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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: HQ 9 Brit Inf Bde
Month and Year: December 1944 (Erase heading not required). Commanding Officer: Brig. G.D. Browne
Place Date Hour Summary Reference
1 0001 The month opened with 2 RUR preparing to continue their task of clearing the enemy from HELLING 8527 and WANSSUM 8427. Their coy posns were as follows 853262 861273 868250 87472 with bn HQ at 855254. Their previous efforts in early morning and daylt had resulted in cas being caused by enemy arty sited East of the R MAAS and well dug in MG posns around HELLING.
1 0100 The attack commenced in brilliant moonlt and after a short but steady adv the leading coys came under hy arty, mortar and MG fire from 860276 and 854271. The two leading coys, one adv North up rd MEERLO-HELLING the other adv West from woods 861274, were momentarily halted by the determined fire of the enemy and eventually one pl managed to get fwd to 854274 where it was completely pinned by enemy fire, a further pl sent around the left ran into hy fire from 854271, suffered cas and were forced to withdraw to 855272.
1 0440 Meantime the adv from the South on the MEERLO rd was faring no better, our leading sub units being pinned down area 854268 by hy MG fire. Both coys suffered cas but were experiencing difficulty in bringing them in owing to the brilliant moonlt.
1 0530 By this time it was realised that no real adv was being made and orders were given to stand fast until daylt when the Bde Comd and Bn Comd were to make a further recce of the whole posn.
1 0800 Bde Comd arrived with 2 RUR to commence his recce and on his return stated his intention of calling for armoured sp to assist in clearing this troublesome pocket West of the MAAS.
1 1300 A discussion was held, between GOC and Bde Comd and it was finally decided to make the clearing op a "two bn task" supported by two sqns of tks. The designation of the tk fmn is not known but instrs have been given that whoever does the task must be given a chance of recce in the daylt.
1 1415 Bde Comd again left for 2 RUR and 1 KOSB to acquaint bn comds of the decisions made at the discussion.
1 1700 4 Tk Gren Gds are the armd fmn detailed to assist in the op, their CO arrived to see the Bde Comd & will be doing a detailed recce early tomorrow morning. Civ picked up by 2 RUR at 853260 gave valuable infm regarding str and disposns of the enemy facing us. He stated the enemy had approx 200 men in the WANSSUM area. This seems a fair estimate.
1 2100 Posns of the bde gp at close of day were
1   2 Lincolns HQ at 787232 coys at 782232 793233 799241
1   1 KOSB HQ at 808274 coys at 814249 848279 808274
1   2 RUR HQ at 855254 coys at 874273 861273 853260 868250
1   Bde HQ at 782272.
1   A patrol of 2 RUR to wood 860276 discovered it to be occupied and reported seeing three men and spandau 862275 and five men seen near haystack 858276.
1 2200 During the day plans for the move of 2 Lincolns to relieve unit of 8 Brit Inf Bde in the SMAKT 8031 HOLTHEES 8032 and MAASHEES area 8131 were made firm for tomorrow 2 Dec. Patrol of 2 RUR to 854271, moved up main rd towards HELLING and after searching houses 853270 went into wood 854271 where they drew a complete blank. This was rather surprising in view of the enemy's previously known occupation of the place.
1 2230 This circumstance allied with hy shelling and mortaring of WANSSUM between 2030 hrs and 2230 hrs gives rise to the suspicion that the enemy may be intending to withdraw.
2 0200 Air phs of the area WANSSUM 8427 and HELLING 8527 arrived and after sorting were despatched to units. GOC 3 Brit Inf Div ordered copies of this latest sortie to be supplied for the op and fifty sets were immediately made available by Corps.
2 0205 Small enemy patrol of unknown str penetrated to fwd posn of 2 RUR at 860273. They opened fire on our posn, fire was immediately returned, forcing the enemy patrol to withdraw leaving behind one seriously wounded serjeant. This man was identified as belonging to II Bn 19 Para Regt (Menzel) and provides an interesting identification. This German fmn faced us in the SMAKT and HOLTHEES area in the first weeks in Nov and were obviously forced down to the WANSSUM area where their role seems to be that of protecting what remains of the WANSSUM-WELL ferry.
2 0710 Patrol from 2 RUR proceeded along track from North edge of arrow shaped wood 866275 towards wood 865278. When half way there patrol saw two spandau firing from wood 865278. Patrol pushed on and heard sound of voices and sounds indicating occupation of the wood by at least two secs. It was also revealed that during the night another enemy patrol of four men came up to the fwd posn at 866275 exchanged shots and withdrew. No cas were observed. The enemy fired two Verey lights and their withdrawal was closely followed by a hy stonking of BLITTERSWIJK and 866275.
2 0830 Bde Comd left on his recce for the op which commenced tomorrow 3 Dec. He was accompanied by OsC 1 KOSB and 2 RUR and 4 Tk Gren Gds. The recce was completed by 1200 hrs.
2 1115 The first of the many reports were received from civ sources stating the enemy had withdrawn during the night to East of the MAAS. These tie up with reports received from our pl at WANSSUM 848280 stating they have seen no enemy mov on the far bank of the MOLENBEEK 852280 throughout the morning. In addition several civs have been espied waving white flags and essaying to cross the beek to our side.
2 1200 Patrols were ordered to cross the beek and investigate. This they did and reported a complete evac by the enemy.
2 1400 All exits from the village of WANSSUM were searched, no trace of mines being found.
2 1410 2 RUR also patrolling fwd to ascertain whether any enemy remained in their area reported wood 861276 clear.
2 1515 1 KOSB with temporary HQ at 857228 had conc in the TIENRAIJ area and were all ready for the op tomorrow, shortly afterwards they commenced their move back to their original posns.
2 1700 The op is now definitely off. This move by the enemy indicates that our previous assaults, though unsuccessful, have taken toll of his man power. One civ yesterday reported seeing thirty Germans in their RAP at 852286 after the battle of 30 Nov.
