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    War Diary: 65th Norfolk Yeomanry Regiment

    Month and year: December 1944

    The 65th Norfolk Yeomanry Anti Tank Regiment's 258th Anti Tank Battery December 1944 war diary covers the units time in Holland and entering Germany.

    National Archive Reference: WO 171/921

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    Page 1 of 5
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    FieldDec.1Eight new SP 17-pdrs arrived during night to replace 8 X 3" M.10's. Bty
    now consists of 12 SP 17-pdrs. Nos 1, drivers, D/Ops & Fitters spent the
    day checking and testing the new equipment; remainder continued individual
    weapon training.
    2Maintenance and testing of new guns continued. Individual training under
    Troops. All Gun & Tank Crews now fitted out with Tank Suits.
    "Free & Easy" held in Bty Canteen, Under the very able chairmanship of Gnr
    LEVY, supported by our enthusiastic dance band, the evening was a great success.
    3The Gun Fitters worked very hard to complete various modifications - gun
    counter-balances were set back, fittings for Azimuth Indicators completed,
    fwd mountings for Brownings fixed, & strip of armour plate welded over top
    half of open sight aperture. Individual training as before.
    4All guns now have Azimuth Indicators, and training of Tp Cmdrs, Nos I
    & Layers in Indirect Fire is stepped up. Exercises today were concentrated
    on laying the guns in the ZL and checking parallelism. Gun crews are becoming
    familiar with their instruments and with the drills WO have evolved, and want
    very much to try them out on the enemy. As the Bty owns neither Director nor
    Pt. II Range Table, parallelism has hitherto been a little shaky, but today we
    tested (by every means we could think of except by shooting) a somewhat
    novel drill for "parallel lines to a named gun", and this method seems to
    be extremely accurate.
    Mobile cinema show in afternoon.
    5Training as yesterday. BC amplifies our very inadequate Range Tables by
    methods he hopes will prove accurate, & works out false telescopic elevations
    for direct shooting with the telescope.
    Page 2 of 5
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    FieldDec. 6Training as before. Orders received that we are shortly to move to
    NEEROETEREN area. Capt PAGE recces billets in this area. We are told that we
    have been allotted a day in the near future for firing reduced charge HE on the
    HELCHTEREN ranges.
    Dec.7.Orders received in the fifternoon for BC to attend conference at 157 Bde,
    52 Div. BC 2 i/c attend conference which gives-outling of operation "SHEARS"
    in which the Bty is to come under comd of 157 Bde. Bde want Bty to move
    into their area as soon as possible & recce for billets is arranged.
    Dec. 8Firing practice on the HELCHTEREN ranges. The practice began with direct
    shooting at stationery tgts at 800 and 1200 yds. Indication of tgts left
    much to be desired, but the shooting was good; the tgts were small ( & rapidly
    became smaller , but 10 crews out of 12 proved themselves capable of obtaining
    direct hits on any tgt with the third round or better. The shooting was
    interesting as a strong cross wind made necessary a correction for line; but-
    contrary to expectation- all guns shot extremely accurately for line, but
    showed very considerable divergence in elevation. Laying for elevation so far
    as it was possible to check it, appeared to be accurate; but the telescope
    elevation for a measured range of 800 yds varied from 1700 to 2100; and for a
    range of 1250, from 2700 to 3200. Unfortunately it was not possible to zero
    the guns, and the cause of the discrepancy remains uncertain. Browning firing
    practice was carried out simultaneously with the anti-tank practice. Little
    time was left for Indirect Shooting, but two tgts were successfully engaged,
    which was sufficient to demonstrate that the guns were very satisfactorily parallel.
    Dec.9At 0600 hrs Bty (incl A & B Ech) left Heikant (route BREE-ASCH-BURG-BEEK) &
