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    War Diary: 1st Bn Royal Tank Regiment

    Month and year: October 1944

    The 1st Bn Royal Tank Regiment October 1944 war diary covers the units time in the Tilburg / S'HERTOGENBOSCH area of the Netherlands.

    National Archive Reference: WO 171/865

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    Page 1 of 7
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    1:25,000 Sheet 11 NE OSS1 Oct0800Regiment moved from area RUFKEN 439445 to HEES 4850. Regt leaguered around RHQ which was at 483511. Regt was
    1400now in a counter attack role and in the afternoon Sqn Comds RECCED battle posns to be taken up in the case of
    2000COs conference to discuss results of Sqn Recce's.
    2 Oct0530Reveille & Stand To. Normal Routine.
    1400RHQ moved to 470507.
    3 Oct0530Reveille and Stand To. Normal Routine. Orders received to take over the line from 5 D.G. on the following day.
    1:25,000 Sheet 11 SWS'HERTOGENBOSCH4 Oct0530Reveille.
    0700Recce Tp moved out to take over from Recce Tp 5 D.G. The remainder of the Regt moved out in the following order
    0900 - "B" Sqn. 1000 - "C" Sqn. 1030 - RHQ. 1100 - "A" Sqn.
    The deployment of the Regtl Gp was as follows :- RHQ at 453523. "B" Sqn at 449523 and "C" at 449522, each with
    tps in Battle Positions. "A" Sqn HQ was at 450522, with tps at 429519, 429509, 440503. Recce Tp operated out
    in front of the Sqns, its HQ being at 434511. Its task was to harass the enemy, and much of this was done on
    foot. The enemy held the village of NULAND 4050 and the general line of the road running S.E. to 414494.
    At night Recce Tp withdrew and leaguered with RHQ. Inf of 1 RB joined the forward tank posns, and B Echelon
    personnel manned infantry posts on the road between RHQ & GEFFEN at about 441525. CC Bty 5 RHA had D.F. tasks
    arranged in front of Sqn posns.
    Page 2 of 7
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    1:25,000 Sheet 11 SWS'HERTOGENBOSCH5 Oct0530Reveille. Recce Tp moved out to take up its posns. The day passed quietly.
    1830Recce Tp leaguered with RHQ.
    6 Oct0530Reveille. Recce Tp moved out as for the day before.
    0830A Honey tk probing down the road HEES - S'HERTOGENBOSCH was bazooked at 405495. The enemy brewed this tank the
    following night. The rest of the day passed quietly.
    7 Oct0530Routine same as for preceeding days. A quiet day.
    1830Recce Tp leaguered up as usual.
    8 Oct0530Reveille. Routine as before. N.T.R.
    9 Oct0530Reveille. Recce Tp moved out.
    0700Recce Tp was releived by Recce Tp 5 D.G. The relief proceeded in the same order as when the Regt took over from 5 DG.
    Regt moved back to same posns as before, in HEES, RHQ at 470507.
    1:25,000 Sheet 11 NE OSS10 Oct0630Reveille. Maintenance & Normal Routine.
    11 Oct0630Reveille. Normal Routine. Orders received to relieve 5 DG the following day. THANK
    1:25,000 Sheet 11 SWS'HERTOGENBOSCH12 Oct0600Reveille.
    0700Recce Tp moved out to take over from 5 DG Recce. Remainder of the relief proceeded as before. RHQ at 453523. The
    plan of defence was the same, but the Sqns moved their HQs slightly as it was considered that a certain amount of
    information was being passed to the enemy via civilians. Remainder of the day passed quietly.
    1830Recce Tp leaguered with RHQ.
    Page 3 of 7
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    1:25,000 Sheet 11 SWS'HERTOGENBOSCH13 Oct0530Reveille. Recce Tp moved out. A quiet day.
    0630Recce Tp leaguered up.
    14 Oct0200The enemy attempted an attack on GEFFEN 4251, coming in from the North over the railway line. The motor platoon
    of 1 RB dealt with this satisfactorily and the enemy was despatched with casualties. He was found to have left
    behind 12 boxes of dynamite, and it seemed likely that the object of his operation was to blow down GEFFEN church
    tower, which he thought was being used as an O.P.
    0730Reveille. Recce Tp moved out as usual.
    0930The Motor Platoon in GEFFEN captured a prisóner at 419521 who stated that a party of some 20 Germans were dug in
    along the track running S.W. from that point.
