4 Regiment Royal Horse Artillery:   C Battery DD Battery F.Battery- 25 pounders

Unit No.

 

8 October 1944: We remained in action until 1500 hrs when we moved into a concentration area South of Maarheeze where we spent the night.

                                                     

9 October 1944: This morning at 0500 hrs we received our movement order and at 0725 hrs we moved off to concentrate in the Nijmgen area. Our Route was through Maarheeze, Geldrop, Bakel, Gemert, Volkel, Uden, Grave, Wijchen and conc in S.q. which had previously been recce'd by 2 i/c and Bty Reps. The C.O. went on ahead to see the C.C.R.A. about furure operations.

 

10 October 1944: Late last night the C.O. returned and held a B.Cs conference and we learnt that the Regiment was under Command 12 Corps in close support 4th Armd Bde, and that we were to deploy to cover as much of 50 Div front as possible, and all 53 Div front. Recce parties under 2 i/c went forward at 0745 hrs to find gun area in area North of Nijmegen. The Regiment moved out at 0850 hrs and went into action in square about 1230 hrs. During the afternoon we did not fire but in the evening we fired at hostile mortars and also in support of the 81st Field Regt R.A.

 

11 October 1944: There was little activity during the night and this afternoon we engaged some H.F. tasks called for by 53 Div. This evening we fired at more hostile mortars. This morning the C.C.R.A. called to see the C.O. about future operations. During the day we fired at various "V" and "U" targets and also took part in bombards on hostile mortars and batteries.

 

12 October 1944: This morning we received a warning order from the C.C.R.A. that we would be moving either today or tomorrow. The only shooting we did were "V" and "U" targets and an occasional bombard on an enemy hostile battery. This afternoon the Second in Command went to 12 Corps to obtain information about our move. This evening we learned that we are to move tomorrow to an area south of the River Waal, our role being to provide D.F. fire for the 101 US Airborne Div, to support the K.R.R.C. and to fire at "V" and "U" target as called for by the C.C.R.A. or the 6th Field Regt R.A.

 

13 October 1944: Today we moved back from the ´Island´. The area has been recce´d by the 2 I/C and Regimental Survey Officer. The C.O. went to see the C.C.R.A. who later came to our H.Q. to arrange for one troop to move forward to a new position to do harassing fire on a bridge. This was the suspected means of supplying the Germans remaining on the 'Island'. A Troop of heavy guns were moved into our area to support in the H.F. which was to follow a bombing attack. "G" Troop F Battery, are to do the harassing fire and are leaving at 0130 hrs. This morning two hours before we left we had one O.R killed by a bomb which fell some 200 yards from our HQ. 

 

14 October 1944: Except for the harassing fire, the night was quiet. The C.O. again visited the C.C.R.A. about an additional role we are to participate in from tomorow onwards. A Troop of mediums are coming under command also a survey detachment and an A.O.P. During the afternoon the C.O. saw the Brigadier concerning future operations. 2 I/C and RSO recce'd positions for the Mediums. Throughout the day we partcipated in "V" and "U" targets and also had some troop shoots. This evening we fired D.F. in support of the Americans who were subjected to a sharp local attack which was succesfully beaten back.

 

15 October 1944: Today the Medium Troop arrived, their role is to fire H.F. Tasks throughout tonight, at the Bridge. They were deployed in the area of Druten. Today a Section of DD Battery was sent on a roving commission but they saw very few Bosche, and only engage four targets, which were suspected enemy earthworks. This afternoon the C.O. went to see the C.C.R.A. about future operations of the special harassing group which he now commands. This group consists of in addition to our own Regiment a Troop of Mediums and a Battery of 3.7" A.A. Guns which come under command tomorrow. The C.O. also visited the 61st Recce and 2/60 K.R.R.C. concerning the sending of O.Ps to them. Our targets today were once again mostly "V" and "U" targets.

 

16 October 1944: Today we continued to take part in more "V" and "U" targets. a Battery of 3.7" A.A. guns came under command of the Regiment for the purpose of engaging ground targets.  This evening we learnt that for 24 hours we will be under command of 30 Corps for operational purposes but still under command of 12 Corps for administration. We also learned of the possibility of a move.                                                   

 

17 October 1944: This morning we were informed that we are being relieved by the Essex Yeomanry 147 Fd Regt. Their C.O. called to see our C.O. and it was provisionally agreed that they would take over from us tomorrow. This afternoon, recce parties arrived to take over from us. Late this afternoon the C.O. attended a Brigadiers Conference regarding our move and future operations. When the C.O. returned he held a B.Cs Conference, and we found that we were moving to the Bladel area, in support of our own Armd Bde and under Command of 12 Corps.

 

18 October 1944: This morning we left at 0730 hrs and joined the Brigade Column. Our route lay through Grave, Zeeland, Uden, Veghel, St. Oedenrode, Eindhoven and Eersel. En route we were informed that we were to deploy in the Poppel area. The Bde is taking over from the 147 Inf Bde, but we not become operational until 0900 hrs tomorrow morning.

