Citation:   History of 17th Field Regiment Royal Canadian Artillery 5th Canadian Armoured Division.  (1946).  Groningen, Holland: J. Niemeijer's Publishing Company.  pp. 75–85.
 · · ·   the Regi­ment moved on, a bat­tery at a time, to OT­TER­LOO.  The 5 Cana­dian Ar­moured Bri­gade had reached OT­TER­LOO the day before and had passed through to BARNE­VELD and NIJ­KERK.  The 11 Cana­dian Infan­try Bri­gade was de­tailed to mop up along the axis of advance and to hold the L of C.  The Irish were deployed in OT­TER­LOO, the CBH in BARNE­VELD and the Perth on the high ground EAST of LUN­TEREN.


48.  The Regi­men­tal recce party reached OT­TER­LOO at approximately 1400 hours and found that the town had been cleared, but the woods on the out­skirts were still being mopped up.  The first bat­tery was de­ployed by 1640 hours RHQ and the other two batteries not arriving until 1900 hrs.  During the after­noon a pla­toon of the Irish and a troop of tanks had pro­cee­ded out of the town to the NORTH.  When returning after their patrol, they had made con­tact with the enemy some 3000 yards to the NORTH and were cut off by an SP gun.  A FOO was des­patched to assist them in get­ting back into town.  The first report that was re­ceived which indi­cated any­thing out of the or­din­ary was when an offi­cer from the GGHGs in­formed 37 bat­tery com­mand post at 2300 hours there were some 200 enemy 2000 yards NORTH of their pos­i­tion.  The day of the star­ted with a bang at 0001 hours with 76 bat­tery sen­tries repor­ting that enemy were moving SOUTH down the road between E and F troops.  Fire was opened on them and RHQ informed.  This was passed to all bat­ter­ies, the IrRC and HQ RCA.  All troops in the area imme­di­ately “Stood To” and wea­pon slits were manned for local de­fence.  Lt. J.H. Stone, the CPO of 76 bat­tery, kept reporting the situ­ation to RHQ Command Post on the R/T.  Com­mun­i­ca­tions were all by R/T since the ini­tial mor­tar­ing cut all our lines.  76 bat­tery repor­ted that they must have help but would hang on as long as they could.  This was repor­ted to HQ RCA and to the IrRC with a re­quest for help.  Lt. J.H. Stone later repor­ted that he thought they could hold out if they could have a couple of tanks and they were reques­ted repea­tedly but to no avail.  When 76 bat­tery Com­mand Post was first sur­roun­ded E. 46592 Gnr BOUCHARD, R took a White Scout Car in an attempt to get through to the IrRC for assis­tance, put his foot on the floor and drove down the road with SA fire bouncing off his vehi­cle at point blank range.  He was suc­cess­ful in reaching Bat­tal­ion HQ where he repor­ted the situation.  Lt. J.H. Stone then cal­led for fire on a mor­tar at about 200 yards from his Com­mand Post.  *)
*)  Lt. J.H. Stone has since been awarded the Mili­tary Cross for the Ot­ter­loo action.  The cita­tion is not avail­able at time of pub­li­ca­tion.
Editor's Note:  The cita­tion is now loca­ted here in the sup­ple­men­tary ma­ter­ials for the regi­men­tal his­tory.  Use the brow­ser back but­ton to re­turn to this page.
