A Brief History of the Brigade


The Brigade was an independent tank brigade that saw action with many different units (British, Canadian and American) in Normandy, Holland and Germany.  It was involved in Operation Bluecoat (the breakout of Normandy) and Operation Veritable (the battle of the Rhineland). 

The Brigade landed on Gold and Juno beaches on July 20 (D Day +34) and saw its first action on July 30 at Caumont with the 15th Scottish Division whom they had trained with extensively.  The battle of Caumont (through the bocage) was a complete success in that the objectives were attained and the casualties were "not heavy" considering the difficulties of the operation.  However, more men were wounded or killed in this action than in subsequent battles; S squadron of the 3rd Scots were particularly badly hit by a jagdpanther which virtually decimated the squadron.

In August, the Brigade continued to be engaged in Normandy and saw action at Estry and Chenedolle (or China doll as the troops referred to it).

After Normandy, there was a long break before the Brigade were in action again.  Between October and January the Brigade fought in Holland particularly in Tilburg, Overloon, Venraij and Meijel.

On February 8 the Brigade was launched into attack as part of Operation Veritable.  Veritable was a massive operation designed to breach the Siegfried line and destroy the German forces between the rivers Maas and Rhine.  Fierce fighting ensued in February and the Brigade were the first tank unit to breach the Siegfried line and were involved in the capture of the first large German town (Cleve).  The Brigade continued to be heavily involved during February and early March in places such as Moyland, Goch, Schloss Calbeck and Winnekendonk.

Late March and early April the Brigade (now renamed 6th Guards Armoured Brigade) were commanded by 17th US Airborne Division and led the charge through North West Germany.  Major battles were fought at Dorsten, Dulmen and Munster supporting the American airmen.  Following this, the Brigade fought to clear the area between the Weser and the Elbe with a major engagement at Uelzen.

The Brigade reached Lubeck on the Baltic coast in early May - where they captured a U-boat!  (If you look at the first photograph of the 3rd Scots you will notice Lieutenant Laing wearing a German officer's cap - this was the U-boat's captain's).  The Brigade held its last parade in June and the men joined the ranks of the Guards Division.