War Diary’s April 5, 1945

Movements accros the Twente Canal

Rockets in the barn yard

1st. Bn. Black Watch (RHR) of Canada
LAREN MR 0600 Ref Sh. 15, Lochem, 1:50,000, Holland.
5th. Apr., Thur.
Weather – mild, and bright sunshine.
Around 0100 hrs. the C.O. was called to Bde. where the final Bde. plan was outlined.
The REGIMENT de MAISONNEUVE and the CALGARY HIGHLANDERS had already been committed with the former meeting determined opposition largely in the form of panzerfaust (the German equivalent of our PIAT), s.a.fire, and the occasional mortar.
The task undertaken by the REGIMENT de MAISONNEUVE was to enlarge the bridgehead farther NORTH, and to secure the approaches to LAREN, establishing a firm base for the BLACK WATCH attack on the town.
The CALGARY HIGHLANDERS would push Eastward and secure the right flank which they did with little difficulty.
On his return to Tac H.Q., Maj.E .MOTZFELDT briefed the Coy.Cmdrs who then returned to their units to await the announcement of the zero hour which would depend on the progress of the REGIMENT de MAISONNEUVE.
Order of march:- C, B, D, and A Coys.. At 0745 hrs. the Bn. moved to the F.U.P. behind the positions of the REGIMENT de MAISONNEUVE. The leading two coys. were mounted on the tanks of the FORT GARRY HORSE (A Sqn.) and our own Sp. Coy. vehicles. While moving up the axis, about 100yds. beyond the F.U.P., the leading coys. came under heavy s.a. and Anti-Tank fire from a position which we had understood to be held by the R. de MAISONNEUVE, and from the town itself, and the men on the tanks had to take cover in the ditch.
Following immediately the deployment of the rifle coys. on the axis and the establishment of Tac H.Q. at 050995, about 300 yards behind the leading coys., the German announced his determination to defend the town in the form of shells from an S.P. gun, s.a. fire, and 8cm. rockets.
C. Coy. suffered quite heavy casualties in the initial bombardment and one of the tanks was knocked out.
At the same time, two of the rockets landed in the barnyard of Tac. H.Q., wounding the Acting C.O., Maj. E. MOTZFELDT, the Scout Officer, Lt. A.G. GUAM, the I.0., Lt. J.G. ROBERTS (who was not evacuated), and Cpl. SHARPE, G.D., C120579, of the Scout platoon, who later in the day succumbed to the injuries sustained. The I.0. called upon Maj. V.E. TRAVERSY to take command, and the Maj., after going up on foot to see the commanders of the leading companies, quickly sized up the situation and ordered these companies to withdraw and dig in, and deploying the Anti-Tank guns on the F.U.P., formed perimeter defense of that area.
Maj. V.E.TRAVERSY, after a consultation with the 5th. Field Artillery rep. , Capt. E. BILLOW, and the Sqn. commander of the FORT GARRY HORSE, formul ated a new plan which among other things consisted of assaulting the town in three phases instead of the original two, the first phase being, of necessity, the elimination of the opposition emanating from the two points which the REGIMENT de MAISONNEUVE were reported to have taken, A brief O Gp. was called when the new plan was outlined to the Coy. Commanders, The revised plan called for a heavy concentration of field and medium artillery on the town of LAREN , during which the coys. would go in on their objectives. 
The Brigadier and Capt. S.E. GRIFFIN, I.O. at 5 C.I.B. called at Tac H.Q. at 1000 hrs. and found Maj. V.E. TRAVERSY in complete command of the situation.
The attack on the start line commenced at 1115 hrs. and all the coys. moved on to their first objectives, experiencing very little difficulty in so doing.
The final phase was then commenced calling for the coys. to move forward to cover the Northern end of the town, The enemy was dug in in the wood beyond the town but was not aggressive except to the movement of A.F.Vs. One of the carriers of Sp. Coy. was knocked out as it was moving up to C Coys. position.
The town and its approaches was securely held by us by 1600 hrs. though B and C Coys. had not a little trouble from m.g. fire for some time longer, and our 3″ mort ars had to be called in to reduce some sniping activity .
The CALGARY HIGHLANDERS contacted A Coy. on the right flank every three hours from 2000 hrs. on.

