Wagner, Captain R.D.
(1945 04 20).
The Battle of Otterloo.
record group 24, volume 10941.
Ottawa: Library and Archives Canada.
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
The signature, omitted from this copy, was that of Captain R.T. Currelly,
identified as the
historical officer of the 5th Canadian Armoured
The page transitions in the original document are noted in HTML
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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
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
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
I immediately called a stand-to by the standard drill of honking the vehicle
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
The command tanks have no guns but are equipped with the usual Browning
The fighting tanks were disposed as follows: one at
covering the open area to the south; one at
covering southeast; and one at
The troop commander's tank and the three command tanks were at
covering to the north and west.
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.
At about 0215 hours I contacted the Irish Regiment of Canada and asked for the
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
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
and found nothing.
The tank troop then moved down the lane from
to the centre line at
Here several bazooka bombs were fired at the leading tank, but no hits
Lieutenant McGauley who was in the first tank saw heavy fire coming from
the houses at
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
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
dug in with machine guns along the road just
Our tank troop now pushed up this road, found the ditches packed with
and sprayed them with machine-gun fire.
They then moved northeast across country to the edge of the wood at
They machine gunned this wood and about twenty more prisoners of war came
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
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
Here one of their number was shot through the abdomen by a sniper who shortly
afterwards gave himself up.
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
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.