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Date: March 9th 1943
Newspaper Article

[Editor’s Warning: Please note that while the “Advance Post” is a genuine WWII artifact, its content is a mixture of fact and fiction. Created as part of the training exercise “Operation Spartan,” the exercise-related articles are written so as to describe events as they are being experienced by the Spartan participants, in an environment where troops and supporting forces have been assigned roles within a fictional military scenario. It was published for internal military distribution among participants and was not intended for public circulation as a factual document.]



The Advance Post
Published by the British Army in the Field
No. 9   
9 MARCH, 1943    
Free Issue

R.A.F. Destroy 20 Tanks and Many Transport Vehicles

THE following joint official communique was issued by British H.Q. in Southland yesterday:—
     The bridgeheads at Aldeburgh and Clacton-on- Sea have been further extended in spite of determined opposition.
     British forces crossed the Eastland frontier at an early hour on 8 March and Southland has been liberated.
     Pursuit of the German forces from the rivers Cherwell and Thames continues, and it is possible that they will endeavour to make a stand on the line of the Grand Union Canal from Newport Pagnell to Hemel Hempstead. Heavy fighting is expected.
     Yesterday, 7 March, our Air Force was again very active in attacking enemy armour and M.T. wherever it could be found.
     Repeated reconnaissance sorties were dispatched.
     In the morning a strike by our fighters was made against Heston Aerodrome, and three enemy fighters were destroyed on the ground. In the early afternoon well-concentrated targets of armour and M.T. were found, and our fighters, fighter-bombers and light bombers made many successful attacks.
     Of 100 M.T., with accompanying tanks, in the Daventry area, some 15 M.T. and 20 tanks were destroyed, many more being damaged. A concentration of 40 tanks and many M.T. near Bicester, and another densely-packed group of some 300 M.T., including six tank transporters, were hit, many vehicles being destroyed and damaged.
     The activity of the enemy Air Force was mainly confined to defensive patrols to protect his armour from our attacks, and many air battles resulted. Throughout the day’s operations we destroyed 26 of his aircraft, three of these being shot down by our anti-aircraft defences; 18 of our fighter and reconnaissance aircraft, and one of our light bombers, are missing.

(By our Military Correspondent)

NOT a German is left in the whole of Southland, except those who are prisoners in our hands. The clearance of the country has taken us exactly four days from the start of our advance northwards.
     The enemy salient at Oxford has apparently been nipped out since the fall of the city, and our advanced forces are pressing on in a north-easterly direction towards the enemy’s capital.
     It is only in this direction, apparently, that any heavy opposition has been made to our advance. There has as yet been no heavy clash of armour, nor any indication of where this will take place.
     On our other flank, our progress has been even more smooth so far. Our forces are moving northwards, approximately parallel with the Westland border, and meeting with practically no opposition.
[below article is a map of Eastland/Southland indicating advances and positions]


     Salvage is still of paramount importance during this Exercise. Daily the Salvage personnel collect it from units in the front line, “but,” says Capt. De Wolfe, Canadian Salvage Officer, “units can aid us considerably. If they cannot clear their salvage before moving off, they should make a dump of it in their camp area. Above all, they must forward all map references where salvage is through the proper channels to the Salvage Control.”
     Please oblige, Units!

[photograph with caption below:] The P.B.I. show how they are putting their backs into the advance on Eastland. Here is a section of Canadian infantry swinging steadily through Oxford yesterday, hard on the heels of the retreating Nazis.

World’s War News

TUNISIA.—Rommel’s attack on the Eighth Army has failed and his troops are now back on the line from which they started. The Germans lost 33 tanks; the British none. In Central Tunisia the Allies’ advance continues, while in the North there have been local gains by the First Army.
     A convoy carrying supplies for Rommel was smashed between Sicily and Tunisia by American Mitchell bombers and Flying Fortresses. Two ships were sunk, four left burning, one left sinking and three others hit. Six escorting planes were shot down.
RUSSIA.—The important town of Sychevka, 30 miles south of Rzhev, on the railway to Vyazma, has been captured by the Russians after stern fighting.
R.A.F.—Mines were laid in enemy waters on Sunday night.
AIR OFFENSIVE.—U.S. bombers in daylight attacked Rouen and Rennes.
HOME.—The Germans dropped bombs in scattered districts in Southern England on Sunday night. Three raiders were shot down.
     A third of London’s target for the “Wings for Victory” Week was raised yesterday.

