War Diaries of M Battery, Royal Horse Artillery



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January to November 1944



Subject: War Diary  December "M" Battery, RHA
  Ref No S/1          
HQ, 3rd Regt. RHA  

1 Dec     The Bty still in action at NEERITTER 6486 : 1 Bn Oxford and Bucks had relived 1/6 Queens. Capt Gosling was at the OP. At 1100 hrs our OPs were relieved by the OPs of "C" Bty 4 RHA. AT 1500 hrs the Bty came out of action but remained in position on 4 hrs notice to fire. The Div now came under cmd 30 Corps. The remainder of the Div moved to  rest area around BREE 5085. Unfortunately 3 RHA could not move. 13 Corps Cmdr decided that he could not spare the guns in case the Hun did make an attack. 

The Regt was to be relieved by 6 Fd Regt RA

Exp 96 rds

2 Dec     At 0930 hrs the Bty Cmdr inspected the Bty. He expressed satisfaction at the turn out and the work of the Bty. A Specialist course was started by the CPO for the the forthcoming trade test by RHQ of Technical Assts RA. A recce party of under Lt Ledsham and Lt Brown 2IC left for the rest posn. Houses for the troops and hard standing for the vehicles being the main consideration.
3 Dec     At 1000 hrs Lt Dale and Lt Brown with a Bty holding party left for the new Bty rest position at NEERETEREN 5778.
4 Dec     Bty prepared for the move to the new position. Salvage was returned and the areas cleaner up,
5 Dec     In the morning Bty Cmdrs when to RHQ 5 RHA NEERETEREN 5778. for a talk by General Horrocks, 30 Corps Cmdr. He welcomed back the Div to 30 Corps and said it was the Divs right and proper place. AT 1430 hrs the Bty moved to the new rest area. By 1600 hrs the Bty had well and truly settled in. 
6 Dec     At 1030 hrs the CRA, Brig Lyon-Smith visited the Bty and in a very rousing talk he explained to the men the difficulties of winter campaigning in NW Europe and how to avoid boredom. At 1400 hrs full recce parties left for MUNSTER GELEEN 6865. The Regt was to relieve 55 Fd Regt RA of Guards Armd Div who were moving across to the East. Route was over METN????? BERG 618693.

7 Dec     At 1230 Hrs the Bty arrived in the new battle positions, Madras  in action at 68086590 and Java at 68706624.  Java took over a dug-in position by Madras were in an entirely new position. Both positions were extremely muddy and Java found great difficulty in getting into action. Madras Tp commenced to build up their positions. Tac HQ was established with Bn HQ 9 DLI at GANGELT 779671. Ops were established at 786693 at VINTELEN and 77106975 KIEVELBERG. Ops were the first members of the Regt to step foot inside Germany.  9 DLI took over from the motor Bn Guards Armd Div and consequently were on the extreme right flank of 131 Bde.

Mean fighting range of the Bty for observed shooting was 11200 yds.

Consequently for the DFs 153 Fd Regt RA were called to support 9 DLI, but the Bty was to keep an LO with Bn HQ 9 DLI. A relay R/T station was sent out to JABEEL 7466.

8 Dec     Both troops worked hard all day laying gravel, bricks etc on the gun positions to make a firm base. The weather was shocking and did not help matters.
There was a little observed shooting by Capt Gosling.

Exp 33 rds

9 Dec     AT 1000 hrs CRA Brig Lyon-Smith visited the Bty. He expressed pleasure at the manner in which the gunners had got down to the job of improving the gun position.
A few Troop tgts on enemy infantry at 774707 and 791702

Exp 67 rds

10 Dec    A Fairly quite day. Work continued on the gun positions and the specialist class was recommenced

Exp 60 rds

11 Dec    Capt Gosling and Lt Ledsham left on a recce for the new Bty positions in the area of SCHINVELD 7664 some 8000 metres E of the remainder of the Regt.
A more active day, HB and M tgts.

Exp 220 rds

12 Dec    At 0800 hrs full recce parties left for the new area. At 1330 hrs the Bty ceased firing and moved to the new area at 1445 hrs.
Within 5 mins of occupying their positions the troops were engaged on one M tgt and 3 Bty tgts on hostile mortars. Madras in action 476947465330 Java t 476731465086. A fairly active afternoon.
At last light the Bty engaged 4 Bty tgts as retaliation tgt each scaled 5

Exp 155 rds

13 Dec    At 1000 hrs CRA Brig Lyon-Smith visited the Bty. OPs saw plenty to shoot at and many Bty targets were called for.

