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    War Diary: 7th Bn Royal Tank Regiment

    Month and year: December 1944

    The 7th Battalion Royal Tank Regiment December 1944 war diary covers the units actions in area around Mardyck and Loon-Plage

    A map (Ardres Sheet 39 & 28, 1:50,000) for the grid references in this document can be found at online at University of Texas library

    National Archive Reference: WO 171/868

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    Page 1 of 9
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    Field.1At first light A Sqn relieved B Sqn in Mardick area. Nothing to report
    during the day. Night quiet. Own patrolling in fwd areas continued.
    2Arty OP's attached to this unit continued to fire on enemy movement
    observed during the day. Own arty harrassing fire according to C.R.A's
    gun programme. During the night about 16 enemy aircraft were over
    Dunkirk and many containers are believed to have been dropped.
    3At first light B Sqn relieved C Sqn in Pont a'Roseaux sector. Normal day.
    Own arty harrassing fire continues. During the night the enemy fired hy.
    calibre shells which landed on the Loon Plage - Bourbourg Rd. No damage
    caused. Just after midnight a patrol from B Sqn made contact with an
    enemy patrol at 167823. A fire fight ensued which resulted in the enemy
    patrol withdrawing. One or two of the enemy were wounded. Our casualties
    were nil.
    4The morning produced only own arty fire. Enemy's guns were quiet on whole
    sector. At 1500 hrs a patrol of F.F.I. from Mardick approached the enemy
    out post at Gde Predembour It was not until they were within 50 yds of
    the Fme that the enemy fired on them. They then made a dash into the place
    and succeeded in killing one German and capturing another.
    During the night enemy planes were again over Dunkirk.
    1 Deserter gave himself up to B Sqn in the area of the factory at 174815.
    50730Another deserter from the Dunkirk Garrison presented himself to B Sqn. Own
    arty fire increased during the day. Some enemy arty fired at our fwd areas.
    Page 2 of 9
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    Field.5During the night an enemy patrol in strength approached the fwd Sqn in the
    Mardick area, but were driven off by Tank gun fire and MG fire.
    Several OPs reported rockets being fired from the Dunkirk area, No
    explosion was heard from the source of firing. OPs were unable to
    establish size of these rockets.
    6Some arty and mortar fire by enemy. Own arty harrassing fire continues.
    The German Rocket Projector (28/32cm Nebelwenfer 41) was fired against
    enemy posns in the Gde Synthe area by own tps. About 12 rounds were fired
    in all. The enemy were quick in retaliation and fired about 16 rounds of
    mortar. Although they fell in the vicinity of the Nebelwenfer no damage was
    done either to the weapon or the personnel firing it.
    Enemy aircraft continued to drop supplies to the Dunkirk garrison. Bofors
    guns were successful in shooting down one He.III in this area.
    7Enemy shelling was spasmodic during the day, with fire from his 150mm and
    88mm guns.
    At 1500 hrs RHQ Tanks fired at Gde Predembourg. Shooting was good. Enemy
    quickly replied with about 15 88mm HE shells without causing any damage or
    Own patrols were active during the night. Enemy patrols were confirmed to
    be in the Pont a'Roseaux sector where clashes with our own patrols took
    Page 3 of 9
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    Field.8More mines were laid in our fwd areas, with the majority in the North
    Clearing of mines in rear areas continues. Patrols in daylight found the
    bodies of two dead Germans in area of patrol skirmish the previous night in
    the Pont a'Roseaux sector.
    Night was quiet apart from enemy shelling on the Mardick sector.
    9Clearance of minefields continued in rear areas.
    Detachment of French Marines arrived. Come under command. To be given the
    task of protecting coastal flank of Mardick sector. The day was spent by
    them organizing themselves. HQ buildings 147838.
    1710Loone Plage area shelled by hy calibre guns (150 mm. Enemy guns were
    generally active throughout the day. Own C.B.Fire and harrassing fire
