After a brief action in Italy, the 11th Hussars landed in Normandy in June 1944 and advanced into Germany in 1945.
The 11th Hussars landed in Italy at Salerno on 16th September 1943, taking part in the capture of Naples and the crossing of the Volturno. They then returned to England to prepare for the invasion of Europe. They were equipped with the Daimler armoured car, known as the Dingo, one of which is on display in HorsePower Museum.
Landing in France on 9th June 1944, they encountered stiff German opposition. They were immediately involved in the battle of Villers-Bocage and the later actions in Normandy until the breakout across the River Orne in mid-August. Then they were in the vanguard of the army for the 200 mile dash across the Seine to the Belgian border. As the weather turned cold, they were issued a new type of tank suit. By Christmas, the 11th Hussars were north of Maastricht in Holland, patrolling between the River Maas and the Juliana Canal. The 52nd (Lowland) Division had crossed into Germany, and A Squadron was sent to support them. B Squadron were on the front line. ‘On Christmas Eve … there was a good deal of coming and going of horsed transport in the German lines; and soon after there drifted across the canal from Oud-Roosteren the sound of singing the nostalgic strains of ‘Stille Nacht, Heilige Nacht.’
D Squadron was in the ruined village of Gebroek. The village had been fortified and was occupied by a troop under the command of Sergeant Luke with 3 armoured cars, 2 scout cars, 2 anti-tanks guns (of the Norfolk Yeomanry) and an observation tank of the Royal Horse Artillery.
At 5.45am a German artillery barrage started, and Sergeant Luke ordered a withdrawal to the west of the village. None of the armoured cars would start as their engines were frozen. The tank started, but its tracks were frozen into the ice, and none of the machine guns would fire because of the cold. As a result the fighting became hand to hand until the British could withdraw and call down supporting artillery.
In 1945 the 11th Hussars entered Germany, crossed the river Rhine and advanced with the British Forces, leading 7th Armoured Division into Hamburg on 3rd May, prior to Victory in Europe Day on 8th May.