National Archives catalogue number WO 171/4683.

 

Abbreviation

035380

2 IC

AA

Adjt

Adm

ADS

Adv

Amn

AP

Armd

Arty

ASSU

A Tk

Att

AVRE

BC

Bde

Bdy

Bn

Br

Brhead

Bty

Cams

Cdn

Cdo

Civ

CL

CLY

CO

Comd

Comn
Conc

Coy

CRA

Def

Div
Est

Evac

Excl

FDS

FGCM

FUP

Fwd

GOC

Gov

Gp

Gren

H
HE

Incl

Inf

Infm

Instr

Intercomn

IO

Junc

KRRC

KSLI

L

LAD

Ldg

Ldr

L of C

MG

Mob

Mons

Mov

MR

OC

Offr

O Group

OO

Op

OR

Pl

Posn

Pr

Pt

R Berks

Rd

RE

Regt

Regtl

Rep

Res

RHA

RHQ

RIO

Rly

R/T

RTR

RWF

S

SA

Sec

Sig

SP

Sqn

Tac

Tp

Tpt

Veh

VWA

W

X rds

Yeo

Map Reference

Second-in-Command

Anti-Aircraft

Adjutant
Administration

Advanced Dressing Station

Advance

Ammunition

Armour Piercing

Armoured

Artillery
Air Support Signal Unit

Anti-Tank

Attach

Armoured Vehicle Royal Engineers

Battery Commander

Brigade

Boundary

Battalion

British / Bridge

Bridgehead

Battery

Cameron Highlanders

Canadian

Commando

Civilian

Centre Line / Class (if lower case)

City of London Yeomanry

Commanding Officer

Command

Communication

Concentration

Company

Commander Royal Artillery

Defence

Division / Divisional

Establish

Evacuation

Excluding

Field Dressing Station

Field General Court Martial

Forming Up Place

Forward

General Officer Commanding

Government

Group

Grenadier

Highland

High Explosive

Including

Infantry
Information

Instruction

Intercommunication

Intelligence Officer

Junction

King's Royal Rifle Corps

King's Shropshire Light Infantry

Lowland

Light Aid Detachment

Landing

Leader

Line of Communication

Machine Gun

Mobile

Monmouthshire Regiment

Movement

Map Reference

Officer Commanding

Officer

Orders Group

Operation Order

Operation / Observation Post (if upper case)

Other Ranks

Platoon

Position

Pounder

Point

Royal Berkshire

Road

Royal Engineers

Regiment

Regimental

Representative

Reserve

Royal Horse Artillery

Regimental Headquarters

Regimental Intelligence Officer

Railway

Radio Telephony

Royal Tank Regiment

Royal Welch Fusiliers

Scottish

Small Arms

Section

Signals

Self-Propelled / Starting Point / Support (if lower case)

Squadron

Tactical

Troop

Transport

Vehicle

Vehicle Waiting Area

Welsh
Crossroads

Yeomanry

 

 

Month and year : March 1945

Commanding Officer : Lt Col F.E.S. Bowlby MC

 

1st March 1945

There was light shelling during the night in the Regtl area several A.P. shots passed through the leagure from enemy S.P. guns hidden in the woods to the South of the UDEM - SONSBEEK road.  At 1000 hours the C.O. attended a conference at HQ 4 Armd Bde returning at 1145 hours, he explained the plan for the operation which was to take place that afternoon.  For this operation, the Greys, 4 KSLI Group were placed under command O.C. 4 KSLI as the plan was adjudged to be mostly dependant on the action of the infantry.  The objective for the attack was given in the area between and to the South of 035380.  This was high ground on the Southern edge of the BALBERGER WALD 0440 and North West of SONSBEEK.  In order to reach the objective it was necessary to cross an open and wide valley protected by a belt of defences consisting of an anti-tank ditch, trench and wire system, and to scale the rising ground through the village at 040380 which was also protected by the usual defences and the anti-tank ditch 15 feet deep and 20 feet wide.  The attack was to start at 1300 hours.  From a forming up point at 008395 "B" Sqn was to establish a firm base with "B" Coy at the East end of the wood at 019387 and "A" Sqn with "A" Coy were then to push through the defences supported by fire from "B" Sqn and endeavour to establish themselves on the North West outskirts of the area.  "C" Sqn and "C" Coy were held in reserve to be used according to circumstances once "A" Sqn was established.  At 1215 hours O.C. Greys, 4 KSLI and also Sqn Leaders and Coy Commanders left in Stuart tanks of Recce troop to visit 15/19 Hussars at 013392 and recce the ground to be covered.  It was raining, there was a low mist, and the ground was very bad.  Fairly heavy shell and mortar fire was encountered with the 15/19 Hussars, but a short recce was made and at about 1430 hours the recce party joined the Regt which was crushed into a small area at the F.U.P. which proved to be under observation and was heavily shelled by 88mms in consequence.  After a short O. Group meeting Capt T.A. Mahony MC took command of "A" Sqn as Maj M Chassels had been ill for some days, refused to rest, collapsed and was evacuated to ADS.  The Bde Commander asked for a report as to whether the state of the ground was so bad as to prevent the attack being carried.  O.C. Greys and KSLI replied that the ground could hardly be worse and in their opinion the attack was "not on".  The Bde Commander ordered the attack to start at 1530 hours.  At this time therefore "B" Sqn and Coy Group advanced to their positions and came under fire from the houses at 029393, "B" Coy endeavoured to clear these and suffered casualties, several of "B" Sqn tanks became bogged and an attempt was made to pass the "A" Sqn group past "B" Sqn but a 4 foot ditch full of water and not marked on the map was flowing across their front.  The two leading tanks fell into this and 9 tanks of the Sqn became bogged on the way.  "C" Sqn was then ordered to try and find a way out of the area to the North, but after proceeding 200 yards all the leading troop became bogged down.  At this moment the mist lifted, the sun came out and the artillery ran out of smoke.  The entire Regtl Group came under heavy observed shell and mortar fire.  Permission was obtained to approach the objective by the road running 005445 to 023398 then South beside the North side of the BALBERGER WALD to the objective.  "C" Sqn was ordered to proceed by this route with as many tanks as were moveable to be followed by the rest of the Regt as soon as possible.  The rest of the day until 2300 hours was spent unbogging tanks.  At one moment 29 were stuck.  At 2000 hours "C" Sqn under Capt. J.D. Callender MC had reached cross roads 016400.  At 2030 hours they began their advance first troop leading and carrying "C" Coy KSLI.  At 2100 hours they had reached 025398 when they came under MG fire.  The infantry dismounted but the advance continued slowly for another 500 yards.  By this time the MG fire was heavy and concentrated the infantry were pinned to the ground, while the tanks unable to leave the roads shot up all houses and woods within range but were unable to deploy or see the enemy in the darkness.  At 2240 hours Capt. J.D. Callender MC reported that the enemy were working around behind him and he was therefore ordered to withdraw slowly and establish a firm base at cross roads 016490.  The manoeuvre was completed in good order by 2300 hours.  By this time RHQ followed by elements of "A" and "B" Sqns which arrived at cross roads 005406.

 

2nd March 1945

A conference was held by the Bde Commander and at 0300 hours the advance was resumed down the road "A" Sqn and "A" Coy leading followed by RHQ, "B" Sqn and "C" Sqn, the advance was proceeded by a barrage moving at 100 yards in 6 minutes, the tanks were ordered to shoot up all houses and woods as they passed and the infantry to proceed on each side of the tanks to take prisoners and to give protection from "bazookas".  As soon as the advance began the column came under MG fire, but a steady movement was maintained until the leading Sqn came up against the anti-tank ditch at 038380 at 0630 hours.  At this time the column came under heavy and sustained fire from shells, mortar and rocket projectiles which was maintained with short intervals for the rest of the day.  In spite of the fire Capt T.A. Mahony MC made a recce of the anti-tank ditch on foot, and personally superintended the laying of the scissors bridge which was successful at the third attempt.  By this time it was 0645 hours.  The Regt was stretched out in line ahead formation over 2 miles of open road leading South.  There were known to be enemy on each side and ahead.  Dawn was now breaking.  "B" Sqn was therefore to park two troops past Tac RHQ on the bend in the road at 028385, South West, South and South East from the cover of various burning buildings, "B" Sqn less two troops and "C" Sqn to seize what cover they could find in another smouldering farm premises without getting stuck to face East and West ready to shoot at anything that moved or opened fire on them.  At 0700 hours Maj H.J.D. Gunn MC commanding "B" Sqn with two leading troops of his Sqn was ordered to lay a smoke screen East to West beyond the anti-tank ditch and Capt T.A. Mahony MC accompanied by 3 tanks of 4th troop under Lt C Grey, 2 tanks of 2nd troop under Lt E.C. Perkin crossed the scissors bridge with "A" Coy under cover of the smoke and occupied the first group of houses against light enemy resistance.  Lt C Grey's troop plus 2 platoons of "A" Coy pushed on round the bend at 038379 and established themselves firmly astride the road in a farm building.  Capt T.A. Mahony attempted to follow him up the road and had his tank hit and set on fire by an enemy anti-tank gun as he rounded the bend.  Capt T.A. Mahony MC and 2 members of his crew were severely burnt and wounded and the driver and operator killed.  Maj H.J.D Gunn MC was therefore ordered to proceed across the scissors bridge with one troop of "B" Sqn and take charge of the situation beyond the anti-tank ditch.  At 0730 hours O.C. Greys crossed the bridge also and reorganized the situation with O.C. KSLI and Maj H.J.D. Gunn MC in an orchard just short of Capt Mahoney MC's burning tank.  Maj H.J.D. Gunn MC was ordered to move his troop into the orchard facing South West, Lt E.C. Perkin's 2 tanks facing South, Lt C. Grey's facing South East down the road to SONSBEEK and to support with 2 tanks an attack by "A" Coy on the top of the hill to the East at the final objective 045380.  Capt E.R.W. Robinson MC with the two troops of "B" Sqn to the North of the anti-tank ditch to face East threatening the edge of the BALBERGER WALD.  Capt J.D. Callender MC in area 028385 to face South and South East and to move a troop further North of the road to face East at the BALBERGER WALD in order to protect the L of C.  The attack on the top of the hill at 045380 was most gallantly put in by "A" Coy 4 KSLI.  30 prisoners were captured and the position held all day against repeated enemy counter attacks from the direction of the BALBERGER WALD, all Officers including the Coy Commander, except one, and 29 ORs became casualties.  Later in the day 44 RTR and 2 KRRC Group were observed making progress along the UDEN - SONSBEEK road to the South of the Regtl position thus protecting our right flank and the Cdn 3rd Inf Div with some Sherman tanks pushing through the BALBERGER WALD to the North.  By 1600 hours therefore both flanks were secure and O.C. Greys returned to main RHQ in a farm at 027400 and at 1630 hours left with the RIO to report to Bde HQ.  During the evening the intervals between enemy concentrations of shell fire became longer and longer.  "A" Sqn was withdrawn across the anti-tank ditch to reform at main RHQ and 2 troops "B" Sqn under Sgt Collins MM and Sgt Birse sent forward in relief under cover of darkness.

