|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: 4/7th Royal Dragoon Guards.|
|Month and Year: December 1944||(Erase heading not required).||Commanding Officer: Lt.Col. G.K. Barker|
|1||C. in C. 21 Army Group (Field Marshal Sir Bernard Montgomery KCB., DSO., MC.) visited HQ 8 Armd. Bde at 1015 hrs.|
|1||The Commanding Officer and the following ORs of the Regiment were presented to the C. in C.:-|
|1||Tpr. MacKillop "A" Sqn. – Tpr. Millbrook "B" Sqn. – Sergt. Harris 56 "C" Sqn.|
|1||Brigadier Essame DSO, Comd. 214 Inf. Bde. called in the morning to see the Commanding Officer on our departure from 43 Div.|
|1||Squadron Recce parties visited the new area SCHIMMERT during the day and were allotted their areas.|
|2||The Regt. moved to area in 30 Corps reserve at SCHIMMERT (six miles W. of BRUNSUM) for rest (10 days approx.). 147 Regt. RAC relieved us of our commitments with 214 Inf. Bde. Move accomplished without incident except that "C" Sqn. (leading Sqn.) mistook the route at the start and never even passed the S.P. joining in the column at SCHINVELD.|
|3||The Commanding Officer and the Adjutant walked round Sqn. areas in the morning. All ranks appeared to be in quite comfortable billets. The Padre visited Sqns. and held Services during the day.|
|4||The Commanding Officer and 2nd-in-Comd. attended conference at Bde. H.Q. in the morning when accommodation and forthcoming Operatian "Shears" were discussed, and as a result of this the Commanding Officer held "O" Gp. in the afternoon at which forthcoming Operations were outlined.|
|5||The Commanding Officer and the Adjutant visited "B" Echelon in the afternoon and the Commanding Officer spoke to members of the Echelon on recent Operations and GEILENKIRCHEN battle. At tea time order was received for "B" Echelon to be clear of their billets by to-night and they therefore moved up into the Regimental area. Two new Officers joined the Regiment to-day – Captain J.M. Shelley and Lieut. N. Andrew and are posted to "B" Sqn.|
|6||The Commanding Officer held conference in the morning and also attended "O" Gp. at Brigade in the afternoon on the forthcoming Operation "Shears". Preparations were made for Exercise Linney Head (field firing exercise) with 157 Bde. of 52 (L) Div. We were to co-operate with the Glasgow Highlanders, and Officers and men came over in the afternoon, were addressed by the Commanding Officer and had a look round our tanks.|
|7||"A" Squadron with "A" Sqn. SRY, some flails and crocodiles carried out rehearsals of Exercise Linney Head on some ground South of VALKENBURG. The object of this Exercise being to introduce the Inf. Bns of the 157 Inf. Bde. 52 (L) Div. to the Regts. of this Bde. which will be working with them in the next Operation "Shears".|
|7||The exercise consisted of a battle run with our tanks shooting the Inf. Coys. on to their objectives.|
|8||"B" and "C" Squadrons carried out Exercise Linney Head with 1st Glasgow Highlanders in the afternoon, 13/18 H having used our tanks for similar Exercise in the morning, when their Army Comd. and Corps Comd. paid a visit.|
|8||1800||The Commanding Officer attended Conference at 157 Inf. Bde. on Op. "Shears".|
|9||Snow fell in the afternoon.|
|9||1400||The Commanding Officer held "O" Gp. at which the Squadron Leaders of the 617 Assault Sqn. REs and all "B" Sqn. Officers and Lothian and Border Horse (Flails) also attended.|
|9||1800||The Commanding Officer attended conference at HQ of Glasgow Highlanders. The Commanding Officer of the 52nd Recce Regt. (Lt.Col. J. Hankey) who spent a week with the Regiment in 1941 when we were at Edgecote called in the morning to discuss operation "Shears" as affecting our "C" Sqn. which were to support them at one stage during the battle.|
|10||The Commanding Officer attended all day conference at HQ 52 (L) Div. on Operation Shears which was scheduled to come off within the next three or four days.|
|11||1000||The Commanding Officer held "O" Gp. for Operation Shears, holding separate one in the afternoon for the supporting Arms (i.e. the Crocodile Sqn. 1 Fife and Forfar), Flail Sqn. (Lothian and Border Horse) and AVRE Squadron.|
|11||Operation Shears was a corps operation designed to destroy and clear all the enemy in the HEINSBERG pocket and then drive N.W. to link up with the British forces in the area of ROERMOND. The intention of the Regiment was to form mobile trains with the Glasgow Highlanders and later the 52 Recce Regt. and that they should break out from the "Gate" just N. of TRIPSRATH. Capture of SCHLEIDEN and then SCHAFHAUSEN dominating ERPEN. That would be done the first day and on D plus 1 the Regiment lesss "A" Squadron would be in support of the 52 Recce Regt. who would go through the villages NW of ERPEN as far as BRAUNSRATH and HONTEN while the 13/18 H and S.R.Y. together with their Infantry from 52 Div. having captured HEINSBERG on first day would drive on N.W. up the valley, and the Guards Armd. Div. carry out an attack due N. from area of SITTARD – GANGELT leaving the 7th Armd. Div. to take over the line previously held by the Gds. Armd. Div.|
