War Diaries of 3rd Field Regiment Royal Horse Artillery

1942

 

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January 1942

Commanding Officer: Lt-Col C.P.B. WILSON R.H.A

Place

Date

Time

Summary of Events and Information

References to Appendices

X.5937

1

0700

Move to area X.7232. C Bty in position with O.Ps. out.

 

 

 

 

N.M.S. all morning. Going was bad but although still stony it was becoming flatter. 1 sqn of S.A. A/C under command WILSON column today. They sent a patrol to crosstracks X.8424 and report NMS.

 

 

 

1730

Move to X.6437. Sp Gp HQ has moved up to area X.5939.

 

X.6437

2

 

Remain in same area till 1500 hrs in reserved.

 

 

 

1500

Move to area X.6316 preparatory to moving up and taking over CURRIE column’s role tomorrow.

 

 

 

 

CURRIE column, LYNDON column and SQUEAK column on a line roughly from X.5000 to X.3030 with CURRIE on the left and SQUEAK on the right.

O.O. No. 36 as Appx “A”

X.6316

3

0530

Move off for 10 m. on 215° then brew up. Then 5 more miles on 215° and then on 270° for 4 m. to area C.4695. Shoot up 50 MT. in area X.4200. On being engaged they scatter: some move off.

 

 

 

1130

Short shoot at 2 eight wheeled armoured cars which withdrew on being engaged.

O.O. No. 37

 

 

 

No further action today. Return to area X.5302 for leaguering

As Appx “B”

X.5302

4

0700

Move 2 m. on 180°, 2 on 215°, and the on 270° for 6 miles to area C.3996.

 

 

 

 

No ground activity with WILSON column all day. CURRIE column to our North-West shoot all day onto enemy positions on BELANDAH X.3005.

Letter from Command Eighth Army Appx “C”.

C.3996

4

 

Considerable enemy air activity today and yesterday. WILSON column dive bombed today by 7 JU 87s, 15 JU 87s and 16 CR 42a respectively

 

 

 

 

Total damage was a 15-cwt ammunition lorry, 3-tom ammunition lorry and two limbers burnt out and 3 wounded.

 

 

 

1730

Locations - H.Q. 7 Sp Gp X.5223, CURRIE column X.5315, LYNDON column X.5003 and SQUEAK column X.4324; WILSON column return to leaguer area X.6708.

 

X.6708

5

 

With effect from 0900, 7 Sp Gp. 27, 22 Gds Bde and REIF force come under command 1 Armd Div.

 

 

 

 

WILSON column in reserve. With 4 columns in operation, two columns are forward for two days at a time and two columns back, in turn

Special Order of the Day

Appx “D”

 

 

 

SQUEACK column harass EL GHINAN X.2215 and CHOR EL GHISMA

 

 

 

 

X.2510. CURRIE column harass enemy on BELANDDAH X.3105.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day of maintenance and rest for WILSON column which is needed badly.

 

X.6708

6

 

In reserve again.

 

 

 

1000

Severe sandstorm blows up. Wireless communication difficult as it is accompanied by anelectical storm. SQUEAK and CURRIE columns which are forward lie inactive all day.

 

X.6708

7

 

As CURRIE column and SQUEAK column were ties down all yesterday they stay out today and WILSON column in reserve again.

 

 

 

0900

It is clear that the enemy made use of sandstorm to withdraw his troops from his position covering AGABABIA X.1325.

 

 

 

 

Only scattered groups of 2 armoured cars or 2 tanks and one or two field guns encountered which has been left as a covering screen. Scattered detachments left on the higher ground at SIDI HAMEIDA C.0999. HABAN C.0390 and CHO ES SUFAN C.2090. Many mines and booby traps left about the area.

 

 

 

1330

WILSON column moves to area C.4090 and with one O.P. out watch West and North-West up the track HASEIAT C.4586 – AGADEBIA safeguarding the right flank of CURRIE and SQUEAK columns which have moved on S.W. down the WADI FAREGH. WILSON column not engaged.

 

C.2080

8

0130

Move to area C.2080. CURRIE and SQUEAK columns area C.2475 on WADI FAREGH.

 

 

 

0700

Small det of 1 sqn K.D.Gs. with 1 sec 4/R.H.A. and 6 A/Tk guns of Northumberland Hussars go to MAATEN BETTAFAI B.8256 and a squadron of 12 Lancers with 1 sec 2/R.H.A. and 2 tps Northumberland Hussars go on to MAATEN BURRUBI B.3836 where they make contact with enemy outposts. The whole of 7 Sp Gp cannot move on there yet for supply reasons.

 

C.2080

9

0900

Echelon arrives with last night’s replenishment.

 

 

 

1300

Move to area C.1266. CURRIE column moves in front of WILSON column to same area. This area well and cleverly mine by enemy before his withdrawal, often mines placed on tracks and in the passages between sand drifts. One armoured car of K.D.Gs. and one 8 cwt wireless car blown up on mines in front of CURRIE column.

 

C.1266

 

 

Sp Gp H.Q. moves up from HASIEAT C.4586 to area C.2078.

 

 

 

 

Enemy parties digging in about 3 miles east of BIR ES SUREA B.5665 and B.4557 to B.5396 – apparently flank protection for his position defending EL AGHELIA. SQUEAK column has shoot against two enemy guns which shelled them from area B.5587. Apart from that, little contact made.

 

 

 

 

Major W.B. STEWART, D.S.O. awarded periodic M.C.

 

C.1266

10

0700

Move 5 miles on 250° to area C.0563. Held up here by numerous small minefields. While they are being dealt with sandstorm blows up and movement held up.

 

 

 

1500

Sandstorm clear up but no further movement today..

 

 

 

 

B Echelon moving up to Sq K.D.Gs at MAATEN BATTAFAL B.8256 caught on a minefield by 2 eight wheeled armoured cars. One officer killed and one officer and 13 O.Rs taking as P.O.W. 3 3-ton lorries, 1 armoured car, 1 water cart and 1 W/T truck last.

 

 

 

1530

Echelons sent up from column to column under escort. LYDON column area C.5166. CUIRRIE column area B.7558.

 

C.0563

11

0700

Move to area B.9098/ One of C Bty R.H.A’s armoured (observation) cars blown up on minefield in area B.9760

 

 

 

 

The enemy has withdrawn his forward patrols slightly

 

 

 

1100

Dive bombed by 9 Stukas: 2 killed in C Cpy 2 R.B. and 3 wounded.

 

 

 

1500

Representatives of 1 Sp Gp arrive preparatory to taking over from us.

 

C.0563

12

 

Remain static in present location

Attached as App “E” notes on

 

 

 

CURRIE column in area B.7259 harassing BIR ES SUERA B.5665.

exchange of equipment and

 

 

 

Nothing to report.

reliefs 12-20 Jan.

C.0563

13

 

Same area. Nothing to report. Day of maintenance and rest pending relief by 1 Sp Gp.

 

 

14

 

Enemy reported to be digging in on line MAATEN EL GIOFER B/2238 to ALAM EL MGAAD B.2000 and thus extending his line to the south with patrols out on line BELCLEIBIT B.4149 to BURRUEI B.3726. SQUEAK column with 12 Lancers and K.D.Gs. move south to watch this. SQUEAK column in area B.7451.

 

 

 

 

WILSON column same area. Nothing to report.

 

C.0563

15

 

Nothing to report. Same area.

 

 

16

0700

Move to area C.2280 and hand over vehicles and guns to 102/R.H.A.

Attd as App “F” Special Order

 

 

 

WILSON column disbanded and regiment reformed.

of the Day by Brig. Campbell.

 

17

0700

Move 72 m. back to area X.6077. 10 m N.E. of ANTELAT.

 

 

 

1630

Arrive in area X.6077. Moved in 3 legs (1) 32 m. on 50°, (2) 23 m on 10°, (3) 17 m. on 340°. Going moderate at first but excellent over last 15 miles.

 

 

 

 

Major P.T. O’BRIEN-BUTLER, R.H.A. formerly Adjutant of regiment and subsequently commanding “M” Bty takes overs of “M” Bty from Major R.A. Eden, D.S.O., R.H.A. who goes to 4/R.H.A to take over Major P.T. O’Brien-‘s former Battery “Jerboa” (DD)

 

 

18

1000

Move N.E. up track to 3 m. east of MSUS area S.9416. Excellent going the whole day.

Attd as App “G” 7 Sp Gp

Movement Order No.1

 

19

0815

Move to area T.8489. 10 m West of MECHILI.

 

 

 

 

Going excellent for first 40 miles bearing of 45°. Then 17 m. on 15° through wadis Anne hills: followed Route C which is not bad. Then 30 miles East along the track, good going.

 

 

20

0815

Move to area P.7304 just north of TMIMI: follow track whole, good going.

 

 

21

0800

Advanced party leave us – 2 i/c and Lieut (QM).

 

 

 

0815

Move to area 467413 4 M; east of GAMBUT roadhouse. Drivers sent off to EL ADEM to draw up 3-ton lorries and 8-cwts in replacement for those which 13 Corps have apparently wrongly taken from us.

 

GAMBUT area

 

0800

Just moving off when orders come from rear H.Q. Eighth Army that we must remain here today is enemy column if reported to be pushing out of El AGHELIA. Maintenance and restful stop

 

 

 

1930

Orders received to continue move tomorrow.

 

GAMBUT area

23

0800

Move off to BUQBUQ: pass through HALFAYA a pass which has just been opened two days before, after its capture by us. It is very interesting seeing the German defences which were very thorough, with the turrets of I tanks cleverly concreted in on ground level.

 

 

24

 

Move to MERSA MATRUH area – to Kilo 28 on the MATRUH -DABA road:

 

 

25

 

Move to AMARIYA. Leaguer just south of aerodrome on the Alexandria – Cairo road.

 

 

26

 

Move to BENI YUSEF.

 

 

 

1530

Arrived on B camp. Camp is pitched and ready and new kit is ready and available for the men: hot baths are laid on in the Garrison bath houses of the men.

 

BENI YUSEF

27

 

C.O. to Middle East. Capt. P. UNWIN, R.A.M.C. attached to regiment.

 

 

28

 

Brigadier CAMPBELL, Commander 7 Sp Gp has C.Os. conference in our lines. The regiment is not on priority for re-equipping and it looks as if we may be in the rear areas for some time.

 

 

 

 

Lt. C.E.M. CASTLE posted away on own request to rejoin 149 A/Tk Regt R.A.

 

 

29

 

Our main role for the moment is the training of other units in the 2-pdr A/Tk gun. 1 officer, Capt. Burlingham and 9 N.C.Os. go to 1/KRRC to instruct for a month. Capt. JENNINGS and Capt. BLACKBURN promoted A/Major w.e.f. dates that Major PINNEY was killed and Major STEWART wounded. Lt. GROVER and Lt. HEWAN promoted A/Capt. from the same dates.

 

 

30

 

Difficult to start much training at the moment owing to lack of equipment. 7 days leave straight away for everyone in turn in parties of 50.

 

 

31

 

Lecture to 7 Sp Gp by Major General GOTT. C.B.E., D.S.O., M.C. G.O.C. 7 Armd Div. on the subject of the part played by the 7 Armd Div on the last campaign with particular emphasis on what the other brigades were doing at various stages of the campaign. 60 representatives of the regiment attended including all officers.

 

 

 

 

Before the lecture Major General GOTT presented medal ribbons to those officers and men who had been awarded since Jan 41. The following in the regiment were decorated:

 

 

 

 

Major BLACKBURN. M.C. Major JENNINGS. M.C.

 

 

 

 

Major EDEN. D.S.O. Capt. BLOMEFIELD. M.C.

 

 

 

 

B.S.M HILLIER. M.M. L/Sgt. STEARN. M.M.

 

 

 

 

L/Sgt. BROAD. M.M. L/Bdr. ROE D.C.M.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The following were unfortunately not present:-

 

 

 

 

Major STEWART. D.S.O.M.C.          2/Lt. HARDY. M.C.

 

 

 

 

2/Lt. G.W. GUNN M.C.                     2/Lt. COLT-WILLIAMS. M.C.

 

 

 

 

Sgt PORTER. M.M.                            Bdr. RUDD. M.M.

 

 

 

 

Gnr. COVILL. M.M.                          Gnr. HAVERSON D.C.M.

 

 

 

 

Gnr. ATKINS M.M.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1400

Capt. R,G, WINDER, C.F. attached to regiment.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

     
 

COPY 

Appendix “C”

     
OC.,  

HQ 7 Sp Gp

3 R.H.A.  

SG/140/A

   XXXXXXXXXXXX  

14 Jan 42.

The following letter has been received from the Comd, Eighth Army by the Comd.

     
HQ/8A/DO/70/6/G  

PERSONAL

    ADV HQ EIGHTH ARMY
   

M. E. F.

   

3 Jan 42.

          Will you forgive me for not writing written to you before, first of all to congratulate you on the whole of the Support Group on the magnificent display that they have put up all through his operations since they started in November. I assure you that your efforts could not have been finer and that they come with full appreciation here. Next I want to say how sorry I am that the Support Group I had to stay forward at this time when most of the rest of the Div have been able to go back to the Delta. I can assure you that has been it was not any intention that you should do so, but the tactical situation that we discovered that the whole of the enemies forces were still ranged opposite us in the AGADEBIA area made us very weak on the ground, so we had the call upon you to fill this breach. I hope that it may be possible for you to be relieved about 10 to 14 days time, and rejoin 7 Armd Div. 
 

----------------------

 
 

(Sgd) ??????????

 
 

Capt.

 
 

Staff Capt.

 
     

 

 

     
 

COPY 

Appendix “D”

DIVISIONAL ROUTINE ORDERS

BT

Major General W.H.E. GOTT, CBE, DSO, MC.

Commander 7th Armoured Division.

In the Field  

5 Jan 42.


 

 

SPECIAL ORDER OF THE DAY

 

The following is a copy of a special order of the day issued by headquarters 8th army, Middle East forces:

To:- 7 Armoured Division.

 

“On the withdrawal of the 7th armoured a vision from the 8th army I must place on record the debt of gratitude owed to you by the whole of the EIGHTH ARMY.

 

Yours has been no easy task. During the period before the commencement of the present offensive it was your duty to stand guard in the western desert as an outpost for the protection of the Army of the Nile. This task, following as it did hard on the heels for strenuous period of campaigning in CYRENAICA last winter, further operations last summer, have given you little rest fight tree organised for further operations. Yet despite all this you have embarked on the present offensive which such dash and vigour that largely through your efforts, you have inflicted a marked defeat, after a hard and bloody struggle, on the German forces in NORTH AFRICA. Your achievements have been possible only in the face of great hardship, by good leadership in all ranks of commanders, and by the grit and determination of you all.

 

You have been longer in the desert than any other formation and, despite the loss but we in the 8th army suffer as your departure, I know that there is none who better deserve a period of refit and reorganisation before your next called action comes., whenever it may be. I dip lor your casualties but they have been suffered in the cause of a victory which establish your record a second to none. 

The the EIGHTH ARMY will miss you much. You leave us with our very best wishes for your further success.”

 

 

(Sgd)  N.W. RITCHIE

 
 

Lt-Gen

 
 

Comd EIGHTH ARMY.

 
 

(Sgd) ??????????????????? Lt-Col. AA & QMG.

     

 

 

     
 

COPY 

Appendix “E”

NOTES ON EXCHANGE OF EQUIPMENT AND RELIEFS,

 

12-20 JAN 1942.

 
     

OBJECTS.

1.       Hand over of certain equipment to LYNDON and SQUEAK colns by JACK coln

2.       Relief of JACK and WILSON colns in fwd area by LYNDON and SQUEAK colns.

3.       Relief of colns 7 Sp Gp by colns 1 Sp Gp.

     
PROGRAMME.    

12 Jan   

(a)  LYNDON coln moves to area at present occupied by WILSON coln B.9059
  (b)  WILSON coln withdraws from present area on arrival LYNDOB coln to B 9960.
13 Jan  (a)  LYNDON coln sends advance parties to JACK coln.
  (b)  JACK coln hands over equipment to LYNDON coln
  (c)  SQUEAK coln moves to area B.9059 arriving by 1700 hrs.
  (d)  SQUEAK coln send reps to JACK coln to take over equipment.

13/14

Jan

(a) LYNDON coln, made up in equipment from JACK coln, takes over JACK coln area assuming responsibility by 0600 hrs Jan.

(b) JACK coln withdraws to area East of HQ 7 Sp Gp

18 Jan.

(a)  BARON coln takes over from LYNDON coln in BETTAFA: B 86 area 0600 hrs.

(b) H.Q. 1 Sp Gp arrives area 7 Sp Gp.

19 Jan.   (a) MACK coln takes from SQUEAK coln by 0600 hrs in area B.9058
20 Jan,        JAMES coln tales over from reserve coln 1 Sp Gp area MENSCI C.6404
   

 

 

     
 

COPY 

Appendix “F”

SPECIAL ORDER OF THE DAY

BY

BRIGADIER J. C. CAMPBELL, DSO, MC.

COMMANDING THE SUPPORT GROUP

     

Orders have today been received for our return to rejoin 7th Armoured Division.

 

I would like, therefore, to take this opportunity of thanking you all for the magnificent sustained effort which you have kept up firstly, in the main battle commencing 18 Nov 1941, and, secondly, in the latter phase, when hurriedly called upon to the help of others.

