131st Field Regiment Royal Artillery

War Diary for February 1945

Commanding Officer: Lt-Col J. N. D. Tyler, OBE, MC RA
Place Date Hour Summary References to Appendices
GOIRLE Holland Feb 1 Regiment still in rest area. Flying bombs have been seen for the first time, passing overhead.
5 2200
Nr NJMEGEN 6 Regiment left GOIRLE en route for assembly area near NIJMEGEN (7458) for operation VERITABLE. Security was very strict, travelling only by night without lights, and as we were still on the road when dawn broke all divisional signs had to be painted out, covered up and bonnets hidden in the vehicles. The remainder of the day was devoted to preparations for the battle and rest. Vehicles were "frozen" owing to the bad state of the roads which were deplorable, and also to help security.
8 The operation begun for us with a large scale counter battery programme opening at 0515 hours. This was followed at 0915 hours by a barrage by one thousand guns, ours playing their share, this lasted until D503. First objectives were gained early in the afternoon. The regiment moved up in order to keep in range, over filthy roads to location near KAMP 768558. Only the consistent drive of the second in command Major J.A. Oliver, M.C. got the guns into action at all as the whole area was liquid mud, having been "no-mans land" for several months.
Nr KAMP 768558 9 The 2 Gordons started off at 0400 hours, supported by our guns, for their first objective- to breech the SIEGFRIED LINE, which was accomplished by about 1000 hours. The weather is abominable, very wet and the roads are little better than rivers of mud.
10 This was an easier day from a firing aspect, although in no way easier as regards weather which continued to be very wet. Four members of Major Campbell's crew were killed in the evening when the house in which they were sheltering received a direct hit from a heavy shell. (Thomas Gray, Francis Legg, Thomas Melhuish and Samual Gilbert)
NUTTERDEN 850553 11 INTO GERMANY ! we moved forward at 0230 hours through KRANENBURG to a position approximately one mile south east of NUTTERDEN. 319 Bty`s Comd post occupied a "bunker" of the famous (?) Siegfried Line- a luxurious place of steel and concrete. There was very little firing today, but an endless stream of traffic passed by, all going into Germany.
12 There was little firing today until the afternoon when some 'M' targets were engaged.
13 Fire plan in support of 43 Div began shortly after 0900 hours. The range was high and guns were firing supercharge. There was little activity for the rest of the day.
CLEVE 896554 14 Moved at 0530 hours to new position in support of attack by 46 Bde which began at 1000 hours. Just before arriving at the gun area, some German Jet propelled aircraft dropped bombs near the column but no damage was sustained by us. Guns were in action by 1000 hours and targets followed in rapid succession. More German "J-Ps" appeared in the afternoon and bombs fell near part of the Regiment- but no damage.
15 A quieter day again from the gunners point of view. The infantry seem to be meeting rather tougher opposition now, but they continue to press forward. An attack was made by 10 HLI at 2300 hours to capture the high ground over looking CALCAR.
16 0300 Counter attack by Germans on HLI front was driven off in an hour. In a second attempt they over ran a forward company but the position was eventually restored. The guns were busy during the time in question Opposition seems to be growing stiffer, but prisoners are streaming back. At about 1800 hours a very heavy barrage opened up on our right- we thought this would be 43 Div doing their bit again. Our own guns were limited to HF tasks during the night
936492 17 The Divisional Commander came round the gun area this afternoon. There was no firing to-day, and the regiment moved forward at 1800 hours and was in action again by 2100.
18 0100 A smoke screen to be fired in sp of 3 Cdn Div was cancelled, but the gunners had a busy day. The infantry ( 8th Royal Scots) were in the outskirts of GOCH by about 1500 hours. A German counter attack mounted at 1700 hours was driven off by infantry with some artillery support.
19 There was a good deal of enemy mortar activity. Fire plans and targets were engaged frequently. GOCH was captured by the combined efforts of our own 15th Div and the 51 Div. What a collection of Jocks there must have been in the town.!
20 Targets were engaged beyond GOCH.
939464 21 Moved forward at 0930 hours. Shortly after our arrival in this area, shells fell just beyond the area, the nearest being some hundred yards or so from the RHQ office truck.
22 Lt-Col J.N.D. Tyler, OBE, MC RA Joined the Regiment as Commanding Officer.
23 0700 Germans staged a counter attack and gained a little ground. Many targets have been fired and three smoke Screens produced for the attack by 44 Inf Bde.
24 The opposition is very tough now, and there has been a great deal of firing. Fire plan fired in support of 53rd (Welsh) Division. Capt HH Goldsborough RA (attached from RHU) was wounded and evacuated, at the OP The Gun area was shelled, damaging one gun and killing a Gunner. Several others were wounded. Bearing on these shells was 135 degrees. ( John Macfarlane and Alfred Thomas ).
25 Another small fire-plan engaged in sp of 53 (W) Div. Another fire-plan was received at about 1930 hours in support of 3rd Cdn Div.
26 0345 CB programme preceding a fireplan in support of 3 Cdn Div whose objective to day were towards UDEM. The attack appeared to go well.
27 0300 Two barrages worked out in support of 3 (Br) Div. First was abandoned as being unsafe. Apart from this there was little firing to-day.
28 No firing. Regiment moved out at 2100 hours for rest in TILBURG, arriving there at 0500 hours 1st March. We have received congratulatory messages from the Div Comd and CRA (see appx) and messages were also received by the Div Comd from the Corps Commander and GOC 1 Cdn Army. They all carried the praise "well done the Fifteenth Scottish".
Commanding Officer: Lt-Col J. N. D. Tyler, OBE, MC RA
Second-in-Command: Major H.D. Stewart, T.D. R.A.