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Scheldt Estuary Campaign (1944)

Scheldt Estuary Campaign (1944)

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21 ARMY GROUP

CLEARING OF

SCHELDT ESTU
OCT -

NOV 1944

INCLUDING OPERATIONS:

SWITCHBACK VITALITY I & II

INFATUATE I & II
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REPORT ON

~ "CLEARITG OF

TI~ SCEIDT ESTUARY"

The Undcer Secretary of State,

The War Office - MO 1
MT 16

(Records)

(For attention of Col. W.R.D. Robertson)

(12 copies)

MT (L)

(50 copies)
for Under Secretary of State, The Adcmirality Under Secretary of State, The Air Ministry The Supreme Allied c oCrmaander, Mediterranean Theatre (3) The Coriaander - in -- Chief, Home Forces (15) The Commander - in - Chief, Middle East The Commander - in - Chief, Allied Land Forces, South-East Asia Comrand (3) * Tho Sup .o CGrander,
South E at A4ca Gca-ocd. (): His Exolloncy, The C C:-rj or-in-Chicf, India (3) The Australian Ay Roprcsentative, Australia House-(3)

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British Ar:; Staff, raashington (3) The Ca:r'a.ndants., T SStaff ColloCG, Ca::.brlcy 2) Staff Collocgo Hai-if2) Stoaf CollcSo, Quotta 2 School of A tilloxr, Larkhhill School of Sigal1s, School of Infantry, School of Military Engin ring School of Air Support. Washington.

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: ... llied Ecpeditionary Force (5) (Including Historical Section), lhedl Naval Camander - in - Chief, Expeditionary Force, Twe fth Ariyr Group , G-3 Div),
Ar y Group, (G-3 Div) a. Tactical Airforce, (4), 'ir#G Canadian Amy (16) (4) SeCcod Amy
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Offices of the War Cabinet, Historical Section, 8, Barton Street, S.W.1.

Copies to:-

HQ 21 Amy Group: lMAto C-in-C

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Tr IO LEARPITC.OF THE SCN TiDT STUARY

Including Operations

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SNIT CLIBiQK VITAlLITIY I & .EI INF1PATUATE I & II

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VITAiLITY I a~nd, II.

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Ref Maps: 1/250,000, Sheets 2, :3, ..2. .nZd: and attached Diagrams 1 - 5.

PART INT~RODU1.GIONT

I

1. AS a result of the Second British Army' s rap-id drive from the R SEINE, iiEP, Jh the second largest port in EUROPE, was captured intact on 4 September. Though enemy elements still remained in the Northern suburbs of the city, the speed of our advance, and the activities of the resistance movement, had prevented .any appreciable dndage being done to the port installations." ith one corps temporarily .grounded, for administrative reasons, just NORTH of the SEIE, and leaving one division to hold iNT 'ERP, Second British Army then swung EAST towards. the aLBERT CLNAL. At the same time, First Canadian Army, dropping 1 British Corps to capture .I, HAV R, pressed on to the.PAS DE CLAIS and the Channel ports. 2. The enemy decided to deny us the use of LE HAI I and the Channel Ports as long as possible, and accordingly reinforced their garrisons from his retreating columns. Although the vigour of the Canadian advance enabled DIEPPE , and subsequently OSTEND, to be taken in their stride, a-series of deliberate operations was necessary for the reduction of the remaining ports, and this delay prevented the complete destruction of the retreating enemy. There were approximately five German divisions who continued the withdrawal in front of the Canadian Army's advance, which was led by the POLISH Armoured Division on the RIGI., and 4 Canadian Armoured Division on the LEFT. The.enemy's object was to get to the SGIELDT, across which lay the only escape route left open, and to defend on the SOUTH side the area of BPSSKENS - CADZA D - KKOCKE, whose long range batteries commanded the estuary in conjunction with those on 1uLCIT:iEN and SOUTH BEVELA D. 3. During the second half of September, the First Canadian Army closed up on the SCELDT. On the RIGLT, 2 Canadian Infantry Division took over IdANTERP on 1u September. With the assistance of the DUTCH resistance movement, the enemy was gradually evicted from the area between the port and .TERNEUZN' , while further EST he was driven to the NORTH bank of the LiOPOID CikNAL over which he blew all the bridges. By the end of the month, all the Channel Ports except DU\KIR had been captured, and the enemy was confined to the "island" formed by the SAVOJAARDS Here he was contained by the 4 PLrLT, the LEOPOLD C.JAL and the sea. Canadian Armoured Division. E~EIY DISPOSITIONS At the beginning of October 1944 there were four main enemy 4. groups opposing our clearance of the country commanding the SC-ELDT Two of those were operating respectively in the areas between Estuary. BREDA and the AiT'tERP - TU.NHOUT Canal and between BERGIT OP ZOOM and IIOLLAND SOUTH of the SChI-LDT Estuary, was held by units of \TWTERP. This division contained a high proportion of .64 Infantry Division. leave personnel from units fighting on the Russian Front who had been These drawn on to help form the Division as an emergency measure. z: je ., / a. | experienced

.. * .

.,

'-Y '.aijj'J ' i l

- 2 battle experienced troops were the backbone of the Division which fought surprisingly well. SOUTH BEVELM2D and ,WALCIEREIN,. on the other hand, were garrisoned by .troops of 70 Infantry Division in which had been concentrated numbers of low category men suffering from various internal disorders. OUTLINE PLAN

5.

The plan to clear the SCHELDT estuary may be divided into three parts :First: To seal, off the isthmus leading to SOUTH BEVELIAD, to clear the BRESKENS "island". and

.Second:.

to clear SOUTHL BLVEL.D by an advance along the. isthmus,.. in conjunction with an assault across the estuary from . the SOUTH. by concentric assaults from the To clear Wi LChER This involved a second crossEAST, SOUTH and SEST. ing of the estuary, and a seaborne expedition from one It was decided to neutralize of the Channel ports. the fixed and heavy defences of WAiLC-HK by bombing the sea dykes and flooding the: island.

Third:

-3A..T.. PA SEALING-OFF SOU II

EIB EVELAND ITlMJS. .

6. This was .the task of 2 Canadian Infantry Division, with 10 Canadian Armoured Regime.nt under command, and had..roughly two phases. In the first, (1 - 7.October), the Division advanced from the.-line ANTTERPTUPTHOUT Canal - IvIERXEM, to the WO \SDPECHT area. In the period 8 - 22 October; it .operated-in the TOIIMSD:RECTI area and the dyke-land to the WEST, encountering considerable -resistance "7. On 1 October, 4 Canadian Infantry Brigade on the LEFT,. crossed the canal into LERJIM without opposition. In',lhe CENTRE, 6 Canadian Infantry Brigade held the NORTH bank of the ,NT2-lP-TUR HBOUT Canal, while 5 Canadian Infantry Brigade on the RIGHT, formed a firm base in BRECHT. Enemy resistance was spasmodic, while he gradually withdrew R in face. of. steady probing all along the front. By the evening of 4 October, 6 Canadian Infantry Brigade had captured CAPELLET, while 4 Brigade, having cleared The: next day, - EECKEEP area, was within two miles.of PUTTE. the .ERXEM 5 Canadian Infantry Brigade concentrated at' BRASSCHAERT, while 6 Brigade was endeavouring to clear the road WEST from BRECHT to CAPPiELLE in the face of strong opposition. 4 Brigade made good progress and reached the DUTCH frontier near PUTTE, with patrols approaching SATTVLIET. 5 Canadian Infantry Brigade now moved NORTH through 4 Brigade to the W Y\OSDRECHT area, and on 7 October, one squadron of 8 Canadian Recce Regiment occupied .SMiTTVLIET. Opposition now stiffened considerably as the division approached 8. Attacks were launched by 5 .Canadian Infantry Brigade from the isthmus. HOOGER 1~IDE on 8/9 October, with KORTEVET as the final objective,, but were unsuccessful, and a further attempt was made o 13 October against enemy paratroops who were dug in behind railway embankments and dykes SW This too was unsuccessful, but."heavy enemy counterof TOENfSDREGCT. attacks failed to make any headway. Active patrolling and probing along the divisional front continued, and in the early hours of 16 'October, the RHLI, (4 Canadian They were repeatedly counterInfantry Brigade) captured iO NSD RECHT. attacked during the day from the NORTH and NE, by infantry and tanks, There was penetration at some points, but the position, generally was held firm. 5 .Canadian Infantry Brigade came up on their iEFT and edged forward to the railway and main road LEST of the village. T he next day, 4 Canadian.Armoured Divisiotr, which had been 9. C containing, the eneny on the IEOPOLE - . TL while 3 Canadian Infantry Division. cleared the BRESIuSITS "pocket", was relieved of its task, and moved through ANTiERP to. come up on the RIGHT of 2 Canadian Infantry By 20 October, they were' exerting considerable pressure in Division. the, wooded -areas about ACivaP- E B.RASSCFL T, and by the ,afternoon of 21 October, elements of the Infantry Brigade cG-roup were in ACHTERBROEK. pushing on with vigour, the 4 Canadian Armoured Brigade crossed the This, comDUTCH frontier near ESSCHT ion the evening of 23 October. bined with the gradual crumbling of the opposition- in the WOENSDRECHT; sector, opened the way for the operations designed to secure SOUTH
BEVEILZilD.

-4P
CLE2iRNG THE SOUTH BilK OF T-HE SCiELDT.

RT

III
ACK' .

O: .cration "SWITC

10. The 3 Canadian Infantry Division was. given the task. of clearing this area, .This Division hd been engaged in liquidating "BOULOGN\Ea nd CAAI:S, while 4' Canadian Armoured Division contained the enemy on the

I:panal line between SAVOJAi lDSPLidLaT and ZEEBRUGGE.

Completing the mopping-

:up process at CALAIS 0bi 30 September, the .Division arrived in its concentration area, SOUTH of MALDEGEM, on the evening of ..4 October, except for 9 Canadian Infantry Brigade Group vwhich was :detached to the Gi-HETT area. 11. ... All available sources indicated that the bulk of the enemy Stroops holding the "island" consisted of 64 Infantry Divis'ion. -Little was known of the artillery and coastal defence units, or, possible improvised battle: groups, but it was estimated that the garrison con-. sisted of about 7,000 men, apart from administrative personnel. 12. The area is. completely flat, with a network of minor canals and ditches, and numerous areas which<arc permanently flooded. It is criss-crossed by dykes which 'mostly carry roads or 'tracks . The .fields, or "polders", arce open and afford little or no cover:: . Church towers and

buildings are .the only viewpoints.
(The "Geographic ivilitaire de la Belgique, Armee .Belge",. describes the polder country as "gencralement impropre aux operations' militaires," )
PLTN" (See Diagram 2)

15.

