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    War Diary: 65th Norfolk Yeomanry Regiment

    Month and year: December 1944

    The 65th Norfolk Yeomanry Anti Tank Regiment's 257th Anti Tank Battery December 1944 war diary covers the units time in Holland, Belgium and Germany

    National Archive Reference: WO 171/921

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    Page 1 of 9
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    As stated in Text1Training and maintenance continue. The weather is difficult and rain is
    frequent. BC attends conference at RHQ at 1600 hrs and as a result we
    learn that we will be in our present location for at least another week.
    Training is to be conducted on a Bty basis. BC dines with 6 & 7 Bns Queens
    to-night - it is a farewell party as we learn that these two Bns are
    going back to England and are being replaced in 131 Bde by 9 DLI and
    2 Devons. We will miss the many friends with whom we have worked for
    so long.
    as above2Training and maintenance continue. BC carries out an inspection of "C"
    Tp to-day. Weather still wet with a high wind blowing. We prepare a
    Bty Training Programe concentrating on the improvement of Gunnery in
    general. Visits from Major J Boag MC RA and Capt FW Brown RA.
    as above3BC continues with his inspections and sees "B" Tp at 1000 hrs. We learn
    in the early afternoon that it is again probable that we will come under
    comd of 22 Armd Bde but nothing definite is heard. The inspection of "A"
    TP is postponed owing to bad weather and the fact that the BC is visiting
    HQ 22 Armd Bde. at 1430 hrs. It is learned that we will come under comd
    22 Armd Bde w.e.f. 1200 hrs 4 Dec. Capt PD Balfour and 1 Sgt attend
    short MT course which is organised at RHQ. A Regtl trial soccer match
    is held to select the Regtl side, the Bty has 6 representatives.
    as above4BC and 2 IC visit the new area to-day and call at Bn HQ 2 RB which is
    situated at BORN (647719). One To Gun Area is found just West of
    NIEUSTADT (6873). We also visit a Bty of 21st A tk Regt RA (Gds Armd Div)
    and make arrangements to take over their accommodation when they evacuate
    the posns on Wednesday. Training and maintenance continue in the Bty.
    Today is dry, but extremely cold with a high wind blowing.
    Page 2 of 9
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    as stated in text52 IC and "C" Tp Comd - Lieut D BOGGIE visit new area and select rough
    Gun Areas. BC attends "O" Gp at 22 Armd Bde HQ. The whole Div is now
    under comd 30 Corps and Lieut-Gen HORROCKS visits the Regt and has a talk
    with all BCs. Movement orders arrive at 1900 hrs and it is found that
    out move will be an early one. "O" Gp is held at 1900 hrs and orders are
    issued for Reveille at 0615 hrs and move at 0730 hrs. 2 IC and TP Sgts
    are to proceed ahead to find leaguer area for Tps until Bty of 21 A tk Regt
    moves out.
    as above6A successful move is completed via KINROY (6084) NEEROETEREN. (5778)
    DILSEN (5972) - LANKLAER (5870) - crossing the R MAAS and so again into
    HOLLAND at 618687 - X roads (635687) GRAAHEIDE (638709) and so into
    BORN (6471). Tac HQ is established in the houses about 652716. "C" Tp
    move off into their new area around NIEUSTADT (6872) at 1600 hrs. In the
    meantime "B" Tp Comd recces posns in the GERMAN village of MILLEN (7071)
    and TUDDERN (7071). Those two villages are not strictly in our area but
    259 Bty who are in sp of 131 Bde have a very wide area to cover so that
    "B" will be detached from our direct comd. Recce is completed and the
    Tp will occupy it's posns at last light to-morrow night (7 Dec). The inf
    will also effect a change over at thos time, 2 DEVONS relieving the WELSH
    Gds. The areas are quite quiet generally speaking. "A" Troop will
    remain in reserve for the time being. Arty fire from both sides during
    the night.
    as above7"C" Tp are now in posn with only three guns committed in action. As the
    guns are isolated it is decided to increase the strength of the gun detachments
    and the crew of the fourth detachment is spread over the detachments of the
    guns in action. "B" Tp take their guns into the village at 1100 hrs but
    they will not be put into posn until last light. BC recces the two villages
    with Inf A tk pl comd (6-pr) at 1130 hrs and it is decided that four guns
    Page 3 of 9
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    As stated in text7(cont)/that four guns shall go into the area at MILLEN and two in TUDDERN,
    A reserve area is recced during the day for "A" TP. 2 IC and A Capt visit
    "B" Troop HQ in MILLEN at 1700 hrs and arríve to-gether with a mortar stonk.
