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    War Diary: 4th - 7th Dragoon Guards

    Month and year: November 1944

    The 4th/7th Royal Dragoon Guards November 1944 War diary starts with the unit in Winssen, Netherlands and covers their advance to Geilenkirchen, Germany

    National Archive Reference: WO 171/838

    The "References to Appendices" column for this document was empty so has been omitted.

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    Page 1 of 20
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    1The Commanding Officer and Major S.R.M. Jenkins returned from
    leave in the afternoon. The S.R.Y. sent representatives to look
    at the Squadron areas at WINSSEN which they were to take over from
    us tomorrow.
    Q.M. attended a 'Q" conference at Bde.H.Q. at which among other
    things the forthcoming Ordnance inspectorate was discussed. The
    Commanding Officer interviewed 7 new Corporals posted to us as
    crew comds, and also saw all personnel who were on our strength at
    the 265 F.D.S.
    2The Regiment moved out of WINSSEN - in the morning, crossed over
    the NIJMEGEN bridge on to the Island - once again. Owing to the
    possibility of the enemy being able to flood a large portion of
    the Island, only 95 vehicles of the Regiment were allowed over,
    this meant that "A" and "B" Sqns. only had 15 tanks, "C" Sqn.17
    and the A1 Echelon only 6 lorries. We took over duties from
    Page 2 of 20
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    2.Contd.S.R.Y. "A" Sqn. u/c 50 (N) Div. located at OOSTERHOUT - 50 Div.
    being responsible for the Eastern sector - N.E. of ELST - BEMMEL.
    RHQ at OOSTERHOUT again; "B" and "C" Sqns. u/c 101 U.S. Airborne
    Div. "C" Sqn. being located at ZETTENANDELST and having two tps.
    out on the "Western approaches", one u/c 327 Combat Team and one
    u/c 502 Combat Team. "B" Sqn. were located at HERVELD in Div.
    reserve liable to operate with 501 or 506 Combat Team to the
    North or North East.
    The relief was completed by 1200 hrs.
    The Commanding Officers and Adjutant visited Sqns. in their new
    areas and called at 50 Div. and 101 U.S. Airborne Div.H.Qs. In
    the afternoon the Commanding Officer went to "B" Echelon and
    organized the classes which were to be run in the Echelon to
    train tradesmen and tank comds: 2 gunnery, 2 D.&M. and 1
    wireless and 1 crew comds class were started. Capt. E. H. Frank
    Page 3 of 20
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    2. contd.was made supervisor of the schools. The Commanding Officer visited
    HQ 8 Armd Bde in the evening.
    3Sqns had nothing to report. The Commanding Officer held a short Sqn
    Leaders conference in the morning and visited Sqn areas again in the
    afternoon calling at 101 US Airborne HQ in the early evening.
    Captain A.L. Berlow, Tech Adjt of the 2 N Y which had recently been
    broken un arrived on attachment with a view to taking over appointment
    as Tech Adth in the Regiment. It was announced today that the whole
    of BELGIUM had now been completely liberated.
    4The Brigadier called in the morning. The Commanding Officer spoke to
    all ranks of "A", "B" & "C" Sqns in their Sqn areas in the morning,
    putting them into the picture as far as possible, and stressing the
    importance of doing everything we could to prepare for our next operation
    whenever it might be and outlining the policy of how we would deal with
    the civilians when in Germany.
    Page 4 of 20
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    4 contd.8 Armd Bde held a dance at NIJMEGEN, in the evening, to which a number of
    Officers were invited. A troop of "B" Sqn carried out a direct shoot
    at 3 suspected enemy OPs across the river from a position west of DRIEL.
    5The Padre held church services for Sqns during the day.
    0930The Commanding Officer attended the service for HQ held in OOSTERHOUT
    Protestant Church in the morning.
    1100The Commanding Officer gave his talk to all ranks of HQ Sqn who were
    on the "Island". Capt A.L. Barlow (ex 2 N Y) took over duties
    temporarily as Tech Adjt from. Capt C.T. Monckton who returned to "B" Sqn
    for duty.
