81 Field Regiment: 323 Battery-324 Battery-459 Battery:
19 September 1944: Progress across bridge slowed up during night consequently leading tps 71 Bde to cross at 0600 hrs - crossed at 0830 hrs. Regt crossed at 1130 hrs and entered Holland 1145 hrs. Regt less 323 in action 1230 hrs. Oxf Bucks make good progress. Regt moves to area Riethoven in action by 1630 hrs. By dark guns of 323 and 324 move into action area Veldhoven, 459 guns reaining present area.
20 September 1944: 0415 hrs - Fire Plan in sp 4 RWF attack on Wintelre received from BC 324. Phase I not before 0800 hrs. Phase II barrage later.
0730 hrs - Orders from CO. Wintelre held by enemy. 4 RWF deployed area. Bty remain present posn. 323 and 324 will move fwd on orders BC 324 in accordance with tactical infm but not before Wintelre is taken. 323 and 324 will sp 4 RWF initially thereafter 7 RWF.
1115 hrs - Fire plan in sp 4 RWF Phase I. 6 Fd Regt new in sp 71 Bde move into action alongside regt. Progress of 4 RWF poor. Bn held upon outskirts of Wintelre. Battle on this front new static. 1400 hrs - Civilian reports 800 enemy adv from Vessem to Knegsel. General 'stand to' in bde area Oxf Bucks carrier patrol sent out and report infm false. Oxf Bucks moving tonight. 323 Bty will move in sp under orders BC.
2330 hrs - Infm from 4 RWF:
Enemy. still hold Wintelre, strength not known, also enemy approx one coy at Bijsterveld. Opposition apparently strong. LMGs guns and mortars.
Own Tps. B Coy left of rd. D Coy right of rd. A Coy halfway between Wintelre and Bijsterveld. A Coy remains there at present. If Oxf Bucks take Bijsterveld tonight A Coy remain, if they do not A Coy will be withdrawn before light.
During the day's battle the half track in which were sitting BC 324 and 2 OR had a direct hit. Both ORs were killed instantly, the BC however was unhurt.
21 September 1944: HLI plan to capture Oostelbeers and Middelbeers. Account of the attack from the FOO.
0530 hrs - Awaiting report of ara clear of enemy for 2 IC to carry out recce of new gun area there. 0600 hrs - CO reports area clear and orders recce parties to move fort with incl recce parties of 6 Fd. 0620 hrs - Wintelre still not taken. 4 RWF held up. Oxf Bucks moving forward via 4 RWF bumped enemy in area, change of route ordered for this advance North toward Dunn.
0730 hrs - 5 mins conc in sp attack by 4 RWF.
1432 hrs -Barrage in sp 4 RWF fired from new gun area Eindhoven.
1500 hrs - Progress of 4 RWF good, all going well. More PW than they can deal with. 50 PW captured in regt gun area having fired at our troops spasmodically from wood. 323 Bty's guns fired at by enemy, as guns came into action, estimates strength approx 50 enemy some 1,500 yds West of gun posn: bty prepared to engage them over open sights, enemy remain behind ridge and opportunity does ot arise. Brig 71 Bde and G III wounded by MG fire between 4 RWF and regt gun area, evauated through Regt RAF.
1550 hrs - Wintelre captured. owing to exposed posn of guns area HQ RA were asked to arrange for protection from Recce Regt. Protection povided or night by Defence Coy (strength 60).
1800 hrs - HLI attack going satisfactorily. Regt prepared to engage DF Tasks in sp Seaforth Highlanders (15 Div) in br hd. Call for fire via 6 Fd Regt is required.
2100 hrs - CO reports enemy hold, route through this ara not be used tonight. This route direct from Oxf Bucks area, Capt Campbell warned, used different route and returns safely. Capt D.A. Paulin having closed down his set did ot receive this infm and had already left the OP. There was no means of warning him. - He ran into an enemy ambush and was killed by MG fire. His crew were wounded except for the driver who crawled away for help. The wounded men were rescued by the Oxf Bucks. Capt Paulin's carrier was captured by the enemy.
22 September 1944: 0400 hrs - HLI require fire plan now to force way into South side of village at objective. Fire Plan shot at 0600 hrs.
