13 Aug 44.
C.O. 1 Polish Armd Div
Fighting during the Period From 7 – 12 Aug 1944.
MAP REF: 1:50,000 CAEN FALAISE.
Sheets 7F/ 2 and 7F/6.
1.Organization of Fighting
On 7 Aug 44 at 0500 hrs, 1 Pol Armd Div became att to and at the disposal of 2 Cnd
REPORT ON FIGHTING DURING THE PERIOD 23 Aug - 9 Sep 44.
(a) Rest (24 - 30 Aug 44)
(b) Pursuit - march, crossing of SEINE R nr CRIQUEBEUF,
(30 Aug - 3 Sep 44)
(c) Reconnoitring of NEUFCHATEL and forcing the SOMME R,
Capture of ABBEVILLE (1 Sep - 3 Sep 44)
(d) Fighting for crossing of NEUF FOSSE Canal, ST OMER - AIRE
Sector (4 Sep - 6 Sep 44)
(a) Fighting for YPRES - PASCHENDALE (6 Sep - 7 Sep 44)
(b) Pursuit and fighting for ROULERES and THIELT (8 Sep 44)
(c) Fighting for establishing a brhead over the GENT Canal (9 Sep 44)
I. Task - 1 Pol Armd Div
To regroup for pursuit.
To cut off enemy's retreat by closing the crossings of water lines.
Not to permit the enemy to retreat and to organize.
General Characteristics of the Fighting
Disorganized and weakened, it had to be, however, expected that the enemy would cover his retreat based on water obstacles. Enemy's plan should be frustrated by speedy action of own forces. Action should take shape of a parallel pursuit. Enemy unable to retreat in direction of NE; in view of determined pursuit action, decided:
To retreat in direction of N.
To reinforce the garrison of DUNKIRK by three inf divs (331, 346, and 711 Inf Divs) to establish for a defence and to evac (as shown by captured order of HQ of German 86 Army Corps).
The enemy attempts to org the beaches for evacuation detailing to the beaches NE of DUNKIRK 331 and 346 Engr Bns. Those bns had previously the task to execute demolitions behind retreating tps. This task allotted to 711 Engr Bn.
As water obstacles are becoming more numerous, enemy resistance stiffens. However, defence is carried out by "KAMPFGRUPPEN" which are organized "AD HOC" and not by full greater units. The soldiers of those battle groups belong to different greater units, which proves that those groups are organized on the spot. Determinded German resistance has been encountered on GENT Canal.
2. Own Forces
Division weakend by previous losses. the loss of 2097 men reduced the div of 16% of its full estab, but the real cas amounted to 25% of the fighting estab. I considered it however to be possible to exploit the previous action and to persue the enemy in those conditions. The morale of the tps is perfect. The supply org without reproach; only bad weather (rain and storms) and muddy roads affect mechanized transport, especially motor-cycle drivers and drivers of hy wheeled vehs. As a result the punctuality is not at the same level as in the second phase. The speed of the pursuit has been maintained in spite of very difficult conditions (weather conditions, bad rds, demolitions by the enemy, march of div in one column because of changes of orders of HQ Army Corps).
Generally speaking, I am satisfied with the actions of the subordinates.
In this phase of the battle it was necessary to overcome the obstacles of the weather ground and difficulties of comm. the main obstacles were the rivers: SIENE, ARDERLIER, BRESLE, SOMME, AUTHIE, NEUF FOSSE Canal and GENT Canal.
Besides the SEINE R, which actually has not been defended - where however all bridges have been blown up - all remaining water obstacles have been defended and the enemy did not blow up the bridges.
Polish engrs built the following bridges: over SEINE R - bridge "WARSAW"; over SOMME R - bridge "LWOW"; over LYS Canal - bridge "WILNO"; and two foot bridges.
The ground from CHAMBOIS Area to SOMME R (densely wooded, particularly in SEINE area) did not present great difficulties for the pursuit in view of enemy's weak defence.
Ground from SEINE R to NEUF FOSSE Canal on the sector ST OMER - AIRIE, less wooded , had a dense network of comms. Lines of comms have been prtly damaged as a result of air bombardment directed against numerous flying-bomb launching sites in this area.
In area from NEUF FOSSE Canal to GENT Canal there are shrubs instead of woods, hindering to a great extent the tk movements.
In spite of lasting obstacles to the pursuit, made by the enemy's defence through demolitions, the div covered, during the pursuit, from the 30th AUG to 9 Sep 44, 470 kilometres, which amts to 42 kilometres daily. Taking into consideration detours, marches to the bivouac and the work of the adv gds, over 600 kilometres were covered. Recce units made about 900 kilometres.
(a) the enemy will attempt to delay our fwd march mainly by destroying the bridges over the water obstacles.
(b) Therefore enemy has to be taken by surprise, crossings to be captured. In the event of destruction it is necessary to have at hand supplies to execute repairs and to build detours around demolitions as quickly as possible.
To act daringly and not to permit the pursuit to be delayed by small enemy detachments. In the event of the adv elements being stopped, to have in reserve - a tactical battle group in order to act immediately.
5. Course of Operations - Description.
March - Pursuit, Crossing of SEINE R nr CRIQUEBEUF (30 Aug - 1 Sep 44).
In order to obtain necessary speed for the pursuit I decided to org the march in the area of relative security in two echelons (ech of tracked vehs and ech of wheeled vehs), ech of tracked vehs under comd of OC 10 Armd Cavalry Bde (marching orders of 29 Aug 44, Ref No. 64/OP 44), moved on 29 Aug 44. Ech of wheeled vehs, 30 Aug 44. Both echelons moved along two central lines. The each of wheeled vehs covered this day, during about ten hrs 85 miles. The whole div reached the area at 2030 hrs. The march was hindered by bomb craters recently filled in, which, after having been crossed by a number of vehs again became open. Therefore, the march has been directed to one central line.
The established time 0645 hrs did not correspond to reality. Very slippery roads caused a number of accidents of traffic control despatch riders (5). The route of the march of the div is therefore LIVARET de COURSON - ST MARTIN DE BIENEORTE - THIBERVILLE - FENGUEROLLES - NEUBOURG - CROX DE MARTIN - (Div HQ).
In the evening of 30 Aug 44, a conference took place in the Div HQ during which I have the tasks for the day of 31 Aug 44. The action of the div has been set for 2000 hrs, readiness from dawn.
The crossing of the SEINE R over the bridge built by the engrs nr CRIQUEBEUF, possibly over two bridges (nr PONT D'ARCHE) movement in four groups.
Advance Guard - Major Zgorzelski, OC 10 Regt Dragoons
10 Mounted Rifles plus A Tk Bty SP, Adv Div HQ - Capt. Wasilweski, OC 10 Mounted
3 Rifle Bde plus A Tk Regt less two btys, plus 2 Mechanized Arty Regt (Lt.-Col. Dec)
OC 3 Rifle Bde.
10 Armd Cavlary Bde plus remainder of tps - Col. Majweski, OC 10 Armd Cavalry Bde.
Some difficulties presented the supply of fuel, owning to the fact that three petrol platoons have been allotted to the disposal of the HQ of the Cdn Army.
The march has been org as a protected march. The engrs are engaged in bldy of bridges and repairing the rds. The QM org an adv supply point for amn and fuel in area 096888, the evac of hy cas to C.C.S. 915897, lt cas to F.D.S. Damaged eqpt to be loft on the rds and reptd to the QM. Destination area CAHTEAU DES LESQUES, 31-12.
