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    War Diary: 4th - 7th Dragoon Guards

    Month and year: January 1944

    The 4th/7th Royal Dragoon Guards January 1944 War diary covers the units time training in Scotland

    National Archive Reference: WO 171/838

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    Page 1 of 13
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    FORT GEORGE1A further postponement of Exercise Smash.
    The Brigade Comd & Bde 2 i/c called in the morning.
    C Sqn took the Dryshod Shermans out in the morning.
    The C.O. held a Squadron Leader conference in the morning &
    outlines future events.
    2The adjutant attended a Div. conference at HQ 1 Suffolks in the morning
    concerning the allocation of craft for the forthcoming exercise
    GRAB. Exercise smash was finally cancelled this
    morning owing to bad weather.
    3Weather very suitable for B & C Squadrons to train but there
    were no boats available at all so they were shore-bound.
    C Sqn practiced "digging in" on the training ground outside
    the Fort. A & B Sqns fired sten & held drill parades.
    all Squadrons did semaphore practice.
    4Outing to surf off the CARSE OF DELNIES B & C Sqns
    Page 2 of 13
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    FORT GEORGE4had to cancel training there for which by had gone round
    on their tracks. A & RHQ with wading Shermans
    loaded on to 4 L.C.Ts Is (39 Flotilla) in the afternoon
    but for similar reason as above were unable to carry
    out a full practice of wading ashore & re-embarking
    two craft loads were embarked but they had of
    return home by the shore.
    5B&C Sqns were to have embarked for TARBAT NESS in the evening
    at 1800 hrs but owing to the non-arrival of the LCT.
    until the tide had timed loading had to be postponed until
    0400hrs 6 Jan: however owing to the bad weather the
    embarkation lad to be postponed again. B&C Sqn finally loaded
    6at 1700hrs. 6 Jan.
    7B&C Sqn landed & shot 6 pdr at TARBAT NESS, owing to
    one LCT. being rammed during the night she had to return
    Appendix A
    Page 3 of 13
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    FORT GEORGE7to FORT GEORGE, getting back at about 1030 hrs & unloaded thus
    five tanks of B Sqn missed the shoot. The tanks of B & C
    Squadron which did shoot were brought back by transfer
    in the evening. Major G.K.Baker attended at the 'O' Group
    &of the 8 Br. Inf Bde in the morning with reference to
    the forthcoming Div. exercise GRAB. Major Simpson (2 i/c 5 A.R.E.)
    called in the morning.
    8The Brigade Commander and Comd K.A. Sellas R.W. with Lt. Comd
    Crichton & his flight commander held a conference here in the
    evening with the C.O. at which Os. CB&C Squadrons also
    attended: as a result of it a directive was issued to these twoappx B
    Squadrons with regard to bettering communication between
    crafts (by using the tanks wireless) & the officer tank
    comd standing on the bridge with a jumper lead from
    his tank.
    Page 4 of 13
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    FORT GEORGE81100HQ, A Sqn & RHQ tanks, carriers & scout cars moved into their
    boxes for Exercise Grab - embarkation to be to-morrow.
    90830The regiment (less transport vehicles which were cancelled at the last
    minute) embarked on L.C.T.s for exercise GRAB - a Div
    Exercise to be held at BURGHEAD with the following object:-
    (a) to practice the R.N, 8&9 Br. Inf Bde groups & No.6 Beach Group
    in carrying out an assault landing
    (b) to practise the Brigade groups in the capture & consolidation of their
    portion of the Div. bridgehead
    (c) to practice the beach group in their profession of the Beach Maintenance
    From the regiment standpoint, we were for initial
    phases (ie of the consolidation period) under commend of
    the 8 Br Inf. Bde, B Sqn supporting the 5 Lancs on the right
    & C Sqn supporting the E. Yorks on the left; A Sqn coming in with the
    Appx C Training Diary
    Page 5 of 13
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    FORT GEORGE9reserve Battalion - the 1 Suffolks, RHQ landing
    with A Squadron
    1600The crafts set sail for approx 100 mile trip up north by
    night, to return to BURGHEAD to off-load in the morning of 10 jan-
    D Day. H Hrs. originally fixed for 0900 hrs was altered
    to 0940 hrs last minute alteration was also made in
    the Battle code by higher formation which could not reach
    all sub-units in time.
