Citation:   Clerks, Batmen Defeat Crack German Regiment.  (1945 04 20).  Saskatoon Star-Phoenix.  Saskatoon, Saskatchewan:.  p. 4.

Clerks, Batmen Defeat Crack German Regiment

OTTERLOO, Holland. April 20 (CP Cable). — Field guns fired at point-blank range over open sights mowed down scores of German troops during the enemy attack early Tuesday on a newly-established Canadian headquarters in this town 11 miles southwest of Appeldoorn.
Otterloo was attacked by a German regiment, equivalent to a Canadian brigade, and a battery of dismounted gunners.  By the attack was broken up, more than 240 Germans were killed, 438 were taken prisoner, several of their mortar guns were captured and the rest of the enemy personnel was rapidly being flushed as the area of mopping-up operations widened.
The force achieving this smashing victory over a crack enemy formation determined to break out of a Canadian-made pocket enclosing them was the ordinary establishment of a Canadian headquarters — clerks, batmen, drivers, switchboard operators, and staff officers.  Two field batteries were stationed in the area, in addition to the infantry regimental headquarters and one of its companies and a squadron of tanks helped to turn on the heat too.
The enemy was entering the initial phases of the attack when the headquarters arrived at its new location on Monday night.  By midnight a full-scale battle was in progress, the full Canadian firepower unloosed in the face of constantly increasing enemy pressure.
The crisis was passed by and two hours later the count of bodies began.

Fused at Zero

Troops with field guns under Lieut. S.W.B. Burton of Saskatchewan and Lieut. W.T. Athey fired at point-blank range over open sights.  They exhausted their stocks of 25-pounder ammunition and used “fantastic quantities” of airburst shells fused at zero so they would burst immediately in front of the muzzle.
Scores of the enemy were killed within a 200-yard range of their guns.  Twelve men more fanatical than the rest managed to reach points within eight feet of the gun positions, actually digging themselves in.  All were dead when found.
Yet through the whole battle the field gunners never left their field pieces.  With the enemy almost within spitting distance, ammunition trucks and tractors blazing to charred crisps behind, they stuck it out.
Lieut. Jim Stone of Ottawa directed the battle in this sector from a battered command post.  Until the enemy infiltrating between the guns forced an entrance into the billet he was able to keep regimental headquarters fully informed of progress from there.
As the Germans forced their way in, Stone kicked the wireless set into into smithereens and made his way out into a scout car sitting on the far side of the house.  There he hooked the vehicle's wireless set onto the regimental frequency and resumed control of the battle.

Use Flame Throwers

Two flame-thrower universal carriers, belonging to a company of a Toronto infantry battalion, holding the town, charged one sector under a Toronto corporal.  Squirting two terrific sheets of flame in the nerve centre of the German attack they alone killed 60 men whose crisped corpses were collected a few hours later.
An artillery section at this headquarters captured four officers and 118 other ranks, a terrific accomplishment for the small group of batmen, drivers and clerks co-ordinated under Lieut. David Hutcheson of Montreal.
Within six feet of one pair of guns were the bodies of eight Germans.
A group of five armored vehicles equipped with flails, used by engineers for detonating minefields, attacked Otterloo Cemetery, chains whirling and guns firing.  They thrashed about like Martian pachyderms for a short while.  When the scene of battle was examined later in daylight, the commanding officer, a much-decorated veteran, said:  “I would like to be able to give the Victoria Cross to every man in this headquarters.  The courage displayed by every one of these men, most of whom have done nothing but clerk, bat or drive since the war began, has been of the highest order.”