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

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

  1. chingoo

    chingoo Active Member

    I've had a quick look at the war diary and there doesnt seem to have been any air activity recorded between their arrival on the 28th and their departure on the 7th of April. From Rees they moved further into Germany setting up at Osnabruck before again moving to Lauenburg at the end of the month. There was more air activity once they departed Rees. When I get a chance I'll add the March/April War Diary pages if you are interested.
  2. Dear Historians,

    I have a Original Canadian Map with German Defences Emmerich 22nd of March 1945.
    This map was found by a Farmer near Netterden in a Jeep that was hit by an Panzerfaust.

  3. lindap

    lindap Member

    Hello Stolpi,

    re map ref post on another thread. Thank you for this link. I found your detailed research impressive and fascinating.

    You may be interested in another MC awarded during events to Capt Esmonde. My father was in the reece party and remembers the intense fighting that took place during those final days in March. Attach details if interested.
  4. stolpi

    stolpi Well-Known Member

    If you could attach the details, yes please!
  5. lindap

    lindap Member


    Attached Files:

  6. stolpi

    stolpi Well-Known Member

    Lindap - The site of the Casualty Evacuation Post, where he drove around in circles to see if there were mines in the area, must have been near Haus Zu Rees. I took photos of the area, see post # 11 (2nd and 3rd pictures).

    See also the map in # 30 which indicates the DUKW barking site (black dotted lines west of Rees).

    Last edited: Oct 14, 2016
  7. lindap

    lindap Member

    Hi Stolpi,

    Thank you. Very interesting. I managed to work out some of the co-ordinates too, but to see the actual site on a photo was amazing!

    Many thanks again,

  8. 17thDYRCH

    17thDYRCH Senior Member Patron

    Looking forward to our next tour.
    stolpi likes this.
  9. stolpi

    stolpi Well-Known Member

    Added two new aerials of Rees to post #13. The succesful Rhine Crossing, March 1945, by 30 Corps (but not after some very hard fighting).
  10. stolpi

    stolpi Well-Known Member

    Bump ... In two days - at 2100 o 'clock on 23 March - it will be 70 years since the Rhine Crossing operation started in 1945. 21st Army Group's Operation 'Plunder': the final thrust into the Reich, which also brought the much longed for Liberation of the northern part of Holland.

    Has anyone heard of any special celebrations ... for this 'D-day' on the Rhine.
  11. PJH Iowa

    PJH Iowa New Member

    First time poster. I have 2 newspaper clippings I would like to share with the group on the topic of the Operation Plunder, and especially concerning the actions of surrounded platoons of C company, 1st Battalion The Black Watch at Speldrop, on March 23-24, 1945. A veteran of that action, Corporal David Hendry McArthur, was a long time neighbor and a dear family friend in West Des Moines, Iowa USA for over 35 years. He passed away in December of 2012 and on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the Plunder, I thought I would share some more color if you will to the situation reports of what happened in Speldrop in those hours.
    A bonus is some of the names of the men that held out against the vicious German counterattacks, Cpl. McArthur duly sighted.
    It reads like a Hollywood movie treatment.
    Great resource folks!
    PJH Iowa

    Attached Files:

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  12. PJH Iowa

    PJH Iowa New Member

    Attached Files:

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  13. amberdog45

    amberdog45 Senior Member


    Came across this article about Major Rennie. Hope you don't mind me adding his picture to your post. Cheers Maria

    Attached Files:

    stolpi likes this.
  14. stolpi

    stolpi Well-Known Member

    Bump - today 71 years ago; the last lap in the defeat of Germany.
  15. stolpi

    stolpi Well-Known Member

    'Reinstalled' this thread after the software change, more to go ... o_O
  16. After a few years of research 'the Battle at Dinxperlo' 28th of march - 30th of march 1945
    weve found more names of fallen British soldiers KIA and DW at Dinxperlo. A few names are:
    Alexander Brown McNaught 7th BW 18 Years old(was a dearest friend of veteran Dennis Hall who died in 2013) and Waller of the RUR. See documents with names, we, my father who Died in 2015 tried too commemoraded all of the fallen soldiers on a new monument!
    At the 24 october there will be a conversation at the Council of Aalten about this matter.

    Could anyone give me more detailed information?



    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Oct 14, 2016
    CL1 likes this.
  17. stolpi

    stolpi Well-Known Member

    Part II: The break-out of 30 Corps' bridgehead

    I will extend this thread by adding some posts on the expansion of the 30 Corps bridgehead in the last days of March 1945. I will start with the 51st Highland Division and the 43rd Wessex, who exploited north of Rees along two different axis, and finally will have a closer look at the Canadian efforts to expand the bridgehead to the northwest towards Emmerich/Hoch Elten, though the Canadians technically no longer belonged to 30 Corps, since they reverted at noon on March 26th to command of 2nd Cdn Corps.