    2000The sea became rough and all craft were making heavy going
    against the weather. Many personal (including the Navy) suffered from
    10sea sickness. The "amada" turned when the North Sea
    some miles of TARBAT NESS in the early morning and came back to
    TARBAT NESS. B&C Sqn could not operate owing to the rough sea,
    & an attempt was made to put a 24 hr postponement into effect;
    this however did not get round to all & landing commenced.
    Page 6 of 13
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    THE FIELD10We at RHQ had no order one way or the other and the L.C.T. comd.
    had none either; we eventually decided to land after
    a signal had come from destroyer to carry on beaching, and
    1125touched down at 1125 hrs and A Sqn well ordered to come in also
    by the C.O. and carry out their normal role; this they did
    and the C.O. contacted the 8 Br. Inf Bde Commander who had
    come ashore before us. B & C Sqns were not of course now in
    the battle but were returning to FORT GEORGE on the L.C.T.
    12008 Bde HQ established at EASTER COLDFIELD FARM & RHQ
    moved to a position at KIRKTON parallel to the Brigade's axis of advance no as
    not to be too hear the formation HQ. with all our vehicles.
    Contact was make on the wireless with all of RHQ (ie 2i/c,I.O.,
    MQ, Recce Tp. & Sc. Cars all of which joined us.
    1400E.Suffolks supported by A Sqn. attacked in area STANDINGSTONE
    1650(6586) to the East; attack pronounced successful no casualties to the Squadron.
    Page 7 of 13
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    In ther Field (BURGHEAD area)10after the attach A Sqn were released by the infantry & returned to
    rear rally at KIRKTON where A & R.H.Q. harboured for the night.
    11No further activity for the regiment; shortly after mid-day cease
    five was sounded though the regiment was never officially informed
    of this - & transporters brought the tanks home.
    FORT GEORGEThe Brigade Comd held a conference here??? in the eveing attended
    by the C.O., O.C. A Sqn, O.C. 148 Reg A.R.A.C. & his Sqn Leaders & our regimental
    umpire who was or GRAB (2i/c 148 R.A.C.)
    Commencing to-day with A Sqn. the Regiment is supplying the 24 hrs
    guard at CAMERON BARRACKS: A Sqn took over from the
    old guard at 1600 hrs: Each Sqn has to supply guards in
    turn for 24 hrs. Particular attention has been paid to getty
    the guards well drilled & practised & up to very high
    standard of turnout.
    12B & C Sqn carried out craft drill at the CARSE of DELNIES
    Page 8 of 13
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    FORT GEORGE13B&C Sqn fired 75 mm AP or the local tank range - a short
    range but has a very good fast moving crossing target.
    A Sqn held a last turnout parade in the afternoon and a semaphore
    competition in the morning; all ranks are learning semaphore.
    14B&C Sqn were to have loaded at 1230 hs but owing to the
    unfavourable weather, a fire at the R.N. HQs office and the
    failure of the signal detailing the craft to reach the craft
    C.O.s, no L.C.T.s were available. The C.O carried out a recce at TARBAT NESS
    A Sqn fired on the anti tank range here.
    15B&C Sqn landed at 1100 hrs without a hitch and did craft bill
    at the CARSE of DELNIES.
    4 L.C.T.s were scheduled to come at 1000 hrs to take on the transport
    carriers & scout cars; However they failed to arrive so the
    vehicles did a wade off the east hards and had one quick
    practice load on to 2 L.C.Ts which Arrived for the A.V.R.E.s
    Page 9 of 13
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    FORT GEORGE15The CO. & Major J A d'Avigdor Goldsmith attended conference at
    Div. HQ on exercise GRAB A Sqn fired 5 Browning on the local A.A Range.
