On 1st of August 1944 a convoy of ships, with the 24 Lancers and other units of the 1st Armoured Division on deck, arrived in the neighbourhood of Arromanches in Normandy. The Regiment disembarked on the beach in the region of "Embouchure de la Seulles" in the early hours of 2nd August and settled in camp in the area of Buhot.
On the 6th of August at the conference of the C in C 21st Army Group Gen. MONGOMERY the O.C. of the Regiment was broadly acquainted with the task for the 1st Armoured Division included in the 2nd Corps of the Canadian Army.
On the 7th of August 1944 at 23.00 hrs. at the Brigade Conference the O.C. of the Regiment (24 Pułk Ułanów) received his orders for August 8th. The Regiment, attacking with the 10 Armoured Brigade in the first line on the right wing of the Brigade, parallel with the 2nd Armoured Regiment had to reach the town of Couvicourt and from there to attack Estrees la Campagne.
This action was the consequence of a big exploitation of the break through of the enemy's defence on the line East of Caen. The break through was to be carried out by the 51st Highland Division in the region of Tilly la Campagne.
The exploitation along the Caen-Falaise road was to be made by the 1st Polish Armoured Division on the left side and the 4th Canadian Armoured Division on the right side. The use of aircraft and artillery in mass was announced.
On the 8th of August 1944 at 06.10 hrs. the Regiment after a whole night's march crossed the bridge over the River Orne in the town of Caen and at 10.00 hrs. was ready for attack in the following order:
State of the Regiment under command of Major KANSKI Jan: 47 Officers, 634 men, 52 Sherman tanks - 11 Stuart tanks - 6 anti-aircraft tanks.
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At 15.00 hrs. the 1st Squadron in the lead was met in the region of Cramesnil with strong fire from enemy anti-tank guns. By error on the part of the aircraft, the softening-up preparation for the attack was not successful. The Regiment therefore fought a hard battle, losing a few tanks.
Among the losses in personnel a high percentage were officers. OC 1st Squadron Capt. PIWONSKI Marian was killed by artillery fire. Troop leader of 1st troop Lt. FRIEDRICH Jerzy took over the command of the Squadron.
On the 9th of August the Regiment attacked in the first line, with the 1st Armoured Regiment on its left. At 11.00 hrs. the Regiment moved off in the order: 3rd Squadron, 2nd Squadron, HQ, 1st Squadron.
After passing Couvicourt the leading squadrons began the fight. On the left wing the 2nd Squadron was in action against "Panther" tanks and sustained losses. On the right the 3rd squadron destroyed in a skilful action the resistance of the 88 mm armoured guns.
With a view to reinforcing the action of the 2nd squadron. the O.C. Regt. brought into its sector the 1st Squadron, which in common with 3rd Squadron occupied La Croix at 16.00 hrs. After a short break the squadrons went to attacked the enemy in the wood of Quesney.
Strong resistance by dug in Panthers and anti tank guns in fortified positions was encountered here.
The dusk prevented further action and tanks remained in defensive positions on the ground won. The Recce Troop penetrated a long way in the gap between the Regiment and 4th Canadian Armoured Division where one of the Canadian Armoured Regiments lost 70 percent of its tanks.
From the 10th to the 13th August the Regiment was brought up to strength in personnel and equipment. In the evening of August 13th it proceeded to the town of La Londe. The Recce Troop carried out constant reconnaissance.
In the morning of August 14th the 1st Squadron gave support to the 8th Infantry Batalion and the 3rd Squadron of the 10 Motorised Rifle Regiment. The attack was made on the already famous enemy pocket of resistance, the wood of Quesney previously attacked by units of the 4th Canadian Armoured Divivision.
Only at dusk, after very heavy fighting did the squadrons reach their objectives: la Fontaine la Pin - 3rd Squadron, Aisay - 1st Squadron.
As a result of faulty use of the Strategic Air Force, the attack went in without sufficient preparation. The fighting was very heavy and the 3rd Squadron suffered its greatest losses in men and equipment.
On the 15th of August the offensive continued. The lst Squadron reached Potigny. At 12.00 o'clock the Regiment departed for the lead off of the Brigade in the area of Sassy.