During the morning 31 Aug, at 0930 hrs the orders have been changed insofar that the CO of the Cdn Army Corps put at our disposal only one bridge nr CRIQUEBEUF and the march had to be made in one collumn by crossing the "WARSAW" bride over the SEINE R on the route ALIZAY - LES GRANDS MESURES - L'EPINETTE - BOURG BADEUSE - FRENEE LE PLAN. At 1915 hrs the adv Div HQ reached the destination at MESNEIL ACQUET 348104. The whole div reached the destination about 0730 hrs on 1 Sep 44, in view of a very difficult march.
At 2030 hrs I informed the OC 10 Mounted Rifle Regt, as Comdr of the Reece, that the 11 Brit Armd Div captured today AMEINS and having crossed the SOMME R is moving to the N.
The task of the Recce is to reconnoitre:
(a) FORGES LES EAUX
and to estab contact with 4 Cdn Armd Div in area AUMALLES. During the day of 31 Aug, 56 kilometres have been covered. During the night the div central line has been changed by order of the Comd, 2 Cdn Corps. The Comd of the Army Corps accepted the direction and the march route suggested by me, but allotted it the Comd, 4 Cdn Armd Div.
1 Polish Armd Div received orders to march in direction of ABBEVILLE via BOUCHY - BLAME, therefore, I ordered the recce group to start earlier (at 0800 hrs on 1 Sep 44) and asked for priority for the march on 1 Sep. I ordered briefing for 0900 hrs, the vanguard to move at 1200 hrs; the main body at 1430 hrs. I communicated the order of the OC 2 Cdn Corps, who ordered 1 Polish Armd Div to take ABBEVILLE; 3 Cdn Inf Div to take TREPORT and 2 Cdn Inf Div to take DIEPPE. The neighbouring 1 Brit Corps operates in direction LE HAVRE.
I ordered to capture successively four areas:
(a) the exit from BUCHYE
(b) the hills NE of NEUFCHATEL
(c) the BRESLE R
(d) SOMME R and ABBEVILLE
For this purpose four formations:
(a) Recce - Comd Capt. Wasilewski, 10 Mounted Rifles.
Composition: 10 Mounted Rifles,
1 Sqn 10 Dragoons
one Bty A Tk SP,
one Platoon Engrs.
Task: to reconnoitre area of NEUFCHATEL, BRESLE R, SOMME R
(crossings) and estab contact with 1 Cdn Armd Div. March at
(b) Vanguard - Comd Major Zgorzelski, 10 Dragoons,
Composition: 10 Dragoons less one sqn,
1 Armd Regt,
one Bty Arty SP,
one Bty A Tk SP.
(c) Main Body - Comd Col. Majewski, 10 Armd Cavalry Bde.
Composition: Adv Div HQ, 10 Armd Cavalry Bde less 1 Armd Regt and
8 Rifle Bn,
1 Mechanized Arty Regt SP less one bty
Task: to move along central line in readiness to sp Vanguard.
(d) Main Body B - Comd Col. Dec, 2 i/c 3 Rifle Bde.
Composition: 3 Rifle Bde less 8 Rifle Bn,
2 Mechanized Arty Regt,
Anti Tk Regt, less two btys Div HQ.
Task: to move behind echelon of Col. Majewski: march on order.
Medical Corps Coys will detail amb groups to the recce formation and vanguard.
The Engrs, less one platoon which are at the disposal of the Comd, 2 Cdn Corps,
are working at the bldg of bridges over the SEINE R and at rd repairs.
Echelons A, march with the units Petrol distribution points at L'EPENETTE
(three kilometres W of Div HQ). The recce formation has to refuel at 140 miles
There may be supply difficulties, as in view of the stretching of the supply lines
and of te evac lines, the GOC-in-C, First Cdn Army intends to allot three coys of
Polish Service Corps to the Army transport.
At 1200 hrs div on move.
Reconnoitring of NEUFCHATEL and Forcing of SOMME R - Capture of ABBEVILLE.
March in one column along central line BUCHY - NEUFCHATEL - TOUCARMONT - BLANGY - ST MEXANT EN VIVEN - ABBEVILLE.
The march is very slow because of the crossing of our columns with Cdn units at BUCHY.
At 1725 hrs estab'd contact with enemy (inf, A Tk, Arty, MG) in area 654695, the resistance has been broken. About 200 prisoners taken.
At 1835 hrs, in view of the enemy resistance, sp by arty, I put into action the vanguard. At 1930 hrs vanguard crosses the bridge at BLANGY. I ordered to secure the crossing and further reconnaisance.
At 2045 hrs recce reaches area 740776. Further prisoners taken.
I ordered night bivouacs for 10 Armd Cavalry Bde in area FOUCARMONT for 10 Rifle Bde in area NEUFCHATEL
At 2230 hrs further reconnaisance of the crossing and bridges over the SOMME R established the def of ABBEVILLE by Inf, Arty A Tk Arty and Mortars. I ordered the sp of the Recce by arty.
The Commander RCE of 2 Cdn Corps, conveyed to the Commander of 1 Polish
Armd Div, his congratulations for the excellent work done by Polish Engrs for the
Adv Div HQ 546542, LES ESSARTES.
Having estab the frontal resistance of the enemy, I decided to by-pass ABBEVILLE from the N, to capture the bridge 728878 and the exit E from the Forest PORT LE GRAND and then to strike from BUIGNY - ST MACLOU from the N in direction ABBEVILLE, striking simultaneously along the line BLANGY - ABBEVILLE. The pincer movement from the N ro be carried out by Major Zgorzelski's group (composed as above ) sp by 1 Mechanized Arty Regt. The frontal action to be carried out by 10 Armd Cavalry Bde (composed a above) sp by 2 Mechanized Arty Regt. At 1030 hrs on 2 Sep,k Div Recce reports contact with enemy (inf and hy MG) and at the same time Major Zgorzelski's Recce reached area71-85 and reported the enemy retreating N. At 1130 hrs OC Recce reports that the bridges over the SOMME R nr ABBEVILLE are blown up, therefore, I ordered the OC Engrs to prepare the building of a bridge and I designated the 2 i/c of 3 Rifle Bde, Lt.-Col. Dec, to be Comdr of the action of forcing the SOMME R, and Major Zgorzelski to be subordinated to him. I ordered patrols to cross the river on asslt boats, then to build a foot bridge and to org the def of the opposite bank for the building of the bridge.
Adv Div HQ moved to BIENCOURT 672704.
1913 hrs - Recce estab that the width of the river is about 40 metres.
3 Sep 44: At 0015 hrs foot patrols of 8 Rifle Bn crossed by boats the river and estab brheads on the opposite bank. Patrols of 1 Mountain Rifle Bn have been uder mortar and MG fire from direction ABBEVILLE.
At 0340 hrs 8 Rifle Bn, after having built a foot bridge, crossed to the N bank and captured PORT LE GRAND, encountering only weak enemy resistance (gunfire and y MGs). At 1000 hrs 1 Bn Mounted Rifles took ABBEVILLE, suffering small losses from mortar and MG fire.
