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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 159 Infantry Brigade
Month and Year: August 1944 (Erase heading not required). Commanding Officer: Brigadier J.B. Churcher
Place Date Hour Summary Reference
FIELD 1   During the day the advance continued. Very little opposition was met. 3 Mon reverted to comd of Bde. 4 KSLI under comd 29 Armd Bde. The Armd Bde soon moved down across the River Seuleuvre followed by the Bns. Contact was made with the 5 US Div who had conformed with us on the right, and on the left the Gds Armd Div started to move down ending the day by being about two miles North of the river. The Bde was ordered to pivot for the night, no patrols to be sent out, as much rest as possible to be taken and be ready to move South at 0530 hrs.
2   At 0525 hrs orders came through that the adv should be delayed 30 minutes. At 0600 hrs the adv continued, left route 29 Armd Bde Gp, on the right 159 Inf Bde Gp. The HCR were sent ahead to search the country direction of VIRE. Certain opposition met, consisting of Battle Gp with elements of 9 SS Pz Div and 21 Pz Div. At midday, the div halted on the two routes on the line of the rd VASSY VIRE, owing to the US Army on our right and the Gds Armd Div on the left being slow in conforming to our line. This left our flanks open. Positions were chosen for all round defence.
3   The adv was still halted owing to the flanking divs being backward. Counter attacks were put in by the enemy with tks and inf. Enemy shelling was much more active. The 185 Bde of 3 Br Div was put under comd at 1100 hrs to assist the Div. It was intended to put the Bns of the new Bde into the line to bolster up our posns but owing to the flank positions, the 185 Bde had to be put on the ground to protect the L of C from infiltration. Small battle gps of tks, inf and arty of the enemy tried all day to infiltrate and break through without success. The 3 Mon were also being attacked but successfully held off all attempts.
4   The Bde still held the same posns although certain infiltrations had taken place between the Mons and the rest of the Bde, this meant sups were unable to get up to the Mons. They continued to hold their posn and keep off any attacks from the enemy. Bde HQ Main on the L of C were temporarily involved in a battle owing to three Tigers coming up the main road to where the HQ was located. A Tp of the N Yeo plus 1 SP gun and a coy of the Norfolks and arty from the 5.5 medium regt managed to make them withdraw. The Bns sent out patrols to all the surrounding villages etc checking if they were occupied by the enemy, the method of the enemy seemed to be to infiltrate into a place, be a nuisance, and then go somewhere else leaving a couple of men behind to observe. It was reported many times during the day that the centre line had been cut; this was always cleared after a short time.
5   The Bde still continued to hold their posns, activity continued on all sectors, the Gds Armd Div, 15 (S) Div and US 2 Div continued to adv to link up with our posn. More opposition was overcome on all sectors but much more strength was met. Identifications of the 9 SS Pz Div, Army engineer Troops were made. Large DF tasks were put down by the gunners.
6   Early morning patrols by the 3 Mon found many dead bosche resulting from the DF tasks fired during the night. Identifications were made of the 10 SS Pz Div. It was ordered that the 185 Inf Bde should take over our positions and we would then be in reserve, ready to go into a further break through, but owing to strong counter attacks the take over by the 1 Norfolks was not completed, leaving the three Rifle Coys in the line. Orders came through that the future operation was postponed. Early in the evening the enemy put in very strong attacks of estimated strength of one regt, the 21 Pz GR of the 10 SS Pz Div. All attacks were warded off inflicting heavy cas on the enemy. All this time the Mons were suffering cas from shelling and mortaring. An extensive arty plan was planned for the night 6/7, so as to catch enemy in their conc areas.
7   All day of the 7th the enemy continued to counter-attack and attempt infiltration. All of these attempts failed. Arty was used all day including Typhoon and Thunderbolt fighter-bombers with good results, destroying troop and tank concs. The Bns remained in old locations, the 3 Mon and 2 Norfolks of 185 Bde making one Bn locality owing to the fact that the relief did not materialise as a counter-attack was put in in force at the time the take over was taking place. The Bde was then ordered to remain in present posn. The counter-attack was beaten off by heavy arty fire.