 

I have received numerous letters of appreciation and gratitude from the Commander, 1st Armoured Division, 13th Corps and 8th Army. Extracts from these have already been circulated to you. I would like to quote a remark which was made to me yesterday by Lieut-General Richie, Commanding the 8th Army. He said “I was more than anxious during those three days opposite Agedabia, but when I heard that your chaps were once more in the line by my mind was at rest and I slept well that night.”

 

To these many letters of gratitude I would like to add my most sincere thanks to you all one all for what you have striven for and achieved during the last eight weeks.

 

We are about to leave the desert and re=equip ourselves. Others are mean time continuing the stern fight in the desert. We must not forget them. We must not return too triumphant, there is much fighting still to be done and by us. Our returned to the Delta must be proud, but sober. We will be watched by many. Let our appearance, bearing and behaviour on reaching there be truly worthy of our reputation, which we have so well earned as it does at fighting force.

 

Remember our motto “First in, last out and every ready to go on”.

 

 

(Sgd) J. C. CAMPBELL.

 
In the Field.   

Brigadier,

16 Jan 42.  

Commanding 7th support group.

 

Distribution.

xxxxxxxxxx

 3 RHA.

xxxxxxxxxx

 
     
     

 

 

     
 

COPY

Appendix “G”

 

7 SP GP Movement Order No, 1

SECRET

   

18 Jan 42.

     

1.  SP GP less battle HQ and 1 Lt A A Bty will move to TMIMI halting night 19/20 Jan area T 8585.

2.  19 Jan.

     Route:-present area- BIR EL MELISS  (T0725) – T 4060 – T 4275 - tk Junc 4587 - T 8585. Bearings and distance 55 deg for 11 miles - 43 deg for 30 miles - 7 deg for 9 miles - 13 deg for 8 miles -tk GOT DERBA - MECHILI for 20 miles.

 

3.  Time of  start - 0815 hrs.

 

4.  Order of March:-

3 RHA.

HQ 7 Sp Gp.

4 RHA.

2 RB

OFP

LRS

Rec Sec

      Speed. 10 m.i.h.

 

5.  Halts. 20 minutes at 0940 hrs, 1140 hrs, 1340 hrs and 1540 hrs.

 

6.  Units will be responsible for their own navigation

 

7.  The above route is marked and is known as Route C.

 

8.  20 Jan.

     Time of start an order of march and halts as for 19 Jan.

 

9.  Route:-Tk GOT DERVA – MECHILI - TMIMI.

 

10. One officer per unit will report to this HQ at 0810 hours to act as adv party.

 

11. 3 Lt AA Bty will move to ANTELAT on 19 Jan; report to BRA, 13 Corps on arrival.

 

12. Adv parties for the Delta, consisting of not more than two Offrs and 6 O.Rs. per unit, will be ready to go ahead from TMIMI on 21 Jan.

 

    (Sgd)   ???????????????????
   

Lt-Col RHA

    For Brig.
    Comd.
     

 

 

 

 

February 1942

Commanding Officer: Lt-Col C.P.B. WILSON R.H.A

Place

Date

Time

Summary of Events and Information

References to Appendices

Beni Yusef

1

 

Nothing to report.

 

 

 

 

During the month instructors have to provide in 2-pr A/Tk work for 1/KRRC. 2/RB, 1/RHA, 9/KRRC and 2/KRRC.

 

 

2

 

Nothing to report.

 

 

3

 

The regt has provide one tp to be ready to move to Eighth Army on 6th. Tp of “D” Bty (2/Lt CORK) detailed and made up with two extra 15-cwts and with all equipment.

 

 

4&5

 

student demonstrations in Cairo following an Egyptian political crisis: all troops warned to avoid them and all troops in Cairo area standby for 24 hours.

 

 

6

 

A tp “D” Bty (2/Lt B.J. Cork) leaves for the desert.

 

 

7,8,9

 

nothing unusual. Brigadier J.C CAMPBELL D.S.O., M.C. Commander 7 Sp Gp takes command 7 Armd Div as Major General.

 

 

10

1030

The regiment with the rest of 7 Sp Gp parades in Kasr-el-Nil barracks when General AUCKINLECK G.O.C -in-C. gave a short talk and presented Major General CAMPBELL with the ribbon for his V.C. which he has been awarded for his courage and gallantry at the battle of Sidi Rezegh. General CAMPBELL was previously Adjutant of the regiment and commanded it in Oct-Dec 1940.

 

 

 

 

after the presentation ceremony 7 Sp Gp march past the G.O.C-in-C and then attend a service of Thanksgiving and Remembrance in All Saints Cathedral.

 

 

16

 

C.O. goes on leave

 

 

19

 

Regiment moves to ABBASSIA less “M” Bty who to go to AIMAYA owing to shortage of accommodation. Accommodated in Suez Houses with the Officers Mess in the Old Signals Mess (Polygon Mess) next door to “D” Bty’s old lines. Barrack accommodation is slightly cramped but we are more comfortable than in Beni Yusef and the town is much nearer.

 

Abbassia

23

 

C.O. returns from leave

 

 

27

 

Batteries shooting on the range at Kilo 23 with 2-pdrs, under their own arrangements.

 

 

 

1200

News comes through that Major General J.C. Campbell V.C., D.S.O., M.C., G.O.C. 7 Armd Div was killed last night in a car accident near BUQBUQ. Everyone unanimously agrees that he this is one of the worst pieces of news since the war began. He was the best known and best loved person in the M.E. and his bravery was a byeword.

 

 

28

0830

Major General J.C. Campbell buried quietly at Cairo Old Cemetery.

 

 

 

 

The C.O. was a pall bearer, B.S.Ms BAYLESS, HINTON AND HILLIER were bears. No one allowed to attend except one officer per regiment. Major P.T. O'BRIEN-BUTLER attends.

 

 

 

 

March 1942

Commanding Officer: Lt-Col C.P.B. WILSON R.H.A

Place

Date

Time

Summary of Events and Information

References to Appendices

Abbassia

1

Lt. (T/Capt) W.E. BLOMEFIELD, M.C. rejoined the regiment having been graded A again after his wound. Posted as Bty Captain to “J” Bty.

 

 

 

Lt. (T/Capt) G.F. HEWAN posted to R.A. O.C.T.U.

 

 

7

 

Lt. L.P. HICKS (late B.S.M. of The Chestnut Troop) posted to the regiment and posted to “M” Bty.

 

 

13

 

C.O. to conference in Middle East.

 

 

14

 

Battery Commander’s conference. The regiment is going to change over to a 25-pr regt with 3 batteries of 8 -25-prs and 1 battery of 16 A/Tk guns. We are not going onto the new establishment for some time yet as we have not on priority; but we're going to be allowed little equipment so that we can make a start with our own training. Some more officers are mean coming-- we are to hold our present establishment plus first reinforcements. There is much work to be done in training specialists, signallers etc.

 

 

15

 

Capt WATT posted to “D” Bt. Capt GROVER takes over as Adjt.

 

 

 

 

Major AYKROYD-HUNT, 2 i/c to B.T.E. for an equipment conference.

 

 

16

 

6 25-prs find gun towers came up with a little equipment so that the regiment can start training on 25-prs. We still have some officers and some N.C.Os away instructing on the 2-prR and that is going to us slow down a little in our training.

 

 

17

 

Major G.J.B MASTERS, D.S.O. late if the 25 Fd Regt R.A. posted to the regiment and tales command of “D” Bty.

 

 

18

 

Major A.F.D. YORKE, late of “K” Bty R.H.A. posted to the regiment and takes commands of “J” Bty. Major JENNINGS and BLACKBURN revert to Captains and Capt. WATT and Capt. BLOMEFIELD to Lts. As surplus to establishment

 

 

 

 

The following officers are also posted to the regiment from B.D.R.A:-

 

 

 

 

Lt T.C. MCLEOD. “M” Bty.

 

 

 

 

Lt A.B. KINLOCH. “M” Bty.

 

 

 

 

Lt P.M. BENNETT. “J” Bty.

 

 

 

 

2/Lt R.G.R. GRAY. “J” Bty.

 

 

 

 

2/Lt J.R. BROWN. “D” Bty.

 

 

19

 

Brigadier CUSTANCE, Commander 8 Armd Bde comes to visit the Colonel. That is to be our future brigade.

 

 

20

 

Cap.n BLACKBURN goes to visit A tp “D” Bty at GIARABUB.

 

 

 

 

They are under command 1/1 Punjab Regt:- 1 sec dug in the northern defences - 1 sec portee in a mobile column.

 

 

21

 

2Lt. B.G. NICHOL rejoins the regt from hospital after being wounded at Sidi Rezegh: He rejoins “D” Bty

 

 

 

 

A draught of 17 O.Rs. posted to “M” Bty. (10 signaller's and 7 drivers IC).

 

 

 

 

The Colonel, Major MASTERS and Major O'BRIEN-BUTLER go to KHATATBA for two days for a TEWT with 8 Armd Bde

 

 

23

 

Capt. WINDER C.F. leaves us to join 4/R.H.A.

 

 

 

 

The following immediate awards are notified today:-

 

 

 

 

Sgt. Brooks. “J” Bty.                      M.M.

 

 

 

 

Bdr. Clarke. “M” Bty.                    M.M

 

 

 

 

L/Bdr Eltringham. “D” Bty.             M.M.

 

 

 

 

Sgt. Marshall. “D” Bty.                   M.M

 

 

 

 

Sgt. Butterworth. “J” Bty.            Mentioned in despatches

 

 

 

 

T.S.M. McClarron. “D” Bty.       Mentioned in despatches

 

 

 

 

Sgt. Sins. “M” Bty.                      Mentioned in despatches

 

 

26

 

“M” Bty able to move into Warren Camp A, ABBASSIA about ½ mile from the lines of the rest of the regt.

 

 

29

 

 

Attd as App A personal letter

 

30

 

50 reinforcements posted to the regt for my recent draught from England. Half signallers and half gunners

Brig. Renton,

Comdr 7 Sp Gp when

 

31

 

Capt. JENNINGS, Capt. BLACKBURN and Lt. WATT attend a discussion with C.O. on the Motor Bn in the 8 Armd Bde Campa at KHATATBA.

bty moved into the desert again

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

COPY

Appendix “A”

H,Q, 7 Motor Bde Gp.

25.3.42

My Dear Pat,

                On behalf of all ranks of the 7 Motor Bde I would like to say how very sad we are at saying goodbye to the 3 R.H.A. It has been wondered two years of companionship in the Support Group and we only hope that it may soon be reversed.

                The best of luck to you all.

Yours ever.

(Sgd) CALLUM RENTON.

 

 

 

 

April 1942

Commanding Officer: Lt-Col C.P.B. WILSON R.H.A

Place

Date

Time

Summary of Events and Information

References to Appendices

Abbassia

1

 

2/Lt. H.A. PARSONS rejoined the unit after being in hospital

 

 

2

 

Sgt, CASSEY and Gnr BUTLER J. were posted to U.K. after 7½ years abroad.

 

 

3

 

B.S.M TAYLOR promoted to B.Q.M.S. B.Q.M.S MURRAY becomes B.S.M. of “M” Bty and STANDALOFT B.Q.M.S of “M” Bty.

 

 

 

 

The Colonel received a letter from Commander, 7 Motor Bde.

 

 

 

 

The text as follows:-

 

 

 

 

“My Dear Pat,

On behalf of all ranks of the 7 Motor Bde I would like to say how very sad we are at saying goodbye to the 3 R.H.A. It has been wondered two years of companionship in the Support Group and we only hope that it may soon be reversed.

The best of luck to you all.

Yours ever.

Callum Renton.”

 

 

4

 

Lt. W.L.P. FISHER, M.C. was attached to “M” Battery from B.D.R.A.

 

 

5

 

Major ACKROYD-HUNT and Capt. JENNINGS, M.C. left by road to attend Squadron Commander AFY Course at KARKUR, Palestine.

 

 

7

 

2/Lt. B.G. NICHOL posted from “D” Bty to R.H.Q. to take over duties of Assistant Adjutant.

 

 

12

 

L/Bdr. GOODWILL of M Bty was buried at Heliopolis, having died suddenly the previous evening

 

 

13

 

Sgts. SMITH-GANDER, FARLEY and CAPEL returned to Base Depot after completing a very helpful period of instruction to “D” Battery. Sgts. SMITH-GANDER and FARLEY instructed in gun drill and Sgt CAPEL in signalling

 

 

16

 

Col. WILSON left by road to join Eighth Army to take over duties of B.R.A. Major O’BRIEN-BUTLER assumed command of the regiment.

 

 

17

 

Sgt. CLAVERING left for GIARABUB to visit “A” troop of “D” Battery, with a supply a canteen of goods, books; etc. He found them fit and well and very pleased to see him. There is still no word of their return.

 

 

19

 

Major ACKROYD-HUNT and Capt. JENNINGS returned from KARKUR.

 

 

 

 

Major ACKROYD-HUNT assumed command of the regiment.

 

 

20

 

Sgt. HURLOCK was posted from “M” Battery to B.D.R.A. preparatory to taking over duties as A/T instructor in the Sudan.

 

 

21

 

Notified of Posthumous Award of V.C. to 2/Lieut G.Ward Gunn, M.C.

 

 

 

 

The award was made of his gallant conduct in the fighting at SIDI REZEGH.

 

 

 

 

"At SIDI REZEGH, on 21 Nov 41, 2/Lieut Gunn. M.C. was in command of a troop of anti-tank guns with 2 R.B. column. When the column was attacked by 60 enemy tanks supported by infantry, and our tanks withdrew through them, he led forwards four ant-tank guns on portee to attack the enemy. All the portees were hit and damaged by tank fire, He went over to one, and with the help of a Sergeant and later with that of Battery Commander continued to fire it, knocking out at least two enemy tanks at 800 yds range. When he had fired all his ammunition he ran 50 yds of open ground to ammunition vehicles under very heavy fire from tanks and infantry, returned with more ammunition and continue firing the gun until he was killed.

His unbounded courage and magnificent offensive spirit of the officer in attacking 60 tanks with a single unarmoured gun, excited the adoration of all who witnessed it.”

 

 

22

 

Telegram of congratulations on V.C. award to 2/Lt Ward GUNN received from 1 R.N.F. and B.D.R.A.

 

 

23

 

Sgt Hurlock, Bdr Butler and Bdr. OWEN W.H. posted to B.D.R.A. preparatory to taking over duties as A/T instructor in the Sudan.

 

 

24

 

Received personal letter of congratulations from C.-in-C., General AUCHINLECH to the posthumous award of V.C. to 2/Lt G.WARD GUNN. M.C.

 

 

 

 

The text if the letter, address to the Colonel, was as follows:-

 

 

 

 

“Mr Dear Wilson.

I wish to convey through you to the regiment, my congratulation on the posthumous award of the V.C. to 2/Lt. G.WARD GUNN, M.C., R.H.A. The outstanding gallantry & dedication to duty of this officer against overwhelming odds, will long be remembered in the annal of the Royal Horse Artillery.

 

 

 

 

(Sgd) C. AUCHINLECK

 

 

 

 

C.-in.C.”

 

 

27-30

 

“M” Battery had range practice with rifle and Bren Gun.

 

 

30

 

Major O’BRIEN-BUTLER attended No. 3. Skeleton Exercise of the 8 Armoured Brigade at KNATATBA.

 

 

 

 

During the month a number of officers and men have been on course at M.E. School of Artillery, Almaza, and training of the 25-pdr has proceeded satisfactorily.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

May 1942

Commanding Officer: Lt-Col C.P.B. WILSON R.H.A

Place

Date

Time

Summary of Events and Information

References to Appendices

Abbassia

5

Brigadier EBBLES visited the C.O

6

Regt changed over from A/Tk establishment to 25-pdr establishment.

“D”, “J” and “M” Batteriers re-organised on a two troop basis:-

“D” Battery troops being called “A” and “B” Troops,

“J” Batter y “C” and “D” troops,

“M” Battery “Madras” and “Java” troops.

Lieut. W.L.F. FISHER, M.C. R.A. and Lieut. P. HILTON, R.A. posted to the regiment and interposted to “M” Battery.

Lieut. D.D. YONGE, R.A. and 2/Lt. R.A. STOKES, R.A. posted to the regiment from B.D.R.A. and interposted to “D” and “J” Batteries respectively.

Lieut. FISHER, Lieut. HILTON, Lieut. WATT and Lieut W.E. BLOMEFIELD regranted the Temporary rank of Captain, and Lieut. BARRINGTON and Lieut. BENNETT promoted U/A/Captains, and appointed troop commanders as follows:-

Capt. FISHER to “Madras” troop “M” Battery.

Capt. HILTON to “Java” troop “M” Battery.

Capt. WATT to “B” Troop “D” Battery.

Capt. BLOMEFIELD to “C” Troop “J” Battery.

Capt. BARRINGTON to “A” Troop “D” Battery.

Capt. BENNETT to “D” Troop “J” Battery.

Thirty quads are taken over by the regiment, ten being taken by each battery to bring their strength in these vehicles up to establishment.

“M” battery received 14 reinforcements from B.D.R.A. Absolute calibration of one gun per battery commenced on School of Artillery ranges

7

Recce party consisting of Major J ACKROYD-HUNT, Capt. JENNINGS, Capt. BARRINGTON, Capt. FISHER and Lieut (Q.M,) preceded by land to Khatatba to reconnoitre the camp area to be occupied by the regiment the following week.

