Ottawa Officer Leads Gunners In Wild Fight. (1945 04 19).
The Evening Citizen.
Ottawa, Ontario:. pp. 1,12.
Ottawa Officer Leads Gunners In Wild Fight
Among Heros at Otterloo
OTTERLOO, Holland. April 19 — (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 Apeldoorn.
Otterloo was attacked by a German regiment, equivalent to a Canadian brigade, and a battery
of dismounted gunners.
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
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.
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.
of Ottawa directed the battle in this sector from a battery
Until the enemy infiltrating between the guns forced an entrance into the
billet he was able to keep
fully informed of progress from there.
As the Germans forced their way in, Stone kicked the wireless set 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 on to the regimental
frequency and resumed control of the battle.
The enemy was entering the initial phases of the attack when the headquarters
arrived at its new location on a 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.
Troops with field guns under Lieut. S.W.B. Burton of Saskatchewan, Lieut. A.M. Ross
of Guelph 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.
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 center 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 the 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
The courage displayed by everyone of these men, most of whom have done nothing
but clerk, bat or drive since the war began, has been of the highest order.”
Born and educated in Ottawa, Lt. Jim Stone is a graduate of Glebe Collegiate
and enlisted in the
on his 19th birthday in 1940.
He transferred to the artillery in May 1941, and went overseas in July of
He took his officer's training course in England and was posted to
Italy in February 1944.
He was transferred to Belgium last month.
His parents, Col. and Mrs. E.L. Stone, reside at 278 Powell avenue.