|Instructions regarding War Diaries and Intelligence
Summaries are contained in F.S. Regs., Vol. 1.
and the Staff Manual respectively Title pages
will be prepared in manuscript.
|Army Form C.2118|
|Unit: 2nd Fife & Forfar Yeo., R.A.C.|
|Month and Year: July 1944||(Erase heading not required).||Commanding Officer: Lt.Col. A.B.J. Scott, M.C.|
|Norrey||1/2||These two days we remained at Norrey. Rest was made difficult by mortars and shells which kept coming over from the Carpicquet Aerodrome, which the enemy was still holding.|
|Colleville||3||In the afternoon we moved forward again to the area of Colleville into a reserve position under command of 4 Armd Bde. Two Sqns were out at a reserve position under command of 4 Armd Bde. Two Sqns were out at a time in a counter attack role, one over the R. Orne South of Tourmauville under command of 44 Inf Bde and the other was in support of 160 Inf Bde. in the area of Graimville Sur Odon. The third Sqn. was in reserve just nort of the railway at Colleville. Sqns were not called upon to counter attack but were able to engage targets from time to time.We remained in this area until 15th, during which time we were continually shelled and mortared and from which we suffered a number of casualties.|
|4||On the 4th Lieut. W. Black, acting as Tech. Adjt, was wounded by a shell and his driver killed.|
|5||On the 5th 2/Lieut. R.J. Bromley A. Sqn. a new Officer who had only joined us the previous day was wounded by mortar.|
|7||On the 7th 2nd Lieut. W.J. Thomson also of A. Sqn was killed.|
|14||On the 14th 2 O.R's were wounded and on th 15th 1 O.R.During this time the Recce Tp were equipped with Honeys which had had their turrets removed so that they should be more inconspicuous and the A/A Tp was also trained in the recce role as they were so seldom required for their main task.|
|15||On the morning of the 15th the Royal Scots Greys relieved the fwd Sqn and that night we withdrew and spent a quiet and peaceful night in the area of Camilly close to A. Ech. who for the whole of the month had remained at Cully.|
|Camilly||16||Sunday was spent cleaning up our tanks and ourselves.At midnight the Regt. moved again to a concentration area at Gazelle 0275.It was a bad night for moving - dust, mist, and a very dark night, all contributing to the difficulties.|
|Gazelle||17||The day was spent in total concealment at Gazelle where morale was improved by the arrival of the N.A.A.F.I. and the first rations of beer.|
|18||At 0030 hrs. we started on a march to a futher concentration area east of the Canal de Caen, crossing the canal and the river at Benouville 0974. The concentration area was in a field north east of Ranville where the gliders had landed on D day. The Regt. arrived there at about 0400 hrs.At 0545 hrs. many hundreds of aircraft were seen passing over our heads to blast the route in front of us. There was a continual stream for more than an hour. At 0720 hrs. the Regt. moved off behind the 3 R Tks through the start line just west of Escoville 1171. The form up at the start line was considerably hampered by a minefield laid by the Highland Division which they had been unable to pick up except for four lanes.These lanes provided a further bottleneck and had a serious effect on the outcome of the whole operations. The Bde from the start line to the railway Caen to Troarn moved in the following order: - 3 R Tks, 2 FF Yeo. 23 H. Each Regt. was in three waves, 2 FF Yeo. being with A. Sqn. on the right and B. Sqn. on the left in the left in the leading wave, the second wave consisting of the Recce Tp, RHQ. and the carriers of F. Coy. 8 R.B. the third wave consisting of C. Sqn., the remainder of F. Coy. and I. Bty. 13 R.H.A. At 0800 hrs. the barrage opened which advanced south to the railway, the Bde moving close up behind. Little opposition was encountered duting this time, the villages on the flanks having been well attended to by the air force. This railway was only a minor obstacle.The barrage stopped on this line for 15 minutes to allow for the crossing of the railway and 2 FF Yeo. to go up on the left of the 3 R Tks. The barrage then continued in a S.W. direction towards Le Mesnil Frementel 1065.The Regt. was covering a frontage of about 700 Yds. The two leading waves encountered little opposition but