On a journey of discovery to historical sites? Download the TracesOfWar app directly on Google Play or the Apple App Store.
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: 4th Tk Bn Grenadier Guards
Month and Year: November 1944 (Erase heading not required). Commanding Officer: Maj. C.M.F. Deakin
Place Date Hour Summary Reference
LIESEL 1   Lt Col HRH Davies relinquished command of the Bn this afternoon to take up another appointment. Major CMF Deakin assumed command, pending the appointment of another Commanding Officer.
1   Operations were confined to reshuffling of Sqns preparatory to the attack on the 2nd. No 3 Sqn were shelled in the afternoon & 1 officer & 4 ORs were wounded.
2 1000 The attack was on MOOSTDIJK 6908 & involved the passing of 2 Bns supported by No’s 1 & 2 Sqns through 2 other Bns supported by No 3 Sqn. The enemy had withdrawn & mines, shelleing & mortaring were the only opposition. No 3 Sqn lost 2 tanks on a minefield & their accompanying flails also lost two.
2 1630 Towards evening it was thought that the enemy had pulled out of MEIJEL 7006 & every effort was made to push in, but later it was obvious that the enemy still had a strong screen round HOF 7285.
3 0730 The flails march down the main MEIJEL road at dawn to clear the minefield at 698083. It was hoped that the Recce Regt could then pass through & reach the canal. The enemy were once more presumed to have gone long before they did. No 3 Sqn less 2 Tps supported the flails. Opposition on the minefield was very heavy & all flails were eventually knocked out. No 3 Sqn had 3 tanks disabled suffering two ORs killed. The tanks did get back but all futher operations were then called off.
3 1600 An attack on MEIJEL was laid on for the next morning. At a late hour this was called off to enable counter battery fire to be properly organized & was then laid on for the morning 5th.
HEITRAK 4   Bn HQ moved down to HEITRAK some two miles South of LIESEL. Intermittent shelling continued by day & night & it was obvious that the enemy was not going to abandon MEIJEL voluntarily.
5 0730 The attack on MEIJEL started at 0740 hrs. The plan was as follows. No 2 Sqn were to push on by themselves in an armoured role on the left flank, with the object of coming behind the enemy positions in the large wood North of MEIJEL. Their left flank on the canal was to be blanketed by a smoke screen. At 0745 hrs an inf bn supported by two troops of tanks were to attack SCHAMS 7008 & then the remaining two troops were to support an attack by flame throwers on the North edge of the wood which No 2 Sqn had already outflanked. Finally another inf bn supported by No 3 Sqn were to capture MEIJEL.
5 0730 No 2 Sqn crossed the start line & pushed straight on to their objective. On the way they crossed a minefield but only lost 1 tk. On approaching the wood the going suddenly deteriorated & tanks began to bog at an alarming rate. It was then clear that any further operations here would be out of the question & the tanks were ordered to withdraw. Those that could get out then ran on the same minefield & eventually only 4 tanks withdrew behind the start line. Some tanks which had been hit by A/Tk guns were knocked out & their crews forced to get out. 4 tanks bogged, but with their guns in action were however still manned & remained behind the enemy lines all day. The smoke screen continued until nearly dark when a rescue party of Honey tanks set out to save the crews of the bogged tanks. Three Honey’s were bogged in their turn but all the crews were saved from the bogged tanks less 1 crew which returned late at night.
5 0745 Meanwhile No 1 Sqn had run into very heavy A/Tk gun fire on a minefield not previously reported & were totally unable to support the 2 plns of inf who had succeeded in reaching SCHAMS. Every effort was made to get through but after 8 tanks had been lost through mines or guns the remainder of the Sqn withdrew out of sight.
5 1515 It was thus quite clear that further Tk Inf cooperation was impossible for the moment & at 1515 hrs an order was given for the Bn to withdraw to HELMOND.
5 1800 The Bn withdrew in order 1, 3, 2, Bn HQ to HELMOND & arrived there in the pitch dark & frowning rain. At about 1830 hrs it was reported that the leading inf bn had encountered some of our missing men & these were eventually tracked down & taken back.
5   The casualties for the day had been:-
5   Officers 0 killed, 2 wounded (Lt. Rocke, Lt Eliot)
5   ORs 4 killed, 16 wounded (1 died of wounds)
5   Tanks lost in the whole operations X 2, Y 11, Z 16 (later most of the Y tks were blown up by the Germans).
HELMOND 6   The Bn now settled down to reorganize its rather shattered ranks. Everyone was eventually installed in billets & maintenance rest, baths, etc were enjoyed by everyone. In the afternoon Lt Col The Lord Tryon arrived to take over the command of the Bn from commanding the 1st Motor Bn.
7   Major-General CM Barber DSO commanding 15 (S) Div addressed the Bn this morning & thanked everyone for their assistance in the last battle. The Bn now started to reorganize & various changes were made in Sqns. Major R Heywood-Lonsdale took over No 1 Sqn from Capt RR Etherton.
8   The Bn was now firmly established in HELMOND & looking forward to a period of rest, rather overdue. It is hoped that all tanks will be replaced soon.
9   The Bn now settled down in its new location & began to resume the normal activities of a Bn in billets. Dances, football & entertainments are available on a large scale.
10   Maintenance & reorganizations as before.
11   Efforts were made to salvage the tanks left at MEIJEL but as they were still under enemy shellfire no success could be achieved. The inf in that area still report enemy in their old locations in HOF & MEIJEL.
12   A conference was held at 44 Bde HQ in order to tie up future Tk Inf cooperation. Church was held in the morning.
13   Except for an occasional air raid nothing fresh occurred. The local inhabitans are very friendly & everyone appears to be well settled in.
14   As before nothing fresh to report.
15   Another day at rest. Sqns were now fully up to strength in tanks. The MO Captain GC Price was relieved by Capt IA Williams. The Rev. Hussey RC padre was attached to the Bn from 6th Bde HQ.
16   Reports have been received that all tanks left at MEIJEL have been brewed up by the enemy & most of the kit removed.
17   So far no orders have been received about future operations although a move has been expected for some days. Routine continues as before.
18   Nothing new to report. All Sqns have now held dances & cinemas, theatres etc continue to be plentiful.
19   A church service was held today at 1130. An air raid at lunch time provided the ony incident.
20   As before. Nothing to report.
21   Sqn vehicle & tank inspections were carried out in the Bn by the Commanding Officer throughout the week.
22   The other formations of the Bde having now moved out the Bn was at varying hours notice to move itself. This was normally 4 hrs notice but shortened to 2 hrs for one day. This continued for a week at the end of which the Bn returned to normal, not having moved from HELMOND at all.
23   Activities were cut down by being at notice to move. Usual routine.
24   Appaling weather made inspection impossible. It rained for 3 days with scarcely a break & all activities were curtailed.
25   As before. Nothing to report.
26   Church parade was held at 1100 hrs – otherwise routine as usual.
27   The Bn was ordered to move to DEURNE on the following Friday after spending almost exactly 3 weeks in HELMOND.
28   Preparations for the move were begun. As this coincided with the changing of oils in all vehicles everyone was kept busy.
29   The Corps Commander Lieut General Sir Richard O’Connor KCB DSO MC addressed representative officers on giving up command of the Corps. He particularly thanked this Bde for their support at all times.
30   The Bn had the honour to be visited by the Supreme Commander General “Ike” Eisenhower. He inspected one vehicle of every type held by the Bn & was apparently extremely impressed by the standard of cleanliness & maintenance. He was accompanied by the Army Commander General Dempsey. The weather managed to keep fine for the visit for the first time in 3 weeks.

previous month | next month

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.