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    War Diary: 5th Battalion Royal Tank Regiment

    Month and year: August 1944

    The 5th Royal Tank Regiment (5 RTR) July 1944 War Diary starts with the unit at Caumont and follows their fighting through France to St Leger du Gewnetry.

    National Archive Reference: WO 171/867

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    Page 1 of 4
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    PLACEDATETIMESUMMARY OF EVENTSX
    CAUMONT1"B" Sqn was placed under Comd of 1/6 Queens and "C"
    Sqn under 1/5 Queens. "A" Sqn being in reserve.
    0900Bde attacked from area BENNEVILLE MR 7554 1/5 Queens
    Group left directed on BREUIL, 1/6 Queens Group right
    directed on MANPIED 7651. All went well but 1/5
    Queens found themselves unable to establish themselves
    on the BREUIL feature. It was decided to pass the
    1 R Tks through who, although suffering casualties
    succeeded in forcing the enemy to withdraw.
    2Regt switched to Comd of 22 Armd Bde and a further
    plan made to attack the BREUIL feature with the 1/6
    Queens and then to pass the Regt through, directed
    on to AUNAY-SUR-ODON. RHQ was 1 mile S of CAHANGES
    and after a quick exchange of fire mostly from "A" Sqn
    37 PsW were collected from nearby hedgerows.
    Casualties - Cfn Tedder (LAD) - Wounded.
    Enemy 37 Psw.
    CAHANGES3At first light the Regt left the area 7455 and passing
    through the 1/6 Queens made for the high ground at
    Pt 138 8151 which overlooked the AUNAY - VILLIERS
    road "A" Sqn almost immediately overran 40 Psw.
    A fairly heavy mist which had persisted, lifted,
    and when it had been hoped that it would be a cover
    0830from the high ground in the S, none existed and the
    Regt was under observation the rest of the day.
    "A" Sqn made very good progress towards Pt 138 as
    far as LA LANDE and COURCELLES. "C" Sqn was
    protecting the left flank and were stationary in a
    position 400 yds S of ST GEORGES DE L 'AUNAY. Both
    Sqns having contacted the enemy 3 Tp in "A" Sqn in
    LA LANDE got the better of a head on encounter with
    a MkIV but enemy inf forced them to withdraw from the
    rlwy bridge. 4TP and reached Pt 138 where they commenced
    shelling the road. The enemy re-acted quickly by
    heavy and accurate shelling on 4 Tp's position AP
    was also reported.
    1130"B" Sqn passed through "A" with the intention of
    recapturing Pt 138 and deal with any opposition
    there.
    1300Enemy opposition in LA LANDE had increased considerably
    and several tks were seen and engaged. 3 Tp "A" Sqn
    KO'd 2 Mk IVs for the loss of 2 Cromwells despite
    the fact that one tk had a broken cocking lever on
    the 75 mm gun at a range of 200 yds.
    PLACEDATETIMESUMMARY OF EVENTS
    32 Tp followed with an action against 3 Mk IVs and
    1 MkV at a range of 1000 yds 1 Cromwell was lost, also
    a Challenger who through lack of opportunity had
    not been able to T & A sights with a result that all
    three shots fired, missed.

    RHQ remained with 1/6 Queens with whom no supporting
    plans had been made as this was considered a firm
    base and it appeared to be the case of Armour
    looking after itself and getting established 1 1/2 miles
    E of the Queens FDLs. As all moves were under
    observation, the effect of a sudden attack with
    concentrated gun and mortar fire against the A/tk
    screen of 1/6 Queens was to KO 50% of them.
    Following the bombardment a sudden counter attack
    by the enemy Bn strength supported by 6 tks from
    BASSIEUX had the effect of over-running 2 Coys of
    the Queens and cutting off "A" and "B" Sqns from
    RHQ. Meanwhile 2 or 3 enemy tks together with
    infantry opened up on "C" Sqn, from the area
    ST GEORGES and 5 more tks attacked "A" and "B" Sqns
    inflicting casualties, who then made for the only
    cover available at 805520 with the intention of
    making one composite Sqn of the two.
    Meanwhile "C" Sqn and RHQ got into position to support
    1/6 Queens BHQ and so prevent them being over-run
    at the same time covering the area S of ST GEORGES.
    The attack was stopped 800 - 1500 yds short of the
    1/6 BHQ and a strong point made out of the tks and inf.
    "A" Sqn of 8Hussars came up and took over the front
    S of ST GEORGES.
    The enemy had now reinforced the ring round "A" and
    "B" Sqns though one tp had been extricated by
    means of a smoke screen and rejoined RHQ.
    Several attempts to break through were frustrated
    before dark, but during darkness after leaguer had
    been attacked by Bazookas Maj Macdonald gave the
    order to break out and make for the W. 9 tks out
    of the 12 succeeded in rejoining RHQ, Maj Thomson
    being wounded.

