History

Wars & Campaigns

Boer War
First World War

►►Western Front

►►►Trench Warfare: 1914-1916

►►Allied Offensive: 1916

►►►Allied Offensives: 1917

►►►German Offensive: 1918

►►►Advance to Victory: 1918

►►Siberia
Second World War
►►War Against Japan

►►Italian Campaign

►►►Sicily

►►►Southern Italy

►►►The Sangro and Moro

►►►Battles of the FSSF

►►►Cassino

►►►Liri Valley

►►►Advance to Florence

►►►Gothic Line

►►►Winter Lines
►►North-West Europe

►►►Normandy
►►►Southern France
►►►Channel Ports

►►►Scheldt
►►►Nijmegen Salient

►►►Rhineland

►►►Final Phase
Korean War
Cold War
Gulf War

Operations 

GAUNTLET Aug 1941

(Spitsbergen)

HUSKY Jul 1943

 (Sicily)

COTTAGE Aug 1943

 (Kiska)

TIMBERWOLF Oct 1943

(Italy)

OVERLORD Jun 1944

(Normandy)

MARKET-GARDEN Sep 44

(Arnhem)

BERLIN Nov 1944

(Nijmegen)

VERITABLE Feb 1945

(Rhineland)

Battle Honours

Boer War

►Paardeberg

18 Feb 00

First World War
Western Front
Trench Warfare: 1914-1916

Ypres, 1915

22 Apr-25 May 15

Gravenstafel

22-23 Apr 15

St. Julien

24 Apr-4 May 15

Frezenberg

8-13 May 15

Bellewaarde

24-25 May 15

Festubert, 1915

15-25 May 15

Mount Sorrel

2-13 Jun 16

Allied Offensive: 1916

►Somme, 1916

1 Jul-18 Nov 16

►Albert

.1-13 Jul 16

►Bazentin

.14-17 Jul 16

►Pozieres

.23 Jul-3 Sep 16

►Guillemont

.3-6 Sep 16

►Ginchy

.9 Sep 16

Flers-Courcelette

15-22 Sep 16

Thiepval

26-29 Sep 16

►Le Transloy

. 1-18 Oct 16

Ancre Heights

1 Oct-11 Nov 16

Ancre, 1916

13-18 Nov 16

Allied Offensives: 1917

►Arras 1917

8 Apr-4 May 17

Vimy, 1917

.9-14 Apr 17

Arleux

28-29 Apr 17

►Scarpe, 1917

.3-4 May17

►Hill 70

.15-25 Aug 17

►Messines, 1917

.7-14 Jun 17

►Ypres, 1917

..31 Jul-10 Nov 17

►Pilckem

31 Jul-2 Aug 17

►Langemarck, 1917

.16-18 Aug 17

►Menin Road

.20-25 Sep 17

►Polygon Wood

26 Sep-3 Oct 17

►Broodseinde

.4 Oct 17

►Poelcapelle

.9 Oct 17

►Passchendaele

.12 Oct 17

►Cambrai, 1917

20 Nov-3 Dec 17

German Offensive: 1918

►Somme, 1918

.21 Mar-5 Apr 18

►St. Quentin

.21-23 Mar 18

►Bapaume, 1918

.24-25 Mar 18

►Rosieres

.26-27 Mar 18

►Avre

.4 Apr 18

►Lys

.9-29 Apr 18

►Estaires

.9-11 Apr 18

►Messines, 1918

.10-11 Apr 18

►Bailleul

.13-15 Apr 18

►Kemmel

.17-19 Apr 18

Advance to Victory: 1918

Amiens

8-11 Aug 18

►Arras, 1918

.26 Aug-3 Sep 18

►Scarpe, 1918

26-30 Aug 18.

