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    War Diary: 7th Bn Royal Tank Regiment

    Month and year: October 1944

    The 7th Battalion Royal Tank Regiment October 1944 war diary covers the units move to and actions in area around 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
    Field1Bn moved again to area Samar G 7744. Route VRON - Montreuil - Samar
    1120Tanks left harbour
    1600Arrived at Samar - 30 miles.
    2100CO was called to conference at Bde. Informed that new plan was that 34 Bde
    less 7 R Tks to come under 2nd Army and 7 R Tks to remain under 2 Cdn
    Army. 7 R Tks to come under Cmd of Czechoslavak Independent Armoured Bde GP
    Task:- Invest Dunkerque.
    20900Tks moved to concentration area at Cassel via Desues, Lumbre and St Omer,
    a distance of 43 miles.
    1500Tanks arrived.
    1800CO visited 154 Inf Bde who were investing Dunkerque. 154 Bde to be relieved
    by 7 R Tks and Czech Bde
    3CO attended conference at 2 Cdn Army at Ghent presided by the B.R.A.C.
    There the CO met Maj General Alois Liska cmdr of the Czech Bde.
    Tks carried out maintenance and obtained the rough plan for the investing
    of Dunkerque.
    4CO Recced Areas (Defensive) now occupied by Units of 154 Bde.
    Tank maintenance continues.
    5Received instructions from Czech Bde Cmdr that area on the West side of
    Dunkerque is to be our responsibility and that handover to take place
    night of 7/8th Czech Recce Sqn to come under our Cmd. Routes recced to
    fwd areas from Cassel.
    Page 2 of 9
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    Field6Further recces carried out. In the evening Sqn and Tp Ldrs went to 7 Bn
    Black Watch to spend the night in the FDL's to obtain first hand infm-
    about the ground and the best method of holding the ground by night.
    7Tanks moved from Cassel to area Loon Plage. 1 Tanks left at 1100 hrs and arrived
    Loon Plage at 1430 hrs. At dusk Tks moved to their Fwd Posns. A Sqn
    occupied area 164814. B Sqn occupied area 148839 C San remained in
    reserve in area Loon Plage 1380. By 0230 hrs all the area had been taken
    over from 7th Black Watch. Czech Recce Sqn taking up their Posn in area
    173798. It was made very obvious to the Sqn Ldrs that the only way the ground
    could be held especially at night was by having the tps dismounted and
    adopting Inf tactics entirely, with a few tanks to help hold the ground
    during the day. The night of 7/8th was fairly quiet apart from
    intermittent shelling and enemy flares in Fwd Areas.
    Strength of Unit 47 Offrs and 643 OR'S plus 1 Offr and 26 LAD and Padre
    Appx 'A'
    8The day time produced nothing more than the harrasing fire throughout the
    front. The evening was normal but at 2359 hrs heavy shelling was experienced
    on A Sqns front. This preceded an attack by a strong enemy patrol on A Sqns
    Fwd Post at 167817 at 0200 hrs. A Sqn was forced to pull in this outpost
    Heavy enemy shelling continued and the enemy who were endeavoring to
    infiltrate to main posns were forced to withdraw. By 0230 hrs things
    had quietened down on A Sqns sector; but similar activity on the enemy's
    part flared up on the front of the Czech Recce Sqn. This was also
    preceded by heavy enemy Arty and Mortar fire, The fwd Right Flank Post of
    Continued Overleaf
    Page 3 of 9
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    Field8this Sqn managed to hold their ground but by 0300 has the enemy succeeded
    in reaching a posn within 200 yds of this post. A body of 30 man was
    immediately rushed up to the Czech Recce Sqn to strengthen their posn
    B Sqns front was quiet throughout the night apart from normal patrol
    9During the morning enemy shelling was much bolder and the area of Loon Plage
    the location of this HQ was subjected to several heavy concentrations.
    1810Enemy activity was reported by the Czech Recce Sqn in area of the right post
    and were approaching along the canal Bank Heavy Arty and Mortar Fire
    was then experienced and a strong enemy force estimated at 200 strong
    0130The Czech Recce Sqn left post at 184797 was also attacked and our tps in
    this posn withdrew. By 0530 hrs the Right Hand Post at 187792 was
    vacated by us. More tps were brought up from C Sqn and a posn was
    manned by them in the area 177790. The enemy occupied both the posns
    vacated by us in this sector.
