Belgium and Holland (1944 – 1945)
Following Chenedolle the Brigade encountered less enemy resistance and were able to head in a more leisurely manner towards the river Seine – being wined, dined and entertained along the way – at one point they were even billeted in the wings of a Chateaux !
Eventually the tanks crossed one by one over the Seine by means of a single pontoon bridge and were then loaded on to transporters for onward movement through Belgium towards Holland. The trip through Belgium was met with extreme gratitude by the liberated Belgians who frequently showered the guardsmen with gifts of fresh fruit and provisions !
Operations in Holland
Unlike their comrades in the Guards Armoured Division who had progressed at speed in support of the airborne invasion at Arnhem, the 6th Guards Tank Brigade remained in and around Eindhoven. (I myself stayed here in the mid 1980’s unaware of its relevance 40 years earlier !)
The 3rd Scots were quiet during the first two weeks of October, harbouring in a wooded area near Geldrop and planning an attack with 15th Scottish Division – which never materialised ! They then they moved with the whole Brigade to Helmond. In late October, meeting only mild opposition, but encountering muddy conditions, blown up bridges, mines and booby trapped obstacles, the Scots Guards, together with infantry from the Glasgow Highlanders and Seaforths advanced towards Oisterwijk and Tilburg (a strategic manufacturing town), which, with the assistance of the rest of the Brigade, was soon liberated after four years of enemy occupation.
An enemy counter attack from the South East meant that the Brigade’s celebrations were short lived as they headed back towards Eindhoven and on to Asten and Housden in support of US army units then in occupation. In early November “S” Squadron located a squadron of German troops in the nearby peat bogs and in a combined operation with a company of Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders eliminated one hundred and thirty enemy together with an ammunition dump – in the process several tanks became bogged down and had to be recovered later.
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