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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: 6th Guards Tank Brigade
Month and Year: October 1944 (Erase heading not required). Commanding Officer: Brigadier W.D.C. Greenacre, M.V.O.
Place Date Hour Summary Reference
B.L.A. 1   Reconc of 4 Tk Gren Gds continues. Areas of operational responsibility have been allotted to 4 Tk Gren Gds and 3 Tk S.G. Re-concentration of Bde completed by 2400 hrs. Appendix A
2 1400 Bde HQ moved to previous 8 Corps main location at 485167.
3   4 Tk Coldm Gds came u/c 3 Brit Div and moved to area MOOK 720520. The bridge is in our hands but the area to the EAST, (WEST side of REICHSWALD) has yet to be cleared. Resistance on any scale is not expected. The Bn will constitute a counter-attack reserve for the infantry.
4   NTR from 4 Tk Coldm Gds. 4 Tk Gren Gds took over today from a bn of the Greys (4 Armd Bde) and established an HQ in area NEDERWEERT 6100. There is little activity in this area.
5   There was a little patrol activity by the enemy on the 4 Tk Gren Gds sector. One guard tank received a direct hit from a bazooka but sustained only minor damage. One or two of the enemy were believed to have been killed. Snipers are active.
6   Pending a major operation in area REICHSWALD, Bde HQ, 4 Tk Gren Gds, 3 Tk SG are to move up tomorrow to area held by 4 Tk Coldm Gds.
7 0800 Bde HQ set out planning to reach BEERS by nightfall. The column was stopped by a LO from corps just SOUTH of MILL and diverted off main road. Plans have changed and the Bde will reconcentrate in this area, Bde HQ at 642437.
8   Operation Gatwick is cancelled.
8   Interest is now centred on the R. MEUSE.
9   4 Tk Coldm Gds are to take part in an operation with 8 Bde of 3 Brit Div with the object of clearing the Germans from WEST bank of R. MEUSE. There will be 1 sqn of Flails (Westminster Dragoons) and 1 sqn of Crocodiles (141 RAC) u/c 4 Tk Coldm Gds. 4 Tk Gren Gds will probably be held in divisional reserve.
10   Planning for operation Aintree continues. 3 Tk SG will now probably take part in a further operation u/c 15 (S) Div designed to clear R. MEUSE 'Bulge'.
10   180 Inf and Erdmann Para Divs are forming a powerful rearguard to give the units on the EAST bank of the river more time to prepare the main def posn.
11   The attack planned for today has been postponed 24 hrs.
12   Operation Aintree.
12   Outline of original plan -
12   The attack was to be in two phases -
12   Phase I 8 Brit lnf Bde Gp supported by 4 Tk Coldm Gds, A and C Sqns W Dgns, 617 Aslt Sqn, 42 ARE will
12   i) secure OVERLOON;
12   ii) Open up rd St ANTHONIS – OVERLOON;
12   iii) Exploit to line of rd STONEMARK 7529 – SMAKTER 7730.
12   Phase II 9 Brit Inf Bde Op supported by 4 Tk Gren Gds will be prepared to
12   i) Clear wood area 7430;
12   ii) Clear woods area 7631 and to the EAST;
12   iii) Adv to secure VENRAY.
12   An air offensive against the MEUSE brs would prepare the way, cutting the lines of communication from the German rear areas.
12 1210 The Start line was crossed at 1210 hrs, later than had been planned. The artillery barrage began at 1200 hrs. The adv on OVERLOON went smoothly and without major incident until the mine-fields to the NORTH were encountered. Here 2 HQ tanks of 4 Tk Coldm Gds were put out of action, thus destroying two sources of R/L information within a few minutes of each other. There was little first-hand news for some two hours and it was then learned that 2 more tanks had been put out of action by a Panther tank several of which were previously reported in OVERLOON.
12 1330 By 1330 hrs the line of the main lateral EAST-WEST road through the centre of the town was reached.
12 1730 The reserve bn of 9 Bde (S Lancs) with 4 Tk Gren Gds in support continued the adv to the WEST of OVERLOON to the wood in 7430 and by 1730 hrs the line 743310 - 761310 - 768320 was reached and consolidated by bns of S. Lancs, Suffolks and E. Yoks. The Tank bns were withdrawn for the night and a quiet 8 hrs was spent by the infantry. In all 147 PW from Para Bn Paul were taken.
12 2000 A Tac Bde HQ joined 3 Brit Div Tac for the battle and returned to main HQ this evening at 2000 hrs.
