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

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Page 1 of 7
Place Date Hour Summary of Events and Information
Field 1 A 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 (LAD REME)
and padre.
2 B 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.
Casualties
2 ORs. Killed.
2 ORs. Wounded.
3 1200 A & B Sqns returned to harbour. Casualties 1 OR. Wounded.
4 1800 Bn moved to harbour to refit at 885714
7 Lieuts. Evans, Archer, Goodhind & 2/Lieut.Allison joined unit.
8 349 Sqns Battery placed under command.
Strength of Unit, 30 Offrs and 636 ORs, plus 1 Offr & 25 ORs (LAD REME)
and padre.

Continues Overleaf.
Page 2 of 7
Place Date Hour Summary of Events and Information
Field 9 2230 F Ech moved out to FAA.COLEVILLE 918653.
10 0230 F Ech moved to S.L. rd & track junct 954636 to rd junct 964644. C.L.959644
to 966624 Rt Bdy track 954636 to pt 113. Lft Bdy Rd from 964644 rd
and track junct 972633.

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.
955645
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

ORs
1 Killed
9 Wounded
3 Missing

Continued Overleaf.
Page 3 of 7
Place Date Hour Summary of Events and Information
Field 11 Lieut Col.Veals appointed to Command Battalion
1100 B 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 Bn HQ 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.
12 Bn 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
13 Casualties ORs 3 Wounded.
14 Casualties Offs Lieut.J.B.Widdup Wounded.
Casualties ORs 1 Killed. 7 Wounded.
Page 4 of 7
Place Date Hour Summary of Events and Information
Field 15 Strength of Unit. 39 Offrs and 621 ORs, plus 1 Offr and 22 ORs (LAD REME)
and padre.

Casualties ORs 7 Wounded.
16 2230 Battalion relieved by 9th R Tks of counter-attack role. Bn withdrew to area
COLEVILLE 918654.

Casualties ORs. 7 Wounded.
17 1300 Bn further withdrew to harbour 901683.
18 0100 Widespread 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.
19 Planning and recce's for operation "Express" carried out.

Casualties ORs. 1 Wounded.
20 'C' Sqn 1st Lothian & Border Yeomanry (Flails) placed under command Bn.
1430 F Ech moved to F.A.A. at 983657
2000 Bn 'O' Gp for operation "Express".
Page 5 of 7
Place Date Hour Summary of Events and Information
Field 20 S.L. Track 994644 to this 0064. C.L. Rd Junc 000643 - rd junct 996628 -
rd & track junct 992622. 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.
21 Further recce's for operation "Express" carried out
22 H 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. Bn HQ 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 Inf Bn
and some elements from 10 SS Div.

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

Casualties. ORs. 1 Killed. 3 Wounded.
23 C 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
Place Date Hour Summary of Events and Information
Field 23 1 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
24 B 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.
25 0415 A 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.
2300 A 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.
26 0130 Battalion moved to harbour at 859709
28 340 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
Place Date Hour Summary of Events and Information
Field 28 2330 Warning Order for an attack on 197 Inf Bde front involving 2 Sqns of this
Battalion, received.
29 A/A Troop disbanded, 5 tanks disposed to 86 A/Tk Regt and 1 to 2nd Army
Delivery Sqn.
Strength of unit. 38 Offrs and 595 ORs, plus 1 Offr and 26 ORs (LAD REME)
and padre.
H Hour 1730. A Sqn in support of 1/5 L.F's on the right. SL 833644 to
839644. Objective spur 833636 and Le Coisel 839644. B Sqn on left in
support 1/7 Warwicks. SL rd from 847542 to 855643. Objective area 846630.
2130 Objective 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.
2300 Tanks released to rear rally 844656.

Casualties Offrs 2Lt J.N.K.Smith Wounded
ORs. 3 Killed. 2 Wounded.
30 0530 Further 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.
31 0430 C 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.