Briefly 5 Canadian Infantry Division planned to carry out its

taslkin-four phases:Phase 1, A.At first light on D day (6 October), 7 Canadian Infantry Brigade Group ras to' assault the LEOPOLD C~NAL from approximately MOERSH-OOPD to the canal junction at STROOIBURG-, and to establish.a bridgehead and clear the area MOERSH-OOFD - VALEISIREEK - A~DENBURG - Mi'IDDELBURG and back to the canal, 8 Canadian Infantry Brigade, on orders from the Division, was to pass through the bridgehead and seize the crossings at SLUIS, while 7 Canadian Infantry Brigade was to expand 4 and clear the area to the SLUIS - BRUGES Canal. 9 Canadian Infantry Brigade Group was to assault across SAVOJuiRDS PLiT on D + 2, establish a bridgehead in the I-O.OFDPLAT - BIERVLIET area,, and clear up to BPESIKNS 7 Canadian Infantry Brigade A t the, same' tin,. inclusive. nd' 8 Canadian was to seize OOSTBURG and SCHOONDIJKE, Infantry Brigade was to make good the crossings at The 7 Canadian Recce.Regiment was to clear RETR 'NCI-JENT. of the *"islaind" the SE area 8 Canadian Infantry Brigade was to clear the INOCKE area.

S

Phase 2,

Phase 3.

Phase 4. ALRTILLER Y

CCRA 2 Canadian Corps co-ordinated all fire requirements and 14. Guns available were two Divisional controlled IF and CB tasks. viz 14 25-prs, 128 mediums, and 55 heavies Artilleries and two AGRis and super-heavies, a total of 327, all calibres.

.... /TrE ASSAULT

-5-

'T:iE ASSAULT ACROSS TI

LEOPOLD CNTAL

15, The plan for the establishment of the bridgehead envisaged an assault by two battalions of 7 Canadian Infantry Brigade - 1 C Scot R on

the RIGH-T,

and Regina Rif on the IT

which was about 90 feet wide.

- at several points over the canal,

i'The enemy positions on the far side of the canal were known 'to be dug in on the reverse side of the canal dyke. Owing to the difficulty' of neutralising such positions with BE and SA fire, an exercise was carriedout with 'ASPS on an exactly similar piece of ground, to see -whether flame could be projected into the slit trenches. This trial showed that"if bthe flame was aimed at the near edge of the dyke, just below the crown,a . goodly portion of the fuel would riccochet and splash into the trenches.

16. All available WASPS were accordingly assembled to-support the assault. Eleven were positioned behind the near bank at 60 yards interval to flame the 1 C SCOT R front. Owing to the difficult apprpaches,.only: six equipments could be got up to support the Regina Rif on the..LET. At 0525, WASP firing began, and immeidiately it ceased-the attacking companies clambered over the dyke and launched their assault boats. The N Shore Regt, under command 7 Canadian Infantry Brigade provided ferrymen, On the RIGHT, for 10 minutes after K hour, no fire was returned by the enemy and both companies of I C SCOT R crossed, and Kapok bridges were established without opposition. A known strong point was set on fire and rendered innocuous, ahd 'soie hobuses thirty yards beyond. the canal were ignited. On the LTFT however, heavy fire was met as .the Regina Rif assault boats' were launched. 'A' Company on the RIGH-T was unable to launch itself at all, while 'B' Company on the L 'T managed -to get across, not without some casualties, but suffered severely when it moved inland. 'WEST of STROOIBURG-, the LEOPOLD and DERIVATION Canals converge and are separated by a narrow island. MGi positions on the island enfiladed the crossing places and caused heavy casualties, while mortaring steadily increased. 17. Nevertheless, the two battalions held on to the far bank and the remaining companies of the Regina Rif crossed at 'B' Comapny's ferry on the ~F'T. By darkness, 1 C SCOT R held a small bridgehead in the vicinity of Regina Rif bridgehead consisted of a single line.. MIORSDO'D and YUILP2 . of men along the canal side of the dyke, stretching from opposite G-R~ JAi F to the main road. Repeated efforts were made to get depth by pushing groups out to the front, but every movement drew intense, fire. The enemy was st eadily reinforced and made repeated counter He hung on to his positions attacks in spite of suffering heavy casualties. held out within along the canal dyke between the two batoalions, and still the Regina Rif sector, in two strong points on the canal bank. They 18. On 7 October, the R TIG R were put in to close the. gap. crossed behind the RIGHT battalion and proceeded to move ,IEST to clear OOSTHOEK, but this w-Ls no easy matter and the juncture was not made until The enemy.showed no signs of slackening, and it was another 9 October. four days before it was possible to build-the -required bridges near At the same time, he suffered severe losses, and it turned STROOIBURG. out later that he had spent a considerable portion of his best troops in the costly counter attacks against the bridgehead.

AUSS.ULT IT: 19.
its

PLOSS SHOJAA DS iUT (For detailedaccount of this
63). After brief training in the G-iENT ...

operation see Immediate Report No.

Meanwhile, '9 Canadian Infantry Brigade Group was preparing for.
amphibious assault from TEII EUZEN.

/area, .its

-

-

area, its Assault Group, consisting of two batcaions and 'actical Brigade Headquarters, moved off in the evening of 7 October, sailing in LVTs up the GIT-TERZNEU T Canal. The 20-mile journey was uneventful, until the damaged locks at TEN' UZE" were reached about 2200 hours. Here, ramps had been constructed to enable the LVTs to make a detour on land to by-pass the locks, but owing to the difficulty of ascending the ramp, each LVT had to be towed out singly, and it was found impossible to mount the assault at the appointed hour viz: a "touch-dov'n" on the island at 0130 hours. It was therefore decided to postpone the assault for 24 hours, and the troops and LVTs were qickly dispersed to harbour before first light, and out of observation from the enemy. 20. For the carrie of the Assault Group, the LVTs had been organised in two flotillas. "A" Flotilla consisted of 46 LVTs carrying the Nth NS HIGRS who were to land on the more Northerly beach "GREEN." "B1" flotilla had 51 LVTs, of which 5 were for Tactical Brigade Headquarters, and 46 for ijLI of C who were to land on "A~ 'ER" beach . Each infantry battalion s allotment included four LVTs for carriers of the Commandin Officer ahd three FOOs, three for ,ASPS, four for 6-pr guns and four for Loyd towers, four for Company Commanders' carriers and four for Jeeps. 21. K hour.for the touch-down was put back to 0200 hours 9 October. personnel re-embarked on the evening of 8 October, and at 0020 hours the leading flotilla commenced to move into the outer harbour, and shortly 'afterards the convoy emerged into the SC-IDLDT. "A" Flotilla had a 5miles journey to their beach; "B". Flotilla had 4 miles to go to AMR. The convoy was piloted by an Officer 'RN, and each flotilla was precede by a motor boat equipped with a compass. A careful study was made of air photographs and charts, and marker shells were fired on to the landing beaches as a further aid to navigation. Direction keeping was good and both flotillas 0210 hours, i.e. about .10 minutes late... touched down at

Opposition was almost.negligible and surprise was complete. 22. After daylight, the FLUSKING batteries and guns from BIERVLIET opened on ,the beaches and the sea approaches, and delayed the vehicles already ashore in getting up to their units, but by 0830 hours both battalions had all their o6mpanies in position on their initial objectives. rBy 0500 hours, most of the LVTs had turned round to return for the Follow-up Group, and this started to arrive on the beaches'about 0915 During the morning the third, battalion, SD & G Highrs, disemhours. barked and completed its arrangements to attack HOOFDPLA T. Enemy reaction steadily .stiffened during the day, and the FLUSHINTG guns were a constant nuisance, in spite of a smoke screen in laid by the Pioneer Smoke Company, from TRNEUZEN to the the SCHI7LD, By The bridgehead, however, was firm. RIGHTT flank of the brigade. 1630 hours, SD & G Highrs had two companies in HOOFDPLIuT, and the Nth The 'DGE. NS Kighrs in the C\Ti E .made some progress towards DRIE I-I of C, on the L;.'T, supported by the fMG Company and- two platoons of 4.2 inch mortars who arived in the Follow-up Group, held their positions against a number of counter attacks which developed from the BIERVLIET area. On 10 October, the village and harbour of IHOODP In the first captured and Nth NS Highrs were in DRIEtEGEN. AT were twenty-

four hours the Brigade took 265

. ..

As soon as the Follow-up Group had been ferried across, the were re-organised into their orwn squadrons, and each squadron LVTs produced 15 craft at the loadiin point every fourihours by day, and . . once by night.
... /TERRAPI S for

-7TERRAPITS for the carriage of ammunition and stores, were brought into use on the evening of 10 October. 23. In view" of the situation -on the LEOPOLD CAINAL, it was decided to put 8 Canadian Infantry Brigade and the Recce Regiment, through the SAVOJAARDS PIAT bridgehead. Their task was to push SW, and at the sametime, to open a route from the SOUTH in the ISABELLA area, in conjunction with the 4 Canadian Armoured Division. Until a land route was opened, the progress of 9 Canadian Infantry Brigade' would be limited, as it would soon be beyond effective support of its artillery, still FAST of SAVOJA~ DS PLAAT. 24. The 7 Canadian Recce Reginent was ferried across on 11 October. Operating as Infantry, it relieved HLI of C, who then attacked and captured BIERVLIET. The enemy hung on tenaciously to his positions along the dykes, and in both bridgeheads our forward troops compared the fighting with the heaviest of the campaign. In'addition to the fixed defences of TALCHERIN, BRESITS and CAiDZAD, he had a good supply of .20 mm guns which he used as Mis, and a profusion of light automatics;' These latter, dug. in on both sides of the dykes, complotely commanded the open fields and polders, and it was found that each post had to be dealt with individually by moving along the top of the dyke. . Much use was made of WASP flamethrowers, Where the ground made it possible, they moved along the dyke.. berm, and flamed the bank in a "herring bone" pattern, while the .infantry advanced along the top, With the arrival'of 8 Canadian Infantry Brigade, the area was 25. extended SOUTH and S'. On the evening of 14 October, this brigade joined up with a battalion of 4 Canadian Armoured Division, who had come up from the SOUTH after some fierce fighting among floods, mines and booby-traps. The land route through ISABELLA was now open. ED LEOPOLD CAL BRIDCG rr During this time, 4 Canadian Armoured Division had done more than 26. merely picquet the canal line, and in addition to opening the. land route at But its Eastern end, had undertaken various diversions along its length. it was urgently required elsewhere, and on 17 October, 6 HLI and the Recce Regiment of 52 (L) Division, took over, enabling the Armoured Division to leave the area, The remainder of 157 Infantry Brigade now arrived, and on 19 27. October relieved 7 Canadian Infantry Brigade which was withdrawn from the bridgehead, preparatory to joining the other two brigades of the division. RPROGRESS PURTRL CROSS TE] "ISLND, "t

Continued pressure from the EAST caused the enemy to make a 28~ IJZM\DIJI was captured on 17 October, and on 19 general withdrawal. October, the two bridgeheads linked up when 7 Canadian Recce Regiment made contact with 157 Infantry Brigade near ST KRUIS. S a- SCHOONDIJ The enemy retired to the general line BPRESI and this enabled 157 Infantry Brigade to occupy OOSTBJURG - SLUIS, AARDE4NBURG without opposition. -

On 21 October, 7 Canadian Infantry Brigade returned to the battle, 29. this time in 9 Canadian Infantry rigade' s area, with the ultimate object On the same day, the SD & G HIG-RS attacked of relieving that formation. capture 24 hours later. completed its BRESKH\TS, and was taken on 23 October, and patrols were in the old 3SCHD0IIJI\ FORT FRDiRICK LElTRIK, but they were forced to withdraw and it was not ... /finally cleared

-

-

finally cleared until 25 'dctober our hands.,

when the1ih

NS HIG-GRS made it

firm in.

as noas withdrawn, in order to iae 9 Carnadian Infa ntry Bs; . puzzle the enemiy as to its future employment, and 7 Canadian Infantry Brigade pushed through to;vards. GROEDE.
.BBC, announced that the 'danadians had.. A bout this tine, the 30 withdrawn from BES1E S, To.our troops Who were sitting there, this seemed strange though NT iunprecedented, but t he German Commander, who* also heard it, later admitted that he thought this was another example of Canadian cunning. On 24 October, 157 InfantryBriade reverted to command of 52 31. (L) Division for employment elsewhere, and turned over its area of resegiment which remained under command 3 Canadian ponsibility to 52 Recc
Infantry Division. The Recce Regiment was in -urn relieved by 3

Canadian Anti'tani 32.-

Regim.ent,.

