War Diary: 2nd Battalion Essex Regiment

Month and year: July 1944

The July 1944 War Diary for 2nd Battalion Essex Regiment covers their advance deeper into Normandy from Les Orailles to Launay.

National Archive Reference: WO 171/1295

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Page 1 of 17
PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
Les Orailles156 Bde were informed that 7 armd. Div were to
be relieved by the 2 US Armd Div by 0600 hrs 2nd
July and 56 Bde, with 8th Hussars 3rd R.H.A. and
2 Btys a/Tk under command would be under the
operational command of 50(N) Div
It was proposed that A. Coy officers and selected
N.C.O's should liase with 1 R.T.R. for tank inf
trg. To facilitate this, it was arranged for A & D
Coys to exchange Coy localities. This was completed
by 0900 hrs 1 July 1944.
There was some shelling on B Coy during the
evening. no casualties
During the late evening an ambulance dvr
and orderly of 13 F.D.S. entered D Coy lines and
Page 2 of 17
PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
Les Oraillesreported that they had lost their way and had
driven their ambulance through enemy lines and
had been finally shot up. Their passenger, a sgt,
had been wounded and was still lying up in
the fields. 2 i/c major Lance organised a patrol
and rescued the sjt.
2 Essex Op. Instr No 1. Issued
Lt Caimeross accidentally shot with revolver.
2Brig E.C. Pepper announced that he was taking
command of 131 Bde and that Brig. M Ekins would
relieve him.
Little operational activity
30900 hrs. Bde Comd visited Bn active patrolling
ordered.
Page 3 of 17
PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
Les Orailles3A Coy 762664B Coy 766661
C Coy 764656D Coy 760657
S Coy 762666
The HQ 760658
3-6Quite operationally with active patrolling and
snipers constantly out in no mans land. Granville Rd
- Bois de St Germaine
60136'H' Hr Exercise "Panther". See operation inst. To
capture & kill enemy in amed FM HO 773649
to cause destruction in general area Bois de St Germain - St
Germain D'Ectot
. By 0200 hrs patrol
were on way back having reported that enemy
had withdrawn.
(2)
Page 4 of 17
PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
LA BUTTE7a day of preparation for big battle stream of visitors
of various sp arms all day as attack was laid
on at very short notice . Orders to sp arms 1200 hrs
O.O. att and trace (3) & (4)
1800Final orders to Coy. Cmdrs. Reville fixed for
0400 hrs
The Bn prepared cheerfully for battle and all
appeared very calm and normal at eventide.
11a rest day at conclusion of battle. Bn gets
breath back - Bn. HQ back to cottage. 'C' Coy
comd of 6th Green Howards for day.
Bde cmdr congratulates Bn on Tac and Strategical
info given by prisoners. Reports 276 Div very
badly shaken. P.W. reports "our offr told our
Page 5 of 17
PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
general it was terrible and we will not attack
again.
La Butte12Change of location with GLOSTERS Bn moved to
PONT MULOT (745635) a quieter slot . The enemy
facing across valley chiefly arty fighting. Move
uneventful
2035Bn HQ. established
PONT MULOT122100Village between Bn HQ and Coys and still has
cafe open in spite of enemy fire. a period of
vigorous patrolling about to start for Bn. attacks
and counter attacks unlikely. Major M. St G. PALLOT
reported to Bn as 2 IC. Our opponents now are 2nd Pz Div
PONT MULOT120300D Coy in position
Page 6 of 17
PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
PONT MULOT13Quiet day. Little activity either side. Contact made
with III/41. The american Bn on our right. L.O. calls
daily and a joint allied Post has been formed
on Bn boundaries.
PONT MULOT141300a salutary warning on our right. 2 German deserters
were calling KAMERAD, but when two sentries
went to bring them in, they were killed by egg
grenade.
PONT MULOT15130014493515 Pte HARLEY. J. "C" Coy killed by shellfire. The
enemy are sending over a very high percentage of
dud shells and their fire is very distributed , but
their fire seems drowned under anglo-american
barrage.
Page 7 of 17
PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
PONT MULOT16Patrol activity as usual. Recce ptls infrm. very
flexible N of ST GERMAIN D'ECTOT RD. Padre held
service 1200 hrs in small front room in village.
French choir, Essex congregation.
1900S.W.B. report 6 Essex dead area BOIS ST GERMAIN.
17Indications enemy are pulling out, and patrolling is
more vigorous.
1600Rev T Thomas S.J. decorated with M.C. by Gen.
Montgomery for outstanding gallantry in battle of
ESSEX WOOD - MONDAYE.
Gloucesters take over sector from III/41 U.S.A.
PONT MULOT185 A.G.R.A. have barrage on ST GERMAIN D'ECTOT
concentration of tanks and tps there.
1500BDE order vigorous patrolling, indications of enemy pull-out
Page 8 of 17
PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
PONT MULOT181500fighting patrol under LT MILLER sent out but met
2 SPANDAUS cleverly concealed and difficult to detect
in close Norman country. Patrol achieved purpose
but suffered 7 casualties. Killed St Miller 2 ORs
wounded c/e 10.R. 2 Pts.
1800Wounded and back with patrol. L/C clark who
had bad flesh wound in stomach, but refused to
be evacuated from R.A.P. until interrogated, and
though in pain insisted on waiting until all
questions had been asked.