8   The Bns still remained in present locations, being under arty and mortar fire. The 185 Bde took over comd of the Bns in the 159 Bde at 1700 hrs. Leaving 4 KSLI under comd of the 29 Armd Bde. Tac HQ rejoined the Main Bde HQ. Listening watch was kept on the 185 Bde Net.
9   Regrouping of the 159, 185 and 29 Bdes took place, which resulted in the units of this Bde again coming under comd. Reorganisation took place during the night 9/10 and was completed by 0800 hrs 10 Aug. A programme of harassing fire was laid on to cover the reorganisation, which necessitated the movement of units, 3 Mon and 1 Hereford moving into a res area and 4 KSLI taking over a quiet sector area LE BUSQ. A
10   The day was spent claning up and generally licking the wounds. At 1700 hrs orders were received from Div to the effect that the 1 Hereford would be responsible for left flank protection of Gds Armd Div when their adv continued South on 11 Aug. B
11   At 0630 hrs the Gds Armd Div moved fwd, the 1 Hereford waiting on the start line to follow up. The adv was very slow and the Herefords were not called fwd until 1250 hrs. They occupied their posn at the LE BAS PERRIER without difficulty whilst the guards tried to break through but were held up on a line approx 1000 yards South of their Start Line. The night was spent pattolling and generally irritating the enemy.
12   The Bde was warned that the KSLI and Herefords were to be relieved by the Gds and be prepared to go into new positions on the 15 (S) Div front. The Div was split up into two gps, 159 Bde Gp with 3 RTR and 2 N Yeo less 3 Mon and 29 Armd Bde Gp less 3 RTR plus 3 Mon. The move was to take place on the 13th, 14th. C + D
13   The 3 Mon moved during the night to come under comd 29 Armd Bde, the Herefords were relieved by 32 Gds Bde and were brought into reserve area. At 1930 hrs the Bde moved to the area MONTCHAMP North of ESTRAY, to the 44 (L) Bde location, in readiness to take over their posns, the KSLI to take over the ESTRY posn. Before the actual take over took place the Germans were reported withdrawing. Plans were made for a pursuit, 29 Armd Bde ordered to high ground EAST of VASSEY, 159 Inf Bde to area VASSEY, in readiness to follow up with 30 Corps. It is understood that 11 Armd Div is to become part of 30 Corps with 50 Div, 43 Div and 7 Arms, to act as follow up and pursuit corps.
14   The Bde moved fwd on two routes through ESTREY, mines were encountered from the start and progress was very slow owing to the close country. The enemy were reported withdrawing leaving small rear-guard groups of the 9 SS Pz Div. By nightfall the Bde was half way to VASSEY on the high ground South of THEIL. The Herefords having certain amount of opposition to get on to the high ground. During night, patrols reported the enemy had withdrawn and PWs confirmed this fact. E
15   The adv continued, the Carrier Pl of 4 KSLI was sent to VASSEY and it was found deserted, very slightly damaged but completely looted, and booby trapped.
16   New orders were given to the Bde to continue adv in the direction of FLERS and then East. Less and less opposition was encountered, more and more deserters were coming into our hands, including an American Sjt of a Fortress, who had baled out and kept in hiding also a British Mustang pilot, who had been under French protection for 14 days. The advance was completely slowed up by mines, craters, demolitions etc, and the closeness of the country. The KSLI came up against a certain amount of opposition South of the R Vire at AUBUSSON. By nightfall the 4 KSLI had partly taken the village with the help of the 3 RTR. The Herefords and the Southern route were halted to conform. I
17   The advance once again continued, more and more PW and deserters came back, in a very disorganised condition. The Bde was given an enormous reception on going through FLERS. The population turned out in full strength to welcome their liberators. The Bde harboured on the main FLERS ARGENTAN road.
