49th Infantry Division 'The Polar bear Butchers'?

Discussion in 'Higher Formations' started by Smudge, Oct 22, 2010.

  1. Buteman

    Buteman 336/102 LAA Regiment (7 Lincolns), RA

    102 LAA Regt had command "A" Sector, BobForce, which was to the right side of Hoogstraaten. I know there was also IMPFORCE as well. Do you know which units constituted IMPFORCE?
  2. Buteman

    Buteman 336/102 LAA Regiment (7 Lincolns), RA

    Both Houghton & Wright are buried in Leopoldsburg War Cemetery. I've their headstone photos if you want me to post them.
  3. johneowens

    johneowens Active Member


    Unfortunately, no - although possibly 4th Canadian Armoured. The only ref. I know is in the 240th's WD, which refers to BOBFORCE, IMPFORCE AND CLARKFORCE as the 3 task forces comprising Operation Rebound.

    "My guys" were in Hoogstraeten 28 October 1944, after Zondereigen and before Chaam and Breda


  4. johneowens

    johneowens Active Member

    Yes, that would be great. So, yes please.


  5. Buteman

    Buteman 336/102 LAA Regiment (7 Lincolns), RA

    Hi John,

    Clarkforce were the Canadians. One of 62 AT's Batteries were attached to them with Self Propelled M10's.

    Here are some photos of the destroyed Church in Hoogstraaten which I got hold of a couple of years ago. It was blown up on 23 October 1944.


    I'll post the Headstone photos for you at the weekend.

    Regards - Rob
  6. johneowens

    johneowens Active Member

    Dear Rob

    Hmmm. My Belgian source has got the 104th US Infantry (Timber Wolf) as part of Clarkforce in Wuustwezel on 20 October 1944, at the same time that Hoogstraeten is still occupied by the Nazis' 711 Infantry Div. and their 346 and 245 Infantry Divs. are counterattacking south from the Dutch border. On 20 October1944, Clark Force/104th US Infantry attacked to secure Loenhout, first and then advanced towards Wuustwezel, which it was to capture and hold against possible enemy counterattacks. According to the 2nd Btn Glosters WD, the 49th Polar Bears were to attack N on a general axis of Sint-Lenaarts-Loenhout with 56 Bd in advance, and 2nd Glosters advancing on the left and 2nd Essex on right (presumably part of Clarkforce). The 2nd Glosters' task was to force a corridor and clear the areas N of Sint-Lenaarts "to enable a mixed armoured force called CLARKFORCE' to operate forward and capture Loenhout". By the evening of 20 October,, Clarkforce /104th US Infantry got to a point on the Niewmeorsestenweg (now N133) NW of Wuustwezel. Next day, I think they proceeded NW towards Essenboske but my solid info fades there.

    I think the composition of these task forces was pretty fluid over this period and varied according to needs.

    Thanks for pointing me to the Hoogstraeten photos and will look out for the headstone photos at the weekend.

    Many thanks


  7. johneowens

    johneowens Active Member

    A Belgian source tells me that the 49th's War Diaries for 20-22 October 1944, written by Lt.-Col. Hart Dyke (Hallamshire Battalion) from Wuustwezel in Belgium, indicate that the 240th Fld Coy RE's HQ was located on Kalmthoutsesteenweg in Wuustwezel. On 21 October 1944, this HQ was hit by a shell from a German Jagdpanther.

    I wonder whether some kind person could send me a copy of the WD for those dates?

    In anticipation, Many thanks and best wishes

  8. beanhead

    beanhead New Member

    Sorry for this bump but it's ontopic anyhow :P...

    I'm a resident from Wuustwezel, i'm planning to do a local tour here to view all the historical monuments preserved. As a child I met the division and they've left a lasting impression on me ever since, one notorious story I can recall is one unit went up our church (dating from 1485!!!) and sat there with a sniper rifle untill the Germans left, i've been there several times and it's really no place where you want to be. I can't really describe what I feel when remembering these people but it's painful that I can't put names on the faces. I've been looking for a list of the names but I really don't know where to look. (Yes, a shame, I realize)

    We've received a AA-cannon from the Leicester division here in Wuustwezel (5 years back, 65!!! years of liberation) by the way

    i'll visit the townhall soon anyhow, so if anyone has some questions that need to be asked feel free to shoot.

    Much respect to the survivors and 360 brave men who fought for our freedom and the life I have now. I won't miss a chance meeting these men each time they return!
    CL1 likes this.
  9. Paul Reed

    Paul Reed Ubique

    TTH, CL1 and (deleted member) like this.
  10. Bala

    Bala Member

    My father was the Adjutant of the Hallams and had a rush tonsils operation prior to D-Day so I don't think MAY 1944 was written.

    JUNE 1944 was written but by someone else as Dad was wounded when a sniper opened up as an O Group broke up. He was evacuated in late June.

    Regards Bill

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