    About 20 bombs fall in all and cause 2 cas to the Coy of DEVONS in the
    village. We find that the mortaring was caused by the movement of inf in
    the village and area. "B" Tp HQ is established in bldgs at MILLEN at
    699712. "C" Tp has its HQ in a bldg at 680723. "B" Tp's occupation is
    successfully accomplished but during the night both MILLEN and TUDDERN are
    mortared, not heavily but sufficient to cause two cas in "B" Tp. Gnr
    HERRINGTON received a wound in the Right eye and Gnr ROBERTS in the face.
    as above8The day dawns bright after a quiet night with NTR. BC visits "C" Tp and
    MILLEN area at 0800 hrs - 2 IC visits TUIDERN. RHQ establish a Tac HQ at
    LIMBRICHT (6670). CO calls upon us at 1240 hrs. Limited amount of shelling
    takes place in NIEUSTADT. The evening is punctuated with slight enemy
    shelling - probably CB on 5 RHA gun posns sited around the village.
    as above9Generally quiet throughout the day. "A" Tp's guns are sited in an area N of
    BORN rather between BUCHTEN (6473) and HOLTUM (6573). Guns do not actually
    go on the ground, but work on the gun-pits has commenced. The evening is
    again noisy with arty fire from both sides but no apparent damage is done.
    as above10About 1100 hrs shells begin landing in MILLEN, they made a very peculiar
    sound on landing - just a slight "phut" and at first we thought they were
    duds but they proved to be propaganda shells containing leaflets all of
    which were very amusing owing to their complete lack of understanding of the
    BRITISH mind. To- day it is decided that "A" Tp's guns shall be 50% manned
    in their areas on the ground, it is also decided to strengthen our defences
    in the MILLEN area. 1 of "A" Tp's guns is placed under comd of "B" TP and/
    Page 4 of 9
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    As stated in Text10 (Cont)/under comd of "B" Tp and sited on the ground at MILLEN. Regtl 24 hrs
    leave scheme to BRUSSELS commences with two ORs from BHQ and two from "A" Tp
    leaving at 1200 hrs. CO visits our area during the morning and calls on
    all Tps. Shelling of a moderate nature occurs during the evening otherwise
    as above11All tps spend a quiet day with NTR. CO visits Bty at 1500 hrs.
    as above12Further party proceeds on Regtl 24 hrs leave to BRUSSELS. Very little
    activity over the front to-day with less arty fire than usual. All Tps
    visited by BC and 2 IC.
    as above13Parties for the JERBOA CLUB at EINDHOVEN proceed at 0900 hrs to-day.
    Limited activity on the front again to-day. Small scale patrolling by
    the enemy took place last night and we had a "stand-to" of one hour's
    duration in the "C" Tp area, otherwise NTR.
    as above14A fairly quiet day, slight shelling and mortaring only - mostly ours.
    BC attends conference at 22 Armd Bde HQ at 1600 hrs from which we learn
    that the Div front is to be shortened and held by one Bde. 131 Bde on
    out Right are to be relieved by a Bde of the Gds Armd Div on night 17/18
    Dec whilst 22 Armd Bde remain in the line holding the front from R MAAS
    to inclusive TUDDERN (7071). "B" Tp will therefore revert to our comd
    and 259 Bty will go out of the line with 131 Bde and concentrate in area
    SITTARD (6968). The Bty issues a challenge to the village of BORN to
    meet in a soccer match, the challenge is accepted and arrangements are
    completed to kick off on Sunday at 1430 hrs.
    Page 5 of 9
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    As stated in Text15Reasonably quiet day with some Arty and mortar fire from both sides. We
    switch some detachments around to enable some to come into the reserve area
    of "A" Tp, whilst the detachments holding these posns will go fwd. Visits
    of 24 and 48 hrs leave to BRUSSELS continue. An extremely heavy frost
    occurred last night.
    as above16The whole day is very noisy with our guns firing counter-battery tasks.
