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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: H.Q. 154 Infantry Brigade
Month and Year: November 1944 (Erase heading not required). Commanding Officer: Brig. J.A. Oliver, D.S.O., M.B.E.
Place Date Hour Summary Reference
Map Sheet No. 11 S’HERTOGENBOSCH 1/25,000 1   Slight enemy shelling of the 7th Black Watch position took place during the night 31st Oct/1st Nov. Apart from this there was no enemy activity on the Brigade front. As a result of receiving a very “bloody” nose, the enemy withdrew all his forces in the sector North of the River MAAS and was too busy licking his wounds to act in an aggressive manner.
1   During the course of the morning approximetely 150 prisoners from the 476 Inf Regt were sent back to the P.W. Cage by 7 Black Watch. The prisoners were captured in the final stages of mopping up during operation “Colin”.
1   In the afternoon the Bde was relieved by a Bde of the 7th Armd Division and moved to concentration areas as follows:-
1   Bde H.Q. - to the area of the Chateau at 288412
1   7 Black Watch - to the area at 306431
1   1 Black Watch - to HELVOIRT
1   7 A. & S.H. - to an area just West of HELVOIRT.
1   The intention was that 154 Bde would concentrate for the night and on the following day take over the defence of S’HERTOGENBOSCH from 153 Bde who were to go into a concentration area preparatory to an assault crossing of the AFWATERINGS CANAL from the South.
2   During the afternoon the Bde Gp moved to the S'HERTOGENBOSCH area and Bde H.Q. was established at the Governor's Palace, M.R. 230460 in the town.
2   The Bns were responsible for the defence of the town from the West and were disposed along the Western perimeter in the order from North to South, 7 A. & S.H., 1 Black Watch, 7 Black Watch. All but the two forward Coys of the 7th A. & S.H. completed the relief during daylight. The two forward of 7th A. & S.H. being under observation did not relieve the two forward Coys of 5/7 Gordons until after dark. The complete relief was carried out, however, without incident or enemy interference.
2   During the night 2nd/3rd November, 7 Black Watch sent a patrol along the canal bank to approximately 300443 but heard and saw nothing of the enemy and very little enemy activity was reported on the Brigade front during the night.
3   The Bde Comd and C.Os of the Bns attended a conference at Div H.Q. at 0830 hrs 3rd November. At this conference the Div Comd gave his plan for the next operation which was to be called “Guy Fawkes".
3   An early morning patrol from 7th A. & S.H. was sent out to the road bridge at 309492 but encountered no enemy. Noise of enemy transport, however, was heard in the area of ENGELEN M.R. 297497.
3   At 1400 hours the Bde Comd held a conference for C.Os of Bns at Bde H.Q. At this conference the Bde Comd recapitulated the Div Comd’s plan for operation "Guy Fawkes" and then gave the plan of deception which 154 Bde was to carry out during this operation. The div plan for operation "Guy Fawkes” was briefly as follows:-
3   51 (H) Div with 152 Bde on the right, 153 Bde on the left and 154 Bde in reserve were to clear the area between the AFTERWATERINGS CANAL and the River MAAS by making assault crossings over the AFTERWATERINGS CANAL from the South.
3   In addition the following armoured force under commend 33 Armd Bde were to pass through 7 Black Watch and move along the North bank of the canal to the bridge at 249443 after 2030 hours 4th November.
3   One Sqn 144 R.A.C.
3   One Assault Bridge Tp A.V.R.E.
3   One Assault Tp 2 Derby Yeo.
3   This force was to concentrate in the 154 Bde area during the morning of 4th November.
3   154 Bde and 7th Armd Div were to carry out diversionary operations on the flanks and in the event of 154 Bde being required for operations elsewhere, 2 Derby Yeo were to be prepared to take over the defence of S’HERTOGENBOSCH .
3   Tps under command 154 Bde were:-
3   193 A.Tk Bty
3   “B" Coy 1/7 Mx.
3   In support of the Bde were:-
3   126 Fd Regt
3   72 Med Regt.
3   The object of these diversionary operations was to distract enemy attention and to cover the forward movement of tanks.
3   193 A.Tk Bty and the Mortar Platoon of 1 Black Watch were to fire concentrations on the bridge at 281470 from 1545 hours to 1645 hours 4th November.
3   In addition to the above, one coy of 7 Black Watch were ordered to attack the area of road junction 274451 by 1900 hours 4th November and thereafter clear any enemy that might be located along the canal bank between 270443 and 266444.
