VERITABLE 1945: the Canadian finale (Moyland Wood & Goch-Calcar road)

Discussion in 'WW2 Battlefields Today' started by stolpi, Apr 28, 2013.

  1. Nijmegen

    Nijmegen Member

     
  2. dryan67

    dryan67 Senior Member

    A little on the late side, but I know have the war diary for the 1st Canadian Scottish Regiment for the period if you are interested.
     
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  3. stolpi

    stolpi Well-Known Member

    Dryan67 - Thanks for sending me the War Diary
     
  4. stolpi

    stolpi Well-Known Member

    Annex 3: 10 Cdn Armoured Regiment (Fort Garry Horse) Memorial at Doetinchem

    Today I took some pictures of the Sherman tank displayed at the memorial of the 10th Cdn Armoured Regiment (Fort Garry Horse) at Doetinchem, a small town situated some 20 miles to the east of Arnhem. This Sherman M4A4 in a sense is unique, since it belonged to 'B' Squadron of the Fort Garry Horse during the battles in Germany and Holland and therefore might have participated in the actions described in this thread. The Sherman was knocked-out in mid-april 1945, at Hooghalen, a small village situated in the northern part of Holland, where it was ambushed from a close distance by a German soldier with a Panzerfaust.

    In Oct 1945, whilst the Fort Garry Horse was stationed at Doetinchem pending their return to Canada, the Sherman was used for the memorial. The memorial is located at the Canada Park in Doetinchem (for the exact location see M4A4 Sherman Tank Doetinchem - Doetinchem - TracesOfWar.com; for more details of the tank also see Pantser.net).

    Fort Garry Horse 001a.jpg

    Fort Garry Horse 002.JPG

    Fort Garry Horse 003a.jpg

    More details:
    Fort Garry Horse 010a.jpg Fort Garry Horse 008a.jpg Fort Garry Horse 011q.jpg Fort Garry Horse 007a.jpg Fort Garry Horse 006a.jpg

    The formation sign of the 2nd Cdn Armoured Brigade:
    2nd_Canadian_Armoured_Brigade_formation_sign.png

    The 2nd Cdn Armoured Brigade consisted of three tank battalions:
    - 6 Armoured Regiment (1 Hussars);
    - 10 Armoured Regiment (Fort Garry Horse);
    - 27 Armoured Regiment (Sherbrooke Fusiliers).


    It seems as if the (now repaired) point of impact of the Panzerfaust which knocked out the tank was at the rear of the turret.
    Fort Garry Horse 013a.jpg

    The plaque attached to the tank contains the following text:
    This tank of the 10th Canadian Armoured Regiment (Fort Garry Horse) took part in the Liberation of Doetinchem in Aprill 1945.
    Fort Garry Horse 009a.jpg

    a131691-v6-kidong2.jpg
    Trooper J.L.Dumouchelle and Cpl W.L. Corn cleaning the Sherman tank of the Fort Garry Horse as a monument in Fort Garry Park, Doetinchem, Netherlands, 22 Nov 1945

    Sherman Fort Garry Horse Hooghalen a.png
    Picture of the knocked out Sherman at Hooghalen. One of the tank crew, Cpl W.J. MacDonald, was killed, several other crew-members were wounded. Cpl MacDonald was buried in a temporary field grave next to his tank, together with five other fallen Canadian soldiers. They now all rest at the Canadian War Cemetery at Holten.
     
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2016
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  5. JanW

    JanW Member

    Just today I discovered this humbling account of the events that took place almost in my back yard. Living ignorant in the former battlefield for 5 years, I now realize that the places and farm houses that looked so innocent have such an agonizing history. Jogging through Moyland Wood will never be the same. Stolpi did a great job to bring the events almost to live again, and by doing so giving tribute to the men that fought here.

    I am wondering if such an account exists for the events that took place close to the Calcar-Goch road on the Calcar Ridge (aka I believe as Calcar Heights-I am a rookie here) on the 26th of February. Calcar Ridge is where I live, taking a stroll there is one of my favorites. I'd appreciate any information on this.
     
  6. 17thDYRCH

    17thDYRCH Senior Member Patron

    JanW,

    Welcome to the forum.
    I had the pleasure of Stolpi's company in May of 2012. He was kind enough to show me around Arnhem and' the bridge too far'. The second day was spent touring Operation Veritable.
    His postings are very detailed accounts of the battlefields then and now.
     
  7. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Stolpi
    An exceptional account of this Battle in your whole thread - well done and thank you...

    Cheers
     
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  8. stolpi

    stolpi Well-Known Member

  9. stolpi

    stolpi Well-Known Member

    Just thought it appropriate to give this thread a little bump: on the eve of the Rhineland-battle ... 70 years ago.
     
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  10. gpo son

    gpo son Senior Member

    Going back over the thread I noticed (amoung other things) that there was no track left on the knocked out Shermans in post 35. it is easy to see why when you look at the tank in the inset of post 39. The tank behind however must have been new issue and had not found its appilque armour yet
    Matt
     
  11. gpo son

    gpo son Senior Member

    I have beverages with the daughter of of a Fort Gary vet quite regularly she only learned after his death that he landed on D-day and drove his Sherman until the end of the war without injury.
    Matt
     
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  12. 17thDYRCH

    17thDYRCH Senior Member Patron

    Stolpi
    Another thread restored!
     