60 bat­tery brought down fire in that area and sil­enced the mortar, firing ranges of from 1000 to 750 yards.  37 and 60 bat­ter­ies har­assed the roads run­ning NORTH and NORTH EAST out of OT­TER­LOO and 2/11 Me­dium Bat­tery of 3 Medium Regi­ment RA har­assed the con­cen­tra­tion camp on the main road running NORTH.  37 bat­tery were soon firing over open sights and attemp­ting to defend them­selves.  C and D com­pa­nies of the IrRC were close to C and D troops but the Bat­tery Com­mand Post was off by itself.  A momen­tary ray of hope was exper­ienced when 37 bat­tery repor­ted they heard our tanks but it turned out to be the troop of the GGHGs reti­ring to the town.  L.35056 BSM Lloyd, W.R. of 76 bat­tery man­aged to fight his way out of 76 Bat­tery Com­mand Post to RHQ where he repor­ted the sit­ua­tion in detail.  He then pro­cee­ded to IrRC Tac­ti­cal HQ and asked for one tank.  The Bat­tal­ion Com­man­der agreed and they found a Sgt wil­ling to go but the GGHG offi­cer re­fused per­mis­sion.  Major D.L. Gor­don, MBE at RHQ Com­mand Post had taken com­plete charge of the sit­ua­tion and was sys­tem­atic­ally divi­ding every report of the num­ber of enemy in the area by 100.  By this time the 76 bat­tery Com­mand Post was forced to eva­cu­ate and fall back on E troop since their house was on fire and their wire­less set smashed by enemy fire.  Lt. J.H. Stone imme­di­ately put their wire­less on the Regi­men­tal net and re-established com­mun­i­ca­tions with RHQ.  Capt L.S. Hand then fought his way out of E troop Com­mand Post and ar­rived at RHQ repor­ting that they were almost out of SA ammu­ni­tion and wan­ting some to take back.  How­ever, he was unable to get the ammu­ni­tion up to 76 bat­tery since RHQ was now com­pletely cut off from E troop and bur­ning vehi­cles had the area lit up like day.  F troop had with­drawn from their troop Com­mand Post and were dug in around their guns holding their fire until they had some­thing to shoot at.  Lt. A.M. Ross did a hang-up job of con­trol­ling his troop and man­ag­ing to keep moving from gun pit to gun pit.  All their guns were knocked out by ma­chine gun fire but they stayed there figh­ting with their small arms, through­out the en­tire night and killed 5 enemy on the actual pos­i­tion, woun­ded four more and took 22 pri­son­ers.  The pos­i­tion was sur­roun­ded for over 6½ hours, under mor­tar fire and with an occa­sional round from our own guns fal­ling in the area.  The dri­vers from this troop who were some 500 yards in rear defen­ded their vehi­cles until all nine were woun­ded and then fell back into the IrRC area.  37 bat­tery, who at this point were firing fuze 222 (air­burst) with the set­ting at .2 and fin­ding it very effec­tive, repor­ted an SP about 300 yards away and “Tank Alert” was or­dered and the guns hauled out of the pits so as to be able to en­gage.  The gun­ners had then lit­tle or no pro­tec­tion from mor­tar or SA fire but held on any­how.  H.54941 Sgt. Mutch­eson L.T. and the remainder of 37 bat­tery sig­nal ex­change crew were in a house about 300 yards NORTH of their Bat­tery Com­mand Post and did not even awake until 0430 hours!  Shortly after that they heard Jerry force the civil­ians to tell what room they were in but man­aged to shoot their way out and suc­cess­fully rejoin their bat­tery.  Two amu­sing inci­dents, amu­sing looked at in retro­spect, hap­pened about this time.  First, the 4 Cana­dian Anti-tank Regi­ment, who had a party just SOUTH across the road from RHQ, com­plained to HQ RCA that the 17 Field Regi­ment was firing SA into their area and would they please stop.  They evi­dently were not in the pic­ture as to what was hap­pen­ing at all.  The other thing was a result of the Me­dium bat­tery firing at such ranges as 2700.  They were barely clear­ing the houses and trees at that range with their shells when the inevi­table hap­pened.  The one tall buil­ding in OT­TER­LOO was the church tower but it was much too dark for the gun­ners to see it and after repor­ting “Shot” on one of their numer­ous tar­gets they had to report they had removed the church tower.  76 bat­tery fi­nally ran out of SA ammu­ni­tion and were or­dered to fall back to RHQ where the ammu­ni­tion was re-allot­ted and the defen­ces streng­thened by the men from Bat­tery HQ and E troop of 76 bat­tery.  The enemy came to within 50 yards of RHQ but did not pen­e­trate the pos­i­tion.  RHQ and HQ 4 Anti-Tank Regi­ment were now cut off from the other units in town and the enemy went right through onto the me­dium guns and the Divi­sional HQ but were stopped at both places.  Spe­cial men­tion must be given to the Me­dium gun­ners who having turned in their Tommy guns on leaving ITALY had not yet re­ceived their Sten guns.  They fought the enemy with their bare hands until they cap­tured enough SA to shoot back.  One patrol got through to 60 bat­tery area, but after a sharp clash with SA and gre­nades they were wiped out after cau­sing some cas­ualties.  L.35252 Sgt. Knight, E.A. dealt with the first Jerry by throt­tling him while one of his gun crew clubbed him with a rifle.  Two men of B troop were woun­ded by mor­tar fire but were evac­ua­ted by Lt. G.F.F. Rey­nolds down “snipers alley” in a jeep.  