South Saskatchewan Regiment 
MR 02459155
Sh 3803
5 Apr 45
At 0630 hrs the bn was put on one hour notice to move. And with the warning the eager gleam returned to the eyes of the bn scouts.
At 0830 hrs Lt JD Cade left for HQ 6 Cdn INf Bde to gather infm on a probably time of movement. Evidently the staff had rather a tough evening at the farewell party for Lt-Col KJ Coates, 11 Cdn Fd Amb, as no infm was available.
At 1100 hrs Major AJ Fraser, MC, arrived at Comd Post and infm the CO he was to be under comd of S Sask R with his squadron of Kangaroos. The boys are all looking forward to their ride in these Iron Steeds. The last ride which took place in the battle for CALCAR HEIGHTS is still fresh in everyones mind.
At 1400 hrs Lt-Col V Scott accompanied by Lt JD Cade left for HQ 6 Cdn Inf Bde to attend an O Gp made necessary by a change in plans. However, everyone is still in high spirits and hope sooner or later things will be streightened out.
At 1415 hrs the Bde O Gp got under way with Capt B Pearson giving a short sitrep on the enemy on our immediate front. It was interesting to note the 6 Para Div is still the controlling div on our front. However, a new element has been identified, namely, 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 coys of the Fuchs Bn. However, these troops are poorly equipped, without mortars or inf guns. This group was last identified on the MAAS River. Brig JV Allard, DSO and Bar, then took over and orders were given. In support of the bde we have one sqn of Kangaroos, 1 sqn of tanks, div arty plus 1 med regt and 2 sqns of 8 Cdn Recce Regt (14 CH). The intention of the bde is to pass through 5 Cdn Inf Bde and seize and hold a bridgehead at the SCHIPBEEK CANAL MR 078060.
Brig JV Allard, DSO and Bar, mentioned there are two alternatives. 

  • (1)If opposition is light, 2 sqns 8 Cdn Recce Regt (14 CH) to break through followed by the S Sask R in Kagaroos with the Cams of C mopping up on the left and the Fus MR working towards their objective on the right.
  • (2)The second alternative is to move by bn bounds up to the SCHIPBEEK CANAL and then over.

Brig JV Allard, DSO and Bar, told the bn comds they would be infm which of the alternative plans would be used after the move to the conc area. This depens on the results of the actions of 5 Cdn INf Bde and 8 Cdn Recce Regt (14 CH). Brig JV Allard, DSO and Bar, closed the O Gp by infm the bn comds their recce parties could leave immediately to recce the conc areas.
At 1500 hrs the recce party left for the conc area sq 0598. It is becoming quite common around the bn now, as soon as a recce party leaves to see the boys start to line up for meal parades. Lt D Fairgrieves claims he has missed six meals in three days and is now trying to draw living-out allowance.
At 1545 hrs Lt-Col V Stott held a short O Gp. Coys comds were given the lates role the 6 Cdn Inf Bde is expected to play. The enemy pictures was also geven. The CO then gave out the orders for the move to the conc area.
The bn is to cross the start line at 1940 hrs at MR 024930. Order of march: Bn HQ, A coy, C coy, D coy, B coy, Sp HQ and 17 pdrs. Guides will meet the column at the bde DP at MR 043987. Routes and areas as per trace. Density 30 VTM. Speed 25 mph. Housing lights only. A Tk guns to remain with the cous the are allotted but to move immediately after breakfast to the same area as Bn HQ. Troops to be in their Kangaroos ready to move by 1915 hrs.
At 1600 hrs the bn was placed on 1/2 hour notice to move to conc area. 
At 1940 hrs the bn moved off, but, much to the disappointment of the Provost Corps, took another route which bde had laid on. It seems the provost were holding a one-way road open for the convoy – all for nothing.
MR 056984
Sh 3804
At 2215 hrs the bn had arrived in their conc area and by 2220 hrs all coys had reported complete. The disposition of the coys are as follows:
Cmd Post – MR 056984
A coy – 059988
B coy- 055987
C coy – 056980
D coy – 059986
Sp HQ – 049985
During the move word was received that HQ 6 Cdn Inf Bde was now located in the conc area at MR 057986.
A great shortage of food seems to be felt throughout the bn and everyone, incl D coy, is eagerly looking forward to the time they arrive back in Germany where food is plentiful.
During the night word was received there would be no move before 0900 hrs the next day, so all coys settled down for a good night’s rest.
Weather: Overcast with scattered thunder showers.

