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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: HQ 185 Inf Bde
Month and Year: October 1944 (Erase heading not required). Commanding Officer: Brig. E.L. Bols
Place Date Hour Summary Reference
ASTEN 1   The month opened with prospects of a great new operation involving inter alia the invasion of GERMANY proper by 185 Inf Bde. On the last day of Sep the Bde Comd had gone ahead to recce the new area and contact 82 US Airborne Divison from whom we were in due course to take over. 185 Inf Bde Adm Order No. 15. Appx 1.
1   Recce parties of Bde Gp moved during the night 30 Sep/1 Oct over the MEUSE and on to the ‘island’. At 0800 hrs an ‘O Gp’ was held at a desolate road junc amid the hurly-burly of two divisions moving up the same route. The plan of invasion was hatched in a deserted and squalid cafe. Bns then moved into conc areas in a dripping forest packed with Americans and Bde HQ set up at 722543.
MOOK 2   82 US Airborne Div started an attack to straighten the line we were to take over. Slow progress - some mines. Amdt No. 1 to 185 Inf Bde Adm Order No. 15. Appx 2.
3   During the day some bns began to take over from 325 Regt and by midnight all our troops were in posn. Bde HQ set up in a sandpit just EAST of MOOK.
4   The enemy on our front are a straggly crowd of training and replacement bns formed into 190 Trg Div. They have bad morale but good terrain. One enemy unit is 280 (M) Bn - that is to say a unit composed entirely of dyspeptics. A fair amount of artillery fire is put down on fwd coy areas particularly on 2 Warwick who are holding the area between RIETHORST and the river. Many of us took our first look at GERMANY over the fields covered by American gliders. The GOC aptly described it 'A bloody great place full of awful shits'.
5   A period of intensive patrolling begins with an eye to discovering the fixed defences and the nature of the terrain. Div HQ sets out a questionnaire demanding infm about the ‘REICHSWALD’.
5   A certain number of PW - mostly deserters - comes in. Considerable enemy Nebelwerfer activity. Our OPs on the other side of the MAAS enable us to see behind the enemy's lines and shoot up his L of C. The enemy posns in the REICHSWALD on the other head very largely overlooked us. 1 Norfolk in the narrow strip of woodland NW of the REICHSWALD were in contact with the Germans in the wood itself. 2 KSLI were in reserve.
6   2 KSLI posn was taken over by a bn of 8 Br Inf Bde (2 E Yorks) in preparation for the conc of bdes for the assault on the REICHSWALD (Op Goodwood). The plan of this op was explained by Bde Comd and planned to take place 9 or 10 Oct preceded by heavy ‘carpet’ bombing.
7   GOC 15(S) Div visits Bde Comd. Later Bde Comd and I.O. 227 Bde visit us to arrange take over. Our role is to follow 8 and 9 Br Inf Bdes into the REICHSWALD much as we did on D Day in NORMANDY.
7   Lt Mavin (2 Warwick) returned from a two-man patrol which lay up for 24 hrs within 200 yds of REICHSWALD and got well behind enemy lines.
7   AFW 3008 (Offrs) Appx 3
7   AFW 3009 (Bde HQ) ,, 4
7   AFW 3009 (Def Pl) ,, 5
7   AFW 3009 (LAD) ,, 6
8   Op Goodwood cancelled and apparently we are not to disappear into the REICHSWALD until the end of the war. We are ordered to hand over to 129 Bde of 43 Div and conc on WEST of MEUSE. So the prospect of entering GERMANY soon fades away.
9   185 Inf Bde Mov Instr No. 11 issued. ,, 7
9   Recce parties set off early and by 1800 hrs Bde was established in new area. Bde HQ at BRUGGEN near MILL. 2 Warwick at BRUGGEN. 1 Norfolk at CUYK. 2 KSLI at OEFFELT and HAPS. This move was technically a take-over from 9 Br Inf Bde but as we were briefed for an op to the SOUTH we were forced to adopt a passive attitude.
BRUGGEN 10   Op Aintree (the clearing of the MEUSE pocket as far as VENRAIJ) which was due to start at once is postponed . We settle to a few days quiet. One or two enemy patrols crossed the river but were dealt with. The Germans were once heard singing in their trenches in the rain and this was silenced.
11   185 Inf Bde Adm Order No. 16 issued. ,, 8
11   185 Inf Bde Mov Instr No. 12 issued. ,, 9
12   D Day for Op Aintree. 8 Br Inf Bde commence attack on OVERLOON. Bde Gp moves to con area at WANROIJ. Bde HQ to avoid two moves goes fwd to OPLOO.
13   Tac HQ set up in silo one mile NORTH of OVERLOON. O Gp at 0830 hrs. 4 Tk Coldstream Guards come under command, from under command 8 Br Inf Bde for the taking of OVERLOON.
13   2 Warwick and 2 KSLI cross start line at 1200 hrs with the object of clearing woods SOUTH of OVERLOON and pushing on to VENRAY. Progress was slow on the right owing to activities of SP guns and Panther tanks, and the KSLI had difficulties with mines and small sniper parties of enemy in the woods but by last light we had advanced 1000 yds and cleared to the edge of the open country SOUTH of the woods. Considerable help was given by rocket firing Typhoons particularly on suspected OPs such as the church tower at VENRAY.
