On this day during WW2

Discussion in 'All Anniversaries' started by spidge, May 31, 2006.

  1. stolpi

    stolpi Well-Known Member

    Operation ANGER: Monument IJssel Crossing Arnhem 12/13 April 1945

    Monument 49 Div 0.jpg



    Monument 49 Div 2.jpg
    The text on the plaque: "from this place on 12 April 1945 British and Canadian troops crossed the IJssel to liberate Arnhem and the West of the Netherlands from German rule. After a heavy preparatory artillery fire, the attack was launched on the German defenses at Fort Westervoort and the AKU factory in the Kleefse Waard. In small assault boats troops from the English 49th 'Polar Bear' division crossed the river. After they established a bridgehead, more units and equipment were transferred with amphibious vehicles. After four hours of heavy fighting, the enemy surrendered. The road to Arnhem and Velp was open. The construction of a pontoon bridge was started immediately."
     

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    Last edited: Apr 14, 2020
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  2. stolpi

    stolpi Well-Known Member

    Crossing site upstream as seen from the Westervoortse bridge:

    Crossing site IJssel.jpg

    The river crossing was conducted by 56 Bde of the 49th Inf Div 'West Riding' (aka 'Polar Bear' and even 'Nijmegen Homeguard', because of its long stay on 'The Island'). Below an extract of the Bde War Diary which one of the WW2Talk members kindly provided me some time ago (forgot who!). I also attached the complete Operation Order (thumbnails).

    56 Bde WD.jpg

    56 Inf Bde OO no 34 -1.jpg 56 Inf Bde OO no 34 -2.jpg 56 Inf Bde OO no 34 -3.jpg 56 Inf Bde OO no 34 -4.jpg 56 Inf Bde OO no 34 -5.jpg 56 Inf Bde OO no 34 -6.jpg 56 Inf Bde OO no 34 -7.jpg 56 Inf Bde OO no 34 -8.jpg


    Map Crossing.jpg

    Map from the 'Bevrijdingsatlas Veluwe' with details of the river assault. 2 Glosters was first to move across and establish the initial bridgehead on the far bank aka 'Kleefse Waard'. They crossed on both sides of the destroyed IJssel bridges; 'B' Coy in stormboats to the north and 'A' Coy followed by 'C' Coy in Buffalo's upstreams or south of the broken spans. At the start the operation encountered some set-backs. Faulty demolition charges caused delay in blowing holes into the bunds on the east bank (dijkgaten) to allow the Buffalo's the pass the dikes. The Buffaloes were unable to climb the steep banks with a full load. Some unloaded machines and managed to climb and picked up their loads on the enemy side of the bank; this way it was possible to extemporise a service by which the leading troops were taken across the river. 'B' Coy had trouble with their assault-boat engines, seven out of twelve failed to start, and got over a bit late. Hampered by 'Schumines' 'B' Coy bypassed the Fort Westervoort to the north and seized the nearby brickworks, 'A' Coy concentrated on the old Dutch Fort and captured the 60 man garrison which after a day of heavy bombardment and aerial attacks, cowered in the deep cellars. Meanwhile 'C' Coy, not without difficulty, mopped up the factory area aka the AKU-works, a silk factory which had been strongly fortified by the Germans (elements of the 346. VGD).

    The 2nd South Wales Borderers and 2nd Essex followed up during the night and advanced into Arnhem in the early hours of the 13th.

    Fort Westervoort.jpg
    Aerial of the crossing site dated Sept 44. The IJssel bridges - the road and railwaybridge lay close to each other - are still intact. The Fort Westervoort is clearly visible as are the big sheds with the round tops and part of the AKU-factory (picture courtesy Kleefse Waard / Fort Westervoort – WestervoortPlaza).

    58eb514812848_Kleefsse_waard.jpg
    The big factory sheds which were used as straw sheds on the previous picture came in handily as assembly points for the follow-up units. Though the roofs were no longer water-proof as a result of Allied shelling.

    'D' Coy of the Glosters was loaded into LCA's at the harbor of Nijmegen and moved over the Waal and Nederrijn Rivers towards the bridgehead. They took the spit of land to the south, where the River IJssel splits of from the Nederrijn. Because of the delays of the other companies they were the first to land and had to fight a way towards the AKU-factory.

