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    War Diary: 7th Bn Royal Tank Regiment

    Month and year: July 1944

    The July 1944, war diary for the 7th Battalion Royal Tank Regiment follows their progress from Grainville sur Odon to just west of Le Val Fluery. Providing detailed grid references and naming Officer casualties.

    National Archive Reference: WO 171/868

    The "References to Appendices" column for this document was empty so has been omitted.

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    Page 1 of 7
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    Field1A sqn standing by with counter-attack role on GRAINVILLE-SUR-ODON and
    MONDRAINVILLE 9263. Haphazard enemy mortaring of harbour area. A Sqn
    moved to orchard 904649 in support KOSB.

    Casualties. 2 ORs. Wounded
    Strength of Unit, 40 Offs and 648 ORs, plus 1 Offr and 25 ORs (LADREME)
    and padre.
    2B Sqn moved fwd of KOSB to area orchard 899644 as a screen to mine laying
    party. Engaged by small arms, bazookas and arty, loosing two tanks.
    Lieuts.Gregory, Allen, Reid & 2/Lieut.Widdup joined the unit.
    2 ORs. Killed.
    2 ORs. Wounded.
    31200A & B Sqns returned to harbour. Casualties 1 OR. Wounded.
    41800Bn moved to harbour to refit at 885714
    7Lieuts. Evans, Archer, Goodhind & 2/Lieut.Allison joined unit.
    8349 SqnsBattery placed under command.
    Strength of Unit, 30 Offrs and 636 ORs, plus 1 Offr & 25 ORs (LADREME)
    and padre.

    Continues Overleaf.
    Page 2 of 7
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    Field92230F Ech moved out to FAA.COLEVILLE918653.
    100230F Ech moved to S.L.rd & track junct954636 to rdjunct964644. C.L.959644
    to 966624 Rt Bdy track 954636 to pt 113. Lft Bdy Rd from 964644rd
    and track junct972633.

    C Sqn with 4 Som L.I. Right
    A Sqn with 4 Wilts Left
    B Sqn with 7 Hants in reserve.

    Objective. Right Pt 112. Left Rd Eterville 9864
    to Le Bon Repos 6194 within limits of bdy.
    The attack on the left was completely successful by 1230 hrs.
    On the right progress held up on line rd North of Pt.112. The fwd
    slopes of Hill 112 could not be reached owing to approx 4 dug in TIGERS
    and PANTHERS. Major.Howard-Jones assumed command on Lieut.Col.Gaisford
    becoming wounded at approx 1200 hrs. The Bn remained on call on the
    reverse slope of Hill 112 and was released to rear 955645 at approx
    2200 hrs. 9 Tigers and Panthers knocked out. 8 Churchills KO'd

    Casualties. Officers
    Major R.B.Fleming Killed
    Lieut.J.I.Allen Killed
    Lieut.O.S.Clare Killed
    Lieut.J.S.Smithies Killed

    1 Killed
    9 Wounded
    3 Missing

    Continued Overleaf.
    Page 3 of 7
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    Field11Lieut Col.Veals appointed to Command Battalion
    1100B Sqn under command the Seaforths (15 (S) Div) attacked the wooded buildings
    at 995660, with orders to hold the railway North and the road CAEN-ETERVILLE
    East of this position. S.L. was FONTAINE ETOUPEFOUR and the general axis
    was the line parallel with and South of the Rover ODON.
    The advance was in four separate phases and proceeded without a hitch, the
    Seaforths considering that the ideal co-operative methods were used. The
    opposition encountered was negligible and one 75mm A/T gun together with a
    considerable supply of amn was captured intact en route. Consolidation took
    place under the normal enemy mortar fire and the tanks were withdrawn from
    the objective at dusk and spent the night in the BnHQ area 985656. An
    enemy patrol approached this area just before dusk was dealt with by a small
    party of Tanks and Inf.

    Casualties. ORs. 4 Wounded.
    12Bn prepared counter-attack role and took up battle formation in area 959639
    for counter-attack on Hill 112. Two Sqns in readiness from first light to
    last light; harbouring at 955645 where third Sqn rested. Slight mortaring
    at intervals.
    Casualties ORs. 3 Wounded
    13Casualties ORs 3 Wounded.
    14Casualties Offs Lieut.J.B.Widdup Wounded.
    Casualties ORs 1 Killed. 7 Wounded.
    Page 4 of 7
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    Field15Strength of Unit. 39 Offrs and 621 ORs, plus 1 Offr and 22 ORs (LADREME)
    and padre.

    Casualties ORs 7 Wounded.
    162230Battalion relieved by 9th R Tks of counter-attack role. Bn withdrew to area

    Casualties ORs. 7 Wounded.
    171300Bn further withdrew to harbour 901683.
    180100Widespread bombing attack by a few JU 88's causing a few casualties, and
    destroying 1 Stuart and damaging another.