much enemy equipment was seen to be abandoned and many prisoners attempted to give themselves up, as there was no time to collect these they were left to be mopped up by subsequent infantry. The two leading waves reached the line of the railway Caen - Vimont 1461 without suffering any serious casualties.The third wave was strongly engaged by anti-tank guns from the area of Cagny 164 and the woods to the N.E. of it.The first tank to be hit was that of Major C. Nicholls; + almost immediatly Capt. J.E.F. Miller's tank was destroyed. The rear Tp of B. Sqn. which was doing flank protection was also involved and in all some 12 tanks were destroyed in this area before the situation was in hand. It had previously been stated that the village of Cagny would be 'hamburged' by the air force. This, however, had not taken place. Having crossed the railway B. Sqn. continued as leading Sqn. in normal battle formation and they reached the outskirts of Soliers 0862 and Four 0962 before they were seriously engaged. Both these villages were occupied by German infantry and at the same time Panther tanks were seen in the outskirts of the village of Borguebus and also 1 mile further south. Further tanks were then seen moving about on the edge of the woods at m.r. 1160. Capt. J.D. Hutchison with two tps of A. Sqn. went to protect the S.E. flank from a position just N.E. of Four, from where he was able to destroy at least two Panthers. These Panthers prevented us from advancing any further, and in the late afternoon they counter-attacked in force getting into the village of Four from where they were able to cause us further casualties.The Regt. was relieved on this flank by the 23rd H. and moved back to re-organise on the left behind Capt. J.D. Hutchison's two troops, who had suffered a loss of two tanks whilst in position. During the day we lost 37 tanks and we destroyed 6 Panthers, 2 Mk. IV's, 5 S.P's and 3 88 m.m's and succeeded in advancing a distance of 5 miles.Casualties to personnel were as follows: - Killed - Capt. R.H.M. Trehearne and 15 O.R's.Missing presumed killed - Major C. Nicholls and 18 O.R's.Wounded - Lieut. D.A. Reid, Lieut. P.R. Noakes, Lieut. S.H. Millar and 28 O.R's. Capt. P. Beamish, R.A.M.C. was also taken sick. It was unfortunate that many of our unhorsed personnel who got back to A.1. Ech. wer involved in a heavy attack by bombing force during the night and suffered a high proportion of casualties.There were as follows: - Killed - Capt. W.K. Mathewson, Lieut. I.D. Forbes and 4 O.R's.- Wounded - Lieut. A.G.P. Buchan, Lieut. R.P. Clarke, 2/Lieut. E.J. Spittal and 40 O.R's. That night we leaguered just north of the railway m.r. 0865.|
|19||Owing to casualties the Regt. was only able to produce 25 tanks and so it was reorganised into two Sqns. A. Sqn. under command Major J.H.C. Powell, and C. Sqn under command Capt. J.E.F. Miller, Major Sir J.E. Gilmour, Bart. having to replace Major G.R. Trotter who had had the misfortune to break a toe the previous day. A. Sqn. had 12 tanks, C. Sqn. 11 tanks, and RHQ. 2 Tanks.The Regt. was in reserve throughout the morning, during which time we were continually shelled, Major J.H.C. Powell being killed and 3 O.R's wounded. At about 1800 hrs. the 3 R Tks had successfully captured the village of Bras 0663 and an attack from Bras to capture Hubert Folie 0662 by the 2 N Yeo had been abortive. 2 FF Yeo. were then ordered to attack this village. They moved up from just N.E. of Bras where they formed up to attack. A heavy concentration of mediums was then put down on the village. C. Sqn. followed up close behind the concentration, and were able to enter the village without suffering casualties. A. Sqn. followed on close behind them. A Coy. of 8 R.B. came in afterwards to mop up prisoners, of which they captured about 80. The K.S.L.I. came up and took over this village after dark and we went back to leaguer N.E. of the railway. There were no tank losses on this day. Capt. Robertson R.A.M.C. joined the Regt. as new R.M.O.|
|Demouville||20 – 21||The Regt. pulled out of the leaguer a few hundred yards and remained in that position until noon. They then withdrew over the railway to N.E. of Demouville 1067. They remained there all that day and the following day, during which it rained almost continually.|