►Drocourt-Queant

.2-3 Sep 18

►Hindenburg Line

.12 Sep-9 Oct 18

►Canal du Nord

.27 Sep-2 Oct 18

►St. Quentin Canal .29 Sep-2 Oct 18
►Epehy

3-5 Oct 18

►Cambrai, 1918

.8-9 Oct 18

►Valenciennes

.1-2 Nov 18

►Sambre

.4 Nov 18

►Pursuit to Mons .28 Sep-11Nov

Second World War

War Against Japan

South-East Asia

Hong Kong

 8-25 Dec 41

Italian Campaign

Battle of Sicily

Landing in Sicily 

   9-12 Jul 43

Grammichele 

15 Jul 43

Piazza Armerina

16-17 Jul 43

Valguarnera

17-19 Jul 43

Assoro 

  20-22 Jul 43

Leonforte

 21-22 Jul 43

Agira

24-28 Jul 43

Adrano 

29 Jul-7 Aug 43

Catenanuova

29-30 Jul 43

Regalbuto

29 Jul-3 Aug 43

Centuripe

  31 Jul-3 Aug 43

Troina Valley

 2-6 Aug 43

Pursuit to Messina

 2-17 Aug 43

 Southern Italy

Landing at Reggio

 3 Sep 43

Potenza 19-20 Sep 43
Motta Montecorvino 1-3 Oct 43
Termoli 3-6 Oct 43
Monte San Marco 6-7 Oct 43
Gambatesa 7-8 Oct 43
Campobasso 11-14 Oct 43
Baranello 17-18 Oct 43
Colle d'Anchise 22-24 Oct 43
Torella 24-27 Oct 43

The Sangro and Moro

The Sangro

19 Nov-3 Dec 43

Castel di Sangro

.23-24 Nov 43

The Moro

5-7 Dec 43

San Leonardo

8-9 Dec 43

The Gully

..10-19 Dec 43

Casa Berardi

 ..14-15 Dec 43

Ortona

20-28 Dec 43

San Nicola-San

.31 Dec 43

Tommaso

.
Point 59/ 29 Dec 43-

Torre Mucchia

4 Jan 44

Battles of the FSSF
Monte Camino

.5 Nov-9 Dec 43

Monte la Difensa-

2-8 Dec 43

 Monte la Remetanea

.
Hill 720

25 Dec 43

Monte Majo

3-8 Jan 44.

Radicosa

4 Jan 44

Monte Vischiataro

8 Jan 44

Anzio

22 Jan-22 May 44

Rome

.22 May-4 Jun 44

Advance

.22 May-22 Jun 44

to the Tiber

.
►Monte Arrestino

25 May 44

►Rocca Massima

27 May 44

►Colle Ferro

2 Jun 44

Cassino
►Cassino II

11-18 May 44

►Gustav Line

11-18 May 44

►Sant' Angelo in

13 May 44

Teodice

.
►Pignataro

14-15 May 44

Liri Valley
Liri Valley

18-30 May 44

►Hitler Line

18-24 May 44

►Aquino

18-24 May 44

►Melfa Crossing

24-25 May 44

►Ceprano

26-27 May 44

►Torrice Crossroads

30 May 44

Advance to Florence
Advance

17 Jul-10 Aug 44

to Florence

.
Trasimene Line

20-30 Jun 44

Sanfatucchio

20-21 Jun 44

Arezzo

4-17 Jul 44

Cerrone

25 - 31 Aug 44

Gothic Line
►Gothic Line

25 Aug-22 Sep 44

►Monteciccardo

27-28 Aug 44

►Montecchio

30-31 Aug 44

►Point 204 (Pozzo Alto)

31 Aug 44

►Monte Luro

1 Sep 44

►Borgo Santa Maria

1 Sep 44

►Tomba di Pesaro

1-2 Sep 44

►Coriano

3-15 Sep 44

►Lamone Crossing

2-13 Sep 44

Winter Lines
►Rimini Line

14-21 Sep 44

►San Martino-

14-18 Sep 44

San Lorenzo

.
►San Fortunato

18-20 Sep 44

►Casale

23-25 Sep 44

►Sant' Angelo

11-15 Sep 44

 in Salute

.
►Bulgaria Village

13-14 Sep 44

►Cesena

15-20 Sep 44

►Pisciatello

16-19 Sep 44

►Savio Bridgehead

20-23 Sep 44

►Monte La Pieve

13-19 Oct 44

►Monte Spaduro

19-24 Oct 44

►Monte San Bartolo

11-14 Nov 44

►Capture of Ravenna

3-4 Dec 44

►Naviglio Canal

12-15 Dec 44

►Fosso Vecchio

16-18 Dec 44

►Fosso Munio

19-21 Dec 44

►Conventello-

2-6 Jan 45

Comacchio

.
►Granarolo

3-5 Jan 44

Northwest Europe
Dieppe

19 Aug 42

Battle of Normandy
Normandy Landing

6 Jun 44

Authie

7 Jun 44

Putot-en-Bessin

8 Jun 44

Bretteville

8-9 Jun 44

       -l'Orgueilleuse .
Le