9 Rifle Bn passed PORT LE GRAND by-passing 8 Rifle Bn, and moved fwd one coy in direction of GRAND LAVIERES.
At 1100 hrs building of the bridge in area 742868. At 1200 hrs the entire 3 Rifle Bde on the E and N bank of the SOMME R. 1 Med Arty Regt, RCA, has been att to the div.
At 1415 hrs Adv Div HQ closes down and at 1545 hrs HQ opens in new are CAMBRON 739846.
At 1639 hrs general op briefing in Div HQ. Div Comd orders pursuit in direction HESGEN - ST OMER - YPRES.
rps (C.O. Lt.-Gen. Simonds) which included 2 and 3 Cdn Inf Divs, 4 Cdn Armd Div,
The Capture of CHAMBOIS and MACZUGA - The Fighting for MACZUGA with German Forces, trying to Break Through.
In this critical situation 10 Armd Cav Bde Comd, ordered 1 Tk Regt to attack in direction of BOURDON, to enable the supply of Lt.-Col. Koszutski's group. But again this attack could not be executed as the Allied Air Force made it impossible by shelling the area. The night of 18/19 passed with the situation unlrd concerning the neighbouring forces in TRUN. According to information received, 4 Cdn Armd Div should have taken TRUN by 0930 hrs but it was not definitely captured until 1315 hrs, advancing only slightly in the direction of ST. LAMBERT. The left neighbour, 3 Cdn Inf Div, was relieving 51 (H) Div, which op from ST PEIRRE SUR DIVES in direction E.
19 Aug 44: The task for the day of 19 Aug was to attack and capture CHAMBOIS and "MACZUGA". At 0920 hrs the group of Major ZGORZELSKI - 10 Dragoons plus 24 Lancers attacked the hill 137 (420555). At 1200 hrs after throwing out German inf, 24 Lancers captured the hill 137, taking a great number of prisoners.
10 Dragoons had consolidated on hill 137 at 1437 hrs.
24 Lancers adv on hill 424544 very slowly, owing to the difficult country.
By 1539 hrs 1 tk Regt reported that with all their forces, they had taken the area of COUDEHARD and fought heavily with Panthers, being at the same time subjected to a strong enemy arty fire.
24 Lancers continued to attack to the S (generally on FRENES) losing contact with 10 Dragoons, which, advancing, operated on CHAMBOIS.
At this time 10 Mounted Rifle Reft plus two A Tk Btys SP, which had been acting very efficiently as div recce since the morning in direction of CHAMBOIS, linked up with Major Zgorzelski's group (10 Dragoons).
By 1930 hrs 10 Dragoons had captured the S outskirts of CHAMBOIS, and in heavy hand-to-hand battles in the suburbs of CHAMBOIS, captured the whole place, occupying the highway exits in the direction of MONT ORMEL, and in the direction of ST LAMBERT SUR DIVES linking up with American inf.
The regrouping of the units for the night according to orders was not accomplished, as the group of Lt.-Col. Koszutski had not adv SE, but remained where they were.
The disposal was as follows:
The group of Lt.-Col. Koszutski (2 Tk Regt plus 8 Rifle Bn pluse one A Tk Bty) -
the hill 240.
1 Tk Regt plus 1 Mountain Rifle Bn plus one A Tk Bty - the hills 262 and 252
24 Lancers - 1 kilometre E of 113 (4152)
10 Dragoons - CHAMBOIS
10 Mounted Rifle Regt - 1 kilometer N of CHAMBOIS
9 Rifle Bn - in march from 240 on MACZUGA.
The whole burden of the battle this day, with a superior enemy, (as it was disclosed later units of the 1 and 2 SS Corps) was borne by 1 Pol Armd Div, which outstripped their neighbouring forces in a wedge 6-7 kilometres SE.
20 Aug 44: During the night of 19/20 Aug, the 10 Mounted Rifle Regt fought very courageously with the enemy, who, trying to slip out of the trap, attacked several times as night.
The battle reached its climax when the Comd of a German higher formation, Lt.-Gen. Elfeld, trying to break through under the cover of Panthers, was taken prisoners with all his staff. At this moment the gallant Comd of 10 Mounted Rifle Regt - Major Maciejowski - was killed.
During the whole day the enemy attacked the 1 and 2 Tk Regts from all sides. The attacks followed from the W from the gap where the German forces were trapped, as well as from the E, where probably the 21 Panzer Div, with their battle-groups tried to release the trapped German forces. The battle closed at a distance of 50 metres and the best proof of its fury will be evident later in the battle field CHAMBOIS - MACZURGA.
In the area of BOURDON an enemy tk group encountered the HQ of 10 Armd Cav Bde, but was completely destroyed. The Adv HQ of the Comd 10 Armd Cav Bde was moved to hill 259.
The question of supplies for cut-off regts became a big problem, which the blocked roads and the enemy roaming all over the gap made it difficult to solve.
The supply of amn and fuel by means of air transport was in preparation, but could be carried out only on the morning of 21 Aug. An equally big question was the evacuation of wounded and prisoners. There was a lack of tracked vehicles able to move over all parts of the ground.
The crisis was mastered. The units repelled the German attack and held the designated posns though no help came from 4 Cdn Armd Div, which next day only attacked from hill 240 in the S direction, and helped in supplying our units.
Strong attacks were launched on 24 Lancers from the direction of ST LAMBERT SU DIVES and later on 10 Dragoons in the S outskirts of CHAMBOIS. It turned out that ST LAMBERT SUR DIVES was held by the enemy, and not by part of 4 Cdn Armd Div as was ordered.
24 Lancers co-ordinated its actions with 10 Dragoons by 0815 hrs and counter-attacked, thus forcing the enemy to withdraw. At this time the Americans were approaching from the SW.
The enemy renewed his attacks and the battle raged the whole day, the enemy suffering by losses in eqpt. In the evening the attack declined and Major Zgorzelski's group was supplied by the American with fuel and amn. The wounded were conveyed by this group to the Americans.
21 Aug 44: the enemy still tried to break through in different directions, but it was obvious that the crisis has passed. There were no organized actions, but only isolated efforts by separate groups.
By 1045 hrs the Canadians had linked up with 2 Tk Regt, and in the afternoon a whole Cdn Bde arrived in the area of 262 MACZUGA, bringing supplies for the armd regts. The crisis was over.
At 2000 hrs the order for regrouping was received. It was carried out during the day 22 Aug.
22 Aug 44: On this day the div Comd got the disposal which he had planned for 1500 hrs on the 19 Aug. The disposal is as follows:
The Group of the Comd 3 Rifle Bde:
Composition: 8 and 9 Rifle Bns.
2 Tk Regt.
One A Tk Bty.
One Sqn MG.
The area - 262, 252, COUDEHARD
The task - the defence of area from E and W.
The Group of Comd 10 Armd Cav Bde:
Composition: 1 Tk Regt
1 Mountain Rifle Bn
One A Tk Bty.
The area - MOUNT ORMEL, 262, CHAMOIS
The task - Defence of the area held in the direction of E and N and linking up and
holding contact with the 4 Cdn Armd Div in ST LAMBERT SUR
DIVES and with American tps S of FRENES.
The whole arty from the area of BOURDON to sp either group.
10 Mounted Rifle Regt less one sqn plus two A Tk Btys in area 1 kilometer N of CHAMBOIS to be a res of Div Comd.
One Engry Coy and one sqn of 10 Mounted Rifle Regt (tempy) to protect Adv Div HQ (hill 159). Second Engr Coyo to sweep the mines, repair the rds and org the crosssings.
