The attack on Schloss Kalbeck

Discussion in 'NW Europe' started by Captain Roel, Apr 18, 2021.

  1. Captain Roel

    Captain Roel Junior Member

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    British Order.

    a) The XXX.British Corps' task is to push back the enemy on the right flank of the 1st (Can)Army to such an extent that they cannot influence the main attack, which is the attack on WESEL.

    b) On 20 Feb 1945 the attack on Weeze was launched. The 53rd Div attacked east of the River Niers, the 15th (Scottisch) Div on the west side.

    The target for the 15th (Scottish) Div is the SCHADDENHOFBRUCKE (LC 072247) This bridge is essential to secure the eastern approach to Weeze

    Situation on 20 February 1945 with the 227th Brigade of the 15th (Scottish) Division.

    In the morning the 227th Brigade moved to an advance assembly area in the vicinity of Tannenbusch, with as their left front battalion the Bat 227th Brigade (2nd Bn The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders) and as their right front battalion, the Bat 46th Brigade (2nd Bn the Glasgow Highlanders) in the vicinity of IMIGSHOF (KC 0631). The 2nd Bat-227th Brigade, 2nd Bn Gordon Highlanders , are reserve.

    a) The German opponent consists of remnants of:

    (1) Panzergrenadier-Regiment 115, C= Oberst Wolfgang Maucke;

    (2) 115 PzReg with heavy tanks (farthest with 6x Sturmtiger (68t) and 38cm mrn);

    (3) Sturmgeschutze of Gruppe Meder

    (4) And between GOGH and UEDEM 4 bats (remnants) of the 84th Infantry Division.

    b) This means in concrete terms that initially on 20 February 1945 there was a maximum strength of 3 bats in the area between the GOCH-UEDEM road and the Schaddenhofbrücke. Later reserves were brought in as a reaction to the Allied action.



    The attack on 20 Febr

    a) At 1O:OOh the pre-bats cross the start line, the CALCAR-GOCH road, in their Kangaroos. At about 2 km they can see over the rolling terrain the sky-line of BUCHHOLT (KC0729). The attacking objective of the Glasgow Highlanders, the right front rank, is the area between the wood and the southern part of BUCHHOLT (0729); the attacking objective of the Argylls, the left front rank, is between the northern part of BUCHHOLT and BREMERSHOF (KC094290). (Note: Further east, the 129th Brig (43rd Div) simultaneously attacks HALVENBOOM (KC0830). However, they are without tanks and Kangaroos so they are making slow progress).

    b) With the Glasgow Highlanders in the right front the attack goes well although there is considerable resistance. At 1 pm the objective of the attack is reached and some 150 men taken prisoner (own losses approx. 50 men). The consolidation is carried out under heavy enemy artillery fire.

    i) (Note: One reason for this is that the Germans are under the impression that they would have to cross the Rhine by now and are therefore firing all available ammunition from the Siegfried Line).

    c) The left front-bat the Argylls has trouble keeping direction because of the heavy smoke. The Kangaroos are completely lost. But the Germans offer little resistance so they reach their attacking goal anyway, and take 194 soldiers as prisoners of war.

    d) An ideal option for a counter-attack during this British attack is not used by the Germans from Uedem.

    e) The Battalion in reserve (2nd Bn Gordon Highlanders) continue the attack clearing the Schloss Kalbeck wood to the railway line and creating a bridgehead across the watercourse immediately south of the railway line. The vehicles are trapped by the muddy paths and tracks through the forest, which is criss-crossed with ditches and gullies, and by fallen trees. By quickly laying two bridges, some tanks can later reach the bridgehead. The Schloss can be taken after the flamethrowers (WASPS) have done their job first. The advanced CP of the brigade is drawn to the castle. However, artillery shelling is becoming more intense from the west, east and south. In the bridgehead, heavy artillery fire and German resistance is encountered.


    21 February 1945

    On 21 February, 6th Bn. The Royal Scots Fusiliers (44 Brigade) was ordered to continue the attack. It is to advance on the Gordons and extend the bridgehead to the south, including the bridge over the watercourse and the Forsthaus Kalbeck (not to be confused with the Schloss Kalbeck).

    The Germans took the opportunity to set up lines of defence with 3 new (infantry) battalions:

    (1) The 1st line: Hovesaat- Schlübeckshof;

    (2) The 2nd line: west of Saarbrockshof to Fasanenkath and the forest area west of that;

    (3) The 3rd line: between Büssenhof and Vasenhof.

    (4) The Panzergrenadier regiment also receives reinforcements from a battalion of infantry, of which one is deployed in the area of Krüsbeckshof, one company reinforces the second line, the third company in the Forsthaus Kalbeck.

