6 Anti Tank Regiment:33 Battery-74 Battery-56 Battery-103 Battery


Unit No.

 

4 April 1945: Regiment crossed the Rhine today!, Tac HQ now at Lochem and RHQ, 56 Battery and "B" echelon of 33 Battery concentrated in area Lochem. Major Lander, Officer i/c inf gp composed of 74 Battery and 103 Battery has set up HQ in town of Zevenaar and his front extends along river Ijssel from Doesburg to Westervoort. His group is under comd 1 CACR, recently arrived from Italy, and will assist in containing the enemy along this line. At about 16.00hrs, 81 mortar bombs fell in area, but did us no damage. At 17.00hrs, two enemy cycled into our outpost, and surrendered. At about 19.00hrs advice received by G Tp that there were jerries in a trench. A patrol was sent out which killed one enemy and took 5 POW.  At 22.30hrs an enemy patrol approached our post, but withdrew when fired upon. The first day of this Inf op ended without casualties to us. CO to corps today to arrange for Honey tanks for SP batteries. At 22.30hrs Major Emery called to say that they are available. We will arrange to draw them tomorrow if the tactical situation permits. Weather clear most of the day but rain tonight.

 

5 April 1945: CO to see CRA and found that op of 33 Battery with 1Cdn Div still not firm. We will drew 5 Honey Tks and CO to RHQ arrange it. CO today visited Major Lander at his HQ. At 03.00hrs, a patrol again approached post and again withdrew under fire. later one returned and surrendered. From him, it was learned that the previous patrol had consisted of 1 Off and 9 men. Late in the afternoon two POW were taken. CO saw Chief of Staff in the afternoon and a section of medium guns is being dispatched to assist our infantries in looking after a ferry which is operating on the river near Rheden and a cement factory.

 

6 April 1945: Usual Holland rain. CO to see Chief of Staff at08.45hrs and was advised that our infantry's front is being extended from Doesburg to north. CO then to RHQ and to see Major Lander. Found that the mediums had taken on the ferry had come from Giesbeek  and that there are about 60 enemy in the village. The mediums will probably fire on it this afternoon. Major Lander will move his HQ to a new location today, and all posts have to be moved as welll owing to widening of the front,a very large front for so few troops.

33 Battery Tac HQ moved today to 1 Anti Tank RHQ in the Reichswald. A troop is now attached to 51 Bty, B to 27 Bty and C to 57 Bty.

 

7 April 1945: Good Air Force weather today and according to the BBC, the planes are out in strenght. CO to see Chief of staff today and IO then to Regiment and to see Major Lander. All new posns were occupied by 18.30hrs yesterday and had a quiet night. Section of 5.5s put Jerry out if commission and again shot up the cement factory. Apprehended two jerries who came out of Giesbeek to surrender and who said that Giesbeek is now unoccupied by the enemy. Also stated that they came from 6 Coy 361 Volksgrenadier Bn and that their Bn HQ had been at cement factory which our guns had destroyed. All of Major Lander force are very enthusiatic and glad to be busy, 35 Bty Tac, HQ moved to Gorssel. A Tp and 51 Bty. Light shelling in area occupied. B and C Tps NTR. US armies and 2 Br Army runnig wild in Germany and US in Pacific hammering japs.

 

8 April 1945: Clear today but quite cool. CO to Corps this morning and then IO to Regt and to see Major Lander. His group is having a relatively quiet time but rumours in his front are rife. Received a message from 2 Cdn Corps that enemy had re-occupied Zevenaar and Didam but investigation proved it flase. At 12.00hrs yesterday  1CACR patrolled to a point opposite factory and fired 37mm in it. The 5.5s also fired at it. Some mortars came over in return but no other signs of life there. At 16.00hrs, patrol again approached and were sniped at by rifles. Returned the fore with 37mm and Brownings. Fired 37mm at tower which is a suspected enemy OP. Civilians report that heavey mortars and small guns have been put in position in a trench in front of a factory, but so far we have not heard anything from them. The underground forces reported at 17.00hrs that there are 47 jerries in Giesbeek who want to surrender and will come out tonight in groups of ten. Same sources state that NW of Giesbeek there are about 100enemy. The CO of these groups is supposed to have his HQ and wireless in nearby area. A sqnd of Sherman tks mounting 75s were added to our force today and will be used ti dust up suspected areas. 33 Bty NTR.  G II RA called tonight ref section of 5.5s under comd our inf grp. CO will advice him tomorrow as to whether or not we require them any longer.

 

9 April 1945: Bright and cool. Nothing very exciting today. Major Landale visited Tac to advise that his tps are ready for their next task which will be with 1 Cdn Div. Our infanteers report that enemy posns were engaged by 1 CACR howitzer tp. A direct hit was scored on an anti tank gun and there was an exchange of SA fire.  Tks engaged posns along the from today and the section of 5.5s returned to their Rgt.

