Citation:   Sask. gunners at death grips.  (1945 05 11).  Leader Post (last edition).  Regina, Saskatchewan:.  p. 14.
Wild melee at Otterloo

Sask. gunners at death grips

WITH THE FIRST CANA­DIAN ARMY, May 11 (CP). — Between 700 and 1,000 Ger­mans try­ing to break out of a trap for­med at Ot­ter­loo, Hol­land, by thrusts of the Cana­dian First and Fifth divi­sions, ham­mered all through the night of Ap­ril 16-​17 against posi­tions of the 17th Field regi­ment, R.C.A.
The command post of the 37th bat­tery first in­formed reg­imen­tal head­quar­ters when Lieut. Mur­ray Forbes of Re­gina asked as­sis­tance against en­emy forces ap­proach­ing in strength.  The 76th bat­tery, mean­while, beat back other Ger­mans.
Lieut. Forbes, 29, is a for­mer bar­ris­ter, son of Gor­don Wright Forbes, 2718 Re­gina av­enue.  He en­lis­ted and went over­seas a year later.
Captain Doug Weir of Brier­crest, Sask., led the de­fence of the 37th's lo­cal­ity.  Infil­tra­tion tac­tics brought the en­emy within 20 yards of the com­mand post.  Vehi­cles out­side were over­run. 
The battery signals office under Sgt. Leonard Mutcheson, Portage la Prairie, Man., actually one room in a private home, was entered.  The Germans asked the civilian occupants, “Where are the Tommies?”  Mutcheson and his lads wakened just in time to dress and receive their guests.  When a German approached the door and shouted “Tommy, hands up,” Gnr. Walter Trowell, Toronto, blasted through it with his Sten gun.
The visitors withdrew.  They came around to the window of the room, poked a Schmeisser barrel through, opened up and narrowly missed Mutcheson.
Others in the room were: Bdr. Ron Inglis, Portage la Prairie, Gnrs. Bill Glennie, Portage la Prairie, Bill McKinnon, Port Arthur, Ont., and Walt Julchyski, Lockport, Man.  Though machine guns cut the path between their billet and Weir's command post the quintet ultimately managed to fight their way back to it. 
It was barely daylight now.  It'd been a hard night, and Battery Sgt.-Maj. George Green, Broadview, Sask., was authorized to issue a double tot of rum — it amounted to half a cupful — to all ranks.

Point Blank Range

It was needed.  With daylight the enemy became more aggressive.  He came back to within 75 yards of Weir's command post. 
Weir had the guns of “Charlie” troop open up over open sights at point-blank range.  Under Lieut. C.M. MacIntyre, Toronto, and Lieut. D.H. Matthews, Saskatoon, the lads fired airburst shells fused first at four seconds' time of flight, later at only two seconds, to burst directly in front of the muzzles.  It worked, and the attack was staved off. 
By this time Lieut. Jim Stone of Ottawa, with his 76th Battery command post personnel dug in around Lieut. W.T. Athey's gun positions, had nearly exhausted all his ammunition. 
Stone inquired whether he was to remain with the guns or to withdraw to regimental headquarters just a little further back, from where the guns could be covered.  He was ordered to fall back with Athey's troop, spiking the guns first.
Defences at regimental headquarters were reorganized with the new people, ammunition redistributed, and the enemy was held off at but 50-yard range. 
By now the Germans had cut off regimental and battery headquarters from one another, and from headquarters of the Irish regiment of Canada and units farther behind.  Moreover, they were now proceeding against the remaining battery, the 60th, where Capt. Gordon Howard, Montreal, was holding forth.
Howard was first to spot the strong patrol sent into his gun area.  Fire was held and the patrol carried on toward the building used by the battery signals section under Sgt. V.H. Paulson, Vanguard, Sask.
Paulson, too, held his fire, fearful lest infantrymen from the Irish regiment, then within his field of fire, be caught in it.
The Germans, however, appeared to have turned back toward the command post.  Here Lieut. C.G. Leckie, Burlington, Ont., opened up with a Bren and Irish Regiment sergeant helped with a rifle.  The patrol retaliated with grenades and withdrew to a roadside ditch.
But Battery Sergeant Major Roy Pollock, Aneroid, Sask., and Gunner W.W. Bourget of Saskatchewan just 50 feet away, had seen this, and with a pistol and rifle between them opened up.

At Death Grips

Now groping for a way out, the patrol headed right for the gun positions of the troop under Lieut. A.S. Reisnam of Montreal.
Fighting got to close quarters.  At least one German was strangled by Sgt. Ed Knight, Estevan, Sask., as well as getting bullets from other Canadians.  Maintaining his death-grip on one German, Knight continued delivering fire orders to his crew.
Support came to the hard-pressed gunners quickly once day blossomed.  Five armored bulldozers and Scorpions, Sherman tanks equipped with flails and two flame throwers from the Irish regiment were turned loose.
In Otterloo cemetery, where the heavier armor was directed, guns going, flails twirling and dozer blades lowered, 80 dead were counted later that day. 
Two terrific bursts of liquid fire from the Irish regiment's flame throwers broiled 60 Germans, when the attack went in under a Toronto corporal.
Gnr. Harold Iverson, South River, Ont., was scorched about the eyelashes, part of his hair singed away were left uncovered by his beret, and he was slightly burned about the hands while escaping from the Germans during the flame thrower attack.
Iverson had been taken prisoner, then stripped down to his underwear by the Germans, apparently a move to prevent his escape.  Twelve shared their slit trench with him during the battle, and he profited by their panic to escape when the Wasps arrived.  His burns were light and he wasn't evacuated.
By , the battle was over.  The 76th battery and “easy” troop moved back into their positions, mopping up on the way to “fox” troop, which they expected to have to pry loose from continuing enemy pressure. 
Instead they found Ross and his boys cooking breakfast, shaving, and cleaning up.