Saturday, 6 November 2010

9th to 16th August 1944 - Vaudry

On 9th Aug the Battalion was given the task of capturing Vaudry, a little village to the East of Vire. The date was a significant one for the 2nd Battalion because on the 9th June we had fought and won at Cambes Wood, and on 9th July we had captured Hill 60 and entered Caen. Vaudry was a different proposition.

Careful reconnaissance of the ground was made by the Commanding Officer, Company and Platoon Commanders, and commanders of supporting arms, and orders were given to capture Vaudry, and consolidate beyond the village on the Vire - Vassy road. Simultaneously the 1 KOSB were to assault the high ground on the right of our objective.

On the night of the 8th, the Battalion moved to an assembly area at La Gallonerie, and after a short night moved off to attack Vaudry at 0600 hrs. It was soon obvious however that the enemy had abandoned his position and the only obstructions to our progress were a number of mines.

Our advance was now lead by the Pioneer Platoon, under command of Lt Shimmin, who swept conscientiously with their detectors, and the objective was finally taken personally by O. C. "5" Company, Captain Gaffikin, and O. C. Anti-Tank Platoon, Captain Gray, who were together searching out a suitable path for the Pioneers.

By 0930 hrs the whole Battalion was in position on and beyond the objective, some time after the KOSB who had reached their objective without even the obstruction of mines. Casualties had been nil and the Battalion had completed the easiest operation it had ever, or was ever likely, to be called upon to undertake.

We remained in and near Vaudry for a week, constituting, as part of 9 Brigade, a divisional reserve through which the other two Brigades passed to attack the enemy South East of Vire. During this time "B" Company came under the command of 1 KOSB, who had taken up an outlying position in Viessoix where earlier the Guards Armoured Division had fought a hard and bloody struggle with German Paratroops.


Once again we suffered occasionally from enemy shelling, and one particularly damaging salvo killed Sjt. McVeigh the MT Sjt., and wounded RSM Fleming. Sjt. McVeigh was one of the veterans of the Battalion, and the RSM had been a pillar of strength throughout the campaign. He had always kept flowing the supply of ammunition in the most trying conditions and his power of command and devotion to duty in these times had won him the admiration of the Battalion. The seriousness of his loss was tempered only by the fact that we hoped soon to have him back with us.

The only contact made with the enemy in this position was a strange one. Soon after we reached our final positions in Vaudry a patrol from "D" Company comprising Sjt Lynch, Cpl McDaid and six men on reconnaissance, saw moving Southwards from the Vire-Vassy road, a group of men whom they thought were Americans.

They called out a friendly greeting only to see the group spin round astonished, and disappear rapidly behind a hedge. The next thing they knew was that a shot from a Bazooka landed close by them, where upon they in turn took cover and returned the fire vigorously. They saw no more of these men who cleared out with the utmost speed and who can only have been a detached remnant of a Boche Platoon.

Not until the 17th was this Battalion called upon to take up the pursuit of the enemy, and by that time he was withdrawing swiftly into a fast contracting pocket. Two swift moves took us to Landisacq, about 4 miles West of Flers, without making contact, and by 20th it was clear that 3 Division had been squeezed out on the contracting front by the Americans on the right and the 11 Armoured Division on the left. We finished in Army reserve, having in that month travelled about 200 miles.

2 comments:

  1. Just reading this Blog by Codge, my Father was Sjt. McVeigh the MT Sjt. Is there any more information about this action?

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  2. Only additional detail I can find about Sjt McVeigh on the 12th August is from the War Diary which I have added to this page.
    Charles Joseph McVeigh Birth County: Armagh.
    Date of Death: 12/08/1944
    Rank: Serjeant
    Service Number: 7013567
    Grave Reference:VI. C. 4.
    Cemetery:ST. CHARLES DE PERCY WAR CEMETERY

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