Absolute calibration continued on School of Artillery ranges,

The regiment received 100 reinforcements from B.D.R.A..

Vehicles were sent into the spray to be spray painted, only light sand colour was applied: the workshops would not overlay a shade of camouflage without a special order from HQ.

8

Absolute calibration continued on School of Artillery ranges,

“A” Troop “D” Battery under 2/Lt. B.J/ CORK returned from the desert. They had been in TOBRUK with the 28th Infantry Brigade from Feb to Mar and then proceeded to JARABUB where they were attached to the 1 First Punjab's. They were all in high spirits and we're looking forward to their week’s leave.

9

Absolute calibration completed at School of Artillery ranges,

A regimental dance was held on the at the Slade Club, Abbassia,

Capt. JENNINGS, who organised the dance, experienced great difficulty in canvassing the various female institutions in the district to provide partners.

Abbassia

10

2/Lt. B.N. DALE R.A. posted to the regiment from B.D.R.A. and interposted to “M” Battery.

Lieut A.B. KINLOCH cross posted to “J” Bty from “M” Bty.

11

Advance Party left for KHATATBA.

The party, comprising B.Q.M.S. and 14 men per battery, R.Q.M.S and 5 men from R.H.Q. left Abbassia at 0645 Hrs and preceded by the Alexandria road to Kilo 66 where there turn right to strike the KHATATBA track.

Two more 25-pdrs were drawn per Battery, making a total of four per battery. A small quantity of signal equipment was also drawn

Lieut. J. SIBBALD R.A. posted to the region from B.D.R.A. an interposted to “D” Battery.

“C” Bty 76 A/Tk Regt R.A. arrived at KHATATBA to join the regiment, so completing the strength of three 25-pdr Batteries and one A/Tk Battery. They had come down from MARSA LUCCH, leaguering at FUKA, the second night at SIDI BARRANI and the third night at Amriya. The officers of the battery are Major Golding, Capt. R.D. Nelson. Lt. ????, ?? N.C.Os, ???? ???? ???? ???? ????

Khatatba

12

The regiment left Abbassia for Khatatba. Arriving the same day and going under canvas. On arrival at Khatatba the regiment joined 8 Armd Bde (Brig CUSTANCE) of the 10 Armd Div (Major General GATEHOUSE).

The first few days were spent mainly on fatigues, digging in of tents, and settling in generally. The following week strenuous training began, and Batteries liaised closely with which they were to work – “D” with Notts Yeo, “J” with the Staffs Yeo and “M” with the Greys.

14

2/Lt. D. MERRIE of “M” Battery promoted War Substantive Lieutenant w.e.f. 7.5.42.

“C” A/Tk Bty sent 76 O.Rs. and 3 officers on 7 days leave.

15

“C” A/Tk Battery sent over 4 guns (2-pdr) and an instructor to the Buffs to assist them in their A/Tk gun training. This arrangement continued daily.

16

“C” A/Tk Battery Commander went on seven days leave.

13-22

Sand storms blew up each day later afternoon and early evening lasting for about two hours.

19

“D”, “J” and “M” Batteries each took over a General Stuart (Honey) tank from their “affiliated” regiments. These tanks are for use as armoured O.Ps. They are only “attached” to the regiment, remaining “on charge” to their original unit.

The C.R.A., Brig EBBLES paid the regiment an informal visit and watched normal training in progress.

21

1130

The first weekend leave party from Khatatba proceeded to Cairo.

Brigade Group Commander, Brig CUSTANCE paid the regiment an informal visit.

2/Lt. J.A.C. BAXTER, “M” Battery promoted WS/Lieutenant w.e.f. 21.5.42.

It was decided that in future Madras troop would be known as “M” (Madras) Troop and Java Troop would be known as “F” (Java) Troop.

2/Lt. ROSS, “C” A/Tk Battery, took a convoy of 6 portees of B.D.R.A.

26

0600

A number of officers from the regiment attended a Battle Practice carried out by 1st Armoured Brigade Group south of Kilo 6 on the Fayeum – Mena road.

Among the spectators were General AUCHINLECK an Divisional Commander, General GATEHOUSE. The 4 Hussars was seen in action in their Grant tanks, and the firing of their 75 mm guns work was witnessed.

1630

In the afternoon some of the party preceded to Almaza to watch demonstration of 75 mm firing at moving targets on the school of Artillery ranges.

28

News came through that the Hun had launched an attack in the desert. In the south he advanced on BIR HACHEIM whilst a feint attack was put in against our position around GAZALA. It is not often that the regiment hears the frontline news over the radio in the back area.

29

0815

A regimental inter troop quick action competition was held in the area beyond “J” Battery lines. The competition was keenly contested and the winning troop, “F” (Java) Troop was selected to give us demonstration before HRH the Duke of Gloucester.

1110

The regiment was honoured by visit from H.R.H. the Duke of Gloucester. The Battery Commanders were introduced to H.R.H. by the C.O., after which they watched he watched a quick action demonstration by “F” (Java) Troop.

30

“C” A/Tk Battery sent three guns (2-pdr) and an instructor to 8 Armoured Brigade.

A letter was received from General MESSERVY, commanding 7 Armoured Division, congratulating the regiment on the posthumous award of the V.C. to 2Lt G.Ward GUNN, M.C, for outstanding gallantry and devotion to duty in the battle at SIDI REZEGH

Appendix “A”

Letter from Maj Gen Messervy

Training has been strenuous during the month and has progressed satisfactorily. One or two minor troop schemes indoor exercises and signal exercises have taken place, and training has been carried on by the batteries in close cooperation with affiliated regiments. Visits have been exchanged with the armoured regiments and first hand information has been obtained of the General Grant American Medium tank full stop

In the western desert, 7 Armoured Division, for the first time without this regiment, has engaged was engaged from 26 May onwards in the battle S.W. of TOBRUK, countering an access attack.

 

 

 

COPY

APPENDIX “A” to War Diary for May, 1942.

Subject:- Act of Gallantry

H.Q. 7 Armd Div.

1938/4/A

Apr,42.

OC 3 RHA.

            I wish to contraction liked your regiment on the posthumous award of the Victoria Cross by His Majesty the king to Lieutenant, G, W, Gunn, M.C., for his outstanding gallantry and devotion to duty at the battle of Side Rezegh.

The best of luck to you all.

(Sgd) FW MESSERY

Maj Gen.

Comd/

copy 2:- H.Q.7 Motor Bde Gp.

Lt/Express.

 

 

 

 

June 1942

Commanding Officer: Lt-Col J.A. AKROYD-HUNT R.H.A.

Place

Date

Time

Summary of Events and Information

References to Appendices

Khatatba

1

 

Various training continues throughout the Batteries.

 

 

2

 

A Divisional Signals Exercise was carried out in the area between Kilo 64 on the Alexandra road and BIR VICTORIA. The purpose of the scheme was to practise officers in R/T procedure. In his meeting at the end of the exercise, Brigadier CUSTANCE expressed concern at the lack of security and the low standard of general procedure.

 

 

3

 

Madras Troop gave a quick action demonstration before a proportion of officers, N.C.Os, and men of the Scots Greys, who were paying a return visit to “M” Battery

 

 

4

 

A short severe sandstorm brought down the C.O's tent like a puff on a house of cards. Walls of the office tent were blown out and many tents including “M” Battery office were raised to the ground.

 

 

7

 

DD Troop of “C” A/Tk Battery (Troop Commander 2/Lt D.G. ROSS) affiliated to “M”

 

 

 

 

EE Troop of “C” A/Tk Battery (Troop Commander Lt W.C.C Cotase) affiliated to “F”

 

 

 

 

FF Troop of “C” A/Tk Battery (Troop Commander 2/Lt R.G. Epsley) affiliated to “D”

 

 

10

 

2/Lt. AITCHISON, SUDBURT and WIDDUP posted to the regiment from B.D.R.A. and interposted to “D” and “J” Batteries and R.H.Q. respectively/

 

 

11

 

Brigade TEWT in area GEBEL EL DABA 580858 was attended by Battery Commander's as members of Spectators Syndicates.

 

 

 

 

Thirty two No. 19 wireless sets were drawn for the regiment.

 

 

 

 

First heard of the withdrawal from BIR HACHEIM which the Free French have held so doggedly against repeated German attacks.

 

 

 

 

There is much speculation as to the Hun’s next move

 

 

12

 

“J” Battery demonstrated deployment and troop quick actions at the Staffs Yeomanry, their affiliated regiment.

 

 

14, 15

 

Normal Battery and Troop training continues

 

 

16

 

We learned of the British withdrawal from GAZALA to take up new positions along the line ACROMA – EL ADEM.

 

 

17

0730

brigade moved out leaving us to our own devices. It was thought that we should properly follow them up when fully equipped

 

 

 

 

the news from the desert is much the same and it seems as though a further withdrawal is likely

 

 

 

1400

a cricket match took place between the officers and the sergeants resulting in a win for the officers by five runs. After the match the officers entertained the sergeants for the evening.

 

 

18, 19, 20

 

“D”, “J” and “M” Batteries carried out field firing at GEBEL DABA 579857 with two 3.7 Hows.

 

 

19

 

Four more 25-pdrs and twelve 6-prs drawn.

 

 

 

 

Learned that the Eighth Army has taken up defensive positions at TOBRUK on the Libyan frontier.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

21

 

Captain BURLINGHAM of “M” Battery promoted to A/Major and took over command of “C” A/Tk Battery in succession to Major GOLDING, who has been posted to B.D.R.A. at reaching the age limit.

 

 

22, 23 and 24

 

“J” Battery, “D” Battery and “M” Battery carried out comparative calibration against the standard gun. The calibration each day was followed by field firing.

 

 

25

0715

“J” Battery carried out the Battle Practice in the area east of GEBEL DABA. Fire was called for by the C.O. on indicated targets, troops being shot both individually and linked.

 

 

 

1600

“D” Battery carried out a similar Battle Practice.

 

 

26

 

“M” went through the same Battle Practices as that performed by “D” and “J” on the previous day.

 

 

28, 29

 

Anti-Tank shooting was carried out by the Batteries on the Suez Road ranges

 

 

30

1130

The regiment received orders to move forthwith to HALFWAY HOUSE on the Cairo - Alex road. Whilst we had been expecting to move fairly soon the order to move forthwith was a little sudden and found us with several vehicles at way at Cairo drawing mob stores and other requirements, and other vehicles only partly parked. However by 1430 hours the regiment was ready to move, and preceded via the Khatatba to the main Alex road, leaguering for the night one mile short of HALFWAY HOUSE.

 

 

30

 

The traffic along the road was very dense, and there was much evidence of recent operations to be seen in the traffic movement. The amount of R.A.F. transport moving south was vast, was convoys of guns and moving north was equally numerous.

 

 

 

 

We learned that night that we were to come under 50 Div of 13 Corps.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

July 1942

Commanding Officer: Lt-Col J.A. AKROYD-HUNT R.H.A.

Place

Date

Time

Summary of Events and Information

References to Appendices

 

1

0630

At first light the regt pulled out from the leaguer at HALFWAY HOUSE (432431) only Cairo-Alex Rd, on the next step of the move “up”. Traffic conditions were chaotic, and after travelling only a few miles the rage came to a halt, lasting for two hours. When we finally moved off again, progress was further hampered by bad visibility, great clouds of dust being raised by vehicles leaving the road and moving down the soft sand.

 

 

 

1600

leaving the Cairo-Alex road at the “O” track junction, we preceded west along the track to EL HAMMAM, where we formed into three columns with Infty of the Green Howards and leaguered for the night (461903) El Daba 1/250000.

 

 

2

 

At first like the column moved off to RUWEISAT RIDGE were 50 Div (commanded by Lt-Col Olivier) have their H.Q. (432891 El Daba 1/250000). From near the columns moved off individually to carry out their appointed roles.

Appendix I.

 

 

 

ACKOOL, commanded by Lt-Col J.A. AKROYD-HUNT R.H.A. and comprising “D” and “M” Batteries with their affiliated A/Tk troops of “C” A/Tk Battery and two coys D.L.I. Green Howards moved along the bridge to Pt 97, and after some delay advanced northwest across very hard going towards Alam El Casel (891286 El Daba 1/250000) where Late afternoon they came into action in support of, in between, the two South African Brigades.

 

Pt 97 (El Daba 1/2500000)

 

 

STANOOL commanded by Lt-Col G. STANSFIELD, East Yorks Regt and comprising “J” Battery who is affiliated A/Tk troop, one Battery of 11 (H.A.C.) R.H.A. and the company East Yorks took up a defensive position based on Pt 97.

 

 

 

 

ROBOOL, commanded by Brig WALLER moved out on the southern slope of RUWEISAT to ALAM BLACHAZA (426886 El Daba 1/250000)

 

 

 

 

There was little shooting done during the remaining part of the day. “A”” tp “D” Battery doing a little long range firing and registration.

 

RUWEISAT

3

 

Ordered to relieve South African Brigade.

 

 

 

 

Capt. FISHER. “M” Battery went forward and has some good shooting, capturing 20 to 30 prisoners. Capt. HILTON. “M” Battery went south and engaged a large MET movement. Both “D” and “M” Batteries came under heavy enemy fire from tanks and field guns, and “D” Battery had to withdraw after engaging the enemy.

 

 

 

 

“D” had some good shooting in the evening, scoring a number of direct hits on targets around Pt 63. They were unfortunate in losing Lt. J. SIBBALD, who was wounded when “B” tp were shelled,

 

 

 

 

It was an unhappy day for “J” who lost Capt. W.E. BLOMEFIELD, M.C. killed by a shell splinter when out on O.P.

 

RUWEISAT

4

 

“D” and “M” Batteries again in action. “D” destroyed two Mk III tanks by indirect fire and “M” put out of action one Mk III and set on firea quad, towing an anti-tank gun.

 

 

 

 

“M” had themisfortune to lose Lt. MACLEOD, who was wounded while shooting his troop. He was hit by M.G. bullets from a tank and died a few hours later.

 

 

 

 

During the morning the enemy infantry put in an attack on Pt 64 (875279 El Daba 1/100000). The enemy was engaged by Capt. FISHER of “M” Battery, until he was wounded in the shoulder, when Major O’BRIEN-BUTLER took over.

 

 

 

 

A general enemy withdrawal began, all the infantry in view getting up and running off as quickly as possible.

 

 

 

 

Lieut. HICKS of “M” Battery was promoted Captain.

 

 

5

 

Regt came under command 1 Armd Div, and some regrouping of columns took place .

Appendix XI

 

 

 

WALL Group and ROBOOL come under command of Brigadier WALLER to form SQUECK Col.

 

 

 

 

ACKOOL and STANOOL combined under command of Lt-Col J.A. AKROYD-HUNT to form SACKOOL.

 

 

 

 

One result of this regrouping was to bring together the Batteries again, “J” having been divorces from “D” and “M” whilst in STANOOL.

 

 

 

 

A quiet day for the most part.

 

 

 

 

“J” joined the column at about 1000 hours but remain on wheels all day. A composite Guards Battalion took over from the infantry of 50 Div, who were withdrawn and returned to Amriya.

 

 

 

 

Java Troop of “M” Battery were accurately shelled in the evening, suffering a number of casualties, 2/Lt PARSONS receiving a severe thigh wound.

 

 

6

First light

“J” moved into “M” position, “M” moving back a little to reorganise. Little shooting done, with the enemy at extreme range all day.

 

 

7

 

All Batteries shooting for the most part at extreme range. A few enemy infantry positions registered and MET engaged.

 

 

 

 

“M” scoured a direct hit on a carrier, which later proved to be one lost by our night fighter patrol.

 

 

 

 

One of “J’s” O.Ps working south if the brest of the ridge towards Pt 35 (883284) was hit by a 60-mm. One of the occupants L/Bdr FULLER was killed and four others wounded, including Lt. KINLOCH, who was evacuated.

 

 

8

 

It now appeared that our role in this sector was to become static and Battery positions were surveyed in, D.F. tasks prepared and full scaled command post set up.

 

 

 

 

This was a matter causing a good deal of regret. We hoped our role would be

 

 

 

 

We hoped our role would be a mobile one, in keeping with R.H.A tradition.

 

RUWEISAT

9

 

The Batteries registered their D.F. tasks on the minefield, laid in front of the ACKOOL positions, and recced O.Ps. preparatory to supporting the Australian attack which was going in the next day.

 

 

 

 

Enemy MET columns were shot up, and Capt. BAXTER, “M” Battery took two prisoners.

 

 

10

0530

From 0530 – 0645 hours, concentrations were put down in support of the Australians.

 

 

 

 

This attack was very successful, well over a thousand prisoners being taken.

 

 

 

 

2/Lt P.C. BENTLEY joined the regt and was posted to “J” Battery.

 

 

 

 

In the evening Capt. HILTON, “M” Battery took an escort of three carriers along the ridge, where he engaged enemy infantry and O.Ps. with artillery and small arms fire, causing them to withdraw. At duck he joined Major MASTERS, “D” Battery in a sweep northwards when they had the misfortune to come upon an enemy anti-tank gun at point blank range. Major MASTERS’ O.P. and one carrier were hit and set on fire, another carrier put out of action. The driver of the O.P. D.M. HOWEWOOD and the signaller, Gnr DAVIDSON were killed.

