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RHINE CROSSING 1945: The Rees bridgehead (30 Corps in operation 'Turnscrew')

Discussion in 'NW Europe' started by stolpi, Nov 23, 2013.

  1. stolpi

    stolpi Well-Known Member

    Emmerich Sluice Gate & Landwehr Canal today

    The area of operation of the Canadian Scottish hard east of Emmerich has changed beyond recognition and nowadays is completely overbuild by an industrial area. What remains are the Sluice Gate and the Landwehr stream.

    Emmerich Sluice Gate.jpg
    Sluice Gate at the mouth of the Landwehr Canal. In fact a water pumping facility that drains the water from the Landwehr into the Rhine River.

    Bridge over Sluice Gate Emmerich.jpg
    Bridge over the Sluice Gate (in the middle at the green bridgerailing). View to the north in the direction of the railway line (not visible).

    Landwehr Canal.jpg
    A picture of the Landwehr Canal just to the north of the railway line, where it makes a bend to the east. The road to the right is known as An der Landwehr.
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2018
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  2. stolpi

    stolpi Well-Known Member

    Battle for the main town (29 & 30 March)

    The advance of the Canadian Scottish had loosened the enemy's grip on the eastern egde of Emmerich and although the engineers were forced to work under fire they did succeed in completing a CL40 bridge at the Sluice Gate by 0630 hours (29 Mar).

    Once the bridge was open it was possible to bring up tanks. It now was the turn of the Regina Rifles to lead the attack on the town itself. H Hour for the assault by Regina Rifles was set at 0800 hours 29 Mar 45. The support for the operation on hand was considerable. Lt-Col A.S. Gregory, OC the Regina Rifle Regiment (Sherbrooke Fusilier Regt), had at his disposal one Troop of tanks (of "C" Squadron) from 27 Cdn Armd Regt as well as a troop of British flame-throwing Crocodiles (from "C" Sqd 1st Fife and Forfar Yeomanry). Although direct artillery support was not considered possible (as the own troops would naturally be scattered all through the broken buildings of the town), an artillery representative was to remain with the unit should the need for gun support arise. Immediate heavy fire would be provided by the tanks and crocodiles; apart from this the main artillery support was to be in the form of counter battery fire on the Hoch Elten feature besides a "pepper-pot" shoot, which was to be put on by the massed tanks of 4 Cdn Armd Bde from the south bank of the Rhine.

    11082223_948753468492054_7145276724469040718_o.jpg
    Tanks of the Canadian Grenadier Guards prepare for the "pepper-pot" shooting across the Rhine against he German strongholds in Emmerich and Hoch Elten on 28 March 45 (NAC).

    This Canadian film reel contains images of Emmerich from 09:22 onwards:


    The general plan was for Regina Rifles to sweep on westwards as far as the road joining the harbour and the railroad track; 1 C. Scot R. would then push through to participate with the Reginas in a leap-frogging movement to clear the main portion of the town between the railroad and the Rhine (in the end this part of the plan was not carried out and the Reginas swept through the whole of the town south of the railway); R. Wpg Rif meanwhile would assume responsibility for the area north of the railway. The brigade commander appreciated that the heavier defenses would be met in the town proper along the river bank, but the plan was subject to change depending on the degree of success achieved in each individual area.

    Panorama Emmerich.jpg
    Postwar picture of Emmerich viewed from the south bank of the Rhine, the town was shattered and operations inside the town became a straight infantry fight (courtesy to "Emmerich im Zweiten Weltkrieg, Augenzeugen Berichten, 1989" and courtesy to Bedee who merged both panoramic pictures together)

    Capture of Emmerich Phases.jpg
    Map of the operation against the main part of the town of Emmerich as it was actually carried out, after establishing the bridgehead over the Landwehr (the latter might be called: Phase 0); the different phases will be referred to in the next posts. As in the early stages of the Rees bridgehead battle, Allied operations went on unabated, day and night, almost without pause. This wearied down the enemy more than it did the own troops. The Germans, who lacked adequate reserves, got no time to rest, whereas the Allies, by leap-frogging their units, could relieve eachother and could insert a 'fresh' unit into the attack over and over. There are instances reported where German troops were captured asleep at their guns or found sound asleep inside houses.
     
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2019
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  3. stolpi

    stolpi Well-Known Member

    Stadplan a.jpg
    Modern town plan of Emmerich
     
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2018
  4. stolpi

    stolpi Well-Known Member

    Up the Johns! The Regina Rifle Regiment at Emmerich

    The capture of Emmerich has been the subject of a Battle Narrative written by the CO of the Regina Rifles, Lt.Col. Allen S. Gregory, produced for the Historical Officer of HQ 3rd Cdn Inf Division. Attached the integral report (with courtesy to Klambie):

    RRR-Emmerich001.jpg RRR-Emmerich002.jpg RRR-Emmerich003.jpg RRR-Emmerich004.jpg RRR-Emmerich005.jpg

    The map that goes with the report was missing, but fortunately I retraced it some time ago - forgotten when and where - on the internet (blue circles indicating the town sectors are mine):
    Emmerich Map vergroot a.jpg
     
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2018
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  5. stolpi

    stolpi Well-Known Member

    The Sherbrooke Fusiliers Regiment (27th Cdn Arm Regt) at Emmerich:

    PHASE 1: No.1 Troop in support of "C" Coy, Regina Rifle Regiment (morning March 29th)


    The War Diary of 'C' Squadron, Sherbrooke Fusiliers Regt, 2nd Cdn Arm Brigade, which was in support of 7 Cdn Inf Bde, provides ample details of the tank support given to the infantry during the operations in Emmerich, though the Shermans could not advance far beyond the harbour area, due to the destruction in the town and enemy road blocks. Below and in the following posts some fragments of the War Diary, which I edited a bit because of typos and mixed up sentences (the Sqd report for the Diary apparently was compiled in some haste).

