The unofficial shoulder title used by member of the Battery from mid 1941 onwards, during Arnhem the title used by most members would be the official Royal Artillery

2nd Oban Airlanding Anti Tank Battery: E.Troop- F.Troop-G.Troop-H.Troop-X.Troop: 6 pounder and 17 pounder Anti Tank Guns

 

Unit No.

 

(This report is based on the experiencies of Lt E.H.Ellis RA, the only officer of the Battery to return from the Airborne party of the Operation, and on info collected by him from ORs who took part in the Operation)

 

The Battery in support of 4 Para Bde landed on D+1 (Sept 18th) in the area west of Arnhem, Holland. The Battery consisted of three 6 pr troops (E.G.&H) and two 17 pr Troops (F&X).

 

Air passage from Britain to Holland was fairly succesful, During the passage to the Landing zone four gliders fell short, one containing 2IC Battery came down in England. Of the three others, which all contained 17 pr guns and belonged to F Troop, one fell in the North sea resulting in the death by drowning of F Troop Commander, and two fell a few miles short of the landingzone in Holland. All parachute Recce units landed in the area of the Dropping Zone, altough one officer (G Tp Comd) was wounded. The 2IC of the Battery eventually landed succesfully along with the Polish Bde Glider Unit on D+2 (19th Sept).

 

Mortar and small arms fire was experienced on the Landing zone but by 20.00hrs 18th Sept, all available guns had joined their respective units. Casualties as this stage included two officers and seven ORs. On landing E Troop along with 11th Parachute Battalion came under command of 1st Para Bde and moved forthwith into the outskirts of Arnhem via Oosterbeek. F Troop under comd of Div, proceed to Div Troops area in Oosterbeek. The remainder of the Bty in support of units of 4th Para Bde (G Troop in support of 10th Bn, H Troop in support of 156 Bn and X Troop in support of the Bde) proceeded in the direction of Arnhem.

 

On arrival in Arnhem area on late afternoon of the 18th Sept E Troop immediately came into contact with enemy tanks and destroyed four. During the evening of the same day E Troop as a result of enemy aircraft attacks lost Tp Comd (killed) seven ORs (wounded) and one gun destroyed. On the 19th Sept as a reslut of heavy enemy pressure E Troop moved in a westerly direction closer to Div troops area, where they remained throughout the latter part of the operation. In their move towards Arnhem 4 Para Bde, less 11th Battalion and E .Troop met particulary heavy enemy opposition in the close wooded country of that area. Very fiercy fighting took place and finally the Bde had to withdraw on the afternoon of 19th Sept. During this withdrawal casualties to guns and personnel, including Bty HQ personnel reported missing were: three gun lost, and included personnel reported missing were: BC, 2IC, LO and Tp Commander X Troop. After some delay the remainding guns nad personnel succeeded in reaching the area of Div Troops where they were deployed and made only local movements for the remainder of the operation.

 

Altogether four 6 pr and two 17pr guns of those supporting 4 Para Bde and three 6 pr guns from E Troop arrived in Div Troops area. The operation now became purely defensive with all the remaining guns of the Bty deployed in the close and built up area of Oosterbeek. Throught out this later period as a result of continous enemy artllery, mortar and sniper fire, the personnel casualties slowlu increased and many towing vehicles were destroyed, although no further guns were lost. No enemy tanks were allowed to enter the area and many were engaged, six tanks or SPs and one flame thrower being destroyed. The guns were also used to good effect against MG post and houses believed to hold snipers. In addition during this period a fighting patrol of one officer and twenty Ors from the Bty operated for 36 hours in the outskirts of arnhem. The withdrawal of the Div,across the river Rhine which started at 21.30hrs, 25 sept, with withdrawal of forward elements resulted in further casualties to the Bty, including Bty Captain "G". The casualties occurred during the early part of the movement to the rear when heavy enemy artillery and mortar fire was experienced and on the beaches of the river Rhine where further enemy mortar and s.a.fire was met. All guns were rendered useless by removing the breech mechanism. In all one officer and 58 ORs made the river crossing succesfully.