The Battle of Alpon: the fate of 6th Cameronians SR

Discussion in 'WW2 Militaria' started by Peter Halsall, Aug 30, 2019.

  1. Peter Halsall

    Peter Halsall Member


    I am interested in finding a detailed account of the incident in which two companies of the 6th Battalion Cameronians SR suffered very high rates of casualty in the final engagement with the Germans on the western side of the Rhine. This was at Alpon on March 8-9 1945.

    I have read all relevant threads on this site, with limited success, an account in 'Mountain & Flood', which was interesting but thin on detail, and listened to an audible history by John Murdoch on the IWM website which refers to it but with no detail provided. There is also a fleeting reference in 'With the Jocks' by Peter White.

    My interest is due to the survival of my uncle, Joseph Halsall who was in the 6th Cameronians and related the fact that very few of his unit survived the war. I suspect Alpon (Alpen) was their most likely source of casualties, although an alternative might be the approach to Breberen in January 1945 if anyone could shed light on that one either.

    It would also be interesting to know the casualty rates by Company, all the accounts I've read give an overall figure of 4 officers and 169 OR.

    Any help would be most appreciated.

  2. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Perhaps a copy of
    6 Cameronians (Scottish Rifles) | The National Archives
    Reference: WO 171/5166
    6 Cameronians (Scottish Rifles)
    Date: 1945 Jan.- Dec.
    Held by: The National Archives, Kew
    Legal status: Public Record(s)
    Closure status: Open Document, Open Description

    There may also be appendices in the file that are specific to your question

    ozzy16 and Lindele like this.
  3. AB64

    AB64 Senior Member

    From the Battalion history

    IMG_20190830_0001.jpg IMG_20190830_0002.jpg IMG_20190830_0003.jpg IMG_20190830_0004.jpg IMG_20190830_0005.jpg IMG_20190830_0006.jpg IMG_20190830_0008.jpg IMG_20190830_0009.jpg
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  4. Peter Halsall

    Peter Halsall Member

    Thank you so much TD and AB64. The book referred to is known to me but way out of my price range at about £130 the last time I saw a copy! The account marries well with that in 'Mountain and Flood' but there is way more detail in this account. When I get to WO 171/5166 perhaps I will establish the number of casualties in each company.

    A particularly poignant detail is the comparison at the end to Festubert - Joseph's uncle William died there in WW1.

    Thanks once again, I am totally appreciative of your generosity in sharing that info.

  5. Bayonet Productions

    Bayonet Productions Lead Researcher

    Are there any photos of the factory discussed in the history?
  6. AB64

    AB64 Senior Member

    Its not a good one for photos, only a couple at the start of senior officers, nothing else
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  7. ltdan

    ltdan Nietenzähler

    The town is correctly written ALPEN instead of ALPON. The factory is today a large industrial compund
  8. ltdan

    ltdan Nietenzähler

  9. Peter Halsall

    Peter Halsall Member

    Thank you very much for the superb photograph and map, much appreciated. I have looked high and low for a photograph of the factory, including acquiring a copy of the 'History of the Cameronians (SR)' by Brigadier Barclay, with no result. A very rare artefact. The map is an unexpected bonus too.


    ltdan likes this.
  10. Bayonet Productions

    Bayonet Productions Lead Researcher

    Do you know the units occupying Alpen during 7-8 March 45. I know 8th and 7th FJ, along with 116th and 190th were sent to the Alpen area. Also who occupied Haus Loo fort? I only have accounts of paratroopers that said POW photos show a mix.
  11. Bayonet Productions

    Bayonet Productions Lead Researcher

    There are a few photos from the imperial war museum. Like this one taken 11 March with an odd POW. In Alpen.

    Attached Files:

  12. ltdan

    ltdan Nietenzähler

    I have no idea, because it was a complete chaos. That date the Reichsstrasse 57 became the last front line and the depleted German troops were thrown together from all availabe units.
    Must have a look for my stored IntSums as these are the best sources identifiying Wehrmacht units
    EDIT: Nothing, as my documents only cover the 2nd half of March....
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2020
    Bayonet Productions likes this.
  13. ltdan

    ltdan Nietenzähler

  14. Peter Halsall

    Peter Halsall Member

    Thanks very much for those additional responses. I had seen that Blockbuster thread before but a good pointer and it was interesting to revisit it. The tip to look at the IWM for photos was fruitful, most appreciated. Thanks for all your help.


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