    No1 Tp Emmerich a.jpg
    No.1 Troop in support of "C" Coy, Regina Rifle Regiment (morning March 29th).

    Edited version of War Diary "C" Squadron: No.1 Troop in support of "C" Coy, Regina Rifle Regiment (morning March 29th)
    Foto 6 Harbour.jpg
    Point at the railway tracks from where the Shermans of the Sherbrook Fusiliers shelled the harbour area. The tanks emerged from the Blücherstrasse which is at the back, in between the high appartment buildings. When the tanks started to attract enemy shell fire they moved out of sight behind these buildings. View to the east: the picture has been taken with the back to the port.

    7 Cdn Inf Bde, Special Report No. 25 Operation Plunder, reports that on 29.0800 Regina Rifles commenced a two company attack supported by 1 Tp of tanks and 1 Tp of Crocodiles. "B" and "C" Coys moved forward together through the Scottish positions, the flame-throwing vehicles with "B" Coy on the right, the tanks with "C" Coy on the left; "A" and "D" Coys were ordered to remain firmed up but on notice to move forward. The Wasps from the carrier platoon stayed at the command post ready to proceed to the aid of either company when called for. In support of the leading infantry the heavy mortars of C.H. of O. (M.G.) joined the battalion's own lighter pieces in providing a concentrated curtain of high explosive fire north of the railway (and in square 9761) so as to neutralize the enemy's activity there. Initially resistance was very light and "C" Coy on the left by 29.0840 was on objective. "B" Coy on the right encountered stiffer opposition and 29.1030 were still fighting in the area of buildings 976606; an estimated 30 enemy were killed and 11 POWs taken up to this time. One enemy tank and a fortified house were holding up "B" Coy. The Crocodiles burned out the enemy strongpoint and by 29.1055 "B" Coy was firm on its objective. The enemy tank was still in action. Own infantry casualties were light. One of the supporting tanks [Cpl Quinn's, damaged?] and one Crocodile had been knocked out. Weather: March 29th was a dull dark day, with showers in the afternoon.

    Pte James D. Innes of "B" Coy, Regina Rifles, earned an immediate MM for coming to the aid of two wounded soldiers while under heavy enemy fire and rescuing a crew member from a burning tank :
    Innes RRR B Coy 1.jpg Innes RRR B Coy 2.jpg

    Emmerich Harbour 3.jpg
    View of the river harbour at Emmerich. The tanks of No.1 Troop fired across the harbour at the town center (from left to right). The broken tower of the St. Aldegundis Church rises above the ruins. From the smoke rising up in the background it is obvious that this picture was taken shortly after the capture of the town. One of the two soldiers in the foreground is clearly wearing a Tom o' Shanter, a Canadian Scottish perhaps? (courtesy to "Emmerich im Zweiten Weltkrieg, Augenzeugen Berichten, 1989")

    Foto 7 Harbour.jpg
    Emmerich harbour area today
     
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2018
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  6. stolpi

    stolpi Well-Known Member

    PHASE 2: No.1 Troop in support of "D" Coy, Regina Rifle Regiment (afternoon March 29th)

    No1 Tp Emmerich b.jpg
    No.1 Troop in support of "D" Coy, Regina Rifle Regiment (afternoon March 29th)

    Edited version of War Diary "C" Squadron: No.1 Troop in support of "C" Coy, Regina Rifle Regiment (afternoon, March 29th)

    7 Cdn Inf Bde, Special Report No. 25 Operation Plunder, reports that the Regina Rifles started a battalion attack on the main part of Emmerich at 29.1330 with "C"and "D" Coys leading. "C" made good progress hindered only by mines (Teller- and Schu-mines) and by 29.1450 was on its objective. Four enemy tanks in the NW corner of the town were causing considerable trouble to "D" Coy. It was difficult for our tanks to manoeuvre in the town because of the rubble and well sited enemy road blocks. The obstacles which caused our troops the most difficulty were railway box cars filled with rubble which were placed across many of the roads. By 29.1500 Regina Rifles general line of forward troops was 973607 - 972602 the area east of this line was clear of enemy. At 29.1710 the third company ("B" Coy) of Regina Rifles was committed and the tp of tanks and Crocodiles were withdrawn. Another Crocodile had been knocked out by enemy fire. "B" Coy pushed on into the town center and encountered almost no opposition. By 29.1900 the Coy was on its objectives and it looked as if the enemy was packing up.

    20130705192039-360358d3-me.jpg
    Aerial photograph of the Emmerich harbour and Station area where the actions took place. The area north of the marshalling yard is where the 1st Cdn Scottish attack took place, as described in the post below (Courtesy Infocollector).

