|Instructions regarding War Diaries and Intelligence
Summaries are contained in F.S. Regs., Vol. 1.
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|Army Form C.2118|
|Unit: HQ 159 Infantry Brigade|
|Month and Year: July 1944||(Erase heading not required).||Commanding Officer: Brigadier J.G. Sandle|
|BLA||1||The positions of our troops were unchanged. Many new formations of the enemy had been identified. On the front of the British Bridgehead, there are now 21 Panzer Div, 12 SS Panzer Div, 2 SS Panzer Div, 130 Lehr Div, parts of the 1 SS Adolph Hitler Panzer Div, 9 and 10 SS Panzer Divs. 8 Corps was congratulated the way it was fighting against seasoned troops. For the most part the Corps being a completely "green" Corps.|
|2-3||Positions unchanged. The Battalions continued to improve their position, lay mines and wire. Fighting and recce patrols were being sent out to keep in touch with the enemy. Mortaring and shelling continued to be the main annoyance. The 53 Div had started relieving the 15 (S) Div. This Brigade now comes under comd 53 Div.|
|3||The general line of the Brigade remains the same. Mortaring and shelling continued throughout the day and night. Patrols were sent out by 4 KSLI and 1 Hereford to find out location and movements of enemy. They were observed making a defence line of strong points. The enemy tried to draw our fire, so as to locate our positions. This ruse did not work. Minefields and wiring tasks were being carried on by units. Artillery brought down fire on numerous targets. During the night an enemy attack was put in; tanks and infantry approx one coy strength. This was broken up by the artillery fire.|
|4||The Brigade still held the same line, with little enemy activity besides mortaring and shelling. Patrolling on front continued as usual.|
|5||Today was a day of preparation for the relief of 159 Brigade by the 130 Brigade of the 43 Inf Div. This started at 2400 hrs. A fire plan was arranged to cover the relief. This plan was designed to smarten up all known enemy positions, which were likely to hamper the relief. The results were most effective, as from the commencement of the relief until the last few minutes no shelling or mortar fire was brought down on the Brigade area. Lt-Col J.B. Churcher took over command of the Brigade from Brigadier J.G. Sandie.||“O”|
|6-8||The relief was completed by 0500 hrs though the 130 Infantry Brigade took over the full responsibility of the line at 0210 hrs. When the two forward units were relieved by units of their brigade. The rest area was ST GABRIEL and surrounding villages. The time was spent cleaning up, sleeping, make and mend etc, and replacing damaged equipment.||“C”|
|14||The Brigade was put at two hours notice, so as to be able to assist in a counter-attack role in the HAUT DU BOSQ area.|
|16||The Brigade was ordered to concentrate in the area LE BAS DE RANVILLE, East of the ORNE, NE of CAEN. To be in position by daylight on 17 Jul, and to keep under cover all day 17 Jul.||“F”|
|17||The move was completed by 0430 hrs, slit trenches were dug and vehicles camouflaged. Orders were given out to units for the forthcoming attack on 18 Jul, the Brigade leading the attack, followed by 29 Armd Bde, Gds Armd Div and 7 Armd Div.||“G”|
|18||At 0530 hrs, hy bombers, Fortresses and Mitchells opened the day with 90 minutes of bombing on enemy positions. The 3 Mon moved off to the SL and was reported across at Zero hour, 0745 hrs, with objective CUVERVILLE. At 0830 hrs 3 Mon reported going into CUVERVILLE. At the same time, 29 Armd Bde was passing on left flank, our right flank being protected by Sqn of 2 N Yeo. At 0858 hrs, 3 Mon reported in objective and dealing satisfactorily with enemy. Herefords moved to their SL and reported on objective at 1015 hrs. Many PW captured and many enemy killed. 3 Mon then ordered to continue advance and take DEMOUVILLE. DEMOUVILLE reported clear by 1450 hrs. A bde of 51 (H) Div took over CUVERVILLE from 3 Mon. The KSLI then moved down to the line of rd and ry South of DEMOUVILLE. At 1710 hrs the Bde Comd informs the General he is ready to move to any new position he may be required to take. Bde HQ moved fwd to area East of CUVERVILLE. The Bde was ordered to move to a pivot area just North of LE MESINE FREMENTEL. At approx 1945 hrs all units were in new positions with the 29 Armd Bde to the South and SW and 7 Armd Div to the SE, and the Gds Armd Div to the East. Very few casualties were incurred during the day, whilst heavy casualties were inflicted on the enemy. Approx 500 PW were taken during the day, with various identifications, mostly of the 46 LJR of 16 GAF.|