3   The raid was to be supported by “B” Coy 1/7 Mx and the mortars of 7 Black Watch. On completion of the raid the Coy was to rejoin the 7 Black Watch.
3   The mortar platoon of 7 A. & S.H. was to move to the area CROMVOIRT 2643 and support 153 Bde with smoke on the line 255451 to 259449 from 1710 hours to 1745 hours. On completion of this task the platoon was to rejoin 7 A. & S.H.
3   Operation Order No. 30 issued. Appendix “A”
4   At 0900 hours the Bde Comd attended a final conference at Div H.Q. on Operation “Guy Fawkes".
4   At 1635 hours the attack by 152 Bde commenced and at 1710 hours 153 Bde started their attack. Little opposition was met and the two Bdes got quickly across the canal and were established on their first objectives by 1815 hours. At 1900 hours the raiding Coy of 7 Black Watch moved forward and by 1935 hours had completed their task without meeting any opposition whatever.
4   By about 2030 hours the armoured force under command of 33 Armd Bde began to move forward through 7 Black Watch. By 0600 hours 5th November two class 9 and two class 40 bridges were open.
4   A.Fs W. 3008 and 3009 issued. Appendix “B”
5   During the night 4th/5th November there was little enemy activity on the Brigade front and only very occasional shelling. A patrol from 7 A. & S.H. reported the bridge at 299492 was blown and it was thought that the enemy in the area of ENGELEN had withdrawn. The bridge at 304492 was, however, reported to be intact. At about 1100 hours 7 A. & S.H. reported that numerous white flag were observed in ENGELEN. "B" Coy 7 A. & S.H. sent out a patrol to investigate and found only two enemy there, the remainder having withdrawn during the night.
5   At 1800 hours the Bde Comd attended a Div Comd's conference at Div H.Q. As a result of this conference 7 A. & S.H. were ordered to send out a patrol of 1 officer and one platoon strength to ascertain whether the enemy were still in EMPEL. This patrol went out at 2130 hours. Artillery concentrations on targets at 318513, 323516, 327514 and 323513 were laid on from 1745 hours to 1800 hours. The intention was that these artillery concentrations would probably frighten the enemy and make him withdraw. It was discovered, however, that the enemy was much stronger in the area than was anticipated and the patrol sustained one officer wounded and taken prisoner and four O.Rs missing. As a result of this it was decided that 7 A. & S.H. were to attack the area on the night of 6th November.
6   The usual artillery concentration preceded this attack and by 2345 hours EMPEL was in our hands without much opposition. The enemy probably anticipating our attack withdrew from the area. One Coy of 7 A. & S.H. was left in EMPEL and the remainder of the Bn returned to its former location. Approximately 10 P.W. were captured. A certain amount of mopping up had to be done and only slight enemy shelling was encountered.
6   Operation Order No. 31 issued. Appendix “C”
7   By 0315 hours 7th November all was quiet. Approximately 15 casualties were sustained, fortunately none serious. During the remainder of the day no enemy activity took place.
7   Apart from the occasional shell on the bridges leading South of S’HERTOGENBOSCH, no enemy activity whatever took place during the day.
7   The Bde Comd attended a conference at Div H.Q. where the Div Comd outlined the plan for future operations. In the afternoon, the Bde Comd held a conference for C.Os of Bns at Bde H.Q. at which the plan for future operations was again discussed. The Bde was ordered to move to the area S.E. of ZOMEREN on the morning of 9th November in order to relieve 152 Bde who were holding the line. The order of march for the move was, Bde H.Q., 126 Fd Regt, 7 A. & S.H., 7 Black Watch, 1 Black Watch, “B” Coy 1/7 Mx, 241 A.Tk Bty, 268 Lt A.A. Bty.
7   154 Bde Movement Table issued. Appendix “D”
Sheets 26SE, 27SW, 36NE, 37NW 1/25,000 9   The head of the column passed the S.P. which was at the cross roads in VUGHT at 0530 hours and Bde H.Q. was eventually established at at 614050. The dispositions of the Bns were as follows:-
9   1 Black Watch took over the positions of 2 Seaforth at 661040.
9   7 Black Watch took over the positions of 5 Seaforth at 634020.
9   7 A. & S.H. took over the positions of 5 Camerons at 629012.