In the evening 22 Aug with a commendation for the action by the Cdn Army Comd, General Crerar, arrived an order of change for the div, which on day 23 Aug at 1700 hrs passed over to the res of Army Comd.
General Characteristics of the Ops
The regrouping of 1 Pol Armd Div on the day of 13 Aug, aimed at their op emp in harrying the deep rear of the retreating enemy.
The first condition to be fulfilled was the quick seizure of crossings over the R DIVES. By excellent fighting of 10 Mounted Rifle Regt (with one A Tk Bty and one sqn 10 Dragoons) the crossings were seized on 16 Aug at JORT and in the morning of 17 Aug S of JORT.
Through these crossings the div attacked quickly at the designated objectives - the hills 159 and 259, and by the afternoon at 1700 hrs they had already completed their task.
At 1750 hrs the Div Comd received personally, from the Corps Comd and order from the Army Group Comd to attack and seize CHAMBOIS that same night. At that time also 4 Cdn Armd Div was to attack TRUN.
The task of attacking CHAMBOIS was given to Lt.-Col. Koszutiski's group (2 Tk Regt, 8 Rifle Bn and one A Tk Bty), but unfortunately they did not reach their destinations, but when astray and engaged themselves in battle at LES CHAMPEAUS.
The leading plan of the Div Comd had been to seize CHAMBOIS and to bar the E exits by capture of the hills 262 - 252 (MACZUGA) and 262 (S of MONT ORMEL).
As he was not able to get this done by Lt.-Col. Koszutski's group, the Div Comd assigned the capture of CHAMBOIS to Major Zgorzelski's group (10 Dragoons, 24 Lancers) with which were joined 10 Mounted Rifle Regt. This regt reconnoitring CHAMBOIS early was there engaged in battle.
The days of 13-20 and the morning of 21 Aug, saw hy fighting full of glorious deeds of the div against German elite tps, namely two SS Corps, which tried to break through at any cost.
The greatness of the victory can be measured by a review of the battle-fields at CHAMBOIS, MONT ORMEL, and the hills 262 and 252, showing the triumph of POLISH arms.
The div went through several trials during this p, and come out fully victorious. The direct rewards were the prisoners and booty as follows:
Prisoners Recorded: up to 23 Aug. - 87 Offrs (incl: 1 Lt.-Gen, 4 Cols, 2 Lt.-Cols.) and 3576 ORs. Unrecorded: handed over to the Americans without receipt when Major Zgorzelski's group was cut off from the div: - 50 offrs and 1400 ORs, handed over by 24 Lancers and 10 Dragoons. Total: over 5000 prisoners.
Booty: Captured and destroyed eqpt - 55 tks and armoured vehs, (incl 14 Panthers, 6 Tigers, 12 Mk IV, 5 Mk III, 2 MkII) 2 guns SP (88mm), 14 Armoured cars, 44 guns, (various types), 38 Armoured tracked vehs for tp transport, 207 Motor vehs, 152 hrose-drawn vehicles.
Remarks. The captured eqpt was recorded at co-ordinates and gives the result of the last three days of the battle (18-21 Aug). The amt of captured eqpt is however much larger, but as the coordinates were not given in the report of the other units they were disregarded. It can be estimated that the same amt of eqpt was captured in the period 14 - 18 Aug.
Own losses 352 killed (incl 21 offr)
1002 wounded ( " 35 " )
114 missing ( " 00 " )
Total losses 1441, with previous 656, total 2097, from which: 446 killed (incl 37 offrs), 150 wounded (incl 92 offrs) and 150 missing (incl 5 offrs).
The div obtained during the op the written appreciation of Cdn Army Comd, General Crerar, and 2 Cdn Corps Comd, General Simonds.
nd 51 (H) Div.
2.Task of 2 Cdn Corps.
To attack in the general direction of FALAISE and to break open the hinge S of CAEN,
then to exploit the use of 4 Cdn Armd Div on FALAISE and 1 Pol Armd Div on the
crossings of the R DIVES in a South-Easterly direction.
3. Task of 1 Polish Armd Div.
To by-pass the 51 (H) Div. To attack and seize the area of hills 170 and 159, N of
FALAISE and from there to carry out recce patrol in the arc made by the FALAISE –
ARGENTAN (incl) and the MONT-BOIN (1446) – CONDE-SUR-IFS (1952) rds
Task to be executed in two phases:
First Phase: The Armd Bde to seize first objective (area S of ESTREE LA
CAMPAGNE and the hill 140 (1347)). Rifle Bde was to form a pivot in the area of
10 Mounted Rifle Regt less one sqn, rienf by one A Tk Bty SP 17-pd received the task
to reconnoiter and cover the left flank of Div, according to special order, after leading
regts of Armd Bde had crossed the rd BRETTEVILLE – LE RABLE – ST SYLVAIN.
further, execution and marching orders as Attack-Order No. 1.
DEVELOPMENT OF MILITARY OPS
Night-march on 7/8 Aug 44 and activity on 8 Aug 44.
The march was executed by two columns from former positions;
10 Armd Cavalry Bde from area BUCHOT
3 Rifle Bde from area MAGNY
Arty from area MEUVAINES
Div Tps and Div HQ from area SOMMERVIEN
QM Group from area CREPON
Leading Bde 10 Armd Cavalry Bde in complete formation
- 1 mech Arty Regt.
One A Tk Bty
One AA Bty, less two troops
8 Rifle Bn from 3 Rifle Bde
10 Light Med Coy
10 Sap Coy
Att to Bde, 22 Brit dragoons, eqpt with Anti-mine tanks (Crab-type).
On 7 Aug 44, at 1800 hrs the columns were formed; at 0230 hrs the fwd elements of the bde reached the start line. the bde, marching on the RED axis was followed by the Adv Div HQ and 3 rifle Bde, less 8 Rifle Bn, reinf by : 2 Mech Arty Regt, two A Tk Btys: one AA Bty, 11 Coy Engrs (less on platoon); 11 Medical Coy.
Div HQ marched s fourth echelon and QM Group as fifth echelon.
By 0630 hrs the leading elements of 10 Armd Cav Bde reached the designated area - the bridges S of CAEN. 3 Rifle Bde reached the bridges between 1300 and 1400 hrs, the Div HQ between 1400 and 1500 hrs.
The route was traced and controlled by Polish and British Traffic Control.
During the march tps encountred several difficulties, namely: poor rds for vehs, clouds of dust which rendered fwd cars invisible to the drivers, in a drive without lights, rds so narrow that only jeeps and motorcycles could overtake.
Generally speaking the march was efficiently executed – in spite of an exceptional concentration of tps in this area.
The distance covered in the march was nearly 30 kilometres. The 10 Armd cav Bde reached BRAS by 0800 hrs. After breakfast, the echelons A1 and A2 were left in BRAS and the Bde regrouped for the march to the forming up place.
Here the 22 Brit Dragoons joined the bde. the attack was to be preceded by the bombardment by 21 A Gp Air Force, after which an arty barrage was to be laid on enemy positions. At 1330 hrs, the Air force started the bombardment but, probably by mistake, instead of bombing the area of CAUVICOURT – ST SYLVIAN, bombed the area S of CAEN, just as the Div HQ, as fourth echelon arrived at its appointed place.