2 2000 All returned to normal and by 2000 hrs readjustment was complete. 2 Lincolns who moved during the day, were under comd 8 Brit Inf Bde, and had HQ 799314 and coys at 800312 812318 821314 802319 with carrier pl at 809339. 1 KOSB HQ at 807272 with coys at 807272 810271 814249 and carrier pl at 849278. 2 RUR HQ at 855254 with coys at 853255 868251 871272 863273 and 852278 . Bde HQ remains at VENRAIJ.
3 0600 Extensive patrolling was continued throughout the night, without making any contact with the enemy. This further proves that the enemy is well and truly on the East bank of the R MAAS and the last troublesome pocket has thoroughly withdrawn. The night was exceptionally quiet throughout the bde area, no enemy activity or shelling being reported.
3 1000 Bde Comd and BM left to attend Divine Service at HQ 2 Lincolns.
3 1215 Coy 1 KOSB relieved coy 1 Suffolk in GEIJSTEREN 833295
3 1400 and at 1400 hrs comd of the sector, to incl DEN BOSCH 810340 passed to this Bde.
3 1700 Carrier pl 1 KOSB relieved at WEST WANSSUM 849278 by the carrier pl 2 RUR rejoined their main body.
3 2000 The weather today has been foul, torrential downpours converting the mud into an even more fluid protagonist. Pl 1 KOSB is relieving pl 2 Lincolns in GEIJSTEREN KASTEEL 835298 during the night. This posn, under enemy observation is inaccessible during hrs of daylt and all reliefs and servicing are carried out during hrs of darkness.
3 2100 The Typhoon attacks on this ancient and well known Dutch castle has reduced it to a complete ruin.
4 0600 The nights patrols discovered no trace of the enemy in their areas but a very unusual incident occurred in that the carrier pl comd and one man disappeared from a house at WEST WANSSUM 850277. A great deal of mystery is att to the incident and it can but be surmised that they were surprised whilst asleep and taken away by an enemy patrol. They were last seen at 2345 hrs last night 3 Dec. No elucidation of the incident can be obtained, nobody saw them after this time and no enemy patrols were seen or heard during the night. Whoever captured the carrier pl comd decided to make a quick quiet job of it as he was taken minus boots and topcoat.
4 0900 The Bde Comd instructed the Bde IO to coord and arrange OPs throughout the bde area. These OPs will be arranged so that they cover the entire opposite bank of the MAAS, from incl opposite DEN BOSCH 8234 to incl WELLERLOOI 8926. They will report any and every mov of the enemy and will keep a log of events inside the actual OP. Events will be reported daily, in log form to this HQ.
4   17 Fd Coy replaced 253 Fd Coy in sp of this bde. The day was spent in clearing up woods and gen cleaning up of areas prior to settling down to the long and tedious task of holding this large stretch of the R MAAS.
4   The civ evac plot is causing some worry, and not a little concern. A belt is being cleared on the West bank of the MAAS to 2000 yds inland. In this belt total evac will be enforced and neither maint parties or resistance people allowed to op there. Evac East of WANSSUM commenced this morning.
4   When this village is evac and the odd civs cleared from MAASHEES 8231 GEIJSTEREN 8329 and BLITTERSWIJK 8727 the bde area should be wholly clear. For the moment civ maint parties are remaining in GEIJSTEREN and BLITTERSWIJK.
4 1600 Bde Comd held a conference for COs during which he discussed the op and trg policy for the ensuing month.
4 2000 GSOI 3 Brit Inf Div in a telephone conversation reported that the whole policy of civ evac was being reorganised. Certain farmers and "vetted" civs will be allowed to return to their homes in the prohibited area. This is the Corps Comds personal decision.
5 0600 Again our patrols reported no contact with the enemy. BLITTERSWIJK underwent rather a sharp bout of shelling and mortaring during the night but no cas have been reported.
5 0900 OPs are op at full swing today and are sited as follows:-
5   2 Lincolns 809338 817317 822318 822314
5   1 KOSB 834299 834291
5   2 RUR 883264 876274.
5   Their arcs of observation cover most of that area on the East bank of the river opposite our area of responsibility and they should provide excellent infm regarding enemy disposns and habits. Their observation during the day allied with strong and frequent patrolling during the night forms our op commitments at the moment.
5 2200 The coy of 1 KOSB from ZANDHOEK 8124 were brought fwd and took over from coy 2 RUR in EAST WANSSUM tonight. The coy 2 RUR at MEGELSUM 8725 will move to 879259 and the coy relieved at WANSSUM will move to MEGELSUM. These moves will however narrow the gap between the right flank of this bde and the left flank of 11 Armd Div. A very quiet day.
5   OP report for 5 Dec at Appx J Folio 9. Folio 9
6 0130 Bns patrolled bde front extensively and reported no contact with enemy. 2 RUR patrol found an unoccupied enemy MG posn at 856285 in corner of wood, and phone cable running from it to NE towards R MAAS. The patrol cut away a sec of the cable outside the wood. The same patrol found what they thought to be a boat pulled up on the bank at 860288. Bde Comd ordered that the boat be boobytrapped and arrangements were made with RE to assist 2 RUR tonight.
6   Another 2 RUR patrol reported four enemy MGs firing East of R MAAS into squares 8826 8827, otherwise a quiet night.
6 1000 1 KOSB coy relieved coy 2 RUR in area WANSSUM with pls at 848280 848277 852277. 2 RUR coy now est at 875259 with pls at 881260 879258 878259.
6 1140 Div Comd and Comd 8 Corps visited Bde Comd and stayed approx one hr.
6 1230 2 RUR OP reported church tower 886274 knocked down by 53 Med Regt.
6 1430 Bde Comd and BM attended football match at HELMOND played between 2 Lincolns and Div REME. After a very keen and well contested game REME defeated the bn team by 2 goals to 1.