    6"C" Sqn moved their location at ZETTENANDELST by 300 yds or so as some
    enemy shelling had been coming very near their harbour. The Commanding
    Officer visited Sqns in the morning and B. Echelon in the afternoon,
    later going on to 8 Armd Bde HQ and 147 Regt.
    7Sqns had nothing to report.
    Page 5 of 20
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    7.contd.The Commanding Officer held Sqn Ldrs conference about various domestic
    1145matters and outlined plan for evacuation from the "Island" in case the
    Hun breached a dyke and flooded it.
    A representative from the 30 Corps A C C. adviser called in the afternoon
    and discussed replacement of two cooks in "A" Sqn with the Commanding
    1300Two Spitfires machine gunned an A.1 Echelon 3-tonner taking petrol to
    "C" Sqn at ZETTENANDELST and brewed it up; the driver escaped injury.:
    a similar incident had recently occurred to the 43 Recce Regt and it was
    suspected that the planes were piloted by the enemy.
    80930The Commanding Officer attended "O Group." at 8 Armd Bde HQ and returned
    later bringing back the Commanding Officer, Sqn Ldrs and other officers
    of the Fort Garry Horse (our affiliated Canadian Regt) who came to
    recce our area: they were going to take over. from us on 11 Nov 44. The
    officers lunched at RHQ before going round to the Sqn areas. The Fort
    Page 6 of 20
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    8Garry Horse belong to the 2 Canadian Corps and the last contact we had
    made with them was in 1941 when their then Commanding Officer (Lt Col
    Moreton) visited us at EDGCOTE. Their Commanding Officer now was
    Lt Col Wilson.
    1730The Commanding Officer held an "O Group" outlining our move on 11 Nov 44
    when we were to go with 8 Armd Bde to new area (u/c Corps still)
    NE of MAASTRICHT. 2 Canadian Armd Bde were to come here with the
    Fort Garry Horse to our own area on the "Island". Orders for recce
    parties to leave under the 2nd-in-Command on 9 Nov 44 were issued, final
    details not arriving from Brigade till 2220 hrs. Main move would be
    on 11 Nov 44.
    Quite a lot of enemy shelling fell on the "Island" during night including
    some salvoes from a "Moaning Minnie" (Nebelwerfer)
    9Some shelling occured during early hours of the morning cutting lines in
    "B" Sqn area: none fell in any of our immediate localities.
    Page 7 of 20
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    9.contd.0730Recce party under 2nd-in-Command left for new area N E of MAASTRICHT.
    p.m.The Commanding Officer visited B Echelon.
    10p.m."B" Sqn sent a troop up south-west of DRIEL and carried out an indirect
    shoot on to enemy localities on the north of the lower Rhine, having an
    O P with observation from the dyke south of the river.
    11At 1100 hrs the Adjutant officially handed over-in the absence of the
    Commanding Officer who had to go to the MAASTRICHT area early - our
    duties on the "Island". The Colonel arranged with Lt Col Wilson (Commanding
    Officer of the Fort Garry Horse) to have a pennant made with their flag
    on one side and ours on the other. Sqns took the opportunity of this
    fortifications and happy meeting with our affiliated Canadian Regiment to be
    the excuse for some celebrations.
    1440The Regiment left OOSTERHOUT on the island, crossed by the NIJMEGEN road
    bridge and moved to area BRUNSUM (S W of SITTARD. and N W. of AACHEN)
    travelling on tracks some 129 miles. Route was via GRAVE-EINDHOVEN,
    Page 8 of 20
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    Meal was served by cooks lorry during long halt 1800-1900 hrs (near
    EINDHOVEN). The drive lasted all night, the Regiment coming into Sqn
    areas at BRUNSUM early 12 Nov 44. Some tanks and lorries were left en
    route with mechanical troubles and fuel stoppages but by evening 12 Nov 44
    most were in. 5 tanks had to go into L A D or Workshops as a result
    of the drive.