    (5) The CP is located in Heishof.

    At 18.00 hours the battalion moved from the area of GOCH . At 20:00 contact is made with the Gordons (28 Bat).

    After 20 minutes of preparation, the Alfa cie moved rapidly across the bridge, attacking the crossroads south of it. The other companies followed, but due to heavy resistance from small arms and mortar fire, the attack stalled and many casualties were sustained. The flamethrowers (Churchill tanks) now come forward. This is initially successful but mines and S.P. fire soon destroy two tanks. The Be, Lcol Mackenzie, feels he must wait until morning to have success with tank support, so he orders the companies to dig in. During the night, German artillery fire, as well as that of tanks and Schützen-Panzers, intensifies.

    That evening, Com-46th Brigade was then ordered by the division to take over from 227th Brigade. Com 46th Brigade holds its orders for the attack the next day (22 Feb) on the CP of 227th Brigade.

    The units of the 46th Bigade are still largely between Cleve and Goch, in Schloss Kalbeck the issuing of orders takes place.


    22 Feb 1945

    On 22 Feb 06:00hrs the battalion commander of 6th Bn. The Royal Scots Fusiliers, Lcol Mackenzie, gives his order for the extension of the bridgehead to his company commanders and the anti-tank section.

    (So this is 8 hours after the attack had actually stopped)

    The expansion of the bridgehead is necessary to create the necessary space for the 46th Brigade.
    The Bravo cie must attack at 22feb 07:00h. (This is 1 hour after the bat command has been issued).
    i) When Com-Bravo cie issued his order at area co-ordinate LC 065278, the enemy, meanwhile reinforced with a cie of paratroopers, launched a counter-attack, killing a large number of men, including the csm and an officer.
    ii) In the ensuing chaos, a platoon of tanks now advanced, unaware that the infantry had not yet received the new order. After firing at the houses in HOVESAAT for about 15 minutes, they hastily retreat behind the infantry. The plan had failed.
    The brigade commander, Brigadier Calville, judging the situation well, orders the battalion to hold the ground at all costs until the 46th Brigade will take over. The companies are ordered to dig themselves in, integrated with tanks and anti-tank equipment, in a "hedgehog position" immediately south of the bridge near the crossroads. During their stay in these positions they are constantly under tremendous German artillery and mortar fire.
    iii) The 2nd Bn. The Gordon Highlanders are in the vicinity of Schloss Kalbeck and also suffer badly that morning. The enemy have now taken good note of Schloss Kalbeck. An artillery salvo immediately takes out 4 Bren Carriers loaded with "Bangalore torpedoes". The force of explosion reaches even the cellars where the Brigade CP is located.
    iv) The enemy is also still in the woods around Forsthaus Kalbeck and manages to infiltrate the woods around Schloss Kalbeck (north of the railway line).
    v) 2 Companies of the Gordon Highlanders are deployed to deal with this enemy, but as these units are preparing themselves, the Germans counter-attack again, leading once more to complete chaos.

    At 1200hrs, 5 hours later, the front companies attack and reach the railway. 1 Cie (reinforced with 1 platoon tanks) is ordered to attack the wooded area east, north along the railway. As soon as the Cie reached the strip, the Germans counter-attacked and the Cie was beaten back. However, 2 tanks remain in their positions. The Cie reorganizes itself and attacks the strip of wood again and takes it.

    The Attack of the 46th Brigade

    The 46th Brigade (without the Glasgow Highlanders: i.e. with 3 bats) starts the advance from CLEVE, with the 9th Bn. The Cameronians as a forward formation (i.e. hitching a ride with the tanks).
    ii) The brigade's mission is to take Saarbrockshof (the 2nd German line of defence).
    (iii) The first order of business for the 9th Battalion was to make an attack south of the railway line to gain more room.
    (iv) The plan is with the 9th Bn. Then with the Gordons and the attack southwards.
    (1) What happens: 9th Bn. The Cameronians come under heavy indirect fire and 2nd Bn. The Gordon Highlanders have the greatest difficulty in keeping the various locations open because of the constant counter-attacks.
    (2) On 22nd February 14:00 hours, three companies in succession succeeded in crossing the bridge and taking possession of the woodland.
    (3) The 7th Bn. The Seaforth Highlanders rushed through and attacked the eastern wooded area.
    (4) However, the Germans are still on HOVESAAT. The 2nd Bn. The Gordon Highlanders are ordered to attack.
    (5) (Note: At this point already a brigade between the railway and the waterway!). This brigade action succeeds and so far some 100 German prisoners of war have been taken.
    (6) In the meantime, the 44th Brigade (ergo: the third brig of the division) has already received the order to attack in a southerly direction the next day.
    (7) Again, no exploitation of success by the 46th Brigade, but using the night for Contingency planning; so they are in the woods and in HOVESAAT and remain in place. In this way the Germans are given another opportunity to reorganise. They establish a new line of defence between Geurtshof and Bussenhof.