 

3rd March 1945

The Regt stood to at 0600 hours.  Nothing to report from the forward troops except shelling throughout the night.  The C.O. visited the Sqns at 0930 hours.  Stand to at night 1730 hours.  The Cdns were now level with us on the left, and our own tanks had been seen on our right front.

 

4th March 1945

The C.O. visited the Sqns and the C.O. KSLI.  The day was spent mainly in cleaning up and maintenance on tanks.  The C.O. visited Bde HQ.

 

5th March 1945

The C.O. visited Sqns.  The 4th troop were pulled back as people on our left and right were now ahead of us.

 

6th March 1945

The 11 Armd Div Commander called to see the C.O.  The Bde Commander arrived at 1100 hours and said that it was thought that the Div would be squeezed out of the operation.  Maj Sir M.O. Williams Bart MC returned from the U.K. today.  He had been recalled by the C.O.

 

7th March 1945

The C.O. assumed command of the Bde whilst the Brigadier was away.  At 1000 hours the C.O. called in to Bde HQ, there were no instructions, though it was expected we should move next day.

 

8th March 1945

The C.O. visited Bde HQ, and orders were received for the Regt to move at 2200 hours to NIJMEGAN.  Order of March RHQ, Recce, "A", "B", "C" Sqns.  We were to collect 12 tanks from 44 RTR and take them with us.  The C.O. travelled with Bde.

 

9th March 1945

The Regt arrived at NIJMEGAN at 0130 hours, an L.O. Lt D Symington was sent to Bde HQ and returned 0330 hours with orders that we were to lead tanks on transporters at 0430 hours.  This was completed without mishap.  At 0700 hours the column moved off.  Capt J Warrender MC was hit on the head by the branch of a tree while the transporter was moving.  He was evacuated to hospital.  The Regt arrived at the billeting area K 367768 at 1600 hours.  Capt J Warrender MC arrived back at 1730 hours.  Capt A.M. Sprot MC and Lt P. Mackesy returned from U.K. leave.

 

10th March 1945

The day was spent in cleaning tanks and maintenance.  The C.O. and R.I.O. visited Bde HQ at 100 [1000?] hours and returned at 1300 hours.

 

11th March 1945

Capt A.M. Sprot MC assumed the duties of Adjt vice Capt J. Warrender MC who assumed the duties of 2 I/C HQ Sqn.  Capt J Hanbury assumed command Recce troop.  The C.O. left for a conference at Bde HQ at 1100 hours.

 

12th March 1945

The C.O. held a Sqn Leaders conference at 0930 hours.  The 2 I/C and RIO went to HQ 4 Armd Bde in the morning and the C.O. was later called to a Bde conference.

 

13th March 1945

The C.O. and RIO left for Bde at 0945 hours.  4 new Officers joined the Regt today and were posted as follows;- Lt E.W. Koln (Ex 23 Hussars) to HQ (Recce).  Lt F Pensford (Ex 23 Hussars) to HQ (RHQ Troop).  Lt E.A. Verney to "A" Sqn.  Lt D.E.H. Bromhead DCM to "A" Sqn.

 

14th March 1945

Maj Sir Anthony Bonham Bart returned from Python leave.  Capt C.R. Radcliffe left for the U.K.  Lt K.T.W. Baker went on U.K. leave, Lt P.G. Mackesy assumed the duties of RIO.  "C" Sqn at 2 KRRC carried out a scheme, the Sqn leaving the Regtl area after lunch and returning at midnight.

 

15th March 1945

Maj H.T. Brassey, Maj Sir M.O. Williams Bart MC and Lt K Eldridge went on 48 hours leave to BRUSSELS.  A Warning Order to move was received at 1800 hours.  The Regt was to be ready at 0900 hours on the 16th to move on transporters to VENLO and thence on tracks to UDEM.  The Movement Order, received at midnight changed the time of movement to 1100 hours.  The C.O. held a Sqn Leaders conference at 2130 hours on the next days move.  "A" Sqn carried out a scheme this afternoon.

 

16th March 1945

The advance party left at 0630 hours for UDEM A9842.  The Regt moved off to the lifting point at 1030 hours, and was transported to MAASBREE, which was reached at 1730 hours where it remained by the side of the road.  Wheeled vehicles left SONNIS at 0830 hours.  Lt R.A.H. Hearn rejoined the Regt from hospital.

 

17th March 1945

The Regt moved to UDEM in pockets to avoid blocking traffic, RHQ leaving at 0130 hours and reaching the new area 996416 at 0630 hours.  Maj H.T. Brassey and Sir M.O. Williams Bart MC returned from BRUSSELS.  The 4 RHA and 3/4 CLY also moved to the UDEM area, but HQ 4 Armd Bde and 44 RTR remained in BELGIUM.

 

18th March 1945

An Administrative Order by the 2 I/C was distributed this morning dealing with the forthcoming operation.  Lt K Eldridge returned from BRUSSELS and Lt J Briggs returned from leave in the U.K.  Maj Sir Anthony Bonham Bart attended a Court Martial at BURG LEOPOLD.  Capt J.R. Hanbury went on leave to BRUSSELS.

 

19th March 1945

The C.O. recced the roads UDEM - SONSBEEK 0535 - XANTEN 1141 - road junction 060454 - UDEM this afternoon.  Capt A.D.W. Lewis MC returned from Python leave in the U.K.  Capt J. Hanbury returned from leave in BRUSSELS.

 

20th March 1945

Preparations for operations continued as usual.

 

21st March 1945

Preparations and maintenance continued as usual.

 

22nd March 1945

The Brigadier addressed the Regt for the first time this afternoon.  He explained that in the coming assault on the RHINE the Regt's task would be to maintain the momentum of the initial assault to create a large bridgehead for the build up of our forces.

 

23rd March 1945

The C.O. attended a conference at Bde HQ this afternoon, and at 1730 hours held a Sqn Leaders conference, he explained the plan for the forthcoming operation.  The C.O. issued an Operation Order today.

 

24th March 1945

The C.O. held a conference for all Officers this morning, to explain the Regt's part in the operation across the RHINE which had begun at 2200 hours yesterday.  The Regt was expected to cross the RHINE at 2000 hours tonight, and its role would be to maintain the momentum of the original attacks in conjunction with 2 KRRC.

 

25th March 1945

The time of the crossing was postponed and the Regt did not leave the UDEM area until 0100 hours owing to a defective raft.  The Regt waited until 1700 hours in the armoured assembly area, when RHQ was ordered to cross the RHINE by a Class 40 pontoon bridge at BISHLICH 1341.  The Sqns followed in small packets the last one not reaching the leaguer area (135446) until early next morning.

 

26th March 1945

The Regt moved up to relieve the 44 RTR in the wooded area about 1649, "C" Sqn was in reserve, "A" Sqn left and "B" Sqn right were ordered to clear Northwards across the open country North of the woods 156477 - 168480.  "A" Sqn advanced North along the Eastern edge of the open ground to the railway, and then turned North West.  Opposition was met from the area of 155498.  "B" Sqn moved through the woods to 170501 and put in two simultaneous attacks North and West.  One tank was knocked out at the North East corner of the wood at 166502 by an A.P. in the suspension.  It was apparently fired, unaimed through smoke by an S.P. gun in the area 163514.  At 1700 hours the Regt leaguered with RHQ 186487.  At 2000 hours the C.O. of the 2 KRRC discussed with the C.O. operations, and a Sqn Leaders conference was held at 2130 hours.