14   1 Norfolk attack through the other bns on the axis of the OVERLOON – VENRAY road. 9 Br Inf Bde are operating on our right. Progress again was slow and many mines were encountered. Opposition was mainly mortar and arty fire and a fair number of PW was taken. By evening 1 Norfolk were not far from the tank obstacle the MOLENBEEK and 2 Warwick moving round the right of 1 Norfolk had made good progress so that their fwd coys were level with the Norfolk coy. 1 Norfolk suffered considerable casualties and a number of officers including five Company Comnanclers were wounded. 2 Warwick also lost 3 Coy Comds.
OPLOO 15   AFW 3008 (Offrs) Appx 10
15   AFW 3009 (Bde HQ) ,, 11
15   AFW 3009 (Def Pl) ,, 12
15   AFW 3009 (LAD) ,, 13
15   There was a one day pause while enemy were cleared from woods and 9 Br Inf Bde attacked on right.
16   During the night patrols had reached the MOLENBEEK and taken its measure. Kapok and bridge-laying tanks were brought up over a very difficult route and they arrived in time to enable a crossing to be made at 0430 hrs with the help of artificial light. Weather was foul and enemy opposition considerable. Minefds were abundant on both sides of the beek; Schu mines being particularly in evidence. The bridge tank overturned in the dyke and the tanks were unable to go forward. 8 Br Inf Bde carried out a similar assault crossing on our flank.
16   2 Warwick made fairly rapid progress on the right and were soon into BRABANDER, 1 Norfolk heading for the woods EAST and NORTH of VENRAY were under very heavy mortar and SAA fire, at the same time being entangled in Schu minefds in open and exposed fields. They suffered severe losses and 2 KSLI were instructed to pass through 2 Warwick and enter the woods from the WEST. 2 KSLI started at 1300 hrs and by dusk were successfully established in the woods although in close contact with the enemy. Meanwhile 2 E Yorks had moved up on right of 2 Warwick.
16   Bde Tac HQ moved to wood SW of OVERLOON. 1 S Lan R came temporarily under command and moved in by Bde Tac HQ in order to move into VENRAY tomorrow.
17   At 0830 hrs 2 KSLI commence a drive through the woods in which they established a footing yesterday. This operation was carried out successfully by midday and little opposition was experienced except from mortars.
17   8 Br Inf Bde meanwhile was entering the town of VENRAY against only light opposition.
18   During the night 2 Warwick patrols reached the Monastery of ST SERVATIUS EAST of VENRAY and found it clear. At first light therefore 2 Warwick took possession of the monastery while 8 Br Inf Bde consolidated the rest of the town. Once in position at ST SERVATIUS 2 Warwick were worried by mortar and MG fire from LUL. Tanks were necessary to help them into ST SERVATIUS and some were lost on minefds. During the rest of the day bns were under heavy mortar and arty fire but the enemy was in no condition to counter-attack. Bde HQ moved up to Tac HQ, 1 Norfolk and 2 KSLI maintained their previous posns.
OVERLOON 19   Letter received from Corps Comd (Lt Gen Sir R. O'Connor) congratulating the Bde.
19   Orders received that Bde was to come out of the line for re-organisation. 2 KSLI and 1 Norfolk were relieved in daylight and 2 Warwick came out at night. 8 Br Inf Bde took over the front.
20   Corps Comd visited Bde HQ and spoke to all COs and OsC supporting arms. Day spent in re-organisation.
21   Corps Comd visited all bns who were now disposed in rest areas near OVERLOON.
22   AFW 3008 (Offrs) Appx 15
22   AFW 3009 (Bde HQ) ,, 16
22   AFW 3009 (Def Pl) ,, 17
22   AFW 3009 (LAD) ,, 18
22   A period of rest has set in - and anti-climax. Bde HQ decides to stay where it is. We are forced to part with our official Dutch L.O. Rudi Ovink - and in his place Lieut Gijsbers is posted to us, and also three interpreters to the bns.
23   Issue of 185 Inf Bde Int Summary No. 7. ,, 19
24 1500 ‘O’ Gp to decide details of the take over from 8 Br Inf Bde on 26 Oct.
26   Bde takes over 8 Bde. Bde HQ moves to MERSELO WEST of VENRAY where it sets up in the School. Units disposed:- 2 Warwick in VENRAY itself which was fully evacuated; 1 Norfolk in BRABANDER and 2 KSLI in ST SERVATIUS area.
MERSELO 27   News of an enemy attack in strength at MEIJEL puts us doubly on the alert. Vigorous patrolling is instituted but the enemy is very close to us except in the 2 Warwick area.
28   AFW 3008 (Offrs) Appx 20
28   AFW 3009 (Bde HQ) ,, 21
28   AFW 3009 (Def Pl) ,, 22
28   AFW 3009 (LAD) ,, 23
29   A period of monotonous shelling and mortaring set in. However men were all safely and comfortably in cellars and enemy patrols were not vigorous. Our men were vigorous enough but always found the enemy awake.
29   It was here that we saw for the first time the launching of V2 Rockets which on some evenings went up in considerable numbers.

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Source: Jeroen Koppes,, 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.