As a result of this bombardment, the Cdn AGRA suffered most, losing a great number of men and much eqpt, but our AA Arty also lost 44 men (killed and wounded). The situation was extremely difficult as the area was packed with various munition dumps which exploded for 40 minutes after the bombing as a result of fires caused. At 1335 hrs 24 Lancers and 2 Tk Regt, each reinf by one sqd of Dragoons, one sqn of Crabs, and one platoon of Engrs, started the attack as leading regts. At 1425 hrs, 2 Tk Regt was stopped in attack by twenty German tks, probably of German Tiger type and Mk IV, operating from area 108556.
24 Lancer were under enemy arty fire. The C.O. 10 Armd Cavalry Bde required arty on the discovered targets.
At 1450 hrs, two Arty Regts opned fire with good results. At 1520 hrs contact with 4 Cdn Armd Div was established at the coordinate 082558. In that time, 2 Tk Regt fell into a very difficult situation, its flank being menaced by German tks. The C.O. Bde, arrived with help, covering the flank with 2 Sqn, 10 Mounted Rifle Regt and with one A Tk Bty.
Our arty, very efficiently and quickly supported 2 Tk Regt.
After all day fighting, the armd regts set out for the night bivouac.
3 Rifle Bde took over the sector and protected it for the night (the Bde was to execute a night attack, which was not realized).
the losses inflicted on the enemy by 10 Armd Cavalry Bde in this day were:
Prisoners 1 offr, 105 ORs
Tanks 1 Mk IV, 5 Mk V destroyed or damaged.
2 88mm A Tk guns destroyed.
1 75mm gun damaged
4 20mm guns destroyed, 3 damaged.
1 105mm gun destroyed,
6 mortars (15 cm) destroyed.
7 Hy MG destroyed.
2 Hy MG damaged.
General Remarks concerning 8 Aug 44.
the ground was difficult for an attack by the armour, having several small woods and high hedges. In spite of fairly distant horizons, the ground was very favourable for the enemy’s A Tk defence.
The enemy was not sufficiently neutralized by our own Air Force and arty, so that the bde could attack without heavy losses (unfortunately the airforce passed through our own forces, destroying not only a part of the arty, but also the amn dumped for AGRA).
There was a constant threat to the left flank, which will be henceforth a menace to the div ops and my permanent worry.
The Crab regt was almost unemployed, since we did not find any minefds.
9 Aug 44: during the night of 8/9 Aug, 3 Rifle Bde prepared itself for the attack, but did not carry it out as the enemy withdrew, and after only short fighting, reached the SE boundaries of woods ROBERTMESNIL, taking 48 prisoners. Our losses were insignificant. At 0700 Hrs, 10 Armd Cavalry Bde were moved to new area (N CRAMENSI 083570. Between 0900 – 1000 hrs, a conference of C.Os. was held and the order for a further move were given.
24 Lancers were given the task of seizing the grove 1152 – LA CROIS and of the wood S 1249. 1 Tk Regt plus one A Tk Bty had to take 140 (130478) CAUVICOURT – RENEMENSNIL and cover itself by the A Tk Bty from E. 2 tk Regt was in res behind 24 Lancers. 10 Dragoons between 2 Tk Regt and 24 Lancers had the task of consolidating the ground seized by the tk regts.
Arty was to sp the ops of the bde as far as the R LAISON, Engrs with the res regt were at the disposal of the C.O. 10 Armd Cavalry Bde.
Starting hour 1100 hrs.
10 Mounted Rifle Regt, which very successfully and courageously reconnoitred ST SYLVIAN, was released by 8 Rifle Bn, which received the order to occupy and to org the def of ST SYLVAIN, but when it was discovered that ST SYLVAIN was occupied by a strong enemy force with the sp of hy mortars and arty, the task of capturing it was given to the Mountain Rifle Bn, which reinforced 8 Rifle Bn.
Between 1220 and 1255 hrs, 1 tk Regt reached the W outlets of CAUVICOURT and 24 Lancers the grove 110520.
In the foreground appeared several times tks of Tiger type, numbering 10 to 15 against which the regts were fighting suffering losses.
About 1600 hrs 1 Tk Regt captured hill 84, distinguishing itself in this fighting.
24 Lancers seized the NW boundary of LA CROIX, 1149.
For the night, 9 Rifle Bn took over CAUVICOURT from 10 Armd Cavalry Bde. At 1930 hrs, the Mountain Rifle Bn started to attack ST SYLVAIN. The action was preceded by heavy bombardment by arty and Air Force. By 2200 hrs SY SYLVIAN was occupied up to the area incl the church and by 2400 hrs ST MARTIN DE BOIS was also taken.
The enemy losses were:
Prisoners – 3 offrs, 77 Ors.
Destoryed – 4 tks Mk IV, 1 Tk Mk V and 1 Tk Mk VI.
Damaged - 1 tk Mk VI.
Destroyed – 3 75mm guns.
Damaged - 3 75mm guns.
Destroyed – 4 22mm A Tk guns, 8 15cm Mortars, 2 HY MGs.
During the day of 9 Aug, I received the order to hand over the sector to 51 (H) Div, and to move my div.
10 Aug 44: After midnight, began the relief of the Mountain Rifle Bn by the units of 51 (H) Div. the mountain Rifle Bn moved to the region of RENEMESNIL, 9 Rifle BN, which passed under the comd of C.O. 10 Armd Cavlary Bde moved to the area of SOIGNOLLES.
10 Dragoons carried out a night attack on ESTREES LA CAMPAGNE, receiving with 9 Rifle Bn a task to reconnoiter.
At 1055 hrs the enemy launched a counter-attack from the area 140525 against 9 Rifle Bn. The counter-attack was repulsed. During this action the A. Tk Bty distinguished itself. At 1530 hrs the C.O. , 3 Rifle Bde received the order to attack the area of hill 140111 (E and S of ESTREES LA CAMPAGNE) and to seize the brhead on the R LAISON at MONTBOINT and ROUVERS. Simultaneously, 9 Rifle Bn attacked, seized and maintained the horizon E of SOIGNOLLES.
At 1520 hrs, another German counter-attack developed on the spot height 83 (128500). It was repulsed with the help of AGRA fire.
At night, the situation of the leading units was E of SOIGNOLLES and ESTREES LA CAMPAGNE. During the day of 10 Aug, 9 Rifle Bn worked well, repulsing several attacks of the enemy and maintaining its positions. The Dragoons also did well, and had excellent sp from the A Tk units.
11 Aug 44: On 11 Aug 44, the div remained in its assigned area and maintained SOIGNOLLES and ESTREES LA CAMPAGNE.
During the day, I received orders to attack and clr up with one bn the whole wood of QUESNAY. The Corps Comd, decided later that his area should be attacked by 3 Cdn Inf Div. I received instead, the task of forming a special group for operational reconnoitering of the areas LA BUS SUR ROUVERS, ERNES, and IFS-SUR-LAISON.
This reconnaissance was to be carried out for the Corps.
During the day, the Germans launched several counter-attacks against ESTREES LA CAMPAGNE and SOIGNOLLES, all of which were repulsed, and the tps maintained their positions.
12 Aug 44: (until 1200 hrs). At night units of 1 Pol Armd Div were relieved by 3 Cdn Inf Div, in area ESTREES LA CAMPAGNE and SOIGNOLLES. The relief was completed at 0500 hrs.