Our Reporter in Enemy City!

     From a city near the Eastland border still held by the enemy there came a telephone call to the office of the “Advance Post” yesterday.
     It was an “Advance Post” reporter. “Hello,” he said casually. “I’ve got a story for you.” And he had. A thrilling story of the first stages of our attack on the enemy in the Thames Valley, and still more exciting one of his own double escape from enemy hands and of his “solo invasion” of an enemy-occupied city.
     How he succeeded in getting a call through the enemy lines must remain a secret for the time being. It is sufficient perhaps to say that the civilian population in North Southland are befriending our troops in all circumstances and are longing for the day of deliverance.

(By our Air Correspondent)

THE enemy is on the defensive in the air. There is no doubt about this. He is too busy trying to protect his troops and his airfields from our constant attacks to be able to pay any concentrated attention to our own positions.
     But he is making good use of his fighters for defensive purposes, and our Aircraft—especially those oh reconnaissance flights—have met considerable opposition. It has been no easy task for our pilots to carry out their mission, even with fighter escort, and on occasions our losses have been fairly heavy.
     As soon as it was light on the morning of 7 March our fighter and bomber squadrons were ready to take off, and an early reconnaissance was made.
     About midday the “spotting” aircraft began to make reports, and from then on Spitfires, Mustangs and Bostons were busy—the fighters first locating targets, then the fighter-bombers and light bombers going in to attack.
     “It’s a grim life,” said a young Spitfire pilot. “We’d spent half an hour trying to get a fire going in the field near our dispersal site, and just when the water was whistling up to boiling point and we were looking forward to a nice mug of tea, the order came to get going.
     “We were ‘briefed’ right away, and up we want, in search of tanks and transports. The recce lads had done their stuff and we found the target all right and shot it up.”
     This was just one of many examples of the recce-then-strike procedure. Enemy aircraft were attacked on the ground, tanks and transports bombed and machine-gunned, and on each occasion our aircraft operated with a fighter escort.
     Every attack was carefully and speedily planned, sometimes only minutes elapsing between the passing on of a target notification to the squadrons which were to [attack?] it and departure
     In that short space of time a rendezvous with the fighter escort had been arranged, and with the minimum delay the combined sortie set off to its destination.
     There have been many brisk encounters between escorting fighters and enemy patrols while our reconnaissance planes have been carrying out their mission, the enemy repeatedly trying to prevent [information?] being sent back to our lines.
     Several Spitfire pilots who took part in a patrol are laughing about their narrow escape from capture. They landed at one of our aerodromes to refuel, and then on the way back to base the first clear spot they found was in enemy territory, but they decided to come down and make the best of it.
     Instead of being taken prisoner they were mistaken for friendly airmen by the enemy, and given quarters in which to spend the night. They had an undisturbed sleep, and in the morning took off for their home station.

Q: What happened on 9 March last year?


