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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: H.Q. 154 Infantry Brigade
Month and Year: December 1944 (Erase heading not required). Commanding Officer: Brig. J.A. Oliver, D.S.O., M.B.E.
Place Date Hour Summary Reference
1/100,000 Sheet 5 S’HERTOGENBOSCH 1   The first few days in what was generally known as the "Island” area, i.e., the area between the NEDER EIJN and the River WAAL was very quiet and the only enemy activity was in the form of spasmodic shelling in the LIENDEN and ELST areas. The greatest threat in the area was that the enemy would blow the dykes in an attempt to flood the island and thereby force us to withdraw across the River WAAL.
1   154 Bde Operation Instruction No. 34 issued. Appendix “A”
2   On 2 December very little enemy activity took place except that in the afternoon about six German recce planes passed over the area. During the night 2/3 December a report was received that the enemy had blown the dyke in the North Eastern sector in order to flood the island. As a result 152 Bde had to pull back most of its transport. Several large explosions were heard during the night and the following day showed that the island was gradually flooding.
2   154 Bde Operational Notes issued. Appendix “B”
2   A.F.s 3008 and 3009 issued. Appendix “C”
3   The flooding continued and by 1600 hours the following areas had been flooded, 6875 to 7275 to 7073 to 6773, 6772 - 6672, 6572 - 6573, 6472 - 6473 6272 - 6072, 5871.
3   It was, therefore, found necessary to withdraw two Bns of 152 Bde and these crossed the River WAAL en route for a concentration area near S’HERTOGENBOSCH at 1400 hrs and 1700 hrs respectively. 5 Camerons of 152 Bde remained on the island, but pulled back to the area 6375 – 6475. So far the flooding had not seriously affected 154 Bde. However, the floods generally moved in a South Westerly direction to the lateral railway running between RESTEREN and NIJMEGEN. This railway, to great extent, acted as a dyke for the area to the South. Nevertheless, a certain amount of flooding to the South of the railway was inevitable.
4   On 4 December the remainder of 154 Bde was withdrawn from the island and, commencing at 1400 hours 153 Bde were withdrawn with the exception of 5/7 Gordons which came under command 154 Bde. 154 Bde then came under command 49 (WR) Div who occupied the sectors on the right of 154 Bde. At 1700 hours the flooding in 5/7 Gordons area, between them and the railway, rose to a depth of two feet. Enemy activity was mostly in the form of spasmodic shelling which did no damage whatever. However, in the afternoon, an enemy patrol strength six, approaohed the 5/7 Gordons area at 545696. After having been fired on the patrol disappeared in a Westerly direction.
5   On 5 December it was found necessary on account of the flooding to withdraw 7 A. & S.H. from the island. This withdrawal was completed without incident and 7 A. & S.H. moved to a concentration area at ST MICHIELS GESTEL. At 1430 hours Tac Bde H.Q. moved to 660672 which was the area previously occupied by Div H.Q. On the evening of 5 December two further heavy explosions were heard in the North Eastern sector of the island and the water rose steadily in all sectors, at the rate of approximately one inch in four hours.
6   During the night there was a general increase of 2˝ inches in the flooding. In the 5/7 Gordons area, however, a rapid rise was reported at 0300 hrs of 3 to 4 inches in two hours. In certain parts of 7 Black Watch area the flood reached a depth of 5 inches. Apart from the flooding little of interest took place during the day. Enemy shelling was spasmodic and innacurate.
7   5/7 Gordons after having been relieved by "A" sqn 49 Div Recce Regt rejoined 153 Bde in a concentration area East of S’HERTOGENBOSCH. At this stage the flooding appeared to become somewhat stabilised in the 154 Bde sector as no considerable change in the level had become apparent during the last 24 hours. Information was received that the enemy’s intention was to attack NIJMEGEN Bridge during the next 48 hours. 154 Bde's intention was to hold the line LIENDEN – VALBURG - ANDELST Station 616710 - ANDELST - South edge of flooding to DE TEMPEL 544695 thence North bank of River WAAL to road and track junction 664684. Under command 154 Bde were:-
7   "A" Sqn 49 Recce Regt.
7   Two Tps 268 Lt AA Bty.
7   274 Fd Coy.
7   "B” Coy 176 Fd Amb.