    100700An attack the first of its kind ever under taken by this Regt was made on the
    farm buildings at 168818, the post seized by the enemy on the night of 8/9th
    A Sqn on the feet as Infantry, with crews from the Recce TP and a number
    of FFI attacked and seized this enemy posn. the attack was made over
    ground which had natural obstacles and Wire. P of W captured were 27 OR's
    and 1 Offr. The enemy also suffered several dead and wounded. Our
    Casualties were 1 dead and 5 wounded During the day enemy shelling
    increased and Loon Plage again attracted a number of his shells. At
    dusk the Czech Recce Sqn was relieved by 1st Czech Tank Regt less Sqn
    Continued overleaf,
    Page 4 of 9
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    Field10At dusk the Czech Recce Sqn was releived by 1st Czech Tank Regt less 1 Sqn.
    Apart from occasional shell fire the night was quiet.
    Casualties:- 2 O.R's killed - 7 O.R's injured
    11During the morning the Front was fairly quiet apart from usual shelling
    1630Typhoons attached Factory at 187792 with rockets. The attack was
    concentrated and effective.
    This was followed by the 1st Czech Tank Regt who occupied the factory
    area. Upon the success of this the 1st Czech Tank Regt moved fwd and
    occupied the following places :-
    Farm Buildings 184798
    Area Track Railway Crossing 182803
    Buildings 181807
    At dusk A Sqn was relieved by C Sqn.
    120115C Sqn reported their Fwd Posns being subjected to Mortar Fire. The enemy
    followed this up with a force of about 80 men who tried to take the posn.
    Strong defensive fire was putdown. The stubborn resistance of this fwd
    post gave the enemy no alternative but to withdraw. A number of casualties
    1045Tks from B & C Sans fired HE into the fwd enemy posns with good results.
    were inflicted on the enemy.
    2150A number of the enemy tried to penetrate into B Sqn's posns at 150834.
    This minor attack was dispersed by MG Fire.
    13Posns unchanged and a fairly quiet day. Our request for air support at
    Gde Synthe 107819 was fulfilled at 1600 hrs when 8 Spitfires bombed and
    strafed this trarget to good effect.
    Night fairly quiet. Probably this was due to very heavy rains which fell
    Page 5 of 9
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    Field13throughout the night.
    1405152 deserters came in A Sqn's Lines. Both were Poles
    1410The enemy became very audacious and endeavoured to form up, presunably for
    an attack on A Sqn's fwd Posn at 172817. This was dispersed and broken-up
    by Arty and Tank Gun Fire. Patrolling on the enemy's part was quite active
    during the night particularly in the Northern sector area Mardick.
    Movement was heard along the coast and it is believed that efforts are
    being made to contact collaborators behind our lines.
    2350A Sqn was the object of an attack by fire from "Nebelwerfers" and the fwd post
    at 169818 received most of them. We suffered no Casualties. Enemy shell
    fire was normal.
    Strength of Unit 45 Offers and 635 OR's plus 1 Offr and 26 OR's Lad and CadreAppx B
    15B Sqn still sq 1483 A Sqn in sq 1681, C in reserve in Loon Plage 1380
    Day normal with intermittent shell and Mortar Fire.
    Own and enemy patrols active during the night.
    16During the afternoon A Sqn directed the fire of Hy AA Bty on to enemy O.P's
    where movement was observed. Results were good. B Sqn was relieved by C Sqn.
    B Sqn went into reserve Loon Plage 1380. Usual patrol activity during the
    night with spasmodic Fire
    17Quiet day. RHQ Tanks fired HE at selected enemy points in the afternoon. The
    enemy returned with morter fire but as the tanks fired away from our
    Infantry posns we suffered no casualties
    Page 6 of 9
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    Field17C Sqn sector during the night was uninteresting.
    0100An emeny patrol of about 12 men was seen when they set off one of our trip
    flares. They were imediately fired on and eventually withdrew.
    18Normal Arty Activity during the day. An abandoned enemy gun - Czech 1917
    80m was found on the coast and pulled into our lines along with about
    200 rounds of ammo. Also was found an 8 cm Mortar in good condition.
    During the night enemy patrol activity was lively in area 174847.
    19On the morning there was increased activity by the enemy on A Sqns sector
    with heavy shelling and mortaring between 0945 and 1115 hrs. The remainder
    of the day was normal until 1815 hrs when the fwd posns of A Sqn were
    again heavily shelled and mortared.
    1841The shelling and mortaring increased and it was believed that the additional
    fire was coming from areas 176823, 176816, 176813, 184815, 180815, Then
    came a lull except for spasmodic firing until 2211 hrs when A Sqns fwd
    posns were attacked after intense enemy shell and mortar fire.
    2335Two posts had fallen to the enemy. The strength of the attacking was given
    by a deserter as 300 strong. The dark night was made full use of by the enemy.
    The attack must have been carefully planned and the participants well briefed
    for the main attack was made from our left rear while a diversionary party
    of 50 strong attacked fwd at the same time.
