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    War Diary: 3rd Bn Royal Tank Regiment

    Month and year: July 1944

    The 3rd Bn Royal Tank Regiment July 1944 war diary covers the units time in Normandy starting at Cheux, taking part in operation Goodwood and moving to area Saint-Martin-des-Besaces

    National Archive Reference: WO 171/866

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    Page 1 of 9
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    92369310430Reveille and Stand To.
    1100Visit by Brigadier and Bde Major. Walked round leaguer area and talked to
    1200Visit by GOC. Informed us he would get a 'quieter' area for us.
    1300Orders received from Bde to move to area 9070, and occupy leaguer area
    vacated by 2 NY.
    1400CO with 2IC, Major W.H. Close and Lt Mackenzie, OC G Tp 119 A tk Bty attached
    recced area of 2 Bn Welsh Guards 500x EAST of CHEUX for battle positions.
    1400Major P.F. Burr recced new leaguer area.
    1530Major Burr returned and reported new leaguer area unsatisfactory.
    1600Left for new area selected by CO.
    1630Arrived in area 915714.
    91571420430Reveille and Stand To. Maintenance and rest.
    0830CO to Bde.
    0930CO returns with orders for one sqn to move to area 916669 in preparation for
    advance of Bde SOUTH to exploit ground taken by inf in area 9562.
    1030A Sqn and Recce Tp leave for new area.
    1400Orders from Bde for remainder of unit to move to area 9562.
    1430Arrived 919649. Odd shelling. A and B Sqns forward and in observation
    remainder of day.
    1600Unit placed at 30 mins notice. Dull and raining.
    2300Sqn leaguers in area 919649. RHQ at 921652.
    92165230400Stand to.
    0500Sqns took up same posns as on 2 Jul.
    1000Bde Comd visited unit. Gave orders for unit to be ready to support both
    Gds Inf Bde and 130 Inf Bde in CHEUX area.
    1030CO off to recce area for sup of Gds and Inf Bdes.
    1300CO returns from recce. Could not contact 130 Inf Bde.
    1430CO leaves with Sqn Comds to recce Inf sup posns in CHEUX area.
    Page 2 of 9
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    1515Unit leaves area 921652 under 2IC and proceeds to area 918668.
    1630Orders received from Bde that if Comd 32 Gds Inf Bde was satisified unit
    could return to area 918713 and still carry out same role.
    1830Arrived 918713. B and C Sqns at immediate notice to move. Remainder at
    30 mins. Role - support of 2 Bn Coldstream Gds in area 9368 in case of last
    light attack by enemy.
    2200Unit at 30 mins notice to move - same role. Dull and raining.
    1700Adjt attends conference at Bde - returns.
    91871340400Stand to. Immediate notice to move in support of 2 Bn Coldstream Gds.
    0630Unit at 30 mins notice.
    0930Unit at 1 1/2 hrs notice.
    1800Orders from Bde to send one sub unit to St Maurieu in support of 5 Bn n Coldstream Gds.
    at 9468. Remainder of unit at 30 mins notice.
    1830B Sqn left leaguer area for area 9468.
    2300Unit at 1 hrs notice.
    91871350415Stand to.
    1400C Sqn relieved B Sqn in support role.
    1100B Sqn knocked out one Mk IV tank. 961673.
    1900Orders received to recall C Sqn at 1200 hrs 6 Jul.
    91871360430Stand to.
    1300C Sqn arrived back from support role. A Sqn at 30 mins notice from 1200 hrs
    1615Bde Comd visits area.
    1815Aréa shelled by about 16 105mm shells. Casualties - 2 wounded.
    91871370430A Sqn stood too 30 mins notice.
    0915Adjt to HQ 8 Corps for "G" conference - War diary and "A" conference - returns.
    1345Warning Order from Bde. 29 Armd Bde will relieve 4 Armd Bde in area CHEUX.
    1400CO recced area 44 R Tks with view to taking over 8 Jul.