7   with 126 Fd Regt in support.
7   Tasks.
7   (a) 1 Black Watch task was to prevent enemy infiltration across the flooded area from road junction 682707 to incl railway bridge 645707 and to hold one coy at 30 minutes notice to move to the area SLIJK - EWIJK in the event of the enemy landing from River WAAL.
7   (b) 7 Black Watch task was to prevent infiltration across the flooded area from excl the railway bridge 645707 to the level crossing 595710 and from there to the BUND at 594687 and to be responsible for the North bank of the River WAAL from 594687 to road junction 628676 and hold one coy in the area 626677 for this task. One coy was also to be held in ANDELST area to reinforce any point on the BUND in 7 Black Watch or 274 Fd Coy’s sector.
7   (c) “A” Sqn 49 Div Recce’s task was to hold the BUND from DE TEMPEL 544696 to 594687 and prevent any enemy infiltration South of the flooded area.
7   (d) 274 Fd Coy were responsible for the BUND from excl road junction 628677 to incl Church 657666. (e) 268 Lt AA Bty were to establish Bofors posts along BUND road from incl DE HULK 6267.
7   The enemy attack never materialized possible because the operation which would have to water-borne, was too difficult to control.
8   On 8 December nothing of interest took place and the flooding appeared to rise slightly in some areas and fall slightly in others. Generally, however, the flooding appeared to be fairly stabilised. 7 Black Batch sent out contact patrols at intervals each night to contact standing patrols of 1 Black Watch at 646707. In addition, standing patrols by 7 Black Watch were established along the railway line and one platoon by day was established at NORMAASCHOOL 607729. Contact patrols were also sent out to "A” Sqn 49 Div Recce on the left. 1 Black Watch also sent contact patrols to 7 Black Watch and established standing patrols on the railway at 655706 and 646707. A standing patrol, strength one sec, was also established by day at HOMOET 663724.
9   Apart from the usual flooding reports of slight increases in some areas and decreases in others no enemy activity took place in the 154 Bde sector. However, at 0500 hours to 0530 hours on the 10 December 7 Black Watch reported enemy spandau fire and mortaring which was apparently landing in the WOLFSWAARD area 5774. As a result the factory at 570745 was set on fire.
9   A.Fs W. 3008 and 3009 issued. Appendix “D”
9   Operation Order No. 35 issued. Appendix “E”
10   During the night a slight rise of aproximately ˝ inch in the flood level in most areas was reported.
10   A patrol sent out by "A" Sqn 49 Div Recce reached 533702 and was fired an by one spandau from the farmyard 53207022. This farm was later engaged by our artillery at 1430 hours.
11   The Bde Comd called at Div H.Q. to meet the Adjutant General.
11   On 11 December a certain number of civilians were evacuated from the island under arrangements made by civil affairs.
11   At 1400 hours 7 Black Watch O.P. reported having observed enemy, strength one platoon, in the area 586747 and that during the night a number of flares were observed which appeared to be North of the River.
12   "A” Sqn 49 Div Recce were relieved by "B" Sqn. "A" Sqn then rejoined their Regiment South of the WAAL. During the night 11/12 December several heavy explosions were heard, but the following day no appreciable rise or fall was noticed in the flooding.
13   The Bde Comd 152 Bde arrived and discussed with Bde Comd 154 Bde matters relating to the relief of 154 Bde by 152 Bde. A patrol of "B" Sqn 49 Div Recce encountered a small enemy patrol at 1100 hours. Shots were exchanged and then the enemy withdrew Westwards.
13   Slight shelling of "B" Sqn 49 Div Recce area took place at 1700 hours without causing any casualties.
13   Amendment to 154 Bde Operation Order No. 35 issued. Appendix “F”
14   An amphibious patrol sent out by 1 Black Watch to the farm buildings at 655745 found the place deserted. They heard, however, L.M.G. fire which appeared to be in the area ZAND 652749. Shelling in “B" sqn 49 Div Recce area was heavier than usual as a total of some 50 shells landed in the area.
14   Bearings on V.2 sites were obtained by O.Ps in 1 Black Watch and 7 Black Watch areas but they were only approximate and therefore the sites were difficult to pinpoint owing to the long range.