    23 Febr 1944 The 44th Brigade's attack

    The 53rd (Welsh) Div is, at the same time, on the approach march from GOCH to WEEZE on the west bank of the NIERS.
    Now the 44th Brigade's attack objective is the high ground north of HEISHOF, in order to flank the 53rd Div.
    An attack depth of Ga. 2km. The starting line is the railway line.
    The plan is to attack with 2 bats ( 6th Bn.The King's Own Scottish Borderers west and 8th Bn.The Royal Scots east ) side by side. 1 Squadron of tanks is in support. Kangaroos are not available. The section boundary was the road south of Fasanenkath.
    First, 8th Bn.The Royal Scots cross the bridge to a "forming-up place" south of the railway line.
    Also 6th Bn.The King's Own Scottish Borderers, after crossing the starting line, goes into a formation-up place.


    Result: German artillery and mortar fire is heavier than ever.

    However, the D-Cie (8th Bn.The Royal Scots east) reached Saarbrockshof, a farm complex set up for defence and the woodland to the west of it. With the tanks, HE fire was given and 40 Germans surrendered and 6 were killed.
    The 6th Battalion (K.O.S.B.) is too late (fortunately the preparatory firing is cancelled in time) but succeeds in taking Fasanenkath.
    There is a pause after taking the intermediate objective but the final objective is the forest area some 1000 metres south of it.
    At 11:00 am, two companies passed through the D-Cie (8th Bn.The Royal Scots east) and attacked through the woodland.
    They both lose direction and after a short time A-Cie (the batres) is the spearhead of the bat. However, there is little resistance and the B-, and C-Cie can take over the lead again. They reach the southern edge and the A-, and D-Cie take positions on the east side of the forest complex.
    Also 6th Bn.The King's Own Scottish Borderers start at 11:00, but first they have to cross the open terrain. Here they receive German enfilading fire from HOST.

    However, the artillery barrage is so effective and the infantry, supported by tanks, move so close (to about 50 metres) behind the fire that the Germans have no opportunity to use their weapons. The Graefing Battalion had to give up defensive positions at the edge of the wood, but in the woods the 6th Bn.The King's Own Scottish Borderers were inflicted with considerable losses.
    At 15:30, the southern edge of the forest is reached and consolidated.
    300m south of this, the Germans (901 PzGrenReg) are spotted in the houses. The Battalion Commander immediately sends out patrols in western direction. Heishof and Vasenhof appear to be unoccupied and 6th Bn.The King's Own Scottish Borderers take possession.

    By chance the Bat is on the same level as the 158th Brigade of the 53rd Welch Division. The Battalion Commander of the 6th Bn.The King's Own Scottish Borderers breaks into the Divisional liaison net and, from the high ground, can give all terrain and enemy information. In spite of the fact that they are not allowed to fire across the divisional border, they seize the enemy in ROTTUM (0525). The surprise of the Germans is big.

    These are the last actions of the units of the 15th (Scottish) Division, which is now relieved by the 3rd Infantry Division, which comes to reinforce the XXX. Corps.

    The 15th (Scottish) Division used five days to fight its way from farm to farm through the 5 km deep, partly swampy, wooded area.
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    "46th Brigade History":"We had been told to fight ourselves to a standstili and we had done so. The limit of human endurance is an unknown quantity and can only be ganged by experiment. We had nearly reached this limit in operation "Veritable"."

    new plan
  2. ltdan

    ltdan Nietenzähler

    Are you REALLY sure about "Sturmtiger"???
    I know the 15th PzGrenDiv reasonably well, but I am not aware of any such vehicles in their inventory.
    Stug III - yes, JPz IV - yes (a lot of them), but Sturmtiger??
    Otherwise - thanks for the detailed contribution! Much appreciated

    It was the Stu.Mrs.Kp. 1002 / assault mortar company 1002.
    was attached to the 15th Panzergrenadier Division in the Reichswald in February 1945
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2021
    Captain Roel likes this.
  3. stolpi

    stolpi Well-Known Member

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  4. AB64

    AB64 Senior Member

    Rifleman Woodfield of 9th Cameronians killed on the 22nd

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  5. Wapen

    Wapen Well-Known Member

    Great stuff! Thanks for posting. I'm with 53 Div over the river so this is really useful.

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