PORT PRsDiRICr

The"line now held by 3 Canadian Infantry Division ran from atERIK - G 0'KE - OOSTBTURG to DRAAIURG, all inclusive, and it is now inecessary to consider the operations which were developing for the clearance of SOUTH BL I1EAND.

-9P .A-R. T

IV

TrE CLE 2-TG OF SOU~Ti.-

BEELD

- OPERATIONS VITAILITY Iand VITALITY II

PLANING

The intended method of clearing SOUTH BEVEL D was briefly as 33. While 4 Canadian Armoured Division attacked in the direction of follows. BERGEN-OP-ZOOM1, with the object of securing the front and RIGiT-'flank of 2 Canadian Infantry Division, the latter formation would clear the peninsula 4 Canadian Infantry and secure the causeway leading to WALC:RN island. Brigade was to have the primary task of advancing TVZST along the isthmus to 5 Canadian Infantry Brigade CAtAL. L seize a bridgehead over the BEV ,ND was to carry out an amphibious assault from the SOUT:k of the SCHELDT, and Alternatively, POLDER. the twvo brigades were to.link up in the area of GRATVn 5 Canadian Infantry Brigade was to'be prepared to follow 4 Canadian Infantry 6 Canadian Infantry Brigade was to Brigade Westwards along the isthmus.' NORTH and'EAST' of WOENSD CH T, and was to be prepared to contain the enemyi pass through i4 Canadian Infantry Brigade beyond the line of the BEVELI]D CANAL. US. ASSAULT ALOING TKF IST ,1 VITALITY I.

It is difficult to:imagine a more unsuitable piece of country in 34. The greater part Of it is reclaimed land, held which to fight a battle. Movement is restricted to the one main road, and in position by dyke. , Large the minor approach roads along the dykes SOUTH of t'he main road. areas had been flooded, particularly just EAST of the BVEIu ND CNriL, while the remainder was saturated ground. ' The enemy strength on SOUTH BlVELAND was problematical. reports stated that reinforcements had recently arrived on the peninsula, but indications generally-were that about 3000 troops might be encountered. fighting which had taken place around Owing to the. stiff 35. WOETNSDRECE , and the enemy' s continued threats from BERGEN-OP-ZOOM, 156 Infantry Brigade was given the task Of making the assault from across the While 4 Canadian Infantry Brigade was bein concentrated, SCHELDT. preparatory to leading the way across the isthmus, on 23 October 6 Canadian At the same Infantry Brigade started an advance NORTH towards' KORTEVEN. to clear the time, 5 Canadian Infantry Brigade attacked N!y of W0~CSDRECHT Both brigades had limited success, but area NORTH of the railway line. the hold on the area was strengthened and 4 Canadian Infantry Brigade was able to s tart its advance at.0430 hours on 24 October. SOUTH of the main road, R Regt of C made good progress in face of 36. the ESSEX moderate opposition, but on the main road and NORTH of it, resistance from heavy gun and anti-tank fire, SCOTTISH encountered stiff and were further delayed, by the wholesale cratering of the road,

37.

regiment about a mile further Vi ST, and. 6 Canadian Infantry Brigade began On the 26th, the latter brigade reached to pass through them. KRIiBBfNIJZ. and was nearing WA 'lDE. The advance continued against light opposition, but was conone crater on the siderably hanrpered by inundations, mines and craters; On the 27 October, 6 Canadian main road bein 70 feet in diameter. Infantry Brigade reached the canal, to find the road and railway bridges of During the night, the SSR crossed the canal just SOUTH0 VLJ , blown. the following day, By noon and the FUS MR crossed 'TEST of RUI\NGEI. a 'Class 9 bridge was open near VLAKE, The BE.ELTD CANAL was 300 feet wide, and the bridging of it was a major operation for the Engineers. S../At the same

line 'running NORTH and SOUTH through RILL[NAD, with elements of the recce

By the following day,

4 Canadian Infantry Brigade had reached a

-10 At the same time, the 4 Canadian Armoured'Division had secured B RGT-OP-ZOOM, and 3 Canadian Infantry Brigade was moved Y'WST to join in the drive beyond the canal. 38. i n the advance along the isthmius, many of the difficult . positions were captured by successful night attacks following long advances carried out in darkness, and the main highway was avoided as. much as possible. 10 Canadian Armoured Regiment naturally .did:not find the 39. marshy dyke-land of the peninsula g.od tank country and some variatidns. On nearly all from normal method of deployment were necessary. occasions, the .inantry were supporte d by. a troop or squadron of tanks, the most comipmon arrangement beino one troop to a battalion. On 24 October, an in'antry company' was supported by one troop of tanks and one troop. of 8 Canadian tecce Regiment, .the tanks and recce After one 75 nm gun cars being deployed in advance of the infantry.. knocked out three recce cars and three tanks, it was decided that had In later engagements the . this -type of formation was inadvisable. infditry pushed ahead with the tanks behind them, and hen armoured support was required, the tanks were generally deployed on the flanks, On occasions, the tanks to greater advantage and with fewer casualties. were used with considerable effect from "hull-down" positions behind dykes in which the infantry had previously 'lown holes for them with Further support wa.s given by indirect shoots, using bursts grenades. of .delayed action E,, .and directed by a 00. Thus, in spite, of the unsuitable terrain, these small "packets' .of taenks were able to give valuable support to the Division, B7EVELANID. both on the isthmus and later in SOUILh

-

11 -

ASSUILT ACROSS S3EIL DT 4

STURY

VITALITY II

Diagram 3

_eI

NTNflNG

40. This operation entailed the placing of 15:6 Infantry Brigade Group ashore on SOUTH BrEVEL A . from concentration areas in and near TERZIUZET, and, subsequent to the initial assault, landing the .necessary build-up and maintenance until such time as this could be brought by road along-the SOUTH BEVJEL\1D isthmus. Combined planning between 5 Canadian infantry Brigade and 1 Assault Brigade RP commenced on 21 October, 156 :Inantry Brigade.also held a watching brief, and when it was decided on 22 October that they should make the assault, they were already in the picutre.

&fEEIT ION
41 156 Brigade Group was to establish a bridgehead on the general '" ERG - dyke junction marked "i 1 on line inclusive HOEDENSKERKE - M{OL:E0 diagram 3, on the night 24/25 October, with a view to a further advance NiW as quickly as possible. Owing to the delay imposed on the advance of 2 Canadian Infantry Division along the isthmus, orders were issued on the evening of 24 October for the operation to be postponed 24 hours. CRIFT AVAILAiBLL 176 LVTs were used for the initial assault and follow up, 80 42. In under command 5 Assault Regiment RE, and 96 under command 11 R Tks. addition, 25 LOAs were available and 27 .TEBRRAiiI'TS were used in the build up and maintenance programme. One squadron of STAFI0F'S YLO, under conrmiand 1 Assault Brigade RE was in support of 156 Infantry Brigade.

ALLOCATION
LVT2. LVT 4 LCA

Assault

(4/5 Ral Group
6 .CirtONIi~N Group 156 Infantry Brigade S 'R' Group

19
20 1 4 .39

55
3 33
2

2
2 17 4

Initial load
" .
."

"

" "
" "

Followup

(7 CiERONTIANS Group
(STAi YEO

43.

The build-up covered approaches and.a clearer channel across the estuary. in the IHLST. area, whence it would be called gioup was to concentrate These were in the forward as required to the build-up loading areas. the LCAs and TiRRAPINS were to use a small, harbour in OSSE'iISSE peninsula; .corner; a passage for the LVTss .vas to be cut through the sea dyke the

The initial-assault was to be launched from TEBRTBIZEI as this had

in the 1 44.

.corner.

Craft and assaulting troops began to assemble at T RNEUZBN on The LCAs came by train from OSTMD to GFIT, the evening of 23 October. get them through the damaged locks, it was io thence up the canal. and owas completed. after Loading to dam 'the canal at TERlITEZN. necessary 25 October. dark on I:TD STAS INITIAL OBJECTrld:S 45. RIGHI
L"

Or ABSAULT CGOUP
t

-4/5.lSIP
-

Group. Group.

lotilla

GE .assault CI .. C, .. capture .A,

beach and and D.

1 6 C.vLRONL2'

:

iMBER beach 'B' Fflotilla - To assault and capture E, P and G-. .... ... /If opposition

-12

]Si

If opposition was light, ./5 RS were to capture EL0LJ CAMjERONIANS were to push on due PtST. SOLlOW-UP GROUP

E

,. and 6

lotilla and would land as ordered by the Brigade 46. This formed '0F Commander. Its probable task would be to concentrate NORTH and W of 'BT dRL'iD, with a view :(i) S To seizing certain'localities between HODEKMNSK l; GRAV ,LPODER.
or

and

(ii)

To advancing iW.,

TEi, ?ASSAG
H hour, the time of touch down was.fixed for.0445 hours, 2. 47. October. At 0245 hours, 'A' and 'B' flotillas set 'ff. Each had with it two LCAs, one to act, s guide, and one as whipper-in. As an The distance to the beaches was between 3 and. miles aid to navigation, two red leading lights, operated by a generating set, beach as the lead-. .AMBER on the SOUTH bank, immediately SOUTH of were lit the OSSTTISSE peninsula BOFORS tracer were fired from ing craft passed. to just NORTH of GEi l beach to prevent craft going too far NORTH, and marker shells were fired on to the beaches. at intervals from H - 10 onwards, The two flotillas touched down at 0450 hours, 5 minutes late. There vas no resistance on ABR, but GREE beadh was shelled and there were some casualties to craft. PROGRESS O
40G.