    Panorama IJssel Crossing.jpg
    A panoramic view of the crossing sites of the Gloucesters and pictures of the straw sheds for the silk factory (courtesy AKZO NOBEL Goud berichten, Vol 3, april 1995)

    AKU complex.jpg
    The AKU-factory complex in the Kleefse Waard still exists to the west of it Arnhem and the John Frost bridge (!!).

    In the course of the morning of the 13th, heavy equipment was ferried into the bridgehead and a prefabricated Class-40 bridge, that had been assembled further to the south near Pannerden, was floated in to the old ferry site at Westervoort, where it quickly was readied for use. German POWs were put to work to assist the two 'Sea Mules' and two LVC/Ps with this job.The bridge was opened at 10.30 hrs, which allowed the 11th Cdn Armoured Regiment (The Ontario Regiment), 1st Cdn Armoured Bde, to move across to the support of the 56 Bde. They were followed by the 1st Lothians (Crabs) and a squadron of the 1st Fife and Forfar Yeomanry to reinforce the bridgehead. The second battle for Arnhem could now start in earnest. It took until April 15th before the entire town was cleared.

    BU 3408 IJssel Class 40 bridge.jpg
    The Class 40 bridge which was installed at the old ferry site at Westervoort in early morning of April 13th (Photo © IWM BU 3408)

     
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2020
  3. JimHerriot

    JimHerriot Ready for Anything

    To tie in with stolpi's two posts immediately above, 2 SAS Operation Keystone overview (plus Major Druce's jeeping party report extracts below) and the liberation of Gelderland, April 1945, with more to come over the next few days.

    And, Recce chaps may like to watch the youtube clip from the local TV station in 2017 re the crossing at Westervoort, For me it's worth a look to see the film from the time (at around the 2 minute mark) of Toon Kramer in 1945 (Polar Bear shoulder flashes aplenty)

    Here's the link for Toon Kramer. Hopefully stolpi will be along with some translation shortly (if that's not too cheeky a request on my part!)



    Apologies for being a couple of days late with this

    Kind regards, always,

    Jim.

    Operation Keystone April 45 1.jpg
    Operation Keystone April 45 2.jpg
     
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  4. ltdan

    ltdan Nietenzähler

    Scots clashes with Clausewitz

    After a daring night advance units of 15.(S) Infantry Division marched headlong into the assembly area of Panzerdivision Clausewitz at Veerssen/Uelzen.
    Both parties were totally surprised of each others presence but immediately severe clashes occured:
    Contrary to expectations from the intel section 100 german armoured vehicles and tanks, also artillery and two full strength batallions of infantry were present at Uelzen whereas the Scots were expected earliest in 48 hours
    Between 0430h in the morning until midday „pandemonium reigned“ according to the 10 HLI war diary
    At the end of the day the 15th (S) ID had suffered the worst casualties since Xanten but also the German defenders faced serious losses.
    The next four days Uelzen became the scene of bitter and costly fightings.

    The „Clausewitz“ AD was core of the XXXIX. Panzerkorps (in fact a reinforced Brigade) who should launch a final – and totally unrealistic - major offensive in the West against the 9th US Army in order to change the war at the very last moment

    The sudden appearance of the Scots led to a chain of events who finally caused the complete annihilation of the Clausewitz AD between Gardelegen and Brunswick after just 28 days of existence.
     
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  5. stolpi

    stolpi Well-Known Member

    added more info and pictures to post #3982: On this day during WW2

    Do I feel a separate thread coming up on the Liberation of Arnhem 1945?
     
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  6. JimHerriot

    JimHerriot Ready for Anything

    15th April 1945, Operation Keystone, report extracts for this date from Capt. Holland (OIC Keystone Parachute Party) and Major Druce (OIC Keystone Jeeping Party).

    And as I include details of a 2 SAS casualty, and given the utmost respect that I have for the author of the source of that information below, from what I believe to be the absolute definitive work on SAS casualties (may it promulgate their memory for evermore) and as a matter for my conscience in using said source, and to continue its original aims, I have donated £100 to the Combat Stress charity prior to posting here.
    Please note, if I should receive a cease and desist request in relation to this information I will, immediately and with all reverence, always.

    Also included are some personal photos from a pilgrimage in 2015, the 70th anniversary of Operation Keystone (75th anniversary pilgrimage has been postponed until such time as the world returns to some sort of post Covid-19 normality) One of said photos is included by way of illustrating the welcome and helpfulness given by all local folks we met (yes, chaps can on occasion stop and ask for directions) and not as a plug for the Putten Ford dealership. This lovely ladies' immediate family had suffered directly as a result of the reprisals in Putten perpetrated by the (then) occupying force in 1944.

