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    War Diary: 102nd Anti Tank Regiment

    Month and year: November 1944

    The 102nd Anti Tank Regiment November 1944 war diary covers the unit's time in the area around Nijmegen

    National Archive Reference: WO 171/929

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    Page 1 of 11
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    1C.O. visits forward Tp of 107 Bty at 0615 hrs.
    C.O. visits HQ RA at 0930 hrs and carries on to 288 Bty.
    No change in Bty locations.
    1700 hrs. .Cs Conference attended by BCs of 99, 107, 288 and 289 Btys, and BC 128 Bty.
    C.O. goes through orders for Operation NOAH.
    1745 hrs. B.C. of 128 Bty leaves and conference continues on domestic lines.
    C.O. outlines to Bty Comds his ideas regarding general discipline
    and administration. C.O. discusses NCO positions and outlines his policy
    as "make or break". The question of one or two senior NCOs who are very
    old "Noodles" is brought and C.O. is of the opinion that it is unfair to
    carry them with Nos. 1 ranks if they are not doing the job of No. 1. Two
    particularly old members of the Regt are affected - Sgts M. SPOWART and
    E. LUGKMAN. Both these NCOs are over 40 years of age and it is decided to
    get them returned to civilian life if possible.
    C.O. outlines his policy for the running of a Cadre Class for potential Nos. 1.
    It is decided that each Bty will nominate 6 men for this and the Class will
    begin in the Barracks in NIJMEGEN on 4 Nov. personnel will be accommodated
    with B Bty Echelon who are in the Barracks and the course will be run
    concurrently with the present Composite Bty.
    Staff for the Course will be as follows: Major FW WARD (at present attached
    to the Regt),Lieuts F.L. WILLIAMS and H.W. SMITH, RSM ROCKETT, BSM GREENY
    (99 Bty),Sgt KIRKWOOD (RHQ).
    Administration and rationing will be taken on by Capt C.R. PAINE, Capt Q of
    107 Bty.
    The Course is to consist of Marching and Rifle Drill, 6-pr Gun Drill (incl
    Sight Testing),Duties of Nos. 1, Duties of NCOs, Maintenance of 6-prs,
    Maintenance of Carriers, P.T. Technical instruction is to be carried out
    by Fitters on loan from 99 and 107 Btys. The duration of the course is
    to be a fortnight.
    Page 2 of 11
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    2C.O. visits some gun positions of 99 Bty at 0630 hrs.
    C.O. visits 288 Bty at 1130 hrs and talks to all the Bty NCOs.
    During afternoon C.O. visits gun positions of 128 Bty and also visits 107
    Bty and 231 Bde. 231 Bde are being relieved tonight by 508 R.C.T. (American).
    At 0930 hrs Major F.W. WARD visits C.O. at RHQ and is put in the picture
    regarding the Cadre Class which he is to run.
    288 Bty relieve 289 Bty in the SNODENHOCK area. Relief completed by 2030 hrs
    without incident. 289 Bty returns to reserve on the island. 288 Bty do
    not take over all 289 Btys gun positions but alter the position of the most
    northerly guns, getting them into a rather more comfortable and less exposed
    and observed area.
    2000 hrs. Bty locations now are :-
    99 Bty 694684 ( 69 Bde)
    107 Bty 721656 (508 RCT)
    288 Bty 679707 (506 RCT)
    289 Bty 694670 (In reserve)
    128 Bty 712679 (151 Bde)
    3.0630 hrs. C.O. visits some gun positions in 288 Bty.
    0930 hrs. C.O. goes off on tour of the Regtl and Bty Echelons accompanied
    by Major R.A. BARNETT MC.
    1200 hrs. C.O. visits the Barracks at NIJMEGEN to see Major WARD and discuss
    the final details of the Cadre Class which starts tomorrow at 0830 hrs.
    1250 hrs. The General's ADC rings up to fix up GOC's visit to the Regt.
    The General is expected to visit the Regt at 1000 hrs tomorrow and will
    remain with the Regrt until 1200 hrs.
    Page 3 of 11
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    4C.O. visited junior NCOs Cadre Class at the Barracks in NIJMEGEN at 0830.hrs
    and gave the opening address.
    1000 hrs Major General L.O. LYNE D.S.O. (the new Div Cmdr) visited RHQ where
    he met the following officers:-
    C.O. Major. R.A. Barnett M.C., Major A.T.F. Stallard,Major.G.R.Balfour M.C.