    120830The Regiment in 43 Div area at BRUNSUM, "A" Sqn being located furthest
    away at RAAT two miles from RHQ. BRUNSUM area about 2 miles from the
    German border. The Commanding Officer spent most of the day on O Group
    at 43 Div. HQ and recce of ground over which the Regiment would be operating
    north west and north of GEILENKIRCHEN, Sqns rested.
    130900The Commanding Officer held an O Group. See Appendix "A" for orders
    issued. The Regiment was to support 214 Bde in a limited attack due
    east from GILLRATH, "A" on right with S L I having NEIDERHEIDE
    Page 9 of 20
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    13 contd.their objective, "C" in centre with 5 D C L I with HOCHEIDE and BRUGGERHOF
    as their objectives and "B" Sqn on the left with 1 Worc having RISCHDEN
    and TRIPSRATH as their objective, Attack dependent upon 84/US.Div gaining
    high ground south and south east of GEILENKIRCHEN first and designed to
    push out enemy holding GEILENKIRCHEN and cut their escape route N E.
    14Nothing to report from Sqns. Nost officers were engaged on recces,
    visiting Bn Comds etc. In a defence plan now formulated by 43 Div we
    had 1 Sqn put u/c 214 Inf Bde and Regiment (less "A" Sqn) u/c 130 bde.
    15The Commanding Officer visited 214 Inf Bde HQ in the morning. Lt.J.H.G.
    Ford while out on a recce just north east of GILLRATH was wounded in the
    back by enemy mortar fire. He was not however evacuated.
    The Brigade Comd (Brig G.E. Prior Palmer) visited Sqns in turn and gave
    the men an informal talk outlining the plans for the moment - 8 and 12
    Corps offensive just started in VENLO sector, Americans under General
    Patton fighting for METZ, another big American push to start any day now
    Page 10 of 20
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    15.contd.south of 30 Corps sector, and 30 Corps with 84 US Div also u/c to start
    soon afterwards with our own show in GEILENKIRCHEN sector and then
    WALDENRATH (we making things nice and tidy for the Gds Armd. Div to start!)
    He also spoke about the coming winter, warning us that it will be hard:
    leave was not on but all the Brigade would have had a go at the Bde Rest
    camp at LOUVAIN (near Brussels) by 29 Nov 44.
    In the evening it became known that the Brigadier had been awarded the
    More rain but barometer rising.
    161000The Commanding Officer attended O Group at 214 Inf Bde. Weather much
    better today - blue sky and R A F were able to fly: American offensive
    south of 30 Corps sector started.
    1400The Commanding officer held an O Group for operation
    Page 11 of 20
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    17American advance reported going satisfactorily. commanding
    1200Officer held final tying up "O" Gp. orders issued for actual
    move to assembly areas see Appx "B".
    18The Regt. moved out in accordance with orders as issued,
    12307 SLI with "A" Sqn. crossed the start line at GILLRATH with
    "B" Sqn. on their left giving covering fire. This went well to
    start with, and the enemy re-action was surprisingly slow.
    1300S.L.I. and "A" Squadron reached woods just East of NEIDERHEIDE
    and "B" Squadron fire support was therefore stopped.
    1340Report that 6 Tigers withdrawn from HOCKHEIDE. 5th Troop "A"
    Squadron reached first house of NEIDERHEIDE, and first P. of W.
    were coming in.
