Report on action by B Coy at Bob's Farm 10 July 1944

The plan was for the two pls of B Coy to attack in two phases - leading pl and Coy HQ were to get into fm area and establish firm bases and the second pl was to form up on the NORTH end of track running SOUTH from 147724 and clear down the line of track to 148720 and then return via track running EAST and WEST. 

On the signal going given by second pl that its clearing was complete leading pl and Coy HQ were to withdraw from BOBS FARM via gully 145723.  Evacuation of PW was to take place by both the routes already indicated and evacuation of cas was to take place along the tracks NORTH and SOUTH of bn posn. 

SA fire sp was under control of OC C Coy (Capt WOODMAN) and consisted of 9 LMG and 2 MMG in posns along hedgerow 146722.  From H to H+15 three left hand LMG were to fire across BOBS FARM and then all guns were NOT to fire left of a line straight to their front. 

Recognition between B Coy and C Coys fire sp was to be 77 grenades thrown from right flank of B Coys clearing pl.  Arty sp consisted of fire from 53 Airldg Lt Regt RA with two btys firing on target MIKE 15 (151722) alternately slow and rapid from H to H+60 and one bty on MIKE 17 (153717) slow H to H+60 with one gun firing smoke. 

Mortar programme Bn mortars were to fire with two mortars steadily on target MUSTANG 149718 and HELLFIRE 6 from H to H+20 and one mortar firing mixed smoke and HE on 148716 area.  13 Bn mortars under comd (Capt SKEATS) with fire controller (Sgt ROBERTS) with Bn HQ fired HE rapid on BOBS FARM from H to H+13. 

150 Fd Regt RA had programme of concs at various suspected areas further EAST from H to H+60.  The plan of leading pl of B was for two sections to enter FARM area from left (see ph attached) and one section from the right (with line of adv down gully) followed by Coy HQ and for that force to clear FM area and take up posns as indicated. 

The two sections on the left under Sgt RICKETT were held up by MG fire as shown and did not reach further than the line indicated.  On the right Sgt NORMAN with a small section penetrated into the farm area having lost two men through booby trapped enemy wire in gully. 

This party was joined in the farm by Sgt LUCAS and then by Maj KEENE and Coy HQ.  Maj KEENE was soon out of action through treading on booby trap (suspected Schu mine) and Sgt NORMAN (himself hit) lost three men in locating a MG firing from area of br 147724 which was promptly engaged by Sgt LUCAS with a bren. 

As the second pl of B Coy approached down the gully under Lt PAPE it was met with severe mortar fire and pl comd ordered the pl to get down where they were.  When he ordered the adv to continue only one section strength penetrated with him to FARM area.

Lt PAPE took over comd of the Coy and Maj KEENE instructed that the second phase of the party could not go on and that the Coy was to withdraw. 

The RE party under Sgt FRASER did excellent work in the FARM area and an RE report is attached. 

Lt PAPE with CSM PRENTICE and Sjt LUCAS stayed behind to cover withdrawal of Coy via gully (this withdrawal was completed by 1750) through A Coys posns (left fwd Coy) to pre-arranged res posns.

It should have been stated that before the raid began A Coy had taken over from B Coy as left fwd Coy.  During the action Lt Col TEACHER was in the Bn comd post and MIKE 15 and 17 were repeated on call from A Coy.

Bn mortars fired on HELLFIRE on call of C Coy and 13 Bn mortars contrived to fire on BOBS FARM at A Coys call.  Fire was also called on hostile mortar targets and at 1828 DF 5381 was fired + 200X EAST. 

All this time the CO who had gone to C Coys fwd line with Bde Comd and a party consisting of Sigs Offr RSM and inf pte (L/Cpl COULTHARD) was out of touch with bn as first the line and then the wireless broke down and was waiting for the opportunity amidst very hy shelling and mortaring to get back to bn HQ.  This party finally got back at 1930. 

Excellent work was done in evacuation of cas by Pte O SULLIVAN of mortar pl and Maj       of 13 Bn arrived in the thick of the shelling with a party bringing additional bren mags for C Coy. 

Bn cas in the action were 3 killed and 1 Offr (Maj KEENE) and 19 ORs wounded.  Apart from MG posns shown in ph it was difficult to assess enemy str.  The small party which penetrated into the FARM saw only about 4 GERMANS and there were signs of a hasty withdrawal.  Unfortunately no identification was obtained.

Read More


Make a donation to Airborne Assault ParaData to help preserve the history of The Parachute Regiment and Airborne Forces