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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: 4th Tk Bn Coldm Gds.
Month and Year: November 1944 (Erase heading not required). Commanding Officer: Lt. Col. A.W.A. Smith
Place Date Hour Summary Reference
DEURNE Area 1   Full details Operation Plan given in Appendix Appx. Op. Order No 13 46 H Inf Bde
1   Visibility was an improvement on the previous day. The plan was based on information that the area of Bde left flank up to the canal de DEURNE was held by the enemy in probably 3 Coy Strength with possibly S.P. guns and a few tanks were known to be in the vicinity. Both Phase 1 and Phase 2 were carried out with little opposition. The going was too deep for tanks to support Infantry to objective, and permission was given for them to remain in static support after advancing approx 800 yds. To speed up operations, as it appeared enemy were with drawing. No 3 Sqn were ordered to support 6 K.O.S.B. in attack on HUTTEN vice 2 Glas H.
1 1445 Attack started and good progress was made. The tanks gave maximum fire support to infantry and many houses and haystacks were left burning. Objectives reached by approx 1600 hrs. 15 (S) Div Recce ordered to advance to HEIDRACK. Misunderstanding, and this not done. Our Commanding Officer then ordered our own Recce to do the job.
1 1635 Recce report being fired on from bend in road 6911. Under cover of smoke two sub units were with drawn and all personnel. The third sub unit was recovered the followng day. Infantry ordered to consolidate. No further advance. C.O. directing medium fire on enemy gun position. Bn. with drawn for night to area of previous night. Promise of 3 days rest for maintenance of tanks and personnel. Increased enemy artillery and accuracy may be noted past two days. Capt Scott, I.O. wounded during afternoon. (At the same time the Adjutant was caught with his trousers down but suffered no injury.)
2   Bn moved back to area of DEURNE for 3 days rest and maintenance. Mostly in billets. Some excellent rooms have been ingeniously built in the local brick yard.Two officers and 20 O.R.s have 48 hrs leave to BRUSSELS.
3   Maintenance. A good percentage of 20 hr passes to HELMOND, where cinema and E.N.S.A. shows are available.
4-5   A rumour that we may have to relieve 4th G.G. in support of 44 Bde in attack on MEIJEL. Church services on Sunday 5th. Maintenance.
6   No 3 Sqn. move to area N.W. MEIJEL in counter attack role with Royal Scots Fusiliers.
HELMOND 7   The whole Bn move to HELMOND, where we are accommodated in excellent billets in the residential area. 116th Gds Tk Bde in same area.
8-19   This period was spent with the usual normal daily routine. Gunnery and wireless courses were run by Sqns. Permanent passes from 1630 hrs to 2300 hrs allowed. A football match Bn v Helmond resulted in a win for Bn 11 - 0 on Sat 11th. A 30 yds range was found and used for the purpose of giving all ranks an opportunity of firing Bren, Sten & Revolver.
8-19   A dance was held for Guardsmen and Corporals in the Flora Hall. A great success and more have been arranged. A Bde Club was opened and named the “Churchill Club”. Extremely popular. Teas and cakes can be bought and ample space is provided for reading and writing and recreation. One room alloted for visitors. During this period 48 hrs leave to BRUSSELS continued. 2 Officers and 20 O.R.s at a time. Well organised accommodation in good hotels and boarding houses made this leave extremely enjoyable for those lucky enough to get leave. The 15 (S) Div Club et TILBURG was also kindly open to us for vacancies.
28 0730 The Recce took over from Sufolks patrol. At the suggestion of the Commanding Officer, a medium gun R.A. was brought into position at HEILHUISEN and fired over open sights. 95.s from Nos 1 & 3 continued to assist.
VENRAY 20 1000 Once again we were destined to visit a familiar part of the country and the Bn moved to VELLUM, just S.W. of VENRAY. H.Q. being at 773264. A skeleton A Ech moved into the brickyards at DEURNE. B Ech remaining in Sqn billeting areas at HELMOND, where we hoped to return. Route taken HELMOND – DEURNE – VENRAY. We came in support of 9 Bde 3 Brit. Div. whose H.Q. were et WEVERSLO 744252.
21   A day of recce and conferences. No tanks moved.
22   Two tps of No 2 Sqn moved to VENLEN to support No 1 Lincolns. The tank track was very bad and one got bogged and had to be left until reovery the following day. The weather was very wet and raining hard.