1200 hrs - Recce parties RV at Bde HQ. The plan was for recce parties to recce area immediately East of Middelbeers now held by HLI. Route between Vessem (7 RWF) and Middelbeers, not cleared of enemy, recce party to be escorted by carrier pl of 4 RWF who would mop up route on way back. Guns to be moved as soon as situation at Middelbeers allowed (this may not be for 24 hrs). Role of Regt from proposed new posn:- to sp the 'Skins' in an attack on Diessen - Hilvarenbeek - Esbeek, and direct sp of 71 Bde who were to take over this area with 4 RWF and Oxf Bucks, HLI remaining present area having secured Middelbeers and Oostelbeers. From this posn regt would be available, if called upon, to sp 'Skins' further adv to Lage Mierde. Plan changed: Regt to occupy intermediate posn area Wintelre to which recce parties move forthwith. 71 Bde mopped up area.
1200 hrs - 6 Fd now under comd 15 Div and fully committed - no longer available to sp 71 Bde. One Bty 13 Med area availabe for sp.
2000 hrs - Regt in action - lines to btys and 13 Med.
2100 hrs - Infm from CO. HLI still dealing with Middelbeers. Oxf Bucks taking over area Dunn again from 15 Div (to whom they previously handed over). 4 RWF taking area Westelbeers from 7 RWF having been in reserve at Wintelre. Armour is now attacking on 158 Bde front not as previously planned. Regt counter bty arranged to deal with enemy guns firing just short of gun area. 13 Med used extensively in this role.
23 September 1944: 0300 hrs - Sitrep: Oxf Bucks relief completed. 4 RWF relief completed. HLI held up till light, stiff opposition. Attack not before first light.
1100 hrs - Short fire plan in sp Oxf Bucks raiding party.
1300 hrs - BC with 4 RWF reports civilian source states enemy escaping rd 2010. Air OP asked to look in and shoot 83 Fd and 13 Med if tgt exists.
1340 hrs - Smoke screen fired to extricate raiding party of Oxf Bucks.
1545 hrs - Programme from 81 and 13 Med in sp 4 RWF. 13 Med stopped owing to danger to own tps - some cas inflicted.
1800 hrs - Onwards - observed sp for HLI.
2200 hrs - Message sent to all OPs "Co congratulates all OPs on an very good day".
24 September 1944: Extensive HF Programme until first light laid on by CO.
1115 hrs - Fire Plan in sp HLI.
1800 hrs - Middelbeers and Oostelbeers now secured, HLI have linked up with Oxf Bucks on right. Enemy horse drawn tpt successfully engaged by 13 Med.
25 September 1944: 1 Gun per bty at a time sent to 71 Bde W/Sps for overhauls. Air OP asked to look in for enemy thought to be crossing over canal, which might outflank Oxf Bucks; also to look for HB on this front. HQ RA now have HB and HM org in operation the four-pen recorder being used. OP on 4 RWF front shelled by Mediums 20 to 30 rds - no cas. HF policy from CRA - allotment 5 rpg - to come from daily allotment.
26 September 1944: Raid by Oxf Bucks cancelled owing to bad going making it impossible for carriers to move without getting bogged. Prearranged tgts at call had been laid on for this raid. 2 Cinemas and 2 ENSA shows now available in Eindhoven. Apart from operational demands no instructions on numbers who may attend. Extensive patrolling by all three Bns, including contact patrols between Bns owing to the abnormally wide Bde front. HLI front necessitates two OPs being out simultaneously; 13 Med provide one every other day.
27 September 1944: HLI active day patrolling necessitates certain close target restrictions. A quiet 24 hours. Amn allotment restricted to 10 rpg for regt use.
28 September 1944: Regt now prepared to cover front held by 53 Div Recce area Netersel as 83 Fd Regt likely to move North in sp 158 Bde, under comd 7 Armd Bde and relieved by Recce when it left Netersel 26 Sep. At present 83 Fd provide OP but DF tasks in this area issued to btys.
29 September 1944: OP on Oxf Bucks front neutralised or 15 mines by enemy 20 mm gun. This gun was brought up earlier on during the day but engaged by our guns before it could open up and had to withdraw. This gun forms a constant threat to the OP and a constant watch fort its reappearance is kept.
30 September 1944: Owing to the extensive front held by Oxf Bucks a force known at Howards Force has been formed. This force under command 2 IC Oxf Bucks and comprising 'humberettes' lent by the RAF Regt. Eindhoven airfield is used for contact and flank patrols, also into known enemy localities and has produced much accurate infm of great value for HF Tasks.
1 October 1944: Enemy partor penetrated right flank during afternoon - 324 Bty engaged it. Hearsay reports a re-capture of Capt. Paulin's carrier by US paratroops. Quiet apart from HF and some bombards. 71 INTREP used for HF.
2 October 1944: Again quiet. Amn limitation 10 rpg per day. Div bdy reverts to canal. Patrol report considerable enemy movement rd Oirschot - Best - all going East. 459 engaged enemy HD eqpt. Heavy HF programme.