    Major A.W.Trippier M.C., Major.T.A.Wigglesworth and Capt.J.K.Boag (Adjutant),
    after chatting to these officers for quarter of an hour he went off to visit
    289 Bty (reserve bty) and also visited Bty 'HQ' of 99 Bty.
    The C.O. visited 107 Bty and guns during the afternoon.
    Except for usual spasmodic shelling and mortaring the front remains quiet
    but it is known that the enemy is getting more control and organization into
    the formations facing us, and he is definitely bringing up more guns.
    5Bty and RHQ locations remain unchanged.
    The C.O. visited the Cadre Class in the Barracks at NIJMEGEN.
    6At 0630 hrs C.O. visited 107 Bty.
    At 1700 hrs C.O. talked to all subulterns in the Regt at RHQ.
    All the subulterns on the strength attended except, Lt.P.G.O'Neill and
    LT. F.H. Garner both of whom are on leave in Antwerp (48 hrs leave).
    Page 4 of 11
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    C.O. visited 288 Bty at 0630 hrs.
    7Letter received from HQ RA giving establishment on guns of the now re-organized
    Inf A TK Regt as 4 Btys each 3 Troop.
    1 of 3 SP Valentines 17 Pdr.
    1 of 3 Towed 17 Pdr.
    1 of 4 Towed 6 Pdr.
    As this new establishment is considered definitely inferior to our present
    C.O. visits CRA at 1000 hrs to protest and give reasons which are as follows:-
    (1) The towed I7 pdr is definitely not liked by any Regt equipped
    with them. (This Reg't which had them in Sicily is no exception) The reasons
    towed 17 Pdr are not liked are:-
    (a) Difficulty of getting them into action with present gun tower
    which is unsuitable.
    (b) Large numbers of casualties in units equipped with them
    because of (a) above
    (2) The SP Valentine 17 pdr while being an improvement on towed
    17 Pdrs is not as good as M.10s for the following reasons.
    (a) Gun only fires' over a limited arc backwards.
    (b) Power and engine performance of the mounting is not as good
    as M.10.
    (c) NO intercommunication for the crew.
    (d) Representatives from the Regt have already experienced them
    and reported adversely with result that our M.10 and 6 Pdr crews know that
    it is not as good a weapon as they already have. Being armed with a less
    good weapon in the fifth year of war will have a bad effect on morale.
    Similarly the dis satisfaction of all units equipped with towed 17 Pdrs is
    also well known to all ranks.
    Page 5 of 11
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    7C.O. visits Cadre Class in Barracks NIJMEGEN at 1100 hrs and carries on to
    Echelon where he interviews EME and T/Adjt.
    T/Adjt to live at Main RHQ from today.
    289 Bty hold a successful dance in NIJMEGEN. C.O. attends.
    8C.O. visits 99 Bty at 0615 hrs.
    C.O. decides that we ought to move the reserve Bty off the island and concentrate
    it in Barracks NIJMEGEN where it can get ahead with maintenance and Training
    i.e. small arms shooting etc. HQ RA are asked if we may move the Bty off
    the island. The Tactical situation on C.O.s opinion does not require reserve
    Bty on the island.
    1700 hrs B.C.s Conference. C.O. informs B.Cs of relief of 30 Corps by
    2nd Cnd Corps. We are now in Cdn Army. BCs told of reorganization.
    Everyone is unanimous on the futility of the reorganization and it is
    regarded as a definite step backwards. General opinion is that morale
    is bound to suffer. Training will continue as at present and a further
    Cadre Class will be run. Btys resting in the Barracks to organize
    training. Particular reference to shooting small arms etc. Resting guns
    with composite Bty to be put on 5 day cycle instead of 4 as at present.
    Zeroing of Small arms. Start
    103 Bty 6 Cdn A/Tk Regt/relieving 128 Bty/86 A/Tk Regt at 1730 hrs.
    Relief completed but for one gun at 2100 hrs. Cnd passed at 2000.hrs
    Last gun will be put in tomorrow morning when last gun of 128 Bty will
    pull out.
    Page 6 of 11
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    9C.O. goes out as usual at 0600 hrs.
    Btys remain in same locations. Front quiet but for usual shelling and
    mortaring occasionally.
    River rising slightly.
