|Instructions regarding War Diaries and Intelligence
Summaries are contained in F.S. Regs., Vol. 1.
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|Army Form C.2118|
|Unit: 3rd Bn Irish Guards|
|Month and Year: September 1944||(Erase heading not required).||Commanding Officer: Lt. Col. J.O.E. Vandeleur|
|FROISSY to ARRAS||1||A long day of movement still as reserve Bde. We travelled 70 miles and reached ARRAS as it was getting dark, to receive a great reception from the inhabitants.|
|N of DOUAI||2||The harbour party left ARRAS to recce an area in the vicinity of DOUAI 6907. The Bn arrived and concentrated just NORTH of the town at 1600 hrs. This had only been a short move of 12 miles.|
|DOUAI to BRUSSELS||3||The BN left DOUAI at 0600 hrs, our object being Brussels, via ORCHIES by-pass - TOURNAI - ATH - ENGHIEN Hal. This was a distance of 80 miles but good progress was made once we got on the main road. We had a short and very bumpy trip across country and during this time crossed the BELGIAN frontier. As BELGIUM was entered the reception given us increased in enthusiasm opposition was being by-passed all the time. For instance, there were several hundred Germans in ENGIENNCE and a battle raging with the MAQUIS as we went through. They could not understand why we did not stop but our orders were to push on to BRUSSELS. at HAL about 1800 hours, the C.O. held an O Op for the entry into BRUSSELS. Our role with the 2nd BN I.O. was to divert to the south and up into BRUSSELS. Light was failing and is was very difficult to find our way through the suburbs, and progress was somewhat impeded by the enthusiasm of the civilians. As we were passing through a wood SOUTH of the city a Spandau and A Tk gun opened up on the leading tps an extraordinary contrast to what had been happening a few minutes before.. it took little time to clear up and then on we went again through cheering crowds and finally entered the AUDERGHEM district of the city about midnight. No. l Coy was sent to take up a position covering one of the Eastern exits of BRUSSELS and No. 2 Coy another one, whilst the remainder of the BN were concentrated at important rd junctions just on the edge of the city. There was spasmodic firing throughout the night and No. 1 Coy, whose position was just near the Airport (still in enemy hands) came in for a certain amount of mortaring.|
|AUDERGHEM (BRUSSELS)||4||The BN spent a quiet day in a pleasant area, with the exception of the Commanding Officer who staged a private battle near WATERLOO with a pl and a tp of tks who were compelled to withdraw in good order with the loss of one scout car. Cas for the day were one OR killed and nine ORs wounded.|
|AUDERGHEM||5||Bn. Hq moved its posn from the main shopping centre to a chateau belonging to King Leopold, which was kindly placed at our disposal by the local Mayor. Thew Germans as always had left the house in some disorder, but no sooner had we put things straight than Orders Op was summoned to Bde HQ and were told that the advance would be continued the following day to the line of the ALBERT Canal.
The only cas today was one OR wounded.
|DIEST||6||We left BRUSSELS at 1000 hrs amid the usual scenes of cheering and enthusiasm and moved without incident through LOUVAIN as far as DIEST. 32 Gds Bde Op was leading the advance with the I.G. Op in reserve. On reaching the ALBERT Canal the W.O. Gp found that all the bridges had been blown and we were compelled to halt whilst a bridge was constructed during the night .
The only casualty during the day was one OR wounded.
|BERINGEN||7||The Bn took over the bridge head on the ALBERT Canal from the W.G. group at noon. The day was an unpleasant one with considerable shelling from enemy S.P. guns which caused several casualties. Captain W.R.R.S Bruce was killed early in the day and Capt. White and Lord Flunkett wounded.
In the early evening, No. 3 Coy (Major M. V. Dudley) carried out a sweep in co-operation with a sqn of tks to clear the Germans from a slag heap to the WEST of the town which was dominating the bridge head. The attack met with considerable success but was unable completely to clear the large factory area and had to be content with limited consolidation.