TERRIBLE stories of German atrocities in the world-famous Southland university city of Oxford are beginning to leak through from our victorious army as it pierces its way northwards into Eastland.
     No sooner had the Huns taken over the city on Wednesday night than von Rundstedt, casting his eyes over the most villainous of his henchmen, selected Col.-Gen. Gufidaun Berchtold von Rattelwitz to be military governor of the city.
     This officer drove, with his personal staff and the heads of the Gestapo, to the two principal hotels, turned out all the occupants into the street in their night attire, and proceeded to give a party to his friends. The Gestapo also took over the ancient Colleges without exception.
     The dons of New College had the foresight to bury many of the choicest vintages from their cellars in the gardens, but von Rattelwitz and his friends looted all the wine they could find, and no beer could be found in any of the 1,000 public-houses of the citv after the first day of the German occupation.
     “It was four days’ hell,” said one venerable college Dean.
     Finding a small party of elderly lady professors from Lady Margaret Hall, the Germans forced them to dance a Nordic dance known as the “Jitterbug” on the cafe tables. German officers then seized the ladies shoes, filled them with looted Napoleon Brandy and drank their healths
     Worse was to come The undergraduates of Christ Church were lined up in St. Aldate’s as the main German armour massed through the city, and were ordered to shout “Heil Hitler” on pain of being shot. They agreed on condition that they were allowed to sing the Southland version attributed to Mr. Ronald Frankau which runs:
“Heil Hitler—ja, ja, ja!
   Oh what a funny little man you are
   With your little moustache and your hair all blah—
Heil Hitler—ja, ja, ja!”
     The subtleties of the Southland dialect apparently escaped the Germans, who thereupon exempted the Christ Church “undergrads” from the general order to students of all other colleges to wear Cambridge blue instead of Oxford—this was probably the worst of the humiliations inflicted on the luckless city.
     When the Dean of Hertford College demurred, four college dons, selected at random, were ordered to march through the streets, wearing white night-
     (Continuued overleaf.)

[back page of Issue No. 9]

Army—Air Force Link
How A.L.O.s Are Made---And Why

WHEN Mustangs fly as eyes for the Army, it is a boy in blue who carries out the operation. But, although Army Co-operation squadrons are part of the R.A.F., their activities are closely co-ordinated with Army plans.
     Connecting link between the two branches of the Service is the Air Liaison Officer, who wears khaki. A.L.O.’s are interpreters, since they are trained to provide the R.A.F. with the information necessary for the Army Commander’s plans to be carried out. and, at the same time, to indicate to the Army itself the possibilities and impossibilities of air help in any particular plan.
     “An air liaison officer,” according to one Canadian artillery major now serving as A.L.O. with an R.C.A.F. Mustang squadron, fulfills a dual function—that of staff officer under the squadron C.O., and also staff officer of any and all Army formations with which the squadron may work from time to time.
     Periodically—perhaps once a day and usually after flying hours—he will leave the squadron to visit Army H.Q. for conferences with staff officers. Sleeping doesn’t count. During operations like the present one, it’s a round-the-clock job.
     Never does an A.L.O. infringe on the squadron commander’s preserves; he does not brief the pilots on how they are going to fly. Our job is to advise them on what to look out for, the specific information we need, the best courses and most profitable objectives.
     “When they come back, we interrogate them, interpret their pictures.”
     A.L.O.’s must become highly - specialised officers. Primarily, they need a background of adequate service in the field, and most of them are trained as junior staff officers. In this way they obtain a good picture of the inner workings of the Army, and also become familiar with the official channels through which information moves.
     When this has been done they spend three or four weeks with a squadron. This is to give them some idea of what the Air Force is all about, for an A.L.O. needs to be a “blue-minded brown job.”
     Then he enters a school of Army co-operation, where he takes the A.L.O.’s course to prepare him for squadron duties. His posting from there will be based not only on the results of his course, and his record on the military staff course, but also on the suitability of his personality as judged by the squadron to which he was attached during the period of “getting acquainted.”

The Spartan Spirit

     Despite the fact that he had been run over by a heavy two- pounder anti-tank gun when it was being wheeled into action against “enemy” tanks, Cpl. M. R. Wright, of Toronto, remained at his post for two days.
     Cpl. Wright spent one night in an ambulance, where he received first-aid treatment for a badly-injured leg and injuries to his back, but he came back next morning, though medical authorities thought he should have been made a hospital case.
     Cpl Wright didn’t want to miss the fun when the real show started.

One R.A.S.C. tank transporter company carried 3,000 tanks in two months during operations in the Middle East without the loss of a single tank.

By LARMOUR SCHAPMANN, The Famous Westland War Correspondent.
(Delayed in Transmission.)