TM ASSAULT

4/5 RSF soon had one company in locality (A) and another in BAKiDORP, and were approaching BA'iRLt2D, while 6 CiMRONIJANS made good At 0635 hours, the two battalions were in progress towards (F). contact. The follow-up group, 'C' Flotilla, was now landed on iAMBB' The s quadron beach and 7 C1AlRONIANS moved inland about 1000 yards. was unable to proceed in~ ST;PS iYO arrived about the sace time, but Some were bogged down on the mud flats, others were unable to land. An attempt was made to use a ramp which was being. .cross the dyke. constructed at the dyke, but this was stopped by the Brigade Commander The as it became cut up, and priority was given to infantry vehicles. on the beach. Squadron then gave fire support from their positions During the day, the bridgehead was expanded, in spite of a 49, strong counterattack from the NORTH which made a temporary penetration.. OUDEL~tDE was captured by 6 OI'avIONITS. and by the end of the day, the 7 an t'. A Di, of lo4ita bridgehead was on the general li to the road from BAmfldi were in reserye an patrollirg CAI;ION OUDEDE. and MG fire during the The enemy indulged in spasmodic rifle but the bridgehead was firmly in night and there,was some infiltration, our hands. On 27 October, t he brigehead was extended by 7 CAVRONINS 50. 4/5 RSF pushed forward towards who made progress beyond OUDEIEDE. 5, LI, of 157 Infantry. RG but were again counterattacked. MOLE 156 infantry Brigade and in the early Brigade, had been ordered to join hours of 28 October were ferried across, followed later in the day by ' . 1 GLAS H.

... /L56 Infantry

- 13 156 Infantry Brigade pushed on towards the line MO~BERG -

ELLENOUTSDIJK and 7 C AERONIATS captured .the latter place.
MOL;ERG but opposition was stiff that it was in their hands,. and it

5 IU-1 attacked

was not until late that night.

51. On 29 October, progress was general on the front of 2 Canadian Infantry Division and.52 (L) Division. -To. the NORTH 4 and 5 Canadian Infantry Brigades had passed through 6 Canadian Infantry Brigade and crossed the BEi'VE I 0I.L. 5 Canadian Infantry Brigade moned and

liberated' GOES, while 4 Canadian Infantry Brigade Worked SOUTH of the
main road and linked up with 156 Infantry Brigade in area.. the GRAVERPOLDER

While 156 Infantry Brigade held a firmibas'e in

the bridgehead

and expanded to lin

up witti

the Canadians,

the battalions of 157 Infantry

Brigade advanced on the general line OUDELMNDE - DRIEfEG'N - S'IEEENHOEK. By midday, 52 (L) Division had taken over: 600 prisoners since-the landing. Two Field Regiments of t.he division now arrived'ihn SOUTH B.iVEL ND by the land route, via MTTERP and a third was ,on its way. On 50 October, 2 Canadian Infantry, Division pushed on towards 52. the causeway, until held up at the EA'ST end by determined oo'positionn and mines. With 157 Infantry Brigade leading, directed on the causeway, 52 (L) Division expanded ;\. and held the area SOUTH of the general line

HOEDDN SKERE

S'LHEER

OEK,

The next day, 4 Canadian Infantry Brigade cleared the EAST end of the causeway, and 5 Canadian Infantry Brigade, who passed through them, had their leading elements within 100 yards of the' far end where they were pinned by heavy mortar fire and a profusion of ?MGIsited in the WULCT~iE T dykes.
COivUIvM 'TND

It was decided that GOC 52 (L) Division should command the 53. Accordingly, he directed C 1 52 (L) impending ALClEREN operations. Division to assume general direction of the two infantry brigades and the

divisional artillery operating in SOUTE BEELA D.

The task of the force -

to be known as "B NORCE" - was to take over from 2 Canadian Infantry Division and to be prepared, subsequently, to clear the Eastern portion of on FLUSHING and secondly, or alternatively, i-ALCi~2RN and to advance, firstly

on MIDDELBURT. CONCLUSION OF VITALITY I

ND

II

Meanwhile, the Northern portion of SOUTH B EL ND had been cleared by 8 Canadian Recce Regiment, and it was clear that all resistance on the peninsula had now ceased.

54.

of NORTH BV'LANID .was necessary the peninsula, a Squadron of 8 Canadian Recce Regiment for the .safety of They established crossed over by means of some barges found near KORP GENE. a firm base around their bridgehead, and patrols sent out in all directions collected some 600 PF on the island.
,As they considered the clearance

AI1NTMIMANC

OF TH

BRIDGEI-D ON SOUT i

B

. L

D

The build-up programme from the OSSETISSE peninsula had been 55. A'tno stage were continued during 26, 27 and the morning of 28 October. the operations suspended, although fog on the night 26/27 October reduced visibility to 50 yards and a number of craft lost their bearings and were Attempts were made to ship a searchlight to be sited on unable to land. Rebut as it weighed 10 tons this was found impossible. JAMI beach, course was then made to the firing of tracer in short bursts during the .. night to

- 1 4.night to direct craft to iMEiR. Heavy rain on. 27ctober, ah durin the night, made the d: :: Tand OUT ramps practically .impassable, short of towing .each LVT separately through the mud with a bulldozer. It. was therefore decided to transfer the LVTs to TMERUZ i where conditions were better. .. After the morin g of 30 October, LIT's were no longer required as the land route into I'OUITH BEDILOD was then opened up.., On 27 October, the 80 LVTs of 5 Assault Regiment, RE and 17 of i 11 R Tks were w:ithdrawn to participate in the operations against but nevertheless, some 700 loads were carried by LVTs to IALCO-iRE, SOUTH B EL . .I..ND

56.

Prom the morning of 26 October, the LCAs and TEiR2PTMS had successfully carried, out "a stores maintenance programme£from the small

harbour near OSSTEISSE.
to the roads on the far

Conditions of tide prevented more than one

turn round being made each day, and .appreciable .delay was caused by the

difficulty of getting TE APINS and other vehicles-ff the beach and on
side.

About 20 miles of tracing tape and 300 marking lamps were used in marking the routes and marshalling areas. . LVTs .and TERAPINS used 27,000 gallons of. petrol during the operation,.

-

15

-

PAR T CO0IVPLETION O

V

PEP TION ISWITOiiBACK"

57. Before considering the assaults on ALCI-iIE , it is necessary to revert to the operations still continuing for the elimination of the enemy in "the BRI;ESiS pocket." On 24 October, 7 and 8 Canadian Infantry Brigades were roughly on the line GROEDE - OOSTBURG - DP RIBURG, with 9 Canadian Infantry Brigade in reserve, aid 3 Canadian Anti-tank Regiment SE of. SLUIS. The next objectives for 7 and 8 Canadian Infantry Brigades, 58. respectively, were CiDZiAD and ZUIDZANDE. The enemy's resistance was now breaking and he gradually withdrew to the -DERIVATION CjANAL which passes close to RETPJITCI-~i T. CADZMaD and ZUIDZ ADE were occupied without opposition and both brigades were quickly directed on RETRNTC~M TT The intention was then to break into where a crossing was to be secured. in reserve. the INOC i area with 9 Canadian Infantry Brigade who were still While REGIUA RI 1 of 7 Canadian Infantry Brigade encountered 59. stubborn resistance as they moved down the coast above CADZAND, the DERIVATIOIN was reached on a broad. front. During the night 30/31 October, tmo battalions of 9 Canadian Infantry Brigade crossed the canal near :RETRXNCHfIENT 'in the face of light MeanBy the following evening they were close to KNOCKE. opposition. while, some four hours after the infantry got across, the Engineers had Despite fairly heavy mortar fire, this was started to put up a bridge. completed before first light 1 November. Early in the morning of 1 November, another bridge was completed 60. near SLUIS and at 0645 hours, N S-HOI~ R (8 Canadian Infantry Brigade), Later in launched an attac against the town which was quickly taken. the day, another battalion passed through them and advanced on WESTIhPELIE using WEASELS across the inundated country. ESTIPELLE was captured the following day, and the (QOR of C) accepted the surrender of the garrison as far WEST In the meantime, 9 Canadian Infantry Brigade LEOPOLD CANAL. KNOCKG and by nightfall had pushed through i2YST to the canal battalion as the had occupied line.

During these operations on i and 2 November, a very creditable 61. piece of work was carried out by 3 Canadian Anti-tank Regiment who were Under command of 8 Canadian Infantry Brigade, and given an infantr;.y role. in conjunction with the advance on SLUIS and.:STI'LT.L, the Regiment was given the task of crossing the SLUIS - BRU-GES Canal, capturing the village 1 , and cleaning up the area between WEST PELIE and the of OOSTIKE LEOPOLD Canal. In spite of their limited acquaintance with the principles of infantr-y fire and movement, the Regiment set about its task with enthusiasm. Supported by some of their own M 104, who at times were shooting atpractically point blank range, they carried out their task, not without some opposition, and killed a large number of enemy, capturing 350 P . It now only remained to mop-up the strip between ZEEBRUGGE and 62. This was done- by 7 Canadian Recce Regiment, and the LEOPOLD CIANAL. operation "SWIT LxB1CK" was concluded at 0930 hours, 3 November, having yielded 12,500 prisoners.

-

16 -

PART.
1 D

VI lh«-TUU TE I ANID'In
;NING .

ASS 5

1j

QN TIEE OULl

ISLAND01 -IOAl

1TLCKEIT
P

01.x

63 . Planning at HQ First Canadian Army started early in September, On 21 September, the Cormmander of the Naval Force ("T") arrived, and his own HQ was set up on 1 October, at BRUGS, :'in contact ith HQ 4 SS Brigade who were the troops detailed for the main sea-borne assault. directed the .close support air operations. 84 Group REi Liaison with Bomber Command was made through First Canadian Army and 84 Group.

Canadian irmy,.. it Was %o b'e: carried out under .the -orders of 2 Canadian
Corps who came into the detailed planning on the institution 6f the combined THQ at BRUGES.

While the operati6nfwas under the general direction of First

Two sea-borne assaults were to be male on the island, c 64. same day. ,.

:he

INF TUATE I
II"f TUTE II .v

- An attack on FLUSHIIIG by No. 4 Cormando, proceeding
direct from BRESKEiS in LCA., - An attack. on the ies tern side of the island, near STIKPIiELLE , by Noso, 41, 47 and' 48 Commandos of 4 SS Brigade., and No. 1 0 ( .A.) Conmmando.

155 Infantry Brigade wa;s to be held in reserve at BRESINS. the Brigade would assault at FLUJSHNG proved successful If the initial assault failed, 155 Infantry, If the initial immediately:follow through. Brigade wsas to move overland to OSTEND, and was then to be landed at SSTiAI LLE and pass through 4 SS Brigade. In conjunction with the sea-borne landigs an assault was to be made from- SOUTH BNUVELATD.
TARGET DA:TE AND H HOUR

From the Naval point of view, it was essential to land at 65. As: far as the as soon after l w water as possible., WSTKIPEZ.E "about 5 hours daylight was the mininmum. ground troops were concerned,

required to secure the D day objectives, and therefore a landing was
not acceptable later than 1300 hours. To allow time for a rehearsal, 12 November was. the date Owing to the urgency of commencing sweeping originally selected,; the success of the flooding, anticipated heavy bomber prooperations, gramme, and the fact that the troops detailed were well acquainted with the technique of combined operations, a decision was taken on 25 October. The assault was to be made on 1 November, to go without a rehearsal.

the first occasion on which the tides served.
H hour was accordingly fixed for 094,
PELIMITM.OP

hours.