  13. Nils French

    Nils French New Member

    Hello, everyone. I'd like to give a quick public thanks to Stolpi for not only starting this excellent thread, but for providing myself and a colleague an excellent tour of the Reichswald today. We focused on the Canadian sectors of the battle. I am a Major in the Royal Canadian Engineers and am completing staff college in Australia on exchange. As part of the staff college advanced program we are conducting battlefield study tours in this part of Europe. My area is the Reichswald. I was very lucky to have Stolpi show us some of the key areas. He focuses here and has done more tours than he can count - I think he must be one of the world's foremost experts on this campaign. Again, many thanks!
     
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  14. 17thDYRCH

    17thDYRCH Senior Member Patron

    Nils French,
    Welcome to the forum.
    I have had the pleasure of touring Canadian battlefields with Stolpi and JVD on several occasions. Indeed, they are true historians.
     
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  15. canadianvkng71

    canadianvkng71 New Member

    Great post. In July 2015 my children and I had the opportunity to tour the battlefields in the Rheinland. We started in out in Groesbeek. Travelled to Wyler, Zyfflich, Niel, Mehr, and Cleve. We hiked in the Moyland Wood. I was pretty sure that we were able to see remains of trenches and fighting positions (now I know we did). We continued on to the Hochwald Gap and hiked through the Hochwald Forest. Again, it looked as if we could see remains of the German trenches within the forest. We stopped for ice cream at the villa just at the south of the forest. Something the Canadians who fought there didn't have a chance to do. We continued on to Sonsbeck then Xanten. On the return trip we also drove through Goch Udem and the Reichswald Forest. It was an interesting day. I always considered myself to be fairly familiar with Canada's role in the Second World War. But it wasn't until 3 or 4 years ago that I even heard about the Rheinland campaign. One of the biggest battles on the western front in the Second World War. But because it was mainly fought by the First Canadian Army (and attached British divisions), almost forgotten. Mark Zuelhke's book "Forgotten Victory" was a great read about a very important Canadian battle. And this post also serves to ensure that the sacrifice of our soldiers is not forgotten. Thank You.
     
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  16. canuck

    canuck Token Colonial

    I walked very much the same ground in May 2016 with Stolpi. He has obviously posted many great threads with some excellent then/now photos as well as detailed accounts of the 1944/1945 battles.
     
  17. canuck

    canuck Token Colonial

     
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  18. stolpi

    stolpi Well-Known Member

    In fact the Canadian operations described in this thread revolved around 2nd Canadian Corps creating a good starting position from which to launch the projected Corps attack: Operation Blockbuster. Hence the eagerness and rush of General Simonds. He wanted his Corps to be deployed as soon as possible.

    Operation Blockbuster deserves its own thread :poppy:.
     
    Last edited: May 13, 2018
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  19. Seroster

    Seroster Canadian researcher Patron

    Excellent thread! Coincidentally I was just reading the war diary of the 2nd Canadian AT Regiment and have just looked at the Royal Hamilton Light Infantry history books about their actions at the Goch-Calcar road.

    Without wanting to to darken the thread, is it true that the 43rd Division did not launch a planned attack on the right flank of the Essex Scottish? How did that come to pass?

    Also - I think I have a small bit of information to add to the thread. Major Drewry of the 4 Canadian Field Regiment received the DSO for his part in directing the fire of the supporting artillery:


    On 20 February 1945, Major Drewry was acting as the Artillery Representative of his Commanding Officer with the Royal Hamilton Light Infantry. The battalion had attacked enemy positions southeast of Cleve as the left forward battalion of 4 Canadian Infantry Brigade, and had captured a forward position essential to the progress of further attacks along the Corps front.

    At 1830 hours the enemy counter-attacked with a strong force of tanks and infantry, pressing forward on the battalion's front simultaneously with three sides of the salient. It was subsequently ascertained from prisoners of war that the force consisted of fresh troops from the Panzer Lehr Division and that they had been ordered to drive back the Royal Hamilton Light Infantry at all costs. The position held by our infantry was considered by the enemy to be vital to his defence of the sector.

    Major Drewry had been strenuously engaged since the attack commenced the previous day but quickly appreciated the danger of the situation and the importance of immediate artillery support. From his own observation at advance battalion headquarters and from reports from Forward Observation Officers and Company Commanders, he coordinated and directed the fire of the field and medium guns at the most critical points, seeking to disperse the infantry and disorganize the tanks. In spite of this fire the enemy continued to press forward until their tanks were only a few hundred yards from his position.

    Although under heavy fire, Major Drewry continued to engage the enemy by direct observation and succeeded in breaking up the infantry and slowing up the tanks sufficiently to enable the anti-tank gunners to destroy them. By this fire the enemy tanks were beaten off with heavy casualties whilst very few casualties were sustained by our own infantry.

    Throughout the action this officer showed complete disregard for his own safety, and by his skillful employment of artillery played a major part in the defence of this important position. His courage, coolness and confidence at this most critical time and whilst under heavy enemy fire was an inspiration to the entire battalion, and his actions contributed directly to the further successful advances of 2 Canadian Corps.

    Source - RHLI website:
    Honours And Awards From WWII
     
  20. stolpi

    stolpi Well-Known Member

    Seroster - I have not gone into that yet .. but there certainly was a gap. Was it a mix up at Corps level (?). The 43rd Division fell under 30 Corps command and its most eastward troops were in position on the Bremenkamp plateau, with German units still in possession of Halvenboom and the crossroads at Am Lindchen.

    See also: VERITABLE: 15th Scottish & 43rd Wessex Divisions in the Reichswald battle (Feb 1945)
     
    Last edited: May 14, 2018
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