THIS is a front-line story of the war. I am writing from the outskirts of Oxford and the battle for the City has started.
     The crackle of light machine-guns is only 50 yards ahead. We are meeting resistance from a Hun patrol a few miles from the City.
     I rode in a jeep to a point where we ran into what might have been a successful ambush, late in the afternoon. A grenade flung from behind a hedge at a bend in the road was our first warning that we had reached the enemy's forward defended localities.
     We reversed down the road as quickly as we had gone up it and sustained only slight casualties.
     Now intermittent firing along a line south of Oxford indicates that by night we shall probably be in a position to launch the main attack on the City itself.
     During the day Luftwaffe pilots, with the daring and determination born of desperation, attacked the advancing British Army fiercely and continuously.
     They made every effort to prevent the Engineers bridging the waterways which meander through the county south of Oxford.
     Earlier I had witnessed some of the most audacious low-level attacks on units of the R.C.E., who were working feverishly to erect a pontoon bridge to get our armour forward for the attack on the City.
     Screaming over the tree-tops, Hun fighter-bombers at a river bend machine-gunned and bombed the Engineers for 20 minutes. Our ground defences fought back amazingly, and finally drove them off.
     [?] heard one of the engineers, a giant from Alberta called “Butch,’’ say, “Go on, throw a grenade at them.” He didn’t raise his head from his work to say this; had he done so it would have been knocked off, so low was the attack. Tribute to these men of the R.C.E.! The bridge was pushed across, and so . . . on to the Battle of Oxford.

Hand-to-hand Night Fighting
And here is a second dispatch from LARMOUR SCHARMANN, telling of the grim street fighting which preceded the capture of Oxford.

The Battle of Oxford is over. The City has fallen to McNaughton’s victorious army. In the early hours of yesterday I stood on the roof of one of the City’s biggest hotels and watched the battle.
     It was an eerie sight. As though lit by flashes of lightning the narrow streets momentarily presented cameos of street fighting at its grimmest, as bursts from Brens and Tommy guns crackled through the college quadrangles.
     The Hun took advantage of every doorway and retreated shop by shop. Before dawn the bulk of the defenders had withdrawn to the north of the City to join their retreating formations.
     The famous colleges of this University City make battlefields from which it has been difficult to clear the Hun, and late on Sunday pockets of resistance were still being mopped up.
     By morning, however, the citizens knew that McNaughton’s relieving Canadians had stormed the City. They streamed out into the streets and cheered the long lines of tough infantrymen who marched endlessly along their worn pavements.
     It was a fine sight to see these crack troops full of fight after their swift advance only eager to overtake the fleeing foe.
     There was rejoicing everywhere . . . these Southlanders, were free from their Nazi masters.
     As I write from the pleasant garden of St. John’s College, I can hear the City taking up the threads of the life it knew before von Rundstedt. Undergrads who have maintained a stony neutrality now welcome the Canadians with open arms.
     All day long there has been a military trek to the North through the City, but the rumble is dying away, and night quietly creeps on “the city of dreaming spires,” as it looks forward to its first night without the fear of brutal Nazi soldiery in its midst.

[photograph with caption:] “You’re O.K. NOW, Chief,” says this Canadian officer as his men are cheered by Oxford mothers overjoyed to be rid of the Nazi invaders of their historic city.


     Descendants of famous Indian warriors are among the Canadian women enlisted for service with the Royal Canadian Air Force (Women’s Division) and the Canadian Women’s Army Corps.
     For instance, Airwoman Dorothy Montour, of the Delawares, is a descendant of Chief Joseph Brant, the Indian warrior.

Le Southland est libere

L’OFFENSIVE furieuse et sans relâche déclanchée depuis huit jours par notre armée finalement eu raison de la résistance ennemie et les forces allemandes ont été refoulées au-delà des frontières de l’Eastland.

Dans le nord de l’Eastland, nos opérations ont aussi été remplies de succès et les têtes de pont établies à Aldeburgh et à Clacton-on-Sea ont de nouveau été élargies en dépit de la vigoureuse résistance de l’ennemi qui risque d’être bientôt pris dans une vaste mouvement de pince, entre nos forces établies sur la [?] et celles qui biennent de traverser la frontière.

D’apres le communiqué officiel de notre armée, le Southland a été libéré le matin du 8 mars, alors que nos unités avancées ont franchi la frontière.

Le communiqué rapporte de plus que la poursuite des forces allemandes se continue au-delà de la rivière Cherwell et de la Tamise et il semble possible qu’elles tenteront d’établir une ligne de résistance le long du canal Grand Union, de Newport Pagnell à Hemel Hempstead. L’on s’attend à de durs combats.