Once 37 bat­tery had begun firing over open sights to defend them­selves all tar­gets were given to 60 bat­tery who began to run short of ammu­ni­tion.  How­ever, the dri­vers and ammu­ni­tion num­bers drove their vehi­cle on to the pos­i­tion and dumped ammu­ni­tion while under SA and machine gun fire.  As day­light began to fil­ter through, the inten­sity of the enemy fire began to in­crease though the enemy by this time was not organ­ized enough to put in a pro­per attack but was trying to infil­trate by sections.  Major D.L. Gordon, MBE kept rei­ter­a­ting that we would stay and hold the pos­i­tion (he was still divi­ding by 100) al­though all our SA ammu­ni­tion was run­ning dan­ger­ously low.  Just as ever­y­one was down to his last maga­zine or less a group of Churchills and AVREs roared up the road from the EAST with all guns bla­zing.  Three or four of the men from E troop had missed RHQ when they retired from their pos­i­tion and had con­tac­ted an assault squad­ron RE.  They moved up at first light with all guns bla­zing since they were unable to find out the loca­tions of our pos­i­tions.  This was unfor­tu­nate as several cas­u­al­ties resul­ted but necessary under the cir­cum­stances.  After exchan­ging a few shots with the GGHGs the sit­ua­tion was clar­i­fied and they both put in a co-or­din­a­ted attack with flame-throw­ers up the two roads along which Jerry had dug in.  The Jer­ries were flushed out and mowed down at a great old rate and rare indeed was the man who did not heave a huge sigh of relief.  Things then qui­e­tened down con­si­der­ably but with quite a lot of sni­ping coming from the woods.  At 0845 hours the tanks and infan­try star­ted to clean up the woods and houses.  Lt A.M. Ross and F troop had not bo­thered to wait how­ever, and had cleared their own troop area and were bus­ily en­gaged in having a wash and get­ting break­fast ready.  BHQ and E troop of 76 bat­tery had breakfast at RHQ and once their area was repor­ted clear they re­turned to their position.  Many and great were the stor­ies that were passed around but most of the men were far more inter­es­ted in lying down and going to sleep.  The Medi­cal Offi­cer, Capt D.F. Mar­celus was kept pretty busy in the mor­ning there being 20 woun­ded in the regi­ment with numer­ous pri­soners woun­ded.  The total cas­u­al­ties suf­fered by the Regi­ment were 3 killed and 20 woun­ded, 3 guns knocked out by ma­chine gun fire, 7 vehi­cles, 3 trai­lers and 1 motor­cycle set on fire and burnt out.  The unit's claims of cas­u­al­ties inflic­ted on the enemy, which can never be ver­i­fied in total, al­though they include only those which were actu­ally seen, in­clude 31 killed, 9 woun­ded and 127 pri­soners.
49.  The Regi­ment had really done it­self proud and the men­tion of any out­stan­ding deed must be con­di­tioned by the fact that they were numer­ous and many passed un­no­ticed in the dark and con­fu­sion of the bat­tle.  At the time of the wri­ting of this his­tory three awards have been noti­fied.  Lt. A.M. Ross's cita­tion for the MC read as follows:   On the night of 16/17 Ap­ril 1945, F Troop of the 17 Cana­dian Field Regi­ment Royal Cana­dian Artil­lery was de­ployed three hun­dred yards NORTH of the vil­lage of OT­TER­LOO, a junc­tion of five main high­ways two to the NORTH, one to the WEST, one to the SOUTH and one to the EAST.  The axis of the 5 Cana­dian Armoured Divi­sion was WEST and NORTH to the ZUI­DER ZEE.
Lieutenant Alexander Mur­dock ROSS was Gun Posi­tion Offi­cer of F Troop.
About 0030 hours 17 Ap­ril 1945 the enemy mounted a bri­gade attack on the town in an effort to break through to re­join his main forces.  Under cover of a heavy wood the enemy suc­cee­ded in get­ting into the troop com­mand post.  Appre­cia­ting that he could do nothing for his troop from an enemy occu­pied house, Lieu­ten­ant Ross suc­cess­fully covered his com­mand post staff while they got out of the house and on to the gun pos­i­tion, where they dug in, pre­pared to fight the guns to the barrel.  The gun pos­i­tion was being heav­ily mor­tared and soon was sub­jec­ted to medium ma­chine gun fire from both flanks as well as the front.  In spite of this cone of fire, Lieu­ten­ant Ross went to each gun detach­ment in turn to issue clear and con­cise orders that the pos­i­tion would be held and that every round of small arms ammu­ni­tion would be used only for a sure hit.
As a result, when the enemy arrived in strength, only visi­ble tar­gets were engaged, that is at about four feet.  Soon the troop was com­pletely sur­roun­ded and cut off; it was as­sumed that all ranks had been either killed or cap­tured.  But such was far from true.  This offi­cer with his troop, for six and one-half hours, beat off attack after attack and defen­ded the guns suc­cess­fully until after first light when assis­tance arrived to find the men clean­ing up and having break­fast.  During the night he made two trips across 300 yards of open coun­try swept by medium ma­chine gun fire to con­tact the infan­try behind him to get a message to his bat­tery com­man­der at bat­tal­ion head­quar­ters to produce fire from one of the other bat­teries.
