Citation:   Wagner, Captain R.D.  (1945 04 20).  The Battle of Otterloo.  record group 24, volume 10941.  Ottawa: Library and Archives Canada.
Editor's Note:   The following docu­ment has been adap­ted from the three-​page type­writ­ten script cited above with the modi­fi­ca­tions that are des­cribed here.  Two hand­writ­ten cor­rec­tions made on the ori­ginal type­script have been in­cor­pora­ted and se­veral other minor spel­ling and punc­tua­tion mis­takes have been cor­rec­ted.  The main chan­ges made were the spel­ling out of a large num­ber of ab­bre­via­tions and ac­ro­nyms and the ex­pan­sion of some in­com­plete terms.  For ex­am­ple, the word “Church­ills” in the ori­ginal has been ren­dered as “Church­ill tanks” here.  The sig­na­ture, omit­ted from this copy, was that of Cap­tain R.T. Cur­relly, iden­ti­fied as the his­tori­cal of­fi­cer of the 5th Ca­na­dian Ar­moured Di­vi­sion.  The page tran­si­tions in the ori­gi­nal docu­ment are no­ted in HTML com­ments that can be viewed in the page source.

The Battle of Otterloo

An account of the attack on the 5th Canadian Armoured Division headquarters on as given to the historical officer, 5th Canadian Armoured Division by Captain D. Wagner, officer commanding main headquarters.
Maps used - Holland 1/25,000 Sheet 379 West
1.      At 1915 hours 16 April 1945, main 5th Canadian Armoured Division headquarters moved into a harbour area just left of our Centre Line about half a mile short of Otterloo (6591).  Our headquarters compound was roughly bounded by 659909, 663912, and 662908.
2.      At 0021 hours 17 April 1945 our sentries heard occasional rifle shots from the direction of Otterloo.  Soon after this I was wakened by the G-III who was on duty in the armoured command vehicle one.  I went out to check my sentries thinking that the disturbance was probably caused by somebody with an itchy trigger finger.  I checked up and found that that the sentries had all heard firing from the area occupied by the company of the Irish Regiment of Canada in area 656911.  I immediately called a stand-to by the standard drill of honking the vehicle horns.
3.      We had not been wholly unprepared for an attack as our thrust stretched all the way from Arnhem to Barneveld 5295, and the country to either side had not been cleared.  I had out fifty-four guards plus four fighting tanks and three command tanks.  The command tanks have no guns but are equipped with the usual Browning machine gun.  The fighting tanks were disposed as follows: one at 663907, covering the open area to the south; one at 667908 covering southeast; and one at 665910 facing east.  The troop commander's tank and the three command tanks were at 663912 covering to the north and west.
4.      At this time (0145 hours) I went to see Lieutenant McGauley, the officer commanding the Protective Troop tanks.  He had already ordered a stand-to.  At about 0200 hours the enemy started to mortar the area.  Fortunately most of these passed over our compound and landed harmlessly to the south.  This lasted about half an hour, but intermittent machine-gun fire continued until about 0330 hours.
5.      At about 0215 hours I contacted the Irish Regiment of Canada and asked for the company which, as it had been previously arranged, was to support us in the event of an attack.  By this time, however, they were themselves so heavily committed in the area of Otterloo that they were only able to send one platoon.  These arrived and were held as a mobile reserve.  Things were very quiet from 0330 hours until first light, although a complete stand-to was maintained.  At first light our posts along the ridge on the north side of our perimeter could see machine guns firing from the houses at road junction 658912.  Almost immediately things began to get quite hot, with a considerable amount of small arms fire about.  I laid on a small counter-attack with a force made up of the Irish Regiment of Canada platoon, our No. 7 Defence and Employment Platoon, and the Protective Troop.  The object of this was to sweep the area north from our compound out to the centre line. At 0642 hours our infantry force plus various odds and ends of headquarters' personnel began to flush the wood at 659912 and found nothing.  The tank troop then moved down the lane from 659910 to the centre line at 659913.  Here several bazooka bombs were fired at the leading tank, but no hits were scored.  Lieutenant McGauley who was in the first tank saw heavy fire coming from the houses at 658913.  He took these on with high explosive shells and about 30 to 40 Germans came running out of the right hand house.  He exploded another high explosive shell on the right corner of this house, killing some of the Germans as they came out.  Others were cut down by two Bren guns manned by the Regimental Sergeant Major and Lieutenant St. Pierre of the signals.  The tank commander then observed fire coming from the house at 654912.  He set this house on fire with high explosive and enemy came pouring out and ran onto the road.  Some English Churchill tanks were coming up our centre line travelling west, and cut them to pieces with their machine guns.  The Defence Platoon and various parties of headquarters' personnel now came on the scene and rounded up over 100 prisoners of war in about three quarters of an hour.  There were still a lot of Boche dug in with machine guns along the road just mentioned.  Our tank troop now pushed up this road, found the ditches packed with Jerries, and sprayed them with machine-gun fire.  They then moved northeast across country to the edge of the wood at 655917.  They machine gunned this wood and about twenty more prisoners of war came out and climbed onto the backs of the tanks.  The Churchill tanks now came up and started blasting the woods.  There were still a number of Boche with bazookas.  The Churchill tanks were equipped with 110 centimetre mortars, the explosion from which was causing the trees to fly in the air.  Our tanks now came back to the headquarters' compound bringing their prisoners.
6.      While all this was going on, some of the signals personnel had been active on the south and east sides of the perimeter.  Captain R. Corry and a couple of men took a complete 8.1 centimetre mortar crew at 661909.  Here one of their number was shot through the abdomen by a sniper who shortly afterwards gave himself up. 
7.      We had three more mortar bombs fall in the compound about seven o'clock, wounding two and knocking out one vehicle and damaging another.  The total casualties to our actual headquarters' personnel were three wounded.  This does not include headquarters' Royal Artillery personnel or the 17th Field Regiment, Royal Canadian Artillery, or the Irish Regiment of Canada, all of whom were mixed up in the scrap.