|19||The Bde remained in the same location most of day. An attack was arranged with co-operation with our Armd Bde. Objectives - BRAS and HUBERT FOLIE; at the same time the 7 Armd and Gds Armd were laying on attacks. At 1700 hrs the Mons on their SL were called forward to clear BRAS. This was done with little incident. The KSLI were ordered to stand by to be called fwd to HUBERT FOLIE at 2230 hrs, KSLI ordered forwarded 2240, 4 KSLI reported having difficulty, being fired on from left flank, at 2300 hrs, 4 KSLI were on their objective, and at 2315 hrs the Armd Regt was withdrawn. 1 Hereford took up position in reserve behind 3 Mon and 4 KSLI.|
|20||The Bde continued to hold present positions, and were warned that they were going to be relieved by the 7 Cdn Bde, which was done during the day. The 3 Mon, the last to be relieved, were engaged in a tank battle on their Western flank, KO to 3 Tigers out of seven. All reported in new reserve area around MESNIL LE FREMENTEL by 2000 hrs. The Bde came under Comd of 7 Armd Div from 1600 hrs whilst our own Armd Bde had a refit in reserve area. The 159 Bde were in counter-attack role on immediate call. General Roberts, GOC, sent all units in the Div "congratulations" on good work carried out during the last two days.|
|21||The Bde remained in the present location; although under great difficulties through mud, rain and shelling the Bde tried to reorganise, refit, re-equip, etc. The Bde was ordered to concentrate in the BURON area with the rest of the Div on 22 Jul. The 1 Gordons of 51 (H) Div took over our present position.|
|22||During the whole day the Bde moved back to new area. The rds were in a dreadful state owing to mud and traffic congestion. The last Bn did not arrive in the new area until 0730 hrs 23 Jul.|
|23-27||The Bde concentrated in the BURON area, time spent in cleaning up etc. The Bde was ordered to recce an area in the CHEUX area, for a counter-attack role, with 4 Armd Bde, Bde was at 4 hrs call.|
|28||The Div was ordered to move to new concentration area South of BALLEROY in readiness for an 8 Corps attack in the morning of 30.|
|29||At 0400 hrs the Bde moved and was in new area at 1000 hrs. Orders were given out during the day. The day was spent lying low. The attack was to consist of a right flank protection to 15 (S) Div moving on two routes, right route 159 Inf Bde Gp less 3 Mon, plus 2 FF Yeo, left route 29 Armd Bde less 2 FF Yeo plus 3 Mon. At 0800 hrs bomber support was to be given.|
|30||0655 hrs - H Hr. The two groups moved off at H Hr, and both colns had difficulty with minefields on SL, some our own, some enemy. The 1 Hereford (0730) soon got to their first objective. Fire reported from CUSSY, two sub units were sent off to deal with the opposition. Quite hy cas were inflicted on 1 Hereford by mortar fire. The KSLI were then ordered fwd. The F & F Yeo were making slow progress owing to mines and close country. On left route, the 3 Mon and two Armd Regts got into SEPT VENTES, reporting the roads being frightfully narrow and difficult also mined and booby trapped. PWs taken coming from 752 GR of 326 Inf Div. At approx 1345 hrs 1 Hereford put in attack on South side of their objective in preparation for KSLI to be passed through on to second objective in the area BASSELLIERE. The F & F Yeo were pushing strongly South, little opposition; during the afternoon Tempest rocket bombers give sp on numerous targets during the afternoon with good results. The Div Comd ordered everyone on as fast as possible on to final objectIve, - high ground ST MARTIN DES BESSACES to LA COUAILLE. The Bde Gp and Armd Gp both reported on objective during night – little opposition. 2 N Yeo giving right flank protection.|
|31||The early morning was passed by KSLI and 1 Hereford digging in on their new positions, earling morning the KSLI were asked to help the 29 Armd Bde to clear ST MARTIN DE BESSACES. This action was cancelled twice and plan changed twice before being finally executed owing to our own shelling. By approx 1300 hrs the village was clear. The Bde was warned that it may have to move fwd shortly in SW direction towards LA CANAILLE – PT AUNAY. The 15 (S) Div were ordered to take over from our Armd Bde and KSLI. This was duly done after many delays. The KSLI were then returned to their previous location. The 1 Hereford were ordered to embus and move in TCVs with F & F Yeo along rd to CANAILLE. Slight opposition reported along route was satisfactorily overcome. The GOC ordered the Bde to form firm base, 1 Hereford to remain present location area LE PITS and 4 KSLI area to the South. The Armd Bde plus 4 KSLI area LA FERRIERE. During the early evening, the General ordered the 2 pls of 1 Hereford and two tps of FF Yeo to make recce towards CANAILLE.|
Helaas geen map gevonden.
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.