    Casualties -
    Killed - Lt R.Heynes, SSM Knight,
    Sjt Cornish, Sjt Nuttall,
    Tprs Morriss, Butler and Palmer A.

    Wounded- Lt E.B.Abram, Lt B.K.Pearson
    2/Lt Feaver : 2/Lt Smith D
    SSM Greenslade, Sjts Solomen,Babbage, Gordon, Cpl Hyde
    L/Cpls Pett, Brown, Marshall, Tprs Reid, Richardson,
    Trewick, Beattie, Harland, MacIntyre, Dootson,
    Goodman, Marshall, Perkins. Sjt Lissiemore.

    Missing - Cpl Greehalgh, Tprs Brown D,
    Bruce, Dyson, Hewins, Hewson, Pocock, and Wood J.
    Losses Own - 7 Cromwells
    Enemy- 3 MkIVs, 40 Psw
    and many unconfirmed losses.
    Page 2 of 4
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    PLACEDATETIMESUMMARY OF EVENTS
    BREUIL48 Hussars relieved the Regt which went into reserve on
    the BREUIL feature.
    Casualties Capt J.C.Messent wounded.
    5-6Regt moved to COURVADON and spent the time re-organising,
    7Regtl Gp was ordered to advance via LEUAL 8550 -
    AUNAY 8248 and establish itself in the POSTY area
    8447. This was completed by 1700 hrs "C" Sqn leading.
    POSTY8Regt moved to Comd of 141 Bde CL changed to road
    ROUCAMPS - PLESSIS - GRIMOULT A Sqn 8 Hussars were
    placed under Regtl Comd, A and B Sqns amalgamated
    and called "A" Sqn. 8 Hussars led and became involved
    in area PLESSIS - GRIMOULT losing 3 Tks. Orders
    were received to make good x the ground gained and
    "A" Sqn took up defensive positions on the Eastern
    flank of Mt Pincon.
    9A plan was made to extende the Bde area and "C" Sqn
    was ordered to co-operate with 1/6 Queens and do an
    advance from Mt Pincon to the area of some houses
    866449. The objective was taken after some good
    co-operation between tks and inf.
    Casualties - Killed - Sjt Fyffe
    Wounded - Tpr Davies J, Tpr Williams A
    Day's bag 20 PsW.
    10"C" Sqn were withdrawn and the Regt moved to area
    BONNE - MAISON 0650 for rest and re-organisation.
    11 - 14Maintenance. Talk by Lt Gen HORROCKS XXX Corps Comd
    to all full rank NCOs. Brig W.R.N.Hinde leaves
    22 Armd Bde and a new comd appt Brig MACKENSON.
    157 Armd Div under Comd of 1 Cdn Corps.
    161225Regt moved to CAEN sector leagure at ROBERT MESNIL
    1055.
    1740 fresh rfts arrive to replace personnel unsuitable
    in the unit.
    1530Regt moved to area FAVIERES 2150.
    FAVIERES181000Regt moved to Pt 70 2647 passing through ST PIERRE
    SUR DIVES.
    19 - 20Regt remained in open leaguer in the Bde area,
    subjected to night bombing attacks A2 Ech suffering
    particularly in the loss of vehs.
    Casualties -
    Killed - Tpr Turner R
    Wounded - Padre A.H.Dickson CF,
    Tprs Stafford and Smeaton.
    Cpl Cutts and Cfn Brooks (LAD).
    Losses own - A2 Ech to Vehs.
    Page 3 of 4
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    PLACEDATETIMESUMMARY OF EVENTS
    210900Regt moved BOISSEY 3249.
    1300Regt ordered to proceed via ST MICHEL DE LIVET to
    LIVAROT 4873 and thence to FERVAQUES. After a
    slow start due to narrow roads "C" Sqn deployed 1/2 mile
    FERVAQUESbeyond LIVAROT and reached Cross Rds 5276 where
    a "Volkswagon" was caught and "brewed up". As the
    br at FERVAQUES was essential a base was formed at
    5276, and "B" Sqn with 2 Mortar Ptns of I Coy 1 RB
    moved in and attacked a small outpost in the
    neighbourhood of the br over where the RBs quickly
    established themselves.
    Casualties - Killed - Tprs Pettit and Dean
    Wounded - Sjt Ackroyd, Tpr Freeman.