    1030C Coy 1 RB put in an attack on the enemy pocket, which gave up very quickly. 17 prisoners were taken, including
    one R.S.M. and two Germans killed. The remainder of the day was quiet.
    1830Recce Tp leaguered up as usual.
    15 Oct0530Reveille. Recce Tp moved out. Whilst on a patrol in the morning, a Recce Tp Offr was wounded by enemy small arms fire.
    1830Recce Tp leaguered.
    16 Oct0530Reveille. Recce Tp moved out.
    0700Relief by 5 DG started, and continued in the same way as heretofore.
    Regt went back to HEES as before with RHQ at 470507.
    Page 4 of 7
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    1:25,000 Sheet 11 NE OSS17 Oct0630Reveille. Normal Routine.
    18 Oct0630Reveille. Normal Routine.
    19 Oct0630Reveille. Normal Routine. Plans were now under way for a large scale operation designed to clear the whole
    German salient South of the R. MAAS. Conferences were held for Sqn Ldrs at 1400 & 2000 hrs.
    20 Oct0630Reveille. Normal Routine. Final plans were made for the forthcoming operation and orders were issued.
    21 Oct0630Reveille.
    1:25,000 Sheet 11 SWS'HERTOGENBOSCH1400Regiment moved to concentration area at RUFKEN 4344. RHQ was at 437448 and the Sqns close by. Sqn tks were as
    follows :- C Sqn to take up battle posns to provide right flank protection. "B" Sqn to operate in support of
    1/6 Queens Inf Regt, who were attacking in the direction of DOORNHOERK 3844. "A" Sqn when ordered, was to push
    out to the area 3846 and there be prepared to give support to the North towards LOOVAART 3846 or to the South
    towards BERLICUM 3745. Large scale artillery support was available : harrassing fire started at 2000 hrs and
    went on all night.
    22 Oct0530Reveille. The operation started and "C" sqn moved out to a battle posm in the area 400459. They met very
    slight opposition, and were mortared slightly.
    1000"B" Sqn joined 1/6 Queens and their operation started at 1030 hrs.
    "A" Sqn was not used and remained in leaguer near RHQ.
    1830By last light 1/6 Queens with B Sqn had reached the area of DOORNHOEK 3844 and Sqns leaguered in their posms
    for the night.
    Page 5 of 7
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    1:25,000 Sheet 11 SWS'HERTOGENBOSCH23 Oct0530Reveille. "B" Sqn continued to operate with the Queens and at 1000 hrs, A Sqn was ordered to perform their task.
    1000It was found impracticable however as the going was very soft and tanks bogged very easily. This manoeuvre
    was therefore called off. RHQ moved on to 398449.
    1830At last light Sqns leaguered in the posns they had during the day. "B" Sqn had now reached the final objective
    for this phase of the operation, and were in the area BERLICUM 3745.
    24 Oct0530Reveille. The infantry div operating on our right had reached during the night, the outskirts of HINTHAM 3447
    and from a geographical point of view, it was clear that the div could be of no further use on this sector.
    1000Orders were received to concentrate the Regiment in the area RUFKEN 4344.
    1400RHQ moved to 432446 and the Sqns followed and leaguered close by.
    1715The Regtl Gp., moved across DINTHER bridge 425409, to a leaguer area at HOUTERT 412406, arriving at 1930 hrs.
    25 Oct0700Reveille. The Bde was now directed on UDENHOUT, with the Regt in reserve. The manouevre started at first light
    but went somewhat slowly, and at 1700 hrs the order was received that no move was expected before the next day.
    1:25000 Sh 18 N.W. Boxtel26 Oct0645Regt Gp moved to 327367 in the area BOXTEL whilst 5 R Tks cleared HELVOIRT 2640.
    1000Regt moved across the ESCH bridge, through HESSAKER 3827, MOLENSTRAAT 3728 to HELVOIRT 2740. Here it passed
    1:25000 Sh 17 N.E. TILBURG1400through 5 R Tks and pushed WEST through LAAR 2440 to UDENHOUT 2037. The outskirts of UDENHOUT were reached
    1:25000 Sh 10 S.E. DRUNEN,without much opposition, but the enemy reacted when the Sons started to move around the town to take up
    defence posns and some sharp fighting with infantry occurred. In the course of this, two Cromwolls
    were bazooked and a German Colonel, commanding 1036 Gr. Regt, was shot up and severely wounded.
