loaded with sups and POL to PEGASUS Dump together with Arty Pls of 6 and 25 Field Regts.

 

27 March.

    RASC Coys established complete on EAST side of RHINE less 38 x 3-ton vehicles which departed to CRC to collect 750 reinforcements for the Div.

 

28 March.

    During course of day and night undernoted transport arrived having been released by Second Army.

        Two Tpt Pls ... ... 19 Coy RASC (5-ton Macks).

        Two Tpt Pls ... ... 104 Coy RASC (3-ton Bedfords).

        One Tpt Pls ... ... 684 Coy RASC (5-ton Macks).

    These Pls were absorbed as follows:-

        63 Coy RASC (Airborne Div Comp) ... One Pl 19 Coy. RASC.

        398 Coy RASC (Airborne Div Comp) ... One Pl 19 Coy RASC.  One Pl 684 Coy RASC.

    Following Pls released for troop carrying:-

        Three Pls 398 Coy RASC.

        Two Pls 104 Coy RASC.

        One Pl 63 Coy RASC.

    Each Pl released for troop carrying during night 28/29 Mar were loaded as follows:-

        Each of 30 x 3-ton vehs in Pl ... 36 Jerricans.  10 Compo Packs.

    Making a total of 6480 Jerricans and 1800 Compo Packs.

    This represented approx two days reserve rations and two 2nd line refills of Petrol on wheels of troop carriers and was considered essential by Div staff in case lines of communication were cut.  It should be noted that all this adjustment of transport and loads was completed by morning of 29 Mar, including replenishment of 2nd line holdings now carried in 5-ton Pls of 398 Coy and 63 Coy.

 

29 March.

    By midday today, transport situation as follows:-

63 Coy.

 

398 Coy.

716 Coy.

Troop Carrying

Two Pls belonging to Coy - Sups and maintenance.

One Pl 19 Coy RASC. - All petrol carriers.

Two Pls of 5-ton Macks. - All amn carriers.

Normal.

3 Para Bde.  One Pl 63 Coy RASC.

                     Two Pls 104 Coy RASC.

5 Para Bde.  Three Pls 398 Coy RASC.

 

30 and 31 March.

    Troop carriers being controlled by 'G' 6 Airborne Div in ferrying three Bdes forward in advance.  Owing to the number of changes and distances involved it was found necessary to institute a central control for all movement of TCVs.  Bde units had not released all tpt simultaneously thereby causing splits within the Pl organisation.  The situation was such that the Pl Officers had difficulty in controlling all their tpt and it was essential that after the next halt all TCVs should be marshalled in a harbouring area and sorted into complete Pls.

 

1 April.

    (a) 2IC and one Capt were attached to Div HQ working directly under orders of G.1.  A small staff incl motor cyclist for comn assembled by midday.  During course of morning, all tpt had been assembled in a harbouring area and control by Pl Offrs re-established.  A certain quantity of petrol from TCVs had been used by Bdes but this was replenished during course of day.

    (b) All POL held by 63 Coy was dumped fwd during day and replenished from FMC.  This was specially requested to facilitate movement of FMC.

    (c) 21 jeeps from 716 Coy detached to Div units for DRLS purposes.

    (d) By night, one Pl 63 Coy and two Pls 104 Coy with 5 Bde, who were standing by ready to pass through 3 Bde over DORTMUND-EMS Canal.

 

2 April.

    (a) Movement of 5 Para Bde in TCVs today.  On completion of move all TCVs harboured preparatory to reporting to 6 Airldg Bde.

    (b) Three Pls 398 Coy RASC reported to 3 Para Bde by p.m. today, ready for advance a.m. 3 April.

 

3 April.

    (a) TCVs from 5 Bde remain harboured.

    (b) TCVs remain with 3 Bde on advance.

 

4 April.

    (a) TCVs with 3 Bde now harboured and ready to return along Div Axis to embus 5 Bde.  This move carried out during night 4/5 April.