9   The relief was completed during the afternoon except for 2 Seaforth who could not be completely relieved during daylight as they were under observation. However by 2010 hours 1 Black Watch completed the relief of 2 Seaforth successfully without incident.
9   2 A. & S.H. on the left of the Bde were initially under command 154 Bde.
10   During the night 9/10 November all was quiet on the Bde front.
10   On the night of 10th November a patrol sent out by 1 Black Watch approached the canal via the cross roads 665022 and there they heard noises as of voices and movement on the North side of the canal. They encountered no enemy, however, and no fire was directed on them. About 2200 hours a patrol was sent out by 7 Black Watch towards the canal and reported having heard voices on the South side of the canal but otherwise nothing to report.
11   The remainder of the night 10/11 November was quiet and standing patrols by the 7 A. & S.H. on the North bank of the NOORDER Canal reported nothing out of the ordinary. 7 Black Watch reported some improvised mines laid across the track half way along between 7 Black Watch and 1 Back Watch. A patrol by 7 Black Watch also reported spandau and a mortar flash from the area 648007 otherwise quiet.
11   At approximately 0150 hours 1 Black Watch reported an enemy patrol strength 1 officer and 8 O.Rs infiltrated to the area 654033 where a platoon of 1/7 Mx were located and a bogged 2 Seaforth A.Tk detachment. The Mx sentries were made prisoner and three Seaforths were captured. The enemy patrol then made off making for the canal, "B” Coy 1 Black Watch challenged them and then fired, the result was the prisoners escaped and the enemy patrol cleared off. D.F. targets were then shot in order to catch the returning patrol.
11   As from 1130 hours 11th November 7th R.W.F. of 53 Div came under command of the Bde. In addition 5 Black Watch of 153 Bde who moved to the area 615978 near 7 R.W.F. also came under command.
11   About 1400 hours 7 A. & S.H. reported constant shelling of their area from a 105 mm gun. Counter battery was fired by 126 Fd Regt and this had the immediate effect of stopping the enemy gun.
11   At about 1730 hours 7 A. & S.H. reported that an enemy patrol approximately 4 strong crossed the canal and infiltrated towards "A" Coy's forward platoon at 633006 killing one Corporal and then clearing off.
11   During the night 11/12 November R.E. parties carried out recces of the canal quite successfully without incident.
11   7 Black Watch reported, however, that an enemy patrol crossed the canal at about 639004 and sited four spandeu posts in that area and began firing up the road running N.E. to WAATSKAMP. "A" Coy 7 Black Watch soon cleared them off however.
11   A standing patrol by 7 A. & S.H. at 624997 withdrew for the 4.2 inch mortars who were to carry out a harassing shoot. On returning, a grenade was thrown from the North side of the canal in the neighbourhood of the house at 624997. There followed a small skirmish which eventually was cleared up by 0030 hours 12 November.
11   A.Fs W. 3008 and 3009 issued. Appendix “E”
12   During the night 11/12 November a six barrelled mortar better known as “moaning minnie” fired several salvos into the 7 Black Watch area. No casualties resulted, however, and counter battery opened up on it.
12   The Bde Comd attended a conference at Div H.Q. at 1000 hrs where the G.O.C. detailed the plan for the next operation called "Ascot".
12   In the afternoon at 1400 hours the Bde Comd held a conference for C.Os of Bns and supporting arms Comds. At this conference the Bde Comd went over the Div plan for the next operation called "Ascot" and also gave the 154 Bde plan which was briefly as follows:-
12   51 (H) Div were to establish a bridgehead over the NOORDER and WESSEM Canals on the approximate line edge of wood 637967 - edge of wood 661013, thrust forward on the axis road junction 6695 - MAXELT 6896 - HEIJTHUIZEN 7196 - to gain control of the area LAAK 7297 - ROLIGHT 7197 – HEIJTHUIZEN as follows:-
12   Phase I.
12   152 Bde were to cross the NOORDER CANAL in the area 6400 and establish a bridgehead on the general line - pond 648988 - cross tracks 652993 - wooded area 661013.
12   153 Bde were to cross the WESSEM CANAL in the area 6297 and establish a bridgehead on the general line - edge of wood 637967 - wood and high ground 6497 - pond 646985.
12   Phase II.
12   154 Bde were to establish a crossing in the area of the LOCK Gates at 623995.
12   Phase III.
12   154 Bde were to pass through 153 Bde.
12   152 Bde were to exploit S.E. to wooded area 6798.