IONS. i:

. :. the follow-

In addition to the operations ,previously described, ing were to be carried out before the attach ~tas launched: -,

66.

..(a)/Bombing

of

- .17 (a) Bombing of the ESTKPELLE and other dykes, to flood the island. By flooding the island it was considered that many of the defences Swould be submerged, and that the .garrison would be driven out or appreciably restrictedin, its movements. If, at the.same time, a large enough gap could be made in a sea dyke, it wvould enable the defences to be taken in the rear by waterborne forces. Systematic:softening of the remaining defences by bombing and straffig, and by artillery deployed on the SOUTH bank of the SCELDT, Special recces of beaches, S etc, by "TARBRUSH" parties.

(b)

(c)

DESCIMION OF THE DiENC

67. The defences were sited primarily to prevent a seaborne landing from the TEST and to cover the entrance to the WEST SCiHEDT. The EST and SOUTH sides of the island were protected by underwater obstacles, wire and infantry positions on the' dykes and dunes, with gun batteries in support behind. FLUSHING had a perimeter defence system, including two anti-tank ditches. The strong points on the SW coast, as far NORTH as W.STKALLE, were fairly heavily fortified, though less heavily than those at FLUSHING. It was reported that the beaches' and dunes, and their exits, were thoroughly Allowing for the losses in SOUTH BIVLAND, the strength of the. mined. garrison was estimated at about 6000, mostly from 70 Infantry Division. BOMBINGOF TI-E D ES ND FLOODING.

week.in October, the dykes were breached by During the first 68. Bomber Command at four points. . . .
NE , .I of VE

SOUTH
EST' .

-

Both EAST and

SOUTH end of the

TEST of FLUSHING DLIK ., dEST1 EL

The breaches were improved by further attacks later in the month. The width of example of precision. bombing. This was a brilliant 69. breach required by Canadian Army in the 'WSTI~LLE dyke was 300 yards:; in At its base, this dyke is 330 feet fact, a breach of .380 yards was made. its average height above high water level was 16 feet, and above wide; Considerable doubt was expressed as to whether low water level, 29 feet. such a work could be breached. on 21 October, Complete small scale, photo cover of WALCiSPLI 70. 1), indicates .the extent to which floodwater had invaded the (Appendix .On The only dry area of any. size is seen on the EAST side, island. the NORTH, WEST and SOUTH only the dunes and dykes remain above water MIDDELBURG and FLUSING- are surrounded, On 28 October air photograph interpretation showed that out of an original total of 25 active batteries, flooding and bombing had accounted for all but 11 active batteries, and 4 others, probably unserviceable. SOFTEM\TING-UP PRO ESS
-. .
i

,

.

.

. ".-

\

'

-

Between 11 and 31 October, Bomber Command flew 91 sorties and 71 This was in addition to the effort against dropped 4871 tons of bombs. the dykes. Between 28 and 31 October, 654 Spitfire sorties'and 150 Typhoon sorties were flown, against pre-selected targets, gun positions, dualpurpose AA guns and radar sites.
..

/i

liRUnvSH

.ART

.

- 18 TAR2BRUSI~ PiRTIES'

72.

Some nights previous to the

parties inspected the beach area. It waS confirmed that 'the gap seemed negotiable, and it was noticed that the enemy in its vicinity were very alert and had positioned four searchlights, to cover, it,

LST'KAP LL .assault.special reoce

73.

and February. Widespread land fog, which forms at night and clears by day, is common in winter, when the NW beaches are subject to a heavy swell and strong waves. Conditions are such that the most optimistic reports estimated one day in three as being suitable for troops to land at .ESTKi LITLU from LCls. For this reason use of LCAs.was abandoned and it was decided to split the assault between the LCI(S) and amphibians launched from LCTs who would touch down shortly after the LCI(S). FINAL DECISION .

This was variable, with conditions worst between November and.

74.
IdITI

It

was decided on 26 October that:-. would be mounted on 1 November, weather permitting, regardless of'flying conditions, and regardless of whether INATUATE II sras launched that day or not. would be mounted on 1 November, weather permitting, and regardless of whether air support would be available. ON FLUSHIITG N (See Diagrams 4 - 5.),,.

JA42-I I iTE

1\LPAiJAT~1E

II

PI:N POR T

h A'

75.

The assault was to be made by 4 Commando carried in 20 LCAs,
10 (.A.) Commando, and one "TR RUSIT"

with a section of DUTCH troops,

party under command. Their task was to seize a bridgehead :at TOENCE beach, and to clear the area of FLUSEING- bounded by PAL AiJfTHT - BEXHILL DOV!E._
The Follow-up consisted of 4 IOSB, (155 Infantry Brigade), carried in 20 LCAs. They were to follor 4 Commando, ard 'pass through to clear the area of FLUSHING, NORTH of BEXHILL and there reorganize. 4 Commando was under command 155 Infantry Brigade.

'In
TIMIINGS

Squadron"i11 .RTks)

addition to the 40 LCAs, there wre available 20 LVTs ('A' and 26 M-290 (VEA sLS.)

H-hour 0545 hours. i Bombing .of FLUSHING to cease r tillery barrage on FLUSHING water-front TRBRUSH and one LCA 4 Commando, land on UNCLE 0530 hrs 0530 - O540 .rs

76

a) b c

trs 0545h
0550 - 0555 hlrs .0635 hrs 0725 hrs

d
f

5 LCAs,

4 Commando land. two

: 4 Cormmando landing' completed 4 KOSB landing completed -

g)
h)

PE' Platoon 241 Field Company :and bulldozers land
Platoon 'A' Company 7 MANCH land

0755 hrs
0800 hrs

S452
77.

Mountain Battery RA land

0805 hrs

,c On their return from the.assault, the craft were to be formed into a Ferry Service Pool, from which LCAs would be provided as, required.
'

It was estimated that this se rvice would have to maintain the troops
ashore for at least 7 days.

.... /The

LVTs

- 19 The LVTs were to swin exits had been made.
INFORMESN .
NN2I.LL'FORCES -:

across when called

o'r,. af q -sui table-.

.(See

Diar'ams

5)

78,
(a)

These consisted of HQ Force "T", Bombardment Squadron

controlling:6 x 15" guns:. 2..x 15" " :. 2 x 15" "

2Vi3VARSPITE
IIS EREBUS-1:S ROBERTS

(b)

Support craft

LGCD 6 LCO .' 6

LCGM) 2 LCT.(R) 5
LCS (c) Landing craft 6

LOT(Mk IV)
LOT(Mk .II).
LCA

30
5
40

LCI(S)
(d) Miscellaneous craft

6 12 4

IQ rigate .. B.HM KINGSMITIL) LOP(L) -for Soke laying.

LCQ
(e) (f) Six FOB parties. Detachments PIN Beach Commindos :and PTT Beach Signals.

3

(g) 79.
(a' (b

Three LCOCU parties.'
S The target priorities for the Bombardent .guadron were;-

Retaliatory fire if hostile batteries engage sh1p. Calls from FOBs. C' Calls from spotting aircraft. Pre-arranged .tasks. (a The pre-arranged tasks were:WI7SPITE Batteries 17, 19 'and tW5DOMBUR rea ) H - 90 RE~3BUS " 115 Hto. NORTH of ESTKAPELIE. ROBERTS SOUTH of EISTIKapELL) S W154 and 285 :H - 10 The squadron was to- have spotting aircraft based on UK

80. The close support squadron,\ as divided: into two groups, the NORTH group to support 41 Commando, the SOUTH group to support 47 and
48 Commandos. SFire .was NOT to be opened by. gun craft iuntil after .the LCT R)s had fired, unless the enemy were firing, in. which -case, seen sources of fire and pre-arranged targets were to be engaged as soon as they were within effectie range. . The LT(R)s were to fire when at the right range from their Leading aves of respective targets, which should be EH- 10 minutes. landing craft were to.keep station on LOT(R). The pre-arranged targets were enemy defences on the coast, within about 1500 yards on::either. side of the landing beach..
... /The L"T I

-20

-

"The "(R)s-of' the OR -i group were to reload with 'smoke , rockets and be prepared. to'lay a smoke screen, if ordered, to mask the DO0MBURG defences. The 'LCP(Ls ere to be prepared to screen th Southernflan if ordered. AIR SUPPORT 81. Progrande for D day
Heavy

as
bombers' on batteries .. 7, "1 and.. 11.

H - 40 to H - 20

Fighter bombers on the defences between W1l3 and.il54 (2000 yards) of coast S of Y3ST(T EI) "Cabrank" of four Squadron PP Typhoons for attack on pre-selected tiagets in beach cdefences, (after LCT(R )s had fired and before LOTs touched :down). Continuous fighter patrol. Group R

S-.5 to H + 10

I +. 10. orward s

The remaining f iglh er oniters and fighters of 8 wer:to be available f'or support or cover, as required.

4 SS ,RI dDE
82.
securing:,.

less 4 Comnando

The intention was to assault the island with the /object of
..

"

(a)

The dune area from inclusive S'TI J.1 to FLUHNG and destroying "t e batteries contained therein. ,The dune area fron STIApLtn. DYI 'to the Northern tip of the island and destroying all the .batteri s tkherein. The second was ,not to be carried

(b)

(a) was the primary task.. out until it, had been achieved d.

,", called D t ;f . ,,S HITE"'. "TiE ,- m . - : '"TA and
T

The landing was' to be E made in the dyke "gap, S of fESTKALL,E the GPET" was SOUTH :of ....... * .- .. . ... '. *, . .. . .- 'gap , ". .-. . . RED." t o the NORTH.... ' S hour 05945 hour s.

S

.JOT.Vfl:NT QF TROOPS AND ThSLS 83. (a) Covering parties:Three troops 41 Cormmando, with

Parties, to land on foot and seize left shoulder of the gap. (b) 48 Commando in two waves to pass throughi the gap', seize a footing ' .: Ion dunes to the SOUTH:iand th Jcapture~l3. Itv .toas:than exploit and clear the- dune area SOUTH to ZOUTEINDE,, or further
if possible. . "

RN

Beach Signals andDeach

(c)

41 "Command,

with two troops 10 (..)

cozando, had the

primarytask of cap tu ring VSTKAPELL. It was ,then to .22, active, and coae into reserve. if c apture 14 and Subsequently, its probable task would be to capture w17: ....

(d)

47 Coomando was to pass. through the gap, and' clear the dune ,SOUT from,ZOUTELTDE to, inclusive 1ll. I: found necessary,
it was to destroy 2.. ',': .

(e)/atical HQ ..

-

21 -

(e) S (f)

Tactical HQ

,SS Brigade

was to land with.'Comando

Two field coinpanies and a detachment field park company, of 59 GQ Troops', RE, provided, one platoon for each Commond,'for minefield clearance and destruction of concrete gun emplacements. The remainder were to work in the beach area. Vith the exception of the.covering parties the assault -orce was

84.