    Box car road block 2.jpg
    Box car road block 1.jpg
    Two images of railway box cars that were so effectively used by the enemy as road blocks at Emmerich. They were filled with debris and moved into the middle of the roads; they were so heavy that tanks could not pull them out and it became an Engineers job to remove them. In this case a detour was constructed around the road block, a bren carrier with a six-pounder AT gun in tow moves around it. Eventually the box cars were blown to smithereens with explosives (still taken from the Canadian Army Newsreel No.67 (see post # 142)).
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2018
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  7. stolpi

    stolpi Well-Known Member

    PHASE 2: No. 3 Tp in support of the 1st Cdn Scottish in the attack on Leegmeer (afternoon March 29th)

    At 1300 hrs in the afternoon the Canadian Scottish was again called upon to enter the battle. Acccording to the Regt History: "the short rest allowed the unit after a night of hard work was all too brief". The battalion was to expand the small hold to the north of the railway line at Groendahl, captured early that morning by "A" Coy, by clearing the area north of the railway in a two company attack up to Leegmeer and thus secure the flank of the Regina's attack on the main part of the town. This time the Cdn Scottish were assisted by a Troop of tanks (No. 3 Tp, "C" Sqd, Sherbrooke Fusiliers) and a Troop of Crocodiles. Objectives were right "A" Coy road junction 982613 and left "C" Coy factory area 975608. The Cdn Scottish were ordered to clear the road between these two positions as a Start Line for a projected attack by the Royal Winnipeg Rifles. It was decided to by-pass the Cement Works at 988612 as this expected enemy position was not causing much trouble and the only approach was a sunken road not suitable for armoured vehicles. The Cement Works were burned out by a heavy concentration of 4.2 mortar smoke bombs. By 1515 hrs "A" and "C" were on their objectives. "A" Coy on the right was in contact and encountering moderate enemy fire, "C" Coy at 1712 hrs reported that it was still meeting opposition and was being shelled by 88's. Infantry casualties were light, one Crocodile was knocked out by enemy fire as were two of the tanks.

    No 3 Tp Emmerich.jpg
    Map of the 1st Cdn Scottish operation. I'm not certain about the spot of Lt.Warriner's tank, unfortunately the Report of "C" Sqd gives no map references, when it comes to the No.3 Tp action, so it is not possible to pin point the exact locations.

    Edited version of War Diary "C" Squadron: No.3 Troop in support of "C" Coy, Cdn Scottish (afternoon, March 29th)
    Lt Robert A. Warriner received a Military Cross for his rescue action. Two soldiers of the 27th Armoured Regt were killed in action on the 29th, while six were wounded. The casualties were:

    001 HAMMOND EM D/47056 27TH ARMD REGT 29/03/1945 SHERBROOKE FUSILIERS REGIMENT, R.C.A.C. XX. A. 4.
    002 JOANETTE E C/30765 27TH ARMD REGT 29/03/1945 SHERBROOKE FUSILIERS REGIMENT, R.C.A.C. XX. A. 8.

    Sherbrooke Fus Joanette.jpg Sherbrooke Fus Hammond.jpg

    The casualty list of the 27th Cdn Armoured Regiment for the 29th also mentions the names of the wounded:
    casualties 27 CAR.jpg

    Crocodiles.jpg
    "C" Squadron of the 1st Fife and Forfar Yeomanry were in support of the Canadians fighting at Emmerich. One (or maybe two) of the flame throwing Crocodiles were lost to enemy SP's lurking in the towns debris. This picture of advancing Crocodiles was taken at the Reeserstrasse near the train station at Emmerich on March 30, 1945 (Photo NAC). The Crocodile that was knocked out along the Reeserstrasse at Emmerich was painted by War Artist Cpr. Alex Colville on March 31, see: Search the Collections | Canadian War Museum

    "C" Sqn of the 1st Fife and Forfar Yeomanry, while supporting the 7 Cdn Inf Bde with flame-throwing Crocodiles, lost one or two tanks in the street fighting at Emmerich and had the following casualties:

    001 THYNE JM 7955327 1ST FIFE AND FORFAR YEOMANRY 29/03/1945 ROYAL ARMOURED CORPS XII. B. 9.
    002 WALFORD T 249372 1ST FIFE AND FORFAR YEOMANRY 29/03/1945 ROYAL ARMOURED CORPS XII. B. 10.

     
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2019
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  8. stolpi

    stolpi Well-Known Member

    Railway Yard Emmerich.jpg
    The marshalling yard at Emmerich, with the factory area, that was the objective of "C" Coy, 1st Cdn Scottish, beyond the tracks, or top right on the picture (courtesy Infocollector)

    Sherman Emmerich.jpg
    Tanks of the Sherbrooke Fusiliers Regiment (27th Cdn Armoured Regiment) move up along the main road, or what nowadays is the Bahnhofstrasse/Reeserstrasse, to assist the infantry in clearing Emmerich. The previous picture of the marshalling yard, was taken from the high factory building in the center. To the left of the Sherman tank the same net-covered construction as on the previous picture is visible, probably used to hide locomotives and box cars from view from the air. (photo NAC)
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2019
  9. stolpi

    stolpi Well-Known Member

    Bahnhof Emmerich (Railway Station) nowadays

    11080612_948753448492056_6939037663035582898_o.jpg
    Canadian tanks and infantry advance westward along the Reeser Strasse towards the main town of Emmerich. This picture was taken at the junction with the Blücherstrasse (high building to the left). To the right is the destroyed Bahnhof railway station (NAC)

    Foto 9 Reeserstrasse.jpg
    Reeserstrasse today looking west towards the main town; the junction with the Blücherstrasse is further on the left near the high building behind the cyclists.