|11||Method: (This is only a summary). Plan No. 1. would consist of "B" Sqn. with Company of Glasgow Highlanders in Kangaroos, 2 Tps. of Crocodiles, 1 Tp. Flails, 2 Tps. AVREs were to pass through 43 Div. who would before train set off have advanced their line to include WALDENRATH – HOOVENWOODS. This train would capture SCHLEIDEN and dominate ERPEN. The second train would consist of the Regt. less "B" Sqn. the Glasgow Highlanders less one Coy. with the remainder of the supporting arms, with the task of capturing SCHAFHAUSEN.|
|11||Other trains consisting of 13/18 H. and S.R.Y. and remainder of 52 Div. were to follow, 13/18 H. having the task of capturing HEINSBERG on night of D-Day. The Regt. were to harbour at DORATH. No wheeled vehicles would be allowed at all for D Day. Therefore replenishment was planned, to be done by turretless Honeys and ARVs. Operation dependent upon the ground hardening as at present tracks would be bogged on leaving the roads. All the trains would form up on roads S. of GEILENKIRCHEN, and it was our responsibility once Train No. 1 had got through the "Gate" which would probably be mined in addition to the crater already in the road there, to inform Bde. whether or not the second and successive trains could start. To enable the Commanding Officer to give this decision, the Commanding Officer would follow "B" Sqn. closely as far as the "Gate" and then await the second train and join up with RHQ.|
|12||Ground still muddy. Operation Shears postponed owing to weather. The Regiment would now operate with the 6th Cameronians of 156 Bde. instead of the Glasgow Highlanders who have moved up into the line. Officers and O.Rs of the 6th Cameronians visited the Regiment in the morning and after a short talk by the Commanding Officer they all had a look at the tanks.|
|13||Operation Shears cancelled owing to further rain and very bad mud. 8th Armd. Bde. reverted under comd. 30 Corps. The Commanding Officer held a conference in the afternoon dealing with domestic points.|
|14-15||Time spent in "B" vehicle inspections and a dig out of the tanks. It was learned that we together with the rest of 30 Corps would go into the rest area for re-training prior to Spring offensive, and that we would not have to go into action for the rest of the year. Thus the first six months Operations were concluded during which our casualties for these six months were Killed, Wounded and Missing – Officers 33, O.Rs. 254, and tanks knocked out by enemy weapons 76. Despite these casualties the Regt. is still up to strength in total personnel, but not quite in tank personnel. The tank state for to-day, 15th December, 1944 showed we had 58 tanks on the road.|
|17||The Commanding Officer held a Conference in the morning dealing with future training system which would involve short term training of tradesmen, such training being completed by 7th Jan. Advance parties proceeded to EINDHOVEN where we were to move.|
|18-19||All Sqns. fired from their tanks at Linney Head.|
|18-19||The Commanding Officer held Conference on 19th December. The enemy launched a big counter attack on the 1 US Army front S.W. of LIEGE, and it appeared to have broken through. The total enemy forces engaged appeared to be about 20 Divs. and the Americans seemed to have little hope of stopping them until they reached NAMUR – LIEGE on the MAAS. 8 Armd. Bde. had now to plan local Defence Scheme ready to deal with any enemy paratroops, and a scheme was drawn up for the defence of SCHIMMERT. The Regiment was to stand to every day at Dawn and Dusk.|
|20-25||Many Recces carried out for Anti penetration role which we are now doing in the 52 Div area – WABAUCH – BRUNSSUM – SCHINVELD, and also in the 102 U.S. Div. area East of GEILENKIRCHEN and South of PUFFENDORF. The Americans reacted very quickly to the Bosche attacks and despite bad weather in the first few days which hindered air operations the Bosche did not reach LIEGE or NAMUR, but advanced elements did reach the MAAS in one drive South of LIEGE. Our move to EINDHOVEN was definitely cancelled. On the 23rd December the weather cleared and for a number of days our aircraft had a marvelIous time in shooting up enemy vehicles and enemy AFVs. The Regiment was able to observe Christmas Day in customary manner despite being at half an hours notice, and the Christmas dinner was far better than that of last Christmas which we had spent at Fort George. The Commanding Officer as usual visited all Squadrons during their Christmas dinners. Fortunately we did not have to turn out on Christmas Day.|
|26-28||The big picture now looked definitely better and the Americans had definitely held the shoulders of the German salient and had beaten back elements of Pz. Divs who were threatening the MAAS. The Commanding Officer held a Conference on 28th December. It was still appreciated that the enemy might put in quite strong but limited attacks on the 12 Corps front to prevent any British Troops being withdrawn to go to the assistance of the Americans in the South.|
|29-31||Ground hardened with frost and snow fell. Enemy spoiling attacks were put in on Gangelt and Tripsrath front but were beaten off with very heavy losses for the enemy and no ground was lost. The Regiment did not have to move out on any occasion, and was still static at SCHIMMERT.|
Helaas geen map gevonden.
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.