.

to be mounted .in LVTs (BT3UfAiJES) and M29Cs (-WASELS and landed from LCTs. A total of. 104.LVTs were. providedfrom 11 R Tks and 5 Assault Regiment RE,
and 80. M290s were issued for wich units provided their own drivers. - Included in the assault force were special detachments from 79 8. , Armourd Division consistin of:Ten FLAILS and two
E,'' ht E ( for

BR<N gun tanks of'

i'

Squadron, 1 LOTHIANS.
and four bulldozers of

carrying

SBGs and fascines)

87 Squadron, 6 'Assault Regyiment RE.
These were organised into four 'teams,
Their task-was, in thef irst instance,

each transported in a LOT.
in their attack

to assist,:41- Commando

on TESTKAL]
Subsequently, required, I2TILERY 86. (a)

by the breaching of obstacleson,the dyke and by fire support.
they were. to 'be prepare.d to support-.any of the Commandos as

.

Each Commnando had a FOB party for the bombardment squadron, and another -for the up.ort craft.
In addition i had

0. ,one ..-

'"

-

(b)

Support from land-based guns was provided y 96 IMedums, and 58 SHeavies and 'super heavies but only the. 15, and super heavies, NORH of IE S*1 U. iuns, could reach the ba tcries some 26

;OGRESS OF

THED'

FLUSHIING 1 SSIUL

s. the artillery opened on the water front, the leading troops 87:, : Fires, which were started in the' town at 0445 hours. left B'bi t3 illuminated a'prominent windmill immediately behind.UNCLE beach, andIielpe troop of 4 Commando'made a landing at the .to keep direction. ' The first NCLE, and it was, not until the RNBeach tip of the mole at the-ST-of

Group was rounding the mole that the enemy openecd fire.

The defences

fire on the main body Of LAS soon came to life and there was 20 mm and . One LC', -carry ng'3-inch mortars as. they came in, but none: were stopped. taread-san , but it was close and ;/T sets, ran on to an anti-landidng enough to the' shore to enable the occupants to salvage "the contents. They were then clene on the beach and ready again very shortly. he T"' main body landed without many casualties, and the Commando' 88. W ith cleared the immediate water front, inocluing: the Arsenal, baracks. i the support of a capt'ured 37 m un, oite troop eeched TROONt 090 hours. PRK, Meanwhile. another troop pushed):EST and eventually reached BELA pillbox on the way, but came under hevy fare from the and liquidated

4 KOSB were no'wcoming ashore, and neighbourhood' of'D RUYTR'S STTU . TILL by 1000 together with 4 Commando hac made good TROON, S 1 0R and

ut ~the' chief trouble was coming asualties 1lad been moderate, hours, and. OR4'TL.C.' areas T'OUT' , ' i the flanks from PROGESS PS ?I. T1ROnS"Aa
2 F'STKAEL

.

.

.

.RO'.L

loaded on D

:'2,

and-troops embarked on the aftenoon of D - 1.
..
,/passage

The
was

- 22passage was uneventful. The course was marked at .variou ~ points by su. The turning point for the approach course was about 11 miles off shore: the final approach position wasabout 6 miles further on.. The support squadron was in c h .lead one mile off sore at - : 20 minu~es, the le ac
ng

and was timed to arrive groupsof land craft

being close astern, 90 i.
ARST

,

U

: adi

ro

of

li

craft

liri

from the shore was first
OBES .opened fre at 020

observed 'at' 015, from the

DOMBURG. batteries wiho appeared to be engagion ..the

FLUSHING assault.

and

hours,

but weather

had prevented

their spotting aircraft from' t~aking off. The turret of EBUS jammed, and she was not inaction.unti. 0930 hours, Shortly before 0900 hours, the support squadron deployed,, and at .0900. hours bata tle was, joined. By this time the'entire.squadron was being engaged by all the hostile batteries from "NORTH of ESTKAIEl e"to 11 i .W..hen the final decision to launch the assault on 1 November had been made the previous evening ,. it wa appreciated. that the weather would, most :probably, severely restridt air . operations's. This turned out to be thie case, and the fighter-bomber. pro ar'me fromH - 40 to H - 20, could not be. oarried. out,, nor could the final. attack by heavies on the batteries W 17,.W 13 and W 11 take place, As -caran': RP Typhoons appeare:don time. S Nev: heless, the i i:t; :p ^ as eind schedule it was apparent. the touch-do-vawas tobe bhind schedule, they were held up for a few minutes until the LCU(Rl)s had discharged their .ockets. .hen these htad been fired the Croup Captain, Air Controller, on HQship,

91

gave them the "all clear", and the. Typhoons pressed home a idetermined attack just.asthe LOTs were about to land. There,is nodoubt;, that the' deterined actionftheTphoons had a profound effect on the operation
at a tine when-.the support squadron, was not only suffering .severe casualties from the st;ll active a cries butb had also reeived. some at
discharges Sinvoluntary from ':'e rock et craf., ... ;

T-ITOUCIO

D0N

92.

The three LCI carrying the covering parties,

discharged their

troops at 0957 hours, and the f -rstwave of five LCTs were successfully
beached .at 1005 hours: The nb wave of five LOTs was beached about half an hour later, but three of these vwere subsequently lost., The remaining LOTs (12), carryin:-g roops, ere bac~hed and. unloaded between 1;050 and 1230 b.ours

:suc:essfully

93. :? f the :four LCTs carryin.g the -oans of LAILS, -AQsand BU1DOZ S, twp approached P.'D beach at-1005 hours, bu:t wserheavily hit and forced to retire. The second pair beached at 1020 hours and disvwas. two charged their loads, and shortly 'afterwarcs, one of t he first able to return and unload. " The "tan:ns in the fourth were badly, damaged, and as the craft itself. had a damna ged dcoozr, the LOTf returned to OSTEND without unloading. Of the tanks-which were unloaded,, four AVPERs, three FPAllS and one BLLDOZER were irretr.ievably boged in the gap, and at. night when the tide rose the three surviving LAILS. were drowned. ' were heavily enUntil the early a, crnoon the support 'cra 94. gaged with the host'ile bat teries, overing the landins and the advance

to the SOUTI
4 LOGC., 2

During the first four, hours
L.?, 3 LSC(L), 1 LOT

oses
after

and 1 LOI(S). by gunfire

unloading,

and 3

OTon mines,

two after unloading,

and one beore beaching.

Slarge number of draft andd LVTs were severelyi ma~ed,. .As anticipated, the enemy had.p:_sued i:s usual practice of .co1'icentrating ah ad he , on the suppoor-t craft insteacd of on the' troop carrying vessel . ai o at tion to the latoub . heter theassault . would have succeeded, ; ; : : ; ; : ' ; ' '""'' " '''" *^. '' ' ' "' '"^ ' .. . /ACT ION O . S -

95. 48 Comando landed' in the correct place, and found the dunes i med.ately to the:SOUT:H of -the gap unoccupied, but heavy gunfire on the gap caused casualties.: -W 285 was :taken fairly easily, but ' 13 lput up a hard ffight, and it was dark before 48 -Commando had forced their way in, at

-

a cost of two troop leaders killed. WESTK ELL

I.n this they .were aided by iaval, Supported by 1

air and iediu: m artillery support. ' On the. left, the t popsof :4 Commando negotiated the gap intheir LiTs, dismounted 'and reache the near end of

village without- encountering much opposition.

SIOTIATS, who "brewed up" a tower

.n the village which was giving trouble, and by: AVEs which"petarded"a road block, the Commando cleared STIA IIE : and found 22 and 14. uhnoccupie nd under water. At 1200hours, a troop attacked W 15, and quickly captured it, taking 120 P. Progress was made tto he NORTH end of the village, when Commander 4 SS Brigade ordered them to stand fas't for the time being.. The 0n'7URG 'atteres shelled the villages, but a call for air support resulted in the.' being silenced for a time.

96. -47 GCommando.landed between 1200 and 1230 hours. but owing to the very heavy fire on the SOUTH =side, whiich undoubtedly" iould have resulted in. the LOTs being hit and. the amp hibians lost, three of the-ir L T were directed to the NORTH side. of the gap. An LVT ferry service ;had then to be organised Across the gap to the SOUTH side, I n oneb: 'the LOTs

which landed in the

:correct place, three LVTs and one

EASEL wre burnt out.

The Conmmando. then assembled in the vicinity of for the night.

2&5 w8here they remained

97.

.

bout 1500 hours, permission was given for 41 commando to move on

41 advanced with two troops on the road, and two along hold .VSTKALL:, the. dunes, but were .,hampered by parties of potentially hostile Germans who came out to surrender, and .by the f ailing light, DOI IRO~ i:s entered One pocket of at 1815 hours, andc 17 surrendered without much fight. resistance was ehcountered in the sand dunes., causing casualties whi ch The advance was not continued beyond included .a troop leader killed;. DO BU RG and the nilght was spe.nt in iioppi-ng-up. . .InLUSIm C ;the bui ld-up was proceeding.satisfactorily, 98. bridgehead was slowlyJexpanded as a resilt of some hard fighting, Casualties amnng craft. larly at the Western corner of the town. damaged by gun fire the day were about 0 LCis and 35- VTs, sunor and the particudurin andines

Causeway, one batalion of' 5 SOUTH B=L!, the s,L, _r 99. ,At Canadian Infantry igade had made some 400 - 500 yards' progress on to the island earlier in,-the day, but were later forced..back aftersome-fierce fighting. 100,

Ra; RF'sorties flown during this day were as follows:At FLUSHING" -ight 37 osquitoes-beforefirst 104 Typhoons in: immediate upport : -

4... Spitfires on pre-arrnged targets.
'.STL..S At
" "

-.
"-

-

36 Typhoons on pre-aranged targets
77 Spitfires 41' Spitfires on pre arra nged targets l n immediate ,support.
strong
' -

.
.VNT'TS

Taregets ,
2 NOVE

ere

gun positions:
-

points,

radar

stations
-

-etc.

ON

R

rigade took over the small bridgehead at the causeInfantry :- 157 l01. way from 5 Canai ... Infanty Brigade, with 1 lS , but further prgres s . was limited by the three- eney strong poins which faced The . . ... he task

-24

-

S The task of 2 Canadian Infantry Division was now completed and they werewithdrawn into reserve, havin captured some 5200 since 1
October, -. . . . .

102. At FLUSHING., 155 Infantry Brigade and 4 Cormmando were gradually mopping-up the town. The. enermy was utting up a stubborn resistance from stro po ints and concrete pill-boxes. In the dock area, suicide

squads lodged themselves in cranes and gantries, 'and from .these points of vantage were alble to pin the' at'ackers, In such cases, the.3.7
Some of these guns had

Mountain Battery proved of great assistance'

been taken across the SCIELDT in: pieces and put together on the far side; others had been ferried across on Class 9 rafts. O more than one occasion, a dismantled gun was taken up to one of :the upper floors of a
house, and re-assembled there. It then engaged suitable targets at point blank range with surprising effeet.

On the 'ST of the town, 4 Conumando advanced on DOVT area over roofs and through back gardens, under cover, of a mortar and PIAT barrage from the top'of a nearbyneaema. .RP Typhoons attacked the

area about midday and when .the Commando were about to storm it,
enemy surrendered.