    increased. Own patrols were active during the night. Violent explosions
    heard from Dunkirk area.
    10Fresh mines laid in Northern part of Mardick sector. Reorganizing of posns
    in view of arrival of French Marine detachment. Contemplated posn Shelter
    15458440 with outpost on dunes.
    1645French Marine patrol at Shelter 154844 fired on by 2 Spandaus from 165848.
    1 Marine killed. MG's fire stonked by own Arty. Own and enemy arty activity
    throughout the day.
    More violent explosions from Dunkirk during the night. Probably demolations.
    110700Enemy interest was again centred around the Mardick sector. Enemy MGs and
    riflemen fired on our fwd troops from 158838. This was promptly answered by
    our tanks and an hour later French Marines supported by fire from a Troop
    of Tks cleaned up the area.
    Page 4 of 9
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    Field.11During the morning enemy arty concentrations fell in the Mardick sector.
    Additional A.P. Mines were laid by us from the dunes at 156846 South to 156842.
    Night quiet.
    120700A. B Sqn relieved C Sqn in the Mardick sector.
    1600Tanks of A & B Sqns carried out a direct shoot on outposts at Gde Predembourg
    and Fme Devez. 28/32cm rocket projectiles were also fired at Gde Predembourg
    from the Mardick area. The shoot was successful and direct hits were scored
    on M.G. nests just NORTH of Fme Devez.
    Enemy counter fire was poor, no doubt due to the plan laid on with
    F.O.O's of 2 Cdn Hy AA. At end of shoot enemy put down concentrations on
    Gde Predembourg. Enemy patrol activity during the night was increased and
    our patrols had minor clashes on both sectors.
    Page 5 of 9
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    Field.13Day quiet. Own arty harrassing fire continues according to C.R.A's gun
    programme. Own patrols active during the night. French Marines contacted
    enemy patrol in Sq. 1484, and opened fire on them. An effort to cut them off
    on their return journey was unsuccessful.
    14During day enemy arty quiet except for few 150mm Rds on Loone Plage at 2005
    hrs. Considerable enemy noise and movement of H.D. vehicles was heard in
    the Gde Synthe area. This was soundly "stonked" by supporting arty. Nothing
    more was heard.
    15At first light C Sqn relieved A Sqn in Pont a'Roseaux Sector. Tk gunners
    carried out firing practices on range constructed on dunes at 122838.
    At 1445 hrs a-small number of Mitchell bombers bombed the area of Fort
    Mardick. Enemy 150mm guns again fired on Loone Plage during the afternoon.
    No damage or casualties. On local patrol activity during the night.
    16Uneventful day. Enemy shelling of Loon Plage in afternoon continues.
    Enemy patrols active during the night.
    17Own arty harrassing fire continues. Cdn F.O.O's brought fire to bear on
    movement observed in enemy lines. Enemy 150mm guns again fired at Loon
    Plage during the afternoon. These guns are fired from the large Font-
    Ouvnage Quest and are in emplacements. Fire from own guns have no effect
    on them whatsoever.
    During the night a patrol of about 30 men were observed advancing from Gde
    Synthe area. This was effectively broken up by the F.O.O. of the Czech Fd
    Regt. Each fwd Sqn has a representative from the Czech Fd Regt who stays
    with the Sqn night and day.
    Page 6 of 9
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    Field.17Both are on a direct line to their guns. The Sqn Ldr can therefore ask
    for fire, and get the rounds bursting on the ground in a matter of minutes.
    Heavy explosions were heard coming from the Dunkirk area during the night.
    18A Sqn relieved B Sqn in Mardick sector at first light.
    Own arty continued with predicted gun programme shoots. Visibility also
    enabled F.O.O' to bring down observed fire on enemy occupied posns.
    During the afternoon Czech Bde representatives fired the captured 28/32cm
    Nebelwerfer at Gde PREDBRIBOURG and occupied buildings in the vicinity. In all
    12 of these rockets were fired. A piece of ground in the Mardick area
    giving good cover was used as a firing posn, with line communication to one
    of our own observation posts, from where corrections were given. The maximum
    accurate range of the weapon is about 1800 yds. Quiet night.
