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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: 4th Tk Bn Grenadier Guards
Month and Year: October 1944 (Erase heading not required). Commanding Officer: Lt.Col. H.R.H. Davies
Place Date Hour Summary Reference
GELDROP 1   The Bn settled down in billets at GELDROP some 6 miles East of EINDHOVEN in HOLLAND. The tank arrived at the ALBERT CANAL at about 1200 hrs & proceeded on tracks to GELDROP where they arrived from 1700 hrs onwards throughout the night. All but 3 arrived safely & these arrived within 24 hrs.
2   The day was spent in maintenance & cleaning up. At about 1930 hrs orders were received to move at 0600 hrs the following day to WEERT 5897.
3   The tanks left at 0600 hrs in order 2, 3, Bn HQ, 1 Sqns & arrived in area NEDERWEERT by about 0830 hrs.
HESTERSTRAT 3   NEDERWEERT lies about 2 miles NE of WEERT on the North side of the NEDER CANAL. The Bn relieved the Scots Greys, an Armd Bn of the 4th Armd Bde who were holding a defensive line along the banks of the canal with a bridgehead at WEERT held by the KRRC. The Bn was dispoed 2 up, right No 2 Sqn left No 3 Sqn, No 1 Sqn in reserve. Bn HQ at HEISTERSTRATT 5900. The enemy were in some force on the South bank of the canal with snipers scattered in houses, pillboxes etc. The Recce Tp carried out patrols up & down the canal bank.
4   An enemy patrol crossed the canal during the night but was fired at by one of No 3 Sqns forward tps & apparently suffered at least one casualty. Mortaring & shelling occured all day without doing any damage. No 2 Sqn retaliated with an HE shoot & “C” Bty 4 RHA in support fired at intervals during the day. Recce patrols as before.
5 0645 No 1 Sqn relieved No 2 Sqn in the right of the line. Mortaring occured occasionally during the day & night. Recce patrols as before.
5   Orders received at 2115 hrs were to move next morning. Recce patrols as before – this time engaging an enemy patrol at a very long range.
6   The 3rd City of London Yeomanry relieved the Bn at 0830 hrs.
6 0900 Major J.C. Gascoigne was badly wounded in the back handing over No 1 Sqn area to the CLY. Capt RR Etherton assumed command of the Sqn.
MILL 6 1120 The Bn moved Northwards via GELDROP – HELMOND – BAKEL – MILL 6443 where the tanks harboured in a wood about a mile South.
6 1300 “A” Ech arrived in the same wood at 1300 hrs. The tanks arrived at 1830 hrs. “B” Echelon remained at GELDROP. The Bn expected to continue the advance next day.
7 0900 The wheeled vehicles left at 0915 hrs followed by the tanks at 0945. Preparing to go to area MOOK 7254, near to the German border. At this moment the convoy was turned back into the same wood. The rest of the day was devoted to reorganization.
8   The Bn remained in the same wood & carried out further maintenance.
9   A very wet day. Orders were receieved to move shortly & come under command 3rd British Inf Div. Recce’s were carried out for the harbouring of the tanks & the Commanding Officer & Sqn Leaders looked over the ground. “B” Echelon joined the Bn in the afternoon.
10   The Bn was ordered to move next day to concentration area South East of ST ANTONIS 7138. The weather was appalling. Further recce’s were carried out.
11   Owing to the terrible weather the move was postponed for 8 hrs.
11 1400 The tanks moved out to ST ANTONIS 7138. Owing to gunners occupying our harbour area, the Bn moved on to area South of OPLOO 7135.
11 1600 “A” & “B” Echelon moved up to wood area 6835.
OPLOO 12   3rd Br Inf Div started the attack towards VENRAY.
12   The Coldstreamers supporting 8th Inf Bde in an attack on OVERLOON.
12   In the afternoon the Bn was warned to be prepared to support 9th Bde in an attack West of OVERLOON. This order was cancelled & the Bn was then ordered to harbour in area 744333 by 0530 hrs the following morning preparatory to attacking due South to the West of OVERLOON. 9th Bde consisted of the RUR, 1 KOSB & Lincolns.
OVERLOON 13 0245 The Bn set out in the pouring rain to its harbour area.
13 0930 The R.U.R. supported by No 3 Sqn & 2 Tps of No 2 Sqn were to attack at 0900 hrs & reach Southern edge of the wood 7530. The attack was delayed until 0930 hrs. The infantry succeeded in reaching its objective. No 3 Sqn lost 3 tanks 1 man killed, 3 wounded. Minefields were numerous & the thickly wooded wet country made going very difficult.
