Enemy mortaring and shelling troubled all companies and one volley from a Nebelwerfer struck the Headquarters of the Anti-Tank platoon severely wounding the second in command, Lt Rapkins, who subsequently died of wounds, and grazing the commander, Captain Gray.
Under these conditions small parties from forward companies came back to eat their food behind Battalion Headquarters thus avoiding the business of manhandling it. The condition of the tracks had improved during the night. A Bulldozer had worked ceaselessly to clear a way to the Southern end of the wood and its path had been checked for mines and taped.
But it was still not possible to reach D or B Companies with a vehicle and so all the requirements of these companies had still to be manhandled from the track to them.
The Lincolns that afternoon launched a highly successful attack on Wood Y, losing a large number of casualties but acquitting themselves with great gallantry, and by 0530 hrs the whole Battalion was consolidated in Wood Y, the Eastern part of which they had completely cleared of Boche. They had suffered mostly from German defensive fire and at the beginning of their advance many of these shells landed among our own forward companies.
Among the casualties was one of our Dutch Interpreters (Sergeant van der Burgt) who was unfortunately killed when hit by a mortar bomb. In order to protect their rear and also their right, it was decided to send two of our companies to support them.
Under over of darkness A and C Companies crossed the open ground between Wood X and Wood Y. Unluckily just as A Company - the second -was entering Wood Y a vicious series of salvoes from a Nebelwerfer landed among them in a veritable hail of shells. Two men were killed and ten others injured. This was sheer bad luck, as it was not quite dark, and there was no question of observed fire having been brought to bear.
Next morning Battalion Headquarters moved forward of the area that C Company had vacated in Wood X. We were hardly dug into this new location when the Brigadier arrived with orders for renewed advance: 8th Brigade were now to attack Venray from the West debouching from Wood Y which the Lincolns were to hold as a firm base.
Simultaneously 2 RUR were to advance from Wood Y to occupy Kleindorp, a hamlet about 600 yards to the South. Our attack was to be without gunner support because the whole Divisional Artillery was to support 8th Brigades attack, it was therefore extremely important to slip companies forward into Kleindorp at certain moments only, selecting with care those periods when German defensive and harassing fire was not being directed at the 8th Brigades assault.
That night D and B Companies, followed by Battalion Headquarters, moved across from Wood X to Wood Y in preparation for an advance at about 0900 hours the following day. It rained during the night and next day, 16th October, the weather was unsettled, producing heavy showers in the afternoon. None the less D Company left Wood Y at 0930 hrs and advanced towards Kleindorp.
It soon became apparent the Boche had withdrawn behind the line of the River Beek, some half a mile South of the village. Major Bird soon reported himself in position on the cross-roads in Kleindorp and that he was patrolling forward to detect any Boche that might be in the vicinity.
Meanwhile back in Wood Y the support for 8th Brigades attack was building up, tanks, flails, flame-throwers and infantry all waiting to go forward as soon as the Beek had been bridged. Mortaring and shelling grew correspondingly intense and though it apparently did little or no damage, Lt-Colonel Harris decided not to bring B Company out of their positions until 1430 hrs: then he sent them forward into Kleindorp during a lull in the shelling. Captain Gaffikin soon reported his Company in position on Ds right without any casualties.
Soon fresh orders reached the Commanding Officer. 9th Brigade was now squeezed out by the advance of 8th Brigade on the left and the arrival of the II Armoured Division who were driving Eastwards across our front to the South of Kleindorp. So 9th Brigade were now to pull out and relieve a remaining unit of 11 Armoured Division North East of Overloon, with the role of preventing a counter attack towards Overloon, while our own attack was going into Venray.
This relief meant a four mile march along tracks which had been ploughed up by carriers and tanks and then waterlogged by rain. But this mattered little when it was realised that we were at last out of the woods and back in a position where part of the Battalion were able to get under some sort of cover. By 2130 hrs that night the Battalion had reported in position.
Our position here was in reserve behind the KOSB who were in contact with the enemy opposite Smakt along the Boxmeer - Wanssum railway. Then we heard that we might have to resume the attack and clear the large wooded area about half a mile South of the position.
Reconnaissances down to Company Commanders were made, but they were in vain. Once Venray was captured, the offensive on the front was halted in favour of a full scale attack elsewhere.