15   The patrol of 7 Black Watch at HEMMEN captured 5 P.W. from an enemy patrol. The P.W. were identified as 13 Para Regt. They had evidently crossed the NEDER RIJN with instruction to find out if possible whether or not we occupied HEMMEN.
15   An amphibious patrol from 1 Black Watch went to ZAND 654749 where they had previously reported having heard L.M.G. fire but found the place deserted and no signs of occupation of any kind. They, however, observed three enemy armed with rifles travelling in a cart along the BUND road South of the NEDER RIJN who disappeared at 654752.
16   From early morning and thoughout the day a large number of V.1s passed over the area going in a South Westerly direction. One crashed with the engine still running North of the railway in front of 7 Black Watch positions.
16   At about 0930 hours an enemy recce patrol came down to CASTEEL 597728. One man was observed to stand up and look through glasses for 15 minutes and then the patrol paddled away in a boat. At 1300 hours a similar patrol approached CASTEEL but this time withdrew immediately after some Dutchmen who were retrieving livestock in the area showed themselves. At 1600 hours an enemy fighting patrol approached the same area and when the section of 7 Black Watch opened up with Brens they replied with two spandaus. Before departing they fired a Bazooka.
16   A.Fs W. 3008 and 3009 issued. Appendix “G“
17   A recce patrol from “B" Sqn 49 Div Recce reached the area 533703 and observed smoke and heard sounds as of occupation in the house at 529703. Flooding during the night had decreased generally one inch. There was no enemy activity except for two jet propelled planes which passed over the area.
18   At 1530 hours a heavy calibre gun fired twenty rounds into "B" Sqn 49 Div Recce area but no damage was caused as the shelling was very inaccurate. During the day a further decrease in the flooding of one inch was reported.
19   On 19th December the Bde (less 7 A. & S.H. who were already in the area ST MICHIELS GESTEL) were relieved by 152 Bde (less 2 Seaforth). On completion of the relief 154 Bde including 7 A. & S.H. moved to the area MILLE 6445. The relief was carried out as follows:-
19   1 Black Watch were relieved by 5 Camerons.
19   7 Black Watch were relieved by 5 Seaforth.
19   126 Fd Regt were relieved by 128 Fd Regt.
19   274 Fd Coy were relieved by 275 Fd Coy.
19   The route for 154 Bde for the move to MILLE area was S.P. road junction 657666 – NIJMEGEN Bridge - GRAVE Bridge - road junction 613520 - MILLE 6445 to D.P. at road junction 660437.
19   The intention was that 154 Bde would concentrate in the MILLE area, in order to be available for use in an operational role if required. Each unit on being relieved moved out independently and the Bde relief was completed by 1330 hours.
Sheet 4 1/100,000 MAESEYCK 20   The Bde Gp moved again on 20 December with the intention of concentrating in the area HASSELT 316622. The route for this move was via MILLE - road junction 617485 - road junction 613520 - HEESCH 4851 - UDEN - VEGHEL - ST. OUDENROADE – EINDHOVEN – VALKENSWAARD – HECHTEL - HELCHTEREN - D.P. HASSELT 316622. The order of march was, Bde H.Q. 274 Fd Coy, 126 Fd Regt, "B” Coy 176 Fd Amb, 7 A. & S.H., 7 Black Watch, 1 Black Watch, "B" Coy 1/7 Mx, 241 A.Tk Bty. The lead of the column crossed the S.P. at 0730 hours. The destination, however, was changed en route and the Bde Gp eventually concentrated in the area of MOLL Square 1790. The layout of the bde in this area was 7 A. & S.H. OLMEN 1985, 1 Black Watch in MOLL, 1790, 7 Black Watch in MEERHOUT 1484.
20   Appendix - Movement Table for 20 Dec 44. Appendix “H”
Sheet 8 Brussels 1/100,000 21   Orders were again received for an early move to the area just South of LOUVAIN. On 21 December Bde H.Q. again led and crossed the S.P. at 142896 at 0800 hours. The route was via GHEEL - road junction 045862 – 046813 - AIRSCHOT 9669 - LOUVAIN. On arrival Bde H.Q. was established in LOUVAIN University and the Bns were located as follows:-