    16B&C Sqn officers attended a discussion with the A.V.R.E. Squadron
    in the afternoon.
    171615B & C Sqn loaded at 1615 hrs on to L.C.T.s, four being loaded & off
    by 1630, the remaining two - owing to difficulty in getting in
    on the right spot - by 1705 hrs. They sailed up to TARBAT
    NESS by dark preparatory to a shoot to-morrow morning.
    TARBAT NESS18B Sqn came in from about 4000 yds & shot; H hrs
    was 0920; C Sqn followed after B, coming in from about 1500 yds.
    Transport brought tanks back in the evening.
    FORT GEORGEA Sqn fired 30 Browning on the Anti Tank Range at FORT GEORGE.
    a party of 22 men from B & C Sqn was sent of to TAIN to
    assist in preparing the ranges for the regiment which is to fire
    there; Squadron by Squadron 22-31 January.
    Page 10 of 13
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    FORT GEORGE19Conference for Squadron Leaders, Squadron Seconds in command &
    Squadron Gunnery Officers were held in the morning.
    20Day spent in preparing tanks for handover to 13/18H.,
    & our dayshod ones for transporting to TAIN.
    21B&C Squadrons, R.H.Q. Tank & Troop & 4 carriers proceeded to
    TAIN on TARBAT NESS where each Squadron is to have
    three days firing on the open battle area there. Only
    minimum transport admin personel have gone up to TAIN
    remainder having returned to LANGHOLM by road & rail on
    19 January. The RAF at TAIN aerodrome are accommodating
    & feeding all other Ranks & the officers are in requisitioned buildings
    in TAIN. The twenty two Shermans coming from FORT GEORGE
    by transporters arrived at all times throughout the night
    having made a late start from FART GEORGE & had
    TAIN22troubles on the way; getting ditched etc. However 'B' Squadron
    Page 11 of 13
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    TARBAT NESS22and RHQ started firing soon after 1230 hrs, doing a "shoot in"
    to ensure that the guns were OK and to give the gunners & commanders
    short practise before the battle run.
    23B Sqn. with R.H.Q. tank troop did two Squadron battle
    runs which went quite well; the Brigade Commander watched
    15 rds., AP 27 HE 2 smoke and 3 belts Browning per tank
    was the allotment of ammunition per run.
    24B Squadron & R.H.Q. did another battle run in the morning this
    time on a slightly longer course across the Ness.
    In the afternoon tanks were handed over to C Sqn. & B & R.H.Q.
    left for LANGHOLM by special train in the evening.
    A Squadron tookover B Squadron huts at the aerodrome
    having marched up from FORT GEORGE in 3 days.
    25C Squadron did the "shoot in" in the afternoon spending
    the morning on maintenance. Nine of the Shermans are petrol
    Page 12 of 13
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    TARBAT NESS25ones on loan from the 13/15 RH some are very new and give
    a lot of trouble with choked filters
    26C Squadron did two battle practice runs: owing
    to there being a wireless silence control by the Squadron
    Leader was almost impossible; however the runs went
    well and good use was made of ground and smoke. One
    tank rolled on to its side into a brook, the side of the bridge
    collapsing as the tank was passing over; no casualties.
    27C Squadron did another battle run in the morning and handed
    over tanks to A Squadron in the afternoon.
    28A Squadron carried out a "shoot in" in the afternoon doing
    maintenance in the morning.
    29A Sqn did two battle practice runs to-day.
    30A Sqn did their last battle practice run to-day; this was a good
    run, movement of troops, use of smoke & shooting being well done.
    Page 13 of 13
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    TAIN31A Sqn handed over tanks to the 13/18 R.H. in the afternoon and
    in the evening departed by train for LANGHOLM.
    C Sqn went on Squadron leave from LANGHOLM to-day.