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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
Place Date Hour Summary of Events and Information
923693 1 0430 Reveille and Stand To.
1100 Visit by Brigadier and Bde Major. Walked round leaguer area and talked to
men.
1200 Visit by GOC. Informed us he would get a 'quieter' area for us.
1300 Orders received from Bde to move to area 9070, and occupy leaguer area
vacated by 2 NY.
1400 CO 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.
1400 Major P.F. Burr recced new leaguer area.
1530 Major Burr returned and reported new leaguer area unsatisfactory.
1600 Left for new area selected by CO.
1630 Arrived in area 915714.
915714 2 0430 Reveille and Stand To. Maintenance and rest.
0830 CO to Bde.
0930 CO 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.
1030 A Sqn and Recce Tp leave for new area.
1400 Orders from Bde for remainder of unit to move to area 9562.
1430 Arrived 919649. Odd shelling. A and B Sqns forward and in observation
remainder of day.
1600 Unit placed at 30 mins notice. Dull and raining.
2300 Sqn leaguers in area 919649. RHQ at 921652.
921652 3 0400 Stand to.
0500 Sqns took up same posns as on 2 Jul.
1000 Bde Comd visited unit. Gave orders for unit to be ready to support both
Gds Inf Bde and 130 Inf Bde in CHEUX area.
1030 CO off to recce area for sup of Gds and Inf Bdes.
1300 CO returns from recce. Could not contact 130 Inf Bde.
1430 CO leaves with Sqn Comds to recce Inf sup posns in CHEUX area.
Page 2 of 9
Place Date Hour Summary of Events and Information
1515 Unit leaves area 921652 under 2IC and proceeds to area 918668.
1630 Orders received from Bde that if Comd 32 Gds Inf Bde was satisified unit
could return to area 918713 and still carry out same role.
1830 Arrived 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.
2200 Unit at 30 mins notice to move - same role. Dull and raining.
1700 Adjt attends conference at Bde - returns.
918713 4 0400 Stand to. Immediate notice to move in support of 2 Bn Coldstream Gds.
0630 Unit at 30 mins notice.
0930 Unit at 1 1/2 hrs notice.
1800 Orders 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.
1830 B Sqn left leaguer area for area 9468.
2300 Unit at 1 hrs notice.
918713 5 0415 Stand to.
1400 C Sqn relieved B Sqn in support role.
1100 B Sqn knocked out one Mk IV tank. 961673.
1900 Orders received to recall C Sqn at 1200 hrs 6 Jul.
918713 6 0430 Stand to.
1300 C Sqn arrived back from support role. A Sqn at 30 mins notice from 1200 hrs
1615 Bde Comd visits area.
1815 Aréa shelled by about 16 105mm shells. Casualties - 2 wounded.
918713 7 0430 A Sqn stood too 30 mins notice.
0915 Adjt to HQ 8 Corps for "G" conference - War diary and "A" conference - returns.
1345 Warning Order from Bde. 29 Armd Bde will relieve 4 Armd Bde in area CHEUX.
1400 CO recced area 44 R Tks with view to taking over 8 Jul.
1830 2IC and Major P.F. Burr left for recce 44 R Tks posn. Sunny.
Page 3 of 9
Place Date Hour Summary of Events and Information
918713 8 0430 B Sqn stand to,
0600 Remainder of unit stand to.
0900 C.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.
0945 Remiander RHQ and A Sqn moved to new area.
1030 B 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.
1145 Take over from 44 R Tks completed.
1215 Brigadier and B.M. visited unit. Gave C.O. orders regarding role of unit.
1400 Recce 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.
908681 9 0845 C.O. on recce with Major Watts and O.C. 1 East Lancs.
1430 Rehearsal 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.
1715 CO to Bde for conference.
0430 Half Sqn of each Sqn stand to.
0600 Remainder reveille.
Very noisy area. Surrounded by hy, med and fd gun posns.
908681 10 0430 Half Sqns stand to.
0600 Remainder reveille.
1415 CO and Adjt visited A Ech, A1 Ech and Bde.
908681 11 0430 Half Sqns stand to.