 

27th March 1945

The Bde intention today was to cross the ISSEL at the RINGENBERG 2250 bridgehead and to thrust North East, Greys left, 3/4 CLY right on the left of 7 Armd Div, while an Inf Bde attacked West from DINGDEN 2253.  The Regtl C.L. was RINGENBERG - cross roads 226508 - cross roads 234517 - cross roads 235924 - 236534 - 255553 - North West to BUNGEM.  At 0730 the Recce troop investigated possible routes North from RINGENBERG, and at 0900 hours the Regt moved across the ISSEL.  By 1000 hours the woods at 225370 had been cleared by "C" Sqn.  "A" Coy of 2 KRRC advanced North along the main road supported by "B" Sqn.  "A" Sqn remained in RINGENBERG.  Opposition was negligible.  At the Northern end of the wood the road was blocked by felled trees.  "C" Sqn moved up to the North edge and "B" Sqn to the Eastern edge of the wood.  The Coy of 2 KRRC and "B" Sqn encountered opposition from the buildings to their North.  "B" Sqn reported a dug in quadruple 20mm gun and infantry at 230585 and along the road South West from 222513.  At 1215 the 20mm was reported destroyed.  "C" Sqn meanwhile was slowly moving North and North West and had made good the cross roads 225514.  "B" Sqn moved several hundred yards to the East but reported that the C.L. was impossible for tank movement.  At 1330 hours, main RHQ, which had moved into the wood behind the leading sqns was shelled by British guns, and Lt F Pensford who was sitting in his Weasel was wounded and evacuated.  It was decided to move the Regt the 3/4 CLY axis as soon as it should be cleared, and to move up the higher ground to rejoin the Regtl axis at 239534.  The move had to be made after dark, and the Regt did not leaguer until 0130 hours, RHQ and "B" Sqn at 240535.  Meanwhile at 1930 hours "C" Sqn had been ordered to support a night attack on BOCHOLT by 2 Mons and 4 RWF.  At 2200 hours the Sqn crossed the start line.  2 troops supported the 2 Mons up the main road from 225578 the remaining troops supporting the 4 RWF up the track from 236576 through BEIENAN.  At 234590 one tank was knocked out on a mine and as the area proved to be heavily mined, the right hand troops were withdrawn and followed the 2 Mons up the main road.  The river in BOCHOLT was reached at 0430 hours next morning when "bazookas" were fired without effect from a house at 237601.  A2 Echelon crossed the RHINE today.  Lt K.T.W. Baker rejoined the Regt from U.K. leave.

 

28th March 1945

The Brigade Commander arrived at 0730 hours to see the C.O. and the C.O. 2 KRRC.  "B" Sqn and 1 Coy moved off at 0800 hours, but on reaching 270551 they met heavy MG fire from either side of the road.  The amount of fire returned by "B" Sqn cut this down, and the 2 KRRC Coy were able to get into the woods and clear them up.  Rather heavy shelling for the remainder of the day.

 

29th March 1945

"C" Sqn was still in BOCHOLT, at 0830 hours a German appeared from a house and fired a "bazooka" which missed, he was dealt with.  Maj M. Chassels left the Sqn for "B" Echelon, Capt J.D. Callender assumed command of the Sqn.  Repeated attempts were made to get "C" Sqn relieved but the infantry refused to let them go, no reason was given.  The C.O. left the Regt at 1800 hours Maj H.T. Brassey assumed command of the Regt, Maj Sir M.O. Williams Bart MC becomes 2 I/C, Capt E.R.W. Robinson MC assumed command "C" Sqn and Capt H Marshall joined "B" Sqn at 2 I/C.  "C" Sqn were relieved by one Sqn of 44 RTR at 1800 hours.  Maj H.T. Brassey left for a conference with the Bde Commander at 1900 hours, he did not return to RHQ until 2300 hours.  A Sqn leaders conference was held at 2330 hours on the forthcoming operation.  "A" Sqn were to be the leading Sqn.

 

30th March 1945

The Regt moved at 0500 hours reaching the outskirts of BOCHOLT at 0545 hours, owing to mines on the road the Regt was held up until they were cleared.  At 0700 hours the Regt moved on towards RHEDE 2860 this was occupied without opposition.  "A" Sqn pushed on up the centre line towards GT BURLO 3468.  The Recce were up in front doing good work.  A crater in the road was reported at 296629, it was far too wide for the scissors bridge therefore the Recce troop were sent to find a way round which they did.  "C" Sqn followed them back on the centre line where they pushed on, GT BURLO was reached.  The Bde Commander ordered that the Regt push on to ODING 3671 but the 8 Hussars on our right had already planned an attack on this place on a large scale, the 2 I/C 8 Hussars came over and saw Maj H.T. Brassey who in turn explained it to the Brigadier.  "A" Sqn were ordered to stay in GT BURLO, taking up positions there.  An L.O. Lt P Mackesy was sent to the 8 Hussars.  At 2100 hours the IO visited the 8 Hussars for information and their positions.  Owing to the boggy nature of the ground and rather stiff opposition they had only reached the outskirts, but were attacking again at 0615 hours tomorrow.

 

31st March 1945

Bde HQ passed over the air a message to the effect that the 7 Armd Div Commander had informed them that the 8 Hussars were not in the area of 349679 we were to send an L.O. to find out.  It was pointed out that we had already got an L.O. with them, but would send someone off to clear up the position.  At 0215 hours the IO Lt K.T.W. Baker arrived at HQ 8 Hussars to find that they were still there this was passed back to Bde.  At 0700 hours the Regt moved on as the 8 Hussars had cleaned up.  The leading Sqn "B" reached 352683 only to find tanks and vehicles coming down towards us.  These of course belonged to 7 Armd Div.  Maj Brassey and the C.O. 2 KRRC were called to see the Bde Commander who told them that it was impossible to carry on.  The Regt moved to 354685 maintenance and cleaning tanks was carried out.  Maj H.T. Brassey left at 2000 hours for a conference at Bde HQ.

 

 

Month and year : April 1945

Commanding Officer : Lt Col D.N. Stewart DSO MC

 

1st April 1945

The Regt moved to area A418739.  Maj H.T. Brassey and the RIO left for Bde at 1830 hours.  A Sqn Leaders conference was held at 2100 hours.

 

2nd April 1945

The clock was put forward one hour at 0200 hours this morning.  The proposed move was put off until 0730.  The route was from present location STADTLOHN 4377, VREDEN 3782, OTTENSTEIN 4386, EPE 5298, OCHTRUP 6201.  "B" Sqn reached the area at 1700 hours and met small arms fire.  A coy of 2 KRRC went forward and the firing ceased.  Lt B Kohn was out recceing side-tracks when his tank was blown up on a mine, his "Able" tank became bogged in a ditch, there were no casualties.  "B" Sqn remained in their present area, "C" Sqn at 633005, with RHQ, and "A" Sqn at 623002.

 

3rd April 1945

The Regt were ordered to move to area NEUENKIRCHEN 7504.  Maj H.T. Brassey went on ahead with "C" Sqn.  The Regt was now under command 52 (L) Div.  "C" Sqn took up positions in LETRINGDEN 7101.  RHQ, "B" Sqn and Recce were in NEUENKIRCHEN.  Lt Col D.N. Stewart MC assumed command of the Regt.  Maj Sir M.O. Williams Bart MC returned to "C" Sqn, Capt H.R.W. Robinson MC returned as 2 i/c "B" Sqn.  Capt H.S. Marshall to RHQ for duties as L.O.  The Bde Commander visited the C.O. at 1600 hours.  A Sqn Leaders conference was held at 2100 hours.

 

4th April 1945

"C" Sqn were to assist in clearing the woods and airfield North of RHEINE 7908, this was completed without much opposition, Maj Sir M.O. Williams Bart MC taking the first and second objectives in his Dingo.  "B" Sqn stood by to operate with the Glasgow Highlanders but were not required.

 

5th April 1945

At 0430 hours the C.O. and RIO went on ahead of the Regt to 156 Bde at RHEINE 7908.  It was expected that the bridge would be up by 0600 hours over the DORTMUND-EMS Canal, also that the Regt would pass over at 0800 hours, but there had been a holdup, and the situation was rather confused.  "A" Sqn moved down by the canal bank to give fire support to the Glasgow Highlanders as they crossed the bridge.  "B" Sqn moved down by the canal in preparation for the crossing.  RHQ and "C" Sqn remained in their present location.  The Bde Commander visited the C.O. many times throughout the day.  Orders were received that they were to cross at 0830 hours on the 6th.  The C.O. visited 156 Bde HQ at 1800 hours, and Sqn Leaders conference was held at 2115 hours.  At 2230 hours an L.O. arrived from Bde with information that the plans had once again been changed and that we were to cross the bridge earlier.  The C.O. went to 156 Bde HQ again as things were once more very confused.  Orders were received for the Regt to move at 0500 hours and cross the bridge at 0600 hours.

 

6th April 1945

The Regt crossed at the given time "B" Sqn with 156 Bde were ordered to take HOPSTEN 9020.  The village was strongly held by S.S. Viking Bn and Deutchland Bn plus SP guns and an anti-tank gun.  Enemy shelling was extremely heavy.  Sgt Collins of "B" Sqn who was then commanding a troop did valiant work in the lead and was at one time pinned behind a burning house with a German anti-tank gun covering his front and rear.  One tank of "B" Sqn was set on fire, it ran over two mines, and an anti-tank gun (75mm) put two shots through the engine.  There were however no casualties.  It was obvious from the shelling that the enemy were firing as fast as they could in order to get rid of their ammunition.  A mortar shell burst on the roof of a house wounded two men in Stuart tanks.  "B" Sqn were split up two troops on the left and two troops on the right of the town, they stayed in position all night.  The C.O. did not return to RHQ but remained with Bn HQ.  RHQ spent the night at a shattered farmhouse on the edge of the airfield.