    Bahnhof Emmerich.jpg
    The Bahnhof then ...

    Foto 10 Bahnhof Emmerich.jpg
    ... and now. The rebuild Bahnhof of Emmerich

    Blucherstrasse.jpg
    Emmerich picture of military vehicles parked along the Blücherstrasse (NAC)

    Foto 8 Blucherstrasse.jpg
    The Blücherstrasse today. The white house with the orange tiles at the back of the street is also visible on the previous 'now' picture of the Reeserstrasse. To the left of that building is the Bahnhof.
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2018
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  10. stolpi

    stolpi Well-Known Member

    PHASE 3: Night attack by the Regina Rifles & Royal Winnipegs, 29/30 March

    By last light of the 29th the Regina Rifles, despite determined opposition from infantry in prepared positions in houses and supported by self propelled guns, held almost 3/4 of the town of Emmerich with the enemy holding on to the NW and W edges of the town. During the evening Lt.Col.Alan S. Gregory, the C.O. of the Regina Rifles regrouped his battalion and, though his troops were becoming fatigued at this stage after having continuously been advancing against or fighting the enemy for over fourty-eight hours, decided to commit "A", "C" and "D" Coys in a night attack. Enemy opposition was decreasing and his intention was to make one final push using his three companies to reach the western outskirts of Emmerich.

    Brigadier Gibson, the CO 7 Bde, had in the meantime ordered the Royal Winnipeg Rifles (RWR) to be prepared to attack that night through the 1st Cdn Scottish at Leegmeer and clear the build-up sector directly north of the main town. Preparatory to this attack "A" Coy, RWR successfully attacked a small enemy position in the vicinity of the Cement Works at 994612 and took 12 POWs. While the Regina's still were regrouping, the Royal Winnipeg Rifles, at 29.2045 started the attack through the 1st Cdn Scottish to clear the area north of the railway tracks. Against moderate resistance by 29.2215 phase I of this attack was completed with "D" Coy at 979613 and "B" Coy at 973609. Phase II commenced and close on midnight the battalion was disposed with two forward companies on the western edge of the town, along the `s Heerenberger Strasse, and two companies in the two cemeteries, with coy positions at 977612 - 972611 - 97609 - 973614. According to the Battle Log 7 Cdn Inf Bde "A" Coy, RWR, had to fight hard and took some 30 POWs. Slight enemy opposition was met by the other companies, some shelling and a few POWs.

    No 0 Tp Emmerich.jpg
    Map of the attack of the Royal Winnipeg Rifles north of the railway tracks, night 29/30 March 45

    Against midnight the Regina's started operations to capture the remaining part of the town center up to the outer edge of the town. Lt.Col.Gregory's decision to attack the ruined town at night was a bold one, everyone who actually has to do it knows that street fighting at night is not possible. After some regrouping "A", "C", and "D" Coys, using "B" Coy's area (sector 5 on the map) as a base, kicked of at 29.2330 to clear their assigned sectors of the town (Sectors 6, 7 and 8 respectively). Because of road blocks and rubble tanks were unable to assist the infantry. "D" Coy worked forward toward the tin factory and had cleared the area south of the railroad junction by 0300 hours. Thirty minutes later "C" Coy had control of its allotted area on "D" Coy's left, but "A" Coy going down along the left flank towards the factories on the outskirts of town met very sticky opposition. To take one strong point, made up of fortified houses on the western outskirts, they had to call for assistance from "C" Coy. At 0400 hours elements of "C" Coy attempted to clean it out from the right and did succeed in penetrating the outer-defences; but this success was short-lived, as they were quickly expelled by panzerfaust and concentrated machine gun fire. The offending stronghold baffled the riflemen throughout the morning of 30 March.

    RRR sectors 30.jpg

    Excerpt of the battle Log of 7 Cdn Inf Bde re the Regina's night operation:
    The Regina War Diary mentioned that throughout the operation more POWs of the 346.Infanterie Division were taken. All had the similar story of movement from Holland (vicinity of Rotterdam) in the last few days. They were sent down in groups of 100 to 200, split in smaller groups of six men and sent out to defend houses.

    3rd Cdn Inf Division's Operation Instruction No. 2 as issued on the evening of 29 March 1945:
    oocihm_lac_reel_t6698_data_sip_data_files_1399_jpg.jpg
     
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2019
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  11. stolpi

    stolpi Well-Known Member

    Phase 4: The final strongpoint on the outskirt of Emmerich, 30 March 1945

    By first light on 30 March the main town of Emmerich was clear except for an enemy strongpoint in the buildings at 966605 on the western outskirts of the town. This consisted of two strongly defended buildings. The windows were bricked up and enemy were firing from numerous 'mouse holes'. Throughout the morning of 30 March the Regina's "A" Coy, with the assistance of "C", tried to subdue the enemy strongpoint. Attempts by "C" Coy to outflank the position during the early hours failed.