13 1430 At 1400 hrs 1 KOSB supported by No 2 Sqn attacked through same woods to the West. This attack was only partially successful as the infantry disappeared in to the woods, although No 2 Sqn reached the far edge of the wood & had some good shooting. 1 Tk was mined & 1 man was wounded. Mortaring was very heavy. The Bn was extremely well supported by a Sqn of flails from the Westminster Dragoons. No 1 Sqn had remained back in Bde reserve & did not take any part in the days actions.
13 1800 No 2 & 3 Sqns withdrew back to harbour for the night, the days gains being 2 large woods & a lot of Germans killed, & a few prisoners, about 180, mostly from the ersatz Bn’s.
14 0600 No 3 Sqn supporting the Lincolns were to push on to occupy the Eastern & Southern edges of wood 7528. This attack due to start at 0830 hrs, but was continually postponed until 1530 hrs. At this time the attack did start & was most successful the tks suffering no casualties.
14   No 1 Sqn were placed under command 8th Bde & attached to S Lancs Regt. The objective being the village of HALFWEG 7833 & the rly line running North & South, East of this village. HALFWEG was captured but there the advance stopped. The Sqn took some 100 prisoners & lost 3 tanks with 1 man killed & 3 wounded. Opposition was heavy including 88 mms & mines.
14 1500 Bn HQ, & No 2 Sqn in reserve, moved forward to edge of wood 7430 & at last light were joined by No 3 Sqn.
14 1900 At this time orders were received to concentrate back next day in its old area 7433. No 1 Sqn remained with S Lancs & suffered 3 casualties from mortar fire. At this time the Bn was removed from under command 9th Bde & was promised a days maintenance before continuing the battle.
15 0900 No 1 Sqn rejoined the Bn now back at 7433 & a days maintenance was carried out.
15 1400 At 1400 hrs the Commanding Officer gave out orders for the continuing of the attack next day under command 8th Bde. 8th Bde consisted of 1 Suffolks, South Lancs & East Yorks.
16   Very heavy rain during the night made the going very sticky indeed. The main obstacle to tank progress was the MOLENBEEK, a dyke some 25 ft across. This was to be bridged by a troop of AVREs, supported by No 2 Sqn with flails sweeping the routes to it. The AVREs did not succeed in bridging the gap adequately & no tanks were able to cross to help the infantry. After some time a bridge layer put down a proper bridge but when the first troop went across it was bogged on the far side. No 3 Sqn in reserve was then sent round by the main road into 185 Bde area & was ordered to be prepared to cross by a bridge there. The bridge broke down & No 3 harboured our side of the MOLENBEEK. No 1 & 2 Sqn & Bn HQ withdrew slightly & harboured North of the MOLENBEEK in the woods. Shelling & mortaring were at times heavy & mines were plentiful.
17   No 3 Sqn crossed the MOLENBEEK at first light & joined up again with 8th Bde. It was then decided that the whole Bn should go round by the other bridge, but by the time orders to actually move were received it was almost dark. The Bn less no 3 Sqn therefore harboured our side of the MOLENBEEK in an area about one mile South of OVERLOON. 1 half track caught fire during this manoeuvre.
18   The attack on VENRAY was launched today. No 3 Sqn supported the Suffolks from area 768268 through the woods to area 7625 & succeeded in eliminating a considerable number of enemy.
VENRAY 7627 18   No 1 Sqn supporting the South Lancs Regt attacked & captured VENRAY after some street fighting. One tank of No 1 Sqn struck a mine.
18 1730 Bn HQ crossed the MOLENBEEK & harboured in area 768278 where they were rejoined by No 1 Sqn, No 3 Sqn remaining near the Suffolks.
19   A dull day with appalling weather. Tps from 2 Sqns went up to support the infantry but did nothing & the bn now expected to be released for further operations. Bn HQ was shelled during the afternoon & suffered one casualty, wounded.
19 1630 Orders were received to retire to area OP DER BOOM, one mile South of OVERLOON, for the night & the Bn less No 2 Sqn harboured there in darkness & pouring rain.
OVERLOON, BAKEL 20   The Bn complete moved to BAKEL a town between GEMERT & HELMOND, a distance of about 25 miles. All vehicles had arrived by about 1500 hrs & settled down in the new area. Nos 1 & 3 Sqn succeeded in billeting most of their troops but HQ & No 2 Sqn were in fir woods.
