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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 (incl Def Pl)
Month and Year: November 1944 (Erase heading not required). Commanding Officer: Brig. E.L. Bols
Place Date Hour Summary Reference
MERSELO 1   The month opened with the Bde Gp holding VENRAY and the approaches to it. The enemy was determined but elusive. We estimated that probably not more than one coy of GAF troops was holding the area in front of us centred on OOSTRUM. Our patrols went out vigorously but were unable to capture a PW. On the other hand the enemy's patrolling appeared to be done by some different body of men coming fwd at night through the thinly held posns. The enemy held very close to us in LUL and we had several shoots with HE and AP on houses that he was known to hold. However it was to his credit that the enemy only withdrew in very rare instances and invariably went back to any building that we neglected for long. During this period we continued to see a large number of V.2 being launched. Enemy artillery and mortar effort increased from day to day and what was handed over to us as a very comfortable area became extremely unpleasant. We organised retaliation shoots of both guns and hy mortars but although the Nebelwerfers appeared to dwindle away, the enemy continued to fire at regular hours guns from over the river, lighter calibres - particularly SP 88 mm and SP guns from this side, and medium and hy mortars often fired in batteries.
3   Rumours of enemy concs and projected attack of armd formations against VENRAY sector persuaded us to send out a Dutch agent - a local 'Resistance' man - to find out the situation at HORST, KASTENRAIJ and WANSSUM. The man was very carefully checked, then briefed and passed out by a patrol of 2 Warwick.
4   AFW 3008 (Offrs) Appx 1
4   AFW 3009 (Bde HQ) ,, 2
4   AFW 3009 (Def Pl) ,, 3
4   AFW 3009 (LAD) ,, 4
6   A demonstration of LVTs was held at Div HQ. Offrs of the Bde Gp visited them with a view to our possible future.
7   No signs were seen of the Dutchman. This was the day he had been told to attempt his return.
8   A 'Schumine' demonstration was given by 17 Fd Coy RE, Schumines had proved our bane on the previous adv to VENRAY and every effort was made to find some answer to them.
9 0600 A 'Stay - Put' order for all civilians in our area was imposed in order to prevent any infiltration or ex-filtration of agents through our lines.
10   The enemy seem to have located this HQ. 'Stonks' came down at regular intervals particularly in the early morning.
10   Increased shelling to-day on Bde area particularly on 2 KSLI in their more exposed area.
10   Artificial light is again introduced as an aid to maint and patrolling as the nights are particularly wet and dark.
10   Today the enemy made great display of Red Cross flags from buildings where they had not previously been flown. They are sometimes put up during our shelling and taken down after it, but it is impossible for us to fire, so that rightly or wrongly the enemy achieves his object.
11   AFW 3008 (Offrs) Appx 5
11   AFW 3009 (Bde HQ) ,, 6
11   AFW 3009 (Def Pl) ,, 7
11   AFW 3009 (LAD) ,, 8
12   Change of BM. Maj P.D. Daly leaves to take over as 2 IC 1 S Lan R and Maj G.F. Dark, MC (formerly G2 Inf and Trg 21 Army Gp) takes over as BM. A vigorous party thrown in the priesthouse as hail and farewell.
13   In the early morning a 75 mm shell lands in a billet occupied by all bn snipers who are doing centralised trg. 4 killed, 7 wounded.
13 1500 Bde Comd goes to Div 'O' Gp, and once again the possibility of action appears.
14 1600 Op Mallard commences on the extreme right. We watch keenly for enemy reactions on our front. During the next two days no obvious enemy reactions seen. The German continues to patrol and 2 KSLl report 'sounds of knocking', 'sounds of popping', and 'dim dome-shaped glows' which cannot be contrued into any genuine 'reaction'.
16   Photographers from 2 Army experiment with infra-red photos from our OPs.
16   'O' Gp and exposition of two plans 'A' and 'B' for 185 Inf Bde - under 'A' we remain exactly where we are except for a slight extension of our front to the right. In plan 'B' we have to take OOSTRUM and WANSSUM.