 

7th April 1945

"A" Sqn moved at 1600 hours to a concentration area in preparation for the next attack on RECKE 9819.  "B" and "C" Sqns were not required to operate during the day but remained where they were.

 

8th April 1945

At 0115 hours this morning "A" Sqn plus one coy 6 Cams, 8 Crocodiles and REs attacked RECKE.  There was no opposition whatsoever but progress was slow owing to the closeness of the country.  Towards dawn the advance speeded up and by 0700 hours the village was taken.  "B" and "C" Sqns remained with RHQ.

 

9th April 1945

"A" Sqn were not operational, "C" Sqn attacked VOLTAGE 0126 at 1400 hours the objectives being two bridges over a stream 2,000 yards NE.  No opposition was encountered.

 

10th April 1945

"A" Sqn moved from their present location to NENKIRCHEN 0624 and 0415 hours and UFFELN 0927.  At 1400 hours having contacted the infantry they attacked ALFHAUSEN 1433 and met no opposition until they entered the town, where very heavy sniping took place.  The infantry had many casualties and "A" Sqn replied by setting the whole village on fire.  ALFHAUSEN was captured by 2300 hours.  "C" Sqn North of UFFELN were non operational.  "B" Sqn advanced unopposed to KERZEN 0631 and WESTERHOLT 0934, several tanks were bogged 11 p.o.w. were taken.

 

11th April 1945

Shortly after midnight 10/11th April "A" Sqn moved up the centre line towards BERSENBRUCH 1440.  No opposition was encountered and they had consolidated by 0600 hours.  "C" Sqn moved to HOLDORF 2643 at 2000 hours.  This was a column comprised of "C" Sqn, 1 coy of infantry in Kangaroos, and two troops of A/Tank SP guns which were sent to HOLDORF by a roundabout route, under Maj H.T. Brassey to contact 53 Div Recce and seize and hold HOLDORF.  They completed the journey of 20 miles over extremely bad tracks and in the dark by 0230 hours.

 

12th April 1945

52 Div started along night march, and the Regt was ordered to go with them.  In the middle of the march orders were received for the Regt to rejoin the 4 Armd Bde South of RETHEM.  The journey of 70 miles mostly in the dark was completed by 0800 hours.

 

13th April 1945

The remainder of the day was spent in maintenance and rest.

 

14th April 1945

The Regt moved to RETHEM 1167 at 0600 hours and crossed the ALLER river at 1900 hours.  A Regtl group comprising Greys and 6 RWF in Kangaroos was formed.  Order of March made up which allowed splitting down to Sqn and Coy groups.  By dusk the Regtl group had passed through the 44 RTR group which had been held up all day on the outskirts of the wood 1567 owing to craters in the road and over the stream etc.  There was only one track possible straight through the wood where Panzerfaust and Spandau were in abundance.  At dark "C" Sqn group leading in line ahead advanced, each tank and Kangaroo firing SA directly passed the side of the tank in front, this had the effect of setting the woods on fire and opposition quickly melted.  The remainder of the night was spent advancing in this manner, each Sqn group seizing cross tracks etc., and the remainder passing through in succession.

 

15th April 1945

By dawn the Regt had reached high ground at 1670 and 150 tracked vehicles got into a slight depression on a large area of arable land.  Owing to very bad going in the woods the previous night groups became split up.  After quick reorganisation "A" Sqn put in an attack on KIRCHBOITZEN with 2 coys of infantry in Kangaroos who drove up close to the village before dismounting.  The village was strongly held by SS and Marine Reserve Bn.  "C" Sqn supported this attack from the left flank, and "B" Sqn split in two covered both near flanks as the country was open and unrecced.  The infantry which should have been with 1st troop were not to be found and Capt A D Lewis MC decided to go in with 1st troop without the infantry.  On reaching the centre of the town a salvo of 6 Panzerfaust was directed at Lt D Andrews, all of which missed.  The Bde Commander arrived half way through the attack which was successfully completed by 0900 hours.  The Regt was relieved by 3 RTR and after a meal and replenishment moved again NW towards VETHEM 1674.  The Stuarts and RIO were out ahead and were engaged by 4 x 105mm guns, these were spotted by the C.O. very close to a wood.  "B" Sqn were sent around the right flank through the wood and the 4 guns were knocked out at point blank range.  "A" Sqn formed up to attack from the South, "B" and "C" Sqns in support from the East.  "A" Sqn were held up by a stream, and "B" Sqn were sent in from the East.  The going was very sticky indeed.  The enemy resisted stubbornly and the infantry suffered many casualties.  "C" Sqn the Stuarts, two coys infantry in Kangaroos the C.O. and the RIO prepared to move North to take IDSINGEN 1780.  This force was deployed in open formation and across country, the village was taken without meeting opposition.  Coy and troop positions on cross roads on the outskirts of the village.  "A" and "B" Sqns meanwhile were still having trouble with VETHAM, "A" Sqn Leader decided to pull everybody back and flatten the village.  This was done with concentrated 75mm and 17 pdr HE and AP gunfire.  VETHAM was taken by 2300 hours, during this action Lt J Briggs was killed by a sniper.

 

16th April 1945

At 0100 hours this morning enemy infantry and horse transport tried to enter IDSINGEN from the west in retreating to what they considered safety.  At first light 20 dead German Marines several horses, and 3 x 105mm guns were found on the road, Sgt Wentzell's troop were responsible for this.  "C" Sqn moved on, at 0800 hours a bridge was found to be blown, the Churchill bridgelayer was called forward and a bridge was laid under heavy sniping and MG fire.  The Stuarts whilst out recceing the stream for another bridge received a few casualties, 4 tanks got across the bridge, the approaches were exceedingly boggy, and a log road was made, this enabled the Regt to cross without mishap.  Sniping was still very persistent so the undergrowth was set on fire by tracer which removed the opposition.  The advance continued towards BENDINGBOSTEL 1285, "C" Sqn reached the outskirts with only odd sniping, an 88mm flak gun was reported by a  Belgian Officer p.o.w. to be just S of BENDINGBOSTEL in a wood.  Two coys of infantry attacked the woods and the flak gun fired three rounds of HE, it was immediately engaged by all "C" Sqn tanks firing HE.  Needless to say it was knocked out.  BENDINGBOSTEL was taken by 1930 hours.  "C" Sqn were allotted billets for the night, at 0200 hours they burst into flames and had to be evacuated.  The 44 RTR passed through the Regt at 2145 hours.

 

17th April 1945

The Regt with "C" Sqn leading passed through the 44 RTR, swanned across country around KIRCHLINTEL 0864 and SCHARNHORST 0385 towards the high ground North of VERDEN 0000.  The Stuarts under Capt Hanbury did very good work out ahead.  The C.O. and the RIO spent most of the time with the Stuarts.  The high ground was reached at 0830 hours.  The 1st and 3rd troops of "C" Sqn attacked the woods which held dug in infantry.  Many prisoners were taken.  "C" Sqn destroyed 4 x 105mm guns, 3 large half-tracks and captured a dump of Panzerfausts.  The Regt concentrated that night North of the railway at DELLSON.

 

18th April 1945

"A" Sqn moved into VERDEN and contacted the infantry then moved to DAVELSEN 0085, which was found not to be clear as reported, but the Oxf and Bucks were in the process of clearing it up, so first troop "A" Sqn assisted them, this took only 20 minutes.  "A" Sqn moved on towards LANGWEDEL 9787.  Sgt Curran of 1st troop knocked out 2 x 20mm guns, on approaching LANGWEDEL the Sqn met heavy shell fire, but no other enemy opposition until they reached the road block in the centre of LANGWEDEL.  A party of 30 Germans cut the road between the 1st troop and the remainder of the Sqn, they were eventually driven off.  The road block was dispersed by very accurate gun fire.  Firstly each cross section was hit by HE, secondly the earth and rubble was blown with HE and thirdly each leg on the opposite side of the block was knocked down by AP.  It was then possible for the troop to carry on.  The village was taken by 1700 hours.  The remainder of the Regt was in area 0184.

 

19th April 1945

"C" Sqn attacked towards ETELSEN 9289 from LANGWEDEL.  The 1st and 4th troops were held up by sniping and an SP gun.  The sniper and gun were disposed of, 2nd and 3rd troops captured ETELSEN taking 130 prisoners at 1900 hours.  Whilst in position outside the town Cpl Greenhalgh's tank received 11 direct hits from 88mm HE, which blew off the tracks, 20 minutes later it was set on fire by the 4th shot of AP.

 

20th April 1945

"A" Sqn moved up to support the Glasgow Highlanders, "B" Sqn also supported them, no opposition was encountered until the leading tank of 2nd troop crossed the road and railway junction where it was hit and set on fire.  This junction was covered by a heavy concentration of AP, also shelling from this time onwards was extremely heavy, there were many 88mm flak guns about, 2 x 88mm guns were knocked out by 2nd 3rd troops.  Lt D Andrews spotted a gun flash and engaged the area.  He was promptly hit 5 times by a 88mm gun.  A heavy smoke screen was laid down and the remaining tanks of 2nd troop pushed on up the road to 923900.  The infantry were already supposed to be at this point, but when our tanks arrived they were nowhere to be seen, they eventually arrived much later.  The 2nd troop plus Capt A.D. Lewis MC stayed in this position all night.  "C" Sqn were still sitting in ETELSEN and had one man killed and 3 wounded by shell fire.

