War diary’s April 4, 1945

Pushing towards Laren

Detail from War Diary Black Watch

1 Bn The Royal Regiment of Canada
4 Apr 1945
Weather today was moderate with showers
By 0300 hrs the RHLI completed the crossing of the TWENTHE CANAL and were in posn. The Essex Scots started crossing, pushed through us and the RHLI and reached objectives by 0930 hrs.
At 1200 hrs Tac HQ crossed the canal to posn MR 031978.
5th  Bde led by R de Mais pushed north-east through our rt flank coys.
Shelling was fairly heavy throughout the day until approx 1500 hrs.
Casualties today were Lt J M Henderson killed, 9 ORs killed and 4 ORs wounded.

6 Canadian Field Regiment RCA
4 Apr 45
By 0800 hours all of 4 Cdn Inf Bde was across the Twente Canal. 10 bombards fired. 3 Cdn Inf Div moved up around ZUTPHEN. 14 ML targets recorded in support of 5 Cdn Inf Bde as they passed through 4 Cdn Inf Bde area just North of Twente Canal. Also fired a series of D F tasks. 3 M L targets fired in support of 5 Cdn Inf Bde. Bridghead enlarged despite heavy enemy mortar and shell fire.

5 Cdn Fd Regt RCA
4 Apr
The day started out fairly well – it was  a little cloudy but cleared up a little later in the day – a strong wind was blowing all day – nine bombards were engaged throughout the day – several ML tgts were also engaged in sp of 5 CIB – HF tgts  were engaged seven times during the night – 5 CIB put in an attack on the N side of the Twenthe canal this evening – things are going fairly well but sticky in some spots – amn exp 42 rpg’s.

10 Cdn Armd Regt (Fort Garry Horse)
4 Apr 45. The pursuit pace of our advance slowed down today, and for once, we did not break camp. RHQ stayed in the woods at 036930 and the Garry Brains Trust rubbed its red-hued eyes to consider the results of its early-morning bull session. Our staff officers had agreed that command within the regiment was too diffuse, information still too scanty. By common consent, a proper Command Post on wheels was declared the solution to the problem of a location to which squadron leaders could come for imformed directives. Lacking such a vehicle, and because our C.O. had to be at the elbow of our formation commander ( a safeguard against misuse of armour), the compromise involved a rotating officers’ wireless watch at night, and a duty officer system in the adjutant’s HUP at night.
On the information side- the Sigs officer volunteered to have all transmissions on the 2nd Div comd net decoded, and passed to the Intelligence staff: a means of keeping embattled squadrons i the constant touch with the operations pricture on their flanks.
Meanwhile, B squadron, having been rafted across the TWNTHE canal the previous day and night continued to help 4th Brigade hold and expand their bridgehead. Late in the afternoon A squadron was rafted to the other side too ( to support 5 Bde, eventually). C sqn enjoyed a lazy day, recuperating from their recent tour of constant ops. At day’s end, A sqn was reported A008980, B sqn 014993, and C sqn 035929, D sqn 036930, E sqn E981704, A cloudy day, but dry, mostly.

8 Canadian Reconnaissance Regiment (14 CH)
M.R. 029946 Holland
4 Apr 45
Weather:- Cool and cloudy.
The day started of with our Infantry in a hell of a mix up. However, with a  little time, the Recce will straighten out the situation for them, all we need is a bridge. L/Cpl Larsen of the “I” Section, left to-day for “A” Echelon, where he will stay the night, and then start back for Canada on leave. Thee are 18 men going back, having finished their 5 years overseas service. “A” and “B” Squadrons are over the Twente Canal now (2000 hrs). “C” Squadron is to cross to-morrow morning at first light. Then the three Squadrons will pass through 5th Bde to recce north and east. RHQ espect to move over about 0730 hrs.

4 Canadian Field Regiment RCA
4 Aprs 45
Activity – Support of the crossing continued, as subsequent events showed this was the last reasonably strong def put up by the enemy for some time. 5 Bde went through 4 Bde and our guns were on call to aid this op. Altoghether we fired 11 “M” tgts, 2”v” tgts and 2 “U” tgts, in addition to a HF programme at night.

Toronto Scottish Regiment (MG) CIC
4  Apr 45
Weather clear and sunny. A coy moved again. 4 pl locn MR 04329858 arriving at 2400 hrs were called to sp 5 Bde. After firing several HF tasks, 1 pl crossed the Twenthe Canal and took up posn at MR 027979. 3 pl report a quiet day in their area. 2 pl now located at MR 03359775. 7 pl B coy crossed the canal and established their gun posn at MR 025978. 5 pl report by enemy shelling  in their area and at 2030 hrs they engaged an enemy SP 88 at 900 yrs rage. Their fire was very effective as nothing further came from the SP for the remainder of the night. D coy on the move again with 5 Bde convoy. Route took them NE from Vorden to Wildenbrock, then north to Xrds 0795, then went to br over Berkel Canal 027965 into Almen where they est their HQ at MR 017966. D coy pls had advanced with the inf and took up posns in conc area 035957. Roads are narrow but in good conditions, mostly paved. Littele signs of battle on the route from Doetinchem to Almen. Engenieers are having trouble bridging the Twenthe Canal, one br sank. Enemy appear to be using 88s also 105s in batteries but opposition Troops at the canal are apparently pioneer corps sent to built defences for paratps. Royal REGT of C hold posns north of canal. R de Mais crossed at 1900 hrs but heald up at railway, advanced later in the night pushing towards Laren. 11 pl accompanied the R de Mais an took up posn at MR026997 but did not fire.