3 October 1944: HF task (Codeword HIPPO) laid on. Enemy appears to be withdrawing. CO and A/Adjt recce new gun area West of Middelbeers. Heavy HF on retreating enemy. 83 Fd supplying one OP per Bty to assist our OPs.
4 October 1944: Regt moves to new area. Ordered to maintain an OP with the Recce Regt. 324 Bty move independently on orders to CO area. 83 Fd take over responsibility for support of Recce. Small fire plan arranged for sp Oxf Bucks. Enemy movement again to East and North. Heavy HF during night.
5 October 1944: Considerable numbers of V Tgts engaged TOT Scale I. Regt takes back sp of Recce Regt from 83 Fd (324 Bty). OPs from 83 withdrawn. Short leave to Antwerp cancelled.
6 October 1944: Quiet 24 hrs. Some bombards. March Table issued for move to new area in Nijmegen Bridgehead. Movement order.
7 October 1944: Regt moves to new locations, in Nijmegen Bridgehead. Long day move. Into action at late afternoon. Slight activity afterwards. Extract from 53 Div Op Instr 24.
8 October 1944: Capt. Marchand's OP hit by shell. Capt Marchand killed. OPA wounded. Otherwise slight activity. Amn restriction 20 rpg but unlimited on DF. Fairly heavy HF fired during night.
9/10 October 1944: Little activity apart from bombards and V Tgts by day and HF by night. Entertainment and baths laid on at rear Div in Nijmegen.
11 October 1944: Carried out experimental shoot for HQRA to determine fuze corrections to fuze 222. Suggest shorten.6. During afternoon CO wounded on 324 gun posn by Anti-personnel bombs - evacuated. Major R.J.H. Lloyd to take over.
12 October 1944: Fire plan of 30 rpg (Field) and 10 rpg (Med) fired in support of raid by Oxf Bucks. Slight shelling in area of RHQ and F Tp Posn - no casualties. Heavy HF fired during night.
13 October 1944: Short leave to Antwerp recommenced. Slight activity, bombards and HF. Sitrep. Special order of the day.
14 October 1944: Slight activity. Div state island may be flooded. Ordered to report min tpt required to be left on island.
15 October 1944: Enemy Sls along canal bank hinder our patrols nightly. Oxf Bucks send patrol across canal to recce possible crossing places, this is first night Sls have not played along canal bank. OP from 133 Fd Regt occupies position South of river Waal to NE of Nijmegen to obtain cross observations onto enemy country East of canal. Own OPs with infantry have bad obs and are exposed. They can only be occupied during darkness. PW reports enemy scared of smoke suspecting it to be gas often. Based on this HF fire laid on with 2 rpg smoke followed by 2 rpg HE 2 mins later. Effect unknown. Experiment not repeated.
16 October 1944: Heavy enemy shellingof forward areas and active CB by us.
17 October 1944: Operations Order No.1. 0900 hrs - Recce parties leave for Berghem.
18 October 1944: 0300hrs - Regt leave Nijmegen for Berghem. We were not sorry to leave. The 'Tip' was a depressing place. The country was desolate and the people unfriendly. The military atmostphere was one of uneasy quietness even after the enemy counter attack threat had deminished. The bridges were shelled regulargly by heavy guns from the Arnhem area and many casualties had occurred on the main rd leading off the Island on which enemy HF was regular. The infantry had been shelled badly and we had lost one officer killed and the CO had been wounded. The column was forced to halt for 30 mins across the pontoon bridge, a favourite enemey HF tgt - fortunately this night he was silent. 0730hrs - Regt moves new area - Regt concs guns not in action. Warning from FS Section of increased activity of enemy 'line crossers' in this area ORs not informed of impending attack. Recce of new gun area some 6 miles away.
19 October 1944: 100 rpg dumped new gun area before regt moves into that area. Recce of new area completed.
20 October 1944: 2000hrs - Regt leaves for new gun area. In action by midnight. Policy - No firing until attack begins. Regt provides patrols owing to fact there is no infantry between us and the enemy. Infantry not taking up forward positions until last possible movement to avoid identification on this sector. Lt.Col. R.V. Hill RA arrives and takes over command of the Regiment.
21 October 1944: Final planning for OP ALAN, attack on 's-Hertogenbosch. Medium reps report, 2 tp comds with BCs and Bty Comd with CO at Bde. Rep from 51 Div Arty reports to RHQ where he will remain during operation. Planning and Regt Control for attacks carried out by 2 IC, Major R.J.H. Lloyd RA, who has been commanding during period since Lt. Col. Tyler was wounded. Lt.Col. Hill remains at Bde with 2 IC during attacks. DF arranged in sp Oxf Bucks who take up posn on start line to form firm base.