 

21st April 1945

2 troops "C" Sqn moved on to capture BADEN 9090 and met heavy shelling and sniping with a few AP shots from an SP gun which was soon moved away.  Over 150 p.o.w. were taken.  "A" and "B" Sqns were resting.

 

22nd April 1945

The Regt was resting today.  A Church Service was held at 1000 hours.  The remainder of the day was spent in maintenance and cleaning up tanks.

 

23rd April 1945

"C" Sqn were resting, "B" Sqn moved 2 troops in support of infantry attacking AACHIM 8791 the roads were heavily mined.  Air bombing preceded the attack.  2 crocodiles were blown up by aerial bombs placed under road surface and detonated by electronic contact wires leading to small dugouts, where a man waited until his victim was over the top of the bomb, and then he pushed down the plunger.  There was the usual shelling and sniping, and the village was taken by 0430 hours.

 

24th April 1945

"C" Sqn attacked and captured the suburb of EMELINGEN 7796 pushing on into the centre of BREMEN, opposition was slight, it had been heavy during the approach on BREMEN, but now it was very light.  Lt Lord Althorp and Cpl Houghton's tanks were knocked out by panzerfausts, casualties 2 killed 2 wounded.  50 p.o.w. were taken and many enemy were killed.  "B" Sqn cleared up a small area in BREMEN.  Sgt Edgar had his tank set on fire by a civilian who fired a panzerfaust.  The 44 RTR passed through the Regt at 1300 hours and the Regt took up non operational residence in BREMEN.

 

25th April 1945

The day was spent in maintenance and cleaning of tanks.  The C.O. visited the Bde Commander and Sqn Leaders conference was held at 1400 hours.

 

26th April 1945

Maintenance and cleaning of tanks.  The C.O. visited the Bde Commander.  A Sqn Leaders conference was held at 2100 hours.

 

27th April 1945

The Regt moved to join up with the 2 KRRC at W 9197 arriving at 1030 hours.  The C.O. went to the Bde Commander's conference and was told that the proposed task was off.

 

28th April 1945

The Regt moved off at 1700 hours to 0694 where it remained for the night.  The C.O. left for Bde conference at 1800 hours.  25 miles was covered without a tank breaking down.

 

29th April 1945

The Regt moved at 0900 hours to PUTTENSEN 6414 a distance of 70 miles with no breakdowns.  The C.O. visited the 6 Airborne Div Commander.  The remainder of the day was spent on maintenance and cleaning tanks and vehicles.

 

30th April 1945

General maintenance and cleaning of tanks and vehicles continued.  The C.O. spent the day at 6 Airborne Div.  "C" Sqn moved forward of the Regt, they were to be under command 4 Gren Armd Bn.  Maps for the forthcoming operation were exceedingly difficult to obtain, 6 Airborne Div could not make the Regt an allotment, our own 4 Armd Bde IO visited Corps and after much argument produced the maps.  "C" Sqn arrived over the bridge in BOIZENBURG 9935.  They were straffed en route.

 

 

Month and year : May 1945

Commanding Officer : Lt Col D.N. Stewart DSO MC

 

1st May 1945

The position was now that the Regt was supporting the 6 Airborne Div on an advance North.  6 Airborne Div and "C" Sqn having already got over the River ELBE, the bridge was then allotted to 11 Armd Div, and no more Regtl vehicles were allowed over.  The C.O. and RIO therefore in their Stuart tank plus 8 tanks of the Recce troop and the C.O's Scout car left their present location at 0645 hours in the hope that by splitting down to pairs of vehicles in the later stages of the journey they would get across the river intermingled with 11 Armd Div without the Provost spotting that they were of the wrong formation.  The party moved up towards the river having chipped into the 11 Armd Div column which was nose to tail for some 7 or 8 miles.  The party stopped at ADENDORF for breakfast pulling well off the road on to the local race course.  Although the last tank signalled the vehicle behind to carry on up the road, it followed us and consequently there was a long line of traffic behind us on the course.  These were eventually persuaded to return to the road.  The plan worked extremely well and no questions were asked as to why we were mixed up with the 11 Armd Div.  Lt A.P.T. Johnson was still acting as L.O. with 11 Armd Div.  The party spent the night at BOIZENBURG 994350.  RHQ, "A" Sqn, "B" Sqn and A1 Echelon had moved up to Scharnbeck 8525 but were still 10 to 15 miles away, and the use of the bridge was steadily and consistently refused to them.  No timing for crossing the bridge was promised earlier than 1300 hours on the 3rd.  During the night the 6th Airborne Div received an allotment for the use of the American bridge for 0700 hours the following morning.  As by then we were out of touch with the remainder of the Regt Capt J.R. Hanbury was sent back in a Weasel to give the necessary orders.  He left at midnight (1 May) against very heavy traffic.  As the bridges were all "one-way" forward, he had to swim the river in the Weasel and reached the Regt at 0300 hours.  He then set out on the return journey and caught up with his Recce troop 2nd May at 1100 hours who were by this time advancing at full speed rather ahead of schedule in a Northerly direction.

 

2nd May 1945

A1 Echelon who after much haggling had been allowed the use of the bridge arrived at 0200 hours this morning.  The RIO's Stuart tank developed engine trouble therefore he took the place of Lt A.P.T. Johnson as LO to Div, while the C.O. continued in his Scout car.  "C" Sqn and Recce troop moved off at 0430 hours.  The 1 Cdn Para Regt, of 3 Para Bde, 6 Airborne Div were mounted on the tanks at 0530 hours.  "C" Sqn with Recce troop and the C.O. in his Dingo out in front moved up the centre line.  It was hoped that WITTENBURG would be taken by the end of the day.  WITTENBURG was reached by 1030 hours, no opposition being encountered.  They therefore pushed on to LUTZOW.  On arrival here, "C" Sqn took up positions, 4th troop on the right, 2nd troop on the left, of the road.  The Stuart tanks refuelled and the Shermans topped up with oil.  Sgt Stewart (2nd troop), spotted transport moving away, he engaged it with 20 rounds H.E., and 3 or 4 vehicles were set on fire.  The advance was continued towards GADESBUSCH.  On the outskirts of the town the tanks overran enemy troops, the surprise was complete.  No fire was encountered, they were demoralised and surrendered without trouble.  The number of p.o.w. ran into thousands, this included many of the women's services.  There were no defence in or around the town, in fact the enemy although not expecting us were relieved when we arrived.  From now onwards for the rest of the day p.o.w. continued to stream one way while we streamed the other.  In many cases the Germans were in their own MT and in one case a Mk III was observed in the p.o.w. column.  Our spearhead moved on towards WISMAR, the road was packed with enemy troops and MT streaming back South, while on the other side of the road the Regt pushed on.  The order of march at this stage was Recce troop, C.O. in his Dingo, 3 Para Bde Commander on the pillion of D.R's motor cycle, 4th troop (Lt G. Edmiston MC), "C" Sqn Leader, and the remainder of "C" Sqn followed quite some distance behind, owing to the excessive speed of the advance, by the remainder of the Regt.  At BOBITZ Sgt Randall reported that he could not proceed because a train was crossing the road at road and railway junction.  He was ordered not to shoot at this train which was loaded with new SP guns because it would prevent the Regt proceeding along the centre line.  The 11 Armd Div on our left were advancing towards LUBECK.  They were informed of this train and the nature of its load, and appropriate action was taken by them.  As soon as the traffic was clear, the Stuart tanks moved on.  The C.O. noticed another train moving out of the station loaded up with M.E.109's and immediately parked his Dingo on the railway line to stop it.  The Dingo was in gear ready for a quick move, the train stopped, and the advance continued.  The Stuart tanks and the C.O. entered WISMAR followed by "C" Sqn who by this time were half an hour behind Recce troop passing through the road blocks which had not been closed.  These were of the steel girder type worked by a pulley similar to the road and railway level crossing gates.  Lt A.P.T. Johnson travelling some distance behind Recce troop found that the road block at the main entrance had been closed behind Recce troop, several German soldiers and civilians immediately opened it for him and he moved on into the town.  At this time orders were received over the air that we were not to enter the town until the infantry arrived.  This order however was received too late as the whole of Recce troop were already through and out on the NE outskirts of the town.  Shortly afterwards 4th troop "C" Sqn and two bns of infantry arrived at the double to back them up.  The town was seething with armed German soldiers.  The C.O. noticed a number of German aircraft flying low it was found that an aerodrome lay North of the town, although it was not marked on the map.  The C.O. and two sections of Recce troop followed by 4th "C" Sqn set off in search of the aerodrome, this was found and entered.  A certain amount of firing was found necessary here.  A hand grenade was thrown at the C.O. but caused no damage.  The C.O. shot the offender.  A German vehicle loaded with Luftwaffe personnel was seen leaving the aerodrome, the C.O. put a burst of MG fire through the window, the vehicle stopped and the occupants dismounted.  A German Officer formed them up in 3 ranks and they were marched off under escort.  At approximately 2100 hours 2 White Scout cars and 2 motor cycle combinations drove into the town manned by Russian troops, 7 men and one woman to each car, the next 30 minutes were spent in handshaking etc.  A considerable amount of Vodka was consumed, the party then returned the way they had come.