 

10 April 1945: Beautiful day today and very timely too as we understand that 1 Cdn Div will launch its first attack today in the ETO when they will cross the IJssel south of Deventer. All quiet along our inf front. Some MG fire from the enemy but not of any importance. CO to visit CO of 1 A/Tk Regt of which 33 Bty is under command. 2 IC to England for a 2 weeks course at Larkhill.

 

11 April 1945: Fine weather and all arms are taking full advantage of it. The war is whistling forward on all fronts. Regt very active today. At 10.31hrs received orders that Rams will drive along IJssel front in neighborhood of Doesburg firing Brownings and feigning an attack while 1 Cdn Div crosses farther north. This attack was postphoned yesterday for 24hrs. Rams were to move at 12.00hrs and CO off to Regt to arrange it. Feint was made and firing took place across the River from 16.30hrs to 17.00hrs. At 16.00hrs 1 Cdn Div made its assualt across the IJssel. At H-5 two guns from B Tp 33 Bty destroyed a chimney, know to be any enemy OP, with 6 rounds APCBC and HE. Guns fired from woods. B Tp conc waiting to cross. 2 Bde crossing of river succesful and by 23.00hrs a class 9 bridge up and a class ferry operating. At 14.00hrs Tac HQ received orders that 24 Rams will go under comd 3 Div at 12.00hrs tomorrow. The reliable Gnr Barlow on loand from 56 Battery, intercepted the CO on the road to delivered the message. Capt Inglis will be in charge of the group and left at once for 3 Div. Lt McKinnon will be in charge 103 group and Lt Berry in charge of 74 group. At 19.00hrs orders received to move Rams to 3 Div area at 08.00hrs tomorrow and IO tied it in with Capt Heintzmann and Capt Graig. Orders also received today that Tac HQ will move Friday with main corps to area Haren and that the unemployed portion of the Regiment will be in conc area near Almelo. Major Westcott and RSM will recce and allot space tomorrow. On the 6 A/T infantry in fornt there was a little activitiy during the night but no casulaties. The enemy brought down MG fire most of the night in order, apparently to cover considerable movement of vehs northward on his side of the river. Our fellows fired back but with unknown results.

 

12 April 1945: Weather fine and cool. No offensive action by the enemy on IJssel front today. Rams with Capt Inglis in charge rolled by Tac HQ in good order at 09.00hrs on there way to 3 Div. Only 22 were available to start but Capt Magor and Sgt Green had another in shape this evening. Thus 23 Rams are now ready and waiting to carry 3 Div Inf in action tomorrow. Movement order for RHQ, 56 Bty and "B"ech 33 Bty arrived at Tac HQ at 16.00hrs, IO delivered it to Regt and group will move tomorrow. The Inf gp will remain under command RCDs and will be relived of their position by 5 Div by 23.59hrs tomorrow. Guns and echolons of both towed batterys will move to the same area. At 17.00hrs Tac HQ advised that it will move tomorrow to Borken, Germany.So we are of tomorrow at 10.18hrs. 33 Bty very atvice today. In the early evening the tp folowed behind the inf advancing in Twello. The guns were deployed with A .Coy to cover the north flank. They were in posn at 23.30hrs. At 01.30hrs tp HQ was attacked by an enemy fighting oatrol but repulsed the attack with Sten and Bren fire. One man was captured. Two of our men Gnr Adair and MacKay were ounded by a bazooka but remained on duty oafter receiving first aid. Tp comd went to 2 Bde obtained task for the afternoon. The tp was alloted to the LER. Task as follows: enemy OP in church tower Buslo, shot up by Sgt Ermann firing 20rds.

 


DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL DEFENCE, OTTAWA              

142.7A6013 (D1) 6 CDN A. TK REGT, RCA

 

 

6 CDN A TK REGT RCA

 

USE OF RAM TOWERS AS INFANTRY CARRIERS IN THE ATTACK

 

During recent operations, Ram Towers from this Regiment were placed under command of an Armoured Regt and were used for transporting infantry in an armoured attack.

The employment of Ram Towers across country was very successful.  Once across the start line, infantry were transported to within 50 feet of buildings.  From these positions, they attacked on foot with supporting machine gun fire from the Brownings mounted on the towers.  Buildings were set on fire and the enemy driven from cover.  This form of attack proved very successful and no doubt lessened casualties to our infantry to a great extent.