    Area that Regt will assemble in event of "NOAH" is altered from area 6465
    to area 6165.
    10C.O. out as usual.
    Relief of 107 Bty by 289 Bty postponed 24 hours.
    11C.O. out as usual.
    River rising
    L Tp HQ (99 Bty) gets two direct hits from fairly heavy shells. No casualties.
    In view of probability of 'Island' being flooded arrangements are made so that
    guns can be got out quickly.
    239 Bty relieved 107 Bty.
    12Church Service held at Barracks in NIJMEGEN.
    Padre reads out names of all fallon in the Regt in present campaign.
    1030 hrs. First code-word of Operation NOAH received, i.e. "Water Wings".
    1400 hrs. Second code-word of Operation NOAH received, i.e. "Spring Tide".
    C.O. appreciates situation and reports to HQ RA. No action to be taken
    meantime river rising fairly rapidly.
    Second-in-Command does a recce of the Regtl assembly area with represenatives
    from Btys.
    1700 hrs Bty Cmdrs visit RHQ and C.O. rehearses with them action to be taken in
    event of Codeword "Deluge" being received.
    Page 7 of 11
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    13No change. River still rising slightly. HQ RA still refuse permission to
    got anything off "Island", but are considering Regt's ideas on the subject.
    C.O. wishes to thin out in view of the state of ground and any tank threat
    being confined to roads.
    Leaguering areas South of WAAL recced in case of evacuation of "Island".
    14River steady. No further rising. It is now up to bottom of Bund. In view
    of the heavy going on the Island, the threat of flooding, and owing to the
    fact that any tank threat must confine itself to the roads HQ RA agrees
    to a general re-shuffle. The following is laid on. The Cdn Bty with their
    17-prs towed by Rams will pull out. 288 Bty less their M.10 Tp will pull
    out. 99 Bty and 289 Bty by a bit of adjustment will take over responsibility
    for the whole front, 289 Bty the Southern part up to excl AAM cross-rds;
    99 Bty the Northern half from incl the AAM cross-rds. 288 Bty M.10 Tp will
    concentrate and will be Regtl reserve; they will come up on Regtl net.
    288 Bty pull out less M.10 Tp and find quarters with 107 Bty, who are
    meantime in reserve in the Inf Barracks NIJMEGEN.
    C.O. sees all B.Cs at 1030 hrs at RHQ, lay the plot on and by 1900 hrs all
    Btys report operation finished.
    Locations now are :- 99 Bty ...
    107 Bty ... 717611
    288 Bty (less M.10 TP) 717611
    289 Bty ...
    M.10 Tp 288 Bty
    New system of reliefs from today is to be as follows :-
    Page 8 of 11
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    14 (contd)Northern Area Southern Area Reserve M.10 Tp Barracks
    14/15 Nov 99 Bty 289 Bty 288 Bty 107 & 288 Btys less M.10 Tp
    18/19 Nov 107 Bty 289 Bty 99 Bty 288 & 99 Btys less M.10 TP
    22/23 Nov 107 Bty 288 Bty 289 Bty 99 & 289 Btys less M.10 Tp
    26/27 Nov 99 Bty 288 Bty 107 Bty 289 & 107 Btys less M.10 Tp
    In effect this gives 6-pr detachments eight days out - eight days in, and
    M.10s four days out - 4 days Regtl reserve - eight days in.
    The Composit Resting Bty is dissolved and all guns and personnel rejoin Btys.
    150915 hrs. Div Comd visits NCOs Cadre Class at the Inf Barracks NIJMEGEN.
    Everything went well and the GOC was pleased with what he saw and in a short
    address to the Class told them so.
    1430 hrs. C.O. attends a Conference at HQ RA.
    River steady.
    Shelling and mortaring as usual. 289 Bty guns also troubled by a good deal
    of spandauing at night.
    160630 hrs. C.O. visits 289 Bty gun positions.
    1000 hrs. New O.C. Div Signals visits C.O. accompanied to by Maj J. HABBERFIELD.
    1130 hrs. C.O. visits Barracks at NIJMEGEN inspect the Cadre . Class and
    go into training programme of 107 Bty.
    River steady.
    It is not raining today.
    17Front remains quiet except for usual spasmodic mortaring and shelling.
    Page 9 of 11
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    18Nothing of importance to report.
    107 Bty relieves 99 Bty less M.10 to TP.
    River receding slightly.