10 Cdn Armd Regt (Fort Garry Horse) 
5 Apr 45. This morning the C.O. attended four O Groups, and rebounded at RHQ for lunch with the strange news that half of D sqn and half of Hq sqn would move across the canal. The adjutant, having reorganized the regiment into compact packets designed to meet the needs of pursuit warfare, looked pained at this untidy improvisation, especially as the cook trucks seemed to have been forgotten.
Major Bray, transformed overnight from an admin to an operations officer, left the remnant of Main RHQ to assume command of Tac Headquarters. Meanwhile the discussions about a mobile command post continued, as our unwieldy Tac Hq solved part of the relay station problem but failed to meet the military requirement of simplicity. While the Battle of Organization occupied the forefront of staff minds, the Battle of Bullets affronted the optimism of newspapers by making itself all too apparent. A sqn fought until 0500 hours, withdrew to replenish its ammunition supply, and then continued the attack on Laren (MR063004). Two tanks were reported knocked out: Lieut Livingstons was lightly wounded, his driver George Halasz, was hurt seriously. B sqn continued to support 4 CIB ( which had A sqn in support) to help the 6 CIB forward.
Tac HQ plus blobs were now at 018979. It was a rainy day with one flurry of hail.
Capt Beatty, back from the assault group (Rhine), assumed command of Hq sqn, and amused all hands by his luxurious twirl of a moustache and his abundant, curly, unkempt hair. The “clown’ made a welcome addition to the RHQ group.

8 Canadian Reconnaissance Regiment (14 CH)
MR 029978
5 Apr 45
Weather:- Cloudy and cold
“C” Squadron, and RHQ m,oved across the TWENTE Canal at approximately 0800 hrs. “C” Squadron are working on the left, making contact with the 3rd Cdn Division. “A” Squadron on the right trying to get around LAREN, and contact the 4th Cdn Div on our right, at HOLTEN, if possible. It was learned this morning that Tpr Morrison of “B” Squadron was killed on the night of the 3rd of April. He was one of the six men still missing. Air Contact people who are attached to us are not getting much for their people to do, due to weather conditions. Progress throughout the day, was not to good, owing to difficulty in crossing streams and canals.

Régiment de Maisonneuve
5 Apr 45
During the attack last night, we had 23 casualties and we captured forty prisonars. Lieut P.Y. Boudreau was wounded but not seriously. Lieut C. Racicot is missing; Major Robert, his coy commander is pretty sure he is a prisoner of war. This morning, it is raining but the coys are still pushing on and captured three more objectives. There was a countra attack against D coy but is was quickly repulsed. In the afternoon, the whole BN moved up to a new position. Rations came up in time for suppers. The A/Adjt, who was left behind, rejoined TAC HQ. Lieut J.P. Chicoine is briefed by our I.O., Capt W.E. Sutherland, to make a contact patrol. Our C.O., Lt-Col. J. Bibeau is wel pleased with the day’s work. Two pers left for a 48 hr leave to Brussels and seven went to Paris. Let us hope they have a good time because they well deserved it.

