Canada in the Second World War

Events

Regina Rifle Regiment, War Diary, 16-18 February 1945

National Archives of Canada, RG-24, volume 15200

Personnel of the Regina Rifles preparing to attack enemy in Moyland Wood near Calcar, Germany, 16 February 1945.

Personnel of the Regina Rifles preparing to attack enemy in Moyland Wood near Calcar, Germany, 16 February 1945.
Photo by Colin McDougall. Department of National Defence / National Archives of Canada, PA-177577.

Date
Hour
Summary of Events and Information
16 Feb 1945
0700
Weather-cold, misty.
0615
CO [Commanding Officer] to Brigade HQ to get last minute details. Recce party goes out.

0700
1030

Marching troops cross SP [self-propelled guns] at 892556. Movement goes without incident and Tactical Battalion HQ locates at MR 937521 (CALCAR Sheet) by 1030 hrs.
1155
H-Hr for us is set for 1330 hrs.
1330
Attack gets under way with A Coy [company] leading off. CO sets up a command post at 950513.

1530
1630

A Coy and C Coy are encountering considerable opposition for enemy is in the woods [Moyland Wood, near Calcar]. Seem to be large numbers of enemy there despite fact that posts of enemy had been previously cleared by British units. B Coy moves up at 1630 hrs but encounter enemy in woods North East of road approx MR 958511.
2000
CO visits Brigade HQ at 2000 hrs to give Brigade Commanders situation. On return plans to move D Coy up in the morning to help other companies in the woods. C Coy had attempted to enter woods in the vicinity of MR 968504 but became almost completely surrounded and finally withdrew across road to MR 964500.
17 Feb 1945
0700
Weather-over cast-cool.
0700
During night companies already committed are attempting to consolidate firmly in the positions they now hold.
1000
B and D Coys, with Artillery SP, attempt to clear through woods from 958512 to EAST. Become disorganized by own artillery fire and the attack is cancelled. CO goes to Brigade. Companies are now located as follows: A Coy-961514, B Coy-959513, C Coy-966502, D Coy-959511. When CO returns find we are to remain in present position for present as woods are being by passed and 4 Brigade of 2 Canadian Division is expected to pass through to our right. Our C Coy is to move back in position near Command Post.
1400
Considerable SP Artillery program for attack going in by Royal Winnipeg Rifles and Canadian Scottish Regiment to SOUTH brings considerable return fire on us which at first appeared to be counter attack but cleared. Intermittent enemy mortaring and shelling continues through evening, but 4.2″ and 3″ Mortars in addition to Artillery keep most positions well covered from possible counter-attacks.
1830
C Coy moves to vicinity to Command Post and is located at 949513.
18 Feb 1945
0700
Weather-overcast and cool.
0700
Night has been fairly quiet. Occasional shells land in the area.
1000
Brigade Commander visits us. Picture is much the same. 2 Canadian Infantry Division are waiting to get on through us and we still must try to clear out our part of the wood. 6 Canadian Infantry Brigade of 2 Canadian Infantry Division are taking over woods held by British troops today.
1230
We again attack woods, this time across road vicinity of MR 963506 (CALCAR Sheet) North EAST to take high ground and clear woods from 965596 WEST and NORTH WEST to 51 grid line. From the commencement of attack going is very heavy. The enemy have considerable number of heavy machine guns in the wood, also their heavy guns from across RHINE are plastering the wood. B Coy clear their section of woods with aid of WASP flame throwers, although one blows up. Then D Coy press through further. Enemy keep counter-attacking right flank of B Coy, and D Coy have a very difficult time. They finally get two platoons on objective and A Coy pass through to clear NORTH sector of woods to grid line and road. Enemy keep up a relentless machine gun and shelling barrage. A Coy finally consolidate on objective but further exploitation is impossible due to depletion in coy strength. Also many men, although not actually casualties are suffering from exhaustion due to continual shelling and nature of the woods.
1900
One platoon of C Coy is sent in to help button up the three coy positions for the night. Balance of C Coy which is already greatly depleted remain in reserve.
2400
Things have become reasonably quiet. Coy Commanders agree that the shelling and fighting in these woods have been just as bad as anything encountered in NORMANDY. Few prisoners of war taken have been mainly paratroops, many of which have been moved in to this sector in the past 24 to 48 hours from NORTHERN HOLLAND!
[Summary for February 1945]With the Commencement of operation “VERITABLE” on 8 Feb 45 we ended three months of static warfare and change overs. The enthusiasm shown in the operation by all ranks was evidence enough that all were keen to take up the initiative and to get into GERMANY itself. Morale was high, men were fit and refreshed and a degree of the team spirit was evident.

Entry into GERMANY meant no fraternizing with civilians in any way, and raised problems of how to treat them. Many men were at a loss, despite previous lectures on the subject, just how to treat them firmly, without being too chummy. Especially due to the fact that they observed breaches of these regulations going on about them. However, our men have carried themselves exceptionally well in most cases.

During some of the stiff woods fighting near MOYLANDS on 16-19 Feb, a rather high percentage of cases arose coming more or less under the heading of Battle Exhaustion. Few were diagnosed by the Medical Officer as being definitely such, however, one or two resulting in charges of cowardice in the face of the enemy. On the other hand, many instances of exceptional heroism and devotion to duty occurred, and recommendations for Honors and Awards were submitted for them.

Throughout the advances during the month, problems of supply and transport were extremely acute due to flooding, mud and lack of alternative routes. However, the new policy of living as much as possible from the land eased the situation considerably and the fresh pork, beef, chicken and eggs made a very welcome change.