    By March 27th, three days after the start of the Rhine Crossing operation, the fight for the initial bridgehead was over. As had been anticipated the II. Fallschirmjäger Korps (FJ Korps) of General Meindl, although sternly resisting, proved itself incapable of preventing the formation of a bridgehead across the Rhine. Nothing had come of the counter-attack by the reserve 15. Panzer-Grenadier-Division which upon arrival had been completely drawn in to the defensive battle. The 30 Corps' operation now entered the final stage: the fight for a break-out. Though belated, bridges across the Rhine were (nearly) finished by the 27th, and a ceaseless flow of formations started to pour across them to the eastern bank. On the left the 43rd Wessex, with the 9th Cdn Inf Brigade under command, seized Millingen after Bienen had fallen and pushed on north across the Autobahn towards Anholt and the Issel River; the 3rd Cdn Inf Div, now complete by the arrival of the 7th and 8th Cdn Inf Bdes and under command of Simonds' 2nd Cdn Corps, also entered the fray. The Canadians took over the extreme left flank of 30 Corps and headed northwest between the Rhine River and the railroad towards Emmerich; on the 30 Corps' right the 51st HD pressed forward along the main road north out of Rees across the Autobahn to Isselburg and the Issel River. The move north for the 51st HD was facilitated by the arrival of units of the 3rd British Division, which gradually took over the right flank of the HD, starting in the south with the relief of 153 Bde at Rees and then the 152 at Groin. Covering the right flank of the 51st HD, the 3rd British Division started to push to the northeast to Haldern and Werth on the River Issel and made contact with the bridgehead of British 12 Corps, who had crossed the Rhine at Xanten. The plan was to unleash the armoured reserve of 30 Corps - the Guards Armoured Division - as soon as the Highland Division had established a solid bridgehead over the Issel River.

    The successful Rhine Crossing imperilled the position of Heeresgruppe H, which was responsible for a defense that stretched along river all the way to the Dutch coast. Faced with an imminent collapse of the his left wing, the H.Gr.H commander General Blaskowitz sounded the alarm. On 28 March, he sent a situation report simultaneously to OBWest and to OKW, thus bypassing his immediate superior at OBWest. Fearing a breakout of the bridgehead, Blaskowitz suggested, in order to preserve the integrity of the German front, to withdraw his entire command to North West Germany, anchoring on a new defensive line that ran from the River Weser to the North Sea coast somewhere in northern Holland. Otherwise, he argued, the Allies might easily cut off and isolate the 25. Armee in Holland, where it was of little use to the defense of the Reich. This meant that Blaskowitz asked to give up the positions held by 25. Armee in the western part of Holland. Predictably, the immediate and rigid reply of the OKW was that under no circumstances ground may be given up. Blaskowitz's proposal, however militarily correct, cast him in a bad light with the German highest command, which did not think much of him anyway and now accused him of defeatism. Though he had already fallen out of favor with the higher German command, his action eventually led to Blaskowitz's downfall, when soon after the OKW stripped him of command of HGr H and nominated him commander of 'Festung Holland'.

    On the morning of the 27th (D+3) main HQ of the 51st HD left Appeldorn and crossed the Rhine by LONDON bridge to a new location, just to the North of Rees. Further proof of the fact that by now a firm bridgehead had been established.

    Overzicht 51st HD aa.jpg
    30 Corps units employed in the Rees bridgehead (27 until 30 March 1945)

    Rhine bridgehead break out.jpg

    51st Highland Division break-out battle; sequence of engagements as described below:
    1. 153 Bde across the autobahn to Isselburg 27 March 1945 : RHINE CROSSING 1945: The Rees bridgehead (51st Highland Div in operation 'Turnscrew')
    2. 152 Bde Isselburg and bridgehead across River Issel 28 March 1945 : RHINE CROSSING 1945: The Rees bridgehead (51st Highland Div in operation 'Turnscrew')
    3. 152 Bde 's fight for bridge across Aastrang River night 28/29 March 1945 : RHINE CROSSING 1945: The Rees bridgehead (51st Highland Div in operation 'Turnscrew')
    4. 152 Bde clearing up to the Aastrang river 29 March 1945 : RHINE CROSSING 1945: The Rees bridgehead (51st Highland Div in operation 'Turnscrew')
    5. 154 Bde night attack on Dinxperlo 29/30 March 1945 & Break-Out: RHINE CROSSING 1945: The Rees bridgehead (51st Highland Div in operation 'Turnscrew')
    6. Sherwood Rangers (Notts) Yeomanry recce to De Heurne 30 March 1945 : RHINE CROSSING 1945: The Rees bridgehead (51st Highland Div in operation 'Turnscrew')

