Note: Imgur and Blogger are playing silly buggers this morning, so if the images aren't appearing that's why. I've spent the last 20 mins trying to insert images. Occasionally the two websites randomly decide they're not talking to each other, and it makes life interesting.
On the 27th of November, 1944, an understrength platoon and section of sappers from the 9th Cameroons were trying to sneak through the muddy fields surround the castle at Broekhuizen in Holland. Their task was to infiltrate the minefield and storm the castle in a surprise attack. Things went badly, of the 32 soldiers in the Coup De Main only eight were to return, the rest being captured or killed by the dug in German defenders. The failed attack was their last attempt at this position, on the 28th the 3rd Battalion, Monmouthshire Regiment took over. They would be the ones to launch the attack to subdue one of the last German strong points in Holland and clear the bank of the Maas. The 3rd Mons were to go over the top on the 30th of November.
|Broekhuizen "castle" not quite what you were thinking.|
Things went wrong almost immediately. Germans had plentiful and liberal fire support from their bank of the Maas, and a heavy barrage of mortars and artillery, including 150mm pieces rained down upon A Company. One of the flails became bogged, and was unable to bring their gun to bear on the defenders. The other two were destroyed by German fire. With the German machine guns raking the muddy shell torn field the remaining men of A Company went to ground, their commander killed, along with several officers. All their wireless sets were rendered useless as well.
To make the crews feel a bit better, every so often one of the tanks would halt, stop flailing and crank the gun round to the front to fire a few rounds, then start up its flail again and continue on its way.
The experience of the 3rd Mons impacted decisions made elsewhere. When the 6th Guards were faced with a similar situation at Geijsteren, they knew of the experiences at Broekhuizen, and took an entirely different approach.