    The enemy guns remain silent and do not reply.
    above17Slight mortar activity in village of MILLEN between 0915 and 1000 hrs.
    Two enemy jet propelled AC fly at roof-top height over TUDDERN at 1015 hrs.
    Over SITTARD they run into one of our fighter sqdns as a result of which a
    dog fight takes place and one of the enemy AC are shot down. The other
    plane drops some bombs the outskirts of SITTARD, between that town and
    LIMBRICHT. Some cas are caused to personnel travelling in a 3-tonner
    on the LIMBRICHT - SITTARD road. The afternoon is quite but at 1730 hrs
    enemy AC are heard in our vicinity. The sounds of bombs and AA fire
    are heard and believed to be in the area of SITTARD. AA and searchlights
    are in action for the next 30 mins or so. At about 1830 hrs several
    planes fly over BORN and a few moments later one drops a stick of four
    bombs the last of which lands about 12 yds away from the Offrs Mess.
    Fortunately it was of the smaller of bombs but Capt PD BALFOUR
    RA was wounded, having five small punctures in his back, buttocks and leg.
    Dvr SIMPSON was also wounded more seriously in the back and head. Both
    are taken to the Regtl A.P. and Gnr SIMPSON is evacuated to the MDS.
    Capt BALFOUR stays at duty. Aerial activity continues throughout the
    night in the Div area.
    Page 6 of 9
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    As stated in Text18Aerial activity continues throughout the night and did not abate until
    about 0800 hrs in the morning. The morning is spent in clearing up from
    "our bomb" We visit the Tos at about 1100 hrs and find that they also
    had a disturbed night *butterfly bombs" were dropped in "C" TP area.
    No damage or cas were reported. To-night we are to carry out HF tasks on
    the road between SUSTEREN (6875) and SCHILBERG (7079). Gun posns are
    recced just North of BORN. One gun from "A" Tp and one gun from "C" Tp
    are moved into posn at 1630 hrs under comd Lieut HONEYMAN, "A" Tp.
    12 rds HE (LV) per gun per hour are to be fired. The shoot is successful
    and terminates at 1745 hrs. At 2300 hrs we have a general "stand-to" after
    a report from 22 Armd Bde that "100 Black objects have been sighted flying
    towards the Div area". At 2345 hrs we stand down as the danger is considered
    to have passed.
    as above19The remainder of last night was quiet so far as we were concerned, although
    enemy AC were again active in the Div area. Christmas NAAFI arrived to-day
    and includes tinned turkey, mince meat, plum pudding, apples, oranges
    and pears plus and extra spirit issue. The day is quieter than of late
    with NTR. BC attends CO's conference at 1600 hrs held at 258 BHQ as a
    result of which we learn that the defences are to be thickened up against
    the possible attack by the enemy to start a pincer movement to join up
    with his winter offensive on the 1st and 9th US army areas. We also learn
    that 131 Bde is to go back into the line with 259 Bty in sp and that 259
    Bty will take over the village of MILLEN and TUDDERN from us. This will
    mean that each Bty will actually have two Tps in the line and will be able
    to carry out reliefs for each Tp in turn. We may also have the assistance
    of 258 and 260 Bttie to thicken up our defences and give depth to them
    so that we will be thicker on the ground. 259 Bty will probably take over
    the villages of MILLEN and TUDDERN on night of 20/21 Dec. The evening is
    noisy with out gunfire - no reply. Capt PD BALFOUR evacuated to 10 CCS.
    Page 7 of 9
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    As stated in text20A quiet day. BC and 2 IC visited all Tps. Some shelling in evening by
    our guns. NTR.
    21A quite night with NTR. A heavy mist is present until 1130 hrs and there
    is a general stand-to. During the afternoon enemy are observed off
    "B" and "C" Tp's area but are dispersed by arty and small arms fire.
    It is believed that these tps are new to the area and are wandering about
    in places which were treated with more respect by the previous tps.
    To add to this belief there was a lot of noise behind the enemy's lines
    during the night leading us to believe that a change was taking place.
