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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: 4/7th Royal Dragoon Guards.
Month and Year: November 1944 (Erase heading not required). Commanding Officer: Lt.Col. G.K. Barker
Place Date Hour Summary Reference
1   The Commanding Officer and Major S.R.M. Jenkins returned from leave in the afternoon. The S.R.Y. sent representatives to look at the Squadron areas at WINSSEN which they were to take over from us to-morrow.
1   Q.M. attended a 'Q' conference at Bde. H.Q. at which among other things the forthcoming Ordnance inspectorate was discussed. The Commanding Officer interviewed 7 new Corporals posted to us as crew comds, and also saw all personnel who were on our strength at the 265 F.D.S.
2   The Regiment moved out of WINSSEN – in the morning, crossed over the NIJMEGEN bridge on to the Island — once again. Owing to the possibility of the enemy being able to flood a large portion of the Island, only 95 vehicles of the Regiment were allowed over; this meant that "A" and "B" Sqns. only had 15 tanks, "C" Sqn. 17 and the A1 Echelon only 6 lorries. We took over duties from S.R.Y. "A" Sqn. u/c 50 (N) Div. located at OOSTERHOUT – 50 Div. being responsible for the Eastern sector – N.E. of ELST - BEMMEL. RHQ at OOSTERHOUT again. "B" and "C" Sqns. u/c 101 U.S. Airborne Div. "C" Sqn. being located at ZETTEN ANDELST and having two tps. out on the "Western approaches", one u/c 327 Combat Team and one u/c 502 Combat Team. "B" Sqn. were located at HERVELD in Div. reserve liable to operate with 501 or 506 Combat Team to the North or North East.
2   The relief was completed by 1200 hrs.
2   The Commanding Officer and Adjutant visited Sqns. in their new areas and called at 50 Div. and 101 U.S. Airborne Div. H.Qs. In the afternoon the Commanding Officer went to "B” Echelon and organized the classes which were to be run in the Echelon to train tradesmen and tank comds: 2 gunnery, 2 D.&M. and 1 wireless and 1 crew comds class were started. Capt. E.H. Frank was made supervisor of the schools. The Commanding Officer visited HQ 8 Armd Bde in the evening.
3   Sqns had nothing to report. The Commanding Officer held a short Sqn Leaders conference in the morning and visited Sqn areas again in the afternoon calling at 101 US Airborne HQ in the early evening.
3   Captain A.L. Barlow, Tech Adjt of the 2 N Y which had recently been broken up arrived on attachment with a view to taking over appointment as Tech Adjt in the Regiment. It was announced today that the whole of BELGIUM had now been completely liberated.
4   The Brigadier called in the morning. The Commanding Officer spoke to all ranks of "A", "B" & "C" Sqns in their Sqn areas in the morning, putting them into the picture as far as possible, and stressing the importance of doing everything we could to prepare for our next operation whenever it might be and outlining the policy of how we would deal with the civilians when in Germany.
4   8 Armd Bde held a dance at NIJMEGEN, in the evening, to which a number of Officers were invited. A troop of "B" Sqn carried out a direct shoot at 3 suspected enemy OPs across the river from a position west of DRIEL.
5   The Padre held church services for Sqns during the day.
5 0930 The Commanding Officer attended the service for HQ held in OOSTERHOUT Protestant Church in the morning.
5 1100 The Commanding Officer gave his talk to all ranks of HQ Sqn who were on the "Island". Capt A.L. Barlow (ex 2 N Y) took over duties temporarily as Tech Adjt from Capt C.T. Monckton who returned to "B" Sqn for duty.
6   "C" Sqn moved their location at ZETTEN ANDELST by 300 yds or so as some enemy shelling had been coming very near their harbour. The Commanding Officer visited Sqns in the morning and B Echelon in the afternoon, later going on to 8 Armd Bde HQ and 147 Fd Regt.
7   Sqns had nothing to report.
7 1145 The Commanding Officer held Sqn Ldrs conference about various domestic matters and outlined plan for evacuation from the "Island" in case the Hun breached a dyke and flooded it.
7   A representative from the 30 Corps A C C adviser called in the afternoon and discussed replacement of two cooks in "A" Sqn with the Commanding Officer.
7 1300 Two Spitfires machine gunned an A.1 Echelon 3-tonner taking petrol to "C" Sqn at ZETTEN ANDELST and brewed it up; the driver escaped injury; a similar incident had recently occured to the 43 Recce Regt and it was suspected that the planes were piloted by the enemy.