On Aug 16th the Regiment was in a battle group with the 10 Dragoons, in a developing action to turn the enemy's flank and cut off his retreat in the area of Trun - Chambois. During the crossing of Jort, the C.O. was gravely wounded and I.O. was killed.
Second in Command took over the command of the Regiment. The formation under the command of the C.O. 10th Dragoons had to overcome strong enemy resistance in the attack of Morteaux Couliboeuf. The Leading 2nd Squadron passing in the fight the Recce troop sustained heavy losses.
On August 17th the Regiment, still in a battle group with the Dragoons, started on its march through Louvrie en Auge towards Trun.
On August 18th the leading 2nd Squadron encountered enemy tanks in the area Menil Girard. A very heavy battle at short distance took place. The ground was very overgrown and movement was very difficult.
Repeated exchange of fire with enemy tanks took place at a distance of 100 yards. The Regiment sustained losses but the losses of the enemy were far heavier so that he withdrew to the south. Nightfall - "Harbouring" in the region of hill 137. Continuous fire of enemy artillery and snipers.
August 19th, march in the direction of Chambois.
18.30 p.m. 2nd Squadron in heavy fighting reached South Eastern part of Chambois. At 19.00 hrs. a reconnaissance patrol of Stuarts 2/Lt Sołtysiak Jan going round through the gardens of eastern buildings of Chambois entered the Southern end of the square, where personal contact was made with the forward elements of the 90 Infantry Division of the American Army.
At the same time the 1st Squadron took the western part of the place and the 2nd Squadron entered from the south to the centre of Chambois. Following the Regiment and together with the first U.S. soldiers the Dragoons entered to clear the place of the rest of the enemy.
On the night 19th-20th the whole of 20th an night of 21st August the Regiment constituted the main force of occupation of Chambois. Being cut off there was no possibility of getting supplies of ammunition and petrol.
The 1st Squadron having received the whole Regiment's fuel went to the attack in the region north of Chambois. Right in the middle of the attack all the engines failed and the tanks hat to withdrawn from the line by "Recovery vehicles" under the fire screen of the remainder of the Regiment.
During the whole day of August 20th attempts of German groups to break through were repulsed. There was difficulty with petrol and ammunition, used in great quantities shooting at the masses of Germans pushing eastwards, further the guarding of a tremendous number of prisoners became a problem.
In the evening the Americans brought supplies, evacuated the wounded and took over the prisoners.
Early next day, the 21st, supplies were dropped by parachutes.
The rest of the Germans were still surrendering.
On 22nd August the Regiment returned to 10th Armoured Brigade in order to rest in the region of Norrey en Auge.
After resting until 29th Aug the Regiment was made up to strength in tanks and men.
Lt. Col. DOWBOR Romuald took over command. Capt. MICHALSKI Stanisław became QM, Capt. STARZYNSKI Zygmunt O.C. 1st Squadron.
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On the 29th at 13.00 hrs. the regiment set out in the direction of the crossings of the Seine. Rain and the bad condition of the roads made the march very troublesome.
On the 30th the Regiment was at Les Fieffes Mancels near Elbeuf (Rouen) in a safe assembly place awaiting the crossing.
On the 1st of September at 01.00 p.m. the Regiment passed over the bridge across the Seine at Criqueboeuf on the way to Abbeville through Neufchatel.
Bridge Nr. 2
During the march the sad news arrived of the death of the former C.O. Lt. Col. KANSKI Jan from wounds.
The leading elements of the Regt met with resistance in the area of Bagny. Then the news arrived that Abbeville hat been occupied by the 4th Canadian Armd Div. The speed of the march was reaching the maximum endurance of the tanks.
On the 2th Sep at 07.00 hrs. advancing towards Abbeville. The Regt went past the first flying bomb sites. Small groups of Germans surrendered without fighting.
It then became known that Abbeville was still in enemy hands. The Regt. was given the task of seizing the bridgehead on the river Somme. R.H.Q was at Myenneville. The 2nd Squadron and recce troop engaged in a shooting match with the enemy defending the crossings of the river.
The 3rd Rifle Bde had to seize the crossings. On the right of the Regt. tanks of the 4th Canadian Armd Div were seen, on the left the 3rd Canadian Inf. Div.