.he

103. On the iST coast, 448 Coman.o captured ZOUTELTNDE about 1106 hours without much difficulty, an-d 47 iComando passed through them

to advance on W 11.

it288 was taken without opposition but when 47 had

crossed the anti-tank ditch about 2000 yards short of W 11, they suffered . heavy casualties in the comparatively open country, and five out of the six troop leaders. were seriously wounded,. Two commando troops almost reached the battery, but became isolated and it Was some tme bef ore. enemy .resistance in the vicinity of the anti-tank ditch is cleared up. In-the NORTH, the enemy began ;bo withdraw from .the front "of 41 Conimando, who wiere now ordered to hand over to 10 (I .), aid.concentrate at : ESTIKiELLE, preparatory to supporting 47 in their advanceon FLUSHhIG. By nightfall, they reac hed STI ELS.

RONEG OF T -SLOE 104.

C-1L

(See Diagrap' 3)

SLOOE'channel, about 2 'miles to the SOUTIi, during night 2/3 November. The-crossing was to start froi a small harbour about 2 miles-XEST of' NI Et2DORP.

(156

In order to easp the situation at the causeway, 6 Q02RiL NS ONii nfantry Brigade) were ordered to make a silent assault across the.;

harbour is about 1500 yards from-the nearest point-on .The SaLCiHREM. , P.or the first 300 - 400.yards tees thereis a hnnel. but the rest of the journey is across a salt marsh. S - line of advance across the salt 'marsh was selected which

seemed to. off er te best chance'of avoiding the numerous runnels. RE party reconnoitred a route, andtaped, it before the assault, to
within 200 yards of the far side,

A
:

wave started to cross the channel in At .'0330 hours the first They disembarked at the marsh, and in about 45 :minutes assault boats. opposti ear There was some small ars two companies were across. the shore dyke, mortaring of- the left comp'any and" later, shelling of the port. During. .daylight on 3 November, 6 CEIRONIANS met with increasing opposition and by dark were about 1000 yards inland.- . The salt marsh was af.ormicable obstacle, and at. times the troops were well over t.he.r wasts 'in, liquid mud., ' Aittempts to use they dug their:prows into the far bank of Weasels were unavailing; :. ' .: . . . : the. runnels and slowed :round. : ... /5 II

-

25

-

5 HI were put across by the same method during the night 3/4

November.

T.heyou.ld.Ino, go.:alrlicr owiiVI

to the need

br 'building up"

~ i6

ORNITS and the fac' that the crossing was only possible one hhour'

each side. of high tide.
5. Lwere .. ,,diected c;Ei i ;e to link.up 6 ABRON S. anrl GIAS H who. were. the hea: of the a s ay aid had made a little pro ss during

.at

3 November.

-

.

SOn 4 Tovember all.hre battali6s made progress and 5 L linked up with 1 GLIS IH. By ::darlk Ion Z±pvember the bridgehead was about 2000. ; d yards deep and .two miles : ide:, .'. 105.. come.

gerious resistance in the town]YEST of the ,IDDEIBURC-. canal had been overArrangements were made o move 4 Commando across the gap to the SESTIKAELIE - DOi'BURG aea but suff icient VTs were' not available. ed l 11, and pushing on .47 Commando, ,in the meantime, .hadcaptu 41 Commando h ad been via.- 4, exploited up- to the gap by- nightfall. ferried across the VESTIUAPELLE gap in LVTs, -to support 47, -butthey were halted in ZOUTEL DE when it was seen how quickly 47 had got'on,. and ordered to return to the DOMBURG area the next day in their LVTs. CLOSING STOAGES ON WJALCIR TN

Good progress cas made in PLUSHIN

and by the end'of the day, all

106.

Enemy resistance'as

now beginning to sho-w signs of disorganisation.

Under steady pressure.from 157 Infantry Brigade -he fell bac in the N to D .and In the SE corner, NIEUi E ..'MIDDEEUHG. Canal. the .line of the FORT RlvZIKeNS were in our hands on 5 November. I n the woods nd dunes to the NE of DOVBURG, however, the enemy

still

fought back strongly, protected by extensive mine belts

and 10 (A.

In spiteof great and 41. Comr~andos made slow though.steady progress,. gR : tanks and two I VRHE, wwhich. now n: difficulties of ground, the two SH I The BESAS of the alone survived, succeeded in joining the tvo Commandos. TS and guns of the SI MNl were fully used, and materially' assisted iVslRE One AVTE, however, was the Commandos who captured W, 13 on 7 November. lost on a minefield. 107.. In the PLUJSHiG, area, the only serious resistance encountered was

his was held by about 40 men of 6 G.ermarn Divi'io who had fought so the SCOI DT. Iof stubbornly :against the Canadians SOUTH

It, is wortlyof interest thlt when these troops were finally put in the "bag" .and used as a working party, theystill surprised some onlookers by the precision of their.drilling. .
,It w:.as decided to .capture MIDBEBUERG by a surprise "left flank108. On the afterattack from FLUSNiING across the inundations in LVTs, ing" noon of 6:Nove.boer: a comp . of 7/ RS in eight BUPFFLQES r eahed the town All rodds out of the main squtre were covered, without bein fired on. Lt-Gen DASER while a subaltern: w'ent in search of the -German CommlandeO. was reluctant to surrender. to sojunior an officer, but \the immediate assumption of "local and temporary Lieutenant-Colonel" by the infantry COompany Comander solved the problem, and the garrison was rounded up whoarred later that night. .the assistance of 5 lI, with

Although VEET' ic .coast :%he .. a':". The NO' TH d r: of the pisland alone remained, the ajority of the Germans were most showed. somp. hesitancy at. first, anxious to be resuced from the appallingfloods which they-later declared 4 SS Brigade, (4and 'had damped their spirits more than anything else. .and came along the o oast toVROT;ENI'OLDER, collecting l, 41 Commandos), light on 8 November, an enemy deputan attack at f irst in when they put Some tion approached to make arrangements for all resistance to cease had been taken on the island. 8000 P 109.

-

26

-

'P A.R T

VII

CONCLUSION

110. In the operations here described, some 22,000 prisoners were taken. At a conservative estimate, the enemy probably lost 30,000 men altogether. 111. On the evening of 4 November, the first minesweepers got E,. After one of the largest and most intricate through to IANT~ sweeping operations of the :ar, the first three coasters reached the port on 26 November. On the same day it was reported that 219 berths had been cleared. A convoy of 18 ships reached ANTERP safely on 28 November, Over 10,000 tons of stores were landed at the port on .1 December. /

- 27PART VIII COMv ENTS AND 'POIN-S OF :INT TS'

PLAYiNNIG AND CO-OPEATION
112. Plans for these combinedoperations; were evolve as result of a series of joint cohferences of which careful minutes of decision" were-.. prepared and distributed tb all concerned., 'Some" changes of plan, of ormmand and dates, were inevitable as the scope bf our operations on the Continent increased. 'That such difficulties were' overcome isa measure of the co-operation that existed. 113 As a result the operations had. flexibility and speed. .For example, 3 Canadian Infantry Division arrived in their concentration area for "SWITOHBACK'" only about 48 hours before the start of their assault across the IEOOID CANA1 , .Canadian -Infantry 8 Brigade were switched at. short notioe' through th SAVOjA pDS PAT bridgeheadinst.ad of being directed across the-LEOPOLD COAAL as originally intended. At 48 hours notice, .156. Brigade took the place of 5 Canadian Infantry Brigade for the amphibious assault across the SCHEDT : : iCo -peration between.the Royal.Navy and .4 .S Brigade could not have been'hapieror more complete 'support by Second Tactical Air Force throughout, the operation was only limited by the weather.

BQOBARDIENT

SQUADRON

-

OPERATION 'IFTUATE

114. The work ofthe bombardment squadron was handicapped by weather preventing : the .spotting aircraft from taking off during the morning of D day. These aircraft were all to come from basos in the. UK.l Air OPs from the 'Continent :had :been arranged as a .secondary means of observing and were used. Owing .to the difficulties imposed by the necessity for advancing the date of the assault,'-it vas not possible in the time available for the Air Os to exercise with the Bombardment Squadron

For this reason, the spotting was, not completely effective.
CLOSE SUPPORT SQUADRON R.N. OPERATION INFATUATE

The military plan required close support near the gap during the 115. during the advance of tho 'landing, with continued close support along the .lanks Commandos along the durles.- "It was abundantly clear to the Support Squadron that their task, therefore-, .was to draw the fire of, engage and if possible,, destroy any of the batteries or strong points found to be. active.

S The success of the landing at' ESTKAPELTS

was largely due to-

the determintion of the :Support Squadron. to ensure that .the Commandos should support. The Squadron" arrive safely on the beah,'. and receive the maximua put up a magnificent 'fight against.formidable defences, iandsuffered severely, but. they drew to"themselves the fire of .the enemy' batteries and thus enabled the troop carrying craft to go in with relatively few casualties.

for sorties flown are not available, but sane Complete fiure 11i6. idea of the magnitude of the Royal Air Force's contribution to the operations, may be obtained from the following" perati on SWITCHBACK " ' . . Operation IFATUATE Fighter .sorties 1733. ,:Flown on 16 days. Medium'or heavy bomber sorties . 508, b: Flown on 5 days.' Pre-D . .d 427 Flown on 8 days, . 1153. Flown on 9 days Flown on 4 days.

Fighter bomber sortie Heavy ,bomber sorties Fighter sorties ,804.

D day'
Fighter sorties.
S../

343
EFFEqT OF

-28-

EFFECT OF SHELLING AND BOMBING ON FIXED DEFENCES

117.

The following are some 'of the battie
W":1'

e

'

on WACIHRE
.25.:

and the

treatment they received-:Attactkgediby 25 :heavy biomberson

. 'Rec ived betweef'-

1i20x..7.2" sheits int-he timed, artillery programme 70 ahdH.:H '.Don IDday. on D + 1, in several shoots
.: . . .

Engaged by EREBUS (2 x 15")
with P

O.B.

'

' . .:

.. .

-

This battery inflicted heavy.:losses- on the iSuport, Squadron on. D day, and was only 6aptared b:.y :47 .Commando after they . : . had suffered severe casualties. W 13: :Attacked, by 35 'hhdavy- bombers on D.
-,

4.

'Received 80 x. 240 mm and 40 x. 8' shells in the tjned, :artille ry programme between :H - 70 and H hr on .D. day.Attacked by Typhoons on D Day. This battery was responsible for many casualties to

the Support Squadron. It put up a..hard.fight ,:and it was dark on D .day 'before 48 Commando forced, their .way in, loping two-troop leaders .killed. , On examnin.jion it W1 was found .that, one gun in casemate
had been destroyed..by a"naval shell..