22 October 1944: OP ALAN H hr 0630 hrs. Infantry adv with timed programme. No opposition in initial stages, heavy mining encountered along enemy outpost posns. Coloured smoke fired to indicate RAF tgts. Opposition stiffest to North on HLI front in wooded area where enemy strength was anticipated. H tgts and preselected tgts at call fired by Regt or Bty provide all sp needed without calling from other units. 1300 hrs - 4 RWF approach wooded area enemy shelling and mortaring at time heavy. Patrol sent out to recce wooded area reports no enemy. Deeper patrol sent out, bn regroup. Medium firing in sp 7 Armd over Div Bdy endangers 4 RWF. This is stopped. Owing to narrow frontages the problem of NOT firing outside own Bn Bdys needed considerable care and control throughout day. 1500 hrs - 4 RWF patrol reports no enemy or mines in woods. Bn advances towards objective. Infantry report general behaviour of enemy was been to lay down arms and run immediately arty fire is put down.On 4 RWF front considerable number of enemy ran away in disorder as result of timed programme, those coming into the open were shot up by MG fire from sqn 5 R Tks in sp causing many casualties. Oxf Bucks move into attack alongside HLI on their Right. 1645 hrs -4 RWF rech objectie DF taks in sp issued to regt. Oxf Bucks and HLI push forward using fire from own btys in almost continuous sp. Only occasionally is fire from whole regt called for by either; often only 2 Btys allowed by RHQ owing to sp reqd by both Bn simultaneously. 1900 hrs- HLI on objective DF tasks issued. 2115 hrs - Positions Oxf Bucks W Edge Wood, HLI Mariaburg, 4 RWF wooded area.
23 October 1944: Plan dor 23 Oct. 160 Bde as far as possible to POT. This is Div ,main effort. 158 Bde form firm base. 71 Bde: HLI firm base, Oxf Bucks to Heide - rd 's-Hertogenbosch, 4 RWF - when Oxf Bucks gain Heide attack (Regt fire plan). 0645 hrs - Oxf Bucks attack starts. Slow progress owing to Spandau fire. 1300 hrs - 4 RWF meeting heavy shellfire from area Fort Alexander. 1410 hrs - Oxf Bucks reach ? - nearing objective little opposition now. no enemy encountered. 1600 hrs - Regt begins to move to new area one bty at a time. 1630 hrs - Oxf Bucks on objective, 4 RWF nearing objective no opposition.
24 October 1944: 0225 hrs - Regt sp attack by 158 Bde astride rly with R 1/5 Welch, L E LAN R, objective 's-Hertogenbosch Garden City East of Canal. This attack goes extremely well, objective gained with very few casualties. Small force cross bridge at North of Town, gain it intact and hold it. Later this bridge was blown behind this force and bridgehead became useless. 71 Bde now mainly non-tactical except for 4 RWF where role is to clear area to South. This to be done in conjunction with sqn recce 25 Oct; tgts at call laid on: during afternoon regt move, bty at a time to new gun area along main road leading to 's-Hertogenbosch. During night Div arty HF laid on against enemy escape routes from North of town. 53 Div OP instr No 25.
26 October 1944: 4 RWF clear area without arty sp - mines encountered but no enemy. Div Arty engage frequent 'U' tgts in sp 158 Bde. Capt.D.L. Campbell, RA finds many German markes maps (one showing 53 Div in Northern Tip) in former German HQ on E outskirts to town These passed to HQRA. 158 Bde still East off Canal but up to it on all sectors. Personnel message from CRA to all Nos 1.
27 October 1944: Regt moves, bty a time, tp Eastern outskirts of town. Ready by 1000 hrs. 71 Bde stay put. 158 Bde cross Western Canal and clear town. Regt fires in sp on call 83 Fd Regt. Extensive HF programme during night following by HB programme.
28 October 1944: Planningfor 71 Bde to attack West out of 158 Bde bridgehead. Plan changed. 158 Bde enlarge bridgehead. Patrols - HLI and 4 RWF move round to approach canal line from South. HLI remain in posn 4 RWF withdraw after completing patrol to canal West of HLI. Oxf Bucks recce in force from 158 bridgehead, West to canal bridge short of Vlijmen. No enemy encountered. Bridge blown as patrol approaches. CO Oxf Bucks was killed at this bridge whilst doing recce in afternoon.