6   2 RUR day patrol reported very fresh footprints of a man and a dog along tracks from 887257 to 886255. No enemy contacted.
6 2000 Bde Comd celebrated the occasion of his birthday by entertaining the Bn Comds to dinner at which the Bde relationship of family concord was well in evidence.
6   OP report 6 Dec at Appx 'J' Folio 10
7 0620 Another extremely quiet night. Bn patrols again covered the entire bde front and again report no contact with enemy.
7 0710 2 RUR patrol reported that the alleged 'boat' at the river bank proved to be a farm cart. 2 RUR patrol contacted Inns of Court on our right bdy and learnt that at 0200 hrs ten enemy attacked our friends posn at NACHTEGAAL 8924 from direction BLITTERSWIJK with SA, automatic and grenades, fire was returned and all enemy withdrew.
7   1 KOSB patrol reported finding a cable running into the R MAAS at 829303. Also at 0001 hrs eight Verey lts fired from EAST bank of R MAAS square 8429.
7 1045 1 KOSB OP reported eight enemy seen at 856301 and nine men digging at 854303. Amn expenditure now restricted to, daily, 5 RPG at comd disposal real 5 RPG at CRA disposal. No mortaring suffered during day but 3 rounds med arty 816331 1200 hrs and 6 rounds 88 mm MAASHEES area. Offrs Days in bns planned to commence 12 Dec and on successive Mondays. The Bde Comd will open the series with a personal address.
7 2315 Six men dressed as civs crossed the R MAAS together by boat from the enemy bank and are detained by 2 Lincolns under gd for questioning later. A considerable downpour of rain during the day allowed no reduction in the extent of the flooding along R MAAS. Track approaches direct to 2 RUR becoming impassable now necessitates a circuitous approach if ten miles by main rd to the South.
7   OP report for 7 Dec at Appx 'J' Folio 11
8 0600 The six civs who crossed the river at MAASHEES last night produced nothing new in the ways of infm except to state they understood a gen relief of GAF paratps in fwd posns had taken place. Patrolling drew a complete blank, no enemy contact being made by any of the bns.
8 1200 In an effort to provide recreational facilities for the bns it has been decided to clear any existing mines off football grounds in the vicinity. 17 Fd Coy RE have agreed to do the job and at the moment there is a possibility that their mine detecting dogs will be employed to assist.
8 1410 One sec of 4.2 mortars now op with 2 RUR are moving to GEIJSTEREN area to thicken the fire power in 1 KOSB sector. Altogether this was an extremely quiet day with OPs busy observing enemy mov on the East bank of the R MAAS throughout the day. Copy of OP report for 8 Dec is att at Appx 'J' folio 12. Appx J folio 12
9 0800 All bn patrols report no contact with enemy, and a quiet night was passed on the bde sector.
9 0935 Arranged with G3 (Int) 3 Brit Inf Div for FSO to lecture to 1 KOSB on their bn offrs day 12 Dec on "German reactions to our entry into the Reich".
9 1545 SA fire from 892265 at 1612 hrs from 882272 in right fwd area of 2 RUR. No cas, and apparently fired at random.
9 1700 One offr wounded by mortar bomb at WANSSUM br 851277 and evac.
9   OP logs of the past few days, following on the survey and coord of the OPs now show a fair indication of enemy disposns opposite the entire bde front.
9   Copy of OP report for 9 Dec att at Appx 'J' folio 13. Appx J folio 13
10 1200 All bns patrols report no enemy contacted. A quiet night. Enemy wiring party of six seen at 856302 was dispersed by 33 Fd Regt.
10   From OP reports of the movs of amb, there were at least two cas. R MAAS water level has risen considerably at MAASHEES 8231. 1 KOSB day patrols searched wood 840290 and house 826307 without enemy contact.
10 1800 A few enemy shells and mortar bombs during the day on bde front. No cas reported. Copy of OP report for 10 Dec is att at Appx 'J' folio 14. Appx J folio 14
11 0640 All bns patrols report no enemy contacted. R MAAS rose 2 inches during the day.
11 1030 Field Marshal Sir B.L. Montgomery K.C.B., D.S.O. held an investiture for 3. Brit Inf Div at GEMERT. The Bde Comd accompanied by the BM attended the ceremony at which in the number of decorations conferred, the bde carried the day. Furthermore 2 Lincolns received more decorations than any other bn in the Div. Among those decorated were Lt.Col. CL Firbank, comd 2 Lincolns on whom was conferred the D.S.O. and Major PHW Clarke, Major GCA Gilbert and Major SJ Larkin each of whom was awarded the MC. Several other offrs and OR of the bde received their decorations at the ceremony.
11 2140 2 RUR B coy on right flank report noise of shouting, and shots which appeared to come from their right. The Inns of Court on our immediate right, on inquiry, thought the noise to be coming from East bank of the R MAAS. The noises ceased at 2203 hrs and nothing further could be est except that the melee was on the East bank. Otherwise a quiet day.
11   Copy of OP report for 11 Dec is att at Appx 'J' folio 15. Appx J folio 15
12 0600 During the night vigorous patrolling was carried out but no contact was made with the enemy. Mov and shots from the far bank were heard by a patrol of 1 KOSB but our own tps were not involved. For the moment the enemy seems to be concentrating his patrolling efforts on sectors to the North and South of the bde area and our efforts are wholly devoted by day in observing enemy mov from our many OPs on the West bank of the R MAAS.
12   This mov of the enemy is daily becoming more noticeable and a fair picture of enemy disposns on the East bank is gradually building up.
12 1032 The enemy continuing his harassing of MAASHEES, shelled the village again without causing any cas to our tps in posn there.
12 1525 2 Lincolns OP at 821318 reported seeing two enemy moving about the farm 836317 and further stated the enemy soldiers were wearing field grey greatcoats. This seems to confirm gen statements by civs that the GAF tps facing us have indeed been relieved by an inf fmn. This was altogether a very quiet day with little incident.
