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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: 23rd Hussars
Month and Year: April 1945 (Erase heading not required). Commanding Officer: Lt.Col. R.P. HARDING, DSO
Place Date Hour Summary Reference
GERMANY 1   Whilst the Regiment/Battalion Group remained harboured at X roads, 1/100,000 Sheet P2, "C" Squadron and H Company were ordered to SAERBECK, 9297 to protect the Division flank and attempt to open up the main route. They were however met by a heavily defended Flak position on the north east outskirts of the village and after much slaughter and destruction claimed eight 88mm guns and a number of 20mm Flak, about 50 killed and over 100 PWs at the end of the day, during which they did not lose one tank.
2   During this time the 15th/19th Hussars Group had established a bridgehead across the Dortmund - Ems canal and had pushed through a gorge across the ridge of the Teutobuger Wald. The 23rd Hussars/8th RB Group were ordered forward at 12.00 hours, led by "B" Squadron Group. Having passed over the canal we passed slowly up the wooded gorge north of BROCHTERBECK, 0003, past T junction, 0005, east to TECKLENBURG, 0502. The leading tank of "B" Squadron was hit by a Bazooka as it reached the centre of the town, which lay in a hollow between two ridges and consisted of very narrow,old-fashioned streets. Whilst "B" Squadron and F Company were trying to clear this most unpleasant place, where even the civilian population seemed to be fighting, A1 Echelon was attacked by machine gun and rifle fire in the gorge of the Teutobuger Wald, wounding both the Echelon Commander and the Signals Officer. Towards evening an attempt was made to work "C" Squadron Group round from the west but by nightfall 3rd RTR had managed to outflank the town from the east and had cut the main road to the north. Orders were received to advance during the night.
Captain J.G. Sandford, Captain I.S. Geikie and 2 x Other Ranks were wounded.
1 x Tank, a Comet was left for recovery, notified backloaded to 3rd Echelon 19th April, 1945. 1 x Truck, 15cwt 4 x 2 G.S. Bedford and 1 x Matchless solo motor cycle destroyed by enemy action. 1 x Trailer, 10cwt G.S. received from 8th Corps C.S. and V.P.
3   03.00 hours. We moved off following 3rd RTR Group in torrential rain, "C" Squadron Group leading. By daylight we had reached T roads 086059. "C" Squadron Group branched due north to X roads 0809, 1/100,000 Sheet N2, where they turned east after some rapid and lively clearing of Bazooka positions on the railway line and at the X roads. The rest of the Group, led by "A" Squadron, followed through LOTTE, 1208 and passed over 3rd RTR bridgehead at 179129 at 11.00 hours, turning east to T roads, 2011 and then north. At about 14.00 hours two leading tanks of "A" Squadron were hit by 88mm HE fire at T roads 2013. "B" Squadron Group were diverted over the bridge via T roads 182135 and 199143 to tackle this position from the north. After some heavy, steep going through road blocks etc, they passed through "A" Squadron and took on the lead with orders to rush the bridge over the Ems - Weser Canal in the area of HERRINGHAUSEN, 3417. Starting at about 17.30 hours "B" Squadron Group led at full gallop across the high open stretch of ground north of OSNABRUCK via T roads 220157 and X roads 257159. at this point "C" Squadron Group in the rear were diverted to the south to X roads 2712 to open up an alternative route to the objective. This developed into a great race as darkness fell, "B" Squadron on the northern and "C" Squadron on the southern road, both of them shooting up transport and men in passing. "B" Squadron on the shorter road won, and secured intact both bridges at 349175 and 356170. The Recce Troop meanwhile were recceing the three bridges to the north. hese bridges were mined but intact abd the enemy were engaged on the far bank. They were recalled when the crossings to the south had been gained. "B" Squadron Group spent the night in the bridgehead, the remainder harbouring at OSTERKAPPELN, 3316.
