Phew! Over the past two days I have managed to write and schedule the rest of the posts for the series! My time is free! My time is free!
Today I will be covering the squadron's activities of the Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.
Wednesday 20th September 1944
HQ and Support Troops
0800 - subject to first intense mortar barrage (the morning "hate" as it came to be known) and also from a pair of Nebelwerfers located somewhere to the north-east.
1200 - hot meal of stew served at HQ, the first proper hot meal they'd had since landing.
1400 - local battle going on as A and D troops return; sent out again on foot to occupy strong positions in houses in the streets north of the Hartenstein.
1530 - further intense mortar fire, supported by a multiple flak gun. This causes some casualties.
1630 - receive news that Major Gough is alive and with his party at the bridge.
1645 - Polsten gun section dispatched to support A and D Troops, but come under fire with Lt Christie being killed while trying to save jeep and Polsten.
1900 - mortar barrage ends.
0730 - positions have been taken up in two sets of woods in north of Oosterbeek; 1 and 2 Sections in the small woods west of the railway station (near the "White House" which was the HQ position of the KOSB) and 3 Section in the larger woods south of the station. At 0800 they attempt to make contact with the KOSB, but are prevented by heavy small arms fire.
1000 - SP guns and infantry observed on road heading south from station. 1 and 2 sections engage, forcing Germans to withdraw in a sweeping arc which then engages 3 Section who are forced to withdraw to Troop HQ position.
1100 - joined by D Troop, but unable to launch counter attack due to heavy mortar bombardment
1400 - withdraw through back streets to squadron HQ, skirmishing with Germans on the way.One man wounded.
1500 - sent back out on foot to occupy strong points in houses to north. Positions established in three houses, with furniture and mattresses piled up around windows and doors. No enemy contact this day.
0700 - move into woods south of station (same one as 3 Section of A Troop). Engage and drive off small enemy patrol.
0800 - take up positions near underpass through railway embankment to south-east of station, subject to lots of MG and sniper fire.
1030 - ordered to join A Troop, reaching them at 1100. Under intense bombardment.
1300 - engage Germans on road running along the western edge of large woods.
1400 - Troop retires to squadron HQ and become involved in local battle when they arrive around 1430.
1500 - sent out to occupy buildings to north-east of those A Troop are sent to. No further enemy contact this day.
Thursday 21st September 1944
HQ and Support Troops
0700 - morning "hate" starts. By 1000 it appears that they appear to be firing in time with music as a rhythm is clear.
1430 - supply drop comes in, most containers fall outside perimeter. At 1610 two are investigated - one contains berets, the other an assortment of rank insignia that would "gladden a quartermaster's heart".
1700 - mortar section under Sgt McCredie dispatched to assist 1st Border Regiment.
1800 - radio contact lost with D Troop. Lt Lickerish sent out to contact them.
1830 - bombardment is building to climax, with 8.8cm flak guns joining in. Mortars are now dropping phosphorous bombs. Bombardment ends at 1900.
0700 - foot patrols out in local streets, no sign of Germans.
1000 - hear German voices and rtracked vehicles, assume an SP gun is nearby.
1100 - SP gun shells building held by Troop HQ and 2 Section. L/Sgt Williams and Trooper Mann take it out with a PIAT (the slit trench they did this from was so deep that Mann had to kneel down and Williams stand on his back!)
1200 - 1 Section's position (a bakery) is attacked, forcing evacuation. Germans occupy house.
1300 - aided by a PIAT, 1 section retake their former position, but it is later set on fire by the Germans and burns down.
1330 - Mark VI tank shells position held by HQ and 2 Section. Move out to a building on south side of street near 156 Para.
1430 - joined by 1 and 3 Sections.
0900 HQ acting as listening and observation post for own artillery, giving directions over wireless.
1100 - enemy tanks sighted to north, driven off by artillery.
1200 - 10 Sectin attacked by infantry supported by a half-track, with Lt Marshall (he of the Sunday afternoon drive) and one OR as casualties. Section withdraws to Troop HQ.
1300 - 11 Section's position attacked and eventually overrun. Lt Hodge and some men taken prisoner; enemy withdraws.
1630 - foot patrols from 12 section go to the former 10 and 11 Section positions to gather weapons and ammunition that had been left behind.
1800 - continued skirmishing with enemy.
2200 - foot patrols make contact with A Troop and 156 Para as radio is out of action.
Friday 22nd September 1944
HQ and Support Troops
0730 - fine morning, spoiled by the morning "hate".
0945 - Sgt McCredie returns; both mortars destroyed by the morning bombardment. They have also taken 3 casualties.
1000 - mortar and artillery fire has increased.
1200 - Capt Costelloe has four ORs removed to regimental aid post, they are harassed by MG and sniper fire on the way.
1515 - Capt Allsop take PIAT ammunition and radio batteries to A and D Troops, reaching D Troop around 1540. Move on to A Troop's position in a grocery at 1610. Lt Dougie Galbraith demonstrates the system he has developed for taking out snipers - a man in one of the slit trenches outside hoists a helmeted dummy above the lip of the trench while upstairs Dougie observes the sniper's location and shoots him. Allsop returns to squadron HQ at 1650.
The mortar bombardment finally ceases when it is dark.
0900 - Lt Wadsworth leads a successful patrol to the KOSB positions.
1610 - visited by Captain Allsop. "All day German troops present themselves in twos and threes to be shot. They were obliged."
The Troop's positions were under heaving shell and mortar fire all morning. The position has been strengthened by barricading all windows and digging slit trenches in the surrounding gardens.
1600 - visit by Captain Allsop.
2200 - patrols maintained throughout night.
Tomorrow - Bash On Recce! Part 4
covering 23rd September and the squadron's TOE.