12   153 Bde were to mop up in the area of wood 6496.
12   Phase IV.
12   The probable final task of 154 Bde would be to seize HEIJTHUIZEN 7196 and ROGGEL 7397. This task would of course depend on how successful the previous operations were.
12   Boundaries.
12   (a) Between 51 (H) Div and 53 (W) Div – all incl to 51 Div – bridge 590978 – road thence to LEUKEN 6097 – canal at 631977 – all incl to 53 Div – railway bridge at 6495 – line of railway to 656954 – line of LEVEROIJSCHE BEEK to mill 744960 – 760964 – main road at 775963 – track to River MEUSE at 793953.
12   (b) Between 51 Div and 15 (S) Div – canal at 648070 to canal at 680024 thence line of CANAL DU NORD N.E.
12   (c) Between 153 and 154 Bdes in Phase I – track junction 625987 – track junction 628987 – track junction 630991 – road and track junction 635992.
12   (d) Between 152 and 154 Bdes in Phase I - track from canal at 635000 to road and track junction 636994.
12   Under command 154 Bde for this operation were:-
12   241 A.Tk Bty.
12   “B” Coy 1/7 Mx.
12   Sqn 49 A.P.C. Regt (Kangaroos).
12   One Tp. 89 Sqn A.R.E.
12   Elements 2 Derby Yeo.
12   In support of the Bde were:-
12   1 N. Yeo.
12   274 Fd Coy R.E. (less detachments under command of Bns)
12   The intention therefore of 154 Bde was divided into three tasks:-
12   (1) To hold the firm base North of the NOORDER CANAL.
12   (2) To make an assault crossing for tanks at the LOCK Gates 623995 and clear the area within the Bde boundary including the ISLAND at 621994.
12   (3) To seize the area road junction 662958 and 668958 and exploit to LEVEROIJ 6896.
12   TASK 1.
12   Certain preliminary moves were to take place on the night of 13/14 November as follows:-
12   (a) 7 Black Watch were to relieve "A" Coy 7 A. & S.H. in the area 634007.
12   (b) One Pl “B” Coy 1/7 Mx were to move of 7 Black Watch area to the area of 1 Black Watch.
12   (c) 241 A.Tk Bty were to relieve 1 Black Watch A.Tk guns and come under command 1 Black Watch.
12   (d) Composite Sqn 2 Derby Yeo were to relieve forward platoons of 1 Black Watch coming under command of 1 Black Watch on arrival.
12   TASK 2.
12   7 A. & S.H. with in support:-
12   One Tp 89 Sqn A.R.E.
12   “B” Sqn 1 N. Yeo.
12   Det 274 Fd Coy R.E.
12   were (a) to give close support to the A.V.R.E. Bridge Team.
12   (b) to clear the ISLAND at 621994.
12   (c) to clear tow path at 623995 to track junction 625987 for tanks.
12   (d) to clear and hold the area HULSEN and make contact with 5/7 Gordons standing patrol at the road junction 632992.
12   Timings:-
12   At H plus 50 minutes – One Tp “B” Sqn 1 N. Yeo were to leave their area in BUDSCHOP and take up position on the North edge of the LOCK at 623995 engaging enemy positions on the South bank and in the houses overlooking the LOCK.
12   At H + 60 - 65 mins – The assault bridging R.E. were to arrive at the LOCK.
12   At H plus 65 minutes – One platoon 7 A. & S.H. were to land on the ISLAND from Stormboats. Smoke was to be laid South and East of the LOCK by artillery from H plus 40 to H plus 80 minutes. Considerable artillery H.E. concentrations on enemy pooitions were to come down on the ISLAND and immediately South of the LOCK from H to H plus 55 minutes. In addition from H plus 55 minutes to H plus 70 minutes artillery concentrations were to come down on the axis of the road South from the bridge site at 629998.
12   The 2nd Kensingtons were to support with M.M.G. fire on the South bank of the NOORDER CANAL from H to H plus 50 minutes.
12   One Platoon “A” Coy 1/7 Mx plus the mortar platoon of 7 Black Watch were to support 7 A. & S.H. as required.
12   TASK 3.
12   1 Black Watch with under command one Tp of Kangaroos and one Det 274 Fd Coy were to clear the main axis from the limit reached by 153 Bde to the road junctions 662958 and 668958 and exploit South to the railway station 663953 to link up with either the 7 R.W.F. or the 4th Welch Regt of 53 Div. If the resistance was not severe 1 Black Watch were to exploit East of LEVEROIJ. 1 Black Watch, were therefore, put at one hours notice to move from 2359 hours 14th November.
