War diary’s April 1, 1945

Infantrymen of Le Régiment de Maisonneuve moving through Terborg, Netherlands, 1 April 1945. Photographer: Dean, Michael M. Source: http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca 

Weather – cloudy, cold windy

The Calgary Highlanders CA (O):

At approx. 0600 hrs. RSM V. C. Bowen arrived at Tac with the breakfast for all Coys, and at approx. 0800 hrs the Bn kicked off on the advance to Terburg which was to be out SL for the attack on Doetinchem. From reports of civilians it wa thought the enemy had withdrawn some distance, and as a result of this the advance was carried on through Terborg with Capt. I. J. Coady leading in his jeep, and followed by the CO’s Carrier, the remainder of Tac HQ and Sp Coy.

By 0900 hrs.Tac HQ had captured the first two objectives and were proceeding on down the main road, only to have the bridge at 035717 blown up in their faces. A section of carriers and one of the pioneers were called up to discover extent of damage. When they arrived another bridge was blown, further up to the right; at the same time five enemy were seen leaving the area and were engaged. Though several bridges were blown, a Class 9 bridge was found near by, and the transport moved on. By this time the Rifle Coys were well shead with “D” and “C” left along the road, and “A” and “B” right along the railroad. “D” Coy had a stiff fight for their third objective, and took 22 POW’s. Very good progress was made until such time as the Coy reached the actual objective at 007671, but “D” Coy seemed to be hitting a stone wall at the entrance to the town square. On Pl of “D” Coy by-passed the square and took up posn. at the bridge at 003751, while the remaining Pls tried every angle to get by the road block at 006750, but were not successful.

Tac HQ set up opposite “A” Coy HQ at 1800 hrs, and at 1900 hrs, the CO left to look over the sitiation at “D” Coy. “B” Coy remained in position on the tracks and “C” Coy by passed the Square on the NOrth and took up thier position at 005756. By this time it was dark and a complete clean up could not be assured until morning. “D” Coy under Capt. M. Tennant tried by patrols from every side to penetrate the main part of the square,  and found it impossibel. The enemy was out off, but clung tenaciously to the square, and until such time as the road block of cement filled rail cars could be moved to allow flame throwers or tanks in, it was considered unwise to commit more men.

Weather – cloudy, cold, windy

5 Canadian Field Regiment Royal Canadian Artillery (5 Cdn FD Regt RCA)

Very heavy shelling during the night – the day was miserable with rain off and on and overcast all day – a small fire plan was engaged at 0100 hrs in sup of CH – attack successful – three “M” tgts were engaged during the afternoon also one “U” tgt – these tgts were also engaged in sup of CH – Recce parties left at 1200 hrs and the move was carried out a battery at a time – new locn of RHQ 04712 Terborg sheet 4004 1/25000 – amn exp 9 rpg’s.

6 Canadian Field Regiment RCA

    Moved to area in Terborg, map reference 044702. We did no firing except empty guns.

1 Bn The Royal Regiment of Canada

At 530 hrs the Bn moved off to a new posn in the area of WIEKEN, MR 0464. The enemy seemed to be beating a hasty retreat. No contact was made. After a brief halt, a recce party moved fwd at 1200 hrs followed by the Bn at 1300 hrs to area of WARM, MR 0170. Still no Germans except one who had deserted in Sept and had been hidden by the Dutch Underground until our arrival.  He surrendered to our recce party.

Another recce moved fwd at 1630 hrs followed by the Bn and arrived at an area south of DOETINCHEM, MR 015742, at approx 1900 hrs.

At 2330 hrs the CO attendend an “O” Gp at Bde.

1st Bn. THE ESSEX SCOTTISH REGIMENT CANADIAN ARMY

Near WALS Isselburg

Weather was clear and cool and in the early hours we crossed the German border back into HOLLAND once again. At 0750 hrs. we arrived in our new location and had hardly settled in when another ooperational move was ordered. Once again in the early afternoon we started off only to have the orders cancelled — then shortly put into effect again and continued on original route. At 1530 hrs. we arrived at new location only to have another move on our hand s and arrived at our newe location just outside of DOETINCHEN from which the Germans had retreated only five or six hours previously. The CO and IO went on an “O” group at Bde around 2300 hrs. and got the plans for crossing of the TWENTHE CANAL — which was passed to Coy Commanders at midnight.