29 October 1944: 71 Bde role still undecided. 2030 hrs - Bde 'O' Gp to divulge Bde plan.
30 October 1944: Regt in action by 0900hrs. Operations begin 1000 hrs. 9 Tgts at call 4 RWF laid on. No tgts arranged for Oxf Bucks attack. Neither Bn need arty sp and by 1230 hrs both are on objectives having encountered many mines. 1300 hrs - Rumours received that early move likely tomorrow to relieve Belgium Bde in Wessem area. Whole Div being transferred to this front having handed over to 51 Div. This move is designed to meet contemplated enemy counter attack following the attaack in the Helmond area.
31 October 1944: 1030 hrs - Regt leaves for Bree area under comd 71 Bde. Route Vught - Eindhoven - Bree. 1900 hrs - Regt in action in sp Belgium Bde for night. On 1 Nov 71 Bde relieve Belgium Bde and regt moves to new Div Arty Area East of Kinroy.
1 November 1944: 71 Bde take over from Belgium Bde. Regt in action area Mannestraat by 1700 hrs. Bde has two bns up with 4 RWF in res as immediate counter attack force. Counter attack fire plan for 2 Fd and 1 Med Regt produced by BC sp 4 RWF. During night Oxf Bucks adv silently in order to enlarge area Eastwards towards canal.
2 November 1944: One OP estab with each bn. Obs limited. OPs sited to cover likely crossing places over canal. Consolidated DF list produced by HQ RA. OP Instr No.1. CB directed by HQ RA during day. HF laid on by CO for darkness. Oxf Bucks report small enemy recce patrol in their area during night. No clashes.
3 November 1944: Air OP required to investigate conc of barges in Wessem area, but visibility too bad for such a task. Day HF directed by BC in sp HLI. HLI patrol reports no enemy contacted our side of canal. Oxf Bucks Report one Spandau position this side of canal. This was attacked and put out of action.
1600 hrs - Effective Air OP shoot with regt on barges. Own patrols concentrate on cutting near canal banks which seem likely forming up places for enemy counter attack or patrols. Recce regt in sp 71 Bde. 324 Bty supply one OP with 'C' Sqn. DF tasks on their front arranged.
4 November 1944: Oxf Bucks patrol found No enemy at Zandfort crossing, bridge blown; no temporary crossing erected.
2230 hrs - Two Dfs fired by regt scale 5. Enemy patrol attacks forward platoon HLI. Another DF fired scale 3. Attacks dispersed without cas to own tps. During this attack enemy shelled Thorn more intensely than usual.
5 November 1944: During last night's attack OP (not manned a night) with fwd pl was burnt out. More sutherly OP has now to be used. Daylight HF arranged by BCs in sp affiliated Bns. RAF sink 10 barges and damage 20 in Wessem area. Mov of vehs occasionally heard in Wessem area. NO action taken as OP has no visibility on town, or ferry. 2130 hrs - Oxf Bucks patrol has successful encounter with enemy and inflicted cas.
6 November 1944: Regt engages 3 'M' tgts which are enemy posts located by night patrols. German deserter gives infm of location of his coy HQ. This is bombarded by all availble arty in area, scale 3. Premature on gun in 'A' tp. no cas. 2100 hrs - 4 RWF send small recce patrol across canal to Stevensweert. Tgts at call in sp laid on but NOT called for.
Civilian reports enemy bring rations across canal in boat at 1900 hrs daily. This is incorporated in HF programme for next evening. Reports enemy are minelaying on East side of canal, though not extensively.
7 November 1944: Daily HF as before with a more active programme controlled by BCs with HLI and Oxf Bucks. Occasionally a flying bomb (V 1) is seen travelling over Bde front. Bearings taken and passed to HQ RA. Accurate bearings are NOT possible to obtain. Enemy shelling has not been heavy on this front. Chief tgt is Thorn village. Or with recce nets Armd Car on Regt freq for arm patrol in morning.
8 November 1944: Amn exp limited to 5 rpg. Recce patrol successful no fire for regt reqd. Regt fires propaganda shells onto enemy forward areas just before first light.
9 November 1944: Capt Norman and signaller (OP with HLI) captured by enemy on way to OP before first light. This OP was not manned at night but occupied just before first light, being situated with isolated forward pl. It appears that an enemy patrol pentrated between this pl and the Coy area and captured the OP party and an officer of HLI who were walking up to the pl area without escort. Amn allotment increased to 10RPG. For next few days one gun per bty at ranges Bourg Leopold, under bty Capt 323 Bty for calibration. Regt moving to new area further North and nearer canal into div arty area prior to attack across canal and up to river Maas in Roermond area. 3 RHA taking over from regt in present area. To take place 11 Nov.
