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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 Field Regt RA
Month and Year: December 1944 (Erase heading not required). Commanding Officer:
Place Date Hour Summary Reference
1   Communications on the wide front are very difficult but contacts still maintained. A very quiet day with no firing. We bid for the use of static OP Towers but are unsuccessful.
2   RHQ and 16 Bty move, the Bty goes to area HAPS and RHQ to South of WANROIJ. These areas are better for communications but in the HQ position the mud is very bad. Billetting is reasonably comfortable but this position could not be pleasant with so much mud. Again the guns have a very quiet day. Reps are as normal with BCs at Bn HQ and one OP per Bn area. A certain amount of movement can be seen but we cannot afford the ammunition to engage small targets, the Boche seems to know this by experience and walks about in the open.
3   Movement still observed but not engaged. Btys now settled in areas, we expect to stay until 12 Dec so a little extra attention is paid to comfort. Each Bty brings one troop out of action. One section of searchlights are to come under command to provide artificial moonlight for 185 Bde front, 16 Bty on the Left has wireless contact with HQRA Cdn Div who are on that flank, DF Tasks are discussed and we are now able to be called to fire on each others front. Appx D No.2
4   The system for artificial moonlight is that 185 Bde order light between 2 Northings lines and the Regt details the searchlight Section. If corrections are required the Bn concerned puts a request to Bde HQ this is passed to Regt and we order a sweep by degrees to the searchlight section HQ with whom we have wireless contact. Corrections were important tonight as 16 Bty Offrs Mess was silhouetted in a blaze of light.
5   We engage a Nebelwerfer, there is a slight increase in enemy gun fire today.
6   The CRA visited OPs during the morning. Our daily allotment of ammunition is ten rounds per gun. Another quiet day. Capt Sprent, CE Padre for the Divisional Artillery left the Division today.
7   A policy for engagement of targets was laid dawn by the CRA. Digging parties containing civilians are to be discouraged by odd rounds but no concentration is to be brought down. Vehicles on the road may be sniped with odd rounds. The whole front is very quiet with both sides just firing the odd rounds.
8   Visibility poor, a certain amount of digging is observed accross the river, the targets are engaged by infantry mortars. The Second in Command recces for an area into which we can move when we come out of the line.
9   We try to give cross observations for the Cdn Div Arty on our Left but visibility too bad to see. Very little observed during the day. 0750 one OP at 797376 heard a line of tracked vehicles on bearing of 355° but this was not enough data to shoot on.
10   76 Fd Regt reps visit our area as they will be taking over when we move out. Lieut Strigner of an Air OP Sqn joined the unit temporarily. These attachments during quiet periods prove to be useful, liaison is always much better after a few days of personal contact. It is unfortunate that orders for restriction should be received, we now feel very grateful for an allotment of 10 rounds per gun.
11   The Corps Commander visits 2 OPs. Between 0945 and 1030 hrs we fire and register a series of “Mike" Targets on areas in which we have observed movement during the past few days. 9 Bty fire a small fire plan on a locality opposite to Warwicks to cover the change over of the forward company. Two civilians who crossed the MAAS during the night told of the change over of the Bns accross the river. This was confirmed by noise heard during the night. The civilians also say that there is an evacuation between the river and 3 miles to the East of all non-military personnel.
12   A very quiet day, we fire a little harassing fire at 2030 hrs.
13   We get orders to move out of the line on 14 Dec. Although the Second in Command had recced good areas near HELMOND we were to remain in the Div area at short notice. 17 Bty are to come out of action but remain in their present location. We fire only one target during the day; this is harassing fire.
14   The move to DE TWIST takes place and we settle in billets which are much better than we first thought possible in such a bad area. The very first night patrol activity almost necessitated are coming into action in our emergency positions.
15   This period did not give us the rest we had looked forward to but a good amount of maintenance was possible and it was such it relief not to be expecting calls for immediate fire! A recce was carried out during the period in the area of HORST, we had been warned that we should be taking over from the 13 R.H.A. in that area.
21   The Regt moved into the area East of HORST and took over the zone from 13 R.H.A. The move was carried out by Btys at intervals but the whole Regiment was in action by 1100 hours. We are in support 185 Inf Bde who hold the front from GRUBBENVORST to OOIJEN. We fire several counter-mortar targets.
22   One of 17 Bty OPs got the rare opportunity to engage a target in a destructive shoot with one gun. The target was an enemy OP. We try not to fire from normal battle positions in this area. Each day one troop per Bty goes forward to a HF position and as far as possible these troops engage all targets. Retaliation tasks are arranged with the Brigade Commander. These targets are selected to cover sectors of the front and are engaged if forward troops are subjected to shelling or mortaring. The particular target which is situated nearest to the gun or mortar causing the annoyance is the one engaged. The object being to return fire with sufficient speed for the enemy to connect the retaliation with his own fire. These targets have a good effect on our own Infantry. Although we have gun superiority the success is limited by the small allotment of ammunition.
23   After a quiet night we engaged enemy platoon localities on the opposite bank of the MAAS. We have reason to suspect that the Germans are celebrating Christmas Day a little early, we expect trouble on the 25th.
24   The CRA visited the Regiment and spoke to all available men. Two bombards of enemy guns are carried out on a request from the CBO. Enemy localities are engaged with one Troop; these localities are made obvious by smoke. We are relieved to hear the enemy still enjoying their Christmas in a riotous manner but even so all ranks are warned to be specially alert.
25   A remarkably good Christmas Day spent in eating - drinking and being merry, only the drinking being below normal. We remember Christmas 1943 we think of the time which has joined the two anniversaries and thinking of the future, when the same memories will pass through our minds we hope that the conditions we experience then will give us even more pride.
26   A very cold day. The Counter Mortar Officer at Brigade calls for a bombard. A small fire plan is arranged to give the impression of a river crossing near GRUBBENVORST. This is planned to take place on the 28th December. Appx D No.3
27   A quiet day we are engaged in firing counter Battery and harrasing fire.
28   Fire plan arranged 26th December takes place with 'H' hour 0630 hrs. 92 LAA and 2 Mx mortar platoon are included in the fire plan. Several known targets and a small box barrage are engaged on a time programme. It is hoped to draw fire from the enemy indicating his mortar areas which we are prepared to engage. The firing was carried out according to plan but the operation was unsuccessful in that the enemy did not retaliate. All roads are iced and transport is cut to a minimum.
29   9 Inf Bde take over the front from 185 Inf Bde. The Regiment remains in position and supports the new Brigade. There is a slight change of company locations and a subsequent change in DF Tasks. Appx D No.4
30   Visibility is limited, roads are still iced. Retaliation target is fired at 0800 hrs otherwise quiet day.
31   Heavy spandau fire SAA and flares fired well to the East of the MAAS. We stand by to fire but later deduce that this is a German field firing exercise. We engage enemy guns by observation from AOP at 1515 hrs. Several tergets are engaged with observation from OPs, these are either small groups of men or fires.

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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.