    Meanwhile much of the obstruction had been cleared from the road up to the forward lines and additional support in the form of Wasps was brought into action. Normally the appearance of flame throwing Wasps encouraged enemy units to surrender, over fighting it out conventionally. Saving a great number of lives on both sides. Yet even against these dreaded weapons the enemy refused to yield. Three Wasps of the Regina's Carrier Platoon, supporting 2 sections of infantry of "A" Coy, put in an attack but it was not successful. The strongpoint remained in German hands. The attack however disclosed that one building actually consisted of two houses with connecting cellars. With this knowledge "A" Coy tied up a platoon attack, with the support from an additional section of Wasps of the 1st Cdn Scottish. The Wasps refuelled and this time six Wasps flamed both buildings, setting them on fire but still the point resisted. It was not till plenty of grenades had been thrown down the cellars that some 50 odd enemy decided that the war for them was over and gave up. This success, at 1300 hours, cleared the western edge of the town for use as a start line for the forthcoming attack of 1 C. Scot R.

    Illustrated London News 07 April 1945 a.jpg
    Artists impression of the final attack by the Reginas on the enemy strongpoint. Ultimately, six Wasps and a platoon of infantry were needed to take down this stubborn position (courtesy of DBF)

    The Regina Rifles lost between 50 and 60 men in the three days fight for Emmerich, of these the following were killed in action:

    001 BOKITCH MJ L/64502 - 30/03/1945 REGINA RIFLE REGIMENT, R.C.I.C. XX. A. 5.
    002 BRYKSA S L/601925 - 29/03/1945 REGINA RIFLE REGIMENT, R.C.I.C. XX. G. 4.
    003 CHAMBERLAIN DC C/34202 - 29/03/1945 REGINA RIFLE REGIMENT, R.C.I.C. XX. G. 5.
    004 CUMMING RS L/107422 - 29/03/1945 REGINA RIFLE REGIMENT, R.C.I.C. XX. G. 1.
    005 EPP PB L68042 - 28/03/1945 REGINA RIFLE REGIMENT, R.C.I.C. XI. B. 13.
    006 FORWARD JC P/4560 - 30/03/1945 REGINA RIFLE REGIMENT, R.C.I.C. XIV. C. 1.
    007 KOESTER JV - - 30/03/1945 REGINA RIFLE REGIMENT, R.C.I.C. XX. G. 8.
    008 MACSPORRAN LH M/107457 - 30/03/1945 REGINA RIFLE REGIMENT, R.C.I.C. XX. E. 12.
    009 MOLLISON GW L/108426 1ST BN 29/03/1945 REGINA RIFLE REGIMENT, R.C.I.C. XX. G. 2.
    010 MONETTE RJ C/98724 - 29/03/1945 REGINA RIFLE REGIMENT, R.C.I.C. XX. E. 16.
    011 NOLAN MJ M/101851 - 29/03/1945 REGINA RIFLE REGIMENT, R.C.I.C. XX. E. 13.
    012 QUISSY GL K/1855 - 30/03/1945 REGINA RIFLE REGIMENT, R.C.I.C. XX. G. 6.
    013 SMITH HW K/54590 - 29/03/1945 REGINA RIFLE REGIMENT, R.C.I.C. XI. B. 15.
    014 THORSON MN L/106839 - 29/03/1945 REGINA RIFLE REGIMENT, R.C.I.C. XX. G. 3.
    015 TURNER G B/4724 - 30/03/1945 REGINA RIFLE REGIMENT, R.C.I.C. XX. G. 7.

    RRR 1.jpg RRR 2.jpg RRR 3.jpg
     
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2018
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  12. stolpi

    stolpi Well-Known Member

    Location of the strongpoint nowadays

    Foto 11 Eltenerstrasse.jpg
    The crossroads of the Eltenerstrasse with the 's Heerenbergerstrasse (the latter the exit to the right) is where according to the grid references in the Canadian reports the last enemy strong point was located, which had to be burned out with assistance of the WASPs. I might be mistaken, but given the blackened facade of the Postamt (Post Office) on the pictures below, its my impression that this was the building that caused so much trouble to the Reginas and had to be smoked out by the WASPs. The Postamt however is located one crossroads further to the east on the edge of the market place known as the Geistmarkt.

    Enemy Strongpoint aaa.jpg Postamt 2.jpg
    Left: map from the Regina report of the area of last enemy stronghold. It puts the strongpoint at the crossroads of the Eltenerstrasse with the 's Heerenbergerstrasse. Right: infantry moving across the market place, aka Geistmarkt, towards the Postamt. Note the scorched gable of the latter building, as if it has been targeted by the Canadian Wasps. The roof of the building has collapsed. The facade to the left belongs to the Protestant Church. The picture is a still from the Canadian Army Newsreel No.67 (see post # 142).


    Foto 4 Geistmarkt.jpg
    Same spot of the latter picture: Geistmarkt today. To the left the Protestant Church; the light coloured building at the end of the market square is the Postamt.


    Cdn soldiers Postamt.jpg
    Infantry and tanks in front of the Postamt (Post Office) looking towards the crossroads of the 's Heerenbergerstrasse with the Eltenerstrasse, where,according to the Regina Report, the last enemy stronghold was located. The crossroads is just beyond the Sherman. Again note the blackened gable of the Postamt. The high building to the left, diagonally across from the Postamt, is known as the 'Societät', or Society Club. This picture was probably taken later in the afternoon of the 30th, when tank support finally reached the western outskirt of the town. The cautious posture of the men (and photographer), indicates that action is not far away. The men probably belong to the 1st Cdn Scottish which was to move forward along the Eltenerstrasse towards the Cement Factory hard west of the town, to create a Start Line for the advance of 8th Cdn Inf Bde towards Hoch Elten (Photo NAC).