21   BLANDEN - 7 A. & S.H.
21   VAELBEEK – 7 Black Watch.
21   HEVERLE - 1 Black Watch.
21   Movement Order for 21 December. Appendix “I”
Sheet 9 1/100,000 LIEGE 22   One night only was spent in the LOUVAIN area as orders were received to move early on the 22nd December to an area East of MAASTRICHT in HOLLAND. The route this time was via LOUVAIN bye-pass – road junction 876883 - DIEST – HASSELT - road junction 318633 - GENCK - road junction 470624 - SUTENDAEL 4761 - LAENAEKEN 5257 - MAASTRICHT. Bridge to D.P. at SCHIMMERT 658585. This area was to be a concentration area for the Div who were to come under command of Ninth US Army on arrival. The lay-out of the Bde was as follows:-
22   Bde H.Q. at HUNNEKOM 688585.
22   1 Black Watch at NUT 698595.
22   7 Black Watch at HELLEBROCK 705586.
22   7 A. & S.H. at KUNRADE 732545.
22   Movement Table for 22 December, 1944. Appendix “J”
23   At 1100 hours the Div Comd called to see the Bde Comd to discuss among other things accommodation in the area which was rather limited on account of the presence of numbers of troops from other formations.
24   The Bde Comd attended a Div Comd's conference at Div H.Q. at 1630 hours. The main points of the conference dealt with the Div’s operational role which was Army Reserve.
24   The Bde Comd and C.Os later recced the areas for the Bde’s operatIonal role whilst under command Ninth US Army.
25   This was shortly afterwards changed, however, as a warning order was received that harbour parties of the Bde Gp were to stand by at one hours notice from 0900 hours 25 December to recce a new concentration area for the Bde near LIEGE. Actually harbour parties moved off at 1300 hours and met the G.S.O. 1 in TONGRES. From there they proceeded to the area OUGREE Square 4425 South of the MEUSE. The main body of the Bde Gp moved to the new area at 2030 hours. The order of march was Bde H.Q., 1 Black Watch (incl 17 pdr Tp 241 A.Tk Bty), 7 A. & S.H., 241 A.Tk Bty (less one Tp), 7 Black Watch, 126 Fd Regt, 105 Lt AA Bty, "B" Coy 1/7 Mx, 274 Fd Coy, and 176 Fd Amb (less "B" Coy).
25   The S.P. was at road junction 594550 and the D.P. at OUGREE road junction 444253. The move was carried out very successfully fortunately in bright moonlight. The route was via road junction 575532 - road junction 567533 - MAASTRICHT Bridge - road junction 558516 - road junction 526501 - CANNE 5448 - road junction 540385 - OUPEYE 5236 - HERSTAL 519326 - road junction 475295 - road junction 470268 - road junction 445269. On arrival in the new area the Bde was disposed as follows:-
25   Bde H.Q. in SERAING 434248
25   7 Black Watch at 421231
25   7 A. & S.H. at 446218
25   1 Black Watch at 391235.
25   Movement Order for 25/26 December. Appendix “K“
26   Apart from a number of buzz bombs in the area nothing of interest happened with the exception of one enemy bomber which was shot down by AA in the 7 A. & S.H. area. On examination it was found that the four enemy occupants were dead.
27   Buzz bombs continued to fly over and into the Bde area but fortunately no damage was done. At 1830 hours the Bde Comd attended a Div Comd’s conference at Div H.Q. The points for discussion were:-
27   (1) The formation of a Div Battle School.
27   (2) Standardisation of Leave Rules.
27   (3) Fighting in the type country in which we now found ourseIves.
28   On 28 December the Bde Comd held a conference for C.Os of Bns at 1000 hours. At this conference the Bde Comd outlined the Bde plan in connection with its present operational role. Briefly this plan was as follows:-
28   154 Bde were to be prepared to move to and occupy a defensive position in the following areas. These areas were primarily selected as forward concentration areas and the intention was to operate offensively from them.
28   The order of march to these areas was:-
28   Sqn 2 Derby Yeo (if allotted).
28   7 A. & S.H. (with under comd S.P. 17 pdr Tp 241 A.Tk Bty and one Pl "B" Coy 1/7 Mx.)
28   Tac Bde H.Q.
28   “B” Coy 176 Fd Amb.
28   7 Black Watch (with under comd 6 pdr Tp 241 A.Tk Bty and one Pl “B" Coy 1/7 Mx).
28   126 Fd Regt (with under comd one Tp 268 Lt AA Bty).
