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'"A" Squadron leaguer behind the artillery with SP guns watching the infantry move up in the bridgehead over the Wessem Canal', 3rd/4th County of London Yeomanry (Sharpshooters), Netherlands, November 1944

Photograph by Major Wilfred Herbert James Sale, MC, 3rd/4th County of London Yeomanry (Sharpshooters), World War Two, North West Europe, 1944.

Tanks of the 3rd/4th County of London Yeomanry (Sharpshooters) supported an assault on the Wessem-Nederweert Canal by 160th Brigade which began on 14 November 1944. The attack was assisted by 'artificial moonlight' provided by searchlights. With the Germans withdrawing, there was little opposition but the British and Commonwealth troops had to contend with mines, booby traps and thick mud, as weather conditions deteriorated. Once the infantry were across the canal, engineers constructed a bridge and the tanks of the Sharpshooters crossed on 16 November 1944.

The self propelled guns on the left of the photograph are 'Sextons' which mounted a British 25 Pounder artillery piece on the M3 General Lee and M4 Sherman tank chassis. An M4 Sherman is parked to the right. These guns along with Churchill Crocodile tanks, fitted with flamethrowers, provided overwhelming firepower during the canal crossing.

The term 'leaguer' derives from the Afrikaans word, 'laager'. The Boers in South Africa used it to describe the temporary defensive positions set up using their large ox wagons during trekking. The term was common amongst British armoured units which used a similar tactic to protect themselves during temporary stops.

From an album containing 222 photographs compiled by Major W H J Sale, MC, 3rd/4th County of London Yeomanry (Sharpshooters).

NAM Accession Number

NAM. 1975-03-63-21-59


National Army Museum Copyright


National Army Museum, Study collection

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