Nicholson, Colonel G.W.L. (1972). The Gunners of Canada (The History of
the Royal Regiment of Canadian Artillery, Volume II, 1919-1967). Toronto, Canada:
McClelland and Stewart Limited.
It was on
by which time the armoured columns had cleared Otterloo
and advanced past Barneveld, nine miles to the northwest, that the 17th Field
Regiment fought the sharp little action that was to become known as
the “Battle of Otterloo.”
During the afternoon of the 16th the field regiment, following
up the 11th Infantry Brigade, had deployed its batteries in
Otterloo, which at that time was occupied by the Irish Regiment
of Canada and
With the 17th Field was the battery of the
3rd Medium Regiment
The village was on one of the routes by which enemy groups were making a belated
withdrawal from the Ijssel westward to the Grebbe Line.
The sudden incursion into Otterloo shortly after midnight
of a German patrol “yelling like a gang of fanatics and firing their
automatic weapons madly” developed into an assault by a body
of Germans estimated at between 600 and 900.
First of Colonel Rankin's
to open fire was the 76th which was being mortared and in danger of being
The other two quickly joined in, and were soon firing
over open sights
and harassing the roads leading into the village.
All personnel of 17th Field and of
Ross's artillery headquarters were closely involved in
the all-night action, responding to the fire of the enemy with their own rifle
and machine-gun fire.
With ammunition running dangerously low, drivers and
ammunition numbers drove their vehicles onto the gun positions
and dumped shells while under mortar and machine-gun fire.
A shortage of small-arms ammunition developed, and on one
occasion an intrepid N.C.O.
of the 60th Battery, Sgt. E.A. Knight, who was to win the Distinguished
Conduct Medal that night, seized and throttled an intruding
German while a companion used his rifle butt to good effect.
At daybreak a counter-attack by the Irish, assisted by the tanks
of Divisional Headquarters, brought the fighting to a close.
In the 17th Field's most memorable night of the war the gunners had
inflicted an estimated 200 casualties on the enemy, while suffering
losses of three men killed and 30 wounded, as well as much damage to guns and
Besides the decoration to Sgt. Knight, the heroism of its
personnel brought the Regiment two
(Lt. A.M. Ross and Lt. J.H. Stone), an M.M.
(Gnr. R. Bouchard), and six Mentions in Despatches.
Little wonder that a former warrant officer with the
Regiment was to reminisce years later: “The remaining
action in North-West Europe was really dull after