    Arty activity during the evening is noticeably increased and there is
    also some air activity but not in our area.
    as above22Arty activity during the night on an increased scale. We learn that 131
    Bde are to come back into the line and that 259 Bty will be under comd and
    will have Dtt of their three Tps committed, we will not therefore be able
    to have one Tp out of the line in turn as we had hoped. RHQ move from
    BORN to area GELEEN to-day and 5 RTR move into LIMBRICHT with recced posns
    between BUCHTEN and LIMBRICHT which will be occupied if the situation
    demanded it. This will be a considerable help to us and will thicken up the
    defences considerably. The day is quiet with spasmodic arty activity from
    both sides. Capt BALFOUR returns from 10 CCS but needs rest as he has a
    small piece of bomb in his ankle. CO visits the Bty and explains
    alterations to be made in dispositions of the Regt. The BC meets GOC at
    1045 hrs.
    as above23Another night of intensive arty fire - predominantly ours but with single
    enemy guns. Quite strong enemy patrol approached "C" Tp's area during the
    night, this being preceeded by a strong stonk - from enemy standpoints -
    on and around the village of NIEUSTADT. This patrol was beaten off and all
    was quite quiet again by 2300 hrs. We receive warning to expect a severe
    frost of 12°. There is a severe drop in the temperature.
    Page 8 of 9
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    As stated in Text23 (Cont)Many of the locals can now be seen skating. A quiet day with very little
    activity along the whole front. A Rest Centre for the tps is opened in A Ech
    as above24Another night of Aircraft both enemy and ours. Arty fire, again mostly
    ours, but some enemy guns carrying out harassing shoots. About 2300 hrs
    the boche were heard to be singing carols to the accompaniment of an
    accordian - a stonk was brought down on the area from where the carolling
    apparently came - no more carolling or accordians were heard.
    25The first visitor of the day is Comd 22 Armd Bde who arrived at about 0915
    hrs. He visited the Rest Centre and had a word with all the fellows present.
    BC visits "A" & "C" Tps during the morning returning here about 1230 hrs.
    CO calls at 1245 hrs and visits the Rest Centre. BC and 2 IC help to serve
    dinner to Tac and "A" Ech. BC visits "B" Tp at 1400 hrs where he finds
    a very excellent Christmas Dinner about to be consumed. He assists in the
    serving and partakes of dinner there at the conclusion. Despite the fact
    that we are in the line and alcoholic restrictions are necessarily severe
    it is considered a very successful Christmas Day with the chaps in good
    heart. The whole day is quiet with NTR.
    as above26At 0545 hrs the enemy attacked GEBROEK which is comparatively lightly held
    by 11 H plus two guns of 260 Bty. The attack was not made in any
    great strength but was preceeded by quit a heavy stonk from guns and mortars.
    The two SPs of "K" Tp under Lt AYLING did very well indeed and shot up at least
    12 GERMANS before a short withdrawal was ordered. At 1000 hrs the village
    was counter-attacked and re taken. The remainder of the front was quite with NTR
    as above27Another night of arty fire mostly harassing tasks. The day proves
    uneventful. "B" Tp report having seen three vapour trails in the sky between
    0300 hrs and 0900 hrs. Those are believed to have originated from V2
    launching sites and are reported to Higher Authy. Otherwise NTR. The CO
    visited "A" & "C" Tps during the morning. The day is reasonably quiet with less than the
    usual amount of Ar?????e.
    Page 9 of 9
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    As stated in text28A quiet night. Slight mortaring from enemy heavy mortars in MILLEN about
    1530 hrs - about 10 mortar bombs landed. Remainder of front quiet with
    only very slight patrol activity.
    as above29Slight shelling of TUDDERN and mortaring in MILLEN during the night. One
    of "B" Tps Quads received a slight hole in the radiator but there is no
    real damage or casualties reported. The day is quiet with NTR.
    as above30Quiet night. Slight shelling forward of BUCHTEN (6573) at about 1100 hrs.
    but remainder of day NTR. We are still very much on our toes in this
    sector since the enemy may try a large scale offensive owing to the
    lack of success in the ARDENNES area.
    as above31More shelling than usual during the night by enemy single guns but ours
    were very active during the early hours of the morning. The day is
    generally quiet with nothing of importance to report.