|22||At 0700 hrs. we withdrew out of the line through thick mud over the Canal de Caen to Ardenne Abbey south of Cussy 9970|
|23||We remained here for nearly a week resting and re-organising.|
|25||During this time the Recce tp was reduced to 3 honeys and the A/A Tp to 1 Cursader, personnel being seint into the fighting Sqns.16 O.R's joined us from the R.G.H. and were also distributed among the Sqns.Our new R.M.O. Capt. Robertson, R.A.M.C. left us, and Capt. Luker R.A.M.C. took his place.The following promotions took place. To the rank of A/U/Major Capt. J.D. Hutchison and Capt. J.E.F. Miller.To the rank of A/U/Capt. Lieut. J.M. Adams and Lieut. W.J. Hotblack.|
|28||On the evening of the 28th we were ordered to be ready to move at short notice.|
|29||At 0030 hrs. The Regt. moved out of Ardenne Abbry, on a very dark night, to the western flank of the British sector and harboured in Le Ruel 6764, the Regt. finally arriving there at approx. 0830 hrs.The day was spent in total concealment; recces, conferences and planning also taking place.|
|30||The Regt. was under command 159 Inf. Bde. who were moving on the right centre line of the Division. The Regt. was supporting the advance of the 1st Herefords. Their first objective was on the high ground just to the west of Caumont at 6758. The start line was once again in the area held by another Division, who had again laid mines which caused confusion.On the advance to our objective the Herefords were held up by M.G. fire. B Sqn. who were operating on the right were trying to assist them and got into severe trouble with mines. They lost no less than 7 tanks on these mines. A. Sqn. on the left were able to push forward a little bit more reaching the main road from Caumont to Torigny sur Vire. During this time there was continual mortar fire but we suffered no casualties from it.C. Sqn. then pushed forward across the road and the stream and took some high ground in the area 680850.They encountered only slight opposition and reached the northern slopes of the high ground. 171 m.r. 6552 shortly before dark.We remained in this position for the night whilst the K.S.L.I. came up and we harboured just north of the highest point for the night.Casualties were as follows:- Wounded Lieut. C.J. Workman and 4 O.R's. Killed 1 O.R.|
|31||During the night the K.S.L.I. had continued the advance and at first light we pushed on with them by St Ouen Des Besaces m.r. 6652 to the high ground m.r. 655510. The enemy were strongly resisting the 29 A.B. who were on our left at St Martin Des Besaces 6750. A. Sqn. were accordingly ordered to put in an attack from the west supported by company of the Herefords. The main road was covered by anti-tank guns and the country on either side was extremely difficult due to the high banks and awkward fences.Progress was necessarily very slow, but we succeeded in knocking out the anti-tank gun and managed to get into the village.During this operation A. Sqn. lost two tanks. Enemy tanks which appeared from the South withdrew before we came into contact with them. There was some opposition on our right but our attack on this was held up for some time as the American forces were advancing in this area and it was not know at the time their exact location.Eventually a limited attack was put in on the road to clear the area in which we were going to consolidate for the night. The advance started by carrying the Herefords on the backs of tanks. As, however, we met opposition before we had gone ½ mile this was not very successful. The enemy were cleared of the area up to the x rds at 645505 and we remained there harboured for the night. Two tps under Capt. R.L. Leith of C. Sqn. were sent out to investigate the main road to see if it was possible to push further forward. They did, however run on to some mines and anti-tank guns and so returned in to the harbour area.Casualties were as follow:- 1 O.R. killed and 1 O.R. wounded.|
|31||B.L.A.11th August, 1944Lieut. Colonel,Comdg. 2nd Fife & Forfar Yeomanry, R.A.C.|
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Source: 11th Armoured Division.
Disclaimer: This War Diary is based on its original, but typos might be corrected. Locations are calculated, so might not be in the correct place. For historical research, always check the originals.