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    War Diary: 2nd Battalion South Wales Borderers

    Month and year: July 1944

    The 2nd Battalion South Wales Borderers July 1944 War diary covers La Butte, La Chappelle and St Germain D'Ectot area

    National Archive Reference: WO 171/1380

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    Page 1 of 10
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    11800Bn moved into line between GLOSTERS and ESSEX. Bn HQ LA ROUE DE PARFOURU.
    Coys at "A" Coy 744647; "B" Coy 750642; "C" Coy 753645; "D" Coy 758648.appx "A" - AF3.W.3008-9E
    "B" Coy area was shelled while Recce gp was going round.
    20900Bn HQ moved to farm 754657., "A" Coy moved to area 761649 and "B" Coy toappx "B" - Bn order.
    756655. "B" Coy's old area was taken over by 61 Recce Regt. Fwd Coys
    reported shelling and mortaring,appx "C" - O.O. No2. A/7Jul 744
    2300Patrolling all night.
    30900Bn HQ moved to Chateaux 752659. Shelling on Coy areas.
    2300Patrolling all night.
    4Patrol activity. No change in locations.
    5No change in locations. Major Boon back as 2 IC.
    23003" Mortars fired in support of Essex raid.
    6"B" Coy took over from "D" Coy
    2300Patrolling all night. ws
    Page 2 of 10
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    70900CO's Conference on future operation.
    80800Bn supported by British and American artillery on a pre-arranged programme,
    a platoon of 4.2" mortars, two MMG platoons, a sqn of the 4/7th DGs, one m.10
    troop and one 17-pr troop, one tp of flails, a sec of Fd Sqn RE, a tp of AVREs
    and a tp of flame throwers attacked down road from LA BUTTE - GRANVILLE -
    LA CHAPPELLE with a straight line astride the rd SOUTH of LA BUTTE and the
    objective as the fwd edge of the orchards at LA CHAPPELLE. The attack
    was launched at 0800 hrs with "C" Coy right of the road and "A" Coy left
    of the rd with "B" Sqn 4/7 DGs supporting both coys. "C" Coy reached the
    lateral rd through GRANVILLE under cover of the barage and found no opposition.
    "A" Coy were less fortunate and contacted the enemy in the area of farm and
    orchards at 763645. These they destroyed but on reaching the rd came under
    fire from a strong point 765645, which consisted of very well camouflaged
    and dug in positions which were mined. As they were forming up to try
    and attack this position they came under extremely heavy mortar fire which
    Page 3 of 10
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    8 contd caused casualties and which never lifted from the X rds area. A flail
    and 3 AVRES were sent up to deal with the strongpoint one of the latter
    becoming a casualty on a mine. These were of no avail and because of
    casualties from the mortar fire "A" Coy was forced to withdraw a couple
    of fields further back. Meanwhile "C" Coy, the Coy Comd having been
    wounded, commanded by Capt JE Thurn, continued to advance and reached the
    final objective. During the advance they suffered many casualties from
    enemy mortar fire, which was registered on every inch of the road, partio-
    ularly the X-rds at LA CHAPELLE. After about five minutes on the objective,
    "D" Coy having been moved fwd to the right rear, "C" Coy was counter attacked
    by tanks and infantry. Owing to a misunderstanding the tp of M.10s
    withdrew from "C" Coy area and the tanks moved back so that they could
    support the Coy better. This left what was remaining of "C" Coy to
    withstand the brunt of the attack. Having immobilised two enemy tanks
    they withdrew to link up with "D" Coy. During this counter attack "B" Coy
    Page 4 of 10
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    8 continuedhad been forming up for an attack on the corner of the BOIS DE ST GERMAIN
    and they were heavily mortared in their forming up posns. When news
    of the counter attack came in, "B" Coy were ordered to join up with "D"
    Coy and form a firm base for "C" Coy to withdraw into. Thus it was
    that the Bn was left with "A" on the left of the road and "B" "C" "D"
    Coys forward on the right of the road in the area 760640 firm based.
    These Coys succeeded in beating off the counter attack and this enabled
    "C" Coy to be withdrawn to a position on the right of the road level with
    "A" Coy. These posns were held over night but the two forward Coys
    were cut off from the rest of the Bn and it was impossible to get rations
    up to them. Bn HQ was established at 758657.
    90800Forward Coys were counter attacked again and the left hand platoon of
    "D" Coy was overrun. The ground between this platoon and the rest of
    the Coy was covered by fire from two enemy tanks, which made counter -
    attack impossible.
    Page 5 of 10
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    91100A carrier and 3 tanks managed to get food and ammunition out to the forward
    Coys. Intermittent shelling and mortaring of Bn Area. 10 Rfts arrived.
    10Day quiet except for shelling and mortaring
    Coy Comds conference. Contact established in forward Coys. 40 Rfts.
    Flails, crocodiles and AVRES left.
    11"A" and "C" Coys took over from "B" and "D". 80 Rfts. Line laid to Coys.
    Tanks left in the evening.
    12Shelling of Bn area. No other activity. Patrols that night.
    13Shelling and mortaring during day, patrols at night.
    14Coy Comds recce Bn positions. Bn HQ moved to LA ROUE DE PARFOURY.
