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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.

WAR DIARY
or
INTELLIGENCE SUMMARY
Army Form C.2118
Unit: 6th Guards Tank Brigade
Month and Year: July 1944 (Erase heading not required). Commanding Officer: Brigadier C.L. Verney, M.V.O.
Place Date Hour Summary Reference
Charing, Kent 4   2 Sqns of 4 Tk Gren Gds moved to Fredville 697692. The third Sqn moved to Broome Pk 658663. This move took place as part of S.E. Comd “Cover plan”.
8 1330 H.Q. Sqn held a sports meeting, and the Bde Comd presented the prizes.
10   The Bde was visited by Lt.Gen E.C.A. Schreiber C.B. D.S.O. G.O.C. S.E. Comd. The Army Comd visited the 3 Bns Bde Wksp and H.Q. Sqn and left after having had tea at Bde H.Q. He expressed himself very pleased with what he saw and especially commended Maj. Yarker, R.E.M.E. on the way he had strengthened out his Camp after the flying bomb incident.
15 0700 The Bde advance party consisting of six offrs and some 30 O.Rs. left Cale Hill for France. For the journey over the party was in charge of Capt. J.Mc.I. Young and on arrival in the concentration area Capt. Sawnay the G.S.O. III took over Comd of the party. The Marshalling Area at Petersfield was reached at 1500 hrs after a trying drive at an apalling slow speed, our 11 fast moving vehs being not allowed to exceed 25 m.i.2.h. Appx ‘A’ + ‘B’ refer to the move of Brigade. Remainder of appendices refer to Operation “Bluecoat” except Appx ‘C’.
16 0100 The advance party left the Marshalling Area “for Gosport Hard” arriving there at 0400 hrs. The party started to embark on an L.S.T. at 1030. The voyage was uneventful but we arrived some 12 hrs later than anticipated owing to a thick fog in the Channel.
18 1630 Started to disembark on “Gold” Beach, half a mile to the E. of ASNELLES Sur MER. By 1900 hrs the whole party were in the assembly area S. of BUHOT (862848). It was found that all the careful instructions we had received on disembarkation procedure before leaving England were of no value to us at all. Transit Areas had been abolished since D+1 and units diesembarking were usually sent straight forward to the Concentration Area from the Beach. This was entirely different to what we had been told to expect.
19   A day spent in recceing the Bde Conc area and marking routes from the beaches thereto via the Assembly areas.
B.L.A. 20   We were told that assembly areas were abolished and that two Transit Camps were being established to serve the two beaches (GOLD and JUNO) on which the Bde were going to land. These were recced and the routes from the beaches were marked. Bds H.Q. arrived, having left on July 17 and spent two nights in the Marshalling Area and one night at sea. The beach sub-area organisation for disembarkation was non-existent. No C.M.P. guides were provided and the job of guiding disembarking units to the Concentration area entirely devolved on the small Adv party. Several vehs inevitably went astray and an aged Frenchman was heard to say to a Guardsdman “Où est le Bloody Scots Gds?”
21   Pouring rain all day. Grenadiers completed their Concentration and Bde H.Q. was established at 835810. The Bde Concentration Area was as follows 830812 – 850790 – 835770 – 802800.
21   The Brigadier visited the H.Q. of 8, 12, 30 and 2nd Canadian Corps.
22   More rain. The Bde Comd visited 34 Tk Bde H.Q. 4 Tk Coldm Gds and 261 Fwd Del Sqn completed their Concentration.
23   Bde H.Q., H.Q. Sqn and the Sig Sqn moved about 2 miles S.W. to a farm at 818791. Although not quite so convenient from the point of view of being near a main rd, the ground was much drier than the previous location, which had become a quagmire after 36 hrs practically incessant rain. The offrs mess was inside a large cowshed (cleaned out and quite hygienic) but otherwise everybody was under canvas. The farm itself was occupied by its owners and some refugee children from CAEN.
23   Bde Wksp completed the Concentration today.
24   Orders were received from 2nd Army to recce two conc areas behind the line 30 Corps were holding, and two more behind that of 12 Corps, with a view to supporting the ops of one of these Corps in the near future. The Bde Comd and B.M. did these recces this afternoon. To date we do not know to which of these we will go.
24   Tk Tps Wksp and the Ord Fd Pk completed their Concentration. The Bde are now completely concentrated and only lack a Lt Fd Amb. (No. 11 L.F.A. is said to be on the way).
25   The Bde Comd, B.M., D.A.A. & Q.M.G. and other staff offrs from Bde H.Q. went to Tac H.Q. 21 Army Gp a few miles N. of BLAY to hear the C.i.C. give an address to all offrs in the Bde down to and including Sqn Ldrs, C.Os of the Bde Services and Adjts. General Montgomery surveyed the progress made since D. Day and told us the trend of future ops to come. It was the first time he had addressed offrs down to Sqn Ldr level. He explained that normally he spoke only down to Comd Offr level in Divs but that as we were an Independent Bde, and therefore not so numerous, he had arranged for Majors to attend as well. After his talk he invited offrs to inspect his two spacious Italian caravans in which he lives. Practically intact specimens of a “Tiger” and “Panther” were inspected in an adjoining field.
27   11 L.F.A. arrived in the Bde area and came under comd. The Bde is now complete.
27   As a result of a visit by the Bde Comd to 31 & 34 Tk Bdes, experiments are now being carried out as to the best method of suspending spare Tk tracks (British or German) round the Churchills to increase the thickness of armour. This had been done by the Gds Armd Div to their Shermans with good results.