The Div passed to the res in CRAMESNIL LA BRUYEE. 3 Rifle Bde was in the woods S of CRAMESNIL 050555 with 1 A Tk Regt, (less two Btys) and 11 Engr Coy. 10 Armd Cav Bde in area ST SYLVAIN (W) CAUVICOURT – RENEMESNIL. Div HQ unchanged 081571. Recce Group of Major Maciejowki (10 Mounted Rilfes, 1 A Tk Bty SP and one Mech Arty Bty SP) reconnoitred LA BUS SUR ROUVERES and area N and S of this locality. Between 1100 and 1230 hrs the recce gp established that the enemy is occupying LA BUS SUR ROUVERE by inf (987 Inf regt) and supposedly also by A Tk guns on the flanks of this formation (2 88mm guns). The group received fire from two to three German tks in a hull-down position from area 150508. Another sqn was under A Tk fir. As a result of this fire, four tks were lost (set on fire) one tk damaged on a mine. At 1200 hrs the recce gp still reconnoiters.
General Characteristics of 1 Polish Armd Div’s Ops
During the Period 7 – 12 Aug 44.
Marches to the battle:
(a) The first factor to note was the great accumulation of Allied tps operating in NORMANDY. From this fact resulted immense difficulty in the execution of movements and in the disposition of tps and rear units in assigned areas. There was also the menace of enemy Air Force and arty fire. (Unfortunately, equally from the Allied Air Force).
After leaving CAEN, the div moved on certain sectors cross country. The CO Div Engrs was forced repeatedly to prepare and maintain the rds.
(b) The ops resembled the West Front fighting in the war of 1918; but the attacking forces had more liberty of action, considering the strong superiority of our Air Force and arty.
(c) The ground was not quite as shown by maps of FRANCE which have been supplied, having more woods and particularly bushes, which was very cunningly exploited by the enemy.
With his perfect camouflage, it made a great difference to us.
(d) The enemy operated with individual battle groups (KAMPFGRUPPE) composed by inf, A Tk arty, hy Inf weapons, and a few tks of tiger, Panther or Mk IV type. These groups held the regions suitable for A Tk defence and their strength and composition varied according to the size of these regions.
1 Pol Armd Div fought with the following identified enemy units during the whole period 7 –12 Aug; the 8 Inf Div (arrived direct from NORWAY five days before our engagement). In the days 8 – 10 Aug with 12 SS Panzer div “HITLEJUGEND”, with 101 Hy Tk Bn, belonging to the 1 SS Corps (at ROBERTMESNIL) and with the 272 Inf Div (at BUS SUR ROUVERES)
In the days 10 and 11 Aug, with the group “WALDMULLER” (at ROBERTMESNIL) and with 85 Inf Div (which arrived recently from Germany and on the day of 11 Aug was identified on our sector).
The enemy fought stubbornly. The SS Units are fighting particularly well. Weak fighters were the inf and the 89 Inf Div, but they were successfully sp by the mortars and inf guns, as well as by single tks.
(e) All subordinate units fought well, sacrificing themselves. The losses in proportion to the enemy strength and the progress made (10 kilometeres of heavy struggle) are not important.
Captured Localities: CRAMESNIL – LA BRUYERE (8 Aug) ; CAUVICOURT (9 Aug);
REBERTMESNIL (9 Aug); ST SYLVAIN (10 Aug); DE BOIS (9 Aug); SOIGNOLLES (10 Aug); ESTREES LA CAMPAGNE (10 Aug);
On 11 Aug, all objectives have been maintained. On 12 Aug a special group reconnoitred LA BUS SUR ROUVERES.
By 1200 hrs 12 Aug 44, the following losses were recorded.
121 killed (incl 11 offrs)
499 wounded ( “ 57 “ )
36 missing ( “ 5 “ )
In proportion to the strength of the div, the losses were not too heavy, but the specialists, chiefly tk crews, lost are difficult to replace.
(g) Losses of Eqpt.
The losses in armour (mostly from direct hits or set on fire); total number 88. They have been replaced with the exception of ten tks destroyed. There are also destroyed 5 A Tk guns SP (4 – 3” and 1 – 17-pdr); 5 6-pdr A Tk guns; 1 25-pdr gun SP and 1 25-pdr gun tractor-drawn.
(h) The Booty.
Up to 12 Aug 44 at 1200 hrs, the number of prisoners taken and recorded in Div HQ was: 4 offrs and 175 ORs. Apart from these nearly 250 prisoners were directed straight to the British posts. A total of 429 prisoners. Among the recorded POW were 1 offr and 9 ORs (incl 7 Poles), 85 Inf Div; 67 ORs (incl 4 Poles), 89 Inf Div; 15 prisoners (incl 3 Poles), 272 Inf Div; 3 prisoners, 12 SS Panzer Div; 3 offrs (among whom was Major VON FISHBACH OC 1198 Bty of Costal Arty, now 2 i/c of the group), group WALDMULLER.
Eqpt: destroyed or put out of action.
5 tks Mk IV
6 tks Mk V
2 tks Mk VI
2 88mm guns
7 75mm guns
1 105mm gun
14 15cm mortars
4 22mm A Tk guns.
(i) I have always maintained that the morale of the solders belonging to 1 Pol Armd Div is good, but now, after this first period of fighting, I must stress that the morale of the units, as well as other services, is even better than very good.
(j) Description of Some Actions.
1 Tk Regt – distinguished itself in the battle for RENEMESNIL on 9 Aug. About 1200 hrs the Regt received a hy arty and mortar fire in the neighbourhood of the church. In the area 84 (S RENEMESNIL) Tigers appeared, with the sp of very well working arty. The regt, in an attack, took hill 84, but on the S slop was stopped by very fierce A Tk defence. At 1300 hrs CO Regt decided to attack hill 111 (along the axis 84 CHEIN HAUSSE) The second sqn captured the hill. The enemy put up a very hy fire of mortars, arty and A Tk guns. In this op the regt suffered quite by losses, namely: 3 offr killed (incl the 2 i/c) and 10 ORs; 4 offrs wounded and 11 ORs; 1 offr missing and 7 ORs.
During the action on hill 111 the regt freed from the Germans about 100 Cdn soldiers, who had been without food and amn for two days. The captured prisoners confessed that the attack demoralized the enemy inf garrison.
9 Rifle Bn- were exposed in SOIGNILLES to German fire and counter-attacks. They kept their ground in spite of several enemy counter-attacks and notwithstanding losses of 20 killed and nearly 120 wounded, showed a very high morale.
10 Dragoons – held ESTRESS LA CAMPAGNE (SE outlets) during 11 Aug under heavy fire of coupled mortars. In spite of losses and over-fatigue morale of this regt was excellent, which I could personally establish.
The A Tk Regt – All btys competed with each other in stoutness and bravery as well as in good firing. The relatively high amt of destroyed or damaged enemy eqpt is to be attributed chiefly to their good action.
10 Mounted Rifle Regt – worked all the time with sacrifice and persistence, demoralizing the enemy. According to the statements of prisoners, as a result of this regts action the Germans in LA BUS SUR ROUVERES suffered losses necessitating their release by tps from ERNES.