 

 

 

 

Captain Hilton neutralised the area with smoke and H.E. and brought some of the party back, whilst Major O’BRIEN-BUTLER took forward some anti-tank guns and conducted the party safely back through the minefield. Captain HILTON was awarded the M.C. for the good work he did in this episode.

 

 

 

 

Major MASTERS and 2/Lt BROWN both lucky escapes from the O.P., neither receiving injury.

 

 

11

 

A quiet day.

 

 

 

1440

Concentrations brought down in support of Australian attack.

 

 

 

1630

“J” Battery supported small attack by South Africanam probably a diversion from the Australian attack. The South Africans later retired, but the Australians appeared to be quite successful.

 

 

 

 

A hostile plane crashed near on of “M’s” O.Ps. The pilot was taken prisoner.

 

 

12

 

Another quiet day.

 

 

 

 

It was learned that a general advance was intended and SOUKAX Col were to push forward in the evening. We sent an F.O.O. to liaise with them and give them what support we could.

 

 

 

 

However, SQUEAK Col did not move that night.

 

 

 

2130

Two South African patrols went out. One was unable to proceed to its objective owing to the light from flares dropped by the R.A.F in the area. The second one preceded to (88258840) where it found an Italian party laying mines. It dispersed the party before returning.

 

RUWEISAT

13

 

Told that we should come under command 5 Ind Div from 0800 hrs 13 July, and would be relieved by 9 Indian Inf Bde Group at 2000 hours 13 July.

Appendix III

 

 

 

Later in the morning it was learnt that the enemy planned to attack the Alamein stronghold, and that the attack might sweep around the south and come in on our flank. Our relief was postponed and we were ordered to give all possible support to the South Africans on our right.

Appendix IV

 

 

1230

Received orders for concentrations to be put down at 1245 hours

 

 

 

1250

The order was given to postpone concentrations.

 

 

 

1440

All was quiet until 1440 hours when orders for the concentrations was received. It was soon obvious that the attack was in progress and at 1500 hours the South Africans informed us that the fighting was moving N.W.

 

 

 

1700

At 1700 hours we heard that the attack had been repulsed.

 

 

 

2245

The attack on Alamein was renewed. The mine fields were closed and the Batteries were warned to prepare to carry out their defensive fire tasks.

 

 

 

 

The attack was repulsed and we did not come into action.

 

 

14

1145

After being told that our relief was postponed indefinitely and an order came through at 1145 hours that were to be released by 1 Field Regt and on completion of our relief to come under 7 Motor Brigade.

 

 

 

 

“M” drew back out of action at once, and “D” and “J” cease fire at 1500 hrs, when 1 Field Regt took over.

 

 

 

 

The regt moved by batteries individually to an assembly area 3 miles South of Pt 93 at 432587 (Daba 1/250000), where we leaguered for the night.

 

 

15

 

We broke leaguered at first light moved on to an area one mile N.E. of Pt 114 at 427884, where we were met by L.O. from 104 R.H.A. whom we were to relieve.

 

 

 

1015

The Colonel and the Battery Commanders went out on a recce and Battery areas were selected.

 

 

 

 

ACK group under command of Lt-Col J.A. ACKROYD-HUNT was to be responsible for the southern half of 7 Armd Div front, and to impose maximum delay on any penetration of 7 Motor Bde screen. For this task the group was reorganised into:-

Appendices V, VI and VII.

 

 

 

(1) H.Q. consisting of H.Q. 3/R.H.A.

 

 

 

 

(2) April column, commanded by Lt-Col BRUCK K.R.R.C, comprising 9 K.R.R.C. H.Q. and two companies, “D” Battery 3/R.H.A, would affiliated A/Tk tp, one Battery 104 R.H.A. and one tp 41 light A.A..

 

 

 

 

(3) JUNE col, commanded by Lt-Col GRANT Scots Guard, comprising H.Q, and two companies Composite GuardsBattalion, “M” and “J” Batteries 3/R.H.A. with their affiliated A/Tk troops and one tp 41 L.A.A.

 

 

 

 

1964.jpg

 

 

 

 

On arrival HIMEIMAT was reported to be in enemy hands and as it commanded so wide an area, deployment was difficult. “D” Battery took up positions in DEIR-EL-RAGIL and “J” and “M” in the wadis just north of Pt 114.

 

 

16

 

An A.C.V arrived for the use of H.Q. Capt. T VINEY came with it as I.O. and Captain T MELLERr came to look after the ‘Q’ side of things. We were now a completely organised little force

 

 

 

1250

At 1250 the order was sent out to columns to push on as it was thought that HIMEIMAT was clear the enemy

 

 

 

1400

At 1400 hrs JUNE's O.P. reported they were on HIMEIMAT, but they were being shelled by a section of enemy guns. These were engaged in withdrew and in the evening JUNE moved up to HIMEIMAT. APRIL moved up to Pt 116 at 882259 (Daba 1/250000).

 

 

 

 

Heard that New Zealand is add a party the previous evening up in the north and had taken 3000 prisoners.

 

 

17

 

Half of JUNE move back a mile West of HIMEIMAT and half of APRIL move N to the 262 grid line.

 

 

 

 

Major YORKE, “J” Battery and Capt. Hilton, “M” Battery went forward with JUNE column to try and find out if TAQA was strongly held, taking four prisoners from an M.G. nest and capturing an A/Tk gun on their way. JUNE took eight prisoners during the afternoon, all from the Africa Corps and found some Russian ammo atan evacuated gun pit.

 

 

 

 

A portee belonging to the A/Tk troop with “D” Battery was hit. There were no casualties

 

 

 

 

JUNE leaguered of the night 2 miles west of HIMEIMAT.

 

 

 

 

APRIL leaguered at Pt 116.

 

 

 

 

2/Lt GOSLING and 2/Lt DOLPHIN SMITH joined the Regt and were posted to “M” Bty.

 

 

18

 

The main pass East of TAQA was the principal scene of operations during the day. M.G. fire from enemy positions covering the pass held up the advance.

 

 

 

 

Captain HILTON, “M” Battery, went forward from JUNE column with a carrier escort and crossed the pass on to the plateau at the far side, but was forced to return by hostile infantry threatening his right flank.

 

 

 

 

O.Ps were shelled consistently throughout the day, and observation of the plateau is very difficult.

 

 

 

 

“D” Battery had one or two successful shoots in KALAK - KHADIN area.

 

Pt 114

19

0300

A fighting patrol was sent out from JUNE column to trat and secure the pass leading to the east if TAQA. The patrol did not achieve its objective.

 

 

 

0845

The Guards, supported by “M Battery, out in attack later, and after a very sharp struggle – in which the Guards suffered fairly heavy casualties, especially in officers and carriers – a bridgehead was established at 0845 hrs and a footing on the plateau was obtained.

 

 

 

 

About 30 enemy were taken prisoners and 2 x 50mm and 1 by 37mm captured.

 

 

 

 

Small parties of enemy tanks were most aggressive during the day and our O.Ps. were attacked constantly. Major O’BRIEN-BUTLER’s car and armoured car were both knocked out and one 6-pr portee.

 

 

 

 

Air support was called for, and ”tank busters” came along. The results of this attack appeared to be quite satisfactory.

 

 

 

 

Ground straffing by M.E. 109s.

 

 

 

1930

In the evening, an enemy tank attack closed in, and our O.Ps were forced to withdraw East of the pass.

 

 

 

 

JUNE Col retired to 877251.

 

Pt 114

20

 

The enemy made an early thrust and seemed to have established himself fairly well on the plateau, giving our OPs a pretty strenuous morning and causing “M” Battery – which had moved west of HIMEIMAT – to return to the HIMEIMAT area.

 

 

 

 

Received orders from 7 Armoured Div. 3 Regt R.H.A. to relieve 104 R.H.A. in 4 Light Armoured Brigade. 104 R.H.A. to relieve Batteries in leaguer area on night 20/21.

Appendix

VIII

 

 

 

3 Regt R.H.A. to come under command 4 Light Armoured Brigade at 0200 hours 21 Jul.

 

 

 

 

Further orders received. 7 Armoured Division with 69 Infantry Brigade under command will attack and capture GEBL KALKH – EL TAQA on night 21/22, and move on exploiting force round southern flank of enemy direct on SIDI ABU EAHMAN Station and FUKA.

 

 

 

 

Relief by 3 R.H.A Battery in APRIL Col – by 239 Bty, 104 R.H.A. – only to take place. ACK Group to come under command 69 Infantry Brigade.

Appendix IX,

X.

Pt 114

21

 

“D” Battery. relieved by 239 Battery 104 R.H.A, come back to wadi south of Pt 114.

 

 

 

 

“M” Battery O.Ps went on to the high ground east of the pass. They were prevented from getting forward by hostile shelling and M.G. fire.

 

HIMEIMAT

 

1700

ACK Group came under command 69 Infantry Brigade and moved forward to join JUNE Col. H.Q. at HIMEIMAT.

 

 

 

 

An attack on the plateau was timed for 2030 hrs. As soon as the plateau should be taken, ACK Gp was to come under command 4 Light Armoured Brigade as part of the exploiting force directed on FUKA.

 

HIMEIMAT

22

 

“M” Battery gave first light support to infantry who got on to the plateau late and whose plans seemed to have miscarried.

 

 

 

 

The attack appeared to be going very slowly and little information came down during the morning. The East Yorks were successful in attaining the east edge of the plateau, but the Green Howards were not able to obtain a foothold and dropped back a little.

 

 

 

1600

At last, at 1600 hrs ze had a footing on TAQA

 

 

 

1900

At 1900 hrs we heard that April Col were to put in an attacked on KALAKH.

 

HIMEIMAT

23

0530

Hear that APRIL hadtaken KALAKH.

 

 

 

 

A quiet day.

 

 

 

 

“M” and “J” came into leaguer at HIMEIMAT at last light and “D” went out to area 875251 with 11 Hussars

Appendix Xia & XIb

 

 

 

East Yorks and Green Howards came down off of the plateau.

 

 

 

 

The collection of a few vehicles round “M’s” O.P. at last light drew heavy and accurate shell fire, as a result of which Sgt. MARSHALL, unfortunately, was killed.

 

 

24

First light

R.H.Q. moved back to area 887256 to join H.Q. 4 Lt Armd Bde.

 

 

 

 

“J” with 12 Lancers moved to 886261 and “M” joined 4/8 Hussars at 889255.

 

 

 

 

The enemy pushed forward armoured car O.Ps. on the west side of the pass on to TAQA, and anyone putting in an appearance on the plateau east of the pas was quickly and accurately shelled.

 

 

 

 

The Batteries put in a quiet day.

 

 

25

 

Another day of rest for “J” and “M”. “D” Battery position was subjected to enemy shell fire. The engaged and silences one enemy Battery.

 

 

 

 

“D” were unfortunate in losing Capt. WATT during the morning with a very severe leg wound, received while out on O.P.

 

 

 

 

R.H.Q. moved back a mile and a half to 889253.

 

HIMEIMAT

Area

26

0930

“D” drew back from their position west of HIMEIMAT and in the evening the regiment concentrated a mile North of Pt 114 preparatory to making a night march to DEIR EL HIMA, where we were come under command of 1st Armoured Div and there wait to push through a gap which was to be made by other formations.

 

DEIR EL HIMA

27

 

Waited to push through the gap, but the infantry plans went awry and we returned at night to 891258.

 

 

 

 

Returned under command 7 Armoured Div.

 

HIMEIMAT

Area

28

 

“D” returned to area of Pt 116, “M” returned to then North West corner if RAGIL and “J” went down to HIMEIMAT.

 

 

 

 

Lt. ATCHLEY joined the regiment and was posted to “M” Battery.

 

 

 

 

The enemy now holding TAQA, KHADIM and KALAKH.

 

 

29

 

R.H.Q. and “D” Battery moved back to 427864, and “M” moved up to area Pt 116 882258.

 

HIMEIMAT

30

 

“D” carried out a short training exercise with 11 Hussars

 

Area

 

 

“M” engaged an O.P. on Northern KHADIM and some isolated movements on TAQA and KALAKH.

 

 

 

 

In the evening “M’s” own O.P. was shelled and the wireless and Honey put out of action. Major O’BRIEN-BUTLER borrowed a Honey from 4/8 Hussars and eventually towed in the O.P. party.

 

 

31

 

The Divisional Commander, Major General C. RENTON, D.S.O. M.C. visited “D” Battery.

 

 

 

 

And so to the end of the regiment’s first month in action with 25-pdr equipment. It proved itself in the first few days in the sand seas of RUWEISAT.

 

 

 

 

In the south around HIMEIMAT it was equally successful, and displayed a truly aggressive spirit in harassing and worrying the enemy on TAQA, despite the difficulty of obtaining good observation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

     
 

COPY

 
 

APPENDIX I.

SECRET

   

Copy No. 3

 

50 DIV O.O. No. 2.

3 Jul 42.

     

INTRODUCTION

1.         This operation order is issued as a common sense insurance policy as the best method of ensuring that it will never have to be put into effect.

 

INFORMATION

2.         Eighth Army has been forced to withdraw to the EL ALAMEIN defences. 1 S.A. Div is withdrawing to the Alexandria defences, that come under comd DELTA Force.

13 Corps to a defensive position astride ALEX - CAIRO rd about the WADI NATRUN, and 30 Corps into army serve in the area BIR HOOKER  552852- KATATBA 597850 - SE corner WADI NARTUN.

 

INTENTION

3.         50 DIv will fight a rearguard action to cover the withdrawal of EIGHTH ARMY.

 

METHOD

4.         Rearguard Comd – Maj.Gen RAMSDEN

5.         Grouping.

The rearguard will be grouped as follows, under comd of H.Q. 50 Div:-

(a)    One bde gp 1 SA Div incl 7 Med Regt and 6 SA Armd C’s.

(b)    ACKCOL

(c)     STANCOL

(d)    One armd bde 1 Armd Div incl one Armd C Regt.

(e)    ROBCOL.

 

6.         Phases:

The withdrawal will be carried out in phases, as order by HQ 50 Div.

 

7.         Phase I will start on receipt of the code word BRIXSWORTH, when the following groups were move immediately by quickest route to organise rear guard positions in areas as shown, sending reps had to report to HQ50 Div on track one mile South of BAHIG ry station.

(a)    One bde gp 1 SA Div and att troops to area BURG ABU SIR 472915.

(b)    ACKCOL to area GEBEL BAHIG 475913

(c)     STANCOL to area stony surface 475906.

(d)    One armd bde covering the left flank.

 

8.         Groups will report arrival in the above areas to Div HQ immediately.

 

9.         Phase II. ROBCOL will withdraw by root c and occupy a rearguard posn  immediately north of ALAM SHAUTUT 504896 facing West.

 

10.     Phase III.

(a)    One bde gp 1 SA Div and att tps by main rd to ALEXANDRIA passing under command DELTA FORCE on arrival.

(b)    ACKCOL by Route A through AMRIYA into reserve area 560850 near WADI NATRUN.

(c)     STANCOL by Route C to join ACKCOL in reserve.

(d)    One armd bde 1 Armd Div will fall back on the left of ROBCOL south of SLAN SHAITUT, continuing to be responsible for protection left flank.

 

11.     PHASE IV.

H.Q. 50 Div, ROBCOL and the armd bde will withdraw into reserved into the area 560850, on arrival armd bde reverts under comd 1 Armd Div.

 

ACK.

12.     Separately.

 

INTERCOM.

13.     All tps under comd will arrange to net to 50 Div fwd control frequency immediately on receipt BRIXSWORTH, if not already done.

14.     HQ 50 Div point on track one mile South or BAHIG station.operation order is issued as a common sense insurance policy as the best method of ensuring that it will never have to be put into effect.

 

    (sgd) ??????????
                          Lt-Col
                               G.S.

Time of signature    1135

   
Method of issue L.O. and M.C.O    
     
Distribution    

$              Lt-Col AKROYD-HUNT. Comd ACKCOL.    Copy. 3

                xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

 

$              Commander’s copies should be handed personally to successors in case of change of comd of battle groups prior to this operational Order being brought into effect.

     

 

 

     
 

COPY

APPENDIX III.                        SECRET

   

Copy No. 3

 

5 IND DIV Op ORDER NO. 17.

12 Jul 42.

     

Ref Maps: EL DABA, EL ALAMEIN, EL HAMMAN – 1/100,000.

INFORMATION.

Enemy

1.       See Intelligence Summaries and Sitreps.

 

Own Tps.

2.         5 Ind Div is under 30 CORPS.

3.         Following are under comd 5 IND DIV from 0600 hrs 13 Jul –

(a)    5 IND INF BDE Gp as at present constutuated.

SACKCOL as at present constuated.

(b)    SACKCOL will be relieved by 9 IND INF BDE GP at 2000 hrs 13 Jul.

 

4.         Boundaries.

Div boundaries –

NORTH Boundary – 285 Northing Grid.

SOUTH Boundary – 280 Northing Grid to 887280 - thence SE to 885278 – thence East on 278 Northing Grid.

 

5.         The following tps are operation on flanks of Div –

(a)    Right – 1 SA DIV

(b)    Left – 1 ARMD DIV with WALCOL operating on line 88302750 – 88462790.

 

INTENTION.

6.         To hold the Div Sector against all enemy attack and to destroy any enemy who may infiltrate into the posn.

 

METHOD.

7.         SACKCOL

(a)    Will hold present posn during 13 Jul thining out vehicles during the day and finally pulling out at 2000 hrs after rival of BULLCOL.

