11th Armoured Division and the Crossing of the Weser, Leine and Aller - April 1945

Discussion in 'Higher Formations' started by PhilGraham1, Dec 17, 2012.

  1. JDKR

    JDKR Member

    The Norddrebber Bridge

    The 1945 map shows no bridge over the Leine at Norddrebber (nor even a road on either bank linking to a bridge) yet 8 RB war diary states that F Coy reached the bridge on 9 April and reported it blown. Phil - perhaps some local knowledge is needed!

  2. JDKR

    JDKR Member


    I have just re-read your post of 21 December which is on the same topic as mine immediately above. Doh! Having done some more digging I think the situation is:

    1. The Norddrebber bridge did not exist in 1945 as evidenced by the contemporary maps.

    2. My theory is that references to 'Norddrebber bridge' in war diaries and accounts are referring to what I would call the Bothmer road bridge, which is just downstream. However, the Bothmer bridge got the tag 'Norddrebber' as Norddrebber is the nearest left bank village to the Bothmer bridge and the advancing 11 Armd Div units would probably have given it the name of the village nearest to it on their side of the Leine.

    Bit confusing but I hope that has made sense. Of course I might be totally wrong!
  3. PhilGraham1

    PhilGraham1 Junior Member

    Thanks JDKR. The thing about today's bridge, situated at the western exit of Schwarmstedt, is that it's taken for granted as always being there. I can't imagine travelling west through Bothmer, but with the motor car not being in common usage in those days, I suppose the needs of the local population would have been one of tending to agricultural matters rather than commuting.
  4. PhilGraham1

    PhilGraham1 Junior Member

    H23 Page 2.jpg H23 Page 3.jpg H23 Page 1.jpg

    Grimmy - thanks again for the 23rd Hussars' war diary. Sorry that it has taken so long, but my scanner went to the scanner heaven and it took a while for me to muster up the courage to buy another one.
  5. lssah2025

    lssah2025 Driver advance

    #21 second pic. That is actually a Cromwell, probably from the Armoured Recce Rgt (15/19 Kings Royal Hussars), also it has the Normandy deflector, on the rear (improvised and REME made to deflect the exhaust backwards, instead of straight up, this was giving away their positions in the hedgerows. 7th Armoured was the only Armoured Divsion that used Cromwells for all their MBT's along with Firefly's. The Cromwells were used by other Armoured Div's. in their Armoured Recce Rgt's due to their low silhouette, speed and 75mm. Great pics and info..
  6. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake All over the place....

    I think the Divisional commanders had latitude about how they organised their Divisions. Horrocks, quoted in some recent book on British armour, said that of the two armoured Divisons in XXX Corps managed theoir armour differently. The Guards had fairly fixed grouping with the armoured and motor battalions of each of the Grenadiers, Coldstreams , Micks and Welsh Guards routinely working together as "Regimental" based battle groups with a common cap badge. 11th Armoured Division the grouping was mode flexible, sometimes deploying the Division as an armoured brigade and a motor brigade and sometimes with the armoured and infantry units working more closely together.

    The four possible "armour Infantry" battlegroups were not identical. One armoured unit would be the armoured recce regiment, which had a diofferent establishment to the other armoured units. Only one of the infantry units was equipped in half tracks as a motor battalion. The other three were 2 from the infantyr brigade" anbd did not have the same amount of armoured half tracks. The armoured car Regiments were not part of the divisional establishment but a corps asset which might be attached.

    One practicality was the shortage of infantry. Even before the move to a three (rather than four) company infantry battalion, units had to combine sub-units. The Guards armoured division formed an extra all arms battlegroup in 1945 from its Atk Regiment with the SP troops actign as armour and the towed troops as infantry support. One Gunner Sgt is awarded a DCM in this role.
    Taurus Pursuant likes this.
  7. Cheakyscouser

    Cheakyscouser Member

    Hi guys

    Some amazing information above, does anyone have or know where I can get a map or known German positions around the town of Winsen Aller?
  8. GAA201

    GAA201 New Member

    Uncle Alex War Diary003.jpg

    Have just joined the forum in order to assist in tracing where my Grand Uncle was killed in WW2. He served in the 1st Bn Cheshire regiment (possibly in C Company under Lt S Davies) and died on the 16th April 1945.

    I've searched the IWM achieve record WO171/5169 from 9-30 April 45, but there is no direct reference to his death. He was the only one from the Bn to die that day.

    The attachments in your article taken from Crookenden, Arthur. The history of the Cheshire Regiment in the Second World War are immensely informative, though the last page shown -P23- ends on the 13th April. I would be extremely grateful if you have access to the record and are willing to share it with us, the pages covering 15 -17 April 1945.

    Many Thanks,


  9. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    During the Battles of the Gothic Line in Italy (aug/Sep '44) the 21st Tank bde were aligned with the 2nd bde of the 1st Cdn Div

    on the basis of 12RTR - Loyal Edmontons; 48th RTR - PPCLI ; -145RAC - Seaforth Highlanders: it worked well on the basis of one troop
    to one company - now and again we would split off to engage with the two other Bdes- depending on the type of Battle…

  10. GAA201

    GAA201 New Member

    Following on from my last post, I’ve attached a copy of the 1bn The Cheshire Regiment's War Diary covering the period 09-30 April 1945. They fought from Helstorf through to Bardowick and onto the river Elbe. Unfortunately my Great Uncle didn't complete the journey as he was killed on the 16th April near Winsen/Gerdehaus/Wichenbeck, though I seek to find out actually where.

