5 Anti Tank Regiment RCA: 3 Battery 14 Battery 65 Battery 96 Battery- M10 SP Gun-17 pounders AT gun

 

Unit No.77

 

25 October 1944: At Zandstraat (Brabant) "L"Troop had one killed and another wounded, when a round of high explosive burst in front of "L1". A mortar bomb burst on the counter-balance of "L3", but none of hte crew were hurt.

 

28 October 1944: Most of Bergen op Zoom occupied. Echelon moved to a Dutch Naval barracks vacated a few hours before by the Germans. This was within 1.600yards of German guns and a certain amount of counter Battery firing was carried out, making the nights, in particular, unsettled. A couple of dud rounds landed in the barracks area. At this time Tac HQ was still six or seven miles away, and Lt-Col Harkness and others came up to visit Echelon and find out how the battle progressed.

 

29 October 1944: "K"Troop did a spectacular job on a large concrete road block. This obstacle was holding up our advance, and was so effectively covered by enemy fire, that demolition by engineers was impracticable. They appealed to Lieutenant G.W.MacGregor. He ran "Jean" up to a firing position at about 800 yards range, with  "Joyce" close by in case of trouble. Sgt Taylors little girl made sohrt work of the job, five well placed rounds knocked the block to pieces and blew most of it off the road.

 

1 November 1944: North of Bergen op Zoom, the Rainbow Battery, with the Lincoln and Wellands was heavily engaged at Moerstraten (Brabant). "K"troop lost two SPs, which brewed up when hit by enemy artillery fire. There were seven casualties through this action, of which five were fatal. Meanwhile "J" Troop executed a rapid advance on the left flank, with the South Alberta using their guns offensively to destroy enemy strong points.

 

2 November 1944: The Algoquin Regiment supported by "B"and " "C" troops atttacked Welberg (Brabant) Lieutenant J.C.Hooke made a careful recce of his route and succeeded in getting his four guns into position unobserved, by clever use of smoke and the noise of small arms fire and mortars.

 

3 November 1944: At first light the Hun counterattacked with SP guns and infantry. L/Sergeant Honey destroyed the leading enemy SP and personally broke up the infantry attack by effective shooting with his 5inch browning. Later in the day he was killed and his M-10 destroyed by an unlucky encounter with a well-concealed SP, but his earlier action appeared to have broken te enemy spirit, as the town was cleared without difficulty. For their part in this action, Lieutenant Hooke was decorated with the MC, and L/Sergeant Honey recieved a MiD. "B" Troop were unfortunate in having two guns mired when they ran off the narrow road, and the other two destroyed, apparently by hand grenades tossed into the turret.

 

4 November 1944: Steenbergen, German paratroopers and elements of the Hermann Goering Division. put up a violent resistance to our progress. "B" Troop lost 3 SPs and the casualties mounted nine killed during the engagements round Bergen op Zoom, be the evening of the 4th the area to the River Maas, on our front, was cleared of enemy except for odds and ends.

 

5 November 1944: After the church service, a Regimental funeral service was held, for the nine man of our Regiment recently killed. They were buried on a high ground in Bergen op Zoom, the graves were carefully tended and covered with flowers by our Dutch friends. Here was established a permanent cemetery, a bit of Canada, a last reminder to the burghers of our sacrifice in the cause of freedom."I"Troop was deployed at the harbour of Bergen op Zoom to cover the\sea approaches against E and U boats presumably, Unfortunately they had no occasion for engagement with the enemy.

 

7 November 1944: We would move east to Tilburg area, where 4th Division was to hold the Maas front on a fifty mile front.

 

8 November 1944: 8 November, found us on the move through Roosendaal, Breda and Tilburg, to a brickyard north-east of Tilburg, where the convoy arrived at 22.oohrs in the midst of a driving rain. Shelter was found for the night. Our tactical HQ was established in turn, in chrch property, monasteries,etc, near Vught and Helvoirt. We covered a five mile front on the Maas, north of S"Hertogenbosch, this was done with personnel of two batteries organized upon infantry lines, together with a carrier platoon of seven carriers , a troop of tanks from HQ Squadron 4th Division, completed the picture. A brickyard remained the home of Echelon the 3rd and 96th Batteries for the next 9 days.

