Richard Brooks: Walcheren 1944



Ary that led to the port of Antwerp by taking the well defended island of Walcheren in late October and arly November 1944 Field Marshal Montgomery s neglect in opening this waterway while he pursued Operation Market Garden very nearly caused the Allied advance to grind to a halt due to overstretched supply lines from Normandy to the front Accounts of this campaign can be confusing at times with the location code names Dutch location names and the unit numbers and names however for any serious student of the Second World War it is an important battle to research This book has The Management Bible excellent maps and tables of Retemplacements Supporting strongpoints had anti aircraft guns flame throwers rocket launchers and Goliath remote controlled demolition vehicles The sand dunes protecting the low lying island from the North Sea were laced with barbed wire mines and dragon's teeth Defending infantry came from Generalleutnant Wilhelm Daser's 70Infanterie Division a 'white bread division' consisting of men with gastric problems Allied intelligence Zu schnell estimated the total garrison at 4000 but 8000ventually surrenderedOn November 1 1944 in a double pronged attack the men of 52nd Lowland Division plus No 4 Army Commando seized Flushing Infatuate I while in the west 4th Special Service Brigade with three Royal Marine Commandos and No 10 Inter Allied Commando would take Westkapelle and fight their way north and south along the dunes taking the coastal batteries as they went Infatuate II All this was to be supported with HMS Warspite and two 15 inch gun monitors; the Support Suadron Eastern Flank SSEF with 25 specialized Landing.

Very interesting and kind of sad Allied lauched Market Garden before of reopening of the waterways to Antwerp I was disappointed that this chapter of the Campaign series focused almost solely on the island to just minor mentions of the rest of the campaign to clear out the Scheldt Sleepless (Bird of Stone, estuary river leading to Antwerp in WWII Lots of detail about Walcheren island but it doesn t dovetail with the rest of the titles covering the European theater after D Day Not a bad read just frustrating in its limited focus A thorough account of this important yet nearly forgotten campaign of WWII that opened the Schelde Estu. Osprey's study of the Walcheren campaign of World War II 1939 1945 Walcheren is a saucer shaped island in thestuary of the river Scheldt commanding maritime access to Antwerp the largest port in Western Europe The Allies captured Antwerp intact on September 4 1944 but their yes were on the Rhine crossings at Arnhem not the lower Scheldt The failure of Operation Market Garden later that month brought home the Allies' logistical weakness As autumn gales drew near very shell and petrol tin had still to be landed at Cherbourg or across the Normandy beaches Complete US Army divisions were immobilized for lack of transport It was vital to re open Antwerp The continued German presence on Walcheren however prevented Allied shipping from ntering the ScheldtIn the fall of 1944 Walcheren had the most heavily fortified coastline in the world Its seaward defences consisted of 30 coastal and field batteries mounting 50 60 guns from 75mm to 220mm in caliber manned by high uality naval personnel behind massive conc.

He order of battle A worthwhile read This is a work in the Osprey Campaign series Osprey has created a niche in works on history The books are normally rather brief published on slick paper featuring many photos and drawings and maps In short for a person who wants to get a fairly uick overview of a subject these books provide a useful contributionThis volume focuses on the Allied success over German troops at Welcheren in 1944 Welcheren was the key to access to the ports of Antwerp After D Day supplies to Allied troops had a long path from the French landing zones to the front If Antwerp could become a lo. Craft with guns and rockets; 350 Army guns south of the Scheldt most of them heavier than 25 pounders; and the Typhoon and Spitfire fighter bombers of 84 Group RAFIn fighting described by one survivor as 'worse than Dieppe and D Day put together' the Army and Royal Marines forced their way ashore supported by specialized armour and tracked vehicles and over the next ight days cleared the positions of their German defenders in bitter street fightingThe first Liberty ships unloaded at Antwerp on December 1 just over a fortnight before the Ardennes offensive began If Walcheren had not fallen when it did opening Antwerp just in time the Allies would have been hard pressed to withstand the German attack or replace the fuel stocks lost in its opening days let alone cross the Rhine in the following spring and meet the Russians on the Elbe The Walcheren campaign was not merely a dramatic combined operation pulled off against the odds; it helped determine the course of the war and the shape of the post war world.

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Former tax inspector Richard Brooks reports for Private Eye on a range of subjects and has contributed to the Guardian the BBC and many other media outlets With David Craig he was co author of the bestselling Plundering the Public Sector In 2008 he was awarded the Paul Foot Award for Investigative Journalism He lives in Reading