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    War Diary: 7th Bn Royal Tank Regiment

    Month and year: November 1944

    The 7th Battalion Royal Tank Regiment November 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 10
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    Field,10310Enemy attacked with a fighting patrol our fwd post at Mardick (157831).
    The enemy was beaten off by MG fire. We suffered one casualty. Own and
    enemy shelling on the whole front was fairly heavy during day.
    1800The enemy concentrated his activity on Mardick. Despite this we only
    suffered one man wounded. The night was quiet.
    Cas: 1 OR Wounded.
    2Reorganizing of posns. A Sqn on left now held fwd posns at Building 162836
    and at track junction 164830. SHQ has also moved fwd and now at Fme
    Greenson 151831. This was to conform with move fwd of C Sqn who now
    occupy fwd posns at 175819 and 176816. C Sqn HQ remains in same location
    161812. During the night a flying bomb was reported to have been launched
    by the enemy from the Dunkirk area, and fired out to sea appx due NW.
    Enemy patrols were active in A Sqn area.
    30715A & C Sqns carried out another of their sorties on the Gde Prendembourg,
    Fme Devez and Cde Synthe areas. A number of buildings known to be occupied
    by the enemy were shot up by the tanks 75mm guns, with good effect. The
    enemy answered by putting down their DF which included a number of 155mm
    shells. Tanks eventually withdrew to their normal posns.
    1615The enemy sent a party of 20 men down the main road from the Cde Synthe
    direction These were immediately driven back by MG fire.
    The night was quiet although the e.nemy anticipated some action on our part
    for throughout the night parachute flares were being used along the whole
    front. Cas: 2 ORs wounded.
    Page 2 of 10
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    PlaceDate /HourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    Field.40410The early morning produced some heavy shelling on the enemy's part, but by
    first light this had petered out.
    During the day things were normal with Arty harrassing fire from our own
    and enemy's guns. At night enemy patrolling was reduced. This was
    probably due to the very bright moon. This curtailed our own patrol
    activities also. A number of explosions were heard from the centre of the
    Dunkirk area. Patrol of 3 FFI failed to return.
    Strength of unit 45 Offrs and 643 ORs: 1 Offr and 27 OR's LAD and Padre.
    Appx 'A'
    50920One of our tanks moving up Mardick - Gde Predembourg road was fired on by
    Bazookas. Seven were fired at the tank in all but only one obtained a
    hit and this only a glancing blow on the turret which took off one of the
    welded track plates. They were obviously using the Bazookas dropped by
    planes the previous night. The enemy is unskilled in the use of these
    weapons, due, no doubt to lack of amn for training purposes.
    During the night the enemy put up many flares over the whole front.
    A patrol was heard moving North of C Sqn posns. A patrol was sent out
    immediately to deal with them and a sharp skirmish followed. We suffered
    NO casualties.
    6Patrols in daylight discovered the body of one dead German who had been
    shot in the skirmish the previous night. Although the day was quiete
    enemy arty fire increased during the night.
    70745Mardick (157833) and B Sqn HQs at 152832 were subjected to a heavy
    concentration of enemy arty. Considerable damage was caused to occupied
    buildings but no casualties were suffered.
    Page 3 of 10
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    Field.71600An FFI patrol along the dunes suffered 1 member killed on mine. 6 enemy
    mortars along with a considerable amount of amn were captured from the
    beaches by our own patrols. These are now in position two with B Sqn on
    the left and 2 with C Sqn on the right, The remaining two are kept in
    mobile reserve.
    During the night a posn on the right of C Sqn, manned by the Czechs, and the
    FFI, of the 1st Czech Armd Regt was concentrated on by enemy arty. This was
    followed up by an attack which resulted in the post being overrun and the
    occupants captured. Enemy withdrew immediately after the attack.
    8At first light C Sqn was relieved by A Sqn. B Sqn now in area 1583, A Sqn
    area 1681 and C Sqn Loon Plage 1380. RHQ area Loon Plage, A Ech in
    Bourbourg 1175 and B Ech in Cassel.
    During the afternoon one of our patrols led by the CO succeeded in getting
    through to Fme Augte 167847. They returned without suffering any casualties
    although fired on by MG and Rifle. The night was quiet.
    9During the morning Rocket firing Typhoons went in and attacked targets
    (Enemy hy gun posns) at MR 187450 and 188848.
    1500An enemy patrol endeavoured to infiltrate into B Sqn posns. These were
    spotted and effectively shot up. Enemy shell fire throughout the day was
    heavier than usual, and shells that landed in the Loon Plage area
    succedded in killing four and wounding two F.F.I. Own and enemy arty fire
    continued throughout the night.
    10Generally quiet on the whole front apart from own and enemy arty fire.
    Page 4 of 10
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    Field.11F.O.O. of supporting Hy A.A. Regt now staying with the Regt permanently.