 

9-18 November 1944: The 14th and 65th Batteries and of course, RHQ, moved to Lith (Brabant) area on the Maas, where the Colonel proceeded to stir the hornets nest. A patrol of the 65th Battery, under Lieutenant Barclay, captured six Germans, "K"Troop suffered seven casualties when the Germans shot up the house they were in ,one man was killed. A Dutchman was supplied to us by Div HQ to act as interpreter. We wined him and dined him and dressed him in battle dress and gave him an honoured place in the officers mess. Our secrets were his secrets and our cigarettes his cigarettes. After two weeks with us thus unhappy man was arrested by Dutch authorities and placed in erstwhile notorius concentration camp at Vught. his crime black-marketing from Holland to Germany during the occupation.

 

18-26 November 1944: 18th and 19 November,the 96th and 3 Batteries took over the Maas patrol. The Regimental Echelons together with 14th and 65 Batteries, moved a few miles south-east to Tilburg, to Hilvarenbeek (Brabant). Personnel were billeted in the village. A week later when the Regiment left, the civilians turned out en masse to bid them goodbye. On the Maas the 96th Batttery, carried out from Maren (Brabant), direct shoots on targets in Rossum, Alem and Kerkdriel. The Germans answered by dropping rounds in the general vicinity from which our guns fired, in one or two minutes. So great care was taken to move quickly after firing, which was a simple expedient for the M-10s. Indirect shoots were also carried out from Lith. Eight Crusader guntowers were received and four issued to each 3rd and 65th Batteries.

 

26 November-3 December 1944: The Regiment was relived on the 26th by the 54th Anti Tank Regiment, The Regiment recrossed the Belgium-Dutch border to concentrate in the villages of Poppel and Weelde.

 

7-21 December 1944: Regimental Echelons and the 65th Battery moved into S'Hertogenbosch on the 7th. The Echelons in various fairly comfortable houses and 65th Battery into a large school., RHQ struck all time high, being in a large modern house with four bathrooms, lights and central heating that worked. On the 12th 65th Battery ,relieved 3rd Battery. Lieutenant Malloch led a recce patrol into enemy territory between Maas and Waal Rivers, no enemy was encountered, but information was obtained about the General layout of the area crossed and how it might be used by the enemy. Frequent patrols were later sent into this area, and to Alem Island. Sergeant Chalmers was wounded and captured on one such patrol, most men were very keen on patrol work, and there was no scarcity of volunteers.

 

21-24 December 1944: On 21th the Regiment moved into a monastery in the outskirts of Vught. Airborne attack was feared, and the Regiment was organized as a mobile force to counter any such attack.

 

24 December-8 January 1945: At 11.00hr, the 24th an order was received to be prepared to move by 14.00hrs through Vught, Boxtel, Best,Tilburg to an area 5 miles south of Breda. On the 27th the regiment moved into Breda, where it remained until 8 Janaury 1945.

 

8 January 1945: The Regiment slid over the icy Dutch roads, back into its old job on the Maas. The task was seentially the same, but the matter of its fulfilment different. This time 2 batteries, supplemented by 80 men from the other 2 batteries, were employed in the infantry roll, one troop of M-10's in an artillery and tank roll, and carriers and 4 crusaders as a mobile reserve. The island of Alem (Gelderland)  was kept under close observation and patrols it encountered enemy troops.

 

14 January 1945: One V1 struck the church at Lith, there were 15 casualties, mostly in "J" Troop and 55 civlian casualties.

 

23 January 1945: The mobile reserve captured 3 Germans two miles south of Lith. It was interesting to note that they were officer candidates, part of their test being to act as a demolition squad, to blow bridges and interrupt communications on the famous "Maple leaf" highway north-east of Tilburg.

 

19-22 February 1945: The watch on the Maas was coming to an end. On the 19th the Regiment was relieved and concentrated in Helvoirt and Vught where it was detailed to battle groups for forthcoming operations, on 22 February the Regiment moved to Cleve, Germany.

 

12- 30 March 1945: Rest period in Vught, 24 March Lt-Col R.M.Quigley from 4th Anti Tank Regiment took over the command of the Regiment. during this time all of the Crusader Towers of the 3rd and 65th Batteries were replaced with American M-9 or M-14 Halftracks. The Crusaders went to 7th Anti Tank Regiment.

 

30 March 1945: Regiment went back to Germany.

 

6-7 April 1945: At 12.15hrs the Regiment less 14th Battery was ordered to occupy and garrison Coevorden, after a quick recce and a move of about 55 miles through partly German territory, this was done and by 18.00hrs we were in position. The following day a Belgian paratroop battalion moved in and we departed, leaving the 65th Battery in support of the Belgians who had no anti tank protection of their own.

 

7 April 1945: Regiment moved to Germany.