    13501 Worcs and "B" Sqn. in support crossed start line and the Inf.
    successfully pushed on through NEIDERHEIDE to RISCHDEN
    establishing themselves on their objective. The mud was now
    Page 12 of 20
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    18.contd.beginning to take a serious form, and a number of "B" Squadron
    tanks became bogged and two were mined. The enemy shelling
    became heavier and RHQ who were moving just S. of HATTERATH
    were heavily shelled by 88 mm though fortunately no tank was
    hit directly. By 1700 hrs. RHQ set up at the W. edge of
    NEIDERHEIDE just off the main axis,
    1530approx. DCLI with "C" Sqn. in support crossed their start line
    near NEIDERHEIDE and pushed on successfully to their objective
    at HOCKHEIDE the DCLI establishing a road block on the main rd,
    NE from GEILENKIRCHEN - BRUGGERHOF. Meanwhile the Worcs. although
    successfully reaching RISCHDEN and later TRIPSRATH were having
    their advance slowed up, and it later transpired that their
    leading elements were preceded into RISCHDEN by TSM.Parkin's
    Troop ("A" Sqn.)
    170023 tanks of the Regt. were now bogged and the Tech. Adjt. and
    Page 13 of 20
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    18.Contd.the Bde.E.M.E. were on the spot working very hard to extricate
    them. work of recovery went on during the night and by next
    morning a number had been removed. Sqns. were established for
    the night- "A" Sqn. - NEIDERHEIDE, "B" Sqn. RISCHDEN,
    "C" Sqn. - HOCKHEIDE, and RHQ by edge of wood just W. of
    NEIDERHEIDE. During the night there was considerable enemy.
    shell fire and mortaring took place.
    190920.Report received that portion of the Worcs who were in TRIPSRATH
    were surrounded and that enemy counter attack was coming in from
    KRAUDORF on to TRIPSRATH. This was successfully beaten off
    largely due to fine support given by "A" Sqn. TPs. "A" Sqn.
    K.Od one panther, and *C" Sqn. had some good shoots from the
    high ground on to enemy concentrations in the valley. By 1100
    hrs. counter attack had subsided although the position of our
    Inf. in TRIPSRATH was by no means secure as the woods to the
    Page 14 of 20
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    19.Contd.W.of RISCHDEN running Northwards had not been cleared nor had the
    Northern part of TRIPSRATH, and there were definitely enemy in
    these areas and about six S.Ps just N.W. of TRIPSRATH. All our
    positions were shelled quite considerably during the day and every-
    body remained in their tanks. "B" Sqn. sent 5 tanks down to
    TRIPSRATH in the eurly hours of the morning, and before they
    could take up suitable positions these tanks became involved in
    the enemy counter attack. Four were brewed up (two by Bazooka)
    between RISCHDEN and TRIPSRATH, Lieut.E.R.Thomas, Tprs.Kyte and
    Fyles being kill ed and some 12 others being wounded.
    20An account of the GEILENKIRCHEN battle is attached at Appx."C".
    Brigadier G.E.Prior-Plamer, DSO visited RHQ in the morning.
    Despite mad and continued rain all the Sqns. were replenished
    during the day, ARVS and turretless Honeys ferrying supplies up to
    "A" sqn. where a dump was made. The road S. of RISCHDEN up
    Page 15 of 20
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    20.contd.through BAUCHEM - NEIDERHEIDE Was made passable in the
    21Little enemy air activity in the morning - two F.W.190s which
    did some strafing but not actually in our own area. Again
    there was considerable enemy shelling of all areas. One P.of W.
    surrendered to "A" Sqn. (belonging to 14 Coy.351 Volksturm
    Grenadier Regiment.).
    1400RHQ moved back just E. of GILLRATH and set up shop in the
    Brickworks, "B" Sqn. were withdrawn from RISCHDEN in the
    morning and went back to A1 Echelon at STAHE and fitted end
    connectors to their tracks. These connectors would give
    better performance in mud and to-morrow "B" Sqn. were to
    support 5 DCLI with two Tps. in an advance NE from BRUGGERHOF.
    "A" Sqn. were prepared to support 1 Worcs. from RISCHDEN area
    if required.
    Page 16 of 20
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    22Rain again. "B" Sqn. sallied forth to support 5 DCLI on to
    their objective which included E. of TRIPSRATH and Village called
    HOVEN This operation was to have been dependant on U.S. Forces
    moving up N.E. parallel to the road GEILENKIRCHEN - RANDERATH.