    (b) By 0700 hrs TCVs previously with 5 Bde (i.e. one Pl 63 Coy and two Pls 104 Coy) had returned to pick up 6 Airldg Bde for further advance during day and following day.

 

5 April.

    (a) TCVs from 3 Bde (three Pls 398 Coy RASC) returned along Div Axis to embus 5 Bde by 1100 hrs.

    (b) TCVs remain with 6 Airldg Bde.

    (c) Information received today that all TCVs to be released for use by 15 (S) Div.  Owing to extra lift required for POL it was decided to retain one Pl of 5-ton Macks with 63 Coy and release the following to 15 (S) Div:-

        One Pl 63 Coy RASC (3-ton vehs).

        One Pl 19 Coy RASC (5-ton vehs).

        One Pl 684 Coy RASC (5-ton vehs).

        Two Pls 104 Coy RASC (3-ton vehs).

    (d) One Pl 63 Coy and two Pls 104 Coy harboured by 2000 hrs.  All compo packs dumped (approx 800) and taken over by 63 Coy.  TCVs commenced journey back to 15 (S) Div - a distance of approx 100 miles.

    (e) TCVs with 5 Bde released during night 5/6 April and harboured preparatory to return to 398 Coy.

 

6 April.

    (a) TCVs (three Pls 398 Coy) returned to Coy location where all compo packs offloaded and handed over to 63 Coy (approx 800 packs).  All petrol transferred to the 2 x 5 ton Pls (One Pl 19 Coy, one Pl 684 Coy) which had previously been offloaded of all amn.

    (b) Two 5-ton Pls released to 15 (S) Div forthwith.

    (c) 2nd line amn reloaded on to 398 Coy's own tpt.  By evening 6 Apr, tpt situation in 63 and 398 Coys as follows:-

63 Coy.

 

398 Coy.

One Pl 19 Coy.  POL.

Two Pls own tpt.  Maintenance and reserves of sups.

Three Pls own tpt.  2nd line amn (87 x 3-ton).

    A decision taken late in day to move fwd 5 Para Bde to line of R. ALLER which necessitated provision of 71 x 3-ton lorries.  These were provided as follows:-

        50 x 3-ton ... ... ... 398 Coy RASC.

        10 x 3-ton ... ... ... 63 Coy RASC.

        11 x 3-ton ... ... ... 716 Coy RASC.

    2nd line amn, POL and certain stores were offloaded to carry out this requirement.

 

7 April.

    30 x 3-ton Austin 4 x 2 vehs due today from BRUSSELS area to be taken over by para Pl personnel of 716 Coy.  Only 27 x 3-ton vehs arrived, three having been abandoned on route.  Vehs in very poor state of maint.  15 of these vehs are earmarked to proceed to Div Units to replace vehs previously loaned to them as first line tpt from 63 Coy.

    The exchange of vehs to take place on 8 Apr.

    The remaining 12 x 3-ton with 716 Coy to undergo extensive repairs.

    Move to R. ALLER completed by 1800 hrs.  Tpt was harboured in 5 Bde area and remained for night as return route was unsafe owing to pockets of resistance which had been bypassed during day.

 

8 April.

    TCVs returned to Coys by midday.

    Meantime both 3 Para Bde and 6 Airldg Bde marched to new areas near to R. ALLER.

 

9 April.

    Coys now established in new area where again reserves of POL - sups and certain 2nd line amn was offloaded.

    Two Pls 63 Coy and one Pl 398 Coy prepared for work on FMC.  This was cancelled during course of day and the tpt made available for tp carrying.  The bridgehead over the R. ALLER was to be extended with the three Bdes on the EAST side of the river.

    By evening today, TCVs had reported to Bns of 5 Para Bde.  In addition to the above, 716 Coy produced a further 10 x 3-ton vehs for evacuation of PWX and collection of reinforcements during 9/10 Apr.

 

10 April.

    5 Bde embussed and moved to area EAST of R. ALLER.  By evening tpt harboured and returned to 3 Para Bde preparatory to move on 11 Apr.