12   In support of 1 Black Watch was ½ Sqn 1 N. Yeo.
12   One sec from 274 Fd Coy R.E. was to be attached to each 1 Black Watch and 7 A. & S.H. for the operation.
12   Operation Order No. 32 issued. Appendix “F”
13   During the night 12/13 November there was occasional shelling of the 7 Black Watch positions. In addition to this a few rounds from a six barreled mortar landed in the area. Otherwise all was quiet on the Bde front.
13   In the afternoon the Bde Comd arranged an artillery shoot on the LOCK gates at 623995 from 1800 hours to 2100 hours. Enemy activity was greater than on the 12th November and several small enemy patrols were observed on the canal hank. 7 Black Watch snipers were active, however, and killed 3 enemy O.Rs. Apart from these there was no other enemy activity during the day.
13   The 7 Black Watch took over the positions of one Coy of the 7 A. & S.H. by 2130 hours in order to release it for carrying out its task in operation “Ascot”.
13   Adm Order No. 10 issued. Appendix “G”
14   Slight noise of enemy half track movement was heard at about 0630 hours on the 14th November in the area of EIND 632989. A 7 A. & S.H. patrol observed an enemy officer and 2 O.Rs in the area of the house 624996. At about 1515 hours Tac Bde moved forward to the area 626014.
14   At 1600 hours the attack by 152 and 153 Bdes started and by 1615 hours reported that both crossings were going well. By 1715 hours one platoon of 7 A. & S.H. was across the canal at the LOCK gates 623995 and the platoon which was to land on the ISLAND at 621994 was well on the way. Not much opposition was encountered, but an enormous number of Schumines caused quite a number of casualties in 7 A. & S.H. Some of these mines were disguised as bricks.
14   At the same time 5/7 Gordons were across the canal and had one Coy at 627965 while another Coy was moving to the road junction 626987. 5 Seaforth of 152 Bde were by this time largely across. Ten minutes later the second platoon of 7 A. & S.H. were across and were mopping up the lSLAND which they completed by 1800 hours.
14   Operations went extremely well and at 1900 hours 153 Bde had captured EIND 632992 having only met slight opposition. At 1920 hours 7 A. & S.H. started to put their second Coy across. The bridging was done very quickly and satisfactorily but was temporarily slowed up when the Sapper officer and Sgt were both made casualties.
14   After having met only slight opposition which was quickly mopped up in the area of HULSEN. 7 A. & S.H. reported that they were all in position by 2130 hours. One Coy had patrolled to road junction 634996 and another to EIND 632992 where they made contact with 5/7 Gordons. The bridge at 629998 was not to be ready until 0900 hours 15th November and consequently the advance of 1 Black Watch in Kangaroos was delayed.
15   There was little interference from the enemy during the night and by 0230 hours the Class 40 Bridges at 650008 and 619002 were complete.
15   At 0855 hours 15th November the leading elements of 1 Black Watch crossed the bridge at 629998 and by 0940 hours had reached the area 650969 without opposition. The 1 Black Watch advance in Kangaroos was quite unopposed and they very quickly advanced to LEVEROIJ 6896 which they reached at 1100 hours. Here the road was blocked due to fallen masonry. One coy of 1 Black Watch made contact with 53 Div at 660945 at about 1400 hours. 1 Black Watch then patrolled the area for mines and found the bridges at 663955 blown.
15   7 Black Watch in Kangaroos then pushed through 1 Black Watch, their advance being supported by one Sqn 1 N. Yeo. By 1520 hours the leading tanks were engaged by small arms fire and were being shelled slightly at 703693, where the road and adjoining fields were found to be heavily mined. By 1700 hours, however, 7 Black Watch had one coy debussed to deal with this opposition. One tank ran over a mine about 710963 and at 1710 hours the road in this area was being shelled by an enemy S.P. gun which was quickly silenced by our artillery. A road block was encountered near 714963 and 3 P.W. from 3 Coy Pilz Bn were captured here. By 1745 hours, however, the leading coy had reached the cross roads beyond HEIJTHUIZEN at 724963. The area was very considerably mined and another coy was ordered to not round HEIJTHUIZEN and take up position on the Eastern side.