8 0930 The Commanding Officer attended "O Group" at 8 Armd Bde HQ and returned later bringing back the Commanding Officer, Sqn Ldrs and other officers of the Fort Garry Horse (our affiliated Canadian Regt) who came to recce our area: they were going to take over from us on 11 Nov 44. The officers lunched at RHQ before going round to the Sqn areas. The Fort Garry Horse belong to the 2 Canadian Corps and the last contact we had made with them was in 1941 when their then Commanding Officer (Lt Col Moreton) visited us at EDGCOTE. Their Commanding Officer now was Lt Col Wilson.
8 1730 The Commanding Officer held an "O Group" outlining our move on 11 Nov 44 when we were to go with 8 Armd Bde to new area (u/c 30 Corps still) N E of MAASTRICHT. 2 Canadian Armd Bde were to come here with the Fort Garry Horse to our own area on the "Island". Orders for recce parties to leave under the 2nd-in-Command on 9 Nov 44 were issued, final details not arriving from Brigade till 2220 hrs. Main move would be on 11 Nov 44.
8   Quite a lot of enemy shelling fell on the "Island" during night including some salvoes from a "Moaning Minnie" (Nebelwerfer).
9   Some shelling occurred during early hours of the morning cutting lines in "B" Sqn area: none fell in any of our immediate localities.
9 0730 Recce party under 2nd-in-Command left for new area N E of MAASTRICHT.
9   p.m. The Commanding Officer visited B Echelon.
10   p.m. "B" Sqn sent a troop up south-west of DRIEL and carried out an indirect shoot on to enemy localities on the north of the lower RHINE, having an OP with observation from the dyke south of the river.
11   At 1100 hrs the Adjutant officially handed over – in the absence of the Commanding Officer who had to go to the MAASTRICHT area early – our duties on the "Island". The Colonel arranged with Lt Col Wilson (Commanding Officer of the Fort Garry Horse) to have a pennant made with their flag on one side and ours on the other. Sqns took the opportunity of this fortuitous and happy meeting with our affiliated Canadian Regiment to be the excuse for some celebrations.
11 1440 The Regiment left OOSTERHOUT on the island, crossed by the NIJMEGEN road bridge and moved to area BRUNSUM (S W of SITTARD and N W of AACHEN) travelling on tracks some 129 miles. Route was via GRAVE – EINDHOVEN – JOE’s bridge – BOURG LEOPOLD – BEERINGEN – ASCH – GELEEN and AMSTENRADE. Meal was served by cooks lorry during long halt 1800-1900 hrs (near EINDHOVEN). The drive lasted all night, the Regiment coming into Sqgn areas at BRUNSUM early 12 Nov 44. Some tanks and lorries were left en route with mechanical troubles and fuel stoppages but by evening 12 Nov 44 most were in. 5 tanks had to go into LAD or Workshops as a result of the drive.
12 0830 The Regiment in 43 Div area et BRUNSUM, "A" Sqn being located furthest away at RAAT two miles from RHQ. BRUNSUM area about 2 miles from the German border. The Commanding Officer spent most of the day on O Group at 43 Div HQ and recce of ground over which the Regiment would be operating north west and north of GEILENKIRCHEN. Sqns rested.
13 0900 The Commanding Officer held an O Group. See Appendix "A" for orders issued. The Regiment was to support 214 Bde in a limted attack due east from GILLRATH, "A" Sqn on right with SLI having NEIDERHEIDE as their objective, "C" in centre with 5 DCLI with HOCHEIDE and BRUGGERHOF as their objectives and "B" Sqn on the left with 1 Worc having RISCHDEN and TRIPSRATH as their objective. Attack dependent upon 84 US Div gaining high ground south and south east of GEILENKIRCHEN first and designed to push out enemy holding GEILENKIRCHEN and cut their escape route N.E.
14   Nothing to report from Sqns. Most officers were engaged on recces, visiting Bn Comds etc. In a defence plan now formulated by 43 Div we had 1 Sqn put u/c 214 Inf Bde and Regiment (less "A" Sqn) u/c 130 Bde.
15   The Commanding Officer visited 214 Inf Bde HQ in the morning. Lt. J.H.G. Ford while out on a recce just north east of GILLRATH was wounded in the back by enemy mortar fire. He was not however evacuated.
15   The Brigade Comd (Brig G.E. Prior Palmer) visited Sqns in turn and gave the men an informal talk outlining the plans for the moment – 8 and 12 Corps offensive just started in VENLO sector, Americans under General Patton fighting for METZ, another big American push to start any day now south of 30 Corps sector, and 30 Corps with 84 US Div also u/c to start soon afterwards with our own show in GEILENKIRCHEN sector and then WALDENRATH (we making things nice and tidy for the Gds Armd Div to start!). He also spoke about the coming winter, warning us that it will be hard: leave was not on but all the Brigade would have had a go at the Bde Rest camp at LOUVAIN (near BRUSSELS) by 29 Nov 44.