    A further Pl from 63 Coy made available today to assist with replenishment of 63 FMC.

 

11 April.

    3 Bde move completed by 1300 hrs.  Tpt released and returned to a harbouring area approx 20 miles WEST of R. ALLER where guides from 6 Airldg Bde met.  Move of 6 Bde EAST of R. ALLER completed by evening today.  Tpt again harboured and returned in convoy to Coys WEST of R. ALLER.

    Two Pls made available for Corps FMC work today (one Pl 63 Coy one Pl 398 Coy).

    With an availability of 6 Tpt Pls plus approx 20 vehs from 716 Coy the following tasks were successfully completed today.

63 Coy.

 

 

398 Coy.

 

 

716 Coy.

One Pl.  FMC Work.

One Pl.  Troop Carrying.

One Pl.  Div Maintenance.

One and a half Pls.  Troop Carrying.

One Pl.  FMC.

6 x 3-ton Ord detail for five days.

10 x 3-ton vehs.  Troop carrying.

10 x 3-ton vehs.  POW evacuation and reinforcement collection.

 

12 April.

    (a) One Pl 63 Coy with 3 Bde for day carrying one Bn on an operational task of clearing woods and certain areas of odd pockets of resistance.

    (b) 75 TCVs assembled by 2200 hrs provided as shown below and standing by ready to report to 5 Para Bde on 13 Apr.

        One Pl.  63 Coy RASC.

        One Pl. Guards Armd Bde. (229 Coy RASC) on loan to 6 Airborne Div.

        15 x 3-ton vehs 398 Coy.

 

13 April.

    TCVs reported to 5 Para Bde to move to area CELLE.  Move completed by evening today and tpt harboured ready to move back a.m. 14 Apr to pick up 6 Airldg Bde.

 

14 April.

    TCVs reported to 6 Bde early today and moved them to area approx 15 miles beyond CELLE.  After move completed all tpt harboured.  One Pl 63 Coy returned to Coy location and half Pl of 398 Coy also.  These TCVs were replaced during night by a Pl from 19 Coy (5-ton Macks) and the Pl of 63 Coy which had been detached to 15 (S) Div during past nine days.

    Two further Pls of 104 Coy RASC released by 15 (S) Div picked up 3 Bde in area CELLE and brought them to UELZON area the following day.

 

15 April.

16 April.

    After all moves completed tpt situation as follows:-

63 Coy.

 

398 Coy.

Two Pls own tpt.

One Pl 19 Coy RASC.

Three Pls own tpt.

    Available for troop carrying or other details:-

        Two Pls 104 Coy RASC.

        One Pl Guards Armd Bde (229 Coy RASC).

        One Pl 19 Coy RASC. (Now only 20 x 5 vehs strong).

        One Pl 63 Coy RASC.

    The tpt was not completely assembled until p.m. 16 Apr.

 

17 April.

    8 Corps recalled available TCVs and disposed of them as follows:-

(a)

 

 

(b)

One Pl Guards Armd Bde

    (229 Coy RASC).

Two Pls 104 Coy RASC.

One Pl 63 Coy RASC.

One Pl 19 Coy RASC.

) -

)

)

) -

)

To report to 13 Inf Bde, 5

Division.  Tpt not expected

back until a.m. 20 Apr.

To 14 Army Roadhead to pick

up amn and convey to 64 FMC.

Tpt not expected back until

1500 hrs 19 Apr.

 

18 April.

    10 x 3-ton lorries required for POW evacuation.  Normal Div maintenance continues.

    65 x 3-ton vehs of 398 Coy ordered to stand by for operation "AUDACIOUS" - 5 Para Bde.  This necessitated grounding of 2nd line amn, stores and even Wksps equipment.

 

19 April.

    (a) Pl of 63 Coy and one Pl of 19 Coy returned today.  Pl of 63 Coy exchanged for Pl of 19 Coy already with 63 Coy.  The two Pls of 19 Coy immediately recalled by 8 Corps and despatched to 64 FMC.