    After that attack patrols from our other posts were sent out and they
    discovered that the enemy had withdrawn after demobilising the defences
    Cas: offer - 1 missing
    ORs 2 killed
    10 wounded
    8 missing
    Page 7 of 9
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    Field190330(20th) A Sqn was relieve by B Sqn. At Appx 'C' is a more detailed account ofAppx 'C'
    this attack.
    20It was decided not to reoccupy the positions attached by the enemy. A Sqn
    now in Loon Plage; B Sqn in area 165818 and C Sqn in area 148838.
    The day was quiet in contrast and was spent in reorganising our posns.
    Nothing happened during the night.
    21Normal enemy Art activity. Own Sqns in same locations. Several enemy
    planes heard over Dunkirk during the night.
    Strength of Unit 47 Offrs and 620 OR's plus 1 Offr and 25 OR's LAD and PadreAppx 'D'
    22During the morning OP's on B Sqns sector noticed that a number of containers
    with parachutes attached were Iying about on the ground between us and the
    enemy; presumably dropped by plane the previous night.
    1500B Sqn organised a party of men to go and collect these with the 1st Czech
    Armd Regt on the right to assist in giving covering fire.
    This was succesfully carried out, opposition from the enemy being nil.
    The contents consisted of Bazooka Hollow Charge Projectiles, News Bulletins
    and Mail. Own and enemy patrolling was active during the night.
    230900The CO called a conference to discuss a small scale attack on Fme Devez,
    Grande Predembourg, Petit Predembourg. The attack to take place at 1400 hrs
    Tuesday 24th Oct. See Operation Order attached.
    Appx F.
    Own and enemy shelling on a reduced scale. Own Arty now only allowed
    20 rounds per gun per day. Enemy air activity during the night.
    Presumably dropping supplies to the Dunkirk Garrison by parachute.
    Page 8 of 9
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    Field24The morning was quiet
    1400The attack began on Fme Devez 171835, Gde Predembourg 171830, Petit
    Predembourg 177827 and short of Gde Synthe 184818. The results of this
    attack have proved conclusively that the above positions were his battle
    outposts and were only lightly manned. Each position was severely mauled
    by tank gunfire and the FFI led by 7 R Tks Officers demolished as much as
    they could these fwd positions.
    Tks and FFI then withdrew, leaving some tks fwd in posns of observation.
    Enemy activity during the night - NIL
    Casualties:- 2 O.R's wounded
    25A Sqn still in Loon Plage 1380. B Sqn area 1681. C Sqn area 148838.
    Day normal, with intermittent shell fire on fwd areas.
    Very little enemy activity during the night
    26During the day the front was quiet.
    1500C Sqn found a number of containers which had been dropped from aircraft in
    the area 160837. Four containers were found in all. The contents consisted
    of "Bazookas", Bazooka Bombs and Newspapers and Mail
    Casualties - 1 O.R. wounded.
    The night produced more enemy aircraft attempting to drop supplies. The
    3rd LAA Bty who moved into this area accounted for one of these flying at
    500 ft.
    Enemy and own patrols were active during the night.
    27During the afternoon C Sqn was relieved by A Sqn at 1600 hrs. A Sqn was in
    area 148838. B Sqn in area 1681 C Sqn in Loon Plage 1380.
    Normal patrol activity during the night.
    Page 9 of 9
    PlaceDateHourSummary of Events and InformationReferences to Appendices
    FieId281000A & B Sqns carried out a sortie on Ferme Devez and Gde Predembourg area
    and Cde Synthe area respectively This was intended to be a small
    diversionary action whilst 2nd Armd Regt and the Mot Bn of the CIABG put in
    an attack on the East side of Dunkirk. Our sortie brought down a large
    amount of Arty Fire and had the desired effect. We lost one tank on mine.
    The attack on the East of Dunkirk was most succesfull and resulted in 16
    Offrs and 352 OR's P of W with about 150 - 200 dead or seriously wounded
    left on the battlefield,
    During the night enemy patrols were active.
    Casualties - 5 O.R's wounded
    Strength of Unit 45 Offrs and 617 O.R's plus 1 Offr and 26 O.R's LAD and PadreAppx 'E'
    29Very quiet apart from some shelling by enemy in Mardick area.
    Considerable own and enemy patrol activity during the night.
    30Day was spent in reorganising our positions. No activity from enemy.
    1700A Sqn sent out an FFI Patrol from Mardick to Gde Predemboirg.
    1730Heavy explosions were heard from dock area of Dunkirk. The night was
    quiet. Own arty kept up its normal harassing fire.
    310600B Sqn was relieved by C Sqn. A Sqn in area 148838. C Sqn 1681. B Sgn in
    reserve in Loon Plage 1380