Operation Colin, Battle of Mass
23rd October 1944
Queens Own Highlanders Museum
51st Highland Division with 7th Armoured, 15th Scottish, 33rd Armoured and 53rd Welsh Divisions formed the 12th Corps charged with this task. The Battle of Mass, Operation Colin, would start on the 23rd October for the Division. On the previous day 53rd Welsh and 7th Armoured Divisions would clear the area to the east between Zuid Willems Canal and s'Hertogenbosck and the day after the 51st Highland Division attack, 15th Scottish Division on the left would capture Tilburg and push north.
51st Highland Division Plan
The plan for the Divisional attack was that 153 Brigade objective was Schijndel, 152 Brigade to the left would clear the wooded area east of the River Dommel and 154 Brigade, mounted in Kangaroos, would be in reserve to exploit.
The attack began on the night of 22nd October. Schijndel was taken relatively easily and the Division pressed on and, despite stiff resistance, they captured Vught in the afternoon of the 25th. Meanwhile 7th Armoured Brigade had been stopped at Loon op Zand.
153 Brigade were sent to assist and took the town and moved on north reaching Sprang on 30th October. 154 Brigade now exploited north west reaching Raamsdonk and then Geertruidenberg to find the bridge over the Mass destroyed.
Units of 51st Highland Division go into the attack around Sprang, north of Tilburn, as the enemy are pushed out of SW Holland. Carriers are 6 pounder guns of the 1st Gordons moving up to the battle positions North of Loon-Op-Zand. (Photographer Sgt Gee 30th October 1944)
Imperial War Museum - B 11460
After this successful phase there remained two German pockets south of the Mass of which one west of s'Hertogenbosch was known as the "Island".