Several S.P. guns were knocked out and from this moment, the shelling of the bridge head diminished considerably.
Total O.R. cas for the day was 8 killed and 16 wounded.
|BERINGEN||8||The Bn remained in the bridge head until 1730 hours when the town was handed over to 11 ARMD DIV. In an unfortunate concentration of mortar fire during the morning Capt. E.B.H. Ingleby, Capt. G.A. Jeffries and Lt. M. Aird were all wounded - so the Bn was getting very short of officers.
In the evening, the group moved up to HALCHTEREN and reached the town just as darkness was falling. A sqn and coy of the W.G. group were in possession but had been unable to clear up the local German resistance outside the town. We were therefore compelled to do night clearing which proved eminently satisfactory and the W.G. moved on to join the4 remainder of their group.
O.R. cas for the day totalled one killed and 8 wounded.
|HECHTEL||9||1400||The Bn left to join the W.G. group in the woods to the EAST of HECHTEL. In the village itself the W.G. had met considerable opposition and towards evening were compelled to withdraw from it alltogether. The Bn was ordered to by-pass the village on the following day and push N.W. towards the ESCAUT Canal.
With this in view, the Bn harboured the night in the woods ready to move on the next morning.
O.R. cas for the day were 5 killed and 10 wounded.
|EAST of HECHTEL||10||As is often the case, the 1/5000 scale map bore no resemblance to the ground and after one coy and one sqn had been launched on the chosen axis it was proved that the going was entirely unsuitable to tks. Luckily, No. 4 Coy , which had been sent forward for this task of ground recce were able to dis-engage from the enemy with very light cas and the Bn group followed up the C.L. of the Gren GDS group who had discovered a bridge by means of which tks could cross the otherwise impassable ground. Having reached the main rd to the ESCAUT Canal, the L.G. group were ordered to hook right and make for the bridge over the ESCAUT at GROOT BARRIER. During the approach march we met no opposition and civilians and elements of H.C.R infmd us that there were no enemy SOUTH of the Canal. We reached the area of the bridge as light was failing and the Commanding Officer, after a rapid recce, decided to try and rush it. No. 2 Coy and one sqn of tks were detailed for the job. The tks put down a hail of fire on the area of the bridge itself and succeeded in knocking out several un-armed 88 mm AA/A.Tk guns.
Lt. Stanley-Clarkes pl, preceded by a tp of tks then rushed the bridge itself and succeeded in reaching the opposite side. The remainder of No. 2 Coy and No. 3 Coy were quickly pushed across to join them and the postn was rapidly consolidated. The RE Offcr with the Bn succeeded in disconnecting all the charges which were in position to blow the bridge and the crossing of the ESCAUT had been successfully achieved.
Total cas for the day were one OR killed and 5 ORs wounded.
|de GROOT||11||At about 0900 hrs, the posn S.W. of the bridge was counter-attacked by a mixed group of S.P. guns and inf who were trying to get back across the canal. At one time one of the S.P. guns was within 100 yds of Bn. HQ but the posn was quickly restored and the enemy driven off with heavy losses. During the attack Capt. E.E. Rawlence (M.T. Offr) was unfortunately killed whilst trying to stalk a S.P. gun with a PIAT. The RSM was evacuated suffering from blast and burns about the face and eyes.. The C.O.s staff car and several other vehicles were wrecked by enemy shell fire.
The total O.R. cas were three killed and 10 wounded.
|de GROOT||12||A quiet day was spent by the Bn in rest and maintenance, and received a visit from the Corps Comd (Lt. Gen. Horrocks) to congratulate those concerned in the capture of the bridge over the ESCAUT Canal, which had already been christened and sign-posted Joes bridge in honour of the C.O.