Le 7 mars, notre aviation a concerté ses attaques sur tous les véhicules de l’ennemi qu elle a pu decouvrir. De nombreuses sorties de reconnaissance furent effectuées.

Le matin, nos avions de combat ont attaque l’aéroport de Heston, détruisant sur le sol trois avions de combat ennemis. Au début de l’apres-midi, de fortes concentrations de véhicules blindés ennemis servirent de cible à nos avions de combat et de bombardement. Ces diverses attaques furent couronnées de succès.

Dans la région de Daventry, sur 100 vehicules qui accompagnaient des tanks, 15 véhicules et 20 tanks ont été anéantis, sans compter plusieurs autres endommagés. Près de Bicester, des coups directs ont été observés sur une concentration de 40 tanks et de plusieurs véhicules; le même succès signala une attaque sur une autre large concentration de quelques 300 véhicules, dont six porte-tanks.

L’activité aérienne de l'ennemi s’est confi née à des patrouilles défensives tentant de protéger ses chars blindés contre nos attaques. Cette tactique a provoqué plusieurs combats aériens.

Le bilan de la journee établit la destruction de 26 avions ennemis; trois d’entre en furent descendus par nos batteries anti-aériennes 19 de nos appareils manquent a l’appel.



BEHIND our advancing troops to-day is a small group of Salvage personnel quietly carrying on with their essential work. Yesterday they demonstrated once more the coolness and daring of the British soldier in the field.
     Two enemy armoured cars had strayed through our lines and were roaming round the countryside looking for likely victims on our supply routes. The Salvage group had just finished clearing away a dump left by one of our units when they spotted these armoured cars, and, as they came closer, identified them as belonging to the enemy.
     A sharp bend in the road lay between the advancing enemy A.F.Vs. and the Salvage personnel. Quickly the officer in charge piled in the truck with his men.
     “To the bend in the road,” he shouted. The truck was slewed round broadside, effectively blocking the enemy’s path. Swiftly deploying his men, the officer gave them concise instructions, “They must not pass.”
     On came the armoured cars at full speed round the bend; a hideous screeching of brakes as the obstacle was sighted. The enemy dismounted.
     Then the small group acted. With a roar they swept into the attack. The enemy were completely taken by surprise. They had no time to bring their arms to bear.
     Proudly the Salvage group brought back their “prize”— the two enemy armoured cars and their crews—one officer, one sergeant and four other ranks.
     To-day the enemy have a different view of the countryside—from the inside of a P.O.W Cage.
     Capt. De Wolfe, Canadian Salvage Officer, said: “I am proud of these chaps. What they have done, all my men are prepared to do. They are all administrative personnel, but are trained to do a front-line soldier’s job.”


     Detroit Red Wings have increased their lead to four points in the National Ice Hockey League.
     On Saturday they beat Chicago Black Hawks 5—0 at Detroit and in the return match on Sunday, at Chicago, drew 3—3.
     Week-end Canadian ice hockey results were:
     Saturday: Toronto Maple Leafs 2, Montreal Canadiens 2.
     SASKATCHEWAN SENIOR LEAGUE: Flin Flon 3, Regina Army 2.
     ALBERTA LEAGUE: Calgary R.C.A.F. 2, Lethbridge 1.
     QUEBEC SENIOR LEAGUE (Semi- Finals): Ottawa Commandos 4, Cornwall Army 1.

A: Rangoon and Java were lost.