10 November 1944: 200 rpg dumped new area. Another 200 rpg to be dumped 11 Nov.
11 November 1944: Regt movs to area South of Weert. This position NOT covered by infantry. MGs of Manchesters alongside regt area and sqn of 53 Recce Regt to our flank. No enemy West of Canal through patrols may cross at night. 71 Bde at present in reserve area Bocholt.
12 November 1944: 0330 hrs - Trip flares set off within a few hundred yds of fwd bty and RHQ position. Recce regt suspect enemy patrol. General stand to. No infm. No enemy encountered. Operation 'Mallard' Opsum NO.1.
13 November 1944: Final preparations and orders for 'Mallard' Regt area shelled. One killed, 8 wounded.
14 November 1944: 1730 hrs - 7 Armd Div captured lock intact. 53 Div - 2 Bns 160 Bde across canal.
15 November 1944: Infm to 0800 hrs. Extensive minefields near bridging sites slowed up ops. All 160 Bde at first objectives, now enlarging bridgehead - br building underway. Owing to bridging being slow 71 Bde unlikely to move across canal today. Recce parties move with 158 Bde to recce regt area across canal tonight. 1700 hrs - 158 Bde push out of bridgehead formed by 160 Bde. Cl 9. br now built. Cl.40 anticipated ready by midnight. Recce paries arrive new area after dark and are unable to recce until first light.
16 November 1944: Planned for regt to move in Bde Gp at 0900 hrs, svy party and remainder recce gp to travel at head of regt. Cl 40 br out of action owing to muddy approach. Cl.9 br broken by trying to pass Cl 40 traffic over it. Both expected ready by first light. Should not effect time of move. Regt moves at 1100 hrs. Progress slow. Regt in action 1500 hrs. Inf encounterd little or no opposition requiring no arty sp and by midnight Bde was on its objective facing Roermond with some 300 enemy holding defences est of the Maasc overing the approach to the town. Considerable mining in the area.
17 November 1944: Regt moves to area Baexem. Enemy arty active with heavier concs than previously encountered, mainly in area Horn. RA order extensive CB tgts.
18 November 1944: Inf localities overlooked by enemy OPs in Roermond area and from brickworks our side of Maas. Tpyhoons rocket brickworks; regt fires coloured smoke to indicate.
19 November 1944: Several cases of bty lines being cut. At first thought to be sabotage and reported as such but later found to be due to REs clearing minefields. Regt to move forward to area nearer Horn tomorrow, present area to be taken over by 110 Fd Regt. Move necessary to conform to Corps Arty plans. It appears that the Div Comd wants 71 Bde to make assault crossing of Maas to take Roermond, in any case Div's role is to drive all enemy from West side of Maas which will necessitate attack by 71 Bde on enemy pocket covering the town.
20 November 1944: Regt in action by midday.
21 November 1944: Operation Turf. BMRA estab forward HQ RA with corps arty reps at Bde HQ. Arty battle controlled by CO with adv RHQ at Bde HQ. Anticipated that Cl 40 bridge would be completed by midnight and anti-tank ditch bridged by 0100 hrs. 4 RWF reached anti-tank ditch without much difficulty by 2200 hrs without drawing much enemy fire. Bridging site however shelled by heavy concs continually. Estimated that only 15 mins in every hr can be used for construction. Canal wider than was anticipated. Estimated that bridges will not be complete until 0400 hrs. CO had placed a CBs Rep with REs at bridging site and through his shellreps CB were able to silence enemy guns by midnight, after which bridging progressed by leaps and bounds, ready by 0330 hrs.
22 November 1944: 4 RWF making several abortive attempts to cross anti-tank ditch with arty sp from this regt only. It is essential that this is crossed immediatley in order that Oxf Bucks may complete their operation before light as no movement is possible after first light. 0400 hrs - 4 RWF still held up. Oxf Bucks ordered to make the crossing at 0430 and carry out their attack as planned. CO Oxf Bucks confident that objective can be reached by first light. 0718 hrs - Smoke screen laid down by regt to enable Oxf Bucks and tanks to establish final positions. 0825 hrs - Smoke screen completed and not required any more. DF targets. 2000 hrs - Oxf Bucks attack to clear small group of enemy still this side of river. Arty programme in sp (700 rds per regt) enemy liquidated 28 PW one killed. This area reported flooded.
23 November 1944: River rising in 4 RWF area, one coy has been forced to withdraw slightly to hight ground. River still rising. 1150 hrs - Smoke screen to cover Oxf Bucks re-shuffle owing to river rising.