    During the day he remains in Fwd O.P's At night he stations himself at
    this R.H.Q. which enables him to shoot on call for both of the fwd Sqns.
    This also enables us to use the Czech Fd Arty Regt when the situation
    demands for close targets.
    1930Fwd Sqn reported a projectile resembling in shape and sound, a flying
    bomb, being launched from the Dunkirk area, in the general direction of
    England. Own and enemy patrols were active during the night.
    Cas: 1 OR killed.
    Strength of Unit 43 Offrs and 637 ORs, 1 Offr and 27 ORs LAD and Padre.Appx 'B'
    120700B Sqn relieved by C Sqn on the Mardick sector. B Sqn now area 1583. C Sqn
    area Loon Plage in reserve and A Sqn in area 170817.
    Normal arty fire during the day.
    13During the afternoon A Sqn on the Gde Synthe sector shot up Gde Synthe where
    known enemy O.P's were established and had a successful shoot.
    A Dakota, flying over Dunkirk was shot down by enemy A.A.Fire and crashed
    on the beach in enemy territory.
    14Enemy fairly active on whole front. Own arty fire put down. During the
    night own patrol met enemy patrol in area 167825. A short skirmish
    ensued after which the enemy patrol withdrew.
    15Enemy Battery Fire and own Battery counter force throughout the day.
    Normal patrol activity at night.
    Page 5 of 10
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    Field.16At first light B Sqn relieved A Sqn in Pont a Rosseaux area. A Sqn now
    Loon Plage area 1380, B Sqn area 1681, C Sqn area Mardick 1583. During
    the morning enemy guns concentrated on our Mardick posns. No casualties
    were suffered. Counter Battery fire was put down by our own arty.
    Enemy patrolling during the night was on an increased scale, and fighting
    patrols endeavoured to parate both Mardick and Pont a Rosseaux sectors.
    They were successfully held off by MG fire from our tanks, and our only
    casualties consisted of 1 FFI and 1 of our own troops caused by enemy arty
    fire that preceded these minor attacks.
    The 3rd SL/LAA Bty considerably assisted our defence by producing
    artificial moonlight. This enabled our tank gunners to get a good shoot
    and prevented the enemy from closing in on our posns. The searchlight
    Battery are willing to give us this assistance provided no hostile aircraft
    are in the vicinity.
    Cas: 1 OR Wounded.
    171530C Sqn carried out a sortie on Gde Predembourg and cleared the area of
    enemy. Enemy arty fire was slow in coming into operation and it was not until
    out tanks were withdrawing to Mardick that his arty fire came down. This
    was heavy calibre shells from the Dunkirk area. No tanks were damaged or
    casualties suffered.
    1730Our fwd posn on the Pont a Rosseaux sector was subjected to enemy
    2340Mardick and own posns around this area were very heavily shelled until 2355
    hrs, when the shelling lifted to the rear of Mardick and Loon Plage area.
    Soon after this C Sqn were attacked by the enemy from three sides. A force
    estimated at 40 Germans tried to pass up the Gde Predembourg - Mardick road,
    but were fired on by our tanks at 164831 and forced the enemy here to withdraw.
    Page 6 of 10
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    Field.17The second force attached Mardick village from the South but were driven off
    by fire from FFI posts and one tank in the village.
    The third force attacked from the North and were held by the tanks at
    155837. Although only approx 40 enemy were seen in this area it is
    considered that this force was the main one and was in considerable strength.
    After approx 30 mins fighting our patrols reported that the enemy was moving
    West in an effort to outflank this posn. One tank moved West to area 150836
    and was able to disperse the enemy. Whilst this tank was away the remaining
    two tanks were heavily shelled and phosphorus bombs were used against them.
    The enemy attacked immediately after the shelling and got to within 20 yds
    of the tanks. Again they were driven off.
    0330The enemy again tried to close on the tanks but were held off, the action
    lasting about 40 mins.
    0500The enemy made a final attempt to take this Northern posn but his efforts
    met with no success.
    0600All was quiet. Arty concentrations were put down by the Czech Fd Arty
    Regt and a Battery of the 2 Cdn Hy AA Regt.
    The enemy fired at least 400 rounds of various calibre ammunition.
    18The day produced the normal enemy harrassing fire. Own arty carried out
    pre-arranged gun programme on known enemy posns.
    During the night enemy patrols were active along Eastern sector of Mardick.
    They were easily driven off.
    Strength of Unit 44 Offrs and 636 ORs, 1 Offr and 27 ORs LAD and Padre.
    App 'C'
    19Major. Howard-Jones left the Regt to take over command of 11th. R.T.R.
    Arty activity only during the day. Night quiet.
    Page 7 of 10
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    Field,200530Mines laid overnight by the enemy were discovered on the surface of the
    Dunkirk - Loon Plage road at 173815. Three tanks were on the road fwd of
    this point. As the tanks withdrew at first light in order to rest the
    tank crews, had these not been discovered in time, the first one on its
    way back would have been blown up.