    The helpfulness of Nederlanders is certainly mirrored on this website, stolpi being just one fine example, and for it I am truly grateful.

    Kind regards, always,

    Jim.

    Operation Keystone April 45 3.jpg

    Operation Keystone April 45 4.jpg
    John Watson KEEBLE 1.jpg

    John Watson KEEBLE 2.jpg

    John Watson KEEBLE 3 2015.jpg

    John Watson KEEBLE 4 2015.jpg

    Putten Cemetery 2015.jpg

    Helpful local lady in Putten 2015.jpg
     

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  7. JimHerriot

    JimHerriot Ready for Anything

    16th April 1945, Operation Keystone, report extracts from Capt. Holland (OIC Keystone Parachute Party) and Major Druce (OIC Keystone Jeeping Party).

    Please note the discrepancy in dates regarding DOD of the casualty from Capt. Holland's post action report and CWGC records. Dick Holland's debrief didn't happen until 24th/25th April when he was back in the UK. Given what Dick Holland and the Parachute Party of Keystone had been through, a difference in date I think, is unequivocally forgivable. Hence the inclusion of the Parachute Party report entries for both the 16th and 17th April below.

    And as I include details of this 2 SAS casualty, and given the utmost respect that I have for the author of the source of that information below, from what I believe to be the absolute definitive work on SAS casualties (may it promulgate their memory for evermore) and as a matter for my conscience in using said source, and to continue its original aims, I have donated £100 to the Combat Stress charity prior to posting here.
    Please note, if I should receive a cease and desist request in relation to this information I will, immediately and with all reverence, always.

    One personal collection photo included from pilgrimage in 2015.

    Kind regards, always,

    Jim.

    Operation Keystone April 45 PP Report.jpg
    Operation Keystone April 45 JP Report.jpg

    Jonkerbos War Cemetery.jpg


    Martine Edward TYSON 1.jpg
    Martine Edward TYSON 2.jpg
    Martine Edward Tyson 3.jpg
     

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    Last edited: Apr 16, 2020
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  8. JimHerriot

    JimHerriot Ready for Anything

    17th April 1945, Operation Keystone, report extracts from Capt. Holland (OIC Keystone Parachute Party) up first, and then the words of Major Druce (OIC Keystone Jeeping Party).

    Please note the divergence in dates regarding DOD of the casualty (Alfred Ronald Edwards) reported in Capt. Holland's post action report of the 17th and CWGC records giving DOD as 18th April. Hence I will consequently post Pct Edwards details tomorrow.

    This is also where the date divergence between the Parachute Party report and the Jeeping Party report originated. For me, given what the respective officers had to contend with on Keystone, it is a small detail.

    Kind regards, always,

    Jim.

    Operation Keystone April 17th 45 PP.jpg

    Operation Keystone April 17th 45 JP.jpg
     
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  9. JimHerriot

    JimHerriot Ready for Anything

    18th April 1945, Operation Keystone, report extracts from Capt. Holland (OIC Keystone Parachute Party) and Major Druce (OIC Keystone Jeeping Party). From both officers their words were exceptionally brief on this day, notwithstanding the date discrepancy re what was done where on what day (as previously mentioned). Entirely forgivable under the circumstances.

    And as I include details of this 2 SAS casualty, and given the utmost respect that I have for the author of the source of that information below, from what I believe to be the absolute definitive work on SAS casualties (may it promulgate their memory for evermore) and as a matter for my conscience in using said source, and to continue its original aims, I have donated £100 to the Combat Stress charity prior to posting here.
    Please note, if I should receive a cease and desist request in relation to this information I will, immediately and with all reverence, always.

    How the family of Pct Edwards must have felt receiving notification of his death during a VE day street party does not bear thinking about.

    Personal collection photos included from pilgrimage in 2015 (planned to be repeated sometime in 2020, all being well).

    Kind regards, always,

    Jim.