15   In the evening it became known that the Brigadier had been awarded the DSO.
15   More rain but barometer rising.
16 1000 The Commanding Officer attended O Group at 214 Inf Bde. Weather much better today – blue sky and RAF were able to fly: American offensive south of 30 Corps sector started.
16 1400 The Commanding Officer held an O Group for operation ‘Clipper’.
17   American advance reported going satisfactorily.
17 1200 Commanding Officer held final tying up "O" Gp. Orders issued for actual move to assembly areas see Appdx "B".
18   The Regt. moved out in accordance with orders as issued.
18 1230 7 SLI with "A" Sqn. crossed the start line at GILLRATH with "B" Sqn on their left giving covering fire. This went well to start with, and the enemy re-action was surprisingly slow.
18 1300 S.L.I. and "A" Squadron reached woods just east of NEIDERHEIDE and "B" Squadron fire support was therefore stopped.
18 1340 Report that 6 Tigers withdrawn from HOCKHEIDE. 5th Troop "A" Squadron reached first house of NEIDERHEIDE, and first P. of W. were coming in.
18 1350 1 Worcs and "B" Sqn. in support crossed start line and the Inf. successfully pushed on through NEIDERHEIDE to RISCHDEN establishing themselves on their objective. The mud was now beginning to take a serious form, and a number of "B" Squadron tanks became bogged and two were mined. The enemy shelling became heavier and RHQ who were moving just S. of HATTERATH were heavily shelled by 88 mm though fortunately no tank was hit directly. By 1700 hrs. RHQ set up at the W. edge of NEIDERHEIDE just off the main axis.
18 1530 approx. DCLI with "C" Sqn. in support crossed their start line near NEIDERHEIDE and pushed on successfully to their objective at HOCKHEIDE, the DCLI establishing a road block on the main rd. NE from GEILENKIRCHEN – BRUGGERHOF. Meanwhile the Worcs. although successfully reaching RISCHDEN and later TRIPSRATH were having their advance slowed up, and it later transpired that their leading elements were preceded into RISCHDEN by TSM Parkin’s Troop ("A" Sqn.).
18 1700 23 tanks of the Regt. were now bogged and the Tech. Adjt. and the Bde. E.M.E. were on the spot working very hard to extricate them. Work of recovery went on during the night and by next morning a number had been removed. Sqns. were established for the night:- "A" Sqn – NEIDERHEIDE, "B" Sqn - RISCHDEN, "C" Sqn. – HOCKHEIDE, and RHQ by edge of wood just W. of NEIDERHEIDE. During the night there was considerable enemy shell fire and mortaring took place.
19 0920 Report received that portion of the Worcs who were in TRIPSRATH were surrounded and that enemy counter attack was coming in from KRAUDORF on to TRIPSRATH. This was successfully beaten off largely due to fine support given by "A" Sqn. Tps. "A" Sqn. K.Od one Panther, and "C" Sqn. had some good shoots from the high ground on to enemy concentrations in the valley. By 1100 hrs. counter attack had subsided although the position of our Inf. in TRIPSRATH was by no means secure as the woods to the W. of RISCHDEN running Northwards had not been cleared nor had the Northern part of TRIPSRATH, and there were definitely enemy in these areas and about six S.Ps just N.W. of TRIPSRATH. All our positions were shelled quite ccnsiderably during the day and everybody remained in their tanks. "B" Sqn. sent 5 tanks down to TRIPSRATH in the early hours of the morning, and before they could take up suitable positions these tanks became involved in the enemy counter attack. Four were brewed up (two by Bazooka) between RISCHDEN and TRIPSRATH, Lieut. E.R. Thomas, Tprs. Kyte and Fyles being killed and some 12 Others being wounded.
20   An account of the Geilenkirchen battle is attached at Appx. "C".
20   Brigadier G.E. Prior-Palmer, DSO visited RHQ in the morning.
20   Despite mud and continued rain all the Sqns. were replenished during the day, ARVs and turretless Honeys ferrying supplies up "A" Sqn. where a dump was made. The road S. of RISCHDEN up through BAUCHEM – NEIDERHEIDE was made passable in the afternoon.