    PS. Again I want to express my sincere thanks to John, aka Horsapassenger, who time and again made every effort to copy the (sometimes bulky) War Diary files at the National Archives. Without his assistance this thread would not have been possible. I also want to acknowledge WW2talk members DPL1945, JSDinx and 6FJ, who kindly provided me with some rare wartime pictures of their hometown Dinxperlo.

    Last edited: Nov 17, 2020
  18. stolpi

    stolpi Well-Known Member

    2.1 The 51st HD heads North (27 - 31 March 1945)

    The 51st HD, using the road Rees - Isselburg as main axis, was to advance north towards the German-Dutch frontier, which makes a queer kink in this area. The main obstacles would obviously be the dykes, the rivers, the woods and the Autobahn, which was only in the earliest stage or construction. The enemy, a proven master in delaying action, could be expected to put up resistance in any form at each of these.

    The HD's plan of attack was to move forward in two bounds. As soon as Empel and Empel Bridge had been secured by the 154 Bde (see post # 29 of this thread), the 153 Bde would push on beyond the Autobahn, which was still under construction, and seize the town of Isselburg. Here a bridgehead was to be established across the Issel, a narrow river that skirts along the northern edge of this small German town. In a second bound the 152 Bde was to pass through and was to secure a crossing over the Bocholter Aastrang (R.Aastrang), the next serious water-obstacle some two kilometers to the north which almost ran level with the Dutch-German border. The crossing site, a place locally known as Brüggenhütte, just to the SW of the Dutch village of Dinxperlo, actually formed the boundary between Holland and Germany, with customs houses on either side of the river. Until the crossings over the R.Aastrang could be secured it would not be possible to make an effective breakout from the Rees bridgehead.

    ISSEL River.jpg
    The Issel in Germany is only a narrow river.

    The same applies to the River Aastrang ... still both water-courses laying across the path of the British advance were likely points for the faltering German defense to cling on to.

    The first stage of the operation, the attack of 153 Bde, would start at 17:00 hrs on March 27th. The two Gordon battalions - the 1st Gordon Highlanders on the right along the main road, the 5/7th on the left - were to secure positions astride the unfinished Autobahn, hard north of Empel. Next 5 Black Watch was to pass through and gain a bridge across the Clevesche Landwehr stream at the southern end of Isselburg. Once this crossing was taken the 5th Bn Queens Own Cameron Highlanders, attached from 152 Bde, was to pass through and secure the town of Isselburg and the two bridges across the River Issel. To the left of 153 Bde, a similar and co-ordinated attack across the Autobahn was to be undertaken by 43 (Wessex) Division.

    Clevensche Landwehr.jpg
    The Clevesche Landwehr, a canalized stream which runs south of Isselburg, in fact is no more than a broad ditch.

    Fragment of the Operation Instruction no.39 of 51st HD, 27 March 45 (courtesy of Horsapassenger):
    51st HD OP Instr. 39  (27 March 45).jpg

    Sketch map of the advance by 153 Bde 27/28 March 1945 (sorry not so clear copy - but had to zoom out)
    Advance 153 Bde to Isselburg (impr).jpg

    For the 43rd Wessex attack against the Autobahn see: RHINE CROSSING 1945: The Rees bridgehead (30 Corps in operation 'Turnscrew')

    For the digital map of this area see: Isselburg
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2019
  19. Hello Stolpi,

    This is The Map that my Father had in his archive, showing the route
    too Dinxperlo over Isselburg. You can clearly see the German defenses
    and obstacles around Isselburg and the Hahnerfeldroad too Dinxperlo.

    Regards Robert

    Attached Files:

    canuck, CL1 and stolpi like this.
  20. IMG 2332 Dinxperlo Defence Map 1932. You seethe two rivers with the bridgehead.
    IMG 0963 Dinxperlo German Map February 1945 1.FSAOK Armee Oberkommando.
    General Schlemm stayed in the Hallen Family house Dinxperlo, early February he woke
    up. The Reichswald offensive (Veritable) was near. Volkssturm General Langheauser took over his command... and stayed in Dinxperlo until 28th of March, and then retreaded...

    Attached Files:

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