24 November 1944: Nothing to report.
25 November 1944: Nothing to report.
26 November 1944: Nothing to report.
27 November 1944: Comparative calibration conducted by CO from present Op area.
28 November 1944: Enemy arty activity on increased scale owing to movement of vehs on exposed roads in the area. This movement of vehs from flanking bde continued all day due to reshuffling of bns on div front. Much rain has caused considerale mud in gun areas. Bulldozers have been used to clear entrances but no bty positions have had to be moved owing to condition of ground. 323 Bty moved to get better cover for their men as it is likely we will remain in this position for a considerable time.
29 November 1944: Field Marshal Sir Bernard Montgomery presented immediate awards in 53 Div today at Weert. Those of this regt who received medals were:-
Major, F.D. Davies, RA MC
Capt. D.L. Campbell, RA MC
Capt. P.S Green, RA MC
Capt. A.G. Young, RA MC
Sjt. Hickling F.A. (DCM) MM
Gnr. Mylius W.C.F. MM
30 November 1944: The Supreme Commander visits the Div area. Regt received orders NOT to fire between 0800 and 1430 hrs to avoid inviting retaliation during his visit.
Bde front now from North of Roermond to South of Wessem, held by 3 bns up with Recce under comd holding the Wessem area. As regt cannot cover whole front 3 RHA and later 4 RHA. Sp Recce and Southerly Bn under control of this regt.
1 December 1944: DF Task List No.3.
2 December 1944: Amn exp limited to 10 rpg per day
3 December 1944: Nothing to report.
4 December 1944: Nothing to report.
5 December 1944: Amn exp limited to rpg per day.
6 December 1944: Attack on Lock by 4 RWF and fire plan in sp.
7 December 1944: Transfer of 25 men to Infantry required from regt. Names sent in to HQ RA. OP log.
8 December 1944: Bde Gp come out of line to rest in Bree - Bocholt area, being relieved by 160 Bde. OPs from 133 Fd Regt took over evening 7/8 Dec. Their guns move into action Baexem afternoon 8 Dec. Regt comes out of action when 33 Fd Regt ready.
9 December 1944: Regt moves to rest area being billetted in Bocholt. Maintenance and inspections, recreational training (incl inter troop soccer competition) and troop parties. Estimated length of stay 12 days. Training programme arranged for this period.
17 December 1944: Regt moved in 71 Bde Gp to Wavre Notre Dame near Lierre. It is now disclosed that the whole of 53 Div is being relieved, and concentrating area Lierre - Bourg Leopold - Brussels for a few days prior to moving to Eindhoven area for special training for a special role.
20 January 1945: Division moves to area Helmond for refitting for a role too secret to be divulged.
21-30 January 1945: Regt at Helmond:- Training and Maintenance. Courses continue. CO and 2 IC aend conferences and carry out recce for future ops. The remainder of the regt remains 'in the dark'.
Other activities: CO holds GPO and CPOs exercise. Day's course shooting at Bourg Leopold. Calibration - comparative with 2nd Army Standard Gun - carried out. Div signals exercise "Blower" lasting full day.
1 February 1945: Regt still at Helmond. The lull before the battle broken by 'Q' planning, collection of 3 Weasels for regt, emergency rations etc.
2 February 1945: CO returns to Bde HQ. Briefing of BCs and RHQ staff.
3 February 1945: 1800 hrs - Regt moves in Div Arty coln to Nijmegen.
4 February 1945: 0900 hrs - Regt arrives Nijmegen. Guns during night were put into harbour areas concealed on gun positions to be occupied on D - 1. This area West of Groesbeek. The remainder of regt confined to barracks in Nijmegen. All Div Signs on vehicles erased and replaced by yellow crosses. Weather extremely bad, mud everywhere and very cramped and damp accommodation but such conditions are overawed by the general air of Expectancy about forthcoming operations.
5 February 1945: Recce of battle posns continues. Bde and Bns arrive. BCs join them for final planning, and study of air photographs.
6 February 1945: CRA runs through the arty plan for all offrs of Div Arty and 19 Cdm SP regt. Adm orders 1 and 2.
7 February 1945: 1400 hrs - Regt moves to battle posns alongside 4 Cdn Regt who had been holding this front for the past 3 months. After dark btys dump amn in areas already recced in Groesbeek which is at present line of FDLs. No firing by regt before fire plan. Normal HF by Cdn Div Arty.