    Operation Keystone April 18th 45 PP.jpg

    Operation Keystone April 18th 45 JP.jpg

    Alfred Ronald EDWARDS 1.jpg
    Alfred Ronald EDWARDS 2.jpg
    Alfred Ronald EDWARDS 3.jpg

    Jonkerbos entrance.jpg

    Jonkerbos vestibule.jpg

    Jonkerbos Cross of Sacrifice.jpg

    Jonkerbos Memorial 1.jpg

    Jonkerbos Memorial 2.jpg
     

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    Last edited: Apr 18, 2020
  10. JimHerriot

    JimHerriot Ready for Anything

    First off, a big thank you to stolpi for giving me the incentive to do these posts by starting his "Operation Anger" posts above.

    19th April 1945, Operation Keystone, report extracts from Capt. Holland (OIC Keystone Parachute Party) and Major Druce. Plus post op remarks from both Dick Holland and Henry Druce, and the nominal role of personnel that took part.

    Also re some of the post op aftermath, a few pages from the Operation Archway radio logs relating to Operation Keystone, followed by a couple of personal photos from the (then named) National Verbrijindings Museum, which somehow seems an apt place to finish.

    Kind regards, always remember, never forget,

    Jim.

    Operation Keystone April 19th 45 PP.jpg
    Post Op Keystone Remarks Captain Holland.jpg


    Post OP Keystone Remarks Major Druce.jpg
    OP Keystone Nominal Roll.jpg


    OP Archway Rodio Log extract 1.jpg


    OP Archway Rodio Log extract 2.jpg


    OP Archway Rodio Log extract 3.jpg


    Verbrijindings Museum ROH cover.jpg

    Verbrijindings Museum excerpt.jpg
     
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  11. stolpi

    stolpi Well-Known Member

    The last round: Battle for the Delfzijl Pocket (23 April - 2 May 1945)

    Today the reduction of the Delfzijl Pocket on the Ems Estuary began with an attack on Wagenborgen by the Cdn Scottish Regt (7 Cdn Inf Bde). It was the last German strong point on the mainland of NE Holland and was protected by four heavy anti-aircraft batteries (Nansum, Delfzijl, Fiemel on Dutch soil and the battery Knock across the Ems Estuary near Emden, Germany) and backed up by a battery of heavy 280-mm guns firing from the German Island of Borkum (Battery Coronell).

    Fiemel.jpg
    Marine Flak Batterie Termunten (courtesy https://www.facebook.com/pg/MflbTermunten/photos/)

    Battery position Termunten near Fiemel today: Marine Flak Batterie Fiemel, Termunten

    A couple of days later the 3rd Cdn Inf Div was released by the 5th Cdn Armoured Div which launched the final attack against the pocket on 24 April, called 'Operation Canada'.

    Units involved were elements of the 2nd Cdn Inf Div (8th Recce Regt), part of the 3rd Cdn Inf Div (7 Cdn Inf Bde) and later the 5th Cdn Armoured Div (released by 1st Cdn Corps). It was a brutal battle, with severe fighting during the last week of the war. The Delfzijl Pocket cost 115 Cadanian lives (KIA), while German losses are estimated at 442 KIA and 109 officers and 4034 OR's captured.

    Delfzijl Pocket.jpg

    For more details and some pictures of the battle locations today: Delfzijl-Pocket

    Canadian battles for Groningen & Delfzijl
     
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2020
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  12. Robert-w

    Robert-w Banned

    Channel Island deportees liberated in Germany

    Anniversary of WW2 internment camp liberation marked
    [​IMG]


    Rebecca Thorn

    BBC News Online

    A total of 618 people from Jersey were deported to Bad Wurzach during the German Occupation in World War Two.

    Internees were incarcerated inside the town's castle with limited food supplies and washing facilities.

    Local people from the German town will lay flowers on the graves of 12 islanders who died there to commemorate the anniversary of its Liberation on 28 April 1945.

    A partnership between St Helier and Bad Wurzach was formed in 2002 to reconcile the towns.

    Former internees of the camp had intended to visit the town this year, but the trip was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

    Some thought this was to have been their last opportunity to revisit the camp.

    Simon Crowcroft, the Constable of St Helier, says he hopes they will have another chance to visit the town next year.

    "One of the overriding stories that came out of the incarceration was the kindness they received from the inhabitants of Bad Wurzach.

    "These were villagers who suffered in some ways alongside the Allied prisoners, and that's one of the reasons for the visits and the twinning, because there's a real sense of gratitude from the people who were interned, to the community that had supported them as best they could."

    Who reached the camp? Was its existence known of by the Allies in advance?
     
