The Battle of the Scheldt

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The Battle of the Scheldt

Berichtdoor Tandorini » 01 sep 2013, 07:28

The Allied forces, including the 3rd Canadian Infantry Division, and the 2nd Canadian Armoured Brigade of the First Canadian Army, landed on the beaches of Normandy, France on D-Day, June 6, 1944. As the armies progressed further inland, the First Canadian Army engaged in bitter fighting at Caen and Falaise. But with hundreds of thousands of troops fighting across the front, the Allies needed large amounts of supplies, and the First Canadian Army was assigned the task of clearing the coastal areas and opening the channel ports for vital supplies.

Fighting on the left flank of the Allied forces, the First Canadian Army pushed rapidly eastward through France towards Belgium. September began with the 2nd Canadian Infantry Division being welcomed to Dieppe. The 2nd Canadian Corps left a number of units to guard the heavily defended ports and pushed into Belgium, reaching Ostend, Bruges and Ghent by the middle of the month. By October 1, the port cities of Boulogne, Cap Gris Nez, Calais, and Dunkirk were all under Allied control. The 2nd Canadian Corps had also captured the launching sites of German rockets and put an end to their attacks on southern England.

Meanwhile, the Second British Army had pushed forward into southern Netherlands. On September 17, three British and American airborne divisions, as well as a brigade of Polish parachute troops, attempted to land behind enemy lines at Nijmegen, Eindhoven and Arnhem. Code-named Operation Market Garden, the mission’s objective was to seize a bridge over the Rhine River at Arnhem. The operation failed, with 1,400 of a total force of 35,000 killed and more than 6,000 taken prisoner. Any hope for a speedy end to the war appeared to be dashed.

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