Exp 325 rds

14 Dec    30 Corps arranged an HB programme on all German guns along the Corps front. The Bty took part. In all 6 Fd Regts, 7 Medium Regts, 2 Heavy Regts, 1 Super heavy Regt and one Heavy AA Regt were engaged and 12000s were fired.                                                     Exp 435 rds
15 Dec    A fairly quiet day. Ops only saw enemy inf in twos and threes and one staff car

Exp 110 rds

17 Dec    Between 0145 and 0400 hrs the Regt was standing by on a fire plan in support of 1/5 Queens patrol who were raiding the area 7370 to secure a POW. The patrol failed to contact the enemy and the fire plan was put off until the next day. During the day Capt Aspinall and Lt Dale engaged small numbers of enemy inf in the areas BREBERIEN 7771 and LANGBROICH 7880.
18 Dec    Regt stood by from 0145 hrs to support 1/5 Queens fighting patrol in search of POW. At 0315 hrs patrol contacted the enemy and Bty fired ?? rds per gun on tgt GOOSE 73987043 ; the patrol was unlucky and failed to get a POW. At 1000 hrs 9 DLI were relieved by 1st Irish Guards. Ops were relived by OPs of 153 Fd Regt RA. AT 1200 hrs recce parties moved off to area EINGHAUEN 6668. Corps Cmdr though the enemy might possibly attack in the area and at 1400 hrs "M" and "J" moved into the area, Madras in action 66346915, Java at 66006921/ At 1715 hrs the Bty were to be engaged in a propaganda shoot on hostile mortar positions. Loud speakers were  to be used and the enemy was to be sweetened up with the fire plan. XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX Area 7076, 6675m 6775. The fire plan was postponed and finally cancelled
Bty fired in two Y tgts at last light on hostile batteries

Exp 350 rds

19 Dec    Between 0430 and 0600 hrs Java troop engaged four HF tasks. Bty was engaged on M, U and V tgts on tracked vehicle movement at 740717, 713737, 713717. 
Bty engaged on HF tacks from 2200 to 2359 hrs.

Exp 190 rds

20 Dec    Bty engaged on M, U and V tgts and between 2000 and 2200 hrs on HF task

Exp 220 rds

21 Dec    Very quiet day. Bty harassed from 1800 to 2000 hrs

Exp 220 rds

22 Dec    Bty stood to from 0100 hrs to support patrol of 2 Devons raiding for POW. At 0150 hrs Bty fired 24 rds per gun at 71457250. At 1000 hrs Dv Cmdr Maj Gen LYNNE, DSO visited the Bty, He visited both troops and spoke to all ranks.
The Bty was engaged on M. U and V tgts, all HE.

Exp 160 rds

23 Dec    Fairly active day on M & V tgts all of which were HB. Bty harassed between 1800 and 200 hrs. 

Exp 135 rds

24 Dec    Very quite day. One V tgt on HB

Exp 40 rds 

25 Dec    Christmas Day. Only one tgt engaged on Christmas Night - V tgt on HB. Most excellent Christmas for all. Brig Spurling, DSO CRA 131 Bde visited Madras Tp

Exp 17 rds 

26 Dec    9 DLI relieved 2 Devons who went into reserve. "M" Bty took over from "J" Bty. Capt Oulton took over Bty OP at 696712. TAC HQ established at 688693. Small amount of observed shooting by Capt Oulton but visibility very bad, At 2300 hrs the Bty fire DF tasks 72157020 on enemy inf. Infantry reported DF fire very effective.


Exp 85 rds

27 Dec   Quiet Day. Visibility very poor. Engaged on V tgts chiefly on enemy guns. Visited by CRA who had recovered from illness.

Exp 35 rds 

28 Dec   Very foggy weather. No observed shooting. Engaged U tgt 254721 - enemy guns. V tgt 684737 - bridge and M tgt 78887260 - hostile mortars, and two retaliation tgts.

Exp 75 rds 

29 Dec   At 0600 hrs Bty fired in support of 1/5 Queens raiding party. A brew up as obtain and the Bty continued firing at it as some obstinate Boche trying to pull in out. Observed shooting by Capt Oulton at enemy inf. Quite a busy late afternoon and evening. Engaged on M. V and U tgts at enemy guns.


Exp 300 rds

30 Dec   At 0630 to 0800 hrs Bty engaged on five retaliation tgts and one M tgt on HB. Busy day throughout on M and V tgts.

Exp 135 rds 

31 Dec   Engaged M & V tgts on hostile guns. Alternative positions were surveyed at ILLIEHIVE 647751 and LUWISLOSHOT 647672/ At 1900 hrs Bty stood to on support of 1.5 Queens and 9 DLI patrols to capture POWs. Bty fired two tgt to support the patrols coming in. Enemy opposition was too strong for the patrol of 1 offr and 10 men. A V tgt fire at the enemy locality when the patrol returned. The Boche said goodbye to a bad year dropping the odd bomb in the area of GELEEN 6765.


Exp 300 rds

  B.C. Major P.M. Barrington
  Bty Capt Capt L.P. Hicks
  Madras Tp Cmdr    "    M. Aspinall
  Java             "    "    HCNM. Oulton,  MC
  CPO L:ieut J. Ledsam
  Madras GPO    "     G.H. Holse
  Java    "     S.A. Middleton
  A/CPO    "     G.N. Dale
  Java Tp Lrd    "     F.J. Frost
  Fwd CPO    "     G.I. Brown

Major, RHA


Commanding 'M' Battery, RHA



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