28   Orders received at 1800 hrs to be at 1 hrs notice to move to the vicinity BALLEROY (8869) to come under Comd 15 (S) Div. The Bde moved out at 2100 hrs by the following route BAYEUX by-pass – LA TUILERIE (7273) – to D.P. at 693699. Bde H.Q. was established at 721669. The rds from the D.P. were very congested and it was a pitch dark night. As a result of this the Bde were not conc in the area around Bde H.Q. until 0600 hrs. At about 0230 hrs enemy med guns put down a few rds of gunfire on a med gun area about half a mile from our location. The Bde Comd attended a conference at 15 (S) Div H.Q. at 1800 hrs at 698690. The Div Comd outlined the general plan for the attack in which we were to support 15 (S) Div. This attack had been arranged at very short notice to exploit the American successes on our right (B.B.C. news today said they had reached AVRANCHES). 11 Armd Div, and 15 (S) Div of 8 Corps were on the right. 43 Div and 50 Div of 30 Corps were on our left. At 1700 hrs Bde H.Q. moved to 706824, alongside 227 Bde of 15 (S) Div where a co-ordinated conference was held at 1715 hrs. Air photos and one over twenty five thousand Defence Overprints were issued on a scale of about 20 per Bn of each. The Bde are now 8 Corps Tps.
30   Op “Bluecoat” referred to above took place. This was the first battle that the Bde took part in. It was a great success; after it was over the Bde Comd received many messages of congratulation on the success of the days work. The following is a brief resume of what happened:- H Hour was at 0655 hrs. At this time 4 Tk Gren Gds crossed the start line just south of CAUMONT in support of 2 Gordons and 9 Cameronians (227 Bde). The first objective was a line from the village of SEPT VENTS (6957) to LUTAIN WOOD (7157). This was in our hands by 0830 hrs. Crocodiles (flame throwers) were used in the attack on LUTAIN Wood but their usefulness was not really tested. The village was found to be heavily mined and to contain quite a lot of snipers. The two factors caused a few casualties incl Capt Grey of 4 Tk Gren Gds who was shot by a sniper. 4 C.G. and 3 S.G. then went through in support of 10 H.L.I. and 2 Argylls (46 Bde) to 2nd objectives. This was the line from ST. JEAN DES ESARTIERS (6854) to LES LOGES (7054). At 0855 hrs the Air force put down a heavy concentration on this seond objective. During this second phase there was little enemy opposition, the slow progress being largely due to the very enclosed nature of the country and the high banks and stone walls which had to be negotiated. The Churchill Tk showed itself to be the magnificent performer across really bad country. It is considered that no other type of tk which we possess in the Army would have got through. By 1125 hrs 3 S.G. had passed LA RECUSSONNIÈRE (7155) and were going on well. By 1145 hrs 4 C.G. reported they were on the second objective (vicinity of ST. JEAN DES ESARTIERS) with their infantry 300 yds behind. At this stage 3 S.G. had to pause to allow their infantry to catch up. It was realised that 43 Div on our left had made little progress and not across the line of the stream running E.N.E. from LUTAIN Wood. Thoughout the day they remained in this position which left our left flank very exposed. 3 S.G. suffered casualties as a result of this later. 3 S.G. pushed on without their infantry (who were delayed by the enemy on the left flank) and arrived at their objectives (LES LOGES) at about 1400 hrs after traversing very difficult country. There appeared to be no sign of the enemy in front of them but they were not allowed to push on as their infantry (2 A & S.H.) were so far behind.
30   The third phase of the battle started when the Air Force dropped their bombs as arranged on the third objective at about 1500 hrs. The plan to capture the third objective was to take it from the right flank by moving up 4 C.G. and 4 G.G. (in that order) down the main CAUMONT – ST. MARTIN DES BESACES rd as far as about 682511 (4 C.G.) and 680517 (4 G.G.) and then to drive due east and cut the enemy off. The infantry (2 Glasgow H. with 4 G.G. and 7 Seaforths with 4 C.G.) went down the rd riding on the Churchill Tks. After slight opposition at LA MORACHESSES LES MARES (6853) 4 C.G. arrived in the three hundred ring contour of the objective at 2100 hrs having got far ahead of the infantry. By 2200 hrs 4 C.G. reported objective in our hands. 3 S.G. had suffered some Tk cas from S.P. (?) guns to the S.E. as well as from mortar fire on their exposed left flank. It was most unfortunate that 43 Div made such slow progress as otherwise these casualties would probably not have occurred. Casulaties to personnel and tks were as follows:-
31   A quiet day. Bde H.Q. moved up to a new location 704585. The three Bns remained in approx the same locations that they reached last night. The Inf had taken over the objectives and dug in. 4 C.G. were shelled all day intermittently on pt 309. 3 S.G. were reduced to 2 Sqns (at full strength) but the third Sqn will soon be made up it is hoped.
31   Casualties

Officers
4 Tk Gren Gds: Capt. G.C. Grey and Lt. J.G. Marshall-Cornwall killed, Maj. R.H. Heywood-Lonsdale wounded.
4 Tk Coldm Gds: Lt. M.V. Christie-Miller killed, Lt. R.J.G.E. Buckland * and Lt. A.M. Palliser wounded.
3 Tk S.G.: Maj. J.J. Cuthbert. Capt. N.W. Beason and Lt. R. Humble killed, Lt. C.R.T. Cunningham wounded.

O.Rs
4 Tk Gren Gds: 3 killed, 4 wounded, 5 missing.
4 Tk Coldm Gds: 4 killed, 46 wounded, 2 missing.
3 Tk S.G.: 15 killed, 16 wounded, 5 missing.

Tanks
4 Tk Gren Gds: 2.
4 Tk Coldm Gds: 2.
3 Tk S.G.: 9.

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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.