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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: 7 FD Regt RA
Month and Year: October 1944 (Erase heading not required). Commanding Officer: Lt.Col. N.P.H. Tapp
Place Date Hour Summary Reference
1   The Regt moved up across the MAAS to an area South of MALDEN, we have no infantry in the line which is at present held aggressively by the Americans 82 Airborne Div. The guns occupy positions during darkness after a 7 hour journey, again on crowded roads. On the journey we can but admire the good work of the Airborne Tp in the capture intact of the bridge at GRAVE, it must have proved costly to the Boche.
2   0530 hrs the Americans put in an attack to the SE to straighten their line, we are proud to support them. In the opinion of the IO supporting Americans is great work as the Tac HQ was situated in a very attractive small chalet, fully furnished: we were well organised with our easy chairs, polished tables and cups of tea; for comfort there is no doubt we were even better off than Army HQ. We gave our support in answer to every request and brought down heavy and effective fire for which we received the congratulations and thanks of Airborne Div GOC. We remained in support overnight.
3   Infantry of 185 Bde took over the front during the evening, the operation took place during a counter attack by the enemy but the Americans returned our support of the previous day. The counter attack was repulsed, no doubt the Boche tps had wounds to lick.
4   We harass the enemy.
5   The day was quiet but harassing fire programmes during the night kept the guns active. We have put down quite a good number of rounds, we must be doing steady damage. Major Fanshawe and Capt Handford, MC, of 16 Bty were wounded, one OR killed and one OR wounded.
6   Another quiet day. HF tasks were fired on our immediate front. Again the Regt is in the lead, on the passing of shellreps to the CBO. Enemy pilot baled out into RHQ area, at least 100 men ran from all directions but were beaten to it by the LAA. Major J.A. Sulivan, RA, was posted to the Regt and took command of 16 Bty.
7   We still occupy the area by the Factory, very little fighting on our front. 1830 hrs two shells land in area of RHQ. More shells follow causing casualties and at 1935 hrs a bad burst of gun fire keeps us well down in our trenches. This is the rudist period we have had for many weeks, it reminds us of the days behind LEBISEY. More gun fire came down later it the night and one unexploded shell landed in one of 17 Bty's gun pits. The M14 carrying the set on the CRA's net had a very near miss which caused the set to be put out of action, reserve communications were immediately put into operation. One OR killed and three wounded.
8   We are to be relieved by 43 Div tomorrow, recce parties leave at 1200 hrs today with an RV to the South of MILL. The day is much quieter for the forward infantry, perhaps our counter mortar targets have been effective. We fire 200 rounds of HE.
9   The infantry start their hand over at midday, the 2 Warwicks wait for cover of darkness. The relieving guns take over by 1000 hrs coming into action wheel to wheel with our own. We are established South of the village of OPLOO by 1430 hrs. 185 Bde are concentrated near MILL and our immediate front is held by 11 Armd Div with 2 Mons and 1 Herefords. We are to keep quiet but we do establish one OP, chiefly for counter mortar observations. We are surrounded by one of the biggest concentrations of arty that we have seen since the early days of France.
10   We are allowed to register one gun, but visibility is too bad. This area is most unpopular, the ground is sodden and most of the slit trenches are filled with water. The men were still joking at breakfast even though they had laid in water all night. CO goes to HQRA for O Gp at 1730 hrs.
11   We still remain quiet but we receive orders to take part in fire plan of 12 Oct.
12   We fired in support of 8 Bde who were given the task of passing through the firm base of 11 Armd Div and of capturing and consolidating OVERLOON. We fired counter battery and counter mortar tasks for one hour before H hr and from then onwards we had over two hours continuous firing on a barrage followed by concentrations. 185 Bde were at short notice to follow up and OPs and reps were standing by. 8 Bde infantry move forward quickly and were well up under the barrage. By 1330 hrs both forward battalions had elements in the outskirts of OVERLOON. We continued to fire counter mortar during the afternoon. At 1825 hrs we fired on enemy forming up for counter attack, this never developed. BCs were ordered to be at their respective battalions by 2030 hrs. CO went to HQRA for O Gp at 2200 hrs. Three ORs wounded.
13   9 and 185 Bdes are passing through with H hr 0730 hrs. Axis of 9 Bde is OVERLOON KLEINDORP VENRAIJ. Axis of 185 Bde is OVERLOON BRABANDER VENRAIJ. We are prepared to fire barrage and concentrations in support. Tac HQ was established between LACTERIA and OVERLOON. 61 Med Regt were on call through rep at Tac HQ. We are fighting Para Bn Paul who are said to have a few tanks in support. Infantry of 185 Bde made a good start under heavy mortar fire and against slight ground opposition. The progress of 9 Bde was rather slower. The enemy held church in VENRAIJ gave good command of the battle area, this was attacked by typhoons and 61 Med Regt obtained 19 hits on the tower. At last light 185 Bde had cleared the woods to the South of OVERLOON. A new plan is devised for the following day.