28   1 Black Watch (with under comd towed 17 pdr Tp 241 A.Tk Bty and one Pl "B" Coy 1/7 Mx.)
28   There were three plans A, C and D as under, anyone of which the Bde might be called upon to carry out.
28   Plan "A".
28   (a) Route.
28   S.P. cross roads 443252 - railway bridge 478259 - GRIVEGNEE 4926 - HENNE 5123 - PRAYON 5422 - NESSONVAUX 5921 - PEPINSTER 6320 - Main LIMBOURG road through VERVIERS to D.P. in VERVIERS.
28   (b) Task.
28   The Bde was to prevent any penetration from the East or South through the LIMBOURG Gap.
28   (c) Areas.
28   7 Black Watch - area cross roads 729249.
28   7 A. & S.H. – LIMBOURG 7325.
28   1 Black Watch - TONBEUX 6925. - BASSE MONT 6825.
28   Plan "C”.
28   (a) Route.
28   S.P. road junction 395236 - NEUVILLE EN CONDROZ 3819 - cross roads 303061 - OCQUIER 3302 - D.P. road junction 368031.
28   (b) Task.
28   The Bde was to be prepared to form a firm base on the general line PETIT HAN 3696 - BARVAUX 4097 and prevent enemy crossing River L'OURTHE in that area.
28   (c) Areas.
28   7 Black Watch - PETIT HAN - DURBUY 3797.
28   7 A. & S.H. - BARVAUX.
28   1 Black Watch - TOHOGNE 3900.
28   Plan "D".
28   (a) Route.
28   S.P. road junction 395036 - NEUVILLE EN CONDROZ - road junction 342145 - road junction 260087 - D.P. cross roads 238045.
28   (b) Task.
28   The Bde was to be prepared to hold the firm base MIECRET 2399 - HAVELANGE 2201 - HOMZE 2003.
28   (c) Areas.
28   1 Black Watch - OSSOGNE 2103 - HOMZE.
28   7 Black Watch - HAVELANGE 2201.
28   7 A. & S.H. - MIECRET 2399.
28   Arty.
28   126 Fd Regt were to recce areas as follaws:-
28   Plan "A” - North West outskirts of HAVELANGE.
28   Plan "C" - LONGUEVILLE 3801.
28   Plan "D" - Eastern outskirts of STEMBERT 6922.
28   R.E.
28   274 Fd Coy were to move with "B” Echelons which were to be Brigaded.
28   Operation Instruction No. 36 issued. Appendix “L”
29   Information was received from Div that an enemy attack was expected on the 75 US Div front and therefore the Div were to take over the responsibility of guarding the bridges over the MEUSE in the LIEGE sector. Consequently 154 Bde were ordered to take over the security of the bridges at HUY and AMAY 2919. This task was taken over by 7 A. & S.H., Bn H.Q. being established in HUY 233167.
29   During the day a fairly large number of V.1s flew over the Bde area. Unfortunately one dropped about 100 yards from 7 Black Watch H.Q. as a result of which one private soldier was killed and seven wounded. During the afternoon three Dutch airmen who had been bombing the German spearheads were shot down and baled out into 126 Fd Regt area. During the night 29/30 December nothing of interest took place, with the exception of V.1s which regularly fell in and around the area, strangely enough causing no damage to W.D. property or personnel.
30   It was decided that the Bde should move to a location clear of the buzz bomb target area and at 1300 hours Bde H.Q. moved to the Chateau de Harmelle – Sous - Huy 318203.
30   The remainder of the Bde was disposed as follows:-
30   1 Black Watch at 333120.
30   7 Black Watch at 383199.
30   7 A. & S.H. ad formerly at HUY.
30   126 Fd Regt at 322148.
30   241 A.Tk Bty at 350175.
30   274 Fd Coy as formerly at 405241.
30   “B" Coy 1/7 Mx at 383232.
30   A.Fs W. 3008 and 3009 issued. Appendix “M”
31   During the night 30/31 December the only occurrence was when enemy aircraft dropped one bomb near 7 A. & S.H. area.
31   Several dog fights took place during the day and one enemy jet propelled plane appeared to have been shot down.
31   Amendment No. 1 to Operation Instruction No. 36 issued. Appendix “N”

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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.