12   Copy of OP report for 12 Dec at Appx 'J' folio 16. Appx J folio 16
13 0600 The enemy shelled MAASHEES in the early hrs of the morning and the coy in occupation suffered one or two cas. Other than this there was a complete lack of enemy activity in our area of responsibility during hrs of darkness.
13 1440 HF on suspected enemy posns at 836318 and 826334 brought fierce retaliatory fire from a newly located bty in the area of 9135. This was a rather encouraging indication that the posns shelled by our guns contain enemy. Their dislike for our shells was displayed by quick retaliation to our fire. Our observation today has been partly obscured by mist and haze, despite these difficulties the OPs noticed enemy mov 883276 and MGs firing from 887273 836311 836312 and 836313. Each bn has its OPs well fwd; their arcs of observation interlocking to cover the whole area immediately opposite their sectors.
13   2 Lincolns have OPs at 819317 821318 809338 822313
13   1 KOSB have OPs a 826305 834291 853280 835298 847283
13   2 RUR have OPs at 871275 877274 882265
13 2055 2 Lincolns pl at MAASHEES 822315 reported hearing sound of motor boat proceeding South down R MAAS from gen area 823320 and a few mins later heard the sound of a boat being paddled downstream to the sound of a voice giving comds. To make the more interesting this night of mov the sound of boats being launched at AAIEN 825330 was heard. All this mov ceased when engaged by LMG fire.
13 2230 Mov was again resumed in the AAIEN area, this time to be fiercely engaged by a scale one attack by our arty. Mov abruptly ceased. Bns have been notified of increasing enemy patrolling activity on other sectors of the MAAS front, and have been warned to keep an extremely watchful eye out for enemy patrols. To implement this instr they will step-up patrolling their own areas and will increase the str of their patrols so that, in the event of a clash, they will be able to make their presence felt.
13   OP report for 13 Dec at Appx 'J' folio 17. Appx J folio 17
14 0030 Pl in KASTEEL 834299 heard sounds of a motorboat on the river to NW of their posn and five mins later heard mov in the immediate vicinity of their posn and further mov a little later still.
14 0110 After other disturbing noises were heard a recce patrol was sent out to investigate their source but without success.
14 0130 Again mov was heard near the KASTEEL and following this the sound of voices and, at 0300 hrs, very hy shelling of MAASHEES took place. Each time recce patrols were sent out to investigate the source of these disturbances they returned to report no contact made.
14 0630 After a nervy sort of night the pl at KASTEEL saw one of their trip flares at 823301 going skywards and half an hour later the sound of a motorboat was heard receding across the MAAS.
14 0900 On inspecting the area of all these incidents 1 KOSB pl comd from the KASTEEL discovered a German grenade and Schmeisser mag at 822301, and more interesting still several German propaganda leaflets. These leaflets, obviously hand strewn littered the area and consisted of several different types, all with different approaches, exhortations and appeals to the British soldier.
14   So, after days of expecting the enemy to come across the MAAS in this sector, he came and made quite a night of it. No clashes took place and no cas have been reported. The above incidents, tend to confirm the suspicion that the enemy employs motor "Sturm" boats to assist the ferrying of patrols to our side of the MAAS and back.
14 1800 Again the day was quiet with little mortaring or shelling to disturb the work of our OPs.
14   OP report att at Appx 'J' folio 18. Appx J folio 18
14   Issue of 9 Brit Inf Bde Security Instr No 1. Appx 'D' folio 1. Appx D folio 1
15 0600 Patrolling was vigorous during the night, bns following the policy of dominating their own areas at night with strong fighting patrols. No contact was reported.
15 0800 Patrol of 2 Lincolns to house 814326 heard sound of engines and voices coming from AAIEN area. Before leaving the area patrol laid several trip flares.
15 1530 Pl of 2 Lincolns moving into posn at 813327 saw two Germans near the wood, the enemy quickly made off into the wood before offensive action could be taken. A search was instituted by pl comd, without success.
15 1700 Coy 2 Lincolns completed their move from bn res area in SMAKT to take up posn area 814326-811334 with pl at DEN BOSCH 809338. Visibility on the river was again rather poor and tended to restrict observation. OPs did however notice the continued mov of enemy and civs in areas already known to be occupied. Further enemy MGs were located at 879277 880274 881282 876286 and 877288. The allotment of arty amn to our Fd Regt does not permit the haphazard engagement of any mov seen, so we have developed a 'wait for the right moment' policy, with large scale enemy mov being engaged when and where seen, and isolated MGs being left until later. Today was the first day the new bde civ evac and security policy has been put into practice and according to bns the scheme is definitely working well. A satisfactory solution to this complex problem is indeed welcome.
15 2030 A German raiding party, str 15-20 men, crossed the MAAS and attacked an OP of the Inns of Court at WESSERHOF 895250. This posn is immediately to the right of 2 RUR right fwd posns. The attack came in from two directions a spandau party attacking from woods North of farm and a bazooka party from due East. Both parties were repelled and three of the enemy killed by Inns of Court prompt action. These forays to the West bank of the MAAS by the enemy shows his increasing anxiety to discover our aspirations and disposns in this area. All bns are on their toes.
15   OP report at Appx J folio 19
16 0200 Trip flare set off at 818329 caused some little excitement to the pl of 2 Lincolns there, on investigation it was concluded that one of the many nocturnal creatures and animals of the night must have been responsible. The area abounds with cats and hares.
16 1157 The enemy again commenced to shell MAASHEES heavily; between 1200 hrs and 1530 hrs approx 120 shells were directed at the village.