    18302IC and Major P.F. Burr left for recce 44 R Tks posn. Sunny.
    Page 3 of 9
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    91871380430B Sqn stand to,
    0600Remainder of unit stand to.
    0900C.O and C Sqn move to new area to relieve 44 R Tks. Task to support 71
    Inf Bde in area CHEUX - LE HAVT DV BOSQ in event of enemy attack and to
    act in a counter attack role in support of 8 R.B. to relieve the
    situation if necessary in the 71 Inf Bde posn.
    0945Remiander RHQ and A Sqn moved to new area.
    1030B Sqn moved to new area, location RHQ 908681. C Sqn right - 908678.
    A Sqn left - 912679. B Sqn reserve 908682.
    Lt Maloney - L.O. at 71 Inft Bde HQ.
    1145Take over from 44 R Tks completed.
    1215Brigadier and B.M. visited unit. Gave C.O. orders regarding role of unit.
    1400Recce of route through CHEUX to area S.E. carried out by 2IC and Coy Comds
    8 R.B and C.O., 2IC, Sqn Comds and Sqn 2ICs of A & B Sqns.
    90868190845C.O. on recce with Major Watts and O.C. 1 East Lancs.
    1430Rehearsal with Sec comds 8 R. B. and Tk Comds 3 R Tks held in CHEUX area.
    Rehearsal of tasks as laid down by Comd 29 Armd Bde for counter attack role
    with 8 RB in support of 71 Inf Bde.
    1715CO to Bde for conference.
    0430Half Sqn of each Sqn stand to.
    0600Remainder reveille.
    Very noisy area. Surrounded by hy, med and fd gun posns.
    908681100430Half Sqns stand to.
    0600Remainder reveille.
    1415CO and Adjt visited A Ech, A1 Ech and Bde.
    908681110430Half Sqns stand to.
    0600Remainder reveille. Maintenance and rest.
    908681120430Half Sqns stand to.
    0600Remainder revaille.
    1130Visit by Bde Comd and B.M.
    Page 4 of 9
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    908681130430Half Sqns stand to.
    0600Remainder reveille.
    1400Enemy air activity. About 12 ME 109 flew over leaguer area. 1 shot down
    about 1000x NE of leaguer area.
    908681140430Half Sqns stand to.
    0600Remainder reveille.
    908681150430Half Sqns stand to.
    0600Remainder reveille.
    1000CO to Bde for conference.
    1200CO on recce with Bde Comd in area N and NE of CAEN.
    1800Conference. CO, 2IC, Sqn Comds, Adjt, IO attend. General plan for 8 Corps
    attack SOUTH and SW of CAEN on 18 Jul. - Op "GOODWOOD".
    2100Phone message from Bde Major. Unit will possibly move to now area at first
    light, send harbour party immediately to Bde HQ.
    2315Phone message from Bde. Orders to move to area 9275 at 0630 hrs 16 Jul.
    2345Orders issued for move 16 Jul by runner.
    9086810630Unit left area.
    9457560800Unit arrived area.
    1200CO to HQ 11 Armd Div for conference GOODWOOD. Role of 11 Armd Div
    1400Orders group. General plan for Op GOODWOOD issued. 8 Corps will break out of
    bridgehead due SOUTH from area 1070 - 1370. Order of March - 11 Armd Div,
    Gds Armd Div, 7 Armd Div, 29 Armd Bde moving 1 up, 3 R Tks leading.
    Intention of 3 R Tks to adv behind barrage and sieze and secure area of Pt 72
    0461 with recce out to NW and SW.
    1500CO to HQ 8 Corps for conference and address by Corps Comd.
    1900Orders Group. Further details Op GOODWOOD. 29 Armd Bde OO No 3 received.
    A Sqn 22 DG (Flail Sqn) arrives under comd wef 1200 hrs 16 Jul. H Bty 13 RHA
    and G Coy 8 RB under comd 1200 hrs 16 Jul. 26 Assault Sqn RE under comd
    1400 hrs 17 Jul. A Sqn 22 DG and 26 Assault Sqn RE come under comd 8 RB
    Page 5 of 9
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    after unit has left barrage.
