3 Regiment Royal Horse Artillery: D Battery J Battery M Battery P Battery-             

25 Pounder  Sherman tank OPs

Unit No.74

 

1 November 1944: Weather finem but a very uneventful day. Some shooting over the Maas in enemy area. The Air O.P. also engaged enemy guns and  enemy occupied houses in the area immediately North of the river. It was announced that Major P.Hilton MC, RHA had been awared a second BAR to this MC. Ammunition expenditure 975.

 

2 November 1944: Another uneventful day. Orders were received for a move the following day to the area N.E of Udenhout to fire a smoke screen for 51 Division, who were to attack Northwards over the Afwateringscanal. Again a little shooting over the river. Waether fair. The main task of the Regiment was to fire a smoke screen covering an assault crossing. Captain Hicks RHA, and old member of the Regiment from Desert day's, rejoined from a job in England. He went to "J" Battery RHA. Ammunition expenditure 1400.

 

3 November 1944: Weather cold and wet. The day was eventful only in that the move to Udenhout was put off, put on and put off again during the morning.  Captain L.Hicks wounded by Mortar fire and evacuated the day after rejoining the Regiment. Ammunition expenditure 610.   

 

4 November 1944: Regiment moved with "J" Battery RHA, leading at 08.30hrson what promised to be a very fine day with a fresh breeze, very suitable for the smoke screen. The moved went very fairly smoothly, and the Regiment was in action by midday. The area was wooded, and there were very few houses. Such in fact was the shortage of houses, that RHQ had to be content with one room, and the Second in Command sent the night in a cow shed, in the company of the cows. At 1645, the smoke screen was started. It lasted for over an hour, and was most effective. The initial crossing was succesful, and the Scottish troops pushed inland into the so-called island. For the rest of the day and during the night, the Regiment fired many concentrations on areas where enemy movement was seen of suspected. The Regiment also, for the first the time, saw crocodile flame throwers in use. Ammunition expenditure 5440.

 

5 November 1944: By first light the attack was going so well, that the Regiment's presence was no longer necessary, and it was ordered back to Straatje. It later transpired that the enemy on the island had received orders to withdraw if attacked. No sooner was the Regiment back, than orders were received to recce an area on the 'island' which 131 Bde were to take over the following day, as 51 Div was moving off to some TOPSEC destination. Accordingly, the Second in Command took recce parties over the canal and selected the area East of Drunen. The weather remained fine but very cold. Ammunition expenditure 103.

 

6 November 1944: Weather cold with intermittent rain. Regiment moved via Loon op Zand, Udenhout, Helvoirt. M Battery was separate from the rest of the Regiment in the area of Nieuwkuijk as 1/6 th Queens were well over to the right, the boundary being approximately the 31 Easting line. Several targets were fired during the afternoon on enemy on the far side of the Maas. Ammunition expenditure 167.

 

7 November 1944: Bold and windy. A quiet day, with occasional shoots at enemy digging in on the far bank of the river. Ammunitions expenditure 730.

 

8 November 1944: Again cold and wet. A quiet day with occasional shoot over the Maas. An O.P. tank from 'D' Battery RHA, shot up the Church at Well, which was believed to be an enemy O.P., riddling it with delayed action 75 mm HE shot. Ammunition expenditure 1308.

 

9 November 1944: Still cold and wet, and again a quiet day. Orders were received for a move the following day to the area of Kinroy, on the border of Holland and Belgium. There was a good deal of secrecy about the move, and wireless silence was enforced from 2200 hours. It was rumoured that here would be a push by Twelfth Corps to force the enemy behind the Maas from their large bridgehead near Venlo. Ammunition expenditure 69.

 

10 November 1944: The move started at 0900 and took us firstly to ´s-Hertogenbosch, which satisfied many peoples curiosity, as we had spent three weeks sitting in front of it. The part we passed through, the Western suburbs, was badly damaged, the station, for example, being a mass of twisted girders, smashed engines and trucks, with a signal gentry leaning over at a grotesque angle.  The rest of the town was reported to be rather less damaged, and the Regiment had a good view of the fine Cathedral from the South. The journey continued in bitter cold and heavy rain through Tilburg to Merksplas where the weather cleared a little, and thence on to Gheel, which we had passed through some weeks before, when it was in a very dilapidated state. However, it seemed to have been fairly well patched up since then. The route went on to Mol and Lille St. Hubert, to Peer and Bree and then to the Regimental area East of Kinroy, which it reached at 2100 hrs. RHQ was in a brickworks within two hundred yards of the Dutch frontier, and the Batteries were slightly further back. Ammunition expenditure Nil.

 

11 November 1944: The Regiment moved to Belgium.

men of 3 RHA near Stramproy, 1944
courtesy of Ian Paterson
Holland 3 RHA are being inspected
courtesy of Ian Paterson