1st. Bn. Black Watch (RHR) of Canada
MR 0286
Ref Sh. 3903
4th. Apr. Wed.
Weather – sun and wind 
At an early hour the Bn moved to a concentration area near NOORDINK. Tac H.Q. was to establish at 01658592 but when we arrived there it was to find elements of the CALGARY HIGHLANDERS in occupation, so we moved on and set up at 023866. The Acting C.O., Maj. E. MOTZFELDT, and the I.O., Lt. J.G.ROBERTS, were called to Bde. and upon their return  we were ordered to prepare for a further move, up to the Twenthe Canal, across which the 4th. Bde. had a bridgehead. The move up commenced at 1520 hrs. and we proceeded to the woods in sq. 0496. Here we settled in again and at 1900 hrs. Maj. E. MOTZFELDT called an O Gp. to outline the task which lies ahead ahead of us. The REGIMENT de MAISONNEUVE and the CALGARY HIGHLANDERS will enlarge the bridgehead across the Twenthe Canal, and the BLACK WATCH will go through and take the town of LAREN. At 2130 hrs. the Bn. crossed the canal and moved up to a concentration area. One 88mm gun persistently fired in the neighbourhood of the canal crossing, and the region of Rear B.H.Q., causing however, no casualties, though there were some anxious moments in the neighbourhood of the company cookers.

Calgary Highlanders
Sheet 3803
HQ 033977
4 Apr 45
Another cold morning and the Bn was well rested and ready to go on. At 1000hrs Major W.D. Heyland took over the Bn as the C.O., Lt-Col. R.L. Ellis, was confiend to bed by the M.O. At 1100hrs the A/C.O.,  I.O. and Major Degen (Shelldrake) were called to Bde for a huddle. A huddle was also called for Bn at 1200hrs and the information was passed on. At 1330hrs the TCVs reported to the Coys and at 1400 the Bn was on the road again to a concentration area in square 0395, arriving at 1500hrs. At 1600hrs another huddle was called at Bde and more definite information was passed down to Coys at 1700hrs. Supper arrived at 1800hrs and the Bn was ordered to move at 1930 hrs. The Bn started to cross the bridge at 013975 at 2015hrs and proceeded east along the road to 033977 were Tac HQ set up. 
At 2230hrs “A” and “B” Coys were taking over from their respective Coys of the R de mais and reported in at 2305hrs.

Regiment de Maisonneuve
Map 3803 1/25000
4 April 45
Beautiful sunny day. This morning everybody was up by 0730hrs. Around twelve o’clock our C.O., Lt-Col. J.Bibeau, went to Bde to an O Gp. He held his own O Gp shortly after coming back. Major G.L. Lalonde started to go on a recce immediately after. We left our concentration area by 1430 hrs and en route we met our fellows from A ech which had moved up in the morning. Our BN concentrated near the TWENTE  canal. The Brigadier was waiting for our C.O. They discussed a plan to attack on the other side of the canal. After that, our C.O. had an O Gp and gave his orders for the attack. The men were fed and they started on foot to their objectives.  At 1800hrs the BN moves across the canal and makes contact with the enemy around 2000hrs. The attack starts emmediately and goes on all through the night during wich time our coys secured eight objectives. Lieut G.Benoit the A/Adjt stayed at the concentration area. Lieut R.C. Saey and 12 men came back from a 48 hr leave in Brussels. Two of our men went back on rotation leave to Canada.

1st Bn., The Essex Scottish Regiment Canadian Army (overseas)
4 Apr 45
Around 0310 hrs. the Coy Commanders came in for a conference with the CO where a plan was devised to enlarge the Bridgehead over the Canal. Coys moved out independently and by 0700 hrs. all Coys had consolidated on objectives under heavy enemy small arms fire and occasional artillery. Patrols were arranged to feel out the enemy and contact was made. Whilst expanding an consolidating about 60 POW’s were taken chiefly by C & D Coys. Our casualties were esceedingly light despite the opposition. By 1118 hrs. we were able to report positions firm and enemy cleared from area. To protect our flanks a squadron of tanks came across the newly constructed bridge. Annoying enemy shellfire resulted in our supporting arms neutralizing the enemy guns. Various reports came to us from civlians. We were able to sift the valuable information and take appropriate action. A contact patrol programme laid on inter Bn and inter Bde.

43rd Reconnaissance Regiment: 
B Sqn recce roads eading to CANAL (2706-3306) and set observation positions overlooking bridges. Regt recce parties to 3805. 


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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