No Sleep or Food for Two Days
(By “Advance Post” Reporter)

AFTER two days of steady fighting a Canadian armoured formation, whom I accompanied, rested for a short time in a hurriedly prepared bivouac in a small wooded area, in preparation for their final assault against an enemy who was retiring with the evident intention of re-forming lines of defence.
     One unit from a Western Ontario county won praise for their gallant effort in occupying three towns and setting up a bridgehead to protect the advance of reinforcements alter crossing the river under “fire” from enemy light artillery rifles and light machine guns.
     The Commanding Officer of lieutenant of the unit, a young lieutenant-colonel from a small town in Western Ontario, was full of praise for the manner in which his men had faced the hardship of two days of almost incessant fighting without sleep or food.
     The men found time to prepare their first meal—of “Argentina Chicken” and “dog biscuits”—after two days during the brief rest allowed them when the enemy withdrew and reconnaissance units were sent ahead to search out his new positions.
     During their advance the unit captured several enemy vehicles, “knocked out” three heavy tanks and took more than 60 prisoners. One anti-tank gun with its crew was also added to the booty.
     So fast did the armoured column move forward that its supporting infantry in one village came unexpectedly upon 10 enemy troop-carrying vehicles and captured the entire convoy before the enemy drivers had an opportunity to defend themselves.
     Bob Guymer, a native of Australia, who has lived in Western Ontario for some years, was riding ahead of the lorried infantry when he discovered the enemy lorries by the roadside.
     The retreating enemy blew up bridges to hamper the advance of the Canadians, but this did not stop the advance.
     Inverted frames and tarpaulins from troop-carrying vehicles were used to carry the troops across the river. Most of the enemy rear-guard who opposed the crossing were captured.
     When the armoured column reached the river, over which three bridges had been “blown,” Lieut. P. J. F. Baker, of Toronto, and Sergt. P. M. McRorie, of Chesley, made a reconnaissance of the area to locate a likely crossing point.
     They discovered a deserted boat and paddled it across the river. There they were later joined by Capt. G. R. Tripp, of Windsor, commanding a company in one of the accompanying infantry units, and three or four men.
     Capt. Tripp and Cpl. D. Matheson, of Wiarton, found a Southland civilian walking along a road, and went with him towards an enemy post, which they could barely discern in the darkness.
     Capt. Tripp sent the civilian forward to be identified by the sentries, and then he and the corporal circled the post, and the two of them captured the small party of enemy troops stationed there.
     Cpl. Matheson and four men then opened intensive “fire” on a blockhouse, and the small garrison, comprising about 30 enemy, including one officer, surrendered.
     Once the blockhouse was taken, the bridgehead over the river was secured and reinforcements soon began to cross the water. The next morning, engineers were able to build temporary bridges, over which the heavy tanks were able to travel to press home the attack. It was shortly after this that the enemy withdrew, leaving small pockets of resistance, which were successfully dealt with in turn. The enemy also left several minefields which had to be cleared.
     One section of men, under Cpl. W. (“Slim”) Gallagher, of Stratford, Ontario, was responsible for putting one enemy carrier out of action when [they?] risked their safety to toss the enemy’s grenades back as fast as they were thrown.
     Two other carriers escaped, but it is believed that they carried wounded enemy as they sped away. Bill Davies, of Milverton. Ontario, and Ray Fountain, of Windsor, were in the section which routed the enemy vehicles. These men also were part of a specially-trained technical crew which cleared the minefields left behind by the enemy. In another engagement the anti-tank gunners in the same unit “knocked out” four enemy tanks—with the loss of only one lorry and one light-tracked vehicle.
     [Ed.’s note: brackets as printed:] [Another unit found itself an historical spot in which to bivouac. They rested after their heavy fighting in a camp once occupied by one of Caesar’s invading armies.]

(From page one.)
gowns and carrying lighted candles, to do penance at the Martyrs’ Memorial.
     When the oldest scout at New College refused to disclose the hiding-place of the key to Cardinal Wolsey’s private wine-cellars, von Rattelwitz ordered him to stand at Carfax every day for half an hour, shouting “Heil Cambridge,” in honour of the Eastland university.
Famous for its Limericks, Oxford very soon evolved a new one to meet the occasion. This was muttered in the streets in a general whispering campaign among the populace. It ran:
In that part of Southland called Mittel,
The natives are all made to Hittle,
And those who do not
Are immediately shot—
Even Westland must Hittie a little.”
On Friday night Goering paid a blitzkrieg visit to the city. Five broken armchairs were afterwards presented to the Ashmolean Museum as a memento of the occasion.

[bottom left corner of page:] Printed by the Oxford Times, Ltd. the Newspaper House. Oxford, and published by the Director of Public Relations, War Office.

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