1. Waterborn actions of the 3rd Cdn Inf Div in Op Veritable: In the opening stage of Veritable, the Canadian 3rd Infantry Division (ID) had to cover the left flank of 30 Corps and capture the low-lying, inundated polderland between the Nijmegen - Kranenburg - Cleve road and the River Waal (or Rhine). This area contained the northern end of the enemy defense which was sited in three linear zones. A forward line which was divided in two: a first line consisting of a series of slit trenches and defended strongpoints, running south from Erlecom (on the river Waal/Rhine) to the Querdamm; a second line comprising a series of defended localities in the villages and hamlets in the low country to the east and an Anti-Tank ditch running southeast from Duffelward through the Reichswald. The main defense line was that of the Siegfried Line, which was anchored at Duffelward. It was composed of a series of defended localities mutually supporting and sited on all commanding ground. These defenses consisted of slit trenches, concrete emplacements, reinforced dwellings, wire and mines. The forces employed by the Germans to hold the northern end of there defensive line consisted of two battalions of the 84. Inf Div; Sicherungsbattalion Munster VI and II./1052 Bn. Neither formation was composed of high quality troops. To strengthen their defense the Germans decided to inundate the Canadian held polder land to the west of the Querdamm: the Circul of Ooij and the polders of Beek and Erlecom. In early winter, on 21 December 1944, they breached the dyke along the River Waal, known as Erlekomsche Dam, hard east of Erlecom by blowing up a 125 meter stretch of the dyke (for pictures see: 3rd Canadian Division in Op Veritable). The inner dyke, or Ooijsche Bandijk, also had been breached at two points, at the Thorensche Molen and somewhat further to the west near Nijmegen, so that the river water could freely flow from the 'Polder van Erlecom' into the Circul of Ooij (Ooijsche Polder) and the Polder van Beek, all the way up to Nijmegen. The inundation however came too late, the water level in the Waal River, which peaked at record levels in early December, by the 21st had receded and did not rise again until the first week of February 45. Though the dykes had been breached, the polder was not flooded that winter because the water levels remained low. However at the beginning of February the Waal River swell again and a mighty spill of water flowed through the gaps into the low lying area held by the Canadians. By the start of Veritable the entire area west of the Querdamm was submerged. See also below: VERITABLE 1945: 3rd Canadian Division in Op Veritable Close up of the break in the dyke. The German demolition holes are clearly visible. This aerial was taken at the end of Jan 1945 when the ground was still covered in snow; there is no flooding (Photo: annex to War Diary 8 Cdn Inf Bde, Feb 45; courtesy Bedee). When Op Veritable strarted, unlike the popular image, the polder land on the German or eastern side of the Querdamm and Duffelt Dike, also known as 'Duffelt' was still dry, though not completely. The Querdamm for the time being kept the floods out, but water was rapidly becoming a problem on the enemy side of the dyke as well, since the flooding disrupted the intricate drainage system of the river flats. Usually the water in this area flows through the Wyler Meer towards the water pumping station near the Nijmegen bridge, where it was pumped up into the Waal River. Now that the natural drainage was blocked, rain and melting water accumulated on the eastern side of the Querdamm. The situation further aggravated by seepage water from the submerged area, as a result of the sandy composition of the soil water was squeezed underneath the dyke. As a result the area east of the Querdamm, especially the lower parts, was far from dry. In addition there was the risk of further flooding, any attack to the east of the dike would immediately provoke the enemy to breach the Querdamm or Rhine dyke forther upstream and thereby flood the entire 'Duffelt'. Map indicating the gaps in the dykes east of Erlekom and at the Thorensche Molen through which the water entered the polderland; the water level of the Waal river started rising in early February, with a sudden lapse on 4 February when the river rose nearly two meters in a day, and finally reached its highest point on 14 February. Thereafter the floods gradually subsided. The fact that the area was under water or was threatened by floods did not change the original plans; an amphibious operation was not unforeseen, nor was it new to the 3rd Cdn Inf Div; 114 Buffaloes of the 79th Armoured Division were available for the operation. H-hour for the 3rd Cdn Inf Div was 1800 hours on 8 Febuary. The divisional attack was divided into three phases. During Phase I, the 3rd Cdn Inf Division was to break into the enemy forward defenses, with two Bdes attacking abreast, 7th Cdn Inf Bde on the right and 8th Cdn Inf Bde on the left; in Phase II they were to thrust as far as the line Millingen - Duffelward, the northern edge of the Siegfried Line was anchored on the latter village. In Phase III the 9th Cdn Inf Bde, initially held in reserve, was to pass through the 7th Cdn Inf Bde, break through the Siegfried Line and advance to the Spoy Canal, running north out of Cleve and clear the area between Cleve and the Rhine River. Map with the phases of the operation of the 3rd Cdn Inf Div on the river flats during Veritable (Courtesy Hans van der Wiel). Below: Soldiers of the 3rd Cdn ID transported by Buffaloes MKIV, fitted with a hinged ramp to the rear. The church and houses in the background form the village of Persingen - officially the smallest village in Holland: a church and three farm houses. This village lies hard north of Beek and is situated behind the Canadian forward defensive line. Stills were taken from Canadian Army newsreel: Persingen today (courtesy of Street View): The village is sited on top of an ancient River Dune dating from the Glacial period. View to the west; Nijmegen is visible in the background.