    (b) One Pl Guards Armd Bde (229 Coy RASC) and two Pls 104 Coy remain under control of 5 Div and will not come under command 6 Airborne Div again.

    (c) One Pl 63 Coy and one Pl 398 Coy despatched to 64 FMC to work on replenishment of 65 FMC.

 

20 April.

    A further Pl from 398 Coy despatched to 64 FMC p.m. today making three Pls in all.  These three Pls sent to GOCH (10 Army Roadhead) to pick up 5400 rds 5.5 amn and deliver to 65 FMC.  Anticipated time of turn round five days.

    With exception of mobile A.P. all amn grounded plus a large proportion of POL and Sups.  716 Coy offloaded 8 x 3-ton domestic vehs to be available at 398 Coy's call in the event of heavy amn expenditure.

 

21 April.

    Normal Div maintenance continues.

    The three Tpt Pls (one Pl 229 Coy, two Pls 104 Coy) with 5 Div were returned to 6 Airborne Div for 24 hrs.  Tpt harboured and despatched to 3 Para Bde to move them to a concentration area near LUNEBURG.

 

22 April.

    Movement of 3 Bde completed by a.m. today and tpt redirected to 64 FMC coming under control 8 Corps.

    Maintenance of Div continues with no special details.

 

23 April.

    60 TCVs ordered to report to 5 Para Bde for operation "AUDACIOUS".  Owing to number of vehs already detailed i.e. three Pls with FMC, this presented a problem.  It meant that all remaining reserves and 2nd line had to be offloaded including amn at A.P.  This was carried out during day and tpt provided as follows:-

20 x 3-ton

8 x 3-ton

32 x 3-ton

398 Coy RASC.

716 Coy RASC.

63 Coy RASC.

    Vehs were assembled in 5 Bde area where guides met and led to unit locations.  Vehs were split up over the units of the Bde Group as follows:-

HQ 5 Para Bde

7 Para Bn

12 Para Bn

13 Para Bn

22 Para Fd Amb

65 A.Tk. Bty

3 Sec FOU

3 x 3-ton

15 x 3-ton

16 x 3-ton

16 x 3-ton

5 x 3-ton

3 x 3-ton

2 x 3-ton

    Vehs were required initially to move 5 Bde to area CELLE or RHEINE.  Actual tpt to convey personnel from camp to airfield and aircraft were to be provided from Army resources but TCVs would be released immediately move to CELLE or RHEINE completed.  This was essential as all RASC stores and sups were grounded.

 

24 April.

    Troop lift of 5 Para Bde postponed but TCVs remain detached to 5 Bde.

    On this day, the situation re Div RASC task vehs as follows:-

63 Coy.

 

 

 

398 Coy.

 

 

716 Coy.

With 64 FMC.

With 5 Para Bde.

With Coy for Div Maint

    in Sups & POL.

With 64 FMC.

With 5 Para Bde.

With Coy.

Det as 1st line vehs.

With 5 Para Bde.

Remaining with Coy.

30 x 3-ton

32 x 3-ton

28 x 3-ton

 

60 x 3-ton

20 x 3-ton

10 x 3-ton

51 x 3-ton

8 x 3-ton

15 x 3-ton (of which 5 VOR).

 

25 April.

    (a) 3 Pls on Corps detail from 10 Army Roadhead returned p.m. today.

    (b) 12 x 3-ton vehs from 63 Coy report to 5 Bde to assist with move.

 

26 April.

    (a) 3-ton vehs from 716 Coy and 398 Coy attached 5 Bde recalled a.m. today as they were required to assist in detail for 8 Corps.

    (b) 44 x 3-ton vehs from 63 Coy remain with 5 Bde to assist with Bde move to concentration area WEST of R.ELBE.

    (c) Two Tpt Pls 398 Coy standing by for 8 Corps detail.

 

27 April.

    (a) Two Tpt Pls 398 Coy move to 14 Army Roadhead on detail for 8 Corps.  POL and amn picked up to be delivered to 65 FMC.