0600 Remainder reveille. Maintenance and rest.
908681 12 0430 Half Sqns stand to.
0600 Remainder revaille.
1130 Visit by Bde Comd and B.M.
Page 4 of 9
Place Date Hour Summary of Events and Information
908681 13 0430 Half Sqns stand to.
0600 Remainder reveille.
1400 Enemy air activity. About 12 ME 109 flew over leaguer area. 1 shot down
about 1000x NE of leaguer area.
908681 14 0430 Half Sqns stand to.
0600 Remainder reveille.
908681 15 0430 Half Sqns stand to.
0600 Remainder reveille.
1000 CO to Bde for conference.
1200 CO on recce with Bde Comd in area N and NE of CAEN.
1800 Conference. CO, 2IC, Sqn Comds, Adjt, IO attend. General plan for 8 Corps
attack SOUTH and SW of CAEN on 18 Jul. - Op "GOODWOOD".
2100 Phone message from Bde Major. Unit will possibly move to now area at first
light, send harbour party immediately to Bde HQ.
2315 Phone message from Bde. Orders to move to area 9275 at 0630 hrs 16 Jul.
2345 Orders issued for move 16 Jul by runner.
908681 0630 Unit left area.
945756 0800 Unit arrived area.
1200 CO to HQ 11 Armd Div for conference GOODWOOD. Role of 11 Armd Div
discussed.
1400 Orders 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.
1500 CO to HQ 8 Corps for conference and address by Corps Comd.
1900 Orders 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
Place Date Hour Summary of Events and Information
after unit has left barrage.
1500 H Bty joins Regt Gp.
2130 G Coy joins Regt Gp.
945756 17 0100 Unit leave area. Line ahead.
0415 RHQ reaches new area 059758. Leaguer in wood. Heavily camouflaged.
0630 Complete Regt Gp arrives in new area.
059758 1500 26 Assault Sqn RE joins Regt Gp.
1600 Orders 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.
1900 Orders Gp. Orders given. Ready to move 2400 hrs.
059758 18 0100 Moved to conc area.
0230 Arrived in conc area 122746.
0430 Reveille.
0500 Orders Gp. A Sqn 22 DG joined Regt Gp.
0530 Message from Bde by LO. H Hour - 0745 hrs.
0610 Regt Gp moved out of conc area to forming up area by 2 routes.
0700 Forming up area reached - 103703 - 120703 - 120700 - 103700.
0745 H hr. Unit advances due SOUTH behind 25 pr barrage. Owing to speed of
barrage and nature of country tks commenced falling behind line of
barrage.
0800 LE MESNIL FREMENTEL reported clear.
0805 Reached MATILDA. Experienced difficulty in crossing rly line due to
unexpected depth of cutting. Resulted in temporary loss of barrage.
0810 Barrage lifted. Opposition slight. Small number of inf in plattoon posns.
0830 GRENTHEVILL byepassed on WEST side.
0930 Crossed rly line at 074624.
1000 Reached 070623. Engaged enemy a tk guns and tks ib area HUBERT FOLIE -
072618.
1400 Posn at 070623 covered by enemy A tk guns and tks. Withdrawn to 072628.
1500 2 NY took up posn on the right in area 070628.
Page 6 of 9
Place Date Hour Summary of Events and Information
18 1700 Further shelling and A tk fire. Withdrew to 075637.
2100 Fired on by 4 Tiger tks from area 083634. Engaged them with assistance from
2 Northants Yeo.
2200 Fired on by approx 3 Tiger and Panther tks from ridge in area 063635 - 067628.
2215 6 Sherman tks of unit knocked out.
2230 Withdrew to area 076638 and leaguered. 12 tks in leaguer.
076638 19 0430 Broke leaguer and took up posn of observation in area 076638 facing from
NW to SW.
0800 Moved 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.
1445 Received 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.
1600 2 NY move forwards towards BRAS.