    Casualties ORs 1 Killed. 4 Wounded.
    19Planning and recce's for operation "Express" carried out.

    Casualties ORs. 1 Wounded.
    20'C' Sqn 1st Lothian & Border Yeomanry (Flails) placed under command Bn.
    1430F Ech moved to F.A.A. at 983657
    2000Bn 'O' Gp for operation "Express".
    Page 5 of 7
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    Field20S.L. Track 994644 to this 0064. C.L. Rd Junc 000643 - rdjunct996628 -
    rd & track junct992622. Objective 62 Grid Line - Orchard 692623.

    Operation "Express" postponed owing to the high ground EAST or River ORNE
    still being in enemy hands and enemy minefield located at 995645 running
    NW and SE. This mine field was gapped during the night 20/21 July by
    Royal Engineers.

    Lieut.Col.A.R.Leakey MC and Bar took over command of Battalion.
    21Further recce's for operation "Express" carried out
    22H Hour for Operation "Express" 1730 hrs. Attack was very successful. The
    right objective was reached by 2130 hrs and the left objective by 2200 hrs.
    Bn released at 2300 hrs. 'A' & 'B' Sqns harboured at 996658. BnHQ and
    'C' Sqn with 340 S.P.A/Tk Battery laagering at 002654.

    411 POW taken during this attack. Most of the PW were from 272 InfBn
    and some elements from 10 SS Div.

    Strength of Unit. 40 Offrs and 592 ORs, plus 1 Offr and 24 ORs (LADREME)
    and padre.

    Casualties. ORs. 1 Killed. 3 Wounded.
    23C Sqn ordered fwd to proceed to fwd sloped South of MALTOT. Whilst passing
    MALTOT to the West they were engaged by enemy tanks from 970623. 8 Chuchills
    were knocked out and C Sqn withdrew into MALTOT.
    Page 6 of 7
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    Field231 Tiger was knocked out at 986617
    2300'C' Sqn withdrew from MALTOT.

    Casualties Offrs
    Lieut.D.C.Lincoln Killed
    Capt B.Coates Wounded
    ORs. 13 Wounded. 2 Missing
    24B Sqn moved fwd to MALTOT for immediate support of 4 & 5 Wilts, troops
    taking up hull down positions on the Southern edge MALTOT by 0445 hrs.
    Enemy tanks and SPs observed on the high ground South of MALTOT but no
    enemy counter-attack was launched. B Sqn withdrawn at 2300 hrs.
    250415A Sqn moved fwd to MALTOT to take over same role as B Sqd had on the 24th,
    to continue immediate support of 4 & 5 Wilts.
    2300A Sqn withdrawn, and the Battalion relieved by 153 Regt, RAC.

    Casualties. Offrs 2 Lieut.H.Reid. Wounded
    ORs. 3 Wounded.

    C Sqn, 1st Lothian & Border Yeomanry removed from under command Battalion.
    260130Battalion moved to harbour at 859709
    28340 S.P.A/Tk Battery, less 1 Troop, transferred from under command 7.R.Tks
    to come under command 9th.Bn.R.T.R.
    Page 7 of 7
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and Information
    Field282330Warning Order for an attack on 197 InfBde front involving 2 Sqns of this
    Battalion, received.
    29A/A Troop disbanded, 5 tanks disposed to 86 A/TkRegt and 1 to 2nd Army
    Delivery Sqn.
    Strength of unit. 38 Offrs and 595 ORs, plus 1 Offr and 26 ORs (LADREME)
    and padre.
    H Hour 1730. A Sqn in support of 1/5 L.F's on the right. SL833644 to
    839644. Objective spur 833636 and Le Coisel 839644. B Sqn on left in
    support 1/7 Warwicks. SLrd from 847542 to 855643. Objective area 846630.
    2130Objective reached but consolidation hampered, particularly on the left
    by enemy infiltration and because our infantry were too thin on the ground.
    1/5 L.F's consolidated but troops on left withdrew apprx 400 yards to the N.
    2300Tanks released to rear rally 844656.

    Casualties Offrs 2Lt J.N.K.Smith Wounded
    ORs. 3 Killed. 2 Wounded.
    300530Further attempt by 1/7 Warwicks and 'B' Sqn to regain objective was
    unsuccessful. One troop reached objective 846630 but withdrew after having
    two tanks of the troop knocked out. Tanks remained in close support of
    inf throughout the day being released at 2300 hrs.

    Casualties. Offrs.Lieut.J.D.Godfrey. Killed.
    ORs. 2 Wounded. 4 Missing.
    310430C Sqn moved out to replace B Sqn in role of close support. Little activity
    on the front other than mortar fire. C Sqn laagered night 31/1 Aug 849649.

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