On 4th Sept the Regt. passed over the river, having been ordered to make a deep penetration from the east of the enemy, who were in defence on the river La Cauche in the area of Hesdin.
The 2nd Squadron, with the recce troop in the front line, reaching Blangy at 14.00 p.m. saw that the bridges on the crossing were destroyed. During the action the Regt. met recce detachments of the 53rd (Welch) Inf. Div. of the 2nd British Army.
The 1st Squadron was clarged with liquidating the enemy 3 km S. of Blangy. At 16.00 hrs. The 1st Squadron took prisoners and fired enemy columns retreating behind the crossing. The Regt. crossed the river at the ford and fell upon the enemy rearguards defending the main road junction from Hesdin in the town of Ruisseauville.
Here the Recce troop in a charge destroyed two anti-tank guns and one S.P. gun thus breaking up the local defence. The 3rd Squadron took retreating detachments of German cyclists by surprise and inflicted a loss of about 200 dead. Enemy resistance grew.
The 1st Squadron after performing its task joined the Regt. The enemy, yielded many prisoners and making use of the nightfall retreatet northwards. The Regt. halted for a safe assembly place. Fires illuminated the front line.
On 5 Sep the Regt. was ordered to seize the crossing on the Canal of De Neuf Fosse south west of St. Omer. The 3rd Squadron with the 3 Recce Troop saw that the bridges were destroyed and defended by the enemy. The 1st Squadron fired at enemy columns retreating in the direction of St. Omer. The Dragoons arrived and attacked what was left of the resistance point.
The Regiment had losses from artillery fire. In the evening a delegation of St. Omer requested the occupation of the town saying that the enemy had withdrawn to the north.
Sec. in Comd. of the 2 Sqn. with two troops of the 2nd Squadron in support of the Dragoons entered the town.
The Brigade Commanderd arrived at Regimental H.Q. to congratulate personally the
Regiment on its activity of September 4th and 5th.
On 6 September the Regiment with the main body of the Brigade crossed the Belgian frontier, on the march for Ypres.
On the 6 September at 16.10 p.m. after crossing the frontier the Regiment passed through Ypres.
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click on map to enlarge
On 7th Sept the Regiment passed through the famous battle field of the previous war - Passendale - In the evening it halted before Roulers, where fighting by elements of the Division was going on.
On the 8 September the Regiment reinforced with 1 Battery of Field Artillery, 1 Infantry Coy and the recce platoon of the 8th Rifle Batalionn was ordered to seize the road junction of Thielt in order to block the ways of retreat for bigger enemy groups from the sector of the 2nd British Army.
At 08.30 hrs. The recce troop of the Regiment took by surprise the cross roads in the centre of Thielt. The first Squadron entered the centre of the town. In spite of the imminent danger the population gave an ethusiastic ovation to the army.
The organisations of the underground movement were of great help. The enemy strongly retaliated upon the 1 st Squadron but in vain. Part of the tank crews hurried on in to house to house fighting. The artillery did not fire on the locality in order to spare losses by the civil population.
The 2nd and 3rd Squadrons went round the town from the south. By midday the 8th Rifle Bn arrived to mop up in the town. The enemy tried to withdraw by the one way left open but met with the troop of Lt. ROMER Stefan of the 2nd Squadron which went round the locality from the north.
Losing two anti tanks guns, the remainder of the enemy left. At 16.00 hrs. the battle was over. As compared with the effort of the battle, the losses of the Regiment were trifling. Among the dead was found the C.O. of the "Kampfgruppe" Maj. FRANZKOWSKI.
Colonel Harold Mitchel. M.P., a devoted friend of the Regiment, was present in this battle, riding in a tank.
On 9 Sept the Regt. passed to Lootenhulle, for the relief of the Brigade and there remaind till 11th Sep.
On 12 sept the Regiment, in the front line of the Brigade, went through the southern part of Ghent occupied by the 7th Armd Div and took over from the Royal Dragoons the protection of the northern flank at Sinay. The 2nd Squadron remained at Ghent at the disposal of the 3rd Rifle Brigade.
