8th Armoured Brigade (United Kingdom) - Into Germany - Operation Blackcock

Operation Blackcock

Operation Blackcock was the code name for the clearing of the Roer Triangle formed by the towns of Roermond, Sittard and Heinsberg. It was conducted by the 2nd British Army between 14 and 26 January 1945. The objective was to drive the German 15th Army back across the Rivers Rur and Wurm and move the frontline further into Germany. The operation was carried out under command of the XII Corps, by three divisions, the 7th Armoured Division, the 52nd Lowland Division and the 43rd Wessex Division ("Wessex Wyverns"). The operation, named after the Scottish black male grouse, is relatively unknown despite the sometimes fierce battles that were fought for each and every village and hamlet within the "Roer Triangle".

The Brigade was now under the command of XII Corps. The next operation known as “Blackcock” was to begin as soon as the ground, by now completely snow covered, would carry tanks. Its object was to destroy all German troops east of the Koer between Roermond, Geilenkirchen and Sittard. The SRY were to support 52nd (Lowland) Division in a frontal attack, while the rest of the Brigade, with 155th Infantry Brigade under command, were to operate independently under 7th Armoured Division. The plan was to follow close on the heels of the 7th Armoured Division, break-out at the northern end of the line and then to turn sharp right, coming down behind all the German positions confronting 52nd (Lowland) Division.

The 4/7 DG fought their way forward throughout the night of the 18 And crossed the brook with success, by morning they were on the outskirts of Konigsbosch. Further efforts were made to cross throughout the day but they had to be abandoned due to enemy resistance. The operations of the 4/7 DG with the 4th The King's Own Scottish Borderers in the rear of the German line had great effect and the frontal attack by 52nd (Lowland) Division met with little resistance. On the evening of 19 January the SRY made contact with the 4/7 DG.

The remainder of the Brigade was withdrawn and came under command 52nd (Lowland) Division, and the 13/18 H were pushed through to exploit the success of the other two regiments.

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Operation Blackcock - Aftermath
... Operation Blackcock was a success for the allies since all the objectives of the operation were met ... Division that fought the toughest battles during the operation was without doubt the 52nd Lowland Division which counted 752 casualties ... During the operation 490 prisoners were taken by the Desert Rats, amongst them were 6 officers ...

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