(b)    On withdrawal of SACKCOL (less A.Tk pls of BUFFs and RNF) will withdraw to HQ 13 CORPS area and receive orders from HQ 13 CORPS.

(c)     A.Tk pls of BUFFS and RNF will RV At 43678926 (East of 5 IND DIV HQ) and remain under command 5 IND DIV who will issue orders for the further movement.

 

8.         5 IND INF BDE GP

Tasks

(a)    Static defence of the minefields by means of an anti-tk and LMG screen supported by inf patrols.

(b)    Hold following defended localities:-new line

CAIRN 86    -     426889.

CAIRN 98    -     429 890

(c)     Establish new minefields and defences as given verbally to Comd. CRE and FD COY command from 30 CORPS is reporting to 5 IND INF BDE 0800 hrs 13 Jul.

Each evening a report will be made to five Ind DV HQ give me details of minefields laid during the day.

(d)    Maintain touch by patrols with BULLCOL.

 

9.         9 IND INF BDE GP

Tasks

(a)    Establish BULLCOL in area ALAM EL ONSOL 890283 and LANGCOL in area 892279 by 2000 hrs 13 Jul.

Tasks of colns –

Harass enemy West and NW and protect flanks of 5 IND INF BDE.

(b)    On arrival 3/14 PUNJAB (about 14 Jul) PUTCOL will be formed.

Tasks -

With SCOTCOL under comd to be 5 IND DIV and 30 CORPS mobile reserve.

Location – GEBEL BEIN GABIR 4328917. PUTCOL will NOT mover without orders of 5 IND DIV HQ.

 

INTERCOM.

10.   MAIN HQ 5 IND DIV 43548936

REAR HQ IND DIV moving to approx. 5 miles East of MAIN HQ.

HQ 5 IND INF BDE GP 429890 (approx.)

HQ 9 IND INF BDE GP 4348910 (approx.)

 

11.   Line.

(a)    SIGS 5 IND DIV will establish line comn from MAIN 5 IND DIV to ACKCOL by 0600 hrs 13 Jul. Line comn to 5 IND INF BDE already exists.

(b)    On arrival 9 IND IND BDE line comn will be established to them in place of that to ACKCOL.

 

12.   As far as movements permit, BDES will establish and maintain line comn to HQs of colns operating under them.

 

13.   Wireless.

(a)  R/T comn on No 9 Set net will be established between main 5 IND D IVY, 5 IND INF Bde and ACKCOL until relieved by 9 IND INF BDE.

(b) R/T will remain on continuous watch from 1700HR S daily until ordered to close by control set. There after calls will be exchanged too early at old clock hours.

(c)  In the event of line failure to either BDE HQ R/T link from that BDE to main HQ 5 IND DIV will open immediately.

 

ACK

 

    (sgd) ?????????? Major for
                                               Lt-Col
                                                    G.S
T.O.S  2100    
Method of issue 3, 4 L.O. Rest by D.R    
 

DISTRIBUTION

 

ACKCOL.              Copy. 3

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

 

   
     

 

 

     

COPY

APPENDIX V

SECRET

   

15 Jul 42.

7 ARMD DIV O.O. 107

 
     

INFORMATION

1.         Enemy hold HIMEIMAT.

2.         Enemy holding approx along 878 eastings grid. Appear to have established A/Tk screen from QATTARA BOX to HIMEIMAT, possibly with a view to covering a concentration to move east.

3.         Div boundary from 270 to 250 Northing Grid. New

4.         NZ Div north of 270 grid have been directed onto Pt 64 on night 14/15 July and are believed to have been successful.

5.         Task of 7 Armd Div is to impose max delay on any enemy advancing south of N.Z. posn.

6.         12 L operating from grid 270 to 255. 4 S.A. Armd Cr from 255 as far south as going will permit.

7.         Location of 7 Motor Bde colns.

August 881269.new line

July moving to 883262.

April 889255.

(March 888253).

8.         August coln has been directed upon Pt 93 as soon as N.Zs vacate.

 

INTENTION

9.         You will take up posn in Div res approx area PT 114.

 

METHOD

10.     ACKCOL.

Task.

(a)    To impose maximum delay on any force which is penetrated screen of seven motor bde.

(b)    Secondary-

to observe Southern flank of the DIv.

11.     Copies of 7 Armd Div O.Os. 97, 105 and 106 are attached.

12.     In event of HAMLA ACK coln will move to area 4486; in remaining orders you will carry out orders for 9 Ind Inf Bde.

AIM

13.     Separate issue.:

The withdrawal will be carried out in phases, as order by HQ 50 Div.

 

INTERCOM.

14.     ACK coln who come up on the Ivy FWD control, frequency 2710.

ACK. alright

(sgd) ?????????? Lt-Colonel

                   General Staff.

Time of signature    0735

Method of issue. By hand

 

Copy No.  1         Lt-Col Akroyd Hunt

                 2         File.

 

     

 

 

Appendix X

 

 

3 REGIMENT. R. H. A.

S E C R E T

 

O.O. No. 1

Copy No. ..5..

 


 

Ref Maps 1/500,000 Cairo & Matruh.

                1/250,000 El Daba. 

                1/100,000 El Daba El Alamein

20 Jul 42.

 
 

INFORMATION.

1.       Enemy:- Issued separately in Intelligence Summaries.

 

2.         Own Troops:-

(a)    13 Corps are operating to the North.

(b)    ACK Col comer under command 69 Inf Bde 1700 hrs 21 July

(c)     69 In Bde come under command 7 Armd Div 0600 hrs 21 July.

INTENTION.

3.         To hold the Div Sector against all enemy attack and to destroy any enemy who may infiltrate into the posn.

(a)    Attack and capture area GEBEL KALACH 8625 – EL TAQA 8625.

(b)    Move 4 Lt Armd Bde round Southern flank of enemy positions between DEIR EL QATTARA and GEBEL KALAKH. Tasks as in Para 7. Following.

 

METHOD.

4.         The operation will be carried out in three phases :-

Phase 1.  The capture of EL TAQA Plateau

Phase 2.  The capture and consolidation of GEBEL KALAKH

Phase 3.   Exploitation

 

5.         ‘D’ Bty RHA come on the command 4 Lt Armd Bde in afternoon 21 July in area 8825 and will join 11 Hussars Battle Group.‘J’ and ‘M’ Btys RHA xxxxx with Bty 104/RHA will support 69 I'll FBD attack EL TAQA and KALAKH. Orders for this operation will be issued separately.

 

6.         On consolidation of KALAKH position, 3/RHA less ‘D’ Bty will come under command 69 Inf Bde. On Code Word ‘CANARY’ 3/RHA will come under command 4 Lt Armd Bde. ‘J’ Bty RHA will join 12 L Battle Group. ‘M’ Bty RHA less one Tp. will come on the command 4 Hussars Battle Group. One Tp ‘M’ Bty will come under command 9/RB Battle Group.

 

7.         4 Lt Armd Bde Tanks

(a)    11 H Battle Group at 15 minutes’ notice at zero hour D.1 (21 Jul) to operate in any required direction on Code Word ‘FLOWER’.

(b)    One hour of the issue of code word Canary to have complete force ready to operate, with five day supplies, and 30 minutes notice car in any required direction.

(c)     Complete Bde or move an exploit to success in the following direction on receipt of code words as under:-

DAISY                        - directed of SIDI ABD EL HARMAN.

WALLFLOWER       - directed on FUKA.

ROSE                         - directed on CHARING CROSS.

Should the Code Word be preceded by ‘LITTLE’, only one battle group will be sent.

For ‘DAISY’. 48 hrs supplies only will be taken and admn gps will remain east of 7 Motor Bde.

 

8.         7 Motor Bde are co-operating by harassing fire on KALAKH and containing QATTARA Box.

 

ADMIN.

9.       Separate issue.

 

INTERCOMMUNICATION.

 

10.   At X hours on 21 July, 4 Lt Armd Bde will send W/T sets to batteries netted on the regimental frequency of their Battle Group. ‘M’ Bty RHA will receive two, one from 4 H and one 1 from 9/RB.

 

11.   ‘J’ and ‘M’ Btys RHAwill be ready to open up rear link to regt on frequency 5850 for the EL TAQA - KALAKH operation.

 

Time notified later.

 

ACK by Code Word ‘LETTER’.

 

   

Capt

Adjt

Distribution:-    
CC ‘D’ Bty RHA    -    Copy No. 1. Copy to:-
  ‘J’ Bty RHA     -        “       “   2. OC. 104/ RHA    -    copy No. 6.
  ‘M’ Bty RHA   -        “       “   3.    2 S.G.               -        “     “   7.
  ‘C’ Bty RHA    -        “       “   4.       9/KRRC        -        “      “   8.
  Lieut. (QM)      -        “       “   5. War Dairy.          -        “       “   9 & 10.
    File.                     -        “       “   11
     

 

 

     
 

COPY     APPENDIX XI(a)

SECRET

This order is entirely anticipatory.  

   Copy No. 5

   

23 Jul 42.

It must NOT be taken any way as indicating that it is not our intention

to continue the present advance
   
     

1.       Information about enemy and own Tps as in Sitreps.

2.       In event of a very temporary postponement of present operations this code word might be used.       CREAM.

Plan for code-word cream will be followed by a time.

 

3.         4 Lt Armd Bde will:-

(a)    Move one battle group to area East of Pt. 217 873251 prepared to engage targets on EL TAQA plateau.

(b)    Relieve 4 S A  Armd C Regt from present role of observation at first light next morning.

 

4.       From code-word CREAM 7 Armd Div front will be allotted as follows:-

(a)    Northing grid 270 to 260 both incl 7 Motor Bde with KDG under command.

(b)    Northing grid 260 excl QATTARA Depression 4 Lt Armd Bde.

 

5.       4 Lt Armd Bde and 7 Motor Bde will impose maximum delay on any enemy advance, but will NOT become so involved that the cannot be extricated without assistance.

 

6.        APRIL coln will come on comd 7 Motor Bde from time of code-word  and switch to its frequency.

 

7.       3 RHA will come under command 4 Lt Armd Bde from first light on day code-word CREAM is issued.

 

8.       69 Inf Bde will come under comd composite Gds Bn and 104 RHA less one bty, will move during the hours of darkness into Div reserve as soon after CREAM as possible to the area of square 4486.

 

9.       4 S A Armd C Regt, after relief by 4 Lt Armd Bde, will come in to give reserve in square 4487, pending receipt of instructions for refitting.

 

10.   Main HQ 7 Armd Div will move to 435867 at first light on the day following the issue of CREAM.

 

(sgd) ??????????

Lieut-Colonel

                   General Staff.

Time of signature    1520

Method of issue. L.O. and S.D.R.

 

Distribution:-    
69 Ind Bde…….  3-5     One copy for APRIL coln  -  one for 3 RHA.
     

 

 

 

August 1942

Commanding Officer: Lt-Col J.A. AKROYD-HUNT R.H.A.

Place

Date

Time

Summary of Events and Information

References to Appendices

HIMEIMAT

1

1600

“D2 and moved up to 886250 on the south side of 3421 Tar Barrel track cover proprietary to relieving “J” the following day.

 

Area

 

 

Colonel BORDUE of the American Army was attached to RHQfor a few days, and the other American officers were attached to “D” battery.

 

 

2

2000

“D” and RHQ moved up 2881251 and “J” pulled back to 886250.

 

 

3

 

At first light “D” took up position in the saucer north off the east of HIMEIMAT 881252, and RHQ moved to the escarpment West of HIMEIMAT 878251

 

 

 

1900

There was no action during the day and it 1900 hrs 60th Rifles took over, and RHQ moved back into the basin and leaguer it beside “D”.

 

 

4

 

Batteries remained in the same positions. RHQ in basin beside “D”.

 

 

 

 

Quiet day. No action.

 

 

5

 

RHQ moved back to 42258645.

 

 

6

1640

“J” moves back to SAMAKET GAHALLA 423864 and began to prepare defensive positions.

 

 

7

 

Quiet day.

 

 

8

 

leave commenced. Parties were arranged so that everyone has four full days in Cairo or Alexandria.

 

 

9

 

CCRA and CRA visited batteries.

 

 

 

 

Captain FISHER and 2/Lt DERBYSHIRE return from hospital and brought up a number of reinforcements from base depot.

 

 

10

 

“M” and 4/RHA brought down a concentration on enemy infantry positions in the area east of KALAKH with good effect.

 

 

11

 

Divisional Commander visited GABALLA position, which had been organised into a defended locality on which the Brigade could retire in the event of withdrawal. Batteries centre parties to prepare own positions and construct permanent O.Ps.

 

 

12

 

A practise exercise was held to move brigade into new battle positions round GABALLA, on the receipt of the code word MALLARD

 

 

13

 

“M” took to Italian prisoners, who had advanced on foot to within 1000 yds of O.P.

 

HIMEIMAT

15

0630

GAMEBIRDS came through, and we learned later that a small attack had been putting on New Zealand position by 300 lorried infantry

 

 

 

1130

Shortly before midday Brigade moved back to the SAMAKET GABALLA position, and RHQ moved into a prepared position at GABALLA at 432863.

 

 

 

 

“J” Battery were ready in their position there.

 

 

 

 

“D” Battery remained at him at with 1 KRRC and “M” were with 10 Hussars.

 

 

16

1115

The Army Commander, General MONTGOMERY, visited the GABALLA position.

 

SAMAKET GABALLA

19

 

As at 2100 hours Lt-Col J.A. ACKROYD-HUNT took over command of the GABALLA position. The force there comprised H.Q.3 HRA, “J” Battery 3 RHA, two Coys 1 KRRC and one A/T troop 3 RHA

 

 

 

 

“M” Battery joined the 10 Hussars and came under command 7 Motor Brigade.

 

 

21

 

Bombs dropped by hostile aircraft in “M” Battery area. Two slight casualties

 

 

23

 

The GABALLA position was reorganised, and the areas prepared for occupation by the C.L.Y. in the event of the draw to GABALLA being necessary. The force at GABALLA and order of battle is set out in Appendix “A”.

 

 

24

 

J” Battery moved up to “JUNE” minefield so as to be able to cover “D’s” withdrawal from HIMEIMAT.

 

 

30

 

General MAXWELL M.G.R.A. visited the regiment

 

 

 

 

GABALLA position further reorganised. See Appendix “B”.

 

SAMAKET

31

0040

The Hun attacked

 

GABALLA

 

 

At 0040 hours it was reported that the enemy were advancing West of HIMEIMAT.

 

 

 

 

At 0115 “GAMEBIRDS” came through, a message from “D” said they were in action. The message was shortly followed by a report that enemy infantry were filtering through the minefield opposite “D”.

 

 

 

0445

At 0445 hrs “D” were ordered to withdraw.

 

 

 

0700

After “D’s” withdrawal information was slow in coming in, but at 0700 hrs 30 tanks and infantry were reported pushing through the minefield at 87602655.

 

 

 

 

A further report stated that 500 infantry her crossed the minefield between 260 and 263 northing grid lines, while large numbers were passing through at 885254.

 

 

 

0730

At 0730 hrs two enemy columns were reported. One at 881251 comprised 40 vehicles, the other at 878258 comprise ten vehicles, guns and tanks.

 

 

 

0745

The advance elements of the enemy were moving fast and by 0745 hrs they have been reported at point 3000 yds east of HIMEIMAT.

 

 

 

1030

It seemed became evident that the attack was enforced and by 1030 hrs the columns of MET approx 200 strong were reported to have reached 891254 and a column of 500 MET with reported moving east between Pt 114 and HIMEIMAT. Considerable ME T movement was reported further back including groups of tanks.

 

 

 

1100

although groups of vehicles were reported at the mine field opposite J no actual penetration was reported until the late morning, and at 1100 hours “J” due to their prepared position at GABALLA.

 

 

 

 

The reports of enemy tank and MET movement increased during the morning and the general line of advance appeared to be along the RAGIL RIDGE, northwards towards the 260 grid line.

 

 

 

 

Capt. BENNETT, “J” Battery was killed when his tank received a direct hit

 

 

 

12 00

At noon 50 to 80 MET were reported at 889256 where are working party appeared to be picking up mines, otherwise there was generally less movement.

 

 

 

 

Enemy tanks were reported to be replenishing, and brewing was going on in the vicinity of HIMEIMAT.

 

 

 

1230

From noon visibility became bad and little movement was reported. But at 1430 hours increase movement was again reported particularly in the RAGIL area and it was soon apparent that the general line of enemy advance was on a three mile front between Pt 114 and RAGIL.

 

 

 

 

During the afternoon several small groups of tanks were reportedNorth and West of GABALLA and the C.L.Y. were forced grossly to withdraw into GABALLA.

 

 

31

1600

At 1600 hours the order was given to withdrawal and the regt withdrew along the Bde axis to 460856, where it leaguered for the night - less “D” Bty who remind with the C.L.Y.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

     
COPY   

Appendix “A”

S E C R E T

3 REGIMENT RHA GROUP OPERATION ORDER NO. 1

Ref. S/4/16

   

22 Aug 42

Ref Maps:- SUMARA 1/100,000.  

Copy No. ..5.

                       El Daba 1/250,000
   
     

1.       INFORMATION.

1.       Enemy:- as per Sitreps.

2.       Own Troops.

(i)                  7 Motor Bde operating to our North.