 

3rd May 1945

The Regt arrived at SCHULENBROOK 4390, 5 miles South West of WISMAR.  "C" Sqn were still in WISMAR.  The day was spent in maintenance and cleaning tanks.

 

4th May 1945

The C.O. and RIO visited "C" Sqn in WISMAR, also Div HQ.  Cleaning and maintenance of tanks was continued.

 

5th May 1945

"C" Sqn moved from WISMAR to MELELSDORF 437905.  The C.O. visited Div and Bde HQ and orders were received from Div that the Regt was responsible for maintaining law and order within the Regtl area and keeping refugees off the road.  A Sqn leaders conference was held on the best method of carrying out the task.  An LO arrived from 4 Armd Bde to find out the future plans of the Regt.

 

6th May 1945

Reveille was at 0645 hours.  Baths were provided in WISMAR for the men.  The C.O. and RIO left at 1400 hours for LUTZOW 2767 to inspect a Royal Tiger ARV with a view of using it in the Regt.  It was found to be in good condition though the clutch needed adjusting.  Arrangements were made for the LAD to bring it back to RHQ.

 

7th May 1945

Maintenance of tanks and vehicles.  Baths and cinema for ORs.  The C.O. visited Div, and dined "A" Sqn in the evening.

 

8th May 1945

Today being VE day, reveille was at 0700 hours, there were no parades, a voluntary Church Parade was held at 1100 hours.  The C.O. visited 3 Para Bde at 1200 hours with Maj Sir M.O. Williams Bart MC, and in the evening the C.O. dined at "B" Sqn.

 

9th May 1945

Reveille was at 0700 hours, there were no parades.  A Sqn Leaders conference was held at 1100 hours to discuss the Victory Parade through WISMAR in conjunction with the 3 Para Bde.  Baths and cinema parties as usual.  G1, 6 Airborne Div dined at RHQ this evening.

 

10th May 1945

Maintenance and cleaning of tanks in preparation of Victory Parade.  All tanks were camouflaged.  A lecture on voting was held by the Padre at 1500 hours.

 

11th May 1945

The Regt moved to a concentration area South of WISMAR at 0730 hours.  Order of march for the Parade RHQ, 1 Stuart tank C.O. and RIO, 3 Dingos, "A" Sqn, "B" Sqn, "C" Sqn.  The Regt moved to the start point at 1010 hours and then moved on to the route at 1035 hours.  Tanks proceeded in half sections, the saluting base was passed at 1100 hours.  The C.O's tank left the column and halted behind the saluting base also the first 6 tanks of "A" Sqn (Sqn Leader, 2 i/c and 4 Fireflies).  The salute was taken by the 6 Airborne Div Commander Maj Gen Bols.  The C.O. was congratulated on the turn-out and bearing of the Regt.  A party of Officers and ORs attended a party given by 3 Para Bde.

 

12th May 1945

A party consisting of Capt E.R.W. Robinson MC, Lt E.C. Parkin, Lt K.T.W. Baker, Sjt. Jarvis, Tp Milliken and escort left for FGCM in Hamburg.  A bathing party went to the Baltic.  The 3 Para Bde Commander visited the C.O. at 1900 hours.

 

13th May 1945

A voluntary Church Service was held at 1000 hours.  A bathing party went to WISMAR.  Cleaning of the area during the morning.

 

14th May 1945

The C.O. flew to 4th Armd Bde HQ, WEDEL 10 miles North West of HAMBURG and returned at 1630 hours.

 

15th May 1945

Capt E.R.W. Robinson MC, Lt K.T.W. Baker, Sgt Jarvis, Tpr Milliken and escort returned from FGCM at HAMBURG and also brought back 6 men from FDS.

 

16th May 1945

H.Q. Sqn moved to BEIDENDORF, 408876, sqns remained in their present locations.

 

17th May 1945

"Eclipse" an operation for the occupation of Germany was put into force in the Regtl area today, in entailed cleaning and clearing of Sqns allotted areas searching of woods etc., for enemy arms, equipment etc.  Lt K.T.W. Baker assumed duties of "Eclipse" and Release Officer.  The C.O. held a Sqn Leaders conference at 1800 hours.  P.O.Ws were drawn from the camp at GADEBUSCH to assist in carrying out "Eclipse".

 

18th May 1945

6 Airborne Div left for home and 5 (Br) Div moved into the area, the Regt coming under their command.  Work on Sqn areas progressing extremely well.  Each Sqn has acquired several horses which will be used for mounted patrols.  Riding School under Capt J.R. Hanbury for the junior Officers started at 0630 hours to 0730 hours this morning.  Lt P.G. Hackesy ended up in the local pond.

 

19th May 1945

Cleaning and maintenance of tanks and vehicles.  All enemy arms in the Regtl area had been collected.  Bath parades as usual.  Maj Gen Hull DSO 5 (Br) Div visited the Regt this morning.

 

20th May 1945

Voluntary Church Parade was held at 1130 hours in the local Church.  2/Lt J. Webster MM was seriously injured in a car accident in "B" Sqn area.

 

21st May 1945

The C.O. inspected the tanks, vehicles and billets of RHQ and "A" Sqn at 0900 hours.  2/Lt J. Webster MM died as a result of injuries received in the car accident yesterday.

 

22nd May 1945

The C.O. inspected tanks, vehicles and billets of "C" Sqn.  General cleaning and clearing of the Regtl area continued.

 

23rd May 1945

The 2 i/c inspected tanks, vehicles and billets of "B" Sqn.  General searching and cleaning of areas continued.  Equitation under Capt J. Hanbury was continued.

 

24th May 1945

The 4 Armd Bde Commander accompanied by his Staff Capt arrived at 1215 hours and dined at RHQ.  General searching of areas continued.

 

25th May 1945

The C.O. flew to ROTENBURG S0805 for a conference at 79 Armd Div and returned in the evening to 4 Armd Bde.  Searching of area continued.  Regtl concert party held a rehearsal in "B" Echelon area.  Suspected member of S.S. was arrested in "C" Sqn area, and handed over to the Military Gov.  A 24 hours guard was mounted at 425899 on a train consisting of 50 waggons containing V Weapons, to be supplied in turn by Sqns, "A" Sqn commencing today.

 

26th May 1945

The C.O. returned from WEDEL.  The 4 Armd Bde Commander arrived at 1215 hours to spend the weekend with the Regt.  During the evening he attended a concert given by members of the Regt in "B" Echelon area, after which he addressed the audience.

 

27th May 1945

A Regtl Church Parade taken by 4 Armd Bde Commander, was held at 1100 hours.  The Service which followed was the War Memorial Service and was held at BEIDENDORF Church.  At 1400 hours the Bde Commander left the Regt for 4 Armd Bde HQ.

 

28th May 1945

A Sqn Leader's conference was held at 1900 hours.  A parade was held at 1645 hours at which all ranks were informed of the future role of the Regt in so far as was known.  An advance party was to proceed at 0730 hours in ROTENBURG 0805, where it was anticipated the Regt would remain for from 4 to 6 months.  A party of ORs attended the cinema in WISMAR at 1930 hours.

 

29th May 1945

At 0730 hours all the Sherman tanks left for WEDEL, HAMBURG under the command of Maj H.J.D. Gunn MC where they were handed over to 471 FDS.  The C.O. flew to 4 Armd Bde HQ.  The advance party left for ROTENBURG.

 

30th May 1945

The C.O. and 19 Officers were invited to the 4 Armd Bde to a cocktail party.

 

31st May 1945

The C.O. and Officers party arrived back at the Regt.  Regtl policing of the area continued.

 

 

Appendix

4 ARMD BDE OO No. 24

 

Ref maps: 1:25,000 Sheets 4204, 4205, 4304, 4305

21 Mar 45

 

INFM

1.  Enemy

Latest enemy infm will be issued separately.

 

Own tps

2.  Second Army Op PLUNDER

        (a) 12 Corps with under comd 7 Armd Div, 15 (S) Div, 53 (W) Div, 52 (L) Div, 4 Armd Bde and 1 Cdo Bde are to force a crossing over R RHINE and, in conjunction with XVIII US Airborne Corps, to secure a brhead from which further ops can develop to the EAST.

        (b) 30 Corps (Op TURNSCREW) with 51 (H) Div (STAFFS YEO under comd) are to force a crossing between incl OBERMORMTER 0748 - excl EMMERICH E.9761 and capture REES 0853.

        (c) 1 Cdo Bde (Op WIDGEON) is to - (i) Cross RHINE in area GRAV INSEL 1841.  (ii) Seize WESEL and, if possible intact, brs over R LIPPE to SOUTH of it.  (iii) Hold Eastern and Southern exits of WESEL.  (iv) Be prepared to come under comd 17 US Airborne Div when ordered.

 

3.  XVIII US Airborne Corps Op VARSITY

18 US Airborne Corps, consisting of 6 Br Airborne Div and 17 US Airborne Div, are to drop with tasks as under.

        (a) 6 Br Airborne Div

                3 Para Bde Gp will - (i) Clear and hold the area rd junc 154478 - rd junc 168473 - rd junc 168462 - feature 157461 - rd junc 158465 - br 154470.  (ii) Patrol out to and be prepared to hold area rd and rly crossing 185476 - rd and rly crossing 189474 - rd and track junc 182467 - X rds 179473.