    (b) 15 x 3-ton 398 Coy plus 5 x 3-ton 63 Coy collected special natures of amn and reserves of Compo Packs during day.  Vehs assembled in hours of darkness and loads delivered to fwd Dukw Dump established by 15 (S) Div.

 

28 April.

    (a) 4 x 3-ton lorries from 63 Coy detached to 286 Fd Pk Coy RE carrying assault boat equipment.

    (b) 3 x 3-ton lorries from 63 Coy detached to 224 Fd Amb for operation "ENTERPRISE".

    (c) No other special details - normal Div maintenance continues.

    (d) Preparation made for operation "ENTERPRISE" - crossing of R. ELBE by 8 Corps.

    (e) 44 x 3-ton vehs 63 Coy with 5 Bde returned to Coy location by p.m. today.

 

29 April.

    (a) 398 Coy detached 12 vehs with amn to 6 Airldg Bde and 6 vehs to 53 Lt. Regt.  These vehs to proceed on D+1 with units to which attached in order that forward A.Ps can be established.

    (b) Return to 398 Coy of two Tpt Pls engaged on 8 Corps detail from 14 Army Roadhead.

    (c) 15 x 3-ton vehs from 63 Coy detached to 716 Coy who are maintaining 5 Bde Group, detached from 6 Airborne Div until operation "AUDACIOUS" completed.

 

30 April.

    (a) Operation "AUDACIOUS" cancelled.  15 x 3-ton vehs returned to 63 Coy.

    (b) Recall of 4 x 3-ton vehs from 286 Fd Pk and 3 x 3-ton from 224 Para Fd Amb.  This was essential as troop carrying lift anticipated for two Bdes after crossing E. ELBE.

    (c) RASC Coys formed up in concentration areas preparatory to crossing R. ELBE during night 30 Apr/1May.

 

1 May.

    (a) By 1300 hrs RASC Coys established in area of LAUENBURG.

    (b) 2nd line amn, less a Mobile A.P., dumped; pet and sup reserves dumped and 120 x 3-ton vehs provided as undernoted for troop carrying:-

60 x 3-ton vehs

43 x 3-ton vehs

5 x 3-ton vehs

12 x 3-ton

120 x 3-ton vehs

398 Coy.

63 Coy.

716 Coy.

1670 Arty Pl (6 Fd Regt)

        These vehs were all harboured in groups of 20 and picked up by Bn guides from 3 Para Bde and 5 Para Bde by 1800 hrs.

    (c) To enable RASC Coys to move and carry out normal functions, 30 x 10-ton vehs had been released by 8 Corps.  These 10-ton vehs collected sups and POL for issue 2 May from 65 FMC.  Vehs arrived by 2300 hrs and dumped sups and POL with 63 Coy.  Having dumped loads, three secs were allotted to 398 Coy and two secs to 63 Coy.

 

2 May.

    The spectacular advance of 3 Para Bde and 5 Para Bde in TCVs provided by Div RASC commenced at 0800 hrs today.  By 1400 hrs, TCVs with 3 Bde had debussed tps in WISMAR on the BALTIC Coast.  TCVs were harboured and immediately redirected to BOIZENBURG to embus 6 Airldg Bde.  However, 6 Airldg Bde had dumped all stores and managed to move up Div Axis with own tpt.  The TCVs however picked up the stores which had been dumped by 6 Airldg Bde and brought them up on 3 May.

 

3 May.

    By p.m. today all TCVs had been returned to Coys and once again normal maintenance allowed to continued.

 

4 May.

    (a) Preparation made for mass evacuation of PWX and DP involving almost every RASC 3-ton veh.

    (b) 10-ton vehs remain under control until 6 May when they reported to 66 FMC loaded with 2nd line amn holdings of 6 Airborne Div.  This Pl ceases to come under command 6 Airborne Division w.e.f. 6 May.

 

A.C. BILLE-TOP,

Major.