14   At 0730 hrs 1 Norfolk are to move forward to the wood in area of RIOOLEERINGS RESERVIORS to the North East of BRABANDER and 2 Warwicks are to move forward along the axis to VENRAIJ. 9 Bde on our right is also to move forward to VENRAIJ. We fire a different type of barrage in support of 1 Norfolk. The barrage was lifted considerably faster than the infantry could move and was then halted for 20 minutes, there were three such halts throughout the barrage. Little progress was made and no crossing of the MOLENBEEK was made. From the gun area an unfortunate accident to the Air OP was observed. The aircraft was evidently hit by a shell while flying in front of the guns and the fuselage disintregrated in mid air. Recce parties were at 30 minutes notice to move from 1300 hrs.
15   There was no planned move by our own infantry during the day but our guns fired in support of 11 Armd Div who cleared our left flank in a SE direction. They met little opposition and at certain points they reached the line of the railway. In this battle mortar fire and mines have caused considerable trouble and good observation from two points gave the enemy good assistance in a strong defensive action. The two points of observation were VENRAIJ church tower and a tall square tower in MAASHEES. Both these towers were engaged, by rocket firing typhoons and by 61 Med Regt, and although hits were observed neither was destroyed. The tanks at his disposal were few but the enemy fire was effective and slowed down our movement considerably. During the day the Regt moved forward to the area of OVERLOON with the gun positions between the brick factory and the road OPLOO OVERLOON. The move took considerable time as two batterys had to be kept in action in support of 11 Armd Div. A further attack for the 16 Oct was planned with a preliminary operation of crossing the MOLENBEEK during the hours of darkness. This was to bring the infantry on to a better start line. Artificial moonlight was used to assist this preliminary operation and was provided by five searchlights projecting almost horizontally. Two reps from 33 Fd Regt joined Tac HQ for the morrows battle. One rep remained with CO and the other reported to the KSLI with the primary task of screening the left flank if this was found necessary.
16   The crossing of the MOLENBEEK proved easier than expected and both forward battalions reached their start line. At 0630 hrs 185 Bde moved forward on their original axis through BRABANDER VENRAIJ. Support was in the form of concentrations on call. Weather was very bad but good progress was made. The area over which the advance was made was thickly sown with mines. By last light 2 Warwicks were consolidated immediately North of BRABANDER. One offr wounded and two ORs wounded.
17   The battle for VENRAIJ continues. 185 Bde with H hr 0830 hrs are to continue as planned. 8 Bde on our right are to approach the town from the West. The final objective of the Monastery to the South East of VENRAIJ was not reached; mopping up of BRABANDER was sufficient task for the day. Three ORs killed.
18   2 Warwicks reached the Monastery by 0730 hrs. Arty support was given to neutralize mortars which were still doing considerable damage. By the end of the day the Monastery was consolidated with the whole of 2 Warwicks and the battle of VENRAIJ had been won. The Infanteers say this was their hardest battle in the campaign. It was unpleasant to find the cellars of the Monastery filled with refugees and patients of the Mental Hospital who throughout the last week had hardly received sufficient food to keep them alive. One OR wounded.
19   185 Bde are relieved and our FOOs come in for a well earned rest. One OR killed.
20   Very little to report. HQRA orders HF tasks.
21   More HF tasks are engaged.
22   We send a rep from each battery to work with 3 Recce Regt.
23   We fire few rounds to harass the Boche.
24   Major J.F. Lister and Major R.H.W. Dunn were awarded the MC; due celebration in RHQ Mess on drink brought by 2 IC while in BRUSSELS.
25   We prepare to move into an area West of KLEINDORP from which position we shall be able to give support to 185 Bde who are to go back into the line in the VENRAIJ area which is at present held by 8 Bde.
26   185 Bde go back into the line but our guns stay in their present locations. Support for 185 Bde will be given by 76 Fd Regt who are in a better position to cover the front whilst we are to work with 3 Recce. Our zone is between MOLLEN and BOXMEER.
27   Reps are with 3 Recce. We fire to support patrols and engage HF tasks.
28   16 Bty leave the Regt area and go into action near ST ANTHONIS. From this position they are able to engage targets on the front held by 2 HCR and Inns of Court. 9 and 17 Btys are still in support of 3 Recce. Regt area shelled between 0600 hrs and 0800 hrs; there were no casualties.
29   We still support 2 HCR and 3 Recce. We engage HF tasks by day and night.
30   Today we harass the Boche with an independent Tp with the object of creating a "fog of war" followed by the covering of enemy territory with airburst. This successful operation was carried out by "B" Tp of 9 Bty. This operation was enjoyed by the gunners and although results cannot be accurately assessed it must have had the desired effect on the German. Major Dunn returned to the Regt completely recovered from his wounds received at LEBISEY. He took over command of 16 Bty and Major Sulivan was posted from the Regt.
31   Once again we harass with an independent troop, this time "C" Tp of 17 Bty, expending 80 rounds with 50 per cent airburst.
31   Note. Attached is an interesting article which appeared in "The Gunner" of November 1939 describing an action fought by RHQ 9, 16 and 17 Batteries on 11 November 1914.

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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.