    19Own Arty fired gun programme predicted shoots. Fire by observation not possible
    owing to ground mist. Night uneventful.
    20Thick mist over whole area. During the morning a small A Sqn patrol made its
    way towards Gde Predembourg. When almost in Gde Predembourg the mist
    suddenly cleared and revealed them to the occupants of Gde Predembourg who
    opened up with MG!S. The officer from A Sqn who was leading the patrol was
    wounded. The remainder of the patrol managed to get back to our own lines
    along with the officer. Own patrols were out during the night. No enemy
    patrols contacted.
    21B Sqn relieved C Sqn in Pont a'Roseaux sector. Mist over whole sector.
    The Czech Fd Regt have sited in the Clipon Area 3 captured French 155mm
    guns. A third Coy of French from the 110 Bn have come under command of this
    Page 7 of 9
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    Field.21They have been given the task of (a) intercepting enemy patrols along the
    beaches and (b) to give protection to the 155mm guns. The guns are
    situated at 122838. French Coy HQ at 122837, with strongpoint at 122844
    from which standing patrols to the beach are maintained. Orders to French
    Coy attached at Appendix "D".
    appx 'D'
    Own patrols were active during the night and skirmishes took place in both
    Mardick and Pont a'Roseaux sectors.
    The newly established French posn at 122844 also made contact with an enemy
    patrol of three men who quickly retired after a few bursts from the Bren
    22Visibility was Nil and prevented attached F.O.O's from doing any observed
    shoots. Gun programme shoots continue. Enemy arty fire Nil.
    2310Own patrol moving in area 175816 saw 10 Germans enter house, Fire from
    Czech Fd Arty was put down, which was extremely accurate. No further enemy
    movement was observed until 0455 hrs when the French Marines engaged an
    enemy patrol in area 149839. After an exchange of small arms fire the enemy
    patrol withdrew. An effort to trap them proved unsuccessful.
    23Visibility still poor. Only fwd enemy posns could be engaged by F.O.O's
    An A/P Mine barrier was laid at 149841 for protection of French Marines.
    Day and night was quiet and uneventful.
    24An abnormal amount of movement during the night was heard in the Gde Synthe
    area. This was fired on by Czech Fd Arty.
    25Apart from daily gun programme the whole front was quiet.
    All ranks in high spirits, and enjoyed a Christmas fare of Chicken,
    Christmas pudding, and mince pies.
    Page 8 of 9
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    Field.25Beer, cigarettes and cigars also added to their enjoyment. Night quiet.
    26Temperature several degrees below freezing point. All floods covered with
    ice. During the afternoon the 28/32cm Nebelwerfer rockets were fired
    at Gde Predembourg from the Mardick area, Gen......................... of the
    Czechoslovak Army and a Czechoslovak Press men witnessed the shoot.
    Own patrols were active during the night.
    The night was otherwise quiet except for a lone enemy aircraft which
    machine gunned posns at Mardick.
    27B Sqn was relieved by A Sqn in the Pont a'Roseaux sector.
    No enemy activity on this sector. Own activity reduced to programe
    shoots by Czech Fd Regt and 2 Cdn AA Regt. Night quiet.
    28Own harrassing fire only. No enemy activity.
    29Own Arty activity increased. Fine weather and visibility enabled attached
    F.O.O's to carry out observed shoots, on known enemy posns. Enemy arty fire Nil.
    30Rain and Fog reduced visibility to less than 500 yds. Supporting arty
    only able to fire programme shoots. Enemy activity Nil, Own patrols active
    during the night.
    31Tanks carried out a successful shoot on Gde Synthe, and Gde Predembourg
    The enemy was quick to retaliate with 88mm HE.
    Page 9 of 9
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    Field.31This is the first time he has fired in this sector for several days. Own
    harrassing fire continue a throughout the day.
    At night enemy patrols were active in the Pont a'Roseaux sector. Own
    patrols contacted the enemy in buildings at 17808202. A machine gun
    duel took place. Own patrol eventually withdrew and buildings were
    stonked by Arty.