In spite of the fact that Lieutenant Ross is trained as an artil­lery offi­cer and has always been em­ployed as such, his calm, cool, stout­hear­ted devo­tion to duty would be excep­tion­ally out­stan­ding in a trained, bat­tle-tried infan­try bat­talion.
Due to his quick appre­cia­tion of the sit­ua­tion, excellent com­mand and rapid organ­iza­tion of the pos­i­tion for defence not one gun was lost, nor did the troop suf­fer one cas­ualty and no organ­ized attack got through his pos­i­tion to the town.
His attitude of utter con­tempt for the enemy, his quick cheer­ful and sound orders to his men through­out the night set an exam­ple which will long remain in the hearts of his com­rades and of which his regi­ment is justly proud.
L.35252 Sgt. Knight, E.A.'s cita­tion for the D.C.M. reads as follows:
On the night 16/17 Ap­ril 1945 at OT­TER­LOO when the enemy attemp­ted to break through the town and rejoin his main forces, this Non-Com­mis­sioned-Offi­cer was in com­mand of his gun detach­ment in 60 Bat­tery.  This bat­tery was sited in rear of the other two and during the early stages of the attack, al­though sub­jec­ted to intense mor­taring and ma­chine gun fire did not have the enemy act­ually on the gun pos­i­tion and as a result was able to main­tain a ter­ri­fic con­cen­tra­tion of fire to assit the other two bat­ter­ies who were heav­ily en­gaged in figh­ting the enemy.
While 60 Bat­tery guns were still firing the enemy did reach his pos­i­tion.  With abso­lutely no thought of his own per­sonal safety, with con­tempt for the mor­tar bombs and ma­chine gun bul­lets which were lan­ding all over the pos­i­tion, Sgt. Knight, real­izing his gun must con­tinue firing, shot the first enemy to approach his gun.  Then a second Ger­man ap­peared and as this Non-Com­mis­sioned-Offi­cer attemp­ted to deal sim­il­arily with him, his wea­pon jammed.  Again with no thought of per­sonal con­se­quences and dis­playing valor and a sense of duty far beyond the normal call, Sgt. Knight dis­posed of the next Ger­man with bare hands.  While all this was go­ing on he still con­tin­ued to pass fire orders to his gun, which re­mained in action the whole time.  His cour­age and cool­ness in a sit­ua­tion which sel­dom con­fronts the gun­ners kept his detach­ment on the gun and con­tin­ued to pro­duce the essen­tial fire re­quired by the other bat­ter­ies.
Later on “tank alert” was ordered when infor­ma­tion was re­ceived that tanks were enter­ing the town from the NORTH.  Sgt. Knight, again with utter con­tempt for the mor­tars and machine guns, moved his gun up into the town to a pos­i­tion where he could cover the main cross-roads so that he could take on any tanks which might threaten the bat­tery pos­i­tion and as a result force the guns stop firing.
During the whole engage­ment this Non-Com­mis­sioned-Offi­cer's con­duct was almost beyond com­pre­hen­sion.  His cool, stout-hear­ted stead­iness and courage, the example he set for his detach­ment and the rest of the unit undoub­tedly kept the remain­der of his bat­tery in action and during which action the attack of a bri­gade in strength was suc­cess­fully beaten off.
E.46592 Gnr. BOUCHARD, R received the MM and his cita­tion read as follows:
During the night 16/17 Ap­ril 1945 the enemy attacked and over-ran 76 Bat­tery com­mand post, set­ting the buil­ding on fire and knoc­king out the wire­less sets.  Gun­ner Bou­chard real­izing that word of a full scale attack must get back to the infan­try as soon as pos­sible, jumped into his veh and headed for the infan­try bat­tal­ion head­quar­ters.  By this time the enemy was dug-in on both sides of the 400 yard stretch of road.  With utter dis­re­gard for his own per­sonal safety, dis­play­ing abso­lute con­tempt for the enemy fire, in­spired only by the thought that some­thing had to be done, he headed down the road.  Sheets of flame swept both sides of the vehi­cle as he pro­cee­ded on his self-appoin­ted task and soon it was burn­ing fiercely.  Ut­terly obliv­ious to all this he ar­rived at bat­tal­ion head­quar­ters and pre­sen­ted the first clear pic­ture of how ser­ious the sit­ua­tion was.  This man, by his own per­sonal ini­tia­tive, com­plete devo­tion to duty, con­tempt for dan­ger, set such an ex­ample to his com­rades and pro­duced clear and con­cise infor­ma­tion that the attack on OT­TER­LOO was suc­cess­fully repulsed.