    However, U.S. Tps were unable to get further than SUGGERATH.
    This meant that the main road could not be used to supply the
    5 DCLI in their forward area and therefore supplies could only
    be sent up on foot through woods and through the bottle neck as
    well. Two Tps of "B" Sqn. gave particularly effective support
    from the RISCHDEN area. During the day the Commanding Officer's
    tank moved and set up RHQ on main road just S. W. of BRUGGERHOF
    moving back to Brickworks at nights The Commanding Officer
    stayed night at HQ. 214 Inf.Bde. at BAUCHEM. "B" Qqn. were
    permitted to withdraw to BAUCHEM for the night also.
    Casualties to-day - NIL. End connectors definitely showed
    Page 17 of 20
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    22 contd.their worth except they did not prevent one Tp. being bogged.
    23"B" sqn. sent two Tps. at first light to same position in
    RISCHDEN area. Counter attack developed approx. 0945 hrs.
    Thanks largely to the fire put down by "B" and "C" Sqns. Tps.
    on the forming up Troops, the counter attack never really
    developed properly and the situation was largely restored by
    1100 hrs. 4 Wilts. relieved 5 DCLI. "B" Sqn. Tp. of tanks
    still in the bog. Rain again. In the evening RHQ moved to
    24During night certain amount of shelling in Sqn. and RHQ areas.
    Otherwise nothing to report in the front. 13/18 H relieved
    the Regiment with 129 Inf.Bde. at 1330 hrs. Sqns. coming out in
    turn and moving back - "A" and "C" Sqns. to GILLRATH,
    "B" Sqn. (less 1 Tp. staying out in the bog) and A1 Echelon to
    area STAHE, RHQ to NEIDERBUSCH. In new location the Regt.
    Page 18 of 20
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    24.contd.remained under comd. 43 Div. and were in support of the 130 Inf.
    Bde. with counter attack role with the forward Bns. holding the
    line from KRAUDORF - BIRGDEN - HATTERATH. Gds.Arnd.Div. were
    on our immediate left, 129 Inf.Bde. remained on our right with
    the 84 U.S.Div. on their right N.E. of GEILENKIRCHEN.
    25Nothing to report. The Commanding Officer visited Sqns. in the
    morning. Little shelling in all Sqn. areas during the day.
    26Nothing to report. Little shelling in A1 Echelon area No
    casualties or damage. padre visited Squadrons and held
    Services during day. Otherwise nothing to record.
    27Nothing to report except Brigadier G.E.Prior-Palmer DSQ called
    in the morning and visited Sqns. in company with the Commanding
    Officer. RSM. Cheal returned to duty.
    28Commanding Officer and Adjt. visited Bde. HQ. in the morning and
    also "B" Echelon. during the night Regimental Fitters and REME
    Page 19 of 20
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    28.Contd.personnel succeeded in pulling out the three tanks of "B" Sqn.
    which had been lying in a bog S. of TRIPSRATH.
    29Nothing to report.
    30The C. in C. 21st Army Group (Field Marshal sir Bernard Montgomery
    K.C.B., D.S.O., M.C.) decorated certain Officers and ORs of
    8 Armd.Bde and 43 Div. at an investiture held at TREBEK in the
    morning. No. 7902643 Sergt.Wilcox W. "B" Sqn. was the 4/7th
    RDG man to receive an award - the M.M. for gallantry at RAURAY
    (in the Normandy beachhead) when serving with the 24L. The
    Commanding officer, Adjutant, Major S.R.M. Jenkins, the RSM.
    and a number of other ranks of "B" squadron attended as
    spectators. Among others to receive awards were
    Brigadier G.E.Prior-Palmer (Comd.8 Armd.Bde) - the DSO. Before
    the investiture a programme of music was played by the Life
    Guards Band. A2 and B Echelon were moved to a transit area
    Page 20 of 20
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    30 Contd.near BRUNSSUM in the afternoon, very little details were made
    known about this move by higher formation and it was done at
    short notice necessitating a speedy "pack up".