    "D" Coy handed over to GLOSTERS and moved to the centre of Bn area.
    15"C" Coy out resting. Slight shelling Bn HQ.
    16"A" Coy took over right hand Coy of 2 GLOSTERS and GLOSTERS pulled out
    to go on right of 2 ESSEX. 6 G H took over GLOSTER area on our left.
    Forward Coys in contact with enemy and slight mortaring and shelling.
    Page 6 of 10
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    16 ContdPatrols during the night.
    17Coys still in contact with enemy. Mortar and shelling continued on Coy
    areas. Patrolling at night. Capt Wickert took over Adjt.
    181700Daylight patrols report enemy clear of LA CHAPELLE orchard and also some
    1800of the BOIS DE ST GERMAIN and GRANVILLE, Conference on operation
    190400Forward body moved into position behind "C" Coy.
    0800Lt Reynolds and 10 men got up to orchard at LA CHAPELLE under cover of
    Arty support and were surrounded by 6 LMGs. They managed to capture 1
    prisoner and get back.
    1100Another patrol got up to orchard and found it empty, but were heavily
    mortared as soon as they got there.
    200800Another patrol went forward under cover of arty and got into orchard
    at LA CHAPELLE. The found it empty and dug themselves in. The rest of
    the platoon from "C" Coy was then sent up to thicken them up. When they
    Page 7 of 10
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    20 contdwere properly dug in, the Coy Comd and RE party with the Assault pl Comd
    went forward on a recce Maj Coles trod on a 'MUSTARD POT' and had to be
    evacuated. Extensive minefields were found and the section of RE and
    Assault Pl spent thewhole day lifting Tellers, and Mustard Pots and
    S' Mines. During the afternoon "A" Coy beat through the BOIS DE ST
    GERMAIN and established themselves on the Southern edge of it. "D" Coy
    then were pushed up between "A" and "C" Coys, "B" Coy remaining in reserve.
    Patrolling forward during the night.
    21The following awards appeared in 30 Corps Routine Orders : Lieut-Colonel RW
    Cpl 07 THOMAS, Pte MURGATROYD, Pte 55 THOMAS MMs. Day spent in clearing
    minefields. 120 Tellers and 158 Mustard Pot mines lifted by Assault Pl as
    well as RE Mortaring and shelling during day.
    22Mine clearing continued. Total lifted 322 Tellers and 158 A/P. Mortaring
    Page 8 of 10
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    22 Contdand shelling during the day. "C" Coy relieved "B" Coy.
    23"A" Coy relieved by "C" Coy. Day quiet except for periodic mortar and shelling
    "D" Coy pushed forward South of road.
    24Patrolling during day. "D" Coy relieved by "A" Coy in the evening. Enemy
    vehicle movement harassed by arty during night.
    25REME Scout car blew up on Teller mine in "D" Coy area. Two 2 SWBs killed
    and two wounded. Patrolling during the night.
    26Day quiet. 30 Corps required a priosner from our front. Fighting patrol
    consisting of Lieut Harris, Sjt Edwards and 10 ORs of "D" Coy, supported by
    arty fire were briefed to capture a German from area of Farm and Orchard
    at 774632. Fighting Patrol went out through a standing patrol of "A" Coy
    at 2400 hrs. At 0030 hrs arty put down a covering concentration which enabled
    Fighting patrol to approach the orchard without fear of being seen. They
    continued to advance after the arty had stopped and were fired on at a range
    of about 20 yards. Sjt Edwards took the Bren guns over to a flank, he then
    Page 9 of 10
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    26 contdcrossed over again and shouted 'Charge!' in order to deceive the enemy
    of the direction of the attack. He was himself first into the slit trench,
    where he found four wounded Germans. He hit one on the head, threw him over
    his shoulder and carried him 200 yards up the orchard. He then fired a green
    Verey light and the arty came down again. This was an important identification
    and showed that 326 Div had taken over from 2 Pz Div. The prisoner unfortunately
    died before he could be interrogatted.
    27Slight mortaring and shelling, otherwise quiet.
    Heavy arty concentrations on enemy during night.
    28Less enemy shelling. Patrol activity.
    29No enemy shelling. Patrol activity.
    30Conference and Recce for attack.
    31Bn attacked the ST GERMAIN D'ECTOT ridge. Zero hour was 0530 hrs. We
    attacked with one Coy up as our frontage was small. "C" Coy advanced supported
    by tanks and flame throwers, unfortunately the flame-throwers had a mechanical
    Page 10 of 10
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    31 condbreakdown and could not be used. "C" Coy were held up in LA COUARDE
    orchard by cross fire from about 10 Spandau positions, and after several
    attacks "B" Coy were ordered to come round the right flank. It was 1600 hrs
    before "B" Coy had completed their recces and were able to start. Supported
    by tanks ( One Tp 13/18 th Hussars) they succeeded in getting to their
    objective, the orchard at 764624 3 Flails succeeded in making a shadow
    track up to this position, which enabled "D" Coy and the Flame throwers
    which had now been mended to form up in "B" Coy's area. "D" Coy then
    attacked at dusk the orchard at 767625. They advanced behind the flame-throwers
    actually treading in the flame and captured their objective without much
    trouble. That night there was not much activity from the Germans.