16 1700 OPs observed enemy mov at the following places AAIEN 8233 KAMP 8331 PAPENBEEK 8530, 856301, LOOI 8827 and WELLERLOOI 8827. These villages seem to be occupied by the enemy who is obviously holding villages with small parties covering approaches to them. The flood water of the R MAAS is much greater on the East bank and has driven the enemy back from the preconceived river line where he had constructed extensive linear defs. Owing to this 'accident' of nature the enemy seems to be hard at work constructing other posns. Our OPs have several times reported seeing men digging and constructing defs near PAPENBEEK 856301 and KAMP. Today has been a red letter day for the arty. During the morning and afternoon 360 rounds were fired on suspected enemy targets at 854347, 854327, 860330, 848315, these are the enemy btys responsible for the shelling of MAASHEES.
16 2000 A further reminder was given to bns, reiterating the Bde Comds orders on patrolling in this area. They were further reminded of the necessity for dominating their sectors at night and to do this will send out frequent fighting patrols, str normally not less than two secs.
16   OP report for 16 Dec at Appx 'J' Folio 20
17 0235 A contact patrol, str four men, between pls of B coy 1 KOSB was challenged by an enemy patrol at 826294, they immediately opened fire, and an exchange of shots took place. The enemy withdrew and our patrol went on to complete its task minus one man who was missing.
17 0800 A search party was sent out to look for the missing man and discovered his body near the scene of the clash.
17 0900 The Bde Comd instructed 1 KOSB and 2 Lincolns to carry out a further search of their areas with a view to rooting out any Germans that may be hiding in woods and farms etc. This was to be carried out forthwith.
17 1035 Two flights of ME109F consisting of approx 25 aircraft crossed the MAAS proceeding due West. They were heavily engaged by our It and hy AA fire but without bringing any down. This is the first enemy air activity for some time and was followed shortly afterwards by approx 12 JU88s who, flying over the same area, proceeded in the same direction as the MEs.
17 1200 Instrs were received from Div to warn all units that the present enemy air activity may be a prelude to ground ops directed against us and a state of gen alertness was to be kept. On the orders of the Bde Comd a list of targets was prepared by the Bde IO and distributed to bns, 33 Fd Regt, and D Coy 2 Mx (the 4.2 mortar coy). In his instr the Bde Comd ordered a selection of targets to be engaged each day by arty, hy mortars or bn mortars, and targets engaged will be notified to this HQ daily. Comd 33 Fd Regt will coord the fire of his own regt and the hy mortars. This policy is a direct result of the bns observation work over the past fortnight and the list of targets are as follows:
17   Serial 1 Target 3in mortar posn Map Ref 857299 Remarks Reliable civ source Latest mov 15 Dec
17   Serial 2 Target House Map Ref 889268 Remarks HQ or billet Latest mov 15 Dec
17   Serial 3 Target Buildings Map Ref 894264 Remarks Much mov and staff cars seen. MG located. Latest mov 12 Dec
17   Serial 4 Target KAMP, house Map Ref 836312 Remarks Working party seen Latest mov 15 Dec
17   Serial 5 Target KAMP, house Map Ref 837311 Remarks MGs continually fire from this village Latest mov 15 Dec
17   Serial 6 Target KAMP, house Map Ref 836314 Remarks MGs continually fire from this village Latest mov 15 Dec
17   Serial 7 Target Houses Map Ref 885274 Remarks MGs fire from this area. Occasional enemy mov seen. Latest mov 14 Dec
17   Serial 8 Target Halt Map Ref 887273 Remarks MG suspected Latest mov 13 Dec
17   Serial 9 Target House Map Ref 883276 Remarks Enemy mov seen over period of a number of days Latest mov 11 Dec
17   Serial 10 Target House Map Ref 877288 Remarks Enemy mov seen. MG posn Latest mov 15 Dec
17   Serial 11 Target Posn Map Ref 856301 Remarks Great deal of mov, digging etc Latest mov 10 Dec
17   Serial 12 Target Houses Map Ref 843333 Remarks Great deal of mov suspected Latest mov 12 Dec Serial 12 Target Houses Map Ref 842334 Remarks pl posn
17   Serial 12 Target Houses Map Ref 841334
17   Serial 13 Target AAIEN Map Ref 827333 Remarks Gen mov in area. Civ and deserter state pl area. Latest mov Daily
17   Serial 14 Target Houses Map Ref 826338 Remarks Continual mov of enemy area of buildings Latest mov Daily
17   Serial 15 Target Buildings Map Ref 827348 Remarks Track veh seen there 11 Dec. Gen mov of men and cyclists Latest mov 15 Dec
17   Serial 16 Target Posn Map Ref 827338 Remarks Same area as serial 14
17   Serial 17 Target LOOI Map Ref 886277 Remarks Much enemy mov on 8 Dec Latest mov 8 Dec
17   Serial 18 Target Misc MGs Map Ref 879277 Latest mov 15 Dec
17   Serial 18 Target Misc MGs Map Ref 880274 Latest mov 15 Dec
17   Serial 18 Target Misc MGs Map Ref 881282 Latest mov 15 Dec
17   Serial 18 Target Misc MGs Map Ref 876286 Latest mov 15 Dec
17   Serial 18 Target Misc MGs Map Ref 837310 Latest mov 14 Dec
17   Serial 18 Target Misc MGs Map Ref 880280 Latest mov 12 Dec
17   Serial 18 Target Misc MGs Map Ref 881275 Latest mov 11 Dec
17   Serial 18 Target Misc MGs Map Ref 887271 Latest mov 16 Dec
17   Serial 19 Target Posn Map Ref 877286 Remarks Sec posn (100 yds North of house) Latest mov 16 Dec
17   OP report for 17 Dec at Appx 'J' Folio 21
17   Warning order for inter bde relief is att at Appx 'D' Folio 2
18 0600 Our patrols during the night reported no contact with enemy. 2 Lincolns sent out two fighting patrols to dominate their sector. 1 KOSB had four out and 2 RUR had two fighting patrols out. All of them returned without hearing or seeing any enemy.