15   On the 16th November the plan was for 153 Bde to pass through 154 Bde and occupy ROGGEL and generally push outwards towards the UITWATERINGS CANAL and the River MEUSE.
16   Tac Bde H.Q. moved forward to the area 714965 and 7 A. & S.H. came forward to a harbour area in square 6996. During the 153 Bde advance beyond ROGGEL, 7 Black Watch sent one Coy to clear the area of the wood to KINKHOVEN 7696 thus guarding the right flank of 153 Bde. By 1445 hours the Coy of 7 Black Watch had reached the line of the River MEUSE at HANSSUM square 7996 without opposition.
16   At about 1500 hours 7 A. & S.H. moved up to the area ROGGEL 7397 in order to give added protection to the right flank of 153 Bde. Later in the afternoon a unit of 53 Div made contact with the 7 Black Watch in the NUNHEM area 7695.
16   Interrogation of P.W. captured by 7 Black Watch disclosed some very interesting facts, e.g., P.W. from 2 Coy 741 A.Tk unit stated that they were in reserve to the Regiment Hermann and that their task was to delay our advance as much as possible before withdrawing over the MEUSE. This delaying action was carried out by mines rather than by opposition on the ground. Information that 12 Χ 75 mm guns were seen passing through HORN at 1600 hours and infantry concentrated in the area 7597 confirmed the opinion that the enemy were withdrawing.
16   The remainder of the day was fairly uneventful except for occasional shelling. The intention was for 153 Bde to form a bridgehead across the Uitwaterings Canal, but owing to bad weather and difficulties in bridging, this was postponed until 17th November. 152 Bde, however, were successful in forming a small bridgehead over the canal at 723045 by 0800 hr. 17 Nov.
17   At about 1500 hours 7 Black Watch sent one company to advance on NEER which appeared to have been re-occupied by the enemy. By 1550 hrs a certain amount of opposition was encountered. 7 Black Watch H.Q. then moved forward to OPHOVEN 7597 with one coy at OPHOVEN and one coy in the wooded area at approximately 757968. Progress of the coy going to NEER was slowed up by small arms fire and shelling, but apart from this the advance went on satisfactorily and NEER was reached about 1900 hours. By 2130 hours a patrol sent out by 7 Black Watch to ascertain whether the bridge at 797989 was blown was fired on after having got within 400 yards of the bridge and the officer in charge of the patrol was wounded.
17   At about 2330 hours 17 November 153 Bde were successful in forming a bridgehead across the UITWATERINGS CANAL at 763013. The approaches to the 153 Bde bridgehead however, were so bad that it was decided to push 154 Bde through the crossing formed by 152 Bde.
18   1 Black Watch were ordered to be ready to move at 0900 hours 18 November but owing to 152 Bde still using the axis it was found impossible to move 154 Bde before 1300 hours. The plan was for 1 Black Watch to pass through in Kangaroos and occupy the area HELDEN 7903 followed by 7 A. & S.H. on foot who were to occupy PANNINGEN 7704. 1 Black Watch moved forward to an assembly area South of the crossing and started their move forward in Kangaroos through 153 Bde at 1345 hours. 7 A. & S.H. then moved forward at 1400 hours and Tac Bde H.Q. moved forward to the area 715025. The 1 Black Watch advance went well and the road junction 765044 was reached at 1450 hours without opposition. By 1520 hours the next report line at road junction 776049 was reached. The tanks of 1 N. Yeo supporting 1 Black Watch encountered some enemy infantry in the area of HELDEN. By 1700 hours 1 Black Watch had reached HELDEN and captured 40 P.W. identified as from 21 Para Regt. Apart from a few Schumines however, no other enemy activity was encountered. 7 A. & S.H. advancing on foot arrived on their objective in PANNINGEN at 1800 hours without interference. Tac Bde H.Q. then moved forward to the area 762041.
18   During the night 18/19 Nov 1 Black Watch and 7 A. & S.H. were subjected to heavy mortaring and shelling.
18   A.Fs W. 3008 and 3009 issued. Appendix “H”
19   Patrols sent out by 7 A. & S.H. made contact with 1 Black Watch on the right and 5 Seaforth on the left. During the night an enemy patrol was discovered moving in a N.E. direction from the area of 5/7 Gordons in EGCHEL 7703 and on being fired on by 1 Black Watch cleared off leaving two prisoners from the Derby Yeo whom they had previously captured.