The only cas suffered today was one OR wounded.
|de GROOT||13||The Bn was ordered into the woods N.W. of the bridge head to enlarge it and took up a defensive position in this area during the afternoon.|
|de GROOT||14||0800||An enemy counter-attack was launched on some strength against the bridge head. A number of the enemy with spandaus and bazookas succeeded in infiltrating into the area held by No. 3 Coy on the left, and the whole Bn and the and the bridge itself were subjected to fairly heavy mortar and shell fire throughout the day. During the evening, although the attack had by then been halted, we were compelled to reorganize to closer dispositions then those we had previously held. At nightfall the shell and mortar fire intensified and was subsequently proved to be a cover for the enemys withdrawal, as there were no signs of them the following morning.
During the day, Lt. Kennard and six ORs were killed, 23 ORs wounded and five ORs missing, but on the whole, casualties were lighter than might have been expected as the result of a two Bn co-ordinated attack.
|OVERPELT||15||A Bn of the Hampshire Regt took over our posn during the morning and the Bn moved SOUTH of the Canal to the area of OVERPELT for a short rest and an opportunity to maintain the vehs which after the long advances of the past few days were badly in need of attention.
Todays casualties were one OR wounded and five ORs missing.
|OVERPELT||16||A quiet day in the concentration area.
It was decided as a result of casualties and lack of reinforcements, to re-organise the Bn temporarily on a three coy basis and to this end, Major M.V. Dudley and his Coy HQ were for the time being L.O.B. During the evening an O Gp was held at 5 BDE HQ under whose command the I.G. group now came, and orders were issued for a break-out of the bridge head on the following day and an advance NORTH to the ZUYDER ZEE.
Todays casualties were one OR killed and one OR wounded.
|OVERPELT||17||1430||The I.G. group was to lead the 5 BIE and effect the initial break-out of the bridge head. We had in support of us , 10 Fd Regts RA, 2 Med Regts RA and one heavy battery RA, and the call on a cabrank of 11 Sqns of TYPHOONS.
The Bn group crossed the Div. S.L. behind a rolling barrage, but we had not gone far before the leading sqn was halted by enemy battle groups wit 88 mm guns and spandeaus in the woods which flanked the roade. Progress was then slow but the Typhoons who made 200 sorties during the afternoon, were //able to overcome the enemy opposition, and after taking approx. 100 PWs we crossed a small bridge just SOUTH of VALKENSWAARD in the evening and entered the town just as night fell.
During the day, Lt. Russell was wounded by a an enemy sniper and seven ORs were killed and 18 wounded.
|VALKENSWAARD||18||After a quiet night we were due to resume the advance early, but were delayed by the inf Bn of 50 DIV which was to take over from us and did not arrive till 0900 hrs. However we got underway again and advanced along the C.L. as far as AALST where again we encountered a nest of A Tk and MG posts in concrete emplacements supported by inf.
Unfortunately, owing to bad weather, we were unable to obtain air support but the gunners did good work and at 1700 hrs the enemy decided to withdraw after destroying their weapons, and we were able to have a clear run through EINDHOVEN 4219 to the WILHELMINA Canal. Here we found trps of a U.S. Airborne Div who were guarding the canal where the Germans had blown the bridge. The Bn group accordingly harboured the night SOUTH of the canal, during which time an excellent bridge was constructed by the Res.
|SOUTH of ZON 4425||19||The Gren Guards Group took over/ the lead and the advance continued along the axis via ST. OEDENRODE 4232 UDEN 5342 GRAVE 6253 MALDEN 7055. Several bridges along this route had been captured by the paratrps and only one diversion having to be made owing to the bridge having been blown by the enemy. On the outskirts of NIJMEGEN 7162 however, it was discovered that the enemy were still in possession of the centre of the town, and the bridges, though intact had not been captured by the U.S. Airborne tps. Fierce street fighting took place between the Gren GDS Gp and the enemy and we succeeded in advancing as far as the main post office, but not in reaching the river which was protected by well sited forts and emplacements. Accordingly, the Bn group was ordered to harbour in the area of MALDEN 7055 until the situation cleared.