8 February 1945: "D" day for OP "VERITABLE". 0515 hrs - Firing begins with CB programme. 1000 hrs - H Hr. 4 RWF move out of Groesbeek behind barrage. Arty sp between regt and Bde normal with in addition, rep from 72 Med and smoke rep from Gds Armd with TAC HQ. 1245 hrs - Regt, which was superimposed on barrage, having come off barrage at 1200 hrs moves to new area in Groesbeek to be in position to support 71 Bde beyond its objective after barrage ends. 1500 hrs - 2IC moves forward in tank to recce future gun area in basin between Groesbeek and the Forest. This area reported (prior to operation) to be heavily mined. No mines in regt area, but very bogged position. 1600 hrs - All bns on objectives inside Reichswald Forest with very few casualties, having met little or no opposition and taken about 160 PW. TAC Bde moves forward to edge of Forest where heavy enemy DF arty on X tracks causes considerable casualties to troops moving forward into the forest along this main axis. 160 Bde then moves through and during night assaults the Siegfried line without difficulty reaching objectives by noon 9 Feb. North of Bde posn now covered by 15 Div but South remains on an open flank from which there is considerable shelling on fwd tps but no clashes with enemy troops. Regt Amn Expenditure from 0500 to 1800 hrs 8 Fe. No round was fired during night 8/9 Feb.
9 February 1945: Regt,moving last of Div Arty, not able to move fwd as early as was anticipated (during night 8/9) owing to increasing traffic difficulties and extremely bad road conditions. 1630 hrs - CRA orders one bty out of action preparatory to move. 1640 hrs - 323 Bty ready to move: by 2000 hrs, regt was in action with RHQ, 20 guns in action - 4 bogged (these 4 were on position). Later towed into action by 2 IC's tank. (towing vehicles from bogs was its only use; in all other respects it was an infernal hinderance). Little firing during the day, chiefly U Tgts in sp 16202 Bde.
10 February 1945: Bde virtually in res with only 4 RWF holding an exposed flank to the South alongside 158 Bde. It is evident that mov is going to be the primary difficulty until the Div gets clear of the forest. Warning order received from CRA that in view of future Ops Div Arty will probably be withdrawn clear of present area prior to forwad deployment. Personal message from CRA "Tell troops shooting on 'D' Day was absolutely excellent. Very Fine effort getting into action last night". Regt fires U and M Tgts in sp 160 Bde. Oxf Bucks move fwd to take over from 7 RWF who clear woods to SE. 323 OPs continue to sp Oxf Bucks. Regt amn expenditure for past 24 hrs - 500 rds.
11 February 1945: 72 Med rep with Regt reports to 83 Fd for present OPs. 71 Bde relieves 158 Bde who with 160 Bde are to clear forest SE. Regt sends rep to 43 Div on Fire Control net. 1400 hrs - TAC HQ moves. 360 rds fired during past 24 hrs.
12 February 1945: Recce parties leave to recce new area. Moving via Frasselt. Regt expected to move 1300 hrs. Route taken by recce parties 2 ft under water still rising. Gun area OK but no feasable route into area. Whole recce party bogged and MCs stranded in flood. Regt unable to move because north route under water and main axis closed for urgent repairs. Regt pulls out of posn and moves to Groesbeek. Other regts having been moved earlier get into action forward. 71 Bde (with TAC HQ) moves forward to conc behind 158 Bde.
13 February 1945: "O"Gp at 0600 hrs, fire plan arranged incl barrage 4 FD and one Med. 71 Bde move SE to clear wood up to Eastern Edge of Forest, while 158 Bde clear woods to South. HLI Rt, 4 RWF Lt both on objectives by 1300 hrs. Rep from 19 Cdn SP Regt now with TAC HQ in direct sp 71 Bde until own regt in action again.
14 February 1945: Recce parties set out once more to recce area given by CRA. Road near area mined and near area impossible. CRA informed and 2 IC recce area which is farthest south the rds will allow. Mines on main rd cleared by 2 IC and recce party. HLI attack from forward edge of wood, limited objective to gain better obs on rd running M/S. Regt NOT to move, recce parties ordered to return as it is throught that Division will be relieved withing next 72 hrs and be withdrawn to Nijmegen bridgehead in place of 49 Div.
15 February 1945: 43 Div attack South from Cleve across Div front, 19 Cdn Regt superimposed on their fire plan and available for sp 71 Bde which they did after considerable couscing.
16 February 1945: Billiting parties ready to leave for Nijmegen but recalled in time. Regt to go into action in area previously recced by 2IC, Regt prepared to move not later 1300 hrs. Reported that enemy are withdrawing on our front. Thick fog at first light HF fire laid on with 19 Cdn on registered tgts along main rd. Fog clears 4 RWF ordered to send strong fighting patrol out with arty sp. 19 Cdn only available to sp 4 RWF. Small timed programme arranged by BC 324. During programme 19 Cdn ordered to sp 43 Div who need all available arty. CRA says we can have 19 Cdn for this patrol. 1345 hrs - Regt in action now take over sp 4 RWF; timed programmes having been fired and 19 Cdn are released.