    As detailed in the War Diary the Battalion fought alongside the 15/19 Hussars, 1 Hereford, Fife and Forfar, assisted 15(S) Division at Uelzen, 5HLI, before operating under 29th Armoured Brigade in co-operation with 2 Fife and Forars and 8 Rifles.

    My Great Uncles details are as follows;

    Rank: Lance Corporal
    Service No: 3522978
    Date of Death:16/04/1945
    Age: 37
    Regiment/Service: Cheshire Regiment 1st Bn.

    War Diary Reference: WO 171/5169.

    Also included is a newspaper clipping my Nan cherished which has now been handed down to me on her passing.

    I hope the information is useful to anyone tracing their family or wider history. If anyone could shed more light of the movements of the 1st Bn in April, but particularly around the 16th, it would most gratefully received....
    1Bn Cheshire Reg War Diary 09 Apr 45  WO171_5169.jpg 1Bn Cheshire Reg War Diary 11 Apr 45  WO171_5169.jpg 1Bn Cheshire Reg War Diary 14 Apr 45  WO171_5169.jpg 1Bn Cheshire Reg War Diary 15 Apr 45  WO171_5169.jpg 1Bn Cheshire Reg War Diary 17 Apr 45  WO171_5169.jpg 1Bn Cheshire Reg War Diary 19 Apr 45  WO171_5169.jpg 1Bn Cheshire Reg War Diary 20 Apr 45  WO171_5169.jpg 1Bn Cheshire Reg War Diary 21Apr 45  WO171_5169.jpg 1Bn Cheshire Reg War Diary 24 Apr 45  WO171_5169.jpg 1Bn Cheshire Reg War Diary 28 Apr 45  WO171_5169.jpg Uncle Alex Newspaper clip compressed.jpg
    Juha and CL1 like this.
  11. Andreas

    Andreas Working on two books

    Just in case it is still of interest, I have done a bit of research on German sites now, and my view is that the Reichsstrasse 214 used the old Bothmer Bridge (dating back to the 18th century), and the direct link to Norddrebber is post-war.

    Does anyone have more detail on the fighting in Husum, Leese, Landesbergen (if any), and Loccum? Maps, accounts, anything really.

    All the best

  12. ItsMe

    ItsMe New Member

    Just a few corrections: The villages are called 'Loccum', 'Peteresburg','Mandersloh','Lüneburg' - this might help to find references if the names are spelled correctly..
  13. Andreas

    Andreas Working on two books


    Loccum (grew up there), Mandelsloh, Lüneburg. I have no idea where Petiburg or Peteresburg are supposed to be. There's Petershagen, but it's on the other side of the Weser.

    All the best

  14. PhilGraham1

    PhilGraham1 Junior Member

    lssah2025 - I'd better start paying attention on our AFV lessons! Much appreciated, I found it on Wiki and will update accordingly with your eagle eyed observations.

    GAA201 - thank you for posting the war diary and information about your late great uncle; it really does help in fitting the jigsaw together. By chance, do you also have possession of the war diary from 5-10 April 1945?

    Cheekyscouser - I'm currently translating Wolfgang Buchwald's Endkampf into English. It's a bit of a slog, and doesn't offer any maps, but may be capable of unearthing a literal description of the positions.

    Andreas - Again, Wolfgang Buchwald's Endkampf is quite informative and is one of the few sources of a German perspective. I've got plenty of war diaries, book excerpts, web links etc in English, If you send me your address I will post them to you on a CD. The bible on this topic really is No Triumphant Procession by John Russell MBE, however, the more we can unearth the better. One question for you, should you be so kind, on the link below I'm trying to determine the meaning, or even the context, of an Einstellungskompanie? Could you shed any light on it perhaps being a native speaker?

  15. Andreas

    Andreas Working on two books

    Einstellung is literally 'entry', or in a work context 'joining'. My guess is this was a holding company, where new arrivals were parked for administrative reasons while they were being examined, before being assigned to one of the other companies.

    All the best

  16. motorbikingbleu1

    motorbikingbleu1 Sgt John 'Jack' Eric Crane

    Going through some of my Grandfathers old photographs and this one caught my eye.

    "170 Treble Double over Liene" written on the back. He was John Eric Crane - Sargent No. 3 Section 15 Party I believe - 147 Field Squadron

    Maybe this can help with your previous questions about the bridge over the Leine!! If anyone has any information then great. Im only just starting to dig into his time in the war.

    Attached Files:

    Juha likes this.
  17. Willem

    Willem Member

    Any more info of the attack on Rethem in April 1945? Mentioned units where involved, but details of the battle at Rethem are missing. Help is appreciated :) I'm a local here, so that might be helpful. Thanks in advance!
  18. JDKR

    JDKR Member

    Hi Willem - I have written a second book on the fighting on the Weser, Leine and Aller in April 1945, which should be published in about a year's time. It is a major rewrite of my original book - No Triumphant Procession - and covers the battles on the Weser and Leine in similar detail to the battle for Rethem and surrounding area. The book is called Theirs the Strife and will be published by Helion and Company. It's not yet in their future books' list but you can keep an eye out for it. Hope you can hang on until then!

    8RB, Willem, ltdan and 3 others like this.
  19. Willem

    Willem Member

    Great! Could you post (or send via pm) a few infos or a map of the first attack on the 9th at Stöcken and the attack pointing the Rethem railway station with the Flak guns in the 10th?
  20. SDP

    SDP Incurable Cometoholic


    If you haven't already got a copy of John's book 'No Triumphant Procession', copies frequently become available on eBay at reasonable prices.

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