    Foto 3 Postamt.jpg
    The Postamt is still in the same building. The building to the left, with the stepped gable, is a modest rebuild Societät.
     
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2019
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  13. stolpi

    stolpi Well-Known Member

    Geistmarkt & Rathaus

    Postamt 3.jpg
    Another still from the Canadian Army Newsreel No.67 (see post # 142) shows Canadian soldiers moving across the Geistmarkt. The building with the archway is the Rathaus (town hall) situated on the SE edge of the market place at the entrance of the Steinstrasse.

    Emmerich Cdn troops.jpg
    Close-up of the Rathaus looking into the Steinstrasse, which looks relatively unscratched (photo courtesy Infocollector).

    Foto 2.jpg
    Same spot nowadays.

    image-4835793.jpg
    The St Martins Church as seen from the Geistmarkt (CAN)

    Foto 5 Geistmarkt.jpg
    Same spot today. The building to the left is the western wing of the Rathaus (town hall).
     
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2018
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  14. stolpi

    stolpi Well-Known Member

    Enemy counterattacks north of the railway line (March 30, 1945)

    While the Regina Rifles were busy clearing up the western edge of Emmerich during the morning of 30 March, the other battalions of 7 Inf Bde in position north of the railway tracks were counterattacked by enemy tanks and infantry.

    At 30.0420 an enemy deserter crossed into "C" Coy, 1 Cdn Scottish, position and stated that a counter attack supported by six SP guns and two tanks was to be launched at 0400 from the vicinity of the woods in square 9762. This information, passed back to Brigade headquarters, gave the Canadians time to prepare for it. Divisional artillery harassed the enemy assembly area throughout the night and because of this fire the enemy attack was delayed. When it finally came, at 0600, the Winnipeg Rifles bore the brunt of several counterattacks, whereas the Cdn Scottish were subjected to shelling only.

    Emmerich 30 March.jpg

    Fragment from the War Diary of the Royal Winnipeg Rifles:
    RWR WD 30 march.jpg

    The counterattack as registered in the Battle Log of 7 Cdn Inf Bde:
    The enemy seemed reluctant to release his hold on Emmerich and small enemy counter attacks continued during the afternoon. They were repulsed each time with casualties and POWs taken. D Coy took 8 POWs and the 1 Cdn Scottish took 7. All were identified as members of 346 Fusilier battalion, who had just come from Rotterdam a few days ago. Originally the unit consisted of three Coys of 130 men each. The western outskirts of Emmerich were not cleared until nightfall on the 30th.

    Casualties in the Winnipeg Rifles for the period of 28 to 30 March 1945 were:

    RWR Bridal.jpg
    001 BRIDAL JW H/42139 - 29/03/1945 ROYAL WINNIPEG RIFLES, R.C.I.C. XX. G. 10.

    RWR Caldwell.jpg
    002 CALDWELL AP H/22702 - 30/03/1945 ROYAL WINNIPEG RIFLES, R.C.I.C. XX. G. 13.

    RWR Denison.jpg
    003 DENISON LH - - 30/03/1945 ROYAL WINNIPEG RIFLES, R.C.I.C. XX. G. 12.

    RWR Gibbs.jpg
    004 GIBBS AL H/41315 - 30/03/1945 ROYAL WINNIPEG RIFLES, R.C.I.C. XX. G. 9.

    RWR Lorentson.jpg
    005 LORENTSON RN H/18606 - 29/03/1945 ROYAL WINNIPEG RIFLES, R.C.I.C. XX. A. 11.

    RWR Szumski.jpg
    006 SZUMSKI ML H/10709 1ST BN 29/03/1945 ROYAL WINNIPEG RIFLES, R.C.I.C. XX. A. 10.

    RWR Thorinson.jpg
    007 THORINSON SL H/67647 - 30/03/1945 ROYAL WINNIPEG RIFLES, R.C.I.C. XX. G. 14.

    RWR Woodcock.jpg
    008 WOODCOCK KJ H/41307 - 30/03/1945 ROYAL WINNIPEG RIFLES, R.C.I.C. XX. G. 16.

    RWR Wright.jpg
    009 WRIGHT EF C/103459 - 29/03/1945 ROYAL WINNIPEG RIFLES, R.C.I.C. XX. A. 14.