17   Very heavy rain slows up offensive on our right - on which our own ops will depend. Very heavy shelling and mortar seems at last to indicate an enemy reaction. He is presumed to be firing off all the amn he has dumped preparatory to a withdrawal on our front as well. Unfortunately a number of casualties were caused.
18 0930 Warning Order for Plan 'A' of Op Nutcracker. Very heavy spell of shelling on Bde HQ before dawn.
18   AFW 3008 (Offrs) Appx 9
18   AFW 3009 (Bde HQ) ,, 10
18   AFW 3009 (Def Pl) ,, 11
18   AFW 3009 (LAD) ,, 12
19   2 Warwick move during night 18/19 to area LEUNEN taking over from 8 RB. Other bns change coy posns to allow for this.
20   Move of 9 Br Inf Bde into the area in preparation of Op Nutcracker. 15 (S) Div begin their attack.
21   Two Dutchmen who were passed through enemy lines by 2 Warwick on behalf of RAF some weeks ago turned up and were handed over to Corps.
21   185 Inf Bde Adm Order No. 17 Appx 13
22   Enemy withdraws on 8 Br Inf Bde front. 1 Norfolk patrol to LUL finds nothing but booby traps and mines. 11 Armd Div commence their attack with huge barrage but find no enemy.
22   Promotion of S.C. (Capt C.S. Hemsley) to DAA&QMG.
23   9 Br Inf Bde advances on our right against no opposition and 185 Bde advanced the coy posns as soon as fighting patrols had found the area ahead empty. By dusk 1 Norfolk had advanced to the woods NO of OOSTRUM and 2 KSLI was in posn in OOSTRUM itself. BRUSKE and one coy was well beyond OOSTRUM. Patrols advanced to within 1000 yds of WANSSUM without encountering opposition and also nearly to MEERLO before being fired on by a few riflemen. 2 Warwick conc in VENRAY. A few minefds found and some casualties sustained.
24   Clearing up the area WEST of GROOTE MOLEN BEEK continued. Fighting patrols reached the Beek at WANSSUM and MEERLO. Only one enemy patrol encountered. This was disposed of by 2 KSLI who killed seven and wounded one. MEERLO was found clear but WANSSUM was full of civilians and therefore suspect.
25   Two coys 1 Norfolk entered WANSSUM. The only opposition was mortaring and sniping from the far side of the Beek. An attempt was made to evacuate all civilians. 2 KSLI established a post at MEERLO. Bde HQ moved into a number of houses at VENRAY.
25   AFW 3008 (Offrs) Appx 14
25   AFW 3009 (Bde HQ) ,, 15
25   AFW 3009 (Def Pl) ,, 16
25   AFW 3009 (LAD) ,, 17
VENRAY 26   1 Norfolk and 2 KSLI had busy day evacuating civilians from their area. This was completed by 1730 hrs. It was expected that contact would be made with 15 (S) Div adv NORTH on the EAST of the Beek but although tps of that Div were seen in the distance no contact was made.
27   Orders received for 185 Inf Bde to take over the line of the MAAS from VIERLINGSBEEK to CUYK. No further opposition in our present sector but enemy remained in a small pocket EAST of WANSSUM.
28   Recces for the move to the new area carried out.
29   185 lnf Bde Mov Instr No. 13 ,, 18
30   Move of Bde Gp to man the line of the MAAS from excl CUYK to incl VIERLINGSBEEK Bde HQ to HAM near WANROIJ. 2 Warwick at VORTUM and VIERLINGSBEEK, Royals (now under comd) at BOXMEER and ZAMBEEK, 2 KSLI at OEFFELT and BEUGEN, 1 Norfolk at ST AGATHA.
30   Special Order of the Day by GOC 8 Corps ,, 19
30   Casualties from 6 Jun to 30 Nov ,, 20

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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.