 

19 October 1944: At 0900 hrs we had completely taken over from 147 Inf Bde. It seemed the enemy do not hold this sector very strongly. During the day we engaged various troops targets, but did no shooting on a large scale. This afternoon the C.O. visitied the C.O. of the Netherlands Artillery and arranged to employ them whenever possible to shoot on our front. The R.S.O. put them on the same grid as ourselves. During the afternoon the C.C.R.A. of the Polish Artillery arrived and Major Hankey gave him our D.F. Tasks, so that if need be they can assist us.

 

20 October 1944: During the night we fired D.F. Tasks in support of K.R.R.C. This afternoon F. and O Batteries supported a succesful party by the KRRC to clear some enemy from a farmhouse. This afternoon the C.O. attended a conference at Brigade HQ and afterwards went to 51 (H) Div HQ. This evening we arranged a fire plan with the Polish Artillery to be shot tomorrow morning, the target being a Battalion H.Q. location obtained from a P. of W.

 

21 October 1944: Today we engaged the suspected Bn.H.Q. but obtained no information about the effects. During the afternoon we supported two small local attacks by the 2/60 K.R.R.C. to mop up small enemy posts.

 

27 October 1944: During the night we learnt the 15(S) Div were to enter the outskirts of Tilburg, and thendespatch a Battalion to clear Goirle, after which our Brigade will advance to the western outskirts of Tilburg. This morning the C.O. met the Brigaidier and afterwards the CRA 15(S) Div concerning future operations. At 1515 hrs the Regiment moved forward and deployed in area previously recce'd by 2 I/C and Surveyed by R.S.O. Mines have slowed the advance of the Brigade considerably.

 

28 October 1944: This morning at 0855 we recieved orders to proceed with advance through Goirle and Tilburg, now liberated and advance along the road towards Reijen now held by enemy. The 2 I/C, R.S.O. and Bty Reps  proceeded the Regiment in a order to recce Gun area. The C.O. went on to Tac Bde HQ. During the day we fired in support of the Regiments in the Brigade and also in support of 7th Armd Div. This evening the Regiment, the Netherland Troop, and two Regiments of 15(S) Div fired a series of 'stonks' on enemy strong points. We also sent out one section (DD Bty RHA) for the purpose of firing H.F. Tasks throughout the night.

 

29 October 1944: Early this morning we received orders that we were to move back to Weert with te Brigade, less K.R.R.C. and Greys. At 0900 hrs we joined the Brigade Column and proceeded on our route which was Tilburg, Poppel, Arendonk, Steensel, Westerhoven, Luykgestel, Lommel, Hamont, to Heeze. At Steensel our route was altered and Kinroy was given as dispersal point. The C.O., B.Cs G.P.Os went on to contact the 2 I/C and Recce parties who had left before the Regiment. The C.O. called at Brigade H.Q. to discover the form which he than passed on to B.Cs. As there were no Regiments of the Brigade committed we had no D.F. Tasks, We were deployed in order to support the Americans. To do this we despatched a L.O. to their Artillery H.Q.

 

30 October 1944: This morning the Americans Artillery Commander called to see our C.O. about co-ordination of a support for a forthcoming attack by the Americans. The Brigadier also called and expressed that he thought the Regiment was too far forward, so the 2 I/C and Recce parties found alternative positions to which the Regiment moved. This afternoon the Brigadier came to see the C.O. about future operations and the 2 I/C and Recce parties recce'd new gun positions, which would be occupied in the event of a large scale attack by the enemy, as from our present positions we cannot cover the southern end of the front. This evening the C.O. attended a conference at Brigade H.Q. and held a B.Cs conference upon his return. This evening we arranged H.F. Tasks which were subsequently cancelled by the Americans as they were unsafe.

 

31 October 1944: This morning the C.O. was visited by the C.O. of an American Battery and a fireplan was arranged to support a faint attack by the Americans. This attack however, did not take place. This afternoon the C.R.A. of 53 (W) Div arrived and we learnt of their arrival in this area to relieve the Americans. The C.R.A. instructed us to move to our new area tomorrow morning in order to cover the whole of the front. The 4th Armoured Brigade tomorrow is to support the 71 and 158 Brigades of 53 (W) Div, whilst the 3/4 C.L.Y. and 2 K.R.R.C. are to remain in reserve as an immidiate counter-attack force. Our role is to fire in support of 53 Div and to support any counter-attacks by 3/4 C.L.Y and 2 K.R.R.C.

During the period 3rd to 20 th we received 24 pairs of chevrone steel and rubber tracks. Since changing to these tracks we have had no trouble at all.

 

1 November 1944: This morning, in accordance with the CRA's instructions, the Regiment (one Bty moving as soon as the preceding one was in action) deployed in Stamproij. The remaining Americans today moved out of the area to concentrate in the Nederweert area, in preparation for an attack to clear the enemy from NE of the canal. CRA, 53 Div, visited us this afternoon and gave us the dispositions of his Division and settled one or two administrative problems. We maintained OPs with the regiments of the Bde until such time as they were relieved by the units of 53 Div. This evening, after obtaining the sanction of Comd 4 Armd Bde, we recalled our rep with the Americans as 53 Div now have a LO with them. Today we have done very little firing, our targets being a suspected 75mm gun and suspected mortar areas.