    1500H Bty joins Regt Gp.
    2130G Coy joins Regt Gp.
    945756170100Unit leave area. Line ahead.
    0415RHQ reaches new area 059758. Leaguer in wood. Heavily camouflaged.
    0630Complete Regt Gp arrives in new area.
    059758150026 Assault Sqn RE joins Regt Gp.
    1600Orders Gp. Fuller details Op GOODWOOD. Orders for march to conc area 1173
    issued. Ready to move 2400 hrs. A Sqn 22 DG joining Regt Gp 0545 hrs 18 Jul.
    in conc area.
    1900Orders Gp. Orders given. Ready to move 2400 hrs.
    059758180100Moved to conc area.
    0230Arrived in conc area 122746.
    0500Orders Gp. A Sqn 22 DG joined Regt Gp.
    0530Message from Bde by LO. H Hour - 0745 hrs.
    0610Regt Gp moved out of conc area to forming up area by 2 routes.
    0700Forming up area reached - 103703 - 120703 - 120700 - 103700.
    0745H hr. Unit advances due SOUTH behind 25 pr barrage. Owing to speed of
    barrage and nature of country tks commenced falling behind line of
    0800LE MESNIL FREMENTEL reported clear.
    0805Reached MATILDA. Experienced difficulty in crossing rly line due to
    unexpected depth of cutting. Resulted in temporary loss of barrage.
    0810Barrage lifted. Opposition slight. Small number of inf in plattoon posns.
    0830GRENTHEVILL byepassed on WEST side.
    0930Crossed rly line at 074624.
    1000Reached 070623. Engaged enemy a tk guns and tks ib area HUBERT FOLIE -
    1400Posn at 070623 covered by enemy A tk guns and tks. Withdrawn to 072628.
    15002 NY took up posn on the right in area 070628.
    Page 6 of 9
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    181700Further shelling and A tk fire. Withdrew to 075637.
    2100Fired on by 4 Tiger tks from area 083634. Engaged them with assistance from
    2 Northants Yeo.
    2200Fired on by approx 3 Tiger and Panther tks from ridge in area 063635 - 067628.
    22156 Sherman tks of unit knocked out.
    2230Withdrew to area 076638 and leaguered. 12 tks in leaguer.
    076638190430Broke leaguer and took up posn of observation in area 076638 facing from
    NW to SW.
    0800Moved to 084658. Period of reorganisation. 2 Sqns formed. A Sqn under
    Major W.H. Close, M.C., B Sqn under Major J.A. Watts. C Sqn personnel and
    tks divided between other two sqns. Intermittent shelling.
    1445Received orders from Bde to advance and take HUBERT FOLIE. Bn to move up to
    area 085640. Route via 065650. 2 NY to attack BRAS at 1600 hrs. Immediately
    after attack successful 3 R Tks to attack and take HUBERT FOLIE. Both
    operations to have full artillery support.
    16002 NY move forwards towards BRAS.
    1620Evident 2 NY not able to enter village. Impossible for 3 R Tks to advance on
    HUBERT FOLIE till BRAS occupied by 2 NY. CO suggests and Bde agree for 3 R Tks
    to take BRAS.
    1625Unit moves forward towards BRAS.
    1640Edge of BRAS reached. Some a tk and Bazooka fire. Odd snipers.
    1650Fwd tps enter village. Progress slow because of rubble etc in streets. Some
    tks had to break walls by firing 75mm. Prisoners surrendering in twos and
    threes. Some bazooka teams still in town.
    1710Fwd tps through village to SW side.
    1715Motor Coy 8 RB arrives and commences to mop up outskirts of village and
    collect prisoners.
    1730Intermittent shelling. Tks withdrawn from village and remained in observation
    NORTH of village. Motor Coy 8 RB take over village pending arrival of Inf Bn
    from 159 Inf Bde.