13   Continuation of Operation Aintree.
13   185 Bde with 2 Sqn Coldm Gds in support and one Tp W. Dgns, advanced through woods to EAST of rd OVERLOON-768304 to line of rd 760304-781308. 9 Bde supported by 4 Tk Gren Gds continued their adv on the right. The adv was slow and difficulty was experienced by the Infantry in locating sources of enemy fire. Enemy artillery and mortar activity has increased. Tks were again reported in the area but one only was definitely encountered (by the Coldm Gds). This was eventually dislodged by arty fire. Once the new line had been firmly established the Tk bns again withdrew.
14   The adv on VENRAY was continued today. 9 lnf Bde was supported by 4 Tk Gren Gds less one sqn (one sqn with 8 Bde) and 185 Bde supported by 4 Tk Coldm Gds less one sqn.
14 0825 The S.L. (741298 - 755298 - 768302 - 778303) was crossed at 0825 hrs and an adv of 1 mile was reported after 5 hrs dogged fighting by the infantry. The latter suffered hy cas during the early stages due to the effective conc of German arty and mortar fire 500 yds from the S.L. As a result 9 Inf Bde made a short withdrawal. Further gains were made by 185 Bde but MG and mortar fire from the left flank prevented more than very limited movement.
15   Today there was a brief pause in the main adv and only minor adjustments of the infantry posns were made in preparation for the continuation of the advance tomorrow. The Bde Comd attended Divisional conferences at 0800 and 1400 hrs.
15   This evening it rained heavily.
16 0700 0700 hrs was H-hour for an attack by two Bde Gps - 185 Inf Bde + 4 Tk Coldm Gds and 8 Bde + 4 Tk Gren Gds - on VENRAY. 185 Bde were to adv on the town from the NORTH (as main effort), 8 Bde from N.W.
16   The main problem of the operation was the crossing of MOLENBEEK, a stream, at places 25 ft across, that wanders in a sandy bed from SW of VENRAY Northeastwards in a wide arc across the Div front. Owing to heavy rain the previous night the going in the vicinity of the BEEK was extremely difficult and although attempts were made by means of Bridgelayers and fascines to get the tanks across, the only really successful crossing was made on the 185 Bde front via the bridge 766294. The attack lost momentum due largely to this obstacle and the infantry of both Bdes met heavy mortar and arty fire coming from the NE and WEST suburbs of the town.
16 1800 By 1800 hrs the town had been reached in the Northern outskirts and one sqn less two tps 4 Tk Gren Gds and one sqn of 4 Tk Coldm Gds had managed to get far enough forward to offer support. It was by this time too dark to continue operations against the increasing opposition. Bde Tac HQ spent the night at 755328.
17 0930 Today, starting at 0930 hrs, a final comb-out of VENRAY was attempted. These last stages of the operation were carried out by 8 Bde, E. Yorks holding the NORTH of the town and the S. Lancs moving round WEST of them to enter and clear the SOUTH. 3 Sqn 4Tk Gren Gds supported their adv as far as was possible but the house to house fighting that developed was left to the inf. During the approach to the town from the NE several white flags appeared in the enemy lines. 185 Bde troops investigating these met with sufficient unfriendliness to cause little more than a momentary pause.
17 1800 By 1800 hrs VENRAY was held for the greater part but by no means secure.
18   VENRAY was the scene of a fierce infantry battle today and the weather deteriorated, reducing the secondary roads and tracks to quagmires. There was little activity for the tanks. 3 Tk S.G. have been sent to the 9 Bde area (SMAKT - 806320) where they have so far remained only on call.
18 1300 Bde Main and Tac joined forces again in a new location just SOUTH of OVERLOON, 767306.
19   The BBC has announced the capture of VENRAY. The process of mopping-up by the infantry continues.
19   It has been announced that the Bde is to come u/c 12 Corps as from tomorrow. It is intimated that an operation with 15 (S) Div in the direction of TILBURG may be planned for the coming week.
20   Bde HQ and the three tank bns moved to area BAKEL 610251. There are prospects of a brief rest now much needed by the tk bns.
21   A day of comparative rest and quiet. Bns have started a maintenance programme and expeditions have been made to the Baths in HELMOND.
22   Organised recreational transport went into HELMOND this afternoon. The process of resting and recuperation continues.
23 1900 At 1900 hrs it was announced that the Bde would move tomorrow morning to the 15 (S) Div front.
23   Op by 53 (W) Div, 7 Armd Div and 51 (H) Div has gone well today. In the NORTH units of 53 Div are in the outskirts of s’HERTOGENBOSCH. 51 Div has troops in St MICHIELS GESTEL.
24 0700 Bde HQ and two tk Bns moved 0700 hrs to area St OEDENRODE. The Bde was disposed as follows - Bde HQ E 409291 ; 4 Tk Gren Gds 424315 ; 4 Tk Coldm Gds 440308. Shortly after arriving in new area it was learned that the enemy had withdrawn from his positions WEST of BEST.