    Losses Enemy - 1-1/2 Track, 4 Staff Cars, 2 Lorries
    Day's Bag 40 PsW.
    22At first light "A" Sqn was ordered to pass through
    FERVAQUES with the intention of reaching ST CYR DU
    RONCERAI. On reaching pt 549752 3 Tp was attacked
    by enemy inf using Bazookas and Grenades, the opposition
    became stiffer. "A" Sqn were therefore
    ordered to hold FERVAQUES with two coys of RBs
    "A" and "I". The village was shelled by about 4
    enemy tks so "C" Sqn who were supporting "A" opened
    FERVAQUESup from the high ground to the W of FERVAQUES on
    suspected enemy postions: thus disclosing thier own
    locations, very accurate fire was returned
    and 1 Cromwell was KO at a range of 2500 yds.
    1800A determined attack was put in by the enemy which had
    been suspected to be materialising for most of the
    day and it was successfully beaten off. Mortar and
    25 prs fired to the rear of the retreating
    Germans having good effect according to a PW
    statement.
    Casualties - Killed - Tpr Inwards
    Losses Own - 1 Cromwell Enemy - 3 Psw
    FERVAQUES23Cdns now took over positions in the village and the
    Regt leaguered in area 1 1/2 miles W of FERVAQUES.
    240700Regt was moved forward to LISIEUX, Bde CL was main
    road LISIEUX - THIBERVILLE, but the Regt was ordered
    to proceed to MOYAUX and find a route running
    parallel to the Bde CL. Recce reported the br
    HERMIVAL 5790 suitable for crossing, "B" Sqn then
    went fwd as an advance guard for the Regt Gp now
    consisting of G Bty 5RHA & C Sqn Lothian and Border
    Yeo (Flails) a Scissors Br and I Coy 1 RB. A few
    enemy inf was met just E of MOYAUX these withdrew
    after a few shots.
    Page 4 of 4
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    PLACEDATETIMESUMMARY OF EVENTS
    1600"B" Sqn pushed on and reached the br at BAILEU and
    reported it blown, whereuion the 'Scissors' was
    quickly brought into use and the Regt crossed. "B"
    Sqn was ordered to move into FRESNE. It was now
    getting dark and the Regt was ordered to reach area
    7491. "B" Sqn pulling into the area at last light to
    7491form outposts as there was danger from LIEURY 7495
    where a Bn of German Inf supported by tks had
    previously been reported. The remainder of the Regtl
    Gp formed a leaguer by 2100 hrs.
    Posting of Offrs to Unit : A/Capt Grimstone, 2/Lts
    Bentley, Gwilliam, & Zoeftig.
    25At first light open leaguer was formed until midday
    when the Regt was ordered to move via
    ST GEORGES DU VIEVRE 8096 to ST GEORGIES 8495.
    Meanwhile the 5 DGs had crossed the R Risle at
    LE ROMANCON 8897 and the Regt was then ordered to
    cross the River and take Pt 162 9297, but owing to
    traffic congestion were only able to just get across
    before dark and formed a leaguer at 9096 on the left
    of 5 DG.
    909626Carrier Ptns of 1 RB doing close recce for "C" Sqn
    moved to APPETOT 9198 and then on to MAUBUISSON 9299
    without opposition until reaching the station at
    ST LEGER DU GEWNETEY where there was a half hearted
    attempt by enemy armed with Bazookas to stop the
    advance. This was quickly moved by "C" Sqn firing
    HE and Besa into the area, 25 PsW were taken.
    Immediately after the station came a thick wood through
    which the CL passed throngh. A foot patrol
    of RB was soon in contact with the enemy.
    807426However orders were received for the Bde Gp to move
    from the APPETOT x area via the cross rds 923988 -
    MONTFORT SUR RISLE - APPEVILLE to BRESTOT. At night
    a scattered leaguer was formed along the rd in Sq
    8704 and a strict guard kept.
    270900Regt ordered to return to ST LEGER DU GEWNETRY the
    only CL available TOUVILLE 9301 - BOIS INGER
    ST LEGER DU GEWNETRY930078, as the 8 Hussars were operating E of the grid
    95 with the intention of cutting the rd 930078 -
    and 945090. "A" Coy 1/7 Queens came under Comd
    and were ordered to attack the area LA MESILIERE
    "C" San cleared the area BOIS - INGER
    where a few enemy had been seen and 1/7 Queens
    formed up. After a "Stonk" by Mediums and "G" Bty
    RHA the Queens moved into LA MESILIERE "C" Sqn
    supporting and the main road was cut. One PW
    stated that 30 enemy had baled out taking with them
    2 x 50mm guns.
    Days bag - 1 PW.