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War Diary: 5th Battalion Royal Tank Regiment

Month and year: October 1944

The 5th Royal Tank Regiment (5 RTR) October 1944 War Diary covers the units time in the Netherlands

National Archive Reference: WO 171/867

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Page 1 of 4
Place Date Hour Summary of Events and Information
NISTLERODE 1 The Bde for an indefinite period was to be employed on a
watching role in protection of 30 Corps CL. It was
therefore decided to give the Regt as much opportunity
of re-organisation and maintenance as possible.
One Sqn only was to be actively employed at a time
'C' Sqn being the Sqn on duty. The regt moved to
NISTELRODE. The regt right and left bdys were the
BARRIERE - WETTERING Canal 405475 to 445475 and the
HEESH - S'HERTOGENBOSCH rd respectively. The enemy was
known to hold posns roughly along the 40 Easting.
'I' Coy 1 RB was placed under comd and formed together
with 'C' Sqn a strong point at HUNNEKINS VINKEL 455482.
Inf patrols were sent forward to investigate enemy posns
by night and reported hearing enemy patrols in area
413495. Maj S. P. Wood assumes comd of 'B' Sqn.
Tpr Pidgeon Wounded
2 B' Sqn relieved 'C' Sqn otherwise no event.
VEGHEL 3 Regt HQ plus 'B' Sqn who were relieved by 'C', Recce Tp
moved to VEGHEL 4837 to take over defense of the town
and safeguard the area between the canal and the river
4 Fd Sqn RE were placed under Comd to act as Inf and
later took over American Paratroop posns along the rly.
4 A Canal running from 449399 to 438391 prevented veh
recce from going further NW. Recce Patrols went out
but no sign of eneny. However, enemy were confirmed to
be in woods at 451385. Indirect shoots were carried out
by 'B' Sqn.
5 In conjunction with 131 Bde a feint attack was carried
out and 'B' Sqn sent two tps down the canal bank as fer
as the 44 Easting and destroyed houses on the southern
6 8 H took over posns and the regt gp returned to
NISTELRODE. 'A' Sqn reverted to regt comd and also
returned to NISTELRODE.
NISTELRODE 7 C' Sqn were relieved by 'B' Sqn who were billetted
in NISTELRODE. The remainder of the regt carry out
maintenance and trg,
8 Tpr Carson 'C' Sqn killed on a minature range erected
by 'C' Sqn.
9 A' Sqn relieved 'B' Sqn. Enemy patrols active.
Morter fire reported.
10 No event on the regt front excepting a "Stand-to"
at approx 2300hrs due to enemy activity.
11 A' Sqn relieved by 'C' otherwise no event.
12 0600 Recce Tp took over the responsibilities of 'I' Coy
1 RB Carrier Pl for 3 days.
13 14 No event other than patrols.
Page 2 of 4
Place Date Hour Summary of Events and Information
NISTELRODE 15 B' Sqn relieved 'C' Sqn otherwise no event.
16 I' Coy 1 RB took over posns from Recce during which a
Boche Patrol was captured and passed back to RHQ.
Losses: - Enemy 7 PsW Own:- NIL
17 0300 I' Coy 1RB clashed with enemy patrols laying mines at
MR 421483 enemy patrol withdrew. Unfortunately it was
not noticed that this patrol had laid mines with the
result being that one Cromwell moving up on the usual
patrol was badly damaged. There were no casualties to
personnel. A further incident during the day was a very
concentrated "Stonk" directed on the HQ at MANNEKENS VINKEL
from three separate gun areas. The whole conc landed
two to three hundred yards E of HQ. The enemy probably
found out location through the medium of civs. Casualty -
Wounded - Tpr Chitty
18 A vigorous Counter Bty programme was carried out during
which HQ ' ' Sqn with 'I' Coy 1 RB moved forward approx
1,000 yds.
19 No events other than 'A' Sqn relieving 'B'
20 The Regt less Recce Tp and Two Sqns ('B' and 'C') under
comd 53(W) Div prior to the attack on S'HERTOGENBOSCH
No events on 'A' Sqn front.
1420 The CO Lt. Col. C. A. Holliman lectures to all ranks
on "Forthcoming Ops" in the Catholic Hall
21 Final arrangements made by liaison with 71 Bde for
the attack on S'HERTOGENBOSCH. Quiet day on 'A' Sqn
front but towards evening the enemy men-handled an
88mm A/Tk gun into posn and brewed up One Cromwell this
gun was however KOd the following day.
Losses: - Enemy :- Nil Own;- One Cromwell
During the evening 'B' Ech was subjected to a quick
enemy air attack using AP Bombs.
Casualties:- KILLED - 2/Lt. Derbyshire
Tpr Lewis
Tpr Perkins
Tpr Taylor
Tpr Jackson
WOUNDED: - Capt (QM) A.E. .Thompson
Tpr Hearty
Pte Williams (ACC)
22 The first phase of the main S'HERTOGENBOSCH begen at
0630hrs. 'A' Sqn after careful and detailed planning
