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Battlefield Tour “VERITABLE CAMPAIGN 7 februari 1945” Geallieerde opmars naar het Duitse Homeland – 13/14 oktober ’18

Battlefield Tour “VERITABLE CAMPAIGN 7 februari 1945” Geallieerde opmars naar het Duitse Homeland – 13/14 oktober ’18

Geachte (ere) leden der V.O.C.

het bestuur der V.O.C. brengt graag de volgende battle field tour onder uw aandacht.

De Koninklijke Vereniging Ons Leger (KNVOL) organiseert in samenwerking met behulp van haar lid, historicus Gerard Sprenger en de Britse Consul in Amsterdam, voormalig Army-officer John Cameron Webb een 2-daagse groepsreis (met eigen – desgewenst gepooled – vervoer) gewijd aan deze minder bekende, maar historisch relevante geallieerde opmars naar het Duitse achterland.

 

Voorlopig programma

Zaterdag 13 oktober 2018

11.00 verzamelen bij het Nationaal Bevrijdingsmuseum, Wylerlaan 4, 6561 KR Groesbeek Rondleiding gevolgd door een lunchpauze (ER) 13.00 gezamenlijke rit en introductie: * Frasselt tank ditch, Opmars 6th Guards Tank Brigade * Heuvels Donsbrüggen boven Kleve, Opmars 43 Division * Gennep, Opmars 51 (Highland) Division * Reichswald, Opmars 53 (Welsh) Division * Reichswald, Bezoek British Militairy Cemetery Einde middag aankomst bij hotel(s) Borrel en diner

Zondag 14 oktober 2018

09.00 Ontbijt 10.00 Vertrek naar Goch, ingenomen na zware gevechten van infanterie en artillerie Bezoek Weeze, Winnikendonk, Bonninghardt, Inzet Guards Armoured Division Bezoek Wezel, Evacuatie troepen Wehrmacht 15.00 Slot en terugreis naar Groesbeek

Vervoer naar Groesbeek: met eigen auto, van daaruit vervoer verdere route desgewenst combineren Hotelaccomodatie: rond €40 pp voor een tweepersoonskamer en €70 voor een eenpersoonskamer Diner: zaterdagavond circa €30 pp; organisatiekosten €20 pp

Aanmelding: [email protected] vóór 30 sept, waarna men nadere details verneemt. NB maximum aantal deelnemers 15, aanmeldingen gehonoreerd naar volgorde van binnenkomst. Nadere informatie: Michiel Kasteleijn, vice voorzitter KNVOL, tel 0653 772424


Saturday October 13th

*1130 hrs. We meet at the Nationaal Bevrijdings Museum at Groesbeek, Wylerbaan 4, 6561KR

Introduction to the Veritable Campaign.

In order to facilitate the invasion to the Reich, it was necessary to have the area between the river Maas and the left bank of the Rhine at our disposal. The First Canadian Army under command of General Crerar was ordered to bring this section of the Rhineland under control and to take the Rhine bridges at Wesel, if possible undamaged, for the crossing of 2nd Army into Germany.

To achieve this General Crerar had the 2nd Canadian Corps and XXX Corps (British) under Lt-Gen Horrocks at his disposal, in total about 300 000 men.

The action started in the evening of February 7th with 500 Lancaster and Halifax bombers flattening the towns of Cleve and Goch followed in the morning of February 8th with an artillery barrage of more than one thousand guns. This should be followed by armoured attacks to occupy Cleve and Goch, followed by the taking of the Rhine bridge at Wesel by the Guards Armoured Division within three or four days. At the same time the 9th American Army should start its own offensive, Operation GRENADE and attack northwards from the river Roer. The Allied Supreme Commander, General Eisenhower, ordained that VIOLENCE and SPEED should be the characteristics of these actions.

However, rain and thaw turned the soil into a quagmire, bogging armour and transport. The Germans blew the Rhine dikes and the Roer dams. The resulting floods made traffic impossible and delayed the American offensive for two weeks. The battle went on, not for 4 days but for 5 weeks. An infantry and artillery battle with four Canadian and eight British divisions paying a price of 15500 casualties. In the words of General Sir David Fraser who took partas a young Lieutenant:

“Veritable was a killing match; slow, deadly and predictable. It was the last of its kind.”

*Kranenburg, taken by 3Bn Scots Guards.

*Frasselt, the tank ditch. Here 6th Guards Tank Brigade, 4th Battalion Grenadier Guards, 4th Bn Coldstream Guards and 3rd Bn Scots Guards, armed with heavy Churchill tanks broke through the “Westwall” and marched on to Cleve. (Occupied February 11th)

*Through Reichswald (53 (Welsh) Division) to the Vrij village on the Dutch-German border. Here the 3rd Bn Irish Guards, serving as infantry in the Guards Armoured Division fought a dramatic battle against unexpected but numerically far superior German forces.

*Gennep. Taken by 51(Highland) Division. (With the Black Watch)

*Reichswald – British Military Cemetery

*Cleve, Hotel Wanders, Dinner.

Sunday, October 14th

*0900 Breakfast

*Goch. Essential in German defense. Taken after heavy artillery barrageand heavy (man to man) fighting.

*First days of March. Kervenheim,Weeze, Kevelaer. Guards Armoured, as a reunited Division, with XXX Corps. Meet 9th US Army north of Geldern. Winnekendonk.

*Kapellen, Bonninghardt, reduction of the German bridghead after fanatical defense by German parachute troops.

*Breaking of the last German line by 2 Bn Scots Guards with armoured support of 2 Bn Welsh Guards. Final breakthrough by 5Bn Coldstream (infantry) and 1st Squadron Coldstream (armoured) under “Roddy”Hill. ( March 10) Artillery fire of the West Somerset Yeomanry. During the night the

Germans blew the Wesel bridge and escaped with a lot of their equipment. The Rhineland was ours.

*1500 Farewell

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