19   On the morning of 19th November the Derby Yeo were ordered to send strong recce patrols along two different axes, one through ONDER 7904 to BAARLO 8505 and another Southwards to KESSEL 8200. The party going to KESSEL met no opposition but had to debus on account of a large crater in the road at 800028. In addition quite a amber of mines were encountered en route. In spite of this the advance went well and reached KESSEL at about 1500 hours where no enemy were encountered.
19   The party of the Derby Yeo moving Eastwards to BAARLO were not quite so fortunate as enemy infantry and S.P. guns were encountered in the area 829046 at about 1200 hours. Artillery concentrations were laid on to help the Derby Yeo forward. However, as the Derby Yeo were outnumbered it was decided to withdraw slightly and hold on for the night. At about 1500 hours Tac Bde H.Q. moved forward to the area 772034.
19   At about 1800 hours the Derby Yeo in the ONDER area were attacked by infantry and an S.P. gun but this only lasted about 30 minutes and was successfully beaten off.
19   During the night patrols sent out by 7 Black Watch reached the bridge at 796969 and found it blown. “A” Coy 7 A. & S.H. moved forward to the area KESSEL. The remainder of the night was quiet except for occasional stonks on the HELDEN area.
20   The Bde Comd attended a Div Comd's Conference at Div H.Q. at 1000 hours. The Bde Comd than held a conference for C.Os of Bns at Bde H.Q. at 1500 hours. The following is a brief summary of the plan:-
20   154 Bde were ordered to clear the area of woods in Square 8304 8305 and ZOTERBEEK 8405 - BONG - BAARLO.
20   Phase I.
20   1 Black Watch with under command
20   Sec 274 Fd Coy R.E.
20   30 Kangaroos 49 APC Regt
20   and in support, “B” Sqn 1 N. Yeo
20   Tp of Flails
20   were to clear the axis of the main road ONDER - BONG- BAARLO and consolidate in the area BAARLO if opposition was slight.
20   If opposition was heavy however, 1 Black Watch were to clear and consolidate ZOTERBEEK and BONG.
20   Phase II.
20   7 A. & S.H. with in support,
20   ½ Sqn 1 N. Yeo
20   Tp of Flails
20   were to move via track junction 828054 and clear and consolidate RINKERSFORT 8305 and ZOTERBEEK.
20   If however, 1 BIack Watch did not roach BAARLO 7 A. & S.H. were to advance through the wooded area 8304, 8404 to capture BAARLO.
20   “H” hour was 0830 hours for 1 Black Watch and considerable artillery H.E. tasks were to be fired on enemy localities.
20   As a result of this operation the Bde Comd ordered 7 Black Watch to move forward to the ONDER area. 7 A. & S.H. were to be relieved from the KESSEL area by 5/7 Gordons and were to concentrate in the EGCHEL area square 7703.
20   Operation Order No. 35 issued. Appendix “I”
21   During the night 20/21 November fairly heavy and consistent shelling on HELDEN took place. At about 0900 hours 1 Black Watch started to move forward and by 1000 hours reported all going well and the leading Company nearing the second report line at 837053. Tac Bde H.Q. then moved forward to the area 787044. A considerable amount of shelling was encountered by 1 Black Watch on the road especially at EIJNDT. At about 1100 hours 1 Black Watch reported an anti-tank gun and some infantry in the area of the wood 828048. At about 1145 hours the other two coys of 1 Black Watch were ordered to move forward to the area 837053. By 1230 hours the tanks supporting 1 Black Watch reached 844053 and by 1315 hours 1 Black Watch had one Coy at 844053 and one coy at 838053.
21   The Bde Comd then ordered 1 Black Watch to advance on BAARLO and ordered 7 A. & S.H. to capture and mop up in the area RINKESFORT and ZOTERBEEK.
21   Some enemy infantry were reported at 832058 and an S.P. gun firing from the area 857997. By 1545 hours one coy 7 A. & S.H. had very quickly reached RINKESFORT without incident except for shelling. At 1600 hours the tanks supporting 1 Black Watch reported having reached the road junction 852049 where one tank was knocked out by an enemy S.P. gun. At 1715 hours 7 A. & S.H. were in ZOTERBEEK 8406 and digging in. The tanks with 1 Black Watch were successful in knocking out two enemy S.P. guns and finally reached their final objective which was the main cross roads in BAARLO at 1730 hours. Approximately 15 P.W. were captured, their identification being 6 and 7 Coy 21 Luftjaeger Regt who had just come from VENRAIJ and whose morale was very high. The main forces, however, had withdrawn mostly beyond the MEUSE.