18   At 0730 hrs the adv continued, meeting only small pockets of resistance and mines. By mid-day the Bde was halted just short of BRIOUZE, having contacted the US Army who had entered BRIOUZE that morning. PW were coming in large numbers from various Divs in a completely disorganised state. I
18   At mid-day the Div was ordered to push on in the direction of ECOUCHE, using the main BRIOUZE ECOUCHE road, en route the coln came under shell fire, by observation from our left flank; the route was altered to avoid casualties. Col Phillips, CO of the 151 Fd Regt and three of his staff had already been injured; also reports came in that 2 IC, Adjt amd three of 1 Hereford had been injured. The Harbour Area was inside the Free French Armd Div locations, who were in and around ECOUCHE. The Bde was ordered to clear the high ground to the North of ECOUCHE. E
19   The Bde HQ Tac moved fwd to the high spot South of ECOUCHE, to control the battle; little opposition was encountered, the Herefords gaining their positions around MONTGARAULT with little opposition. Many more PW and deserters passed through the PW Cage. HQ was once again moved fwd to a location North of ECOUCHE. The Bde was ordered to remain in present location, so as to allow the 29 Armd Bde to conform and link up with us. This was completed. The 29 Armd Bde was ordered to continue advance, at the same time American div was ordered to attack ARGENTAN. On completion of the task the adv was to continue, through ARGENTAN to area LE BOURG ST LEONARD. This was carried out without trouble by 2100 hrs. I
20   At first light, the 29 Armd Bde continued the adv and the US Army attacked ARGENTAN. The Bde was ordered to move to an area around LE BOURG ST LEONARD, and be prepared to continue advance the next morning. J
21   At first light the advance coninued very slowly owing to closeness of the country. PW were giving themselves up on all sides. Identifications of all Divs was made, by evening the 4 KSLI and 3 RTR attacked and taken GACE, where the Bde was halted for the night.
22   At first light 15/19 11 followed by 1 Hereford continued the adv with the Armd Bde continuing on the Southern route. Little contact was made during the day. HQ was moved fwd two or three times during the day to keep up with the leading bns. During the day 50 Div was ordered to take over from the 159 Inf Bde. The Bde was moved onto the Southern route into a conc area just North of ST GAUBURGE in readiness to going into a rest area West of LAIGLE.
23-27   The Bde moved to the area AUBE and LAIGLE. Baths, ENSA concerts, dances etc were arranged, reinforcements arrived, making Bns up to 700 odd. K
28   The Bde was ordered to conc to the area VERNON west of the SEINE, to be prepared to pass through the brhead made by 43 Div. L
29   Owing to the large collection of tpt from various units, AGRA's, 43 Div, 50 Div, progress towards the SEINE was slow. At 1415 hrs Bde HQ crossed the SEINE, from then on progress was good. The 29 Armd Bde brushed aside all opposition and by nightfall reached the area ETREPAGNY 5595 at CANTIERS VILLERS EN VECIN and THILLERS EN VEXIN. PWs were taken and identified as 49 Div. M
30   At first light the Div continued its adv with the 8 Armd Bde on our right and 4 Armd Bde on the left. At approx 1900 hrs the Bde arrived at the area ST GERMER, SE of GOURNAY. The 29 Armd Bde had pushed on a considerable distance towards AMIENS. Orders were received at very short notice to move to [...], on a [...] [march?].
31   At first light the Bde was on the high ground just North of AMIENS. Bde HQ on [moving?] through [...] [3643?] were [...] in a [street?] [...] in the [...]. owing to a [...] of enemy inf [...] [...] [...][...][...] our coln. The opposition was [...] [...]by the Defence Pl with [...] assistance of the [...] Pl of the 1 [...]. The Bde moved into AMIENS with the [...] [...] [...] by mid-day. [...][...][...] of the br over the [...]. Bde HQ [...][...] in the town, the [...] was [...]. The Brigade [...][...][...][...][...][...][...][...]. Prisoners were taken from every kind of unit [...][...][...][...][...][...][...][...][...][...]

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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.