    Page 6 of 7
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    26 Oct1800By last light the situation was firmly in hand and "C" Coy 1 R.B. came up to aid the tks in the defence of the
    town. "A" Sqn were in the area 213375, "B" Sqn at 200382 and "C" Sqn at 198173. 8H came up to the town ready to
    pass through and go on to LOON OP ZAND 1539 at first light next morning. The night passed without incident.
    RHQ at 205383.
    27 Oct0530Reveille and stand to. 8H passed through and moved on towards LOON OP ZAND. The Sqns passed out, "A" Sqn to the
    main TILBURG Rd., at 224358, "B" Sqn to 192392 and "C" Sqn to 194362.
    1000RHQ moved to 204378. 8H found going towards LOON OP ZAND, slow and determined opposition was encountered. By mid
    afternoon they had reached the outskirts of the town and inf of the 51st (H) Div went in in the evening and
    cleared the place up
    1800"A" Sqn moved to HOUTSCHESTRAAT, 179381 preparatory to passing through at first light next morning and going on
    towards OOSTERHOUT.
    1:25000 Sh. 10 S.W. OOSTERHOUT Sh 17 N.W. RELEN28 Oct0530Reveille. At first light, Regt Gp led by "A" Sqn passed through HOUTSCHESTRAAT 179381, along the E - W road to
    157380, then N to LOON OP ZAND and on west along the axis of the road to 115396. "A" & "B" Sqns were deployed
    in front and "C" Sqn in reserve. A fair number of inf were encountered but mopped up without a great deal of
    trouble : a certain amount of trouble came from S.P. guns firing A.P. but good progress was made. By 1500, the tks
    had reached the cross rds at 105397 and there turned NNW towards KLEIN DONGEN 1742. They reached villages by
    last light and pushed on just North of them. Four A/Tk guns including two S.P. guns & a considerable number of
    enemy vehicles were destroyed during the day & about 60 P.W. taken. A signal of congratulation on the good work
    done by the Regt Gp was received from the Div Comd.
    1700RHQ moved on to 184420.
    1830The Sqns leaguered up in the posns they had reached & 1/7 Queens came under comd. They placed one Coy with each
    fwd Sqn and were to push on to the river DONGE, with patrols during the night to investigate whether the bridges
    were intact and if so, to secure them. This was not, in fact, carried out. The night passed quietly.
    Page 7 of 7
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    29 Oct0530Reveille. Recce Tp put out patrols and found that the bridge at 158420 was intact and the one at 161428 was
    blown, though fit for "SCISSORS" bridge. This was laid down as quickly as possible and the Sqns passed over it.
    "B" Sqn took the Northern Rd, through HORST 1442 of and "A" Sqn went on to the South through HEIKANT 1341. "A" Sqn
    (Transcription note 1442 & 1341 are updated by pencil to 0442 & 0341)
    pushed on without much trouble and by midday had reached 115414. By this time Recce Tp had been through the
    (Transcription note 115414 updated to 015414 by pencil)
    towns of DONGEN and GOSTERHOUT and found them virtually cleared. "B" Sqn met trouble on the Northern route
    1100however in the shape of A.P. fire which KO'd two of their tks. However the A/T guns were destroyed and the Sqn
    1500went on North to HAVEN 1043. All the bridges over the WILHELMINA CANAL were blown.
    1800By last light the situation was satisfactory and the town clear. RHQ was at 112420 and the Sqns with infantry
    of 131 Bde took up posns in defence of the town. "B" Sqn was to the North, "C" to the South & "A" Sqn back
    at HEISTRAAT 133419.
    Sheet 10 S.W. OOSTERHOUT30 Oct0530Reveille. Sqns remained in posn, except that "B" Sqn pushed one tp on to the canal in the area HAVEN 1043 and
    Recce Tp had two patrols out, one to 015449 and one to the bridge at 024464. There was a certain amount of
    shelling on the town of COSTERHOUT itself, causing casualties to civilians. There were enemy snipers on the
    western bank of the WILHELMINA CANAL opposite HAVEN who were engaged by our infantry.
    0800RHQ moved to 107423.
    31 Oct0600Reveille. Situation as yesterday. Sqn HQs :- "A" Sqn at 114424 : "B" Sqn at 107426 and "C" Sqn at 106425