One sniper missing from snipers patrol. These
snipers discounted another fully occupied and signposted
German position - which led to the fighting patrol
being sent out.
PONT MULOT191230Quiet day for Bn usual lunch time arty on
Page 9 of 17
PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
PONT MULOT191230 (cont)our positions. They shell nearly every day at meal
times. a nebelwerfer appeared on scene by night
but did no damage in Bn area.
"C" Coy have me 110 over their positions.
PONT MULOT202100"A" Cot report Parachute mines on Coy front two
come down. Probably from falling bomber. In
"C" Coy area, 6032624 L/C Isaac and a carrier
driver Pte Rose were killed by shellfire, also 2
O.R's wounded.
PONT MULOT211000Possible move in process owing to S.W.B. advance
A.B. and C Coys at 2 hrs notice. "D" Coy (reserve) at
1 hrs notice.
Pig set off trip wire in front of coys.
PONT MULOT22Quiet day. Patrolling and Shelling.
Page 10 of 17
PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
PONT MULOT230900Padre holds service in village.
1100Div and Bde comdrs visited Bn.
2300H.2 mortars on LA PERELLE by nights
PONT MULOT24Friendly aircraft dropped pamphlets entitled "Eine Kleine
Clique" over German lines. Several M.E. 109's came
over and machine gunned at lunch time and one
aircraft was brought down.
1500The afternoon with U.S. A.A. Bty offrs all trying
to claim plane brought down. On evening 14
TYPHOONS assisted by arty target indicator smoke,
flew over to attack Enemy Bde position.
2300Patrols report Horse Tpt on ST GERMAIN D'ECTOT RD.
Possibly inf div receiving 2 Pz div.
Page 11 of 17
PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
PONT MULOT250900Bde Cmdr visited Bn. more horse tpt reported by
patrols. Loudspeaker on Div front. Deserters addressing
German tps and especially Polish Tps. Full
propaganda value being got out of the Hitler
assassination plot of July 20th.
PONT MULOT260500Bn warned to be ready for counter attack, as
"anything might happen". 6 D.L.I. said to have
been counter attacked. Whole A.G.R.A. came down,
but turned out to be only a pln. fighting patrol.
news arrived the 2nd Pz Div is being replaced by
326 Inf Div. previously on coastal defense in CALAIS -
BOULOGNE area.
Fighting patrol sp by arty went out and 2 IC
Page 12 of 17
PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
PONT MULOT261930(MAJOR PALLOT) spotted German S.P. gun through
field glasses. Bty fire from 465 Reg R.A. came down
for five minutes and finished gun.
PONT MULOT271300Some shells landed in the Bn HQ area and knocked
out M14 which was replaced within the hour.
Patrolling still continuing.
PONT MULOT28Patrols return with info of 2 enemy seen to our
front. Regimental shoots of arty brought down.
Ordered to take over positions of 2 coys of GLOUCESTERS
and spread out our line. Repercussions of the
great american thrust on our right. Move to take
effect tomorrow. All plans changed. Large air
activity as well as shelling.
Page 13 of 17
PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
PONT MULOT290730A&C Coys move positions
1315Move completed
13304 snipers sent out on patrol
2 captured. A joint patrol with S.W.B.
1520Snipers report bound man, woman and child (French)
in stable 75906315
22002IC takes over HQ in Glos area to command
2 Coys there owing to Bn line being extended
for Glosters & S.W.B. attacking 0600 hrs Essex in reserve
objectives on Trace attd.
PONT MULOT30The day was spent in reserve of an attack by
GLOSTERS & S.W.B.
3008002 deserters from 751 Reg reported to 'C' Coy
301225'Stand by' to Coys
301600'C' Coy HQ at LA PERELLE
Page 14 of 17
PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
PONT MULOT301727'B' Coy report spandaus 758618
301730BN HQ 749639
301900B Coy held up by enemy fire from farm
3021206 Typhoons to attack 767609
31Affx attd describes battle
0605Patrol leader reports booby trapped slit trench 756614
0647Bulldozer arrives
0750Bde orders active patrolling, Small enemy pockets
must be destroyed.
0835Sharp counter attack on 231 Bde
1135Attack fizzles out
1156Enemy gun fire. R.A. unable to image.
1200LA NOTRIVE AND LA PERELLE
Page 15 of 17
PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
PONT MULOT LAUNAY311207Enemy post at 755615. Sniper report
13501 P.W. 9 Coy 751 GR.R. reported
1432Bn O.P. established in C Coy area.
1455Bn to be prepared to attack at 1800 hrs
"O" Sp 1545
1700Tanks reported 788617. Str unknown
1705"O" Sp
1855Bde Cmdr visited H.Q.
2000attack begins
2004"A" Coy reports SAAR. HQ established 755625
2030"A" Coy reports 'PIG'
2124'Thames' shot
2128Bn H.Q. moving
2136"B" Coy passes SAAR
2138fire falling W. of OUSE.
Page 16 of 17
PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
LAUNAY312141"a" coy 50' from objective
2145"A" coy on objective
2155mortars fire M.7 5 mins
2205'B' Coy meet spandaus fire on left flank, require
Hedgehog
2215Mortars fire M7 & M8 for 5 mins
2218R.A.P. est BURNT FM.
2225B Coy consolidated
2226Bn HQ 764615
2230Mortars fire M& & M9 5 mins
2245'D' Coy First point
Page 17 of 17
PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
LAUNAY312030"B" & "D" coys called fwd
2042"A" coy report 'COW'
2043"B" report 'PIG'
2045"A" coy report 'DOG'
2049"A" coy ordered to return to "COW"
2050"A" coy ordered to remain at DOG
2052"C" & "D" coys are 100 x N of SAAR
2059Enemy opposition slight
2100"C" & "D" to move. Barrage re-opens
2105"A" & "B" to move when barrage reopens
2106"B" coy report 'COW'
21083" Mortars to fire KENTUCKY II & 374' for 5 mins
2110amended THAMES fired
2111Bn HQ Prepare to move
21147 P.W. have so far been captured