Heavy anti-tank fire was encountered on the approaches to the objectives.  Several tanks and one Ram were knocked out and burned, creating a temporary smoke screen which enabled the remainder of the armour to withdraw to the protection of farm buildings.  While in this position a request was made for a Ram to evacuate casualties under fire.  The request was granted with the provision that a protective smoke screen be laid.  This attempted evacuation was not successful as the Ram received a direct hit in the suspension from an anti-tank gun but was able to withdraw to safety.  A second request for a Ram for the same purpose was refused and it was pointed out by the gunner offr in charge of the Rams that better success could be obtained on foot behind a smoke screen.  This was done and casualties successfully evacuated.

Heavy enemy mortaring and shelling was in progress most of the time but casualties were light.  On several occasions, the Rams gave a helping hand to tanks which had become bogged down in the mud and at least 20 Shermans and 150 other vehicles were so assisted.

When released as infantry carriers, Rams were successfully employed in transporting supplies to the front, along roads where wheeled vehicles were bogged down.  On return journeys, they evacuated casualties.

The morale of the drivers was exceedingly high.  The satisfaction of doing a job well and killing Germans made them regret having to leave their infantry friends and the whole operation established a mutual admiration and bond between the two services.

Lessons learned from this operation are as follows:

  1. Each packet of three Rams must be in charge of an NCO for supervision and control.
  2. Spare drivers and co-drivers to be stationed at a report centre in the event of casualties.
  3. Wireless communication between vehicles if possible.  One 38 set in each Ram would be satisfactory.

(William Miller Jr.
Association Secretary and Regimental Archivist/Historian
(1st Canadian Armoured Carrier Regiment)

From the Regimental History:

On November 6th general orders for 2 Cdn Corps incl the Regiment, to move to the Nijmegen area were received. On November 8 th RHQ moved to Reet area and during the next four days the remainder of the unit came into the Nijmegen sector. 74 Bty went under command 101 US Airborne Div and put their guns into posns on the “island”. The Tac HQ of this Bty was established in Zetten area and the troops at Andelst area, Hemmen area. The 103 Bty was placed under command under command 50 Br Div and put their guns in east of Elst. Both Btys held these posns until November 12 th when a threat of flooding developed on the “island”. They were then withdrawn to Nijmegen and a few days later 74 went into conc at Batenburg while the 103 moved to the Hernen area. At the same time RHQ moved to Batenburg and the 56 went into the billets in Nijmegen which RHQ had formerly occupied. 33 Bty moved into quarters in Malden, near Mook. These areas were developed into winter conc areas and no further moves were made, except by 56 Bty, for many weeks.

Winter consisted largely of unrelieved monotony for all. The two SP batteries were actually being held as reserve for 2 and 3 Divs and these areas were recced but no posns were every occupied. The towed batteries were used on many occasions to provide guards for the FMCs and two parties consisting of a Sergeant and nine men were loaned to 2 Canadian Survey Regimen to provide protection for Mortar Location units which were operating in the FDL’s.  Major Turner with two detachments carried out trails with DS amn at Burg Leopold ranges and during the winter experimented with 38-sets and telephone  as means of maintaining communications between Troop HQ and the guns. The Telephones were found to be more satisfactory. The unit was issued with 17-pr SPs to replace the remaining 3” guns and when Spring arrived all main armaments were 17-pdrs.

The only operational tasks performed by the Regiment during the Winter consisted of two troops of SPs, one from each Battery, being deployed along the Waal to assist the Recce group in taking on targets across the river. Personnel gained considerable experience in using their guns for indirect fire and a good deal of damage resulted to the Germans. Targets were taken on with good effect in Ochten, Tiel, Zandwisk, Zollen, Ijzendoorn, Ophemert, Buren and Varik.

On Christmas Day the 56 Battery was ordered under comd 1 US Army and moved the following morning to Tilff, Belgium. Here is was placed under command  51 (H) Division which was being held in reserve in the event that the Von Rundstedt offensive should swing north. The battery remained in this sector  for almost two weeks but was not deployed.

 

On January 15, 1945, the second change of comd in the history of the Regt occurred when Lt-Col L.A. Devine left us and proceeded to 3 NETD. Major Lander assumed temporary command and a month later handed over to Lt-Col J.W.D. Watt who had been promoted from 2i/c 6 Cdn LAA Regiment and posted to 6 AT Regiment.

The 56 Battery went into action at 16.00hrs February 8 th , from then until the left bank of the Rhine in this area had been cleared of the enemy troops were almost continuously in action and saw probably the hardest fighting which they experienced throughout the operation in NW Europe.

 

The task became increasingly difficult as the days went by as the 56 Battery was getting farther and farther away from Batenburg and the roads through the Reichswald were getting worse and worse. In addition, the 74 went under command 49 Infantry Division and moved into the “island” in an infantry role. They took positions about Elst and their task was to deny enemy patrols access to the main road running from Arnhem to Nijmegen.