4   3rd RTR Group went through during the morning splitting on two routes at 435200, 1/100,000 Sheet N3. At about 12.00 hours we moved off slowly behind them, "A" Squadron Group splitting on to the southern route whilst the remainder, led by "C" Squadron, followed on the northern. 3rd RTR , against continuous opposition by infantry equipped with Panzerfaust, made better progress on the northern route, and in the late afternoon 23rd Hussars Group assumed the lead ar RAHDEN, 6026, "A" Squadron joining from the southern road. "C" Squadron Group leading, as it got pitch dark, reached ESERN, 6929 at 22.00 hours, passing a newly abandoned King Tiger on the way. The Regiment harboured between ESERN and NORDEL, 6729.
1 x car, 5-cwt 4x4 certified beyond local repair.
5   23rd Hussar Group led off at 09.00 hours, "C" Squadron Group in front. No opposition and some abandoned AFVs on the way. As we entered STOLZENAU at 11.00 hours, going at full speed, the enemy blew the bridge, ahving been warned of our approach by telephone and a premature announcement on the BBC. "C" squadron and "B" squadron went up to the river to give support to H Company 8th RB which crossed at 14.00 hours. Towards evening the enemy started the first of several air attacks, which continued during the next days, raising all kinds of antediluvian aircraft with very little opposition from the RAF. During one of these A Echelon was attacked some 10 miles to the rear and suffered casualties, 4 x Other ranks wounded and 1 x car 5-cwt 4x4 Willys destroyed by enemy action and 1 x car, a 5-seater Hudson and 1 x car, a 5-seater Mercedes/Benz (captured enemy vehicles) were abandoned owing to unserviceability and non-availability of spares.
6   "B" Squadron Group remained in the town while the remainder pulled back. One Other Rank wounded, died of wounds. Captain J.N. McBeath, RAMC and 3 x Other Ranks wounded.
7   Whilst continuing his air attacks the enemy used 20mm and 88mm airbursts from the far bank on a fair scale. PWs taken by 8th RB on the east bank showed that two companies from the Training Battalion of 12th Hitler Youth Panzer Division was opposite, equipped with Panzerfaust, mortars and machine guns. The many companies of this Battalion were to provide all the localised opposition between the Rivers Weser and Aller.
4 x Comet tanks and 1 x Cromwell VI tank received from 270th FDS.
8   "C" Squadron moved at 06.00 hours to pass over the bridge at PETERSHAGEN, 8420 in order to support 1 Cdo. Brigade into LEESE, 9335 and to enlarge the bridgehead northwards. This was successfully acheved without loss and the large wood at HAHENBURG, 9437 was cleared, revealing a large factory of V bombs. Advances were made as far as LANDESBERGEN, 9441, the squadron harbouring in the area for the night. The remainder of 23rd Hussars Group moved acrosss the bridge at PETERSHAGEN behind 159th Infantry Brigade Group and 3rd RTR at 15.00 hours. We then made a quick run through LOCCUM, 9629, REHBURG and SCHNEEREN, 0838. We then received orders to cut across the country and clear the wood and main roads to X roads 0544 where we harboured for the night. Some PWs, mostly SS were taken.
9   07.00 hours. "A" Squadron Group leading, 23rd Hussars Group started to move through 3rd RTR at LINSBURG, 0645. 1/100,000 Sheet N4. Two towed 88mm guns with half-tracks were brewed up west of WENDEN, 1149, but no opposition was encountered until "A" Squadron Group came off the hill into STEIMBKE, 1252 where a company of 12th SS Training Battalion had got itself into position less than half an hour before our arrival. This Group then set about converting this large village into what has been acknowledged to be a "masterpiece of liberation". Whilst "A" Squadron were completing this all-day task, R.HQ aiding and abetting, "B" Squadron Group were sent across country to WENDENBORST, 1551 to seize the crossing over the River Leine at BOTHMER, 2657. at the same time "C" Squadron rejoined and followed behind "B" Squadron Group who were making good going through RODEWALD, 1753, SUDERBRUCH, 2154 and NORD DREBBER, 2455. at the latter place they had a sharp clash with Bazooka men of 2nd Marine Division who were to provide the main opposition on the River Aller. These were fresh troops and full of spirit. Finally the Recce Troop and tanks of "B" Squadron got through to BOTHMER Bridge which blew up before their eyes. 23rd Hussar Group then harboured for several days, "B" Squadron Group at NORD DREBBER, "C" Squadron Group at SUDERBRUCH, R.HQ Group in leaguer at 2353 and "A" Squadron Group at RODEWALD.