Attacked. by. 35 heavy;.bombers on *D - 4.
Received 500 x 155 in
on D day. .

shells between H.-

70: and H - 10

Engagea. by ROBIRTS, .. 2 x. 15") and EREBUS .on D day. ( The battery wasS active early on D day, but was .quickly.,
captured about noon by 41 Conmando who' to.o 1i20 PW.
PW stated one casemate was destroyed by bombing prior .to

w D day, and. that two casemates .- ere put out, of action, y. shells, 30 men being killed and, a.t leas. that number naval being wounded . . Two 75 mm Anti-tank guns in open emplacements about "100yards to the SOUTH of the main -battery were captured completely.

intact, and each had. fired over 300 rounds.
W17 Attacked .by 25:heavy bo~iber. both on D-. 25
again by 35 heavy bombers' onD 4.-; ......
U

d ;D
'

9, and

Engaged, by W:AiRSITE, (6. x:1i!) .throughout-D .day,. but-, seemed . :: to revive at' intervalso . -:: Surrendered to 42 Commnando in
much fight.. .
:

the evening of D day, without
.

: by

iMateial, d-image w as one220 mm gun in open emplacement put Three guns were destroyed. out.of action .by naval bemnbardment.

.their own creV,::after -having fired a considerable number
the area were

Several small calibre guns in of rounds. undestroyedo

No-amount

-29-

118, No amount of shelling and/or bombing can be relied upon to destroy completely weapons or personnel,within concrete shelters built by The most that can be hoped for is This requires infantry. ermn neutralisation, wvhich pre-supposes a quick, follow-up by infantry.

GROUND FORGES 119. INFANTRY

Conditions of weather and ground made increasing demands onthe physique: of the -troops. The canalizing of movement dueto dykes and ditches, and: the consequent difficulties of control, called for added qualities of The responsibilityl of self-roliance-and iniiLLtativeamong junior leaders. infantry to deal themselves with mines, booby traps and road blocks, and to erect and handle assault boats and. kapok bridges, was again emphasised.

120.

ARTILLERY

In spite of the limited routes and deployment areas available, The the forward troops were. never short. of effective support from the guns. moral effect ofthis was very considerable; conversely, there is ample evidence it greatly depressed the Boche. Co-operation with the infantry was of a high standard. In partic lar, the production of quick stonks and .concentrations based on a code word system, employed by 3 Canadian Infantry 'Division, worked extremely well (See Appendix 2. for details). In the polder country, where the ground was extremely .soft, the. destructive or killing effect of the 25 pounder was materially red.ued. 121. ARMOUR

It was impossible to make much use of tanks in the dyke and polder country. In the dunes of .WALCHMREN, the few surviving .FV "were weight in gold"!, to quote Commander 4 SS Brigade. -The two SH viNS worththeir The two AVsRE sed expended 1400 rounds of 75. mm and 30 boxes of Browning. Targets included I positions in concrete, acoastal up 46 boxes of Besa, battery, pill-boxes and emplacements. 122. AMPHIBIANS SThe operations would not have been possible without them. (a) LVTs (BUFFALOES) over flooded and waterlogged country performed better than any other vehicle available, except M290s. They can master a mud-covered beach, provided the mud is NOT. too deepQ or a layer of sand surface exists. Thick'belts of wire and They are quantities of fallen telegraph wire proved an obstacle. mechanically reliable and will perform well,. provided they are properly maintained, regularly overhauled and the crews are NOT worked to exhaustion. They present a small, though noisy, target when swimming, but are conspicuous and vulnerable on land. Low free board and lack of steerage way when . M29Cs (-EA.SELS) . swimring make thir employment in anything but calm-still water' extremely hazardous. 500 of casualties were due to vehiclesdrowning. Their performance in mud, swamp and sand was good. Steep banks, ditches or runnels of 6 ft width or mbre, are impassable as the bow of model M29C protrudes in front of the tracks and digs itself into the far bank of the obstacle. They are halted by wire obstacles. ...

(b)

/In order

-30In order to get full value from their capabilities, new drivers were put through a .course of 3 days training. On..

other occasions as much as
the evacuation of wounded.

Q10 days training has,.been given.'

On the whole, the VVA ELS were'.of .. great value foroarrying

light load.sof 'supplies and ammunition, wireless sets and
Owing (c) TERRAPINS performed well for maintenance tasks. to their height proper arrangements must be made for loading.

SMOKE 123. During SWITCHBACK and.:VITALITY large scale screening of Company.' The screens involved
the '!regatta" operations was effectively.carried put by an. "ad hoc"

organisation based on 806 Pioneer Smoke

jpoints of emission in the SC HELDT, and such. LCAs, LVTs, DUKWs, Stormboats and rafts as could be obtained, were. used -. this purpose, for - Screening during SWITCHBACK was carried out on:15 days, (although the original contract was for 12 hours), and consumed 386 tons of stores. For VITAIITY it lasted 6 days, and 'burned .134 tons . of stores. For the FLUSHEING assault, less screening than anticipated. of stores were burned on the two days. was required, and only 14 tos Conclusions drawn are that early planning, of the "smoke

operation is essential, and a Technical Officer CW should be inoluded:." in the planning stage, 'and follow the operation throughout, Communications between HQ of the formation being supported and Smoke HQ
must.. be. gbod. ;'- Equially, there must. be adequate communications. between

Smoke HQ and each 'point of emission.

Smoke is a fickle weapon and

instant control must be possibleo It was repeatedly apparent:.that the enemy artillery did NOT fire when 'it was unable to see where. its -shells were falling.,

POSTS

PRIPT

It was in tihe summer of 1809 that the British were.last (onccrno-dawith oporations of war on VlICHEELN when ANTWERP as again That ill-starred but immense expedition failed in the objedtive its object, and its survivors wore oreventually withdrawn. The element of surprise was somewhat lacking as the composition

and destination of the force were discussed in the press
started, and the dynamic merits of the Naval Commander-in-

before it

Chief, Admiral Sir Richard Strachan, could not effectively combine

with the static virtues of his military colleague, LieutenantThe affair.is chiefly remembered from General the Earl of Chatham., the variously qaot ed verses. of which the genuine original is be-

-lieved to be:"Lord Chatham, with his sword undrawn Kept waitihg for Sir Richard Strachan.

Sir Richard, longing to be at
Kept waiting too; It least,

em,

for whom.. Lord Chatham"

is reasonable to assume that on the present occasion,

our tactics were not entirely devoid of surprise for the enemy.
there was something novel in Co-operation was well-nigh perfect.

At

sinking an island by bombing it

from the air, and in putting a .Mountain Division in below sea level.

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2

Extracts from a report by Brigadier P,i.S. TODD, DSO, O D , .D, Cl' 2 C.A'DIj N CORPS (formerly CRA 3 CADIA TShBF TSY DIVISION) lm *rt r-rl -------------- ""r" -- -i, A comment on the effectiveness of artillery support was supplied by the enemy cormmanderi,iajor-General Eberdiig, when he explained that shelling had made it impossible for his men to blow prepared demolitions in BRES~iNS, A distinct disadvantage nonetheless attached to the use of 25-pounders; their fragientation effect vwas materially reduced by the wet mud of the polders. The first burst was therefore all important, for subsequent rounds would find the enemy under cover and hence practically immune from injury. 2, Grouped Ston-jks and Concentrations on Call. In addition to the

numerous DP( dfensive fire) and EV (harassing fire) tasks in readiness, support was given.-to each infantry attack by fire plans, consisting of
stonks and concentrations on call (linear and pin-point concentrations). This system has been used so successfully by 3 Canadian Infantry Division, that it deserves some description. It is essentially a method of siege warfare, and thus found full development at DOULOCG-E and. CuL'IS, and in the SCIDE pocket. Its preparation Inst be :worked out after close study of Intelli.3. gence maps showing all knowm or suspected enemy-positions. With this detailed knowledge, and taking into account both artillery resources and the infantry plan, it is possible to assign to every potential source of opposition an appropriate weight of shells, the amount varying according to the nature and importance of the target. "This treatment has normally resulted in a combination of..numbered medium concentrations and field

stonks, grouped under a code-name, 4. The original task-table issued in support of 7 Canadian Infantry Brigade's assault over the LEOPOLD Q. OTAL contained 46 such groups, most of then, a.ppropriately, bearing the name of rivers. One of the largest
("Colorado") was scheduled to be of eight minutes' duration, and comprised eight field stonks and three medium concentrations, to be fired, respectively, by 12 and 13 Canadian Field Regiments at rate slow, and by three medium The target in this case was regiments of 2 Canadian ACRA at rate normal. smaller 9604L. a series of enemy positions around the village of DEN HOiTOPJ\ one, on the other hand, might consist of only one stolk and one concentration, as was the case with "Richelieu". It does not follow that each of these groups must be fired accordingi to a pre-arranged, and hence inflexible, timed.,programme, or The even fired eat all, should it become unnecessary for any reason. firing of each one rests with the infantry for whom they are available on call. The infantry are thus given.neutralising fire when they want it, and for as long as they want it. It is quite in order, for example, to order, "Colorado twice", which would result in the enemy positions being Once on an objective the infantry can halt fired on for sixteen minutes. if it is deemed desirable, and the area can be marked off by DF tasks. This flexibility means that the fire plan ensures covering fire to meet the infantry' s local rate of advance, a factor not found in the timed programme wit., its rigid stop lines, which may be utterly ,asted should the infantry be held up.

5.

The chief advantages of the system are that it will produce 6. quick and effective fire, and that if not abused. it is more economical since it is confinecd to those areas alone than the too-liberal barrage, Rmuch more exact results It givbs, moreove^, which can affect the battle.

. .,/than the

-2than the map reference target hastily called for in the heat of battle, for it is based on deliberate calculation, with all that that implies of predicted laying (including angle of sight) and allowance for meteorological conditions. Its preparation also permits adequate time for the proper allotment of weight and natu~rs to each' target t lot least important is its simplicity, for the s ystem is readily comprehended by infantry. The distribution of traces (16 per brigade) is sufficiently wide that commandersEven section leaders are ableof sub-units can themselves adjust fire, to appreciate fully this method of obtaining artillery support. The possibility of misuse lies in the fact that there is nothing 7. to prevent targets being called for indiscriminately, with resultant waste of ammunition, rouped concentrations must not be used in the hope of neutralizing hostile batteries suspected to be in an area the'system is only Such speculation is of no value; covered by them. The valid when employed on the immediate front of the unit concerned. neutralization of hostile batteries is. much better left to, counter-, battery and Air OP resources which are equipped to deal with them.

/O

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/

TABLE

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. .,-."-"-* - ""'...... "''"',.',

0

*

.
SA

OHAIR.

, a quick reading of his compass may show fired on by enemy guns at ie and Table, that their bearing (C) passes through Targets Chaire

therefore calls for "Chair" but finds that the enemy fire does not cease. Not only ;A second try, this time with "Table" is no more successful. not silenced, but two targets have been is the hostile battery still Time and ammunition would have been saved by subfired needlessly. mitting a shell report and relying on the -exercise of Counter-;attery methods. Finally,' it is clear that grouped stonks and concentrations . 9. They are, are not to be looked.for invariably as standard praCtice, after all, a device to be used when the enemy is contained, and when there are only so many points (no matter how nudierous) which he can They cannot be employed over ope or-un familiar country, and occupy. naturally they found no place in the approach-to-contact battle across F:iJCs during late. August and Early September.

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