23   Full details Operational Order No 10. 9 Brit Inf Bde. This was not adhered to in detail for reasons of extremely boggy and wet country and the fact that it was not thought necessary for close support and the enemy was known to be pulling back towards the River MAAS. Appx. A Op. Order No 10 9 Brit Inf Bde
23   The presence of mines was also known from patrols. However in extremely unpleasant wet weather Nos 2 & 3 Sqns moved by 11th Armd Div. route ( Xrds 720237 - X tracks 717196 - X tracks 744209 ) to VENLEN, No 3 remaining just west of the village. No 2 moved up the road towards OVERBROEK in support of Lincolns. No opposition was met and the Sqn remained in the area of the factory. In the afternoon No 3 were ordered to move forward to area of woods at 784216, to be in support of K.O.S.B.s if required. The only opposition came from mines & booby traps which were not as plentiful as at first suspected. No 1 Sqn did not move, remaining at call of 8 R.U.R. who were in Bde reserve.
24 0800 As from this hr the Bn came back in 3 Div. reserve and concentrated back in the original area at VELLUM with Bn. H.Q.
25-26   These days were spent in cleaning and maintenance, although rain continued.
GEIJSTEREN 27   40 Germans were reported to be holding the KASTEEL on the west bank of the R. MAAS. We came under command 8 Bde to assist the Suffolks to capture the KASTEEL. Owing to the flooded state of the surroundings , and only one rd being open for approach, the Suffolks had failed in their attempt. An intercept of the German wireless had been made, in which the defenders had asked to be allowed to withdraw. The answer came back. “NO, one Coy must remain". They had then asked for more men and ammunition. A programme of demolition was arranged.
27 1230 -1430 A “Heavy” concentration was put down.
27 1430 -1530 2 Tps No 1 Sqn. with 4 95’s & “Cuckoo” the panther shelled from area of woods at HEILHUIZEN 825291.
27 1530 -1600 4.2 mortars put down concentration of 500 rounds. Lt. Litchfield & 5 men from Recce Tp. Under cover of dark, had reached an O.P. position at 830300 approx by first light and were able to report on results and correct tank fire.
27 1130 Recce reported Geman digging franctically at Y junction 833298. After the shelling had ceased at 1530, this German was reported to be still digging.
27 1630 A patrol from Suffolks took over from Recce for the night, having spent rather an uncomfortable day, being mortared, shelled & machine gunned. No casualties. All tanks returned to Bn H.Q. for night.
28 1405 -1530 8 Typhoons in two groups of 4, low-level bombed with 500lb bombs. The results were not highly satisfactory, one plane dropping its load on the village of GEIJSTEREN, the second attempt was more effective. All tanks returned to Bn H.Q. for night, having caused heavy damage to the KASTEEL.
29   The process of demolition continued. Overnight it had been reported that a motor boat had been heard on the river, possibly evacuating or bringing supplies.
29 0700 No 2 Sqn Commander (Maj. M.V. Milbank) took two 95mm tanks, 1 6Pdr and 1 75mm to MARSHEES with the intention of demolishing the back of the KASTEEL, nearest river, which was thought to be the German sleeping quarters. A medium gun also fired from the same area. During the day the artillery fired on targets across the river, which had been plotted during the previous days.
30 1405 At this time 4 Typhoons with 500lb bombs, attacked again with better success, scoring several direct hits.
30 1530 4 other Typhoons with rockets added to the now heavily damaged buildings.
30 2200 The final assault was timed for this hour. An artillery barrage was timed for H-20 to H-5, with No 2 Sqn again at MARSHEES firing on targets across the river at AAIEN 827334 and KAMP 835315 as a diversion. This actually drew heavy fire on area MARSHEES as intended. Two tanks with Maj. M.V. Milbank moved south along road towards KASTEEL as far as 824308 and then returned. This entailed fording water up to 1 ft deep. Unfortunately the infantry meanwhile had their 6 assault boats shelled, leaving 1 only serviceable. No casualties to personnel. A delay took place while further boats were brought up and they finally got into the KASTEEL in the early hours of Dec 1st to find no enemy there. As the KASTEEL was a heap of rubble and the cellars were inaccessible, there may have been dead Germans underneath. A lot of blood was to be seen.

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Source: Jeroen Koppes, TracesOfWar.com, transcribing: Hans Houterman.

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.