On the 13 Sept the complete Regiment reached Ghent with a view to supporting the 3rd Rifle Bde in the fighting in the northern part of the town. Together with the 8 and 9 Rifle Bns the advance to the attack took place at 19.00 hrs. The enemy withdrew from the town.
1st and 3rd Squadron were on protection duty in the region of Mariakerke-Koolegen while the 2nd Squadron was in the centre of the town.
From the 14th to the 16th September strong patrols maintained contact with the enemy. On the 17th the Regt. took over from the 3rd Rifle Bde the defence of Ghent. The recce troop patrolled along the Terneuzen Canal. Big stocks of petrol were captured in a surprise action, 4 long range guns, bombarding the town with harassing fire, were destroyed.
The cooperation with
Belgian military organisations went very well. They were a great help in the endeavour to bring normal life back to the city.
On the 19th the Regt. left Ghent and returned to the 10th Armd Bde in the area of St. Gilles Waas. On the next day Duch territory was entered at Heikant in order to proceed to Temsche on the Schelde for a few day for rest and replacements of men and tanks. Capt. PRZANOWSKI Jan became O.C. 3rd Squadron.
On the 27 Sept the Regiment, included in the 3rd Rifle Bde proceedet to Millenghem, east of Antwerp. Div. attached to 1 Brit. Corp.
On 29 September the Regiment crossed the Turnhout-Antwerp Canal on which the bridgehead was held by 49th Inf. Div.
The 2nd Squadron in support of the 1st Highland Bn, the 3rd Squadron with the 9th Rifle Bat. were engaged in big battle in the area of Luysterborg. The next day the Regiment in the same formation went on with its task - the seizing of Merxplas and the wooded region of Lipseide -
The 2nd Squadron battled vigorously with the enemy holding Merxplas, the 3rd Squadron was west of the locality, the 1st Squadron protecting the eastern and southern flanks.
A great quantity of prisoners, mostly young cadets, fell into the hands of the Regiment. Among the equipment - 9 guns, 155 mm.
At 18.00 p.m. the 1st Squadron set out with the task of turning the enemy's flank and intercepting the crossing of his rear formations in the area of Zondereigen.
At 19.00 the Squadron met at the crossing a squadron of the 10th Mounted Rifle Regt., which it relieved. Whole detachments with artillery staff of the retreating enemy were taken prisoner. Late at night a company of the 1st Highland Bn arrived and held the crossing till dawn.
On 1st of October, the Regiment less the 3rd Squadron, included in the group with the 1st Highland Bn was ordered to seize Zondereigen and the road junction on the Dutch frontier north of the locality.
At 09.30 hrs. the 1st Squadron was already engaged in heavy fighting for the locality.
The 2nd Squadron advanced to the attack, after which 10th Mounted Rifle Regt. attacked from the west.
At 17.30 hrs. the locality was taken and the 1st Squadron, together with the Highland Company, seized the roadjunction according to plan. The enemy put up a desperate resistance, particularly in house to house fighting, most of the places therefore suffered complete destruction.
On the 2nd Oct at dawn recce troop recognized the no-man's land. After that the 1st Squadron met a counter attack of new German units (II/6 Fallschirm-Jäger-Regiment) strongly supported by SP guns. The counter attack broke down but anti-tank fire was still very dangerous.
The ground which was absolutely flat and damp made the occupation of the hull down positions difficult. After some time a squadron of the 10th Mtd. Rifle Regt. arrived but in view of the difficuld ground could not leave the road. Most of the tanks had to remain on the road. This would occur again in the fighting in Holland and Germany.
At 13.30 hrs. aircrafts forced the enemy to lie low. Along with tanks of the 10th Mtd. Rifle Regt. and SP guns of the Anti Tank Regt. 10 tanks of the Regiment were destroyed. The number of killed and wounded was small.
2 killed and 16 wounded mostly slightly.
The enemy lost 6 anti-tank guns, 3 SP guns, 2 anti-aircraft guns, 2 armd cars, some vehicles and about 80 prisoners. There were about 50 killed, among them 2 captains.
On the 3rd Oct and 4th Oct the Regiment, returning to the 10th Armd Bde. crossed the Dutch frontier in the area of Noord Bosch en Heide.