 

2 November 1944: Early this morning the Americans began their attack. We supported them by harassing various targets on their right flank. This evening and throughout the night we are putting down more harassing fire at the request of ...

 

4 November 1944: ... visited us and outlined the progress af the American attack. Again, tonight, we are carrying out a harassing programme in support of the Americans. At last night F Bty returned to the Regimental area.

 

5 November 1944: We continued to support the Americans today by firing at their request on eight targets. We also took part in bombards against enemy mortars and batteries, at the request of the Americans. Throughout tonight we are firing another harassing programme. This morning the CO went to Bde HQ to be presented to the Army Commander.

 

6 November 1944: There has been very little activity today, but in order to support the Americans effectively and, on the orders of the CRA, DD Bty moved and went into action. They were not called upon to do any firing and returned to the regimental area at last night.

 

7 November 1944: The CO attended an conference at Bde this morning concerning future operations on our sector of the front. This evening a Staff Officer form HQ RA informed us of the provisional gun areas to be occupied in the near future when operations commence in this area. This morning both F and DD Batteries sent our sniping guns to engage pill-boxes the other side of the Canal. F Bty's and DD Bty gun engaged a pill-box. Both these pill-boxes which are known to be occupied at night, were rendered uninhabitable by AP shot and HE. From today onwards we are restricted to 6rpg per day.

 

8 November 1944: Today had been exceedingly uneventful, our only target being a bombard against a hostile bty. The 2 I/C and Survey Officer completed a recce of he new regimental area and selected probable gun areas. This evening part of the American force moved out, as they are being relieved by 51 (H) Div.

 

9 November 1944: Another exceedingly quiet day, during which we have not fired at all. It is becoming obvious that a battle will begin soon, for yet another day Div, 7th Armd Div, started to move into this area. Today the remainder of the Americans Armd Div move away.

 

10 November 1944: Today we received confirmation of our gun area and so recce parties went off and definite positions were selected and surveyed. In view of the amount of arty which is concentrating in this area the recce parties remained in the new area for the night to safeguard our positions. Once again there has been very little activity although we have participated in three bombards against hostile mortars. This evening we received instructions that tomorrow we are to move between 1000 and 1200 hrs and one battery must be in action before the next one moves.

 

11 November 1944: In acoodance with instructions received last night the Regiment moved this morning to its new position, Tungelroy (Limburg). DD Battery move first, followed by RHQ and C.Battery, then F Battery. During the afternoon we received a visit from the CO of the Belgian Army. The Belgian Bde are holding a sector on our right. He asked for our support on a DF Task in case they were attacked and DD Bty were given the task as their DF SOS Task.We also received instructions to dump HE 100rpg and Smoke 60rpg on the positions. Once again we have done very little firing, our only target being a hostile mortar.

 

12 November 1944: Today we continued  with our dumping programme, which has been increased by Smoke 60 rpg. There has been activity or firing throughout the whole of today. This morning we despatch our first part to Brussels for a 48-hr leave. This is our first allocation of leave.

 

13 November 1944: This morning the CO attended a conference at Bde HQ and, this afternoon, at a BCs conference he gave details of the attack which commences tomorrow afternoon. DD Bty are to support the CLY, who are supporting the assault for the Canal, and F Bty are to support the 44 RTR, who will cross the Canal as soon as a Class 40 br is established. This evening the Fire Plans arrived and our job is to fire two smoke screens in support of 51 (H) Div when they cross the Canal du Nord and then a timed HE programme in support of 53 (W) Div when they cross the Nederweert-Wessem Canal. Once again there has been no enemy activity.                                               

     

14 November 1944: At 1600 hrs 51 (H) Div commenced to assault the Canal du Nord. To support them we fired one smoke screen, the other being cancelled owing to an unfavourable wind. Just after we had completed firing the smoke screen an enemy Stonk of about 20 rounds landed in the area of C Battery and RHQ Command Post. This killed one OR and wounded four ORs in C Battery and wounded one in RHQ. This Stonk was the only one the German guns put down in 53 Div area. At 1800 hrs we fired a time HE Programme in support of the 51 (H) Div, who by this time had succesfully got their leading Bn across the Canal. At 2000 hrs 4 Welch and 2 Mons began to assault the Nederweert-Wessem Canal. Our support was in the form of a timed HE Programme lasting 30 mins. Information as to how the attack was going was very scarce, but by 2145 we learnt that 2 Mons had three companies across the Canal and things seemed to be going according to plan.

 

15 November 1944: Last night passed without our being called upon to fire. At 0700 hrs this morningwe participated in another fire plan lasting 15 mins in support of 53 (W) Div, who have now firmly established their bridgehead and are pushing slowly forward. Early this afternoon we received a warning order that as soon as the Class 9 Bridge over the Canal was completed our recce parties would follow on the tail of 158 Bde and the regiment would move as soon as the Class 40 Bridge was completed.

4 RHA Sexton near Weert. Battery unknown
courtesy of Ian Paterson
courtesy of Ian Paterson