Div HQ, with supply tps and wkshops, fell into the range of bomber Air Force, probably American, S of CAEN on 8 Aug, which by mistake bombed this area. In spite of the large accumulations of arty, Air Force and inf munitions deposited in the area designated for us, and the explosions which lasted 40 minutes, and in spite of AA Arty losses, all endured the fire very praiseworthily and no missing were reported.
The Div passed through their baptism of battle very well and bravely, and one feels one can rely on these soldiers.
(1) The op was not executed according to plan of the Corps Comd, as the 51 (H) Div did not capture on the first day all their objectives. In consequence, 1 Pol Armd Div could not by-pass 51 (H) Div and make an adv according to plan just after the air bombardment of the hill S ESTREES LA CAMPAGNE 140, but was forced to help 51(H) Div in capturing their objectives. The mistakes of our own Bomber Air Force were the reason.
(2) The enemy gained time to recover, not having been sufficiently neutralized by the arty and Air Force.
(3) 1 Pol Armd Div was obliged to execute several short attacks in succession, typical for inf ops. It had not the chance to take advantage of an inf action, which is the proper work of an armd div.
(4) 1 Pol Armd Div fell into the fire of enemy tks of Tiger type, and into A Tk fire before reaching so called “Bombline”, where it was brought by the British Traffic Control, and where it had not the right of decision.
The op started, however, without any friction, thanks to valiant action by 2 A Tk Regt and 24 Lancers, which immediately deployed, inflicting losses on the enemy and forcing him to retreat. They themselves, however, suffered likewise fairly considerable losses, especially in offrs and by losses in eqpt.
FIGHTING DURING THE PERIOD FROM 12 Aug to 22 Aug 44.
The closing of the TRUN Pocket.
Hill 259 HORDOUSEAUX 33-33
Hill 240 ECORCHES 42-58
Hill 252 and 262 COUDEHARD 44-55 (so-called MACZUGA – the MACE)
CHAMBOIS 40, 41-51, 52.
(a) Relief (12 Aug)
(b) Regrouping E of R LAISE (14 Aug) and night fighting for AISY and
POTIGNY (night of 14-15 Aug)
(c) Race for the crossings, their capture and the occupation of brheads on the R
DIVES at JORT and L’HOMME COULIBOEF (14, 16 Aug)
(d) Assault from brheads against TRUN (16 Aug)
(e) Ops for closing of the TRUN pocket (night of 16/17 Aug)
(f) Diversion on LES CHAMPEAUX (18 Aug)
(g) Capture of CHAMBOIS and the MACE (MACZUGA). The estab of contact
with Americans at CHAMBOIS and with 4 Cdn Armd Div in the area of
(h) Battle of the MACE (MACZUGA) with penetrating German Armd Corps
(18 – 22 Aug)
1. Task of 1 Pol Armd Div.
The Div got the task of regrouping itself for the ops on the crossing of the R DIVES.
To attack and capture the crossings on the R DIVES at JJORT.
To org the brheads on the R DIVES.
To occupy the hills 159 and 259.
To attack and seize TRUN.
General Characteristics of the Fighting
1. The Enemy
(a) The enemy is surprised and misled by the recent ops,
(b) he finds himself in a pocket, which must be closed,
(c) the strength of the enemy is estimated to include several of the higher
formations, as much as 50% of armoured units.
(d) the enemy will fight desperately and valiantly in an attempt to break out
of the trap (particularly the SS and Panzer units).
The decisive Factors of the success of the op were:
(a) the speed of capturing the crossings on the R DIVES.
(b) the strength of the two pincers which should close the breach
(c) the equality of speed of the Polish div and their neighbors
(d) the superiority in arty and Air Force
(e) the dry weather (rds)
2. Own Forces
The losses (656 killed, wounded and missing, as given in the battle-report No. 1) had not influenced the op ability of the div to such a degree that the task could not be fulfilled.
The spirit of the tps was excellent, the stubborness even higher than in the first phase of the fighting. The supplement of men were incorporated and the eqpt was replenished (except 10 Shermans for the regts of 10 Armd Cav Bde and 2 Cromwells for 10 Mounted Rifle Regt).
The fatigue caused by the fighting was great, but was forgotten in the pride at the results achieved. The relief as well as the regrouping E of the R LAISE, was accomplished efficiently and in proper time.
An unexpected mishap, however, was the second bombardment by our own Air Force on the afternoon of 14 Aug, which resulted in 204 cas, namely: 1 offr, 47 ORs killed; 103 ORs wounded and 53 ORs missing.
The rigidity of the control of the bombing ops (from London) made it, as a result, impossible to stop it when once started. It lasted two hrs. The yellow smoke was of no use, because of the clouds caused by the first released bombs.
3. The Ground
Features and cover.
Between the R LAISE and R DIVES – flat and cut up with many small plantations and bushes. They made natural camouflage for the enemy. The armour could be moved only very carefully and hence very slowly.
To the E of the R DIVES, more or less, on the vertical coordinate 30, and in the corridor of TRUN between the woods of DE GOUFERN ( 6 kilometres S of TRUN) and the wooded expanse to the E of the river the ground rises passing to outstanding hills with a difference of altitude running to 100 metres in 3 kilometres.
This ground was rather more difficult for tk ops than the previous area, but not impossible, particularly in dry and good weather.
The ground lying farther ot the W was more wooded and hilly, and not suitable at all for manoeuvring by larger groups of armour.
The obstacle which was necessary to master was the R DIVES, with important crossings in : ST PIERRE SUR DIVES (for 51 (H) Div) JORT (for 1 Pol Armd Div) MORTEAUX – COULIBOEUF (for 4 Cdn Armd Div); besides the other obstacles to the movement of tks, was the N basin of the R DIVES with a SW direction, namely, RADON DU RAVIN DES HAUTES; RADON RAU; R DE NEAUPHIE and R DE FONTBEC.
The following hills comprised the barrier closing the corridor of TRUN: 159 (289365); 259 (332346); the area of hills 137, HORDOSEAUX and the region ECORCHES; the hills 250, 240. 252, 262 the area COUDEHARD (the pommel of the MACE “MACZUGA”); 262 region of MONT ORMEL (the stock of the MACE “MACZUGA”)
On the R DIVES and in the sector of 1 Pol Armd Div, the crossing of JORT, further S , the crossing LO’HOMME COULIBOEUF and MORTEAUX – COULIBOEUF (for 4 Cdn Armd Div), further the rd juc of TRUN with the highways leading out to the NE of SE of CHAMBOIS, with the highways to the NE and E.
He would try to break through at all costs under cover of his armour or if no
other possibility, with his armour only.
To occupy speedily and hold, the crossings on the R DIVES (for 1 Pol Armd Div
To capture the hills 159 and 259 as a basis for the action to the S, especially
on TRUN and CHAMBOIS.
To attack TRUN, take and hold it.
To block the enemy’s retreat from TRUN by capturing and holding the area of
hills HOROSEAUX 258259 and ECORCHE 240 and from CHAMBOIS, by
capturing and holding the area of hills COUDEHARD 262, 252, and the hill
MONT ORMEL 262.
To block the E rd from CHAMBOIS (the task of the other Army)
5. The General Course of Ops,
14 Aug 44: The regrouping on the E from the FALAISE was carried out by the 14 Aug, whilst 10 Dragoons reconnoitred the locality and the woods of QUESNAY, 8 Rifle Bn AISY and POTIGNY, and 9 Rifle Bn FONTAINE LE PIN.