(ii)                1 KRRC will cover minefields between 255 Northing and escarpment, and report, harass and delay any enemy attempt to penetrate it.

(iii)               On codeword M A L L A R D 1KRRC will move to prepared recced positions in the GABALLA area.

(iv)               4 Hussars will act as rearguard to 1 KRRC on their withdrawal to GABALLA position, and rally in the previously reached area in GABALLA.

 

INTENTION.

3 RHA will  (i)  Hold their present prepared position at GABALLA.

(ii) Be prepared to give supporting fire to 3 SHARPSHOOTERS in their rolls MANN, CROSSMAN  or PAULLIN.

(iii) Cover withdrawal of 1 KRRC and 4H. as soon as enemy come within range.

 

NOTE: The Sharpshooters will be prepared to take up battle positions:-

(a)    area 429867 on Codeword MANN

(b)    area 426863 “             “         CROSSMAN

(c)     area 430860 “             “         PAULLIN.

 

METHOD.

1.         (a) on receipt of the codeword G A M E B I R D S all units initial and Echelon will assume battle positions and stand to at immediate notice to move

All unessential vehicles will move back to Bde “B” ECH area.

(b)    All units will stand to with arms at immediate notice to move between 0530 and 0615 hrs.

(c)     All units will have at least 30 minutes notice to move at all other times. Vehicles being maintained will be at 30 minutes notice to move between 0615 and 0730 hrs and between 1700 hours and 1930 hrs.

2.       Appx “A” shows present Order of Battle operation

Appx “B” shows Order of Battle if Btys 3 RHA and coys 1 KRRC come under comd of Armd

 

3.         (a) “B” Coy 1 KRRC (or their relief in the GABALLA position) and “J” Bty 3 RHA will be prepared to come under comd of 3 SHARPSHOOTERS on orders from BDE.

(b)    “C” Coy 1 KRRC (or their relief in the GABALLA position) and “D” Bty 3 RHA will be prepared to come under comd of 4 HUSSARS on orders from BDE All units will stand to with arms at immediate notice to move between 0530 and 0615 hrs.

(c)     “D” Bty 3 RHA will be prepared to revert to comd 3 RHA on orders from BDE.

(d)    “D” and “C” Coys 1 KRRC (or their reliefs) will be prepared to revert to comd 1 KRRC on orders from BDE.

 

4.       Separate instructions will be issued if a withdrawal should be necessary from the GABALLA position.

INTER-COMMUNICATION.

“D” Bty will ensure that they know the frequencies and code names of call signs of the 4 Hussars.

“J” Bty will ensure that they know the frequencies and code names of call signs of the Sharpshooters.

 

       (sgd) B.G. NICHOL 2/Lt for

                                                                                                                 Capt.

                                                                                                                 Adjt.

 

Distribution:    
Copy No 1.   Commanding Officer Copy No 5.  OC “B” Coy 1 KRRC 
                2.  OC “D” Bty RHA.                 7.         “C” Coy ! KRRC.
                3.  OC “J” Bty RHA.                 7.  War Diary.
                4.  OC “M” Bty RHA.                 8.  FILE
   

 

 

     
COPY

SECRET

 
APPENDIX “A” TO    
3 RHA GROUP O.O. No. 1    

4 LIGHT ARMOURED BRIGADE  -  ORDER OF BATTLE

 

1.       Headquarters, 4 LIGHT ARMOURED BRIGADE.

4 Light Armd Bde Signal Squadron.

1 Tp, 4 Fd Sqn, R.E. less Detachments.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++

 

2.       4 HUSSARS. (O.P. from “J” Bty, 3 RHA).

+++++++++++++++++++++++++

 

3.       1 K.R.R.C. REGIMENTAL GROUP.

1 KRRC, less two coys

“D” Bty, 3 RHA.

Two Tps, A/Tk Bty, 3 RHA.

Tp 113 Lt AA Bty.

Detachment, 1 Tp, 4 Fd Sqn R.E.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++

 

4.       3 R.H.A. GROUP.

HQ 3 RHA

“J” Bty, 3 RHA.

Two coys, 1 KRRC

One Tp. A/Tk, 3 RHA

+++++++++++++++++++++++++

 

5.       11 HUSSARS.

H.Q. 44 Recce Regt.

Detachment, 44 Recce Regt.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++

 

6.       12 R.LANCERS.

Detachment, 44 Recce Regt.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++

 

7.       3 SHARPSHOOTERS (less one sqn)  (O.P. from “J” Bty RHA.)

+++++++++++++++++++++++++

 

8.       118 R. TANK REGT

+++++++++++++++++++++++++

 

9.       124 R. TANK REGT.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++

 

10.   113 LIGHT A.A. BTY. (less two tps)  (with Bde “B” Ech).

 

     

 

 

     
COPY

SECRET

 
APPENDIX “B” TO 3 RHA GROUP O.O. No. 1  

4 LIGHT ARMOURED BRIGADE  -  ORDER OF BATTLE

IF BTYS & COYS COME UNDER COMD ARMD REGTS.

 

1.       Headquarters, 4 LIGHT ARMOURED BRIGADE.

4 Light Armd Bde Signal Squadron.

Headquarters, 3 RHA.

1 Tp, 4 Fd Sqn, R.E. less Detachments.

-------------------------------------

 

2.       4 HUSSARS. (O.P. from “J” Bty, 3 RHA).

4 Hussars.

“D” Bty 3 RHA.

One To, A/Tk Bty, 3 RHA.

One coy 1 KRRC.

Detachment, 1 Tp 4 Fd Sqn R.E.

-------------------------------------

 

3.       1 K.R.R.C. REGIMENTAL GROUP.

1 KRRC, (less two coys)

One To, A/Tk Bty, 3 RHA.

One Tp, Tp 113 Lt AA Bty.

Detachment, 44 Recce Regt.

Detachment, 1 Tp, 4 Fd Sqn R.E.

-------------------------------------

 

4.       11 HUSSARS.

-------------------------------------

 

5.       12 R.LANCERS.

-------------------------------------

 

6.       3 SHARPSHOOTERS GROUP

 3 Sharpshooters.

“J” Bty 3 RHA.

One To, A/Tk Bty, 3 RHA.

One coy 1 KRRC.

Detachment, 1 Tp 4 Fd Sqn R.E.

------------------------------------

 

7.       118 R. TANK REGT

------------------------------------

8.       124 R. TANK REGT.

------------------------------------

9.       113 LIGHT A.A. BTY. (less two tps)  (with Bde “B” Ech).

------------------------------------

 

 

 

 

     
 

Appendix “B”

 
COPY     

S E C R E T

3 REGIMENT RHA GROUP OPERATION ORDER NO. 3

Copy No

    Ref. S/4/18
    30 Aug 42.
     

INFORMATION.

Enemy – as in Sitreps

Own Tps.

At HIMEIMAT.

1 KRRC less 2 Coys.

D Bty RHA.

2 Tps C A/T Bty 3 RHA.

2 Carrier Plns 44 Recce.

1 Assault pln 44 Recce.

 

Behind 2nd Minefield

J Bty RHA.

C Coy 1 KRRC

 

At GABALLA

3 Fd Regt RA.

B Coy 1 KRRC

Tp C A/T Bty 3  RHA

 

INTENTION   -  To defend GABALLA until ordered to withdraw.

METHOD.

1.       Coys areas will be numbered as follows:- (see attached trace)

No. 1.   443 864.

No. 2.   431 863.

No. 3.   430 861.

No. 4.   432 861.

No. 5.   434 862.

 

2.       (i)     3 Fd Regt will remain in present position.

(ii)    D Bty will fall back into J Btys old position,

(iii)    J Bty will fall back into newly recced positions in

GABALLA or move under orders 4 H.

(iv)    A Coy 1 KRRC will occupy area No. 3.

(v)     B Coy 1 KRRC will occupy area No. 2.

(vi)    C Coy 1 KRRC will occupy position No. 4. If not required by 4 H.

(vii)   D Coy 1 KRRC will occupy position No. 1.

(viii)  Det 44 Recce Regt will occupy area No. 5.

(ix)    A/T Pln with B Coy and Tp 3 RHA will remain in present positions. Remainder of A/T defence will be   co-ordinated by OC C Bty 3 RHA.

          A/T Pln with D Coy will go into reserve area 432862.

 

3.       A separate Artillery Instruction has been issued.  

4.       Minefields laid in the area as notified.  

5.       Command. (a)  All infantry and A/T Sub-units in the GABALLA posn come under command 1 KRRC on their arrival at GABALLA.

(b) 3 Fd Regt RA remains under command 3 RHA.

(c) Tp 113 Lt AA Bty RA under command 3 RHA will remain with 3 RHA and remain with them.

      Tp 113 Lt AA Bty RA now with D Bty will come under command D Bty and move with them.

Tp 113 Lt AA Bty RA now with 3 Fd Regt RA will come under command 3 Fd Regt RA and move with them.

 

6.       Attached as Appendix A is list of code words in use.

 

ADMIN.                As in Op Order No. 2.

 

INTERCOMMN. Present Layout remains. When 1 KRRC take over command of GABALLA position Infantry and A/T sub-units in communication with 1 KRRC; 3 Fr Regt RA in communication with 3 RHA.

 

ACK by codeword CUPS.

 

                                                                                                                                (Sgd)  C.A.M. GROVER.

                                                                                                                                                                Capt.

                                                                                                                                                                Adjt.

 

Distribution:-

Copy No 1. – HQ 4 L.A.B. Copy No 7.  - B Coy 1 KRRC
                2. -  OC 3 Fd Regt RA                 8.  – 113 Lt AA Bty RA
                3. -         1 KRRC.                 9.  -  Commanding Officer.
                4. -         6 Green Howards               10.  -  J Bty RHA.
                5. -         D Bty RHA.               11. -  War Diary.
                6. -         C Bty RHA               12.  – FILE.
   

 

 

 

COPY                                             10.

APPENDIX “A” TO 3 RHA Gp O.O. No. 3 SECRET

CODEWORDS

Serial

No.


Codeword

 


Meaning

 


1

GAMEBIRDS

All troops at immediate notice. Battle Posns to be manned.

2

(PRIAN

Given to 4 Lt Armd Bde by 7 Armd Div.

(

Same meaning as MALLARD.

(MALLARD

Withdraw from HIMEIMAT to GABALLA.

3

JASON

Attack NORTH on axis 890 EASTING.

Alternative to axis will be given in kilometres (small squares EAST or WEST of JASON).

4

HECTOR

Attack enemy advance SOUTH of 250 grid.

5

ACHILLES

Tps at GABALLA withdraw to area East of 445 grid.

6

MANN

3 SHARPSHOOTERS take up battle Posn 429867.

7

CROSSMAN

3 SHARPSHOOTERS take up battle Posn 426863.

8

PAULLIN

3 SHARPSHOOTERS take up battle Posn 430860.

9

BASS

3 SHARPSHOOTERS move to area QARET SOMARA.

10

KETTLE

430 EASTING Grid.

11

POT

440 EASTING Grid.

12

PAN

450 EASTING Grid.

13

TEAL

(Issues to 4 Lt Armd Bde by 7 Armd Div only). 7 Motor Bde withdrew EAST of 435 Grid.

14

DABCHICK

6 GREEN HOWARDS move to 93 F.M.C.

118 R.T.R and 124 R.T.R. move to area 439863.

 

 

Trace of Gaballa Positon.

 

 

September 1942

Commanding Officer: Lt-Col J.A. AKROYD-HUNT R.H.A.

Place

Date

Time

Summary of Events and Information

References to Appendices

GANUS

1

 

R.H.Q. at 460856

 

460856

 

 

“M” Battery with 10 Hussars moved at first light to HALFA, comma where they dropped into action in support of 8 Armd Bde attack launched against enemy tanks trying to hit 22 Armd Bde up the tail.

 

Daba

 

 

“J” with 4/8 Hussars move to 462858 for breakfast, and then pushed onto MINQAR AFRAN 422845.

 

1/250.000

 

 

“D” with C.L.Y. remain in contact with enemy who are between GABALLA and RAGIL.

 

 

 

1600

R.H.Q. move to 461856 on two the high ground.

 

 

2

1130

The 4/8 Hussars group pushed forward and reached 428857 by 1130 hrs.

 

 

 

 

“D” Battery with the C.L.Y. move up to 435862 just north of GABALLA again.

 

 

 

 

Both columns have good shooting at enemy M.E.T.

 

 

 

 

“M” Battery remained in same position as the previous day.

 

 

3

 

“D” returned to GABALLA and took up old positions again.

 

 

 

 

“J” went down to QARET SCMARA (431848).

 

 

 

 

“M”, chafing at the inactivity, remained in the same position.

 

 

 

 

Towards the late afternoon there appeared to be a general movement of the enemy westwards.

 

 

4

 

“J” battery moved up to 440860, south east of GABALLA.

 

 

 

 

“M” moved up into action at DEIR El HUMAR 892883 and had plenty of good shooting.

 

 

 

 

R.H.Q. moved up with Bde to 2 WISHUKA 447862.

 

 

5

 

“D” Battery sent one troop forward from GABALLA to 429864.

 

 

 

 

“M” still with 10 Hussars Group, moved on, but found that the enemy had established A/Tk guns and quite a strong position at the east End of DEIR El MUNASAIB 887264.

 

SAMKAET

6

 

R.H.Q. moved forward to its old position at GABALLA.

 

GABALLA

 

 

“D” moved up to Pt 114 at 424864 and “J” moved to 8912245, on the northern slopes of LABAN.

 

 

 

 

“M” Battery still in the north with 10 Hussars came temporarily under command 1 R.H.A. “B” Troop 42 L.A.A. attached to “M” brought down one JU 87.

 

 

 

 

Representations were made by Major O’BRIEN-BUTLER to try and get “M” returned to the regt.

 

 

7

 

R.H.Q. settled in at GABALLA, where it remained for the rest of the month.

 

 

 

 

“D” Bty were in same positions north of the escarpment

 

 

 

 

“J” Bty operating in area DEIR EL RIEW and HUMAR engaged A.F.Vs and recovery vehicles.

 

 

 

 

“M” Bty still with 10 Hussars.

 

 

 

 

Lieuts. MCLELLAND and MATTHIAS joined the regt. Major H.W. BURLINGHAM, RHA assumed command of “J” Bty.

 

 

8

 

“D” and “J” Btys in same positions. “D” Bty shelled by 150mm during the morning. “M” Bty came under command 7 Motor Bde, in reserve, in the area of DEIR EL RAGIL.

 

 

9

 

Quiet day; Same dispositions. Lt. GUNN joined the regt.

 

 

10

 

“D” Bty moved into positions just N.W. of SAMAKET GABALLA.

 

 

 

 

Leave commenced.

 

 

11

 

The beginning of a new phase - the position being now again static after the attack of Sep 1. 4 Lt Armd Bde reorganisation to three mixed and polygot columns, each with one Bty: “D” Bty north of the escarpment, “D” around HUMAR and in DEIR EL RIEW, and “M” south of HUMAR.

See Operation Orders

 

 

 

The role of the Bde was to cover the minefields, and to harass the enemy when possible: there followed a period lasting until Oct 23 of training and organisation four more mobile operations. Each Bty normally had one troop or section forward, from which such targets as presented themselves were engaged - but on the whole, the rest of the month was very quiet, with any with the enemy showing little activity on their part of the front

Order of Battle 4 Lt Armd Bde

11-30 Sep.

Appx “A”

 

12

 

“M” Bty rejoined the regiment after its period of detachment, caused by the attack on Sep 1. “M” Bty took over positions around HUMAR and LABAN previously occupied by “J” Bty, who moved north of HUMAR.

 

 

13-15

 

Quiet period, mostly occupied with sniping by tps or sections from each Bty, maintenance, and the recce of preparation of defensive positions.

 

 

20

 

Major W.B. STEWART, D.S.O, M?C, R.H.A. rejoined regiment as Second in Command, in place of Major POPE, D.S.O, M.C, R.H.A. who was appointed Second in Command M.E O.C.T.U.

 

 

21-23

 

Quiet period.

 

 

24

 

Forward section of M BT why shelled by 155 mm, some casualties.

 

 

 

 

General B.L. MONTGOMERY G.O.C. Eighth Army visited R.H.Q. at GABALLA and met all Bty Commanders.

 

 

25-27

 

Quiet period. Increase of enemy activity – M.E. 109s frequently visited our area from their newly built L.G. at EL TAQA

 

 

28

 

Regt visited by Maj-General HARDING, who had now taken over command of 7 Armd Div.

 

 

29

 

“J” Battery moved to DEIR EL REGIL (under command of the Scots Greys), when it went into action to support the night attack on DEIR EL MUNASSIB made by 44 Div.

 

 

30

 

“J” Bt still in support of 44 Div.

 

 

 

 

(NOTE. Throughout the month, the tps of “C” A/Tk Bty R.H.A. were under command of other btys as followed;

 

 

 

 

“A” Tp - “D” Bty

 

 

 

 

“B” Tp

 

 

 

 

“C” Tp

 

 

 

 

“D” Tp - “M” Bty.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

     
3 REGIMENT RHA GROUP OPERATION ORDER NO. 1

SECRET

   

Copy No. ..6...

   

Ref. S/4/19

   

19 Sep 42.

     

1.       Preliminary layout.

(a)    Bty with JERSEY in area Pt 116 428860. If one tp is forward it will withdraw to this area.

Task to cover FLY minefield between escarpment and 8585 N grid and support 4 H.