    19Church Parade in village church (SLIJK EWIJK).
    Very good attendance and turn out.
    Second Regtl NCOs Cadre Class assembles at the Barracks in NIJMEGEN.
    Six students per Bty.
    20B.Cs Conference in the Barracks NIJMEGEN.
    C.O. addresses B.Cs on necessity for maintaining a high standard of discipline
    and weeding out of unsuitable offrs, NCOs and men. Promotions discussed
    and several vacancies filled.
    BQMS PETERSON of 289 Bty to be BSM of 107 Bty.
    Sgt BAILEY F MM of 107 Bty to be BQMS of 289 Bty.
    21Advance Parties called for. Regt will be moving on relief on or after
    27 Nov, to area VLADALOO just North of DIXMUDE 5882.
    Regtl advance party made up as follows.
    2 i/c Major RA Barnett MC 1-15 cwt - 1 jeep-1 M/C & 1 X 3 tonner plus
    Bty advance parties of 1-M/C - 1-15 cwt plus 1-15 cwt or jeep with a
    Capt in charge of each party. Parties to RV at DIV report centre near
    DIXMUDE at 1000.hrs on 23 Nov 44.
    22288 Bty relieves 289 Bty less M.10.Troop.
    151 Bde relieves 231 Bde.
    Wet day but river not rising.
    Page 10 of 11
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    23Front remains quiet except for usual shelling and mortaring.
    still wet and cold.
    Lt.Col.Charles cmdg 5 Bn East Yorks comes to dinner in the mess along with
    Major D.Allen BMRA and Major J.Habberfield O.C. RA Sig.Coy.
    24Front remains quiet except for usual shelling and mortaring.
    Wet miserable day. River rising.
    The C.O. is President of a F.G.C.M. in NIJMEGEN today.
    25The Highland Division are relieving 101 American Airborne DIV and as their
    DIV HQ is moving into (SLIJK EWIJK) which is within their DIV boundary our
    RHQ-has to move.
    Lt.Marriott recces area in OOSTERHOUT and at 1400 hrs RHQ moved to the village.
    This turned out to be a better village and everyone gets into good billets.
    The Electric light works.
    Wet miserable day. River rising.
    26The river has now risen to a point beyond its previous high water mark.
    0945 hrs Regtl Church Parade in the Protestant Church in SLIJK FWIJK.
    (Rev. T.A.Lovegrove.C.F. MC)
    Relief of 107 Bty by 99 Bty put off 24 hours in view of pending move of DIV
    from the island.
    C.O. receives a copy of the New W.E. for an A TK Regt in an Inf Div.
    Page 11 of 11
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    2799 Bty relieves 107 Bty less M.10. Troop.
    231 Bde relieve 69 Bde.
    1400 hrs C.O. visits Brig.Stanier who is at present Cmdg 50 Div to discuss
    arrangements for A/Tk defence of 237 Bde area.
    Brig. Stanier is anxious to cut down guns to minimum.
    28Wet miserable day.
    Recce parties of A/Tk Regt of 49 Div (55 A/Tk) arrive and do recces preparatory
    to taking over from 50 (N) Div.
    291530 hrs bomb dropped near gate of Barracks in NIJMEGEN 2 killed and 3 wounded
    in 288 Bty. 3 wounded in 289 Bty.
    288 Bty pull out of their positions and concentrate in the Barracks with 107
    Bty and 289 Bty prior to moving to area DEURNE to join 15 (S) Div and to taking
    the place of 97 A/Tk Regt who are to be broken up for Inf and RA reinforcements.
    30Major General Graham who has come back to the Div after his accident visits
    the Barracks in NIJMEGEN and addresses an assembly of old members of the Regt.
    He explains the position regarding 50 Div to everyone and tells them what is
    happening to each of the units in the Div.
    The General is full of praise for the "Noodles" and says our efforts in the
    early days in Normandy did a great deal towards keeping us on the beachhead.
    107, 288, 289 Btys and RHQ 'B' Echelon leave present areas in Regtl column at
    2000 hrs en route for area S of DEURNE to join 15 (S) DIV.
    M.10. Troop of 107 Bty leaves for RA Reorganization area near BOURG LEOPOLD
    where it is to hand in its four M.10s and associated stores and draw the new
    establishment of 3 SP Valentines.
    A week is to be spent at the Reorg Centre training with the new eqpt.