21   Little enemy air activity in the morning – two F.W.190s which did some strafing but not actually in our own area. Again there was considerable enemy shelling of all areas. One P. of W. surrendered to "A" Sqn. (belonging to 14 Coy. 351 Volkssturm Grenadier Regiment).
21 1400 RHQ moved back just E. of GILLRATH and set up shop in the Brickworks. "B" Sqn. were withdrawn from RISCHDEN in the morning and went back to A1 Echelon at STAHE and fitted end connectors to their tracks. These connectors would give better performance in mud and to-morrow "B" Sqn. were to support 5 DCLI with two Tps. in an advance NE from BRUGGERHOF. "A" Sqn. were prepared to support 1 Worcs. from RISCHDEN area if required.
22   Rain again. "B" Sqn. rallied forth to support 5 DCLI on to their objective which included E. of TRIPSRATH and village called HOVEN. This operation was to have been dependant on U.S. Forces moving up N.E. parralel to the road GEILENKIRCHEN - RANDERATH. However, U.S. Tps were unable to get further than SUGGERATH. This meant that the main road could not be used to supply the 5 DCLI in their forward area and therefore supplies could only be sent up on foot through woods and through the bottle neck as well. Two Tps of "B" Sqn. gave particularly effective support from the RISCHDEN area. During the day the Commanding Officer’s tank moved and set up RHQ on main road just S.W. of BRUGGERHOF moving back to Brickworks at night. The Commanding Officer stayed night at HQ. 214 Inf. Bde. at BAUCHEM. "B" Sqn. were permitted to withdraw to BAUCHEM for the night also. Casualties to-day - nil. End connectors definitely showed their worth except they did not prevent one Tp. being bogged.
23   "B" Sqn. sent two Tps. at first light to same position in RISCHDEN area. Counter attack developed approx. 0945 hrs. Thanks largely to the fire put down by "B" and "C" Sqns. Tps. on the forming up Troops, the counter attack never really developed properly and the situation was largely restored by 1100 hrs. 4 Wilts. relieved 5 DCLI. "B" Sqn. Tp. of tanks still in the bog. Rain again. In the evening RHQ moved to BAUCHEM.
24   During night certain amount of shelling in Sqn. and RHQ areas. Otherwise nothing to report in the front. 13/18 H relieved the Regiment with 129 Inf. Bde. at 1330 hrs. Sqns. coming out in turn and moving back – "A" and "C" Sqns to GILLRATH, "B" Sqn. (less 1 Tp. staying out in the bog) and A1 Echelon to area STAHE, RHQ to NEIDERBUSCH. In new location the Regt. remained under comd. 43 Div. and were in support of the 130 Inf. Bde. with counter attack role with the forward Bns. holding the line from KRAUDORF – BIRGDEN – HATTERATH. Gds. Armd. Div. were on our immediate left, 129 Inf. Bde. remained on our right with the 84 U.S. Div. on their right N.E. of GEILENKIRCHEN.
25   Nothing to report. The Commanding Officer visited Sqns. in the morning. Little shelling in all Sqn. areas during the day.
26   Nothing to report. Little shelling in A1 Echelon area. No casualties or damage. Padre visited Squadrons and held Services during day. Otherwise nothing to record.
27   Nothing to report except Brigadier G.E. Prior-Palmer DSO called in the morning and visited Sqns. in company with the Commanding Officer. RSM. Cheal returned to duty.
28   Commanding Officer and Adjt. visited Bde. HQ. in the morning and also "B" Echelon. During the night Regimental Fitters and REME personnel succeeded in pulling out the the tanks of "B" Sqn. which had been lying in a bog S. of TRIPSRATH.
29   Nothing to report.
30   The C. in C. 21st Army Group (Field Marshal Sir Bernard Montgomery K.C.B., D.S.O., M.C.) decorated certain Officers and ORs of 8 Armd. Bde and 43 Div. at an investiture held at TREBEK in the morning. No. 7902643 Sergt. Wilcox W. "B" Sqn. was the 4/7th RDG man to receive an award - the M.M. for gallantry at RAURAY (in the Normandy beachhead) when serving with the 24 L. The Commanding Officer, Adjutant, Major S.R.M. Jenkins, the RSM. and a number of other ranks of "B" Squadron attended as spectators. Among others to receive awards were Brigadier G.E. Prior-Palmer (Comd. 8 Armd. Bde) – the DSO. Before the investiture a programme of music was played by the Life Guards Band. A2 and B Echelon were moved to a transit area near BRUNSSUM in the afternoon, very little details were made known about this move by higher formation and it was done at short notice necessitating a speedy "pack up".

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Source: Joris Nieuwint, The Battlefield Explorer, 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.