    RWR Young.jpg
    010 YOUNG RC F/66563 - 29/03/1945 ROYAL WINNIPEG RIFLES, R.C.I.C. XX. A. 15
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2019 at 2:52 PM
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  15. stolpi

    stolpi Well-Known Member

    A DCM for Sergeant Darrow Gomez and his 17-pounder Valentine

    Sergeant Darrow Gomez of the 105 Btty, 3rd Cdn AT Regt was rewarded the DCM for knocking out two of the enemy SP guns during the counterattacks against the Royal Winnipeg Rifles on the 30th. His award reads as follows:

    Tamiya.jpg
    The Self Propelled 17pdr, Valentine, Mk I, "Archer" was a British self-propelled anti-tank gun based on the Valentine infantry tank chassis fitted with an Ordnance QF 17 pounder gun (courtesy Tamiya). See also: Surviving British WW2 Archer 17pdr Self Propelled Anti-tank Gun

    Gomez Archer IWM B14817.jpg
    Michel Sabarly recently discovered that there actually exists a picture of the 17-pounder SP of Sergeant Gomez. The vehicle features in this well-known IWM-photograph no. B 14817 which was taken earlier on in Feb 1945 when the SP-gun was transported across the flooded Rhine flats near Kranenburg (Germany). Michel messaged me: "Checking the 3 Cdn A tk Regt War Diary, I did find the WD No S279769 in Part X Orders of 7 Jan 45 (when it was received) and of 18 May 45 (when it was transferred to 7 CIB Wksp RCEME, presumably for repairs). It must have remained with 3 Cdn A tk Regt during the interval, including 23 Feb 45 (the date B14817 was taken), which means the photo does show Sgt Gomez' vehicle! Can't say which of the chaps on the photo is Sgt Gomez though… but we can clearly see the .30cal MG he used to repel the "strong enemy fighting patrol".


    Report re Sergeant Gomez' action on the 30th from the War Diary of the 3rd Cdn A/T Regiment:

    Valentine Emmerich aa.jpg

    Two members of the 3rd Canadian Anti-Tank Regiment became casualty during this period:
    001 SCHWARTZ GJ - 3 ANTI TANK REGT 30/03/1945 ROYAL CANADIAN ARTILLERY XVI. E. 8.
    002 TOWNSLEY AR - 3 ANTI TANK REGT 29/03/1945 ROYAL CANADIAN ARTILLERY XI. B. 1.
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2019 at 2:58 PM
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  16. stolpi

    stolpi Well-Known Member

    The Cdn Scottish capture the Cement Works, afternoon March 30, 1945

    At approximately 30.0900, Major General Keefler, the GOC 3rd Cdn Inf Division, visited Brigadier Gibson, the 7 Cdn Inf Bde HQ, and ordered him to capture the Cement Works hard west of Emmerich, at map reference 958614, in order to secure a Start Line for the 8 Cdn Inf Bde attacking in a NW direction to the Hoch Elten feature and the 9 Cdn Inf Bde attacking north of the railway line directed on the Muehlenbergerweg.

    1st Cdn Scottish were ordered to do this attack with in support one Troop of tanks and two Troops of Crocodiles. H hour was tentatively set for 30.1330. This time was delayed 20 minutes as there was a delay in getting tanks forward. At 30.1400, after another delay, the attack commenced without the support of armour, as no route could be found for the tanks and flame-throwers through the demolished town. The 1st Cdn Scottish operation was planned as a two company attack, with "B" on the left and "D" on the right. However "D" Coy was held up right at the Start Line as "D" Coy of the Regina Rifles, on their right flank, were pushed out of the Cement Works at 968609 by a counter attack from the Margarine Factory at 968612. Owing to enemy fire from both buildings "D" Coy, 1 Cdn Scottish, consolidated on the Start Line. "B" Coy therefore worked their way forward alone along the Eltenerstrasse and by 30.1630 were reported at 965611. "A" Coy, 1 Cdn Scottish, followed this advance soon afterwards and reported that the "going" was not difficult. They picked up a large number of POWs who had been hiding in the cellars. By 30.1725 the company had reached the objective at 958614. By that time a counterattack of the Royal Winnipeg Rifles had retaken the Margarine Factory, which enabled "D" Coy, 1st Cdn Scottish with the aid of tanks, that finally had managed to find a way through the rubble, to start its part of the operation. By 30.1855 the 1st Cdn Scottish were disposed with companies as follows: A 958614 - B 959612 - C 964609 and D 961614. That evening a patrol of "B" Coy investigated the Concrete Works to the SW of the company position and returned with 11 POWs without meeting opposition. It was obvious that the enemy troops were falling back.

    Emmerich 30 March Cement Works.jpg

    This ended the operation for the Cdn Scottish at Emmerich and in fact the task of 7 Cdn Inf Bde in "Operation Plunder". With the capture of the town the back of the enemy resistance had been broken and the enemy were running and were being successfully chased by the other units of the 3rd Cdn Inf Division: the 8th Cdn Inf Bde towards the west and the 9th Cdn Inf Bde to the north. The focus now lay on quickly clearing the dominating Hoch Elten feature so as to enable Canadian Engineers to start building bridges across the Rhine at Emmerich.

    During the three days of battle in Emmerich the infantry battalions of the 7th Cdn Inf Bde had suffered 169 casualties including 44 killed or died of wounds. To these should be added the casualties of the supporting units, thusfar I found 6 killed and 6 wounded. As usual the number of German casualties is an unknown quantity, but by 30.1800 the cumulative number of POWs through 3rd Cdn Inf cages alone was 741. Nearly half of these had been taken by the 7 Cdn Inf Bde: the War Diary of the 7 Cdn Inf Bde estimates the number of POWs since the start of Operation Plunder as approximately 300. The Allied 'rule of thumb' at the time was that the number of enemy killed or wounded equalled that of POWs taken.

