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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: 4th Tk Bn Grenadier Guards
Month and Year: December 1944 (Erase heading not required). Commanding Officer: Lt.Col. The Lord Tryon
Place Date Hour Summary Reference
ZEILBURG 6619 1 1030 The Bn complete moved to ZEILBURG wheels leading. ZEILBURG is about 2 miles East of DEURNE. The Bn has an operational role having 2 Sqns at 4 hrs notice & 1 Sqn at 8 hrs notice. In the afternoon the Bn was warned that on the 2nd it was to support 9th Bde, 3rd Br Inf Div in an attack on an enemy pocket round WASSUM 8528. Orders were given out that night to move at 1300 hrs the next day. Only 2 Sqns, Nos 1 & 3 were required for the operation, with F2 complete.
TIENTRAY 8523 2 0730 Recce parties & the Commanding Officer set out at 0730 hrs to contact 9 Bde in area TIENRAY 8523.
2 1300 The Bn less No 2 Sqn set out at 1300 hrs in order 1, 3, Bn HQ, F2 & arrived at 8524 at about 1500 hrs. It was now discovered that the enemy had withdrawn & the whole operation was then called off. The Bn harboured the night round TIENRAY. As usual the weather was appalling.
ZEILBURG 3   The Bn returned to ZEILBURG, leaving at about 0830 hrs in order Bn HQ, 3, 1 & arrived at 1100 hrs. The Bn remains at 4 hrs notice to move. The rest of the day was spent in maintaining tanks etc. Everyone in billets although not so comfortable as HELMOND, ZEILBURG being quite a small town.
4   Usual routine. It has not stopped raining for 3 days. Local inhabitants say that it is the wettest season for 50 years. The Bn is here until the 14th Dec when it returns to HELMOND for Christmas.
5   Usual routine. Drill competition in afternoon won by No 3 Sqn’s platoon.
6   The Bn was warned that it must be prepared to turn into infantry at the beginning of the new year for a stay of about a fortnight in the line. Full details are not yet available. Otherwise routine as usual.
7   Routine as usual. Establishments for transferring into infantry were produced & preparations for training starting.
8   Only 1 Sqn is now left at 4 hrs notice – the remainder being at 8 hrs notice. Routine as usual.
9   Routine as usual. Inf training started.
10-14   Routine as usual. Inf training continues. The Bn was to return to HELMOND on the 14th but late on the 13th a message from Bde cancelled the move which was postponed until the 15th, when the Bn will return to its old billeting area.
HELMOND 15   The wheels returned to HELMOND at 0830 hrs followed immediately by the tanks in order Bn HQ-2-3-1. All arrived by 1130 hrs, with the exception of 1 tank left in ZEILBURG on the start line. It was simple to settle into our old billets & by the afternoon everyone had managed to set up offices etc again.
16   Orders for infantry training have been cancelled & the Bn is instead ordered for training with 15 (S) Inf Division starting after Christmas.
17   German reconnaissance aircraft flew over several times during the morning. A church service was held in the morning.
18   Preparations for Christmas dinners etc are now in full swing as the Bn does not expect to move until the new year.
19   Maintenance as usual.
20   At 0430 hrs the Bn was ordered to be ready to move at once to BELGIUM to take part in operations against the German counter offensive. The Bde who had been under 1st Canadian Corps now becomes under 30 Corps. The Recce Party left at 1030 hrs, the wheels at 1300 hrs & the tks at 1500 hrs. The move was 46 miles – route HELMOND – WEERT – KINROY – BREE, crossing the Belgian frontier some few miles North West of BREE.
BREE 20   The wheels arrived at 1700 hrs, but the tanks were not all in until 2215 hrs. Everyone was in billets of some kind. No move was expected for 48 hrs. The rest of the Bde followed down behind us & arrived very late in the night. The Bn was now in 30 Corps.
LOUVAIN 21   At 0630 hrs orders were given to move off once more; this time to LOUVAIN about 65 miles away. Wheels again led leaving at 0930 hrs, followed immediately by the tanks. The first half of the run via BOURG LEOPOLD – GHEEL across the Albert Canal went according to plan but a few miles North of AIRSCHOT the whole column was held up for 3 or 4 hours by transport of numerous divisions both American & British & the wheeled column did not arrive until 2030 hrs & the tanks until much later – one column of the latter driving down the BRUSSELS road. Once again everyone is under cover. The Bn was now under command 153 Bde of the 51st (H) Division.
22   The Bn stayed the day at LOUVAIN but the Recce Parties went to MAASSTRICHT in HOLLAND, some 70 miles away. Transporters arrived in the evening & all tanks were loaded before dark.
MAASTRICHT 23   The long trek continued next morning – wheels leading at 1000 hrs – followed by the transporters. Route LOUVAIN – DIEST – HASSELT – MAASTRICHT. All went well & by 1900 hrs all tanks were safely in. The Bn had thus done 180 miles, all except 40 on its tracks without losing a single tank. The Bn thus crossed the MEUSE for the first time & were placed in 12 Corps under command 9th US Army; with a counter attack role. The Bn was once more in billets at WIJK a suburb of MAASTRICHT.
WIJK 24   The Bn was at 2 hrs notice to move almost immediately on arrival at WIJK. Preparations for Xmas continued however & by the afternoon it was certain that Xmas would be spent at WIJK. It was probable that the Bn would come under command 43 Div as 51st Div left the area without us.
25   Christmas Day. A church service at 1000 hrs followed by Xmas dinners in a local factory were all that could be carried out of the usual festivities. The weather had turned very cold, & although there was no snow yet, it seemd likely to fall at any moment.
26   The Bn was now under command 43 Div with a counter attack role. This role involved many possibilities & numerous reconnaissances have to be carried out. The weather remains very cold.
27   A light fall of snow accompanied by very hard frost made the roads very dangerous. The Commanding Officer & Sqn Leaders started cooperating with 129 Inf Bde & although the Bn was placed at 6 hrs notice no move unless an enemy counter attack develops has yet been ordered.
28   Further reconnaissances were carried out. The area is round about GEILENKIRCHEN some 5 miles over the German border & the Bn has to go about 20 miles before reaching its counter attack position. Weather still very cold.
29   No fresh developments. Weather cold. Reconnaissances continue.
30   More snow but warmer. Routine as usual. The Bn was placed on 3 hours ntice, this being done to enable us to carry each our counter attack in hrs, more than as a warning order to move.
31   Two new officers 2/Lts Bradshaw & Magill joined the Bn from the GAD. The last day of 1944 passed uneventfully; the weather turning warmer & with no activity except for reconnaissance.

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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.