(b)    Bty with GUERNSEY in area 429855. If one tp is forward it will withdraw to this area.

Task to cover FLY minefield between 8585 N grid to QARET EL HUMUR and support 3 CLY.

(c)     Bty with REDFOIL in area 433862.

Task   (1) To cover the withdrawal of JERSEY and GERNSEY cols.

Task   (2) To cover MAY and TROUT minefields from 866 Northing grid to 429861..

2.       If force to withdraw:

[1]    Bty with Jersey will move to area 437864 and cover TROUT minefield from 429861 to QOR EL LIFFIYA and support 4 H.

[2]    Bty with GUERNSEY will move to area 437863 and cover TROUT minefield from QOR EL LIFFIYA to MUNQAR EL SENEB and support 3 CLY.

These positions will be recced forthwith.

 

3.       Rear links must remain open to the H.Q. and all moves reported.

If not required on the own front Btys will be prepared to put down fire where called upon by this HQ or by observed fire.

 

4.       Btys were also recce bty and tp positions along their respective axis off withdrawal (863, 864, 866) on the following grid lines: 440, 445, 450, 455, 460.

 

5.       Btys will report when they are in position behind MAY and TROUT minefields by the code word PEAR. If the btys leapfrog by tps, code word followed by 1 will signify that one tp was moved and 2 the whole battery has moved.

Other movies we reported as per attached list of code words

 

 

                                                                                                                                                Lt-Col.

                                                                                                                                                  Cmdg.

 

Distribution:

Copy No. 1          O.C. “D” Bty RHA.

   “       “    2.         O.C. “J” Bty RHA.

   “       “    3.         O.C. “M” Bty RHA.

   “       “    4.         O.C. “C” Bty RHA.

   “       “    5.         CO.

   “       “    6.         War Diary.

   “       “    7.         War Diary.

   “       “    8.         Spare.

   “       “    9.         Spare.

   “       “   10.       FILE.  

   
     

 

 

     

WAR DIARY 3 REGT R.H.A 

SEPTEMBER 1942

 
Order of battle 4 Lt Armd Bde:    
     

11 Sep

CONSETT Coln

1 KRRC less two Coys

3 Fd Regt RA.

Rhodesian A/Tk Bty 4 RHA.

2 Pls 2 Cheshires.

1 Fighting Free French Colum.

 

 

 

 

4/8 Hussars)

4/8 Hussars.

 

JERSEY    ) Coln.

D Bty RHA.

1 Coy 1 KRRC

 

 

 

 

GUERNSEY Coln.

3 C.L.Y. (Later relived by the Scots Greys).

J Bty RHA.

1 Coy 1 KRRC

 

 

 

 

REDPOLL Coln.

RHQ 3 RHA.

M Bty RHA.

 

 

 

20 Sep.

DERBY coln.

11 Hussars (less two sqns).

One sqn 4/8 Hussars.

M Bty RHA.

One coy 1 KRRC.

 

 

 

 

OAKS Coln.

One sqn 11 Hussars.

One sqn 4/8 Hussars.

J Bty RHA.

1 KRRC (less three Coys)

 

 

 

 

ASCOT Coln.

One sqn 11 Hussars.

4/8 Hussars (less two sqns).

D Bty RHA.

Once coy 1 KRRC.

 

 

 

 

EPSOM Coln.

RHQ 3 RHA.

One tp “C” A/Tk Bty RHA.

One coy 1 KRRC

 

 

 

 

 

     
3 REGIMENT RHA GROUP OPERATION ORDER NO. 3

SECRET

   

Copy No. ..5...

   

Ref. S/4/19

   

20 Sep 42.

     

3 Regt R.H.A. Arty Instruction No. 2 is hereby cancelled.                                                                

 

1.       Preliminary layout.

(a)    Bty with JERSEY in area Pt 116 428860. If one tp is forward it will withdraw to this area.

Task to cover FLY minefield between escarpment and 8585 N grid and support 4 H.

(b)    Bty with GUERNSEY in area 429854. If one tp is forward it will withdraw to this area.

Task to cover FLY minefield between 8585 N grid to QARET EL HUMUR and support GREYS.

(c)     Bty with REDFOIL in area 433862.

Task   (1) To cover the withdrawal of JERSEY and GERNSEY cols.

Task   (2) To cover SALMON minefield.

Task   (3) To cover MAY and TROUT minefields from 866 Northing grid to 429861.  

2.       Btys are alloted of blocks of numbers as followed for recording targets:

“D”   -   M  1 - 20.

“J”    -   M  21-40.

“M”  -  M  41- 60.

 All defensive fire tasks which have been registered will be allotted numbers are reported to this H.Q. and will be broadcast to all Btys. All further targets registered would be immediately reported to this HQ.

GUERNSEY and JERSEY cols will be prepared to fire on each others fronts and also support CONSETT force.

3.       If forced to withdrew:-

a)                   Bty with Jersey will move to area 435863 and cover TROUT minefield from 429861 to QOR EL LIFFIYA and support 4 H.

b)                  Bty with GUERNSEY will move to area 436862 and cover TROUT minefield from QOR EL LIFFIYA to MUNQAR EL SENEB and support the GREYS.

c)                   Both Btys as soon as in position will be prepared to fire on SALMON.

 

4.       Rear links must remain open to the H.Q. and all moves reported.

If not required on the own front Btys will be prepared to put down fire where called upon by this HQ or by observed fire.

 

5.       Btys were also recce Bty and Tp positions along their respective axis off withdrawal (863, 864, 866) on the following grid lines: 440, 445, 450, 455, 460. Btys must liaise over this rear recce as their withdrawal as so close.

 

6.       Btys will report when they are in position behind MAY and TROUT minefields by the code word PEAR. If the btys leapfrog by tps, code word followed by 1 will signify that one tp was moved and 2 the whole battery has moved.

Other movies we reported as per attached list of code words  

7.       All Btys will keep careful records of all tgts and rear positions for handing over on relief with cols.

 

 

                                                                                                                                                Lt-Col.

                                                                                                                                                  Cmdg.

 

Distribution:

Copy No. 1          O.C. “D” Bty RHA.

   “       “    2.         O.C. “J” Bty RHA.

   “       “    3.         O.C. “M” Bty RHA.

   “       “    4.         O.C. “C” Bty RHA.

   “       “    5.         CO.

   “       “    6.         War Diary.

   “       “    7.         War Diary.

   “       “    8.         Spare.

   “       “    9.         Spare.

   “       “   10.       FILE.  

     

 

 

APPENDIX TO 3 REGT R.H.A. ARTY INSTRUCTION No. 2                                 SECRET

CODEWORDS

Serial

No.

Codeword

Meaning

1

GAMEBIRDS

All units will stand-to at immediate notice to meet an enemy attack.

2

APPLE

Colns prepare to withdraw from FLY minefield.

3

PLUM or PLUM

Followed by a Regtl

call sign.

WITHDRAWAL commences from FLY minefield

4

MANGO or MANGO plus

call sign

WITHDRAW from TROUT minefield

5

PEAR

435 NORTHING )

6

BERRY

440 NORTHING ) Coln report lines may be made

7

RAISIN

445 NORTHING ) into bounds of orders from

8

APRICOY

450 NORTHING ) this H.Q.

9

ORANGE

455 NORTHING )

10

GRAPE

460 NORTHING )

 

 

 

APPENDIX TO 3 REGT R.H.A. ARTY INSTRUCTION No. 3                           SECRET

CODEWORDS

Serial

No.

Codeword

Meaning

1

GAMEBIRDS

All units will stand-to at immediate notice to meet an enemy attack.

2

FAGS

Cols prepare to withdraw from NUTS minefield.

3

SPITFIRE or SPITFIRE

Followed by a Regtl

call sign.

WITHDRAWAL commences from NUTS minefield

4

WOODBINE or WOODBINE plus call sign

WITHDRAW from MAY minefield

5

ABDULLA

Take up battle posns in area 440872.

6

PEAR

435 EASTING )

7

BERRY

440 “                ) Coln report lines may be made

8

RAISIN

445 “                ) into bounds on orders from

9

APRICOY

450 “                ) this H.Q.

10

ORANGE

455 “                )

11

GRAPE

460 “                )

 

 

 

12

AMAZEMENT

Form colns to pursue as far WEST as MATRUH.

 

 

 

     

R E D P O LL    COLN    OPERATION ORDER NO. 1

SECRET

   

Ref.No. “O”/1

   

Copy No. ..7..

   

22 Sep 42.

     

1.       INFORMATION

 

1.       Enemy.

It appears that the enemy does not intent to attack in the South in the near future as he has moved his Armour and possibly also the 90 LIGHT DIV North of escarpment QARET ELl ABD 868270 - EL QUSEIR 841280. His F.D.Ls between MUNASSIB and HIMIEMAT appear to be on the general line of 882 EASTING grid. Any adv by us West of the 885 grid in this area draws shellfire.

 

2.       Own Troops.

(a)    CONSETT FORCE operating on the right of JERSEY Coln - Southern Boundary incl Escarpment 883252 - 427862 thence 430864 – 435865 - thence EAST on 866 grid

(b)    JERSEY Coln  covering minefield from CONSETT FORCE to 8585 grid. On withdrawal behind MAY minefield they will cover the MAY minefield from 829861 to QOR EL LIFFIYA.

(c)     GUERNSEY Coln operation South of 8585 grid.

On withdrawal behind MAY minefield they will cover MAY minefield from QOR EL LIFFIYA  yo MUNQAR EL SENEB incl.

 

3.       INTENTION.

(i)      Delay enemy advance from FLY to MAY minefields and over SALMON minefield with 25-pdr fire.

(ii)    Together with 25-pdr, A/T and S.A. fire the MAY minefield from 429861 North to 864 grid and to close OLDFORD gap.

 

4.       METHOD.

[1]      Pln 2 Cheshires will cover minefield between these points with M.G. fire.

[2]      2 Plns 131 Bde will thicken up the fire of 2 Cheshires and cover any dead ground.

[3]      OC A/T Bty will co-ordinate A/T defences of minefield and link up with CONSETT and JERSEY Columns.

[4]      J Bty RHA will remain in present position and have O.P.s at 42718629 with will be withdrawn through BRENTWOOD Gap. This gap will be closed by JERSEY Coln and Not REDPOLL Coln. One O.P. at Pt 129 43218630 and one O.P. to watch Westwards South of the escarpment.

[5]      Tp 42 L.A.A. Bty will be under command OC. J. Bty RHA.

[6]      In the event of withdrawal from GABALLA positions REDPOLL Col will withdraw along 866 grid.

[7]      A/T Troop South of escarpment will fight rearguard action keeping touch with J Bty’s Southern O.P. for communications. Tp North of escarpment will keep contact with J Bty’s Northern O.P.

[8]      OC A/T Bty is responsible for ordering withdrawal of Pln 2 Cheshires and Plns 131 Bbde. Also A/T guns assisted by O.P. of J Bty.

[9]      Visual alarm throughout 13 Corps will be RED WHITE RED Verey lights. On receipt of this action will be taken as for GAMEBIRDS without waiting for the codeword.

[10]  Codewords in use as shown in Appx ‘A’.

 

5.       ADMINISTRATION.

Remains as at present until further orders.

 

6.       INTERCOMN.

Column HQ will withdraw along 866 good.

Telephone line is laid to OC AT Pty. If available he will be provided with a wireless set.

 

7.       ACK by codeword NUTS.

 

 

 

                                                                                                                                                Capt.

                                                                                                                                                Adjt.

 

Distribution:    

Copy No. 1          O.C. “J” Bty RHA.

   “       “    2.                 “C” Bty RHA.

   “       “    3.         Tp. 42 L.A.A. Bty RA.

   “       “    4.         Pln 2 Cheshires.

    “          “     5.             Plns 131 Bde.

Copy No. 6.         War Diary.

   “       “    7.         “         “.

   “       “    8.         Spare.

   “       “    9.              “

   “       “  10.         File.

     

 

 

SECRET

APPENDIX “A” to REDPOLL COLN O.O. No. 1

CODEWORDS

Serial

No.

Codeword

Meaning

1

G A M E B I R D S

All units will stand-to at immediate notice to meet an enemy attack.

2

F A G S

Cols prepare to withdraw from N U T S minefield.

3

SPITFIRE or SPITFIRE

Followed by a Regtl

call sign.

WITHDRAWAL commences from N UT S minefield

4

WOODBINE or WOODBINE plus call sign

WITHDRAW from M A Y minefield

5

A B D U L L A

Take up battle posns in ) Separate

area 440872. ) Arty Instr.

6

P E A R

435 EASTING )

 

 

                        )

7

B E R R Y

440      “           )

 

 

                        ) Coln report made

 8

R A I S I N

445      “           ) lines may be

 

 

                        ) made into

9

A P R I C O T

450      “           ) bounds on

 

 

                         ) orders from

10

O R A N G E

455       “          ) this H.Q.

 

 

                        )

11

G R A P E

460       “          )

 

 

 

12

A M A Z E M E N T

Form colns to pursue

as far WEST as MATRUH.

 

 

 

     
3 REGT R.H.A. ARTILLERY INSTRUCTION.  
   

SECRET

   

Copy No. ..6...

   

Ref. S/4/19

   

24 Sep 42.

Ref Maps:- 1/250,000 EL DABA.    

 

1.       INFORMATION.

It may be possible that the enemy my find his L of C to long decide make a voluntary withdrawal.

 

2.       INTENTION:

If this should happen, 4 L.A.B with move forward as rapidly as possible directed on FUKA with the object harassing Enemy light armoured forces and aerodromes.

 

3.       METHOD.

(a)    4 L.A.B. will moved in 4 columns as detailed in Appx ‘A’

(b)    The codeword for this operation is AMAZEMENT and units will be ready to move 6 hours after receipt.

(c)     The necessary maps will be held in readiness by units.

(d)    Columns will either move independently or in support of each other according to the circumstances.

(e)    Bde ‘B’ Echelon will move under protection and orders of 7 ARMD DIV.  

 

 

                                                                                                                                                Lt-Col.

                                                                                                                                                  Cmdg.

 

Distribution:    

Copy No. 1          O.C. ‘D’ Bty RHA.

   “       “    2.                 ‘J’ Bty RHA.

   “       “    3.                 ‘M’ Bty RHA.

   “       “    4.                  ‘C’ Bty RHA

    “          “    5.            Cmdg Officer.

Copy No. 6.         War Diary.

   “       “    7.         “         “

   “       “    8.         FILE.

   “       “    9.         Spare.

   “       “  10.         Spare.

     

 

 

     
APPENDIX ‘A’ to 3 REGT RHA ARTILLERY INSTRUCTION dated 20.9.42.  
   

S E C R E T

4 LT ARMD BDE – ORDER OF BATTLE ON CODEWORD  A M A Z E M E N T.
     

1.                                          DERBY COLUMN    -    COMD :  O.C.,    11 HUSSARS.

11 Hussars (less two sqns)

One Sqn 4/8 Hussars.

‘M’ Bty 3 RHA.

One Tp A.Tk Bty 3 RHA.

One Tp 42 L.A.A. Bty RA.

One Coy 1 KRRC.

Det 1 Tp 4 Fd Sqn RE.

 

2.                                          OAKS COLUMN.    -    COMD :  O.C.,    1 KRRC.

On sqn 11 Hussars

One Sqn 4/8 Hussars.

‘J’ Bty 3 RHA.

One Tp A.Tk Bty 3 RHA.

One Tp 42 L.A.A. Bty RA.

Det 1 Tp 4 Fd Sqn RE.

1 KRRC (less three Coys).

 

3.                                          ASCOT COLUMN.    -    COMD :  O.C.,    4/8 Hussars.

One Sqn 11 Hussars.

4/8 Hussars (less two sqns).

‘D’ Bty 3 RHA.

One Tp A.Tk Bty 3 RHA.

One Tp 42 L.A.A. Bty RA.

Det 1 Tp 4 Fd Sqn RE.

One Coy 1 KRRC.

 

4.                                          EPSOM COLUMN.    -    COMD :  O.C.,  3 RHA.

HQ, 3 RHAs.

One Tp A.Tk Bty 3 RHA.

One Tp 42 L.A.A. Bty RA. (from Bde B Ech).

1 Tp 4 Fd Sqn RE (less Dets).

One Coy 1 KRRC.

 

 
 
     

 

 

 

October 1942

Commanding Officer: Lt-Col J.A. AKROYD-HUNT R.H.A.

Place

Date

Time

Summary of Events and Information

References to Appendices

 

1

 

An attempt to dislodge the enemy from a number of strongly defended our localities around MUNASSIB (883263) (Data 1/250,000) was launched and “J” Battery moved up north of RAGIL to join the attacking force

 

 

 

 

“M” in action to the east of QARET HUMAR

 

 

2

 

Visit by Corps Commander

 

 

3

 

Capt. BECKETT cross-posted from “M” to “J”.

 

 

4-5

 

7 Armd Div exercise, for which 4 Lt Armd Bde was organised into three columns, each comprising one Bty of 3/R.H.A., a sqn of 4/8 Hussars, squadron 11 Hussars, a Coy 1/KRRC, a troop of A.A. and a tp of A/Tk. The exercise was to practise a night March an attack and aerodrome.

 

 

6

 

Discussions following 7 Armd Div scheme.

 

 

 

 

Pt was decided that 4 Lt Armd Bde was not sufficiently highly trained to move about in such small columns

 

 

7

 

Returned from scheme to GABALLA.