In the night of 14/15 Aug, 9 Rifle Bn, by 2400 hrs, had taken FOTNAINE LE PIN and by 0700 hrs of 15 Aug, hd captured the hill 206, taking there 26 prisoners of 85 Inf Div.
8 Rifle Bn, by 0700 hrs, had taken AISY and by 0900 hrs had captured POTIGNY, taking also prisoners.
Simultaneously with the ops of these bns, 24 Lancers shot up and captured three tks, 2 Panthers and 1 Mk IV. Then prisoners from 12 SS Panzer Div taken.
15 Aug 44: the race for the crossing on the R DIVES and the capture of the crossing in JORT.
The div started at 1100 hrs in two columns, getting permission to pass over the highway CAEN – FALAISE at two points, Right column on ROUVERS – SASSY – JORT; and the left column on BOUT DE HAUT – VENDOEVRE MORRIERES.
The whole was preceded by 10 Mounted Rifles, which reconnoitred the crossings and after their daring capture, went on to COURCY.
The river was reached and the crossings taken at night. The enemy defended them furiously in JORT, especially in the area of the rlwy station and in small wood W of the station.
10 Mounted Rifles, with A Tk bty SP, destroyed in this action, two tks Mk V and captured one tk Mk V (co-ordinates 222452 and 219449). Moreover, they destroyed four A Tk guns including two 88mm (218469, 219449 and 234451). They also put out of action a six gun tp, taking 5 guns on the position (one was damaged). Prisoners numbering 120 were taken from the 272 and 85 Inf Divs.
At VENDOEVRE the crossing had been captured by 1745 hrs.
3 Rifle Bde was ordered to occupy the bridgeheads on the R DIVES.
10 Mounted Rifle Regt plus one squadron 10 Dragoons plus one A Tk buy SP have the task of reconnoitring on COURCY – LOUVAGNY. The whole arty plus one Med Regt RA to sp the formation at the brhead. The Engrs are building a bridge at JORT, clring minefds, repairing rds and organizing crossing points.
During the night, 3 Rifle Bde occupied and prepared the brheads on the R DIVES.
16 Aug 44: The attack from brheads to the S.
The attack was carried out by 10 Armd Cave Bde less one tk regt, reinf by 8 Rifle Bn from VENDOEVRE. At that time 3 Rfle Bde less 8 Rifle Bn held the brheads in JORT (1 Mountain Rifle Bn) and MORIERES (9 Rifle Bn) reinf by 1 Tk Regt, which reconnoitred in the direction of the woods of COURCY.
The attack was carried out in two columns: Right column, 24 Lancers plus 10 Dragoons plus one A Tk Bty (comd Major KANSKI and after he was wounded Major ZGORZELSKI) on the way 24-39 L’HOMME COULIBEOUF – BAROU. Left Column, 2 Tk Regt plus 8 Rifle Bn plus on e A Tk Bty on BAROU.
The whole Polish Arty sp the attack from the area of SASSY and the Brit arty from the area N of ROUVERES.
At 2100 hrs BAROU was captured and the rd from MARTEAUX – COULIBEOUF – BAROU cut. MORTEAUX was still in enemy hands as the Cdn Div did not manage to take the crossing. Prisoners taken were from 1053 and 1054 Grenadier Regts.
17 Aug 44: The Op of closing the TRUN Gap.
10 Mounted Rifle Regt plus one A Tk Bty was withdrawn for the night 16/17 Aug to res and got for 17 Aug the task of reconnoitring in direction of TRUN. By 0930 hrs this regt stated that the enemy columns were moving to the E on the highway CROCY – TRUN.
10 Armd Cav Bde, which was ordered to attack the hills 159 and 259, attacked from BAROU, captured NORRY-EN-AUGE, and took 2 offrs and 22 ORs prisoner, of 21 Panzer Div.
By 1700 hrs the group of Lt.-Col. KOSZUTSKI (2 Tk Regt, 8 Rifle Bn and 1 A Tk Bty) had taken the hill 259 (381345) and the group of Major ZGORZELSKI (24 Lancers and 10 Dragoons) the hill 310360.
More prisoners were taken, numbering 1 offr and 84 ORs, from 12 SS Panzer Div, 85 Inf Div and 271 Inf Div.
At 1750 hrs the Corps Comd, arrived with the order of the Army Group Comd to take CHAMBOIS that same night. At that time also TRUN was to be taken by 4 Cdn Armd Div.
Although the tps were extremely exhausted, as 1 Pol Armd Div had been fighting as a frontal wedge strictly speaking without co-operation of the right and left forces and bearing the whole burden of what proved later to by a huge weight, the Div Comd assigned to Lt.-Col. Koszutski’s group the taks of an immediate stroke at CHAMBOIS, which should have started by 1930 hrs. A further plan of Div Comd was to block the exits from CHAMBOIS by capturing the and holding the hills 262, 252, and 262, MONT ORMEL (“MACZUGA”)
18 Aug 44: The Diversion of the Group Comd (Lt.-Col. Koszutski).
Unfortunately the intention of the Div Comd failed. It was thwarted by the Group Comd of 2 Tk Regt. he did not move, but at 0200 hrs and moreover in the wrong direction, i.e. not in direction of CHAMBOIS SE, but in direction LES CHAMPEAUX, straight to the E, engaging himself in a combat with enemy inf and A Tk weapons in a country very difficult for Tks.
In the morning Div Comd got the alarming report of the threat that 2 Tk Regt and 8 Rifle Bn may be destroyed. he ordered the comd 10 Armd Cav Bde to help the group, which he did, detailing 1 Mountain Rifle Bn.
The Div Comd directed a reconnaissance (10 Mounted Rifle Regt plus two A Tk Btys) on CHAMBOIS, which was reached by 1650 hrs (one kilometre S of CHAMBOIS – the first sqn of 10 Mtd Rifle Regt) but the regt was forced to withdraw 1 kilometre further S in view of the bombardment by our own Air Force.
Leading elements of 10 Armd Cav Bde (10 Dragoons plus 24 Lancers) reached the area 333326 at 2030 hrs and were engaged in hy fighting with enemy inf and A Tk weapons, Meanwhile, the 1 Mountain Rifle Bn have not found 2 Tk Regt in the area of LES CHAMPEAUX. The latter at this time was in the area of 428586, and asserted that they could not move farther because of shortage of supplies (part of their transport with amn and petrol was destroyed by our own Air Force).
Owing to incorrect reports, the supplies which had been sent by the QM to the areas of BOURDON (allegedly occupied by 2 Tk Regt) could not reach them, as the area was held by the enemy and 2 Tk Regt occupied it only temporarily.
In these extremely hard condition began the crisis of the battle, which lasted until midday of 21 Aug. It was caused by:
(a) desperate efforts of German forces which found themselves in the gap TRUN – CHAMBOIS – COUDEHARD – ECORCHES to break through at all costs.
(b) co-operation of the German forces attacking from the NE with the aim of enabling the escape of German tps trapped in the gap.
(c) relatively small force – 1 Pol Armd Div – for the closing of the gap, as the neighbouring forces did not co-operate sufficiently.
(d) cutting off the supply echelons from the fighting units, which greatly complicated the question of supplies of amn and petrol and the evacuation of wounded.