                5 Para Bde will - (iii) Clear and hold the area rd junc 197449 - rd junc 197496 - rd junc 201492 - buildings at 187493 - rd junc 187497.  (iv) Patrol out to and be prepared to hold area rd junc 169493 - buildings 177488 - rd and rly crossing 174486 - buildings 170486 - rd junc 167490.

                6 Air Ldg Bde Gp will Seize and hold the following areas in order of priority - (v) brs over R ISSEL at rly br 216500 - rd br 217497 - rd br 223485.  (vi) clear area required for Airborne Div HQ vicinity 189479.  (vii) rd junc 212495 - rd and rly crossing 217486.  (viii) HAMMINKELN 2048.

                Dropping zones nearest to us (ix) 165480 - 156476 - 152490 - 156494.  (x) 151514 - 150508 - 159509.

        (b) 17 US Airborne Div

                Are dropping in areas as under - (i) 230452 - 222440 - 250434 - 260446.  (ii) 225463 - 205460 - 205451 - 217453.  (iii) 220475 - 215464 - 200460 - 199470.  (iv) 202430 - 191420 - 180430 - 195434.  Their task is to seize and hold areas 2443 and 1844.

 

4.  15 (S) Div Op TORCHLIGHT

15 (S) Div with 4 Armd Bde under comd are to -

        (a) Force the passage of R RHINE between incl BISLICH 1342 and VYNEN 0845 and capture the area CLASEN HO 1451 - MEHRHOO 1549 - SCHUTTWICK 1544 - LOH 1542 - BISLICH - MEHR 1348 - HAFFEN 1149 preparatory to securing the area WISSMANN 1855 - br 203530 and relieving 6 Br Airborne Div in area HAMMINKELN and brs over R ISSEL there.

        (b) 15 (S) Div is to assault with two Bdes up - (i) RIGHT Codeword POKER.  44 (L) Inf Bde sp by 11 R Tks are to capture and hold area SCHUTTWICK - LOH - BISLICH.  (ii) LEFT Codeword NAP.  227 (H) Inf Bde with in sp E RIDING YEO area to capture and hold area HAFFEN - MEHR.  (iii) The clearance of the area between 44 (L) and 227 (H) Inf Bde is to be carried out by them, dividing line being incl 44 (L) Inf Bde rd from rd junc 1546 - rd and track junc 142464 - track to rd junc 136453 - X tracks 130453 - thence track to river at 125453.  (iv) Res Codeword WHIST.  46 (H) Inf Bde with in sp 44 R Tks are to capture and hold the area CLASENHO - MEHRHOO.  They are to firmly est themselves on the high ground 1452 - 1351 and are to ensure clearance of woods 1252 - 1352 overlooking HALDERN 1153.  They are to cross one bn through 44 (L) Inf Bde LVT and SB ferries to assemble with 44 R Tks in area NORTH of VISSEL 1345.  The remaining bns are to cross through 227 (H) Inf Bde and assemble in area OVERKAMP 1247 and SANDENHOF 1047.  The initial adv is to be carried out by a bn on 44 R Tks; but should blown brs or going preclude use of tks, the bde is to carry out a normal adv through posns held by 227 (H) Inf Bde.  (v) A mob striking force under comd 4 Armd Bde, consisting of - GREYS (carrying 2 KRRC), 4 RHA, 129 Bty 86 A Tk Regt, One Inf Bn in Kangaroos, 82 Assault Sqn RE is to cross with high priority on Cl 50/60 Rafts and should be available for ops on the far bank by 1700 hrs D+1.  It will initially be used to seize area WISSMANN - br 203530.

        (c) Subsequent developments  (i) 44 (L) Inf Bde  Once Airborne tps arrive firm on their objectives and have cleared Westward up to Div bdy, 44 (L) Inf Bde are to come into Div res and be available for seizing WISSMANN and br 203530.  This will be carried out in conjunction with the mob striking force of 4 Armd Bde.  It is NOT likely that this can take place before 1700 hrs D+1.  Should opposition be very light, 44 (L) Inf Bde may be ordered to seize this objective under mov light Night D/D+1 without assistance of Armd Bde.  (ii) 227 (H) Bde  Will later relieve 6 Brit Airborne Div.  (iii) 46 (H) Bde and 4 Armd Bde  Will come into res.

 

5.  Bank control

5 R BERKS.

 

6.  79 Armd Div

31 Armd Bde in sp 12 Corps -

        (a) LVsT (Buffaloes), 44 Bde - 11 R Tks, 227 Bde - E RIDING YEO.

        (b) Flails - W DGNS.

        (c) Crocodiles - 7 R Tks

        (d) Kangaroos - 49 APC Regt less one sqn.

 

7.  Additional tps under comd

129 Bty 86 A Tk Regt (SP 17-pr), 82 Assault Sqn RE.

 

8.  Bdys

See Appx 'A'.

 

INTENTION

9.  4 Armd Bde will -

        (a) Pass 44 R Tks over the river at first light D day with the primary task of supporting 46 Bde in the capture of their objective, but prepared also to sp 44 or 227 Bdes if ordered.

        (b) Form a mob striking force to operate from the brhead with the probable task of seizing and holding WISSMANN 1855 - br 204530.

        (c) Be prepared to sp 6 Br Airborne Div if ordered.

        (d) Be prepared to come under comd 53 (W) Div when they pass through 15 (S) Div.

 

METHOD

10.  44 R Tks will

        (a) Leave assembly area, unless otherwise ordered, at 0400 hrs D day.

        (b) Cross R RHINE between 132422 and 126437 starting at 0600 hrs D day, or earlier if it is light enough.

        (c) Re-assemble in area 135441 with 7 SEAFORTH and sp 46 Bde in carrying out their tasks.

        (d) Be prepared to sp 44 or 227 Bdes EAST of the river, if ordered.

        (e) Be prepared to sp 6 Br Airborne Div, if ordered.

 

11.  GREYS will

        (a) Carry 2 KRRC on their tks, crossing as soon as ordered by Cl 50/60 rafts.

        (b) Assemble with 2 KRRC in area 1345.

        (c) When regt and 2 KRRC are complete on EAST bank, be prepared to pass through 46 Bde and seize a br over R ISSEL between br 204530 and WISSMANN 1855.  While 2 KRRC are mounted and until they dismount for an attack involving more than one coy, 2 KRRC will be under comd GREYS.

        (d) Be prepared, if ordered, to sp any bde of 15 (S) Div or XVIII US Airborne Corps.

 

12.  3/4 C L Y will be in bde res, crossing by 50/60 raft when ordered, prepared to sp any bde of 15 (S) Div or XVIII US Airborne Corps.

 

13.  4 R H A will

        (a) be under comd CRA 15 (S) Div, in sp 4 Armd Bde.

        (b) cross by 50/60 raft as soon as it opens, on orders from CRA 15 (S) Div.

        (c) Maintain BC and OPs with 44 R Tks and GREYS, keeping 3/4 CLY BC and OPs in res on EAST bank until 3/4 CLY cross.

 

14.  129 Bty 86 A Tk Regt will

        (a) cross by 50/60 raft when ordered.

        (b) be prepared to operate under comd of either 44 R Tks or 2 KRRC.

        (c) Be prepared if ordered to come under comd of any bde of 15 (S) Div.

 

15.  82 Assault Sqn RE

        (a) will provide one recce offr with 44 R Tks, to cross by LVT ferry.

        (b) be prepared to send whole or part of sqn, carrying fascines, over 50/60 raft when ordered.

 

16.  Movement - for routes, areas etc. see Trace P att.

        (a) 44 R Tks  (i) Tks will move by DD route leaving assembly area 0400 hrs D day, unless otherwise ordered.  (ii) ARVs will move to Armd Waiting Area, when ordered, by following route: DD route X rds 120409 - X rds 113416 - rd junc 114428 - rd junc 117436.  (iii) Vehs for Cl 9 raft or LVT ferry when ordered same route as ARVs to rd junc 113420 - veh Waiting Area 117426.

        (b) 4 R H A  (i) Guns and tks direct from gun area to Armd Waiting Area when ordered by CRA 15 (S) Div.  (ii) Vehs for Cl 9 raft or LVT ferry direct from gun area to VWA 098445 when ordered by CRA 15 (S) Div.

        (c) All other units  (i) Tks, SP A Tk guns, AVsRE by tank track to Armd Waiting Area, when ordered by Bde HQ.  SP rd junc 005404.  (ii) Other Vehs will be called for in serials from present conc areas by Bde HQ to one or other of the Assault Inf Bde marshalling areas: from there they will be ordered fwd by offrs of 15 (S) Div under orders of Bank Control by veh tracks to their respective VWAs.

        (d) Calling fwd from Waiting Areas  Reps of Bank Control will order vehs fwd from veh waiting area to LVT loading area (for LVT ferry) or to Cl 9 raft and from Armd waiting area to Cl 50/60 rafts.  On NO account will any veh go fwd of VWA before ordered.

        (e) Assembly on far bank  Units will be responsible for collecting their own vehs from the far bank by whatever means they can.  They must clear the bank as soon as possible.

        (f) Weasels  M 29C Weasels will cross by themselves, travelling up LVT tracks to bank, at whatever time units wish.  Non-swimming Weasels will travel by MVT ferry.