5 Apr
The day was overcast with rain several times – the ground in this area is becoming quite muddy – engaged several ML tgts in the wee small hours of the morning – engaged in fire plan in sp 5CIB at 1115 hrs and another at 1245 – sevral more ML’s were engaged during the day – many bombards were also engaged during the day for the CMO and a couple for the C.B.O. – infantry are making fair headway but sticky in some sopots – recce parties were warned to stand by about four times to-day but each time it was cancelled – amn exp 107 rpg’s.

6 Canadian Field Regiment, R.C.A.
5 Apr 45
We fired approximately 10 rounds per gun H F fire during the night. 6 bombards fired 5 rounds per gun rate 1 fired in support of 5 Cdn Inf Bde in the area of LAREN. 4 Cdn Inf Bde advanced along the East bank of the Canal. At 1730 hours the regiment moved to area 058962. 2 M targest fired in support of 5 Cdn Inf Bde, area South-East LAREN. D F tasks laid on by the Commanding Officer in area North-West of LAREN. Several moreps passed to RCA. 6 Cdn Inf Bde North-West of Laren.

1 Bn The Royal Regiment of Canada
5 Apr 45
The weather today was moderate with scattered showers.
Bn area was shelled most of the day, shelling was also intense in Essex Scots and RHLI posns.
Rear Bn HQ crossed thecanal at 1100 hrs and moved into bldgs at MR 034977.

The Brig held a conference at RHLI Tac HQ at 1400 hrs where it was decided RHLI would go east along canal bank to est a bridgehead at MR079989. A and B Coys of R Regt C to take up RHLI posn, to link up with EssexScots and protect the left flank. C sqn of the 8 Recce were in sp.
RHLI reported firm on objective at 2000 hrs.
31 OR rfts were receaved today and allotted as follows: HQ Coy – 4, A Coy – 4, Sp Coy – 2, B Coy – 11, C Coy – 5, D Coy – 8.

Toronto Scottish Regiment (MG) CIC
5 Apr 45
Cloudy and cool with light rain most of the day. 4 pl supporting 6 Bde MR 049998 also supported 5 Bde attack firing 80 bombs, enemy shelled and mortared their posns, no casualties. 2pl at MR046987 occupied on the heels of the enemy, engaged two targets with 52 bombs. They moved in the evening to MR 066000. 3 pl supported 5 Bde attack later moving to MR 063999. Coy HQ kept busiy supplying sb units with amn […] etc owing to grequent moves. B coy at MR 035968. 5 pl supporting the RHLI took op pson at 083986 forward of our FKLs. Civs reported four enemy tanks had evac the posn shortly before. The pl spent a quiet night an moved in the morning. 7 pl occupied 5 pl posn. 12 and 13 pls moved to D coy HQ MR 017966, ee pl moved to 057994 to support RHC. Enemy shells wounded the CO of the RHC. Lt Baye was wounded and B.76626 Cpl Wilson, R was killed by mortar shrapnel when a shell landed in front of them as they were walking down the road. Cpl Wilson was buried on the outskirts of Almen. 11 pl remained in psn near Laren rest of coy moved up in bde convoy. 
CASUALTIES – Lt BAYE – wounded
B.76626 Cpl Wilson, R – Killed