with the 4 RWF moved across the start line in sp of
them. Progress along the 40 grid Easting was good
having been preceeded by a hy arty barrage. The country
in this area towards the final objective was extremely
thick and contained a considerable number of enemy
snipers. The upshot of this sit was that One Coy of the
4 RWF lost all their offrs but few ORs. Also an
Offr Tk Comd of 'A' Sqn (Lt. J. Collinge) was shot
through the head. 'A' Sqn fired a great deal of amn into
the suspected areas and by last light had inflicted hy
cas making it possible for the inf to clear the whole
area East of the 40 Easting.
Losses:- Enemy: - 1 x 75mm A/Tk KOd
1 x 20mm SP KOd
1 x Simetre Mortar KOd.
Cas - Killed - Lt. J. Collinge
Page 3 of 4
Place Date Hour Summary of Events and Information
TISTELRODE 23 A' Sqn and RHQ back under comd 22 Armd Bde and conc as a Regt in NISTELRODE.
24 1600 Regt moved to new area MR 448371 and leaguered for the
448371 25 1100 It was anticipated that the Regt would have to cross the
canal by one of two brs at 321401 or 403379 in which a
move via HELVOIRT - UDENHOUT would have to be made.
A sec of 4 Fd Sqn RE under Comd of the regt with a
scissors br secured a crossing at 321401 but opposition
a 1,000 yds further on was too strong to allow a break
through. The regt leaguered the night in St. MICHELS
GESTEL Area MR 325384.
325384 26 The 51 HD having accured a br-hd at 304378 the Regt was
ordered to cross and proceed to HELVOIRT via MOLESTRAAT
'C' Sqn leading reached MOLESTRAAT without opposition.
At this point the leading tp was fired on by an SP gun
but no damage was done. The SP WELS thought to be in the
area 1,000 yds due West of MOLESTRAAT and 'C' Sqn set about
stalking it. At this stage 'B' Sqn was passed through 'C'
Sqn to make firm the X-rds 270383 and exploit to the next
X-rds. The 1 R.Tks were then passed through 'B' and
'C' Sqns directed on UDENHOUT. 'B' and 'C' Sqns changed
direction and advanced SW. 'B' Sqn reaching MR 250383
before being fired on with AP. 'C' Sqn with no opposition
reached HOLEINDE MR 247369. Good progress was maintained
until nightfall when the regt leaguered in Sqn boxes
at area 2538. Day's bag:- 6 killed 20 PsW
2538 27 Regt now placed under Comd 131 Bde. 'B' & 'C' Sqns ordered
to proceed to MR 230400 and 219309 respectively supporting
1/6 Queens protecting the Div CL - main rd HELVOIRT - LAIP
UDENHOUT. Rt and left Bdys being the rd GUILDENBERG
259419 to HELVOIRT and the 20 Easting. During the
afternoon 'A' Sqn reported some mortaring and enemy inf
movement MR 215400. At night RHQ leaguered in HELVOIRT,
'A' Sqn in defensive posns at MR 213370 plus 'A' Coy 1 RB
'B' Sqn at 216372 'C' Sqn at GUILDENBERG.
51 HD recce reported possibility of enemy cutting the CL.
HELVOIRT 28 1/6 Queens and a Sqn of the 11H now under comd the regt gp
who in turn was placed under direct comd 7 Armd Div still
carrying out the role of CL protection. 1/6 Queens posns
'A' Coy 215401 'B' Coy 225405 'C' Coy 239409.
'A' Sqn were in immediate sp to 'A' Coy. 'B' Sqn in res
at 230309. 'C' Sqn at GUILDENBERG. Night patrols reported
enemy approx str One Coy at 215412 also Mortar and Spandau
fire from this area.
29 A plan made to clear the enemy from area 215412
and to est 'B' Coy 1/6 Queens and 'B' Sqn in this area.
This op was successful and completed in 1 1/2 hrs. 'B' Sqn
having destroyed a number of houses containing enemy inf
inflicting hy cas. Country extremely thick and difficult.
An A/Tk gun located at MR 235438 withdrew after exchange
of fire enabling 'C' Sqn to proceed through the village
of GUILDENBER The outskirts were found to be heavily
mined One Cromwell being lost, this Tk being commanded
by Lt. Jones. Cas:- Lt. Jones wounded. Killed:- Tpr Mackinson & L/C Carter. Enemy cas:- 6 Killed 22 PsW
Page 4 of 4
Place Date Hour Summary of Events and Information
GUILDENBERG 30 At first light the area having been completely cleared
the regt conc and moved to take over posns held by 4 Armd
Bde in the vicinity of REIGEN 0537. The route being
HELVOIRT - TILBURG - REIGEN. 1/6 Queens remained under
comd and with Recce Tp carried out extensive recces proving
area for 2 miles West of line X-rds 0535 to 0539 clear
of enemy. The Royal Netherlands Bde now under our comd.
The 1 Polish Armd Div was also contacted their HQ being
at GILZE. Locations: - RHQ HULTEN X-rds 'A' Sqn 068342
'B' Sqn 033346 'C' Sqn 053962.
HULTEN 31 Regt now under comd 22 Armd Bde. The regt was est by
1400hrs at HORST MR 035423.