1 x Other Rank wounded, 1 x 15-cwt half tracked International Truck and 1 x Comet tank destroyed by enemy action.
10   29th Armoured Brigade remained in position whilst 159th Infantry Brigade Group completed bridging over the River Leine and cleared to River Aller.
13   23rd Hussar Group moved over the River Leine at 2345 and into area 2649 whilst the bridgehead was being formed north of ESSEL, 2957. At this time a German Deputation vainly attempted to negotiate for a Neutral Zone north of the river Aller to include Belsen.
14   At 08.30 hours 23rd Hussar Group moved over the River Aller and turned west to WINSEN, 4755. As 15th/19th group took all day to clear this place, 23rd Hussar Group leaguered at 3157.
15   At 08.00 hours. 23rd Hussar Group moved through WINSEN, turning north, "B" Squadron leading. Some Bazooka and machine gun opposition was met north of WINSEN in 4758, but this rapidly cleared and the enemy dispersed by setting fire to the wood. North of WALLE, 4862 there were notices in English declaring the BELSEN area to be typhus infected and to be a Neutral Zone. This was observed without incident and we passed the camp at great speed, little knowing what horrors it concealed. At about 14.00 hours "A" Squadron Group which had moved via 5186, passed through "B" Squadron Group which had established itself in BERGEN, 5070 without incident. 1/100,000 Sheet M4. Some opposition was encountered both at DOHNSEN, 5472 and BECKEDORF, 5671 and many hundreds of Allied Prisoners of War were liberated. In the meantime the recce troop was sent to recce the crossings at BONSTORF, 5576 and 545770, two sections going to the former and one to the latter. Both found the bridges intact, but after a short time they were attacked by infantry with Bazookas. "C" Squadron Group immediately went to BONSTORF and "B" Squadron Group to the western crossing and by nightfall the opposition, which consisted of Companies of a Hungarian SS Battalion, was demolished, another company being destroyed at BORNBOSTER, 5576 by "A" Squadron Group which came up from BECKEDORF. "C" Squadron Group remained to maintain the BONSTORF bridgehead during the night and "B" Squadron Group the westerly bridge just north of HETENDORF from which they were fired on throughout the hours of darkness. The remainder leaguered in a hollow behind the feature at 554759. During the afternoon and evening's fighting about 300 PWs were taken.
1 x Other Rank died of wounds. 2 x Other Ranks were wounded.
1 x Sherman Tank V (Bulldozer) left for recovery, notified backloaded to 3rd Echelon 19th April, 1945.
16   At 07.30 hours. "B" Squadron Group was ordered on to seize the crossing at REININGER, 5682. They reached the place by 09.00 hours but found the bridge blown and the village infested by determined enemy. They fought in this place until midday and then were withdrawn with the rest of the Group. The bridge at REININGER being blown, "C" Squadron Group were sent to recce another crossing at 582819, which they also found blown. 3rd RTR Group, having equal ill luck at Wietzendorf, 5082, 29th Armoured Brigade Group was turned round. From midday on 23rd Hussar Group followed 159th Infantry Brigade via MUDEN, 6078, T roads, 6087 and LINTZE, 6990, leaguering in the area west of WRIEDEL, 7195, for the night.
Captain C.V. O'Reilly and Lieut G. Woodland wounded.
1 x Cromwell VI tank received from 270 FDS.