The Calgary Highlanders CA (O)
Shet 3703
HQ 065988
5 Apr 45
Weather – Cloudy and cold
At 0130hrs “C” and “D” Coys reported into their objectives and Tac HQ moved up at 040985 and prepared to get a little shut-eye. A few mor PWs were sent in and were found to be members of a Fortress Battle Group. A Scout Patrol was laid on for first light, out ahead of “D” Coy to find out if there were any enemy holding them. Cpl. Potts and Pte. Levesque reported in no enemy and “D” Coy, under Capt M. Tennant, moved in. A Recce Party from FMRs arrived at 0745 hrs and looked over the area. Major W.D. Heyland, A?C.O., and the I.O. went ot Bde and were given orders for the day’s activity. The Bn huddle was called for 0900hrs and the Bn was ordered to exploit east approx 2000yds te new positions, “A” Coy leading, followed by “B”, “C” and then “D”.
       At 1400hrs all Coys reported complete with “D” and “C” Coys encountering considerable opposition in small arms fire. By using their PIATs to good advantage they were able to make Heinie “up anchor” and move, taking seven PW’s. One of the latter had a map up his sleeve, showing Coy location, including Coy HQ, which was engaged at once by medium Arty. A little more cleaning up was arranged between “C” and “D” Coys and “A” Coy was moved to a left flank position to maintain contact with the RHC. Tac HQ was moved to 065988.
        Scout Patrols were sent to investigate the wod in square 0697 and reportedd it clear. More Scouts were sent out to “C” Coy and were put to work under Cpl. Potts. No enemy were reported in the area up to 900 yds from our forward areas.
        Plans were then made for “A”, “B” and “C” Coys to exploit further east the following day. All objectives were patrolled and found clear.
        The whole area seemed to be unusally quiet and the Bn settled down for a good rest with an alert guard on.

1st Bn Regina Rifle Regiment
Vorden MR 013904
ZUTPHEN SHEET §3803 1/25000
5th Apr 1945
0700 Weather–Drizzling rain all day.
0100 Moving has been delayed somewhat, but vehicles get on the move and after a delayed trip get into position ready to attack. H-’Hr is set for 0536 hrs. BnHQ set up at MR 009977 (ZUTPHEN SHEET §3803.1/25,000).
MR 009977
ZUTPHEN SHEET §3803 1/25,000
0530 Attack goes in as planned with B Coy left, C Coy right. Fighting is not hard, with some mortar fire, and the coys get to the objective.
0820 B Coy in position at MR 972972 (ZUTPHEN Sheet §3803 1/25,000).

C Coy in position at MR 972975. A Coy left and D Coy right, then pass through and with little difficulty get to the objectives, A Coy at MR 966971, and D Coy at MR 968976.
EEFDE MR 971972, ZUTPHEN Sheet §3803. 
1400 BnHQ moves into position at MR 971972. Engineers have started bridging in A Coy loc and CSR and RWR expect to move throught NORTH as soon as it is complete. 
2100 DF tasks with Arty, MMG and 3”Mortars laid on and everyone hopes to get full night of sleep.

1 Scot R (AF)
Holland 1/25000
Sheet 3903 
1945 April 5
Total Strength: Officers: 40 Other Ranks, 818.
0200 The Bn moved and within two hours was concentrated in the following positions: CP 011924, the Coys in sq 0092 with Admin Bn still at 018890. There is generally a thought behind every move; this change in location now putting us on the axis for our next advance. This is to secure a Bridghead over the TWENTE CANAL in sqs 9696 and 9697 so that the Engineers can put a bridge across under our protection.
However the Winnipegs met no opposition in their advace toward the canal and instead of us passing through them to form a bridgehead they continued on to our Trace 6 proposed positions. Thr Reginas crossed the canal and secured the norhtern bridge-head, thus leaving us somewhat jobless for a short period. The Coys “stood-down” and listened to the artillery pound away at ZUTPHEN, which incidentally, hadn’t yet been taken even if the newspapers said that is was.
2117 A warning order came from the Bn, supported by tanks, to move at 0700 hours next morning across the Canal and follow the Div axis of advance. Casualties: NIL.

5 THU 
Cloudy and cool. At 0045 hrs the Bn was on the move to a FUP at 001965. Comd Post was set at 007965. A and C Coys started the adv at 0540 hrs. They adv to 986967 with no opposition and B and D Coys passed through and with light oppositon secured their objectives at 975959 and 967966 respectively. Comd Post was set up at 985967. Enemy mortaring continued throughout the day and night but cas were light. Several PWs were taken in this op.

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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