    Casualties for the Cdn Scottish for the battle at Emmerich were:
    001 BULLEN WF K/76672 - 30/03/1945 CANADIAN SCOTTISH REGIMENT, R.C.I.C. XIV. C. 4.
    002 BURIAN O K/605 - 28/03/1945 CANADIAN SCOTTISH REGIMENT, R.C.I.C. XX. C. 15.
    003 GRAHAM VH - - 29/03/1945 CANADIAN SCOTTISH REGIMENT, R.C.I.C. XX. F. 1.
    004 HALLIDAY FWR L/74718 - 28/03/1945 CANADIAN SCOTTISH REGIMENT, R.C.I.C. XX. C. 11.
    005 HARPER LJ K/3197 - 29/03/1945 CANADIAN SCOTTISH REGIMENT, R.C.I.C. XI. B. 12.
    006 HOWE GB K/1242 - 28/03/1945 CANADIAN SCOTTISH REGIMENT, R.C.I.C. XX. C. 6.
    007 HULL TE K/71424 - 28/03/1945 CANADIAN SCOTTISH REGIMENT, R.C.I.C. XX. C. 5.
    008 KINGSLEY AH B/62437 - 28/03/1945 CANADIAN SCOTTISH REGIMENT, R.C.I.C. XX. C. 7.
    009 MCCAFFERTY LR M/103132 - 28/03/1945 CANADIAN SCOTTISH REGIMENT, R.C.I.C. XX. C. 3.
    010 MCFARLANE GG K/2699 - 28/03/1945 CANADIAN SCOTTISH REGIMENT, R.C.I.C. XX. C. 10.
    011 RAY BB K/62848 - 31/03/1945 CANADIAN SCOTTISH REGIMENT, R.C.I.C. XIV. A. 13.
    012 REYNOLDS DD K/3720 - 30/03/1945 CANADIAN SCOTTISH REGIMENT, R.C.I.C. XX. A. 6.
    013 RUDSKI Z M/66588 - 28/03/1945 CANADIAN SCOTTISH REGIMENT, R.C.I.C. XX. C. 4.
    014 STEWART DB - 1ST BN 29/03/1945 CANADIAN SCOTTISH REGIMENT, R.C.I.C. XX. C. 16.
    015 THOMAS PA K/98192 2ND BN 30/03/1945 CANADIAN SCOTTISH REGIMENT, R.C.I.C. XIV. A. 12.
    016 THOMAS GC K/4407 - 28/03/1945 CANADIAN SCOTTISH REGIMENT, R.C.I.C. XX. C. 14.
    017 VAN BUSKIRK WE K/72726 - 28/03/1945 CANADIAN SCOTTISH REGIMENT, R.C.I.C. XX. C. 12.
    018 WALLACE HW G/14037 - 29/03/1945 CANADIAN SCOTTISH REGIMENT, R.C.I.C. XVII. H. 16.
    019 WOTTON G H/42302 - 28/03/1945 CANADIAN SCOTTISH REGIMENT, R.C.I.C. XX. C. 13.

    CSR Rudski.jpg CSR Stewart.jpg CSR VanBuskirk.jpg
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2018
  17. stolpi

    stolpi Well-Known Member

    Rhine Crossing the Left Flank
    Rhine Left Flank.jpg

    Sketch taken from Stacey's Victory Campaign of the Emmerich area. After clearing Emmerich the next objective of 3 Cdn Inf Div was to capture the Hoch Elten feature, which on the Dutch side of the border is known as Stokkumer Bosch.
     
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2018
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  18. stolpi

    stolpi Well-Known Member

    With brilliant spring-weather outside, I took off on my bicycle to Emmerich last Saturday and made several 'now-pictures' which I added to the previous posts. You'll find pictures of the harbour area, the Bahnhof (railwaystation), Geistmarkt with the Postamt (Postoffice) and Rathaus (Town hall).
     
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2018
  19. 17thDYRCH

    17thDYRCH Senior Member Patron

    Stolpi
    Great shots of then and now. Well done....as usual.
     
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  20. stolpi

    stolpi Well-Known Member

    The Hoch Elten feature

    Hochelten_St__Vitus_von_Schwanenburg_Kleve.jpg
    The densely wooded Hoch Elten feature.The southern section of the ridgeline, the part situated within the German boundaries, is crowned by the St.Vitus Church. Though shallow, the highest point is about 82 meters, it really stands out and entirely dominates the area to the west of Emmerich and the town itself. On clear days you even can see the hill with the church pinnacle from the John Frost bridge at Arnhem.

    19367.jpg
    This picture, taken from the top of the Hoch Elten feature, clearly demonstrates why Emmerich was ruled out as crossing point by the planners of Operation Plunder. From the hill you have a grandstand view of Hüthum (village in the forefont or first church spire), the town of Emmerich (background with large factory chimney and the St Martins and St. Aldegundis Church towers) and the Rhine River. To the right the postwar bridge which connects Emmerich with Cleve on the southern side of the Rhine. At the time there was no bridge at Emmerich, only a ferrysite connected the town to the south bank of the Rhine. In the far background to the right on the horizon the unfinished big nuclear power plant of Calcar (now an amusement park) which is standing almost opposite the Mahnenburg Farm, the site where it all started with the crossing of the 51st HD at Rees on the evening of 23 March (see also post RHINE CROSSING 1945: The Rees bridgehead (30 Corps in operation 'Turnscrew') ).
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2018
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