1st Bn., Black Watch (RHR) of Canada

Weather – fair, clouding up later. Operation – PLUNDER. At 0100 hrs. the attack on the town of TEREBORG commenced. Progress was good until the area of the windmill at 064697 was reached, when A Coy. came under heavy fire from automatic weapons. Some of the tanks from the FORT GARRY HORSE were located on the lower rd at approx. 062694 with others on the right flank near VINKSCHE BEEK, and they were called upon to give cross fire upon the windmill area. Shortly following this the Scouts attached to A Coy. brought in 10 prisoners and two – one of whom claimed to be an Ober-Lieutenant- were questioned by Maj. E. MOTZFELDT, the Acting C.O.. The officer asserted that he had been left with 25 men to guard the approaches to the town, but that the ten who were made prisoner were all who remained, the others having been killed or taken their departure. Further prisoners were brought in from this area and they were a pretty mixed bag. A section from the Carrier platoon took the road on the left flank of the advance and proceeded beyond the tanks. From there they reported that they had been able to spot the flash of an enemy gun near the LOVINK Iron Works, and also that they had seen two vacated gun positions along the road they had travelled. The coys., for this operation, have been issued with #46 sets, and up until now these proved most satisfactory except in the case of B Coy. where some difficulty in maintaining contact was experienced. A Coy. was again held up temporarily by m.g. fire just short of their objective, but the men of the coy. went in fiercely and after some hard work at close quarters gained their objective, the area around MR 0670. In one instance two of the men of the Coy. were crawling forward when one of the enemy appeared from a slit trench and, possibly because he was out of ammunition, clubbed one of the men with the butt of his rifle. The other A Coy. man rolled over and shot the German. While the man who was clubbed was decidedly groggy for a spell, he was able to continue with nothing worse than a headache. Only five slight casualties were sustained by the Coy. in the attack while eighteen prisoners were taken by them. Since communication with B Coy. following through A were not of the best, the Acting C.O., Maj. E. MOTZFELDT, went forward at 0422 hrs.to see for himself how things were progressing. B. Coy., under Capt.R.F.DAVEY, had a long street of houses to pass down to reach their objective, and they started off searching each and every one of them. After half the distance had been covered Capt. R.F.DAVEY felt that the progress being made was too slow and decided to go right in on his objective, without any more searching being done so the coy. walked down the street the remaining 500 yards to their area, around the church at 0570, having not a shot fired at them en route. One of the stretcher bearers with the company was endeavouring to dress the wound on a German prisoner they had taken when the wounded man grasped him and bit his ear. Tac. H.Q. moved up to “Bowline l” , A Coys. area at 0500 hrs.. At 0620 hrs. Brig. W.F. MEGILL, D.S.O., Commanding 5 C.I.B. called there and found everything proceeding satifactorily C Coy. moved on to their objective, and gained it without firing a single shot. The last Coy. to go in was D Coy. and for a short spell they experienced quite a little action. From the short road at 06156970 they cut SOUTH to the end of the woods and then started working their way NORTH/WEST up through the woods. Here they came under intense fire from rifles, machine-guns, and rifle grenades. One platoon disengaged and made its way round to the Northern end of the woods. Some prisoners were taken as they endeavoured to escape across to the belt of wood on the left of D Coy’s. line of advance and as the squeeze-play started to work more prisoners were taken and more attempted to escape to the wood on the left. Lt. A.E. TWEDDELL of B Coy., had been out with a patrol to check the bridge at 04606975 and on the return trip this patrol picked up the escapees from D Coy’s. attack. At 0725 hrs. we were able to report “Bowline” clear. Rear B.H.Q. moved up and established at 064697 around 0800 hrs.. In the coys. the morning was spent in checking the Coy. areas and then cleaning up and resting. In all we took 61 prisoners and suffered 11 casualties, only one of which was serious. At 1230 hrs. the Acting C.O., Maj. E. MOTZFELDT was called to Bde., and upon his return a Huddle Green was called for 1315 hrs. at which time the Coy. Cmdrs. were advised that it is the intention that we clear to the NORTH of DOETINCHEM, beyond the positions in which the CALGARY HIGHLANDERS are presently engaged. The move was scheduled for 1430hrs. and the Bn. moved off on time. We had not progressed very far before we had to vacate the road. Our Bde’s. was held up and the other Bdes. in the Div., whose axis will be to our right, were to pass beyond us. Accordingly, while the men occupied fields to the side of the road, Tac. H.Q. was set up at 03147191, temporarily. At this spot the Bn. remained for the duration of the afternoon, and at 1650, Maj. E. MOTZFELDT, the Acting C.O. went to a meeting at Bde.. Upon this return an O Gp. was held the purpose of which was to delineate new objectives laid down for the BLACK WATCH. Once again the men will be riding in in the tanks of the FORT GARRY HORSE, and our Support Coy. vehicles. The move up started at 1900 hrs. but when we had reached a point at 009747 it was discovered that we had gone one block too far. Since we could not proceed farther through the town it was decided, at an O Gp. held in a somewhat demolished building by-the roadside, to go back a block and swing round on our objective from the EAST following the route from the SP at 00957460 up the road leading around to the right of the town to the junc. at 01247525 – cross roads at 00967533 – to the right again to road junction at 011756 and left to our objectives. The light was very bad and due to this and the numerous roads, C Coy., the leading company, pancaked at 00647584 instead of at 00447606. A Coy., following, turned left towards their objective and 003755, when they ran into trouble. A S.P. gun, firing from the South-West scored a direct hit upon one of the tanks upon which the men were mounted setting it on fire, while another S.P. firing from the South, hit another tank and damaged the locking piece, causing the tank to cast a track. A Coy. were now under considerable fire, and with 8 men wounded and 12 missing, Maj. E. MOTZFELDT granted the Coy. Commander, Maj. V.E. TRAVERSY, permission to withdraw to reorganise.

43rd Recce Regiment (UK)

Regt task to protect left flank of 43rd Div and 8 Armd Bde (Brig Prior-Palmer), by patroling to a depth of 7000 yards. The Royals were operating a further 3000 yards in front of us. 0530 H Hour It was hoped to flood the country with armour. Axis Rroad junction 088818-RUURLO 1188. Start delayed, but good progress made with fast movement. Small number of isolated enemy pockets were encountered, but not sufficiently strong to delay advance. Enemy morale low and in most cases, only too anxious to surrender. 92 POW taken. Tp of A Sqn shot up enemy horse drawn transport column. A staff car was nearly captured. Document captured indicated that a counter attack planned to go through Regt area. Sqns deployed, but no attack.

Auteur: Jan Braakman

Jan Braakman is journalist en schrijver. Hij publiceert regelmatig korte biografische schetsen van geallieerde soldaten die in Nederland gesneuveld of begraven zijn.

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