    moved to come under cmd 52 Div. The Adv Party arrived at the area allotted to
    them to find about 3000 American Cavalry billeted in the area. New billets
    found by 1300 hrs in GR HAASDAL, into which Bty moved, having spent the morning
    by the side of the road in the first snow storm of the year.
    Dec 10Maintenance on guns and vehs. BC goes to conference with Bde Comd & gets
    further details for operation "SHEARS".
    Page 3 of 5
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    FieldDec. 11.The morning was spent on maintenance & billet improvement. BC gives details
    of plan to Tp Cmdrs & maps, air photos, etc of area concerned are studied. In
    the evening we are told that operation SHEARS is postponed owing to the extreme
    softness of the ground.
    Dec 12.On relief of 156 Bde in GEILENKIRCHEN area by 157 Bde, the Bty came under cmd
    156 Bde, & continued planning for operation SHEARS. We obtained steel wire
    wool camouflage & "paddlers" for the guns. Work on the paddlers held up as
    modification to the sponsons will be necessary before they can be fixed.
    Dec.13.Maintenance & individual training. 4 men sent to Regimental Leave Centre
    at BRUSSELS - a very welcome inovation.
    Dec 14.Operation "SHEARS" indefinitly postponed. Bty in to return to Regtl Comd and
    recce was carried out in SITTARD area. Good billets were found in the town. The
    only snag being that the town is within range of enemy field guns & is a good tgt.
    No other suitable area was found so the first billets were chosen.
    Dec 15Bty moves into new billets a school in SITTARD. There are two good veh parks for
    the Echelon vehs and hard standing in a cul-de-sac for the M.10s. The whole Bty,
    less Tac HQ Officers Mess & canteen can be centralised in the school.
    Dec 16Bty comes under comd 131 Bde in counter-penetration role. The day is spent
    in recce of positions.
    Dec 17Church Parade in morning. Afternoon F Tp ordered to take up posn to cover
    rds & rly leading NV from SITTARD (in sp 2 DEVON)
    Evening: Enemy shelled & bombed SITTARD and a large number of incendiaries
    fell in the Bty area. No damage done.
    Dec 18Completion of recces by. D. & E tps. Dance and "Free & Easy" held in the
    evening. High-spot of cabaret was ballot for leave to UK. 102 ORs are
    eligible for leave and names were picked out of hat by six nursing sisters
    from local C.C.S.
    Page 4 of 5
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    Field.Dec.19.D & E Tp are deployed. D.Tp in mobile role behind FDLs in pine woods at
    7369 (in sp 1/5 Queens). E.Tp - Rt Section TUDDERN 7169. Left Section
    MILLEN 6971 (in sp 2 DEVON)
    Dec.20Nos 1, D & E Tp, complete recce of positions. F Tp relieved by I Tp (259 Bty)
    & returns to reserve in Bty HQ area.
    Dec 22."Paddlers" are to be fitted to M10's to improve performance accross soft
    ground. Modification to sponsons required to allow paddlers to move round without
    touching sponsons.
    Dec 23.Re-grouping takes place of Btys under cmd 131 Bde so that operational control
    is made easier:
    Under cmd 258 Bty: E.Tp
    I.Tp (259 Bty)
    B.Tp (257 Bty)
    Under cmd 259 Bty : H.TP
    D.Tp (258 Bty)
    Dec 24.Preparations made for Christmas and a dance held in the School Gymasium to
    which the local youth and beauty came. The Dance was a success.
    Dec.25.Christmas Day: In the morning there was a church parade, but the ground
    was too hard for football. CO & Acting CRA visited tps during the morning.
    Christmas fare was good and BHQ & F Tp had good dinner in gymnasium. In the
    evening there was another dance.
    Page 5 of 5
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    Field.Dec 26At last light F Tp relieves E Tp in the villages of TUDDERN & MILLEN.
    (Devons relieved by D.L.I.)
    In the afternoon a childrens party was held in the school. About 30
    children were invited and about 200 turned up. However there still seemed
    to be enough food.
    Dec 27E Tp, who were in posn on Christmas Day, had their Dinner in the school.
    There as another dance in the evening.
    Dec 31.Dance held to see the New Year in.