20   The capture of VENRAY caused the following casualties:-
20   O. Ranks 3 killed, 15 wounded.
20   Tanks X 2, Y 7, Z 3.
21   A day spent in reorganization & maintenance. The Brigadier visited the Bn during the day.
22   Sunday. A quiet day with church services & maintenance, baths etc.
23   The Commanding Officer & Sqn Leaders attended a conference at 227 Bde HQs, thus rejoining once more the 15 Scottish Division.
23 1600 The Bn was ordered to leave at first light the next morning wheels leading.
24 0730 The wheels preceded the tanks to the new harbour area about ½ mile South of OEDENRODE. This was again in the middle of a wood, most of which was already deep in mud.
OEDENRODE 4231 24 1000 After all tanks had arrived, an order was given that the tanks must be ready to move again at once & the bn was placed under command 44 Bde our allies of ESTRY.
24 1430 The Bn then moved up to area BEST 3827 when it entanked the 8 RSF & dashed at full speed along the main road to OIRSCHOT 3125.
OIRSCHOT 3125 24   This was occupied without opposition & the tanks harboured about a mile East of the town less no 1 Sqn who remained with the inf.
25   46 Bde passed through 44 Bde & except for No 1 Sqn who moved out South West of OIRSCHOT to join up with the KOSB who had advanced along the WILHELMINA CANAL, the Bn remained stationary all day. The Inf Bde closed up their remaining Bn prepared to advance on the 26th.
MOERGESTEL 2229 26   The Bn again entanked the 8th RSF & headed by “A” Echelon & Bde HQ went to the area VINKENBURG 2229, preparatory to crossing the canal. The bridge was ready by midday but numerous mines & craters on the far side held up movement & as usual it was nearly dark before the move began.
26 1630 Again preceded by “A” Ech the Bn crossed the canal at 1630 hrs. The tanks then made a detour South down the canal bank & ran into mines about 2 miles down. No 2 Sqn lost its 4th & last tank & scout car but succeeded in passing the rest through.
HILVARENBEEK 26   No 1, 3 & Bn HQ turned round & arrived from a different direction. Major RH Heywood-Lonsdale rejoined the Bn.
27 1100 The inf attacked & captured TILBURG 185306. The tanks from No 1 Sqn who supported were able to give only limited supported & the inf pushed on & by nightfall (1730) the town except for the Northern suburbs was reported clear. The Bn less No 1 Sqn remained in its old location. Major JC Gascoigne has been awarded the MC.
28   The Bn was ready to move into TILBURG but at the last moment this order was cancelled & the Bn remained throughout the day at HILVARENBEEK, being rejoined by No 1 Sqn in the afternoon. Late in the evening it is learned that a German attack in the West necessitates the withdrawal of 6th Gds Tk Bde & 15th (S) Division.
GELDROP 29   The Bn left at 0900 hrs & returned to GELDROP, whence it had started its VENRAY campaign. Information was scarce be we were expecting to come under command of either 7th US Armd Div or 15th Scottish. The Bn then settled down its billets.
ASTEN 30   At 0001 hrs orders were received to move at 0900 hrs to ASTEN 5814 & come under command 44 Bde again.
30 1200 No 2 Sqn went almost straight into action to try & capture LIESEL 6614 with the RSF. This operation half succeeded & by evening the line was stabilized again, No 2 Sqn with RSF, No 1 Sqn with the Glasgow Highlanders (detached from 46 Bde) & No 3 Sqn in reserve. The KOSB were under command 46 Bde attacking from the North & the RS in reserve. The enemy appear to be the 15th PGR Division backed by the Para Hubner & fight well particularly the latter.
30 2000 LIESEL was half held by nightfall & No 2 Sqn supported by some self propelled guns harboured in the area to the North West. Bn HQ remained near ASTEN.
ASTEN 31 1000 The capture of LIESEL was completed with the help of 46 Bde & No 2 Sqn suffered some casualties from mortaring whilst leaving their harbour area.
31 1400 No 1 Sqn supported the Royal Scots in an attack due South through the woods to the East of the main LIESEL – MEIJEL road. This was successful but No 1 Sqn were not released until very late & had to harbour in the Glasgow Highlanders area to the North of the same wood. No 3 Sqn meanwhile had moved about a mile & had arrived in very much the same area.
31   No 2 Sqn came back into reserve about a mile West of the ramainder. Bn HQ remained in its old area close to 44 Bde HQ in ASTEN. The weather was poor all day & with dykes, mud & close country the tanks were not able to be used to their best advantage.

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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.