Gendringen and Veldhunten (30 March 45) At 08:15 hrs, on 30 March, while the fight for Netterden was still ongoing, Brigadier Allard held an 'O' Group at his tactical HQ, which had moved froward to Megchelen. Here he discussed the Brigade plan of attack for that day with his commanders, which was as divided in three phases: 6th Bde (30 March 0815 hrs): The intention is to capture the line from Terborg to Etten and Ziek [and cut the road and tram line between these locations]. Method: 6th Cdn Bde will carry out a three phase attack consisting of (1) Fus MR attacking Wieken [and Gendringen] (2) 8 Recce Regt (14 Canadian Hussars) are to take over the present Camerons of C. positions in the town of Netterden (3) on consolidation of Fus MR, Camerons of C. to take out Veldhunten. This completes Phase I. Phase II - S Sak Regt to pass through Camerons of C. along road to objective Etten. 8 Cdn Recce Regt to move [via Papekampseweg and Eerlandsestraat] to Azewijn. This completes phase II. Phase III - 6th Cdn Bde to cross the Oude IJssel and take the town of Terborg. During the night the Fusiliers Mont-Royal (Fus M.R.) had conducted patrols in the area to the south of Gendringen. On basis of these reconnaissances, Lt. Col. Jaques A. Dextraze, the battalion CO, decided to launch an attack on Gendringen from the southwest, from the direction of the township of Wieken. The Eikelboom farm, which was secured by a platoon of the Fus MR during the night, would serve as Start Line for the attack. Two Troops from 'C' Squadron of the Fort Garry Horse (10 Cdn Armd Regt) would provide tank support. Because of the prolonged battle at Netterden, on the Brigade's left flank, the attack of the Fusliers MR, which was scheduled to start at 08:00 hrs, at the request of Lt. Col. Dextraze was postponed until 11:00 hrs. When that hour arrived the Fusiliers moved in, with two companies forward, 'A' and 'C' Coy, each supported by a Troop of Sherman tanks, and with 'B' and 'D' following. At 11:45 hrs Dextraze reported that his forward units were within 100 yards of the first objective, but were heavily mortared and shelled and for the moment were unable to advance. The situation, he added, was under control; the area from which the enemy mortars were operating was located an subdued to C/B fire and the infantry and tanks were systematically picking out the enemy mortar OPs. Apart from enemy shells no other resistance had been met until then. Within half an hour the situation had changed. At 12:15 hrs Dextraze reported that both forward companies had occupied Wieken and taken two POWs, who belonged to the 30th Festung MG Battalion. They claimed that their battalion consisted of 170 man and was reinforced by a detachment of the 'Volkssturm'. While 'A' Coy turned left, to secure the crossroads at the western edge of Wieken, the other companies started towards Gendringen. At 13:00 hrs Dextraze reported that 'A' Coy had seized its objective and that the other companies were now meeting resistance from some very persistent snipers, which had opened fire from the houses on the western edge of Gendringen. "We probably will have to fry them", Dextraze grimmly added. The attack on Gendringen on March 30th , 1945, was conducted by the French Canadian battalion Les Fusiliers Mont-Royal. The infantry was supported by two Troops of Shermans of the Fort Garry Horse. As the infantry pressed on, reports came back that enemy infantry was sighted leaving the village on foot and with horse carts, all indications that enemy started buckling under the pressure. The battalion immediately called for air support. That enemy morale was fast declining is also illustrated by the story of Lt.F. Birth, a tank commander of one of the 'C' Squadron tanks. A group of 20 POWs surrendered to his tank. When he directed them back towards the rear across a field, the amount of prisoners had almost doubled before they reached the far side. From everywhere in the field enemy soldiers came out of their trenches to join the group in surrender. "They were popping up out of their holes like scared rabbits", according to Lt. Birth. The situation in the meantime was not without danger and before the village was completely cleared by the end of the afternoon the Fusiliers lost five man killed in action, the number of wounded is unknown. The French Canadians captured 113 POWs, among them 38 members of the 'Volkssturm'; Hitler's equivalent of the 'Home Guard'. A patrol was sent towards the bridge over the Oude IJssel river in the road to Anholt, but found it destroyed by the enemy. The jubilant inhabitants of Gendringen apparently were less aware of the dangerous job the soldier had to carry out. The War Diary of the Fus M.R. states: "Civilians were there as usual cheering like mad and becoming a nuisance with their grateful demonstration". The French Canadians didn't get long to rest on their laurels, at 21:00 hrs that evening the battalion concentrated at Wieken to get ready for the next phase of the operation. The village of Gendringen was taken over by 'C' Squadron of the 8th Cdn Recce Regt. Probing in the direction of Ulft, one Recce car was knocked out with two Recce men killed. The War Diary of the Recce was a bit milder about the population: "The people seem to be quite happy about being free of the Jerries [...] The boys are being pestered again for 'Cigarette for Pappa, and chocolate'". Picture of the 25-year-old Lt. Col. Jaques A. Dextraze (third from the left) and his Tac HQ at a kitchen table. The Tac Bn HQ was a small forward CP with some staff, signal and supplemented with liaison officers of supporting weapons, such as artillery and tanks.