18 0945 Coy of 2 Lincolns moved from 803320 to take over from coy of 8 Brit Inf Bde in VIERLINGSBEEK 8034, change over was completed shortly afterwards. 2 Lincolns now have coys at 805346 810335 822315 800316 and bn HQ at 799315. As our front has become more extended the Bde Comd has ordered 2 Lincolns to sow A per mines in the woods 8133 with the object of discouraging any enemy patrolling aspirations in that area.
18 2200 In view of the enemy's successful emp of paratps in the MALMEDY-ARDENNES area measures of def for VENRAIJ are being prepared on the direction of the Bde Comd. All units and sub units domiciled in the town will be coord under direct comd of the Bde Comd and will each have its own op role.
18   Issue of 9 B Inf Bde Instr on Def of VENRAIJ at Appx 'D' Folio 3
18   The days observation failed to reveal anything startling and enemy mov was again noted at 835332 KAMP 836312 LOOI and WELLERLOOI 885275. The OPs further report that the flood water of the R MAAS is gradually subsiding and between 822313 and 819317 it has fallen approx 4 ft in 24 hrs. Surrounding fds and ground adjacent to the MAAS are still waterlogged despite the fall of the flood water.
18   OP report for 18 Dec att at Appx 'J' Folio 22
18   Slight shelling and mortaring was experienced by all three bns today.
19 0245 A short but sharp bout of enemy med arty was levelled at DEN BOSCH during the early hrs of the morning without causing any cas.
19 0600 No enemy contact was made during the night despite the vigorous patrolling of bde area.
19 0800 BM left for BRUSSELS on 48 hrs leave, the GSOIII will deputise for him in his absence.
19 0940 Pl 1 KOSB clearing the area of JONKHOF 821299 was fired on by a Schmeisser. The pl went straight in to search the buildings and then saw three enemy making off into the woods 8129 at great speed.
19 1100 1 KOSB immediately prepared to org a wood searching party.
19 1200 Before they started however, word was received from 2 Lincolns that a DR had seen three Germans at rd junc 803303 and that the enemy made off into the woods to the South on being seen.
19 1300 1 KOSB were ordered by the Bde Comd to clear the woods right up to the main VENRAIJ-MAASHEES rd at 810307. This they commenced forthwith and at 1330 hrs a sec of 1 KOSB going into a 'stop' posn at 818306 came upon a party of six enemy lying up observing MAASHEES from 818306. The sec comd prepared to engage the enemy - who, on realising their posn, shot their hands into the air in double quick time.
19 1500 When brought in these six PW were identified as being from 6 and 7 coys II bn 1222 Regt and stated that 7 coy were in the area around AAIEN 827333.
19   5 coy around KAMP 836312 and 6 coy behind the rly line 846330. Bn HQ being situated at MUIZENHOF 849325. The task the enemy patrol were given was to investigate whether MAASHEES was occupied, and our own disposns there. This seems to indicate that the enemy is unsure about our posns and intentions. Further, the patrol comd, said they were due to return across the river between 1800-1900 hrs and if, on returning to the river bank, they discovered their boat missing they were to signal for storm boats to be sent from the opposite side. Possessed of this and other infm regarding signals, plans were made for an attempt to draw the enemy stormboats onto the West side of the R MAAS.
19 1800 Two pls of 1 KOSB set the trap at 830302 and flashed the red light signal for the stormboats to come across. At 1840 hrs they did hear the sound of a boat being rowed into midriver and then a German voice calling a name. The boat did not venture any closer so our mission to trap a further boatload of Germans was unsuccessful.
19 2000 To further quicken the tempo of this day of events the coy of 1 KOSB at WANSSUM apprehended two civs who ran into their trip wire at 853282, one of these civs attempted to escape but was soon brought to earth by a doughty Scots sjt. On interrogation at Bde HQ these two men were found to be German agents and admitted to being rowed from WELL to the WANSSUM pier by German tps. They also admitted to having spent three weeks in the German Espionage School at HAAN, near WUPPERTAL, and been detailed to discover British or American disposns in the BLITTERSWIJK area. Both men were Dutchmen and were due to return across the same stretch at 0200 hrs Fri 22 Dec. Light signals and code words were given to these men that they could summon the boat for the return journey. They will both be put to good use.. when we use them. It was here that an amazing co-incidence occurred. The two enemy agents were placed in a room next to a room containing two other suspect civs who had been apprehended in the 2 RUR area of BLITTERSWIJK earlier in the day. They recognised these other two men as fellow students of the Espionage School and informed FS of this fact. So it was that an amazing story, almost fictional, reached confirmation. Five men in all had taken the three weeks course at HAAN, beginning at the close of last month, and these five men had all received assignments to cross the river MAAS and ferret out Brit disposns. Their trg included coy and bn org, recognition of fmn signs and weapons and recognition of ranks, then they were given a goodly quantity of tinned food and with this rolled in their bedding they set off. It is indeed an excellent commendation to the vigilance of the bns that of five enemy agents sent over the river four have been apprehended in the bde sector, and what is more effective before they even had a chance to cause any damage or secure infm. One can be presumed to be still at large somewhere between ROERMOND and VENLO.
19   Men were handed over to the FSO 3 Brit Inf Div.
19   During this rather eventful day our mortars and fd guns and hy mortars have engaged enemy targets with a will and the amn expenditure was as follows:-
19   33 Fd Regt 144 rounds on 841334 825334-824336 861298
19   D Coy 2 Mx (4.2 mortars) 100 rounds on 861302 856303 886277 881275 878286
19   1 KOSB (3 in mortars) 51 rounds on PAPENBEEK 8530
19   2 RUR (3 in mortars) 144 rounds on HALT 886273 to houses 893265.