25   Operation Eric.
25   This was the beginning to one of the minor ops conducted by 12 Corps to clear the area between the WEST side of the Second Army salient and the sea. 15 (S) Div have been allotted the sector OIRSCHOT 3125 – TILBURG 1532.
25   Outline plan - two phases.
25   Phase I - 227 Bde supported by 4 Tk Coldm Gds rt and 44 (L) Bde left supported by two sqns 4 Tk Gren Gds were to clear line of BOKSTEL 3234 – BEST rly as far as LIEMPDE 3635.
25   Phase II - Advance by two Bde Gps, 46 (H) Bde with 3 Tk SG in support, on rt along line of main BEST – OIRSCHOT – MOERGESTEL 2330 rd, and 44 (L) Bde with in support 4 Tk Gren Gds, on left along line of WILHELMINA CANAL in direction TILBURG. 227 Bde were to relieve 44 (L) Bde in OIRSCHOT.
25   What might have been a break-out battle proved to be nothing more serious than a Divisional op move. There was negligible opposition although mines were found in some quantities.
25 1300 Bde HQ moved to OIRSCHOT, 313259.
25   Dispositions of troops this evening as follows - 46 Bde area MOERGESTEL 2030 with 7 Seaforth just SOUTH of OOSTERWIJK 2234 ; 44 Bde in area BIEST 2026 ; 227 Bde in OIRSCHOT.
26   The adv on TILBURG continues.
26 1800 By 1800 hrs this evening 46 Bde had 9 Cams at 192324 and 2 Glas H with 3 Tk SG 202308. 44 Bde crossed the canal via the BIEST br preparatory to moving North parallel to it. There has been so far very little for the tks to do and their main function has been merely an ever present reserve. The Recce Tp of 3 Tk SG made a very gallant attempt to reach and secure the rly br at 179325. Only darkness prevented this being entirely successful.
27 1500 At approx 1500 hrs this afternoon, 9 Cams (46 Bde) entered TILBURG and by nightfall the city was considered freed. 15 (S) Div advanced during the final stages as follows - 44 (L) Bde with in support 4 Tk Gren Gds moved up from SE through BROEKHOVEN 1630 and occupied the Southern suburbs; 227 Bde with in support 4 Tk Coldm Gds passed through 44 Bde and into the town; 46 Bde with in support 3 Tk SG from direction ENE along line of main rly and occupied the EAST and NE quarters.
27   There was negligible opposition and reports of an universal enemy withdrawal throughout the Div sector were proved correct. Bde HQ moved this morning to 222291.
28   Shortly after adv harbour parties left Bde HQ for TILBURG this morning it was announoed that this fmn is to revert to u/c 8 Corps.
29 0900 Bde HQ moved 0900 hrs to 538180. 3 Tk SG have moved overnight 28/29 Oct to 608144 to come u/c 227 Inf Bde.
29 1600 By 1600 hrs 4 Tk Gren Gds were to in GELDROP 474162 and 4 Tk Coldm Gds were in HEEZE 4911.
29   A German counter-attack along the two rds MEIJEL 7007 – ASTEN 6113 and MEIJEL – DEURNE 6520 has caused some disquiet on the Eastern side of the Second Army salient.
30 1430 Bde HQ moved 1430 hrs to SOMEREN 592118.
30   For to-day’s operation against the small German salient (made by 9 Pz Div). 15 (S) Div and the Bde were deployed on the 2 axes of the German advance as follows – 227 Bde with in support 3 Tk SG conc in area ASTEN ; 44 Bde in area immediately WEST of LIESEL to prevent an enemy expansion in this direction ; 46 Bde were NORTH of 44 Bde preparatory to moving up on its left flank. Late last night it was decided that 4 Tk Gren Gds would support 46 Bde and 4 Tk Coldm Gds 44 Bde. Limited advs were made during the day and by dark our posns were improved as follows - 4 Tk Gren Gds in area 6113, 4 Tk Coldm Gds in area 6518, 3 Tk SG in area 6114. There has been news of the movt in this direction of another Pz Div (116) but at the moment the enemy’s op can best be described as a vast raid with the possible object of diverting our forces from the ANTWERP sector.
31   The advance has continued today under conditions of poor visibility.
31 1600 At 1600 hrs this evening dispositions were as follows – fwd tps of 227 Bde (10 HLI) had cleared the enemy from wood in 6409 ; 46 Bde had 6 KOSB at 678137 ; 44 Bde had reached 64 Easting and 12 Northing. There was little opportunity for the tk bns but HQ 4 Tk Gren Gds moved down to 608131 and HQ 3 Tk SG to 611141. 4 Tk Coldm Gds remained at their former location 653183. The enemy’s arty fire is more accurate and producing more effective concs than on any sector we have yet known. His aircraft too are in greater evidence. For the last two nights there have been brief raids on area HELMOND.

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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.