        (g) Priorities  Mov table giving serials and priorities will be issued separately.  General priority unless altered -

                44 R Tks

                4 RHA

                Tac Bde

                GREYS / 2 KRRC

                3/4 CLY          )

                129 A Tk Bty   ) Depending on ops.

                82 Aslt Sqn RE )

 

17.  Sherdozers and Brlayers

        (a) One Sherdozer will join 44 R Tks in assembly area for work between there and WEST bank.  When 44 R Tks have crossed, this tk will rejoin Tac Bde.

        (b) One Sherdozer and one Brlayer will cross by 50/60 raft on highest priority with 44 R Tks ARVs and come under comd 44 R Tks.

        (c) 2 Sherdozers and 2 Brlayers will cross with Tac Bde and be available for either 44 R Tks or GREYS.

 

18.  Arty

        (a) All calls for arty sp will be made through 4 RHA.  A very large number of guns are in sp of 15 (S) Div and every use will be made of sp of guns sited WEST of river, if they can reach targets, in order to preserve amn of 4 RHA for targets which only they can reach.

        (b) Shell flares will be available for help in navigation at night.

 

19.  RE  82 Sqn AVRE will initially carry 100% fascines.  Owing to vast number of RE tasks involved in crossing, units will have to rely almost entirely on own resources for mine clearance.

 

20.  AA  NO aircraft will be fired at by units of Bde.  100 AA Bde are responsible for AA def of brs.

 

21.  Mov lt  Will be continuous once assault has begun.

 

22.  Smoke  Units will ensure that smoke is not in such a way as to risk any interference with raft crossings or with air ldgs by XVIII US Airborne Corps.

 

23.  Air sp

        (a) One ASSU tk for control of close sp aircraft only will cross river with 44 R Tks who will be responsible for ensuring that it joins the bde of 15 (S) Div to which it is allotted.

        (b) All calls for air sp will be made by R/T to Bde HQ.  Tentacle will be with Main Bde HQ.

 

24.  Junc pts

        (a) With 17 US Airborne Div on RIGHT  44 (L) Bde at rd junc 175437 and track junc 155453.

        (b) With 6 Br Airborne Div on RIGHT  46 (H) Bde at corner of wood 155477.

        (c) With 51 (H) Div on LEFT  (i) 227 (H) Bde at X rds 104513.  (ii) 46 (H) Bde at rly 123529.

 

25.  Recognition sigs for comn with Airborne Tps

        (a) By waving YELLOW celanese triangles.  These will be carried by all ranks of Bde Gps who cross on D day and will be used on D day ONLY.

        (b) By use of prearranged passwords.  Passwords for period D-1 to D+3 as under:

From 1200 - 1200 hrs

D-1 to D day

D day to D+1

D+1 to D+2

D+2 to D+3

Challenge

LIGHTNING

HITHER

HUNDREDS
PLEASE

Answer

THUNDER
THITHER
THOUSANDS
THANKS

        (c) By using Contact Channel No.33 for which no special call signs or codes will be used.  Further details through Sig channels.

        (d) RED berets may be worn by Airborne tps after initial drop as an aid to recognition.

        (e) Ground to Air (i) Fluorescent panels, yellow or pink.  Full scale will be displayed by tps EAST of river.  (ii) Yellow smoke.

 

26.  Evacuation of civs  There will be NO evac EAST of the RHINE until ops become static.  Evac will then only take place with the approval of G 12 Corps.

 

27.  H hr and D day  Notified separately.

 

INTERCOMN

28.  Absolute wireless silence will be maintained until H hr.

 

29.  Bde HQ

        (a) The Bde will be est with Tac 15 (S) Div 092428 on D-1 and will cross by 50/60 raft after 4 RHA and before GREYS.

        (b) Main Bde will be est at 070387 and move with Main 15 (S) Div.

        (c) Rear Bde will be in conc area and control mov fwd from there to Armd Waiting Area and Marshalling Areas.

 

30.  OC Sigs will have a set on Bank Control frequency at SP of tank track.

 

31.  OC Sigs will issue separate sig instrs.

 

32.  Liaison

        (a) 44 R Tks will maintain LOs with Tac 46 Bde and 7 SEAFORTH from D-1.

        (b) Bde HQ will maintain LOs with 44 and 227 Bdes from D-1 and will send LO to 6 Airborne Div at earliest opportunity.

 

33.  Codewords  See Appx B att.  Map refs in MAPLAY will be used in preference to place codenames whenever possible.

 

ACK

Time of Signature   211715A hrs

Method of Issue   by Hand, LO & SDR.

[Signed] Major

Brigade Major

 

 

Appendix

THE ROYAL SCOTS GREYS ADM INSTR No.2

VICTORY PARADE - WISMAR

 

1.  PARADE

        (a) A VICTORY PARADE will take place in WISMAR on Friday, 11 May 45.

        (b) Salute will be taken by Major General E.L. BOLS, DSO., G.O.C., 6th Airborne Division.

 

2.  UNITS TAKING PART  Units will march past in the following order: The Royal Scots Greys, Def Pl HQ 3 Para Bde, 'J' Sec Div Sigs, 8 Para Bn, 9 Para Bn, 1 (CDN) Para Bn.

 

3.  REGIMENTAL ORDER OF MARCH  RHQ (represented by 1 Stuart tk (CO, RIO), and 3 Dingoes (Adjt, RSM, RHQ Tp Ldr), A, B & C Sqns.

 

4.  ROUTE  As per trace given out at Sqn Ldrs' Conference on 8 May 45.

 

5.  SALUTING BASE

        (a) Saluting Base will be on the EAST side of Square at MR 458949.

        (b) OC Recce Tp will provide 1 Stuart tk at each corner of the Square, and 1 on each side of saluting base, for defence purposes.

        (c) The first 6 Shermans of the leading sqn will wheel round at SW corner of Square and take up position across the Square behind the Saluting Base, facing EAST.

 

6.  DRESS

        Tk Comds  Battledress, Berets, Web belts and pistols, boots and gaiters.  Officers need not wear boots and gaiters.

        Others  Best overalls, anklets web, boots, beret, web belts.

 

7.  DEFENCE

        (a) Any disturbance will be dealt with under orders from senior officer present.

        (b) MGs will have belts in, but not loaded.

 

8.  ROUTINE

Reveille

Breakfast

RHQ move to Marshalling Area at rd between 458939 and 462932

All sqns move off to Marshalling Area

Clean up tanks, etc

Move to SP at 455946

Move from SP

Pass Saluting Base

- 0545 hrs

- 0645 hrs

- 0715 hrs

- 0730 hrs

- 0800 hrs to 1000 hrs

- 1010 hrs

- 1035 hrs

- 1100 hrs

Sqns return to their areas immediately after the march past.  Approximate time of return 1200 hrs.  The 6 Stuart tks will leave Marshalling Area at 0915 hrs so as to report to Saluting Base at 0930 hrs.  Spare tk  2 IC's tk (Comd Lt. PG Mackesey) will go to 460951 at 1010 hrs, and be ready to replace any tk that falls out.

 

9.  FORMATION

        (i) Tks will proceed in sections - Sherman II's and Vc's will NOT be together in a section.

        (ii) Spacing of 1 tk length between sections will be maintained.

 

10.  RECOVERY  2 ARVs will follow last sqn and pull any broken down tk off the route.  They will carry straight on and NOT turn the last corner before Saluting Base.

 

11.  UNIFORMITY OF VEHICLES & CREWS

        (a) Tks will be camouflaged with coniferous branches.

        (b) Guns will be left clear of camouflage and level to the ground.

        (c) Suspension will be cleaned before leaving present area, and wiped over with oil in Marshalling Area.

        (d) No muzzle cover or paper on gun muzzles.

        (e) 2 secs of aerial only will be used.  Joint will have a 3-inch WHITE paint band round it.  Only 19A set aerial on tanks.

        (f) "RATS" and "51s" to be re-painted and visible.

        (g) Tk Comds will ride so that all above their waist is out of the top of the turret.

        (h) All personnel will wear headphones.

        (i) Turret flaps will be opened to the sides.

 

12.  SALUTE  Sqn Ldrs will give "EYES RIGHT" and "EYES FRONT" over the air as they pass the first saluting flag (25 yards before Saluting Base).  All officers will salute.  Remainder of Cmdrs will only give eyes right.

 

13.  MARKERS ETC

        (a) OC B Ech will detail 4 extra smart men from B Ech and 2 from A2 Ech to act as markers on the square.

        (b) SSM Warden and SSM Dickson will act as markers on corners on the Square.

        (c) SSM Shaw will act as marker for CO's Stuart tk on the Square.

        (d) OC B ech will detail tpt to pick up all the above markers and SSMs at 0800 hrs who will report to 2 IC at rd junc 455941 at 0900 hrs where they will receive their orders.

        (e) White paint on the ground marks route or position of LEFT-HAND track.

 

14.  PERSONNEL LEFT IN BARRACKS  A prowler guard under a full rank NCO will be detailed to prowl the area in the absence of sqns, also sufficient guards on individual offices etc., must be left.

 

15.  SPECTATORS  OsC B ech and Sqns will inform the Adjutant of numbers of men not on the parade or detailed as per para 14, who wish to go as spectators, by 2000 hrs 10 May 45.  OC B ech will be given transport detail for this later.

 

[Signed]

Capt.,

Adjutant, The Greys.