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  13. stolpi

    stolpi Well-Known Member

    It looks like the French First Army took the town of Bad Wurzach:

    Bad Wuzbach.jpg

    Map from: Charles B. MacDonald "The Last Offensive, US Army in WW2, The European Theater of Operations".
     
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  14. Robert-w

    Robert-w Banned

    Well at least some of the camp occupants could speak French
     
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  15. stolpi

    stolpi Well-Known Member

    "One down" - Death of Benito Mussolini 28 April 1945

    By the spring of 1945, the war in Europe was over and Italy was broke. The south was in ruins as Allied troops advanced. The country was broken and battered, and it was, many thought, all Il Duce’s fault. But arresting Il Duce was no longer a viable course of action. Even though Hitler was surrounded by Allied troops in Berlin, Italy didn’t want to take any more chances with its own destiny.

    On April 25, 1945, Mussolini agreed to meet with anti-Fascist partisans in the palace of Milan. It was here that he learned Germany had begun negotiations for Mussolini’s surrender, which sent him into a fearful rage.

    Benito_Mussolini_a_Milano_il_25_aprile_1945.jpg
    Mussolini abandoning the Prefecture in Milan on 25 April 1945. Believed to be the last photograph of him alive.

    He took his mistress, Clara Petacci, and fled north where the pair joined a German convoy headed to the Swiss border. At least this way, Mussolini believed, he could live out his days in exile. He was wrong. Il Duce tried to wear a Nazi helmet and coat as a disguise in the convoy, but he was instantly recognized. His bald head, deeply set jaw, and piercing brown eyes gave him away. Mussolini had developed a cult-like following and instant recognizability over the past 25 years — due to his face being plastered all over propaganda nationwide — and now it had come back to haunt him.

    Fearing another rescue attempt of Mussolini by the Nazis, partisans whisked Mussolini and Petacci away to a remote farmhouse. The next morning, the partisans ordered the pair to stand against a brick wall near the entrance of Villa Belmonte, near Italy’s Lake Como and a firing squad shot the couple down in a barrage of gunfire. Upon Mussolini’s death, the final words he uttered were “No! No!”

    Mussolini had come incredibly close to reaching Switzerland; the resort town of Como literally shares a border with it. Another few miles and Mussolini would have been free.

    Contains graphic images:


    See also: https://www.history.com/news/mussolinis-final-hours and Death of Benito Mussolini | Wikiwand
     
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2020
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  16. stolpi

    stolpi Well-Known Member

    Happily married ... while the world around him collapsed, Hitler married his Eva Braun 75 years ago on 29 April 1945.

    1945-4-30 zelfmoord hitler.jpg
     
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  17. stolpi

    stolpi Well-Known Member

    "Another one down"

    75 years ago, at 15:30 hrs on 30 April 1945, Hitler committed suicide in his Führerbunker in Berlin. Hitler's death marked the end of the Third Reich. Berlin fell on May 2. A few days later, on May 7, Germany's unconditional surrender was completed.

    Stars_&_Stripes_&_Hitler_Dead2.jpg
     
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  18. stolpi

    stolpi Well-Known Member

    Delfzijl has fallen

    delfzijl-42.jpeg
    (photo courtesy of Delfzijl)

    On 2 May 1945 'Operation Canada' came to an end with the fall of the harbour town of Delfzijl and nearby Farmsum on the NE coast of Holland. It was the last active pocket of enemy resistance to be reduced in Holland. Courtesy of the 5th Cdn Armoured Division (2nd Cdn Corps).

    See also above: On this day during WW2
     
    Last edited: May 4, 2020
  19. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    Doenitz........faithful to the end and even masqueraded as the leader of his new Germany at Flensburg for about 3 weeks until the Allies shattered his illusion.
     
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  20. stolpi

    stolpi Well-Known Member

    May 4th, 1945 - 18:30 hrs: The Instrument of Surrender is signed at Lüneburg Heath



    On 4 May 1945 1830 British Double Summer Time at Lüneburg Heath, east of Hamburg , Field Marshal Sir Bernhard Law Montgomery accepted the unconditional surrender of the German forces in the Netherlands, northwest Germany including all islands, in Denmark and all naval ships in those areas. It was a so-called act of partial surrender (see on this: German Instrument of Surrender - Wikipedia.)

    See also: German surrender at Lüneburg Heath - Wikipedia
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2020
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