21   The lay out of the Bde at this stage was therefore as follows:-
21   1 Black Watch in BAARLO
21   7 A. & S.H. in ZOTERBEEK
21   7 Black Watch in ONDER
21   with Tac Bde H.Q. in HELDEN.
21   It is pleasing to note that although the enemy shelling was very heavy the Bns suffered very few casualties.
22   A fighting patrol, strength one platoon, from 7 Black Watch was sent out at 0930 hours to the area of Squares 8003, 8103, 8203, 8204 but reported no enemy activity.
22   At 1330 hours 1 Black Watch sent a patrol to the area of the road junction 848040 where a patrol of 153 Bde was contacted. A Tp of Honey tanks patrolled forward to 861075 and one tank was blown up on a mine. At about 1600 hours one coy of 7 A. & S.H. sent a patrol through the woods making for HOUT BLERICK. By 0045 hours the patrol reached 874078 and found themselves in a minefield running approximately from 867083 - 871077 - 883073 and all tracks and roads to HOUT BLERICK were mined with Teller and Schumines. As it was inadvisable to continue in darkness the patrol returned and went out again at 0720 hours and a Tp of Flails was ordered to move up to assist the patrol.
23   By 1310 hours the Flails with the patrol from 7 A. & S.H. came under S.A. and mortar fire and the S.P. gun caused some annoyance. At 1400 hours the Flails reached 873080 and were fired on by small arms from the woods to the South. In addition a certain amount of mortar fire came from the direction of VENLO. At 1500 hours a patrol from 1 Black Watch observed a standing patrol of 5 enemy in the area 868068. At least one enemy was hit. The going for the 7 A. & S.H. patrol was extraordinarily difficult and the Flails got badly bogged in the area 870076. Information was received of enemy posts with M.M.Gs in the areas 877074, 881076, 878076 and 859057. As a result of the condition of the ground and the heavy going as well as extensive minefields the Bde Comd called the 7 A. & S.H. patrol off. During the night 23/24 November little enemy activity took place.
24   Patrols sent out by 1 Black Watch to the areas 877077, road and track junction 871071 and road and track junction 869069 found no enemy but were heavily shelled throughout and sustained one O.R. killed and eight O.Rs wounded.
24   A patrol by 7 A. & S.H. found the area North of 860709 badly flooded and the bridge at 858084 rapidly collapsing.
25   154 Bde came under command 53 Div as at 0700 hours who were eventually to take over the whole of the 51 Div sector.
25   A.Fs W. 3008 and 3009 issued. Appendix “J”
26   7 A. & S.H. were relieved by a Coy of 1 Black Watch and moved back to a concentration area at ROGGEL preparatory to moving up with the Bde to rejoin the Div in the NIJMEGEN area. During this relief no enemy interference took place but later in the evening enemy bombers dropped bombs in the surrounding area but no casualties were sustained in the Bde.
27   On the afternoon of the 27th November Bde H.Q. moved to a concentration area in HEIJTHUIZEN map reference 714966 and after last light 1 Black Watch moved to LEVEROIJ having been relieved by the 1/4 Welch Regt of 53 Div.
27   Movement Table issued. Appendix “K”
28   The Bde Gp moved to the NIJMEGEN area, the order of march being as follows:-
28   Bde H.Q., 126 Fd Regt, 7 Black Watch, 7 A. & S.H., 1 Black Watch, “B” Coy 1/7 Mx, 274 Fd Coy R.E., Bn and Bde “B” Echelons, 241 A.Tk Bty, 206 Lt AA Bty, “B” Coy 176 Fd Amb, 154 Bde L.A.D.
28   The S.P. was road junction 708964 just West of HEIJTHUIZEN and the route was via WEERT – MARHEEZE - LEENDE - VALKENSWAARD - EINDHOVEN – ST OEDENRODE - VEGHEL – UDEN - GRAVE – NIJMEGEN. “B” Echelons, 241 A.Tk Bty, 268 Lt AA Bty end 154 Bde L.A.D. left the route South of NIJMEGEN as it was considered undesirable to take too much transport over the NIJMEGEN Bridge owing to the danger of the area between the WAAL and the NEDER RIJN being flooded.

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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.