1620 Evident 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.
1625 Unit moves forward towards BRAS.
1640 Edge of BRAS reached. Some a tk and Bazooka fire. Odd snipers.
1650 Fwd 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.
1710 Fwd tps through village to SW side.
1715 Motor Coy 8 RB arrives and commences to mop up outskirts of village and
collect prisoners.
1730 Intermittent 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
Place Date Hour Summary of Events and Information
19 1800 CO to Bde to see if it is possible to withdraw unit for at least 24 hrs to
reorganise.
2000 Orders received on wireless for CO to move unit to 083656.
2100 Arrived 083656. CO received orders for unit to move back to A Ech area for
reorganisiation.
2115 Commenced move to A Ech area.
2300 Leaguered 105670.
105670 20 0430 Broke leaguer.
0800 Commenced move to new area for reorganisation.
0900 Arrived area 102689. Open leaguer.
0930 A1 Ech arrived in leaguer. Remainder of day maintenance, reorganisation
and rest.
102689 21 Maintenance, reorganisation and rest all day. C Sqn reformed under
Capt J.D. Dunlop. Intermittent shelling. Heavy rain all day.
102689 22 0415 Orders received from Bde to move to area CUSSY 995708. Tracks 0700, wheels
0900.
0630 Tracks under cond CO left area.
0830 Wheels under comd Capt A.M. Dixon left area. Progress very slow. Area very
muddy. ARVs and Stuarts required to tow out most B Vehs.
1100 Tracks arrived CUSSY, RHQ 994706.
1300 Wheels 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.
994706 23 0700 Reveille.
1130 Memorial 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
Place Date Hour Summary of Events and Information
994706 24 0630 Reveille.
0830 First parade.
1030 Visit by CRA 11 Armd Div and CREME 11 Armd Div. Points about recent ops
discussed.
1130 Conference Sqn Comds - Promotions, decorations, reinforcements.
1430 CO to Bde to discuss points from recent operations.
2215 CO to Bde for demonstration.
994706 25 0630 Reveille.
0830 First Parade.
1000 Sqn Comds conference to discuss promotions.
26 1230 CO to Bde.
Reorganisation proceeds. Parties sent to baths, cinema, and Corps Rest Camp
994706 0630 Reveille.
0830 First Parade.
0930 CO visits 24th Lancers and HQ 30 Corps.
1400 CO talks to new draft from RGH.
1420 CO accompanied by Adjt visits sqns.
Party of 50 spent afternoon and evening at Corps Rest Camp.
1930 Major N.H. Bourne, DSO, arrives to take over as 2IC Bn.
994706 27 0630 Reveille.
0830 First Parade.
Rest and reorganisation contiues. Parties to "Stars in Battledress" show at
AUTHIE.
994706 28 0630 Reveille.
0830 First Parade.
1400 CO visits 270 Fwd Del Sqn.
1500 CO visits Bde for conference.
1520 Warning order that we may move.
2000 Harbour Party leaves under Lt T.M.E. Maloney.
Page 9 of 9
Place Date Hour Summary of Events and Information
994706 28 2100 CO to Bde after Sqn Comds conference.
2215 Adjt to Bde for orders for move from CUSSY.
29 0150 RHQ and tracks move off from CUSSY.
0650 A and A1 Echs move off.
0900 Tracks arrive area 685652.
1300 Wheels arrive.
1430 Major N.H. Bourne to Bde to give lecture on fighting in close country to
Bde crew comds.
1030 CO attended RAC conference at Army.
1930 CO to Bde for orders.
2045 Full Orders Gp.
685652 30 0500 Reveille.
0530 Wireless net.
1330 Ordered to move.. Movement slow owing to narrow, twisting rds and congestion
of traffic.
2050 Arrived area 677555 and harboured for the night.
677555 31 0015 CO to ST JEAN DES ESSERTIERS (619554) to meet 2IC Bde (Col R.P. Do Winton)
for orders.
0100 Orders Group. CO gives orders for day.
0430 Reveille.
0500 Move 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
reserve.
1315 RHQ and A Sqn move to area 677515.
1400 B and C Sqns recalled to area 677515.
1500 CO to Bde for orders.

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