The only casualty today was one OR killed.
|MALDEN||20||During the day heavy street fighting again continued in the town and in the afternoon an American Paratp Bde, supported by tks of 2 (Armd) IG were able to effect a daylight crossing of the river WEST of the town. Although they suffered heavy casualties on the water, they were able to make their way to the NORTH end of the rly bridge and support the Gren GDS group who were able with this assistance, to capture both the vital bridges intact. As darkness fell, the Bn group moved forward to harbout the night on the NORTH bank of the R. WAAL.
The only casualty today was one OR wounded.
|NORTH of NIJMEGEN||21||The advance was resumed at mid-day, but stiff opposition was encountered soon after leaving the outskirts of the town, which later proved to be thick screens of of some 7 x 6,5 cm and 2 x 8,8 cm Assault guns, supported by inf who lined the ditches with spandeaus and squeeze guns.
The I.G. group were again in the lead, but the country was totally unsuitable for the employment of armour as the main road was embanked and the country on either side of it dyked and impassable to tks. Lacking the support of Typhoons, the Bn was unable to advance and was compelled to form a tight laager for the night in its present posn area 702662.
During the day , Lts. Wilson and Gordon-Shea were wounded, which left the Bn with only two P1 comds, and one OR was killed and 17 wounded.
|NORTH of NIJMEGEN||22||It was decided that the axis should now be cleared by elements of 43 DIV and accordingly the Bn group was ordered to remain where it was until this operation was completed. During the day, there was a certain amount of shelling in the Bn area as the result of which, a house in which Bn HQ was situated was unfortunately burnt to the ground.
Capt. G.S. Corbett was wounded by a shell splinter six ORs were killed, 21 wounded and one missing.
|NORTH of NIJMEGEN||23||The Bn was still holding their positions on the main road NIJMEGEN ARNHEM while 43 DIV endeavoured to clear the C.L. There was some air activity towards evening and the bridge over the R. WAAL was subjected to constant shelling and air attack. Behind us, the C.L. had been cut by a German battle group and was making supplies of ammunition and petrol an anxious matter.|
|NORTH of NIJMEGEN||24||The C.L. behind us was temporarily cleared of the enemy and Bn H.Q. moved into the huis von Oosterhout 694657 a very comfortable chateau just WEST of the C.L.
At last we received some reinforcements 70 men with Lts. Reynolds, Galloway, Morrissey, and Warnock.
The only casualty today was one OR wounded.
|NORTH of NIJMEGEN||25||An uneventful day spent in rest and maintenance in the cons. area.|
|NORTH of NIJMEGEN||26||The Bn group was moved into 30 Corps reserve with the task of counter attacking any enemy threats to the now enlarged bridge head. To this end, the group was divided into 3 columns one at 1 hr, 1 at 2 hrs, and 1 at 4 hrs notice.
It is expected that we shall not again be committed to action before a bridge head over the R. NEDERIJN has been established and consolidated by 43 DIV.
|do||27||A day of peace and quiet.|
|AAM||28||The Bn received orders to move into a defensive posn, in the area of AAM 7170 to relieve 1WG. We had one sqn of 2 (Armd) YG tks in support and the take over was completed by 1800 hrs.
During the night, heavy mortar fire fell on No. 4 Coy area and 5 ORs were killed and 5 wounded. Otherwise the day was uneventful. Patrols were sent out to recce the ground to the NORTH of the Bn posn but found no enemy. We also made contact with 7 Green Howards on our Eastern flank.
|AAM||29||Very little happened on the Bn front today and the enemy seemed to have withdrawn slightly from their posns. Patrolling was carried out as on the previous evening and no enemy were found.|
|AAM||30||After a peaceful night the morning was spent in laying defensive minebelts and harassing the enemy with mortar and M.G. fire.
In the afternoon, Major Fitzgerald (2i/c) was ordered to recce a new concentration area N.W. of GRAVE 6253.
6 Offrs and 155 ORs arrived as rfts.
Patrolling was again carried out during the night and proved to be uneventful. Ten ORs were wounded during the day.
Helaas geen map gevonden.
Source: Jeroen Koppes, TracesOfWar.com, transcribing: Fred Bolle.
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.