    Page 7 of 9
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    191800CO to Bde to see if it is possible to withdraw unit for at least 24 hrs to
    2000Orders received on wireless for CO to move unit to 083656.
    2100Arrived 083656. CO received orders for unit to move back to A Ech area for
    2115Commenced move to A Ech area.
    2300Leaguered 105670.
    105670200430Broke leaguer.
    0800Commenced move to new area for reorganisation.
    0900Arrived area 102689. Open leaguer.
    0930A1 Ech arrived in leaguer. Remainder of day maintenance, reorganisation
    and rest.
    10268921Maintenance, reorganisation and rest all day. C Sqn reformed under
    Capt J.D. Dunlop. Intermittent shelling. Heavy rain all day.
    102689220415Orders received from Bde to move to area CUSSY995708. Tracks 0700, wheels
    0630Tracks under cond CO left area.
    0830Wheels under comd Capt A.M. Dixon left area. Progress very slow. Area very
    muddy. ARVs and Stuarts required to tow out most B Vehs.
    1100Tracks arrived CUSSY, RHQ 994706.
    1300Wheels arrived. Unit leaguered in CUSSY village which was in ruing. Tks
    parked in amongst wrecked houses. Camouflage most important. A Ech joined
    unit. Period of reorganisation commences.
    1130Memorial Service in RHQ area.
    Rest of day - reorganisation.
    Capt J.C. Balharrie relinquished Adjt. Capt T.L. Kinton assumed appointment
    ot Adjt. Major J.C. Balharrie, M.C., assumed comd of B Sqn.
    Page 8 of 9
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    0830First parade.
    1030Visit by CRA 11 Armd Div and CREME 11 Armd Div. Points about recent ops
    1130Conference Sqn Comds - Promotions, decorations, reinforcements.
    1430CO to Bde to discuss points from recent operations.
    2215CO to Bde for demonstration.
    0830First Parade.
    1000Sqn Comds conference to discuss promotions.
    261230CO to Bde.
    Reorganisation proceeds. Parties sent to baths, cinema, and Corps Rest Camp
    0830First Parade.
    0930CO visits 24th Lancers and HQ 30 Corps.
    1400CO talks to new draft from RGH.
    1420CO accompanied by Adjt visits sqns.
    Party of 50 spent afternoon and evening at Corps Rest Camp.
    1930Major N.H. Bourne, DSO, arrives to take over as 2IC Bn.
    0830First Parade.
    Rest and reorganisation contiues. Parties to "Stars in Battledress" show at
    0830First Parade.
    1400CO visits 270 Fwd Del Sqn.
    1500CO visits Bde for conference.
    1520Warning order that we may move.
    2000Harbour Party leaves under Lt T.M.E. Maloney.
    Page 9 of 9
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    994706282100CO to Bde after Sqn Comds conference.
    2215Adjt to Bde for orders for move from CUSSY.
    290150RHQ and tracks move off from CUSSY.
    0650A and A1 Echs move off.
    0900Tracks arrive area 685652.
    1300Wheels arrive.
    1430Major N.H. Bourne to Bde to give lecture on fighting in close country to
    Bde crew comds.
    1030CO attended RAC conference at Army.
    1930CO to Bde for orders.
    2045Full Orders Gp.
    0530Wireless net.
    1330Ordered to move.. Movement slow owing to narrow, twisting rds and congestion
    of traffic.
    2050Arrived area 677555 and harboured for the night.
    677555310015CO to ST JEAN DES ESSERTIERS (619554) to meet 2IC Bde (Col R.P. Do Winton)
    for orders.
    0100Orders Group. CO gives orders for day.
    0500Move off. C Sqn under comd 8 RB move to area 678509 - held up on rly
    embankmant. B Sqn move down to area ST MARTIN DES BESCARES 6650. A Sqn in
    1315RHQ and A Sqn move to area 677515.
    1400B and C Sqns recalled to area 677515.
    1500CO to Bde for orders.