19   OP report for 19 Dec att at Appx J folio 23
20 0200 The efforts to entice the stormboats across the river continued throughout the night, without success. The comd of the right fwd pl 1 KOSB at 830302 heard the noise of boats rowing up and down the river at intervals during the night but nothing further occurred
20 0720 until 0720 hrs when a rowing boat came across the river at 828303 are again a voice was heard calling out a German name. Before our patrol could get to the area the boat had pushed off.
20 0900 When interviewed 1 KOSB patrol comd considered that the enemy came across to try and find their missing patrol and being rather apprehensive left in very quick time. The morning mist instead of clearing, is rapidly thickening, and, nearer the river has developed almost into a fog.
20 0905 The OP party of 1 KOSB going into their OP at 853280 found six Germans in occupation there. The enemy fired, wounding one NCO, and then rapidly made away in the mist, going in the direction of the river. A search was unsuccessful in locating, the enemy, they probably crossed the river between DE KOOI 859288 and WELL. To further indicate the enemy's belligerent policy in this sector, OC A Coy 2 Mx reported that a small German patrol had been driven away by one of his secs at 848293 at 0230 hrs in the morning. The enemy patrol had penetrated to within 30 yds of their posn.
20 1700 Pursuant to the Bde Comds policy enemy targets were again engaged by bn 3 in mortars during the day
20 1705 and at 1705 hrs 33 Fd Regt engaged with Scale 1, enemy mov seen opposite DEN BOSCH. No observation of effect was afforded.
20 2200 After a long spell in the line the bde is moving out for one week’s rest in the HORST 835180 area. The first reliefs are in process of being carried out now, two coys of 1 Suffolk relieving the two fwd coys of 2 RUR at BLITTERSWIJK 8927 and MEGELSUM 8926. During our period facing the enemy on the West bank of the R MAAS artificial moonlt produced by searchlts, with Its directed into the sky over the fwd posns has proved of inestimable value and is now accepted as gen routine on dark nights. Observation today was impossible owing to mist limiting visibility in many cases to a mere 100 yds.
20   Issue of 9 Brit Inf Bde Op Instr No 6/7 at Appx 'D' Folios 4/5
20   News was received during the day that the fifth enemy agent, referred to in yesterday's report, was arrested on our right, in 11 Armd Div area. This constitutes a 100% score for the Corps sector, a remarkable achievement.
20   The following traces are att: OP arcs as at last light 20 Dec Appx 'J' Folio 24
20   Record of enemy mov - results of observation between 4-21 Dec at Appx 'J' Folio 25
21   The night's patrolling brought no contact with the enemy and our second attempt to ambush enemy boating parties at 830302 met with little success.
21 0700 A boat, seemingly searching for something or somebody, came close inshore in the early hrs of the morning but would not touch down on our bank. 1 KOSB pl comd accordingly gave the boat and its occupants the full benefit of conc fire from three LMGs. No observation of effect was possible, the mist being so dense.
21 1400 The relief of our bns by bns of 8 Brit Inf Bde being completed, comd of this sector went to 8 Brit Inf Bde, and Bde HQ moved off, with the bns already on the move, to a well earned rest in Div res at HORST.
21 1440 Bde HQ opened up at 835180 and bns sited, with:-
21   2 Lincolns bn HQ in HORST 830192 and coys at 830195 826192 826184 830185 833187
21   1 KOSB bn HQ in METERIK 808188 and coys at 808202 812188 814189 816190 811177
21   2 RUR bn HQ at 820169 and coys at 833183 830177 821168 825169 826165.
22-26   9 Brit Inf Bde, in Div res around area HORST 830185, celebrated Xmas as far as the demands of service readiness would allow. On Xmas Day, the other ranks of Bde HQ had a monster dinner at which the Bde Comd made a short but effective speech. In his speech the Bde Comd wished every man the compliments of the season and expressed the hope that they might enjoy next years festivities in their own homes. On the evening of Xmas Day, the men put on their own concert, a show thoroughly enjoyed by those present. A feature of this period was the commendation which appeared in 8 Corps 'I' Summary, praising our work and excellent security measures which resulted in such a good haul of enemy agents on 19 Dec. A further feature of this period was the talk on "The General Situation" given by the GOC, Maj Gen LG Whistler DSO, in the cinema HORST at 0930 hrs 23 Dec. All available offrs and NCOs, of the rank of Sgt and above, attended.
27 1800 Issue of 9 Brit Inf Bde Security Instrs No 2 at Appx 'D' Folio 6
27   Issue of 9 Brit Inf Bde Move Order No 11 at Appx 'D' Folio 7
27   A quiet day spent mainly in preparation for taking over the area of OOIJEN 9024 - GRUBBENVORST 8914 from 185 Inf Bde. The take-over is scheduled for 29 Dec.
28   After another extremely quiet night, the day was spent in preparation for the relief of 185 Inf Bde which takes place tomorrow 29 Dec.
29 0900 Tac HQ moved off to MELDERSLO 853193 where it will open up to operate alongside 185 Inf Bde.
29 1005 Line comn was est between 9 Brit Inf Bde Tac and Main HQs.
29 1300 Relief of 185 lnf Bde was completed and our bns were in posn with:-
29   1 KOSB HQ at 884167 and coys at A 861179, B 895176, C 884167, D 886154, S 887173
29   2 Lincolns HQ at 895205 and coys at A 896211 B 906193, C 906203, D 918220, S 894197
29   2 RUR HQ at 873233 and coys at A 855208, B 855228, C 882231, D 903243, S 874232
29 1500 and by 1500 hrs Bde HQ was firmly est in its new location in the schoolroom of MELDERSLO. The remainder of the afternoon and evening was spent digging in and getting acquainted with new areas.
29 1600 OC 1 KOSB suggested that in pursuance of the Bde policy of vigorous night patrolling by patrols of not less than two sec str he would have approx 100 men per night engaged on patrolling his bn front. This being so he asked that the nightly "patrolling" rum ration for 30 men on issue to units in the line, be increased to a nightly ration for all men patrolling. BRASCO immediately took the matter up with 3 Brit Inf Div and authority for this increase in rum ration was granted.
