131st Field Regiment Royal Artillery

War Diary for April 1945

Commanding Officer: Lt-Col J. N. D. Tyler, OBE, MC RA
Place Date Hour Summary References to Appendices
Nr. HAMMERKELN 181477 1 Rest and maintenance continues.
2 Maj-Gen C.M. Barber DSO, COMMANDER 15TH (Scottish) Infantry Division, visited the Regiment and expressed his thanks and congratulations to all ranks for their part in Operation TORCHLIGHT.
3 Recce parties were ordered away, but the Regiment was now switched from 12 corps to 3 corps and they were recalled.
HEMBERGAN 9194 4 Moved to the area around the village of HEMBERGEN and harboured for the night.
HORNE 1505 5 Moved on again to HORNE, about 6 km south-west of OSNABRUCK and harboured.
BRUNING-HORSTRDT 7825 6 On the march- sixty miles to BRUNING HORSTEDT, near LAVERSLOH. We were impressed by the damage done to OSNABRUCK which we passed through. On arrival in the harbouring area, prisoners began to come and a total of fourteen were sent to the cage.

A further eight prisoners were taken. The Regiment is carrying out a check of all civilians in the are and a search is being made for arms, ammunition and weapons.
8-9 Two days spent on rest and maintenance, in readiness to continue the advance.
WUNSDORF 1526 10 Moved to this location via LATHDE, MUNSCHAGEN,WOLPINGHAUSEN and SACHSENHAGEN. The move took little time for no enemy were met, and we reached WUNSDORF just at dark. A few enemy jets came over and dropped one or two bombs not far away.
CELLE 5949 11 Moved advance to contact with 227(H) Inf Bde, via NEUSTADT,OTTERHAGEN,SCHARREL,METEL ABBENSEN, NEGENBORN BRELINGEN, MELINDORF and FUHRBERG to CELLE. Move was very slow with long halts while Infantry cleared areas either side of the road. An exceptionally long halt occurred at FUHRBERG. The guns went into action on the southern suburbs of CELLE. RHQ carried out some house clearing and "liberated" a small camp of Italian PW consisting of four Officers and fourteen OR`s. In the early evening the regiment moved on through CELLE crossing the river ALLER by a CL 40 bridge erected by engineers of 15(S) Div and 6 Airborne. We harboured for the night on the northern outskirts of the town in a barracks formerly occupied by a German CW School.
13 The advance to contact continued, with the Regiment advancing in support of 227(H) Inf Bde and 3 Tk Bn Scots Guards, in the direction of ULZEN Progress was desperately slow owing to an enemy party of engineers who kept just ahead or our recce elements and cratered and mined the road as they went. We spent the night on the roadside.
HOLDENSTEDT 14 The German engineer party who were hindering progress yesterday having been rounded up, we moved off at 0400 hours and advanced rapidly to HOLDENSTEDT, just south-west of UELZEN. 319 Battery who were leading battery of the regiment, and in support of 10 HLI were ambushed as they occupied a quick-action position and were heavily engaged by 20-mm SP guns and MG fire from the woods. One SP was knocked out by a direct hit from 319`s guns and the other withdrew. It is believed to have been severely damaged. Casualties in the battery were heavy- 1OR killed and fourteen wounded. two more were taken prisoner and two are Missing, believed prisoners. The battery commanders half-track OP vehicle was also hit and set on fire, Major Clark himself being wounded. RHQ and the remaining two batteries arrived soon after, while the village was being shelled by enemy guns. The firing ceased very soon after we arrived. A small fire plan was arranged and fired in support of the attack on UELZEN. (Herbert Counsell & James Wood)
15 Fire in support of 227 Bde continued. At about 2330 hours, RHQ area received three shells from a mobile SP gun, and there was considerable enemy air activity, jet-propelled aircraft as well as the older ME 109 and FW 190s being seen.
16 Continued firing in support of infantry. A sub-unit engaged several red-smoke targets for the Typhoons and after their attack, some propaganda shells were fired inviting the Boche to give in now,or be treated to further dose of rockets from the Typhoons. The results were not as good as they might have been!
17 This was a quieter day Notification has been received that Captain Peppiatt and Bdr A.Steel have been awarded the Croix de Guerre for services to France.
18 Another quiet day.
892366 19 Advanced on with 227 Inf Bde to a location between LUDERSBURG and SCHARNEBECK, about 6 km from the R ELBE. UELZEN was badly damaged and many buildings were still burning when we passed through. The great heat could be felt inside the vehicles-quite welcome on a cold morning. There was some good hostile airburst shelling of SCAHRNEBECK as we passed through, but we had no casualties.
BRIETLINGEN 8029 20 Moved forward a little distance to BRIETLINGEN. Here we uncovered the local representative of N.S.K.K., (The Nazi Transport Corps) and RHQ installed itself very comfortably in his house.
21 Fire plan in support of 10 HLI for their attack on ARTLENBURG which was successful.
22-26 Remained in this area with very little firing. OP`s were busy however, collecting information from the far bank of the ELBE. There was slight shelling of the OP areas, but we had no damage or casualties. owing to the control of ammunition for the build-up prior to the ELBE crossing, the OP`s were unable to deal with the Boche as they would have liked. Such shooting as we could do was excellent, and we knocked out several cars, including one, which rolled, down a bank in best Hollywood style. We also engaged a train which was seen, but the engine withdrew hastily, leaving its trucks behind. The enemy was very careless in his movements and a great deal of activity could be seen.
LUDERSHAUSEN 808319 27 Moved forward to LUDERSHAUSEN to support 227 Bde in operation ENTERPRIZE (see appendix) Guns area and RHQ. was in full view of the far side of the ELBE and every tree and building was utilised to conceal gun positions and vehicle parks.
28 Final preparations made for operation ENTERPRIZE. We received details of recognition signals between our own Troops and the Russians. Marshal ROKOSSOVSKY reported with 50 Miles of us and still advancing.
29 Battle opened at 0200 hours and went well. Major GTC CAMPBELL, M.C., BC of 320 Fd Bty was badly wounded at the OP and was evacuated. Orders were received in the afternoon to move forward to a position on the bank of the ELBE, but these were subsequently cancelled, as we should be crossing the river at once.
GULZOW 829419 We crossed the ELBE this morning, after waiting all night for the orders. The Regiment has now completed it's "hat-trick" of river crossings, having Shared in the assault crossings of the three major rivers- SEINE, RHINE and ELBE.
Commanding Officer: Lt-Col J. N. D. Tyler, OBE, MC RA
Second-in-Command: Major H.D. Stewart, T.D., R.A.