 

 

12

 

A column of German Honeys showed a decidedly offensive spirit at first light. Major O’BRIEN-BUTLER, “M” Bty and Capt. HILTON dismounted from their O.P. to discover five German honeys and two portees within 1500 yards of their tank.

 

 

 

 

The German column advanced to within 3000 yards of LABAN (891242 Daba 1/250,000) where was engaged by “M”. The column then moved south over the edge of the escarpment when the 4/8 Hussars gave chase. One enemytank was immobilised and taken in tow.

 

 

13-17

 

Quiet days no enemy movement

 

 

17

 

Free French relieved “M” and 3 Fd Regt came up to leave the Regt.

 

 

17-18

 

In the afternoon the regiment moved off to the concentration area 4 Lt Armd Bde scheme.

 

 

 

 

The purpose of this scheme was to practise movement through three minefields by night and then drop into action beyond the third minefield.

 

 

18-21

 

Maintenance and re-equipping in progress for the attack which we knew was coming, and for which we have been training

 

 

 

 

On the 21st all officers were told off the plan of attack. The general plan was that 7 Armd Div should breakthrough the enemy mine fields to the south and attract his armour whilst the main attack was to go in in the north where 10 Corps equipped with Shermans, Priests and Bishops where to be used to exploit our breakthrough

 

 

22

 

C.R.A. (Brigadier R. MEWS) and Brigadier RODDICK visited the regiment.

 

 

23

1430

At 1430 hrs the regiment moved up to form up 3 miles north of GABALLA by 1930 hours

 

 

 

 

The gaps were forced in the first minefield that night but nothing reached the second minefield until the next morning.

 

 

24

 

It was decided that a night attack should go in on February minefield on all guns in the area (3 RHA, 4 Field and 97 Field) fired 90 rounds a gun into minefield area

 

 

 

 

The attack failed.

 

 

25

 

Several enemy, A/Tk guns and infantry positions engaged during the date.

 

 

 

 

No further advance.

 

 

26

 

Our position remained much the same and was excited to bring up a Bde of 44 Div to occupy the bridgehead and to move back 7 Armd Div into mobile reserve

 

 

27

 

Moved back behind Nuts minefield

 

 

29

 

Back into the line to relieve 4th Field who were to reform with 22 Armd Bde.

 

 

30

 

quiet day

 

 

31

 

A mock attack was put in at night on HIMEIMAT, dummy tanks and noise producer being used, but it produced no results.

 

 

 

 

Throughout progress seemed to be slow in this attack, but all had not been warned that the advance would not be a spectacular affair, but rather that it should be a slow methodical drive, clearing up everything on the way.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

November 1942

Commanding Officer: Lt-Col J.A. AKROYD-HUNT R.H.A.

Place

Date

Time

Summary of Events and Information

References to Appendices

HIMEIMAT AREA

1

 

Quiet day.

 

 

2

 

Moved off from HIMEIMAT area, we all hoped for the last time – and began our trek north. Leaguered for night just north of BIR TMAMID (455395 (Daba 1/250,000). We heard that all was going well in the North.

 

ALAMEIN

3

 

Moved up late in the day just north of ALAMEIN.

 

 

4

 

Pushed on again through ALAMEIN along Boomerang track moving north into open country. The Bde swung South West and came into action against the enemy defensive screen. Many Italian prisoners and guns were captured.

 

FUKA

5

 

The advance continued and in the afternoon fire was brought down on the defence positions south of FUKA.

 

 

 

 

Greys had a successful action against enemy tanks and “M” captured several enemy tank crews.

 

 

 

 

A heavy concentration from all guns was brought down on the guns in the enemy position at dusk.

 

FUKA

6

 

the enemy withdrew during the night

 

 

 

 

moved off at 1300 hours after replenishing but heavy rain made going very slow.

 

FUKA

7-8

 

It rained all day on the 7th and progress was incredibly slow.

 

 

 

 

The morning of the 8th dawned fine and quite good progress was made. The night was spent just south of MINQAR QAAIM (724312 Matruh 1/250,000).

 

MAKFILA

9

 

Caught up with enemy rearguard and some effective shooting was carried out in the MAKFILA area.

 

 

 

 

Captain Baxter, “M” Battery had a particularly successful day, taking 100 prisoners of 90 Light Div single handed.

 

HALFAYA PASS

10

 

Moved South and West by-passing SIDI-BARRANI and soon came under very accurate 88-mm fire. This was silenced and we pushed on to the foot of HALFAYA PASS to leaguered there for the night.

 

SIDA AZEIZ

11

 

New Zealanders came up to take over the pass from the K.R.R.C. and together we swept aside enemy opposition and secured the top.

 

 

 

 

Moved onto SIDA AZEIZ to leaguer the night. (502388 Salum-Tobruk 1/250,000).

 

 

12

 

Moved to 20 miles South of El add M. No opposition

 

 

13

 

K.R.R.C. and 4/8 Hussars went ahead and cleared road as far as GAZALA.

 

MARTUBA

14

 

“M” went on with a column comprising a sqn 4/8 Hussars, one troop of Greys, one troop of Derby Yeomanry, two troops L.A.A., three troops A/Tk and two companies KRRC under command of Bde Commander.

 

 

 

 

Steady progress was made along the road and the column leegard just short of MARTUBA.

 

 

15

 

The landing ground at MARTUBA was taken by 1000 hrs and the column pushed onto GIOVANNI BERTA which was reached at last light, mines causing considerable delay.

 

GIOVANNI BERTA

16

 

Heavy rain. Remained at GIOVANNI BERTA.

 

 

 

 

Enemy air attack. Lt. GOSLING “M” Bty wounded.

 

 

 

 

Most of the Bde moved on from GAZALA to HACHEIM and then turned West.

 

 

17

 

Pushed onto SLONTA where some opposition was encountered from 88 and 75 mm guns. These were soon silenced.

 

 

 

 

Rest of the Bde still on the move to MSUS.

 

MARAVA

18

 

MARAVA who is reached at dusk in pouring rain.

 

 

19

 

“M” with the column along coast road continued to make progress meeting no opposition and reaching BARCE.

 

MSUS

 

 

The rest of the Bde to the south reached MSUS.

 

 

20

 

move on from MSUS to ANTELAT.

 

 

21

 

“M” still to the north reach BENGHASI. The remainder of the regiment resting at ANTELAT.

 

ANTELAT

22

 

Jay move off from ANTELAT with the column comprising Royals, and 4 Fd Regt, under command of Lt-Col R.B.T. DANIELL.

 

 

23

 

“M” still moving along the road reach MAGRUN.

 

AGEDABIA

 

 

“J” in action north of ridge overlooking . Enemy withdrew from AGEDABIA in the evening.

 

 

24

 

Move to position 8 miles South East of AGEDABIA on the Belandah track.

 

 

 

 

“J” in action on MERSA BREGA road.

 

AGEDABIA AREA

26

 

Major BURLINGHAM Commanding “J” Battery killed by a bomb splinter from a Stuka

 

 

 

 

“M” Bty rejoined the regt in the Bde concentration area on the Belandah rack.

 

 

27

 

“J” in action 12 miles of MERSA BREGA.

 

 

28-29

 

Maintenance and resting.

 

 

30

 

“M” moved up to relieve “J” on the MERSA BREGA road.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Along the road the main lesson from the March was now the necessity for having guns well forward. Owing to the country and the fact that the sides of the road were mined. movement on a narrow front in a “column of router” (or single file) was unavailable. To put the Battery where it will be safe from hostile action meant it had to be at the rear of the column some 4 to 5 miles in the rear. Thus when any action took place 2000-3000 yards of the leading element it meant the Battery was at extreme range before the column felt its way forward and was therefore unable to fight add adequate support.

 

 

 

 

To remedy this it was necessary to put at least a troop as far forward as possible with a small amount of armour in front of it and run a risk in order to bring down EFFECTIVE fire and provide a measure of continuous support. The usual order of march was; Armoured car screen - when in use; Squadron of tanks; troop of guns.. This was found in practice to work smoothly against the slight opposition encountered

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

December 1942

Commanding Officer: Lt-Col J.A. AKROYD-HUNT R.H.A.

Place

Date

Time

Summary of Events and Information

References to Appendices

HASEIAT

1

 

While R.H.Q. remained at HASEIAT, “D” Battery sent “A” Troop on patrol with the Royals and came attraction near PINK HILLS before returning to regt Meanwhile “J” Bty moved south to cover 51 Highland Div facing the MERSA BREGA positions, and “M” Bty were engaged in local actions between road and sea about 5 kilos E of MERSA BREGA under the command of 4 Fd regt.

 

HASEIAT

2

 

Except for “M” Battery this was a day of movement. The regt and “D” Bty less “A” Troop, which could not rejoin the regiment owing to its vehicle state, moved with 4 Lt Armd Bde to BELANDAH. “J” moved to ELUIT El HEIRA and joined the 3 R.T.R. “M” we relieved by 127 Fld regt as 22 Armd Bde were relieved by 51 highland Div.

 

 

3

 

“M” Bty moved at first light to 20 miles east of MERSA BREGA. “A” tp rejoined “D” Bty while “J” Bty moved into action 10 miles N.W. of ELUIT EL KEIRA.

 

 

 

 

Lt. A. Knowles joined “J” Bty.

 

HASEIAT

4

 

Lt-Col R.B.T. DANEILL, R.H.A. assumed command of the regiment in place of Lt-Col J.A. AKROYD-HUNT R.H.A. who had been invalided sick on 30 Nov.

 

 

 

 

“M” Battery moved to rejoin the regt 20 miles south of HASEIAT.

 

 

5

 

“J” Bty and “D” Bty less “A” tp, who were left on the ground as they were immobilised, moved to rejoin the regiment.

 

 

6-11

 

Training and preparation were the order of the day, the programme was interrupted on 7th for “J” Bty when they were moved to a Bde refitting area 20 miles south of BELANDAH while “M” Bty moved to B.4050.

 

 

 

 

Along talked of event took place on the 10th - a mobile cinema arrived and worked.

 

 

12

 

At 1430 as part of the 4 Lt Armd Bde under the command of the N.Z.Div, the Richmond moves 40 miles on a bearing of 225° in an attempt to cut the enemy line of withdrawal. Despite the pouring rain the regt surprised other units of the Bde but the speed of its transition from static to dynamic role. To the concern of all, the 4 Lt Armd Bde were without the Greys.

 

December 1942

Commanding Officer: Lt-Col R.B.T. DANIELL, R.H.A.

Place

Date

Time

Summary of Events and Information

References to Appendices

CRYSTALLS RIFT

13

 

Despite morning mist, the regiment covered 40 miles before breakfast and then crossed CRYSTALLS RIFT. This feature had provisionally been reported impassable but rain during the night had given the surface an ideal consistency. By midday 7072 was reached and there the regiment remained.

 

 

 

 

2/Lieut. C. AITCHISON R.H.A. had left “D” and was promoted Captain in “M”.

 

MARBLE

ARCH

14

 

The regiment moved at first light in thick mist over rough country too Marada track. Soon the whole regiment had to turn back on itself and breakfasted in the midst of the 5 N.Z. Bde: something had gone wrong with the Bde navigation. When sorting out was completed the force moved as far as the boundary wire on the Marada track by midday, advanced a further 20 miles north and then did a night march. Fortunately the going was smooth and discreet illumination enabled 23 miles to be accomplished in 3½ hours. But the time bed down was given at 2100 hrs 20 miles had been covered and the regiment was at 8040 S.W. of MARBLE ARCH.

 

MERDUMA

15

 

The march preceded towards MERDUMA, the 4 Lt Armd Bde being preceded by the N.Z. Div Cav, who had “J” Bty under command and who pushed on 45° towards the coast road. “M” Bty went into action at MERDUMA an hour or two before dark while “J” Battery claims the distinction of bringing down the first British gunfire on TRIPOLITANIA - it opened up on A/T guns an enemy MET on the coast road at 1400 hrs. Further “J” put down gunfire on the road at intervals during the night. Meanwhile the Bde took special precautions in leaguer in the belief that the main enemy force was to the east: owing to the bad going, however, the force was able to percolate through the N.Z. Div and Lt Armd Bde lines and make good its escape. One bright feature of today was the return of 2 squadrons of Shermans or one of Stuarts to the 4 Lt. Armd Bde.

 

 

16

 

This was a hectic morning. “M” Bty was in action at first light and at 0745 the regiment moved N.E. Reports of two enemy columns moving N.W. were received. The first column containing 21 MK III specials, Mk IV and Mk IV specials attacked both troops of “J”, who lost two trucks, 1 Quad and 2 trailers, 1 man killed, Lieut. NIBETT and 4 O.Rs wounded with 2 men missing.

 

 

 

 

The second column was engaged by the Gres and the rest of the regiment but without much success although the Greys knocked out 2 tanks and 3 soft vehicles.

 

 

 

 

Later “J” returned to the regiment and “M” came under command of the Greys.

 

NOFILIA

17

 

The Bde set off for NOFILIA and soon the Royals reported the enemy around NOFILIA, which lies in a basin surround the book high ground except on the north. Sand dunes and deep waters running north to south slowed down the advance and contact with the enemy was not made until 1030, when all Batteries went into action in a small area, against enemy tanks and dug-in guns. The Greys with “D” and “J” swung W. and engaged enemy tanks N.W. of the town carrying HONEY HILL and capturing about 5 50 mm with 180 prisoners, all German. Owing to the lack of infantry and A/T guns to consolidate the position the situation remained fluid for the rest of the day with HONEY HILL in no man's land

 

 

18

 

O.Ps early occupied HONEY HILL and reported it deserted; the enemy had moved N.W. at last light on the 17th. Bde moved to Z.4215 about 30 miles west and “M” Battery ceased to be under command of the Greys.

 

 

19-20

 

The Bde remained at BARREMEST about 30 miles west of NOFILIA east of the Wadi MARANA.

 

 

21

 

On the Bde returning to the NOFILIA area defensive positions were taken up to the West of the village with Jay on the right, D in the centre and M on the left.

 

 

22

 

The Batteries were inspected by Major-General HARDING, who was accompanied by Brigadier HARVEY, and informed the regiment that it was to move on the 24th.

 

 

 

 

2/Lt. R.E. LINDSAY and 2.Lt. L.A. HAWKES joined the regiment and were posted to “J” Bty.

 

 

23

 

The regiment remained in positions and “J” Bty why undertook A/Tk practise against a derelict MK IV.

 

 

24

 

The Bde moved as a column consisting of 2/KRRC, KDG’s, 1 tp Mediums, 260 A/Tk Bty and 3?R.H.A. to Y 8535. “M2 Bty was detached and put under command of the Royals to attack the fort at GASR-BEN-HADI, 10 miles S.E. of SIRTE, but the fort had fallen before contact was made.

 

WADI TAMET

25

 

With a modicum of beer, a few cigarettes and a piece of pork all had a peaceful Christmas Day except Major P.T. O’BRIEN-BUTLER and Capt. G.EW HEWAN who recced SIRTE.

 

 

26

 

The Bde continued the advance due West for 16 miles and then on a bearing of 310° for 30 miles until 1300 hrs. Meanwhile “M” Bty rejoined the regt.

 

WADI CHEBIR

27

 

Less “D” Bty, the Bde moved from Y 2757 to 2 X 9966 crossing the WADI TAMET and both batteries went into action, though the range made the shoot ineffective, against a few enemy guns and some MET.

 

 

 

 

Having been detached with “C” Coy 2/K.R.R.C. (Major ROBINSON) and a tp of A/Tk guns, “D” Bty went north to cover R.E. working parties lifting minds between TAMET and SIRTE. With “A” troop covering them, “B” troop went forward and effectively engaged enemy MET crossing the WADI CHEBIR.

 

 

28

 

The force remained position till midday while “M” Bty recced the target area off the previous day and “J” Bty pushed a section forward 2 miles to the West. PILASTRINO cleared and the regiment formed up to proceed to an area N. of PILASTRINO at BIR ZIDAN.

 

 

29

 

“D” Bty rejoined the regiment and occupied as a defensive position with “D” on right, “M” on left and “J” forward. “J” moved 12 miles west to shoott the GHEDDABIA road with A coy 2/60 KRRC and Royals while at 1545 MADRAS tp were dispatched under command of the Royals, together with 2 motor Pls of 2/KRRC and 1 tp 260 A/T Bty to take fort at BU NGEM where 100 Italians were reported.

 

 

 

 

At 1800 hrs “J” Bty began a night night marched with the intention of cutting road north of BU NGEM, they were accompanied by A cpy of 2/60 KRRC.

 

 

30

 

“J” Bty reported going “incredibly bad” but by morning were in position to attack road. Change of orders led to both troops fighting armoured cars and A/Tk guns up road to FORTUNO before rejoining the regiment. Madras had encountered very bad going and may slow progress but reached their objective at 1500 hrs to find the garrison has been drawn to the south.

 

 

 

 

Meanwhile the regiment was subjected to severe air attacks; Capt. AITCHISON and Lieut. SUDBURY wounded.

 

 

31

 

Madras returned and all settled down to digging in. Capt. C.A.M. GROVE R.H.A. severely wounded during ground straffing. Call from Royals at FORTUNO – “C” Tp in action at 1400 hrs causing attacking forced to withdraw – 1 A/C recovered 4 prisoners taken.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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