29 2000 The three bns are covering their whole fronts with fighting and/or standing patrols throughout the night.
29 2210 Enemy Nebelwerfers opened up with a terrific barrage, the bombs dropping well to the South in 44 (L) Inf Bde sector.
29 2342 1 KOSB reported hearing noises of hammering and voices apparently from the area of HASSELT 904154. A few well directed rounds of HF soon quietened the Teutonic midnight oil-burners in this village.
29   Issue of 9 Brit Int Bde OO No 11 at Appx 'D' Folio 8
30 0500 Our patrols covered almost every part of the Bde front during the night, and reported no contact with the enemy. Under comd of 2 RUR whilst op in this sector are Nos. 4 and 5 Dutch Coys. These are Dutch patriots with no badges of rank or outward display of distinction between ranks, in fact their officers and NCOs are lengthily termed "Coy Comd", "Pl Comd" or "Sec Comd" instead of Capt, Lt or Corporal. These tps are lacking in trg and are not very proficient with their weapons, however, what they lack in experience of combat and trg, they more than make up by their high spirits and morale. 2 RUR have one of their offrs and sjts with each of these Dutch Coys, their task being to ensure OC 2 RUR orders are implemented with the least possible delay.
30 1030 BM and Bde IO attended a conference at 3 Brit Inf Div HQ. At this the whole policy of civ evac was thrashed out. The main difference from the Bde policy laid down in 9 Brit Inf Bde Security Instr No 2, being permanent passes will be introduced for use in the prohibited zone within the Bde area.
30 1200 During the day our OPs were very busy doing their first full days observation on this new sector. All their arcs of observation and ranges of visibility have been coord by the Bde IO, the whole bde front being covered by observation.
30 1600 Trip flares are being extensively used by the bns, and gaps in the fwd areas of our extensive front have been liberally strewn with them, in addition, likely avenues of approach and possible conc areas for enemy patrols have also been prepared with trip flares.
30   Our OPs had a very good day observing enemy mov on the far bank. 1 KOSB OPs saw enemy sentries being relieved near the buildings at 912166 and 912165. These sentries, whenever relieved, always walk back to visit the same house at 911165 before going to other posns in the same areas.
30 1630 In addition to this, several enemy were seen entering the house at 911165, complete with messtins and plates; apparently the house fills the dual role of coy, or pl, HQ and cookhouse. The arty have been instructed to place this target well up on their list of priorities for tomorrow.
30   OPs of 2 Lincolns located MGs firing from 917227 918222 913218 917214 and med mortars firing from 918231. Enemy posns were also located at 912222 and 918218 with an OP at 915221. Mov of enemy soldiers to and from dugouts in these areas indicates the enemy holds isolated posns close up to the river bank.
30   2 RUR also provided their share of enemy disposns in this spate of reports from our OPs, they reporting enemy mov in and around houses 913243 and 913245 and an MG firing from 918230.
31 0520 During the early hours of the morning an enemy aircraft flew over our fwd posns and dropped one bomb 200 yds South of 2 Lincolns coy in LOTTUM 906191, no damage or cas being caused.
31 0535 Patrols during the night reported no contact with the enemy, although one patrol of 2 Lincolns saw and heard enemy MGs firing from 917194 and 915187. The enemy were thought to be indulging in fixed line firing as their shots were certainly not aimed at the patrol.
31 1115 The OP of 1 KOSB at 897164 saw twenty or thirty enemy moving near level crossing at 913166, these were immediately dispersed by our arty.
31 1400 2 Lincolns OP observing from 906191 saw twelve enemy milling around in the area of the houses 916183 and, calling down mortar fire, dispersed them with accurate fire. The Bde Comd in his orders to Bn Comds before moving into this sector stressed the dangers of a "live and let live" policy, and the Bn Comds appreciating this are harassing the enemy with small arms and arty fire whenever he shews his head.
31 1600 Lt Col IC Harris, OC 2 RUR is being posted to SEAC to take up a Grade I staff appointment out there. His going will occasion regret throughout the Bde. He was one of the two original bn comds left who landed with 3 Brit Inf Div on 'D' Day. Major JR Drummond RUR called in to see the Bde Comd. He has been posted from 1 RUR to take over comd of 2 RUR when Lt Col IC Harris departs.
31 2359 A very quiet day marked the close of 1944. Several harassing shoots were fired, and a small amount of enemy mortar bombs fell in the area of 2 Lincolns at 9020. This was a very quiet finish to a really eventful year.
31   Bn posns at 2359 hrs 31 Dec 1944 were:-
31   1 KOSB HQ 884167 and coys at 895148 885164 898178 and 861179
31   2 Lincolns HQ 896205 and coys at 906194 904205 893207 and 907224
31   2 RUR HQ 873233 and coys at 903244 883231 857228 and 855212, with the two Dutch Coys at 885238 and 904231
31   Bde HQ at 853194.
31   Cas for the month of December were:-
31   2 Lincolns Killed. - Offrs 1 OR. Wounded. - Offrs 1 OR. Missing - Offrs - OR. Total - Offrs 2 OR
31   1 KOSB Killed. - Offrs 1 OR. Wounded. 1 Offrs 1 OR. Missing - Offrs - OR. Total 1 Offrs 2 OR
31   2 RUR Killed. - Offrs 5 OR. Wounded. - Offrs 27OR. Missing 1 Offrs 16 OR. Total 1 Offrs 48 OR
31   Bde HQ Killed. - Offrs - OR. Wounded. - Offrs - OR. Missing - Offrs - OR. Total - Offrs - OR
31   [Grand total] Killed. - Offrs 7 OR. Wounded. 1 Offrs 29 OR. Missing 1 Offrs 16 OR. Total 2 Offrs 52 OR

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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.