    Recce party from 147 Regt RAC arrived. This Sqn is to take over B Sqn's
    position in Pont a Rossaux sector.
    0700A Sqn relieved C Sqn. A Sqn now area Mardick 1583. B San area Pont a Roseaux
    1681, C Sqn Loon Plage 1380. Fwd areas on both sectors were mined with
    Br A/Personnel mines by our own troops.
    W/Major. L.C. Rumsey, new 2nd in Command, arrived.
    Rece party from A Sqn 147 Regt RAC spent night with B Sqn in fwd posns.
    21Generally quiet on whole front. 2 Czech RE's were killed and one injured
    while dealing with Teller mines on our front. It is believed that they were
    endeavouring to neutralize a Tellermine fitted with the new 43 fuze. During
    the night own patrols were active in fwd areas.
    22Own OP' noticed considerable movement in daylight in Fort Mardick area. Own
    Arty concentrations put down. Normal patrol and own Arty activity during the
    night. Cas: 1 OR wounded.
    23At first light B Sqn was relieved by A Sqn 147 RAC. Locations now:
    A San 7 R Tks area Mardick 1583; B Sqn area Loon Plage 1380; C Sqn area
    Gravelines 0681; A Sqn 147 RAC area Pont a Roseaux 1681.
    Spasmodic shelling of fwd areas by enemy during the day. Own arty harrassing
    fire continues.
    Page 8 of 10
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    Field.24Fairly quiet day, with normal own and enemy arty activity. Some clearing
    of tracks in vicinity of A Sqn's HQ Also some 'S' mines laid by A Sqn on
    the Northern flank of their HQ's. During the night some enemy planes were
    heard flying low over the centre of Dunkirk which no doubt dropped supplies.
    25The C-in-C of Czech Forces, Gen...................... visited the unit during the
    Two Sqns of Typhoons bombed and strafed enemy posns on this sector.
    Supporting Arty carried out their gun programme as laid down by C.R.A.
    Owing to the nights being fairly bright enemy patrol activity reduced. Our
    own patrols were local only.
    Strength of Unit 44 Offrs and 631 ORs. 1 Offr and 27 ORs LAD and Padre.
    Appx 'D'
    260500What at first seemed to be a flying bomb overhead proved to be a Mustang
    aircraft which crashed in this area. Both observer and pilot landed safely
    and enjoyed a good breakfast in our Mess. It was interesting to note
    that neither of them were aware that Dunkirk was NOT in our hands.
    710All the symptoms of a V2 were seen from the Dunkirk area - the flash - the
    vapour trail going up to a great height and the rumbling of thunder.
    15001 Man was killed and another wounded by 'S' mines whilst out on recce in
    the fwd areas. A party sent to recover the dead man had to run the gauntlet
    of enemy mortar and MG fire. This was successfully done and no further
    casualties were sustained.
    Page 9 of 10
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    Field.26Own shelling continued throughout the day.
    A number of enemy aircraft appeared over Dunkirk during the night and a number
    of flares and floodlit areas were seen in Dunkirk, probably indicating
    the dropping zone for these planes.
    Cas. 1 OR Killed. 1 OR Wounded.
    27At first light B Sqn relieved A Sqn in the Mardick area. A Sqn 147 RAC were
    also relieved by C Sqn. A Sqn 147 RAC now returning to 34 Tank Bde area in
    Holland. The day was fairly quiet, own arty firing C.R.A's gun programme.
    Some movement observed in enemy's main defence lines were fired at by artys
    attached to this unit. Enemy patrols making use of a cloudy and somewhat
    dark night were more active during the night. A fighting patrol of about
    30 men tried to infiltrate through the Mardick posn. MG fire from the fwd
    tks and DF from the Czech Arty which was hastily brought down caused them
    to break up and withdraw.
    280520A patrol from B Sqn met an enemy patrol near the coast at 155845. A skirmish
    took place resulting in the enemy again hurriedly withdrawing. Nothing to
    report during the day. Own patrols active during the night.
    29During the day the enemy was subjected to a Psychological Warfare programme.
    It began at 0930 hrs with light and medium bombers attacking their main
    defensive posns. This was followed by several Sqns of Spitfires strafing the
    enemy area in general. Own arty increased their concentrations and kept this
    up throughout the day. This culminated in leaflets being dropped in the enemy
    lines along with Safe Conduct passes, and broadcasts from special vehicles
    asking the enemy to surrender. One Spitfire was shot down during the attach.
    Night was quiet.
    Page 10 of 10
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    Field.30Fairly quiet on this sector during the day. Psychological Warfare was
    carried out on the Eastern sector. Programme similar to that carried out
    on this sector yesterday. At 2000 hrs two deserters gave themselves up
    to C Sqn on the Ponta Roseaux sector.
    Normal own patrol activites during the night.