17   23rd Hussar Group was ordered forward to establish itself north of UELZEN, which was being attacked by 15th Scottish Division, in the area of the high ground 8898, 1/100,000 Sheet M5 and to link up with 6th Airborne Division which was outflanking UELZEN from the east. At about 10.00 hours 23rd Hussar Group passed through 159th Infantry Brigade Group at EBSTORF, 8096, but as enemy were reported in the direction of BARUM, 8698 it was decided to approach the objective from the north via NATENDORF, 8201 and X roads 8701. Within two hundred yards of the latter, the two leading tanks of "A" Squadron were brewed up by three 88mm guns and four 20mm guns which were later abandoned. "C" Squadron Group in the meanwhile were diverted south and having cleared HOHENBUNSDORF of some enemy were approaching BARUM from the west. After two of their leading tanks were hit on the long open slope leading into the village the Squadron was withdrawn behind the ridge. It remained there ubtil the late afternoon until the whole Regiment, having encircled the place, could give it its undivided attention. During this time "B" Squadron Group was despatched by a rapid manouevre and a small track through SEEDORF, 8601 to establish themselves astride the main road at 879998. From there "B" Squadron Group sent a troop to the railway line west of BEVENSEN, 9001 to attempt to link up with 6th Airborne Division, or failing this, to brew up the fleeing Germans. This was duly done and a great score was produced. "C" Squadron - H Company Group were meanwhile tying up the place for the final attack. At the same time R.HQ moved up to the area of Point 80, 8600, to support from the north. "A" Squadron sent a troop to the area 877007 to cover exits to the north east. "B" Squadron pushed a troop to the outskirts of TATENDORF to cover exits to the south east. The attack went in at 19.00 hours and was completely successful.

Total Bag - "A" Squadron Group
3 x 88mm guns, 1 x 20mm gun, 1 x 75mm gun, 1 x halftrack.
"B" Squadron
3 x 88mm guns, 1 x 88mm gun captured, 1 x halftrack captured intact, Two large half-track lorries, 1 x towed 75mm gun, 2 x Volkswagen, 1 x Omnibus, 1 x Tractor, 30 x dead, 45 x POW.
"C" Squadron
2 x 88mm guns (two disputed with HQ), 3 x 20mm guns, 4 x 40mm guns, 120 x POW, approximately 30 killed.
A fuller account is attached.

4 x Other Ranks killed in action, 1 x Other Rank missing believed killed, Lieut Goss and 5 x Other Ranks wounded.
1 x Dodge 15-cwt truck received from 8th Corps CS and VP. 1 x Comet tank destroyed by enemy action. 3 x Comet tanks left for recovery.
18   "A" Squadron at REINSTORF.
19   "A" Squadron/G Company clear wood in area NEETZE and patrol to KARZE. Approximately 200 PWs taken. Relieved at 16.00 hours by 15th (S) Division and move via LUNEBURG to WESTERGELLERSEN, 6718, 1/100,000 Sheet M4.
3 x Comet tanks received from 270 FDS.
20-29   WESTERGELLERSEN. Left flank protection to 8th Corps. Time spent in clearing up and maintenance. 8th RB left on 26th to take over from 1st Herefords at WINSEN, returning on 29th to marry up for move across the Elbe. Slight activity by Luftwaffe. A/A Bren gunners brewed up one barn.
25   One BSA Solo motor cycle and two 4 x 4 5-cwt Ford cars received from 8th Corps CS and VP.
29   Two Comet tanks received from 270 FDS.
30   16.30 hours. Moved via LUNEBURG - BRIETLINGEN - ARTLENBURG, 8334, 1/100,000 Sheet L5, to cross the Elbe. Progress very slow owing to traffic hold ups on the bridge.
21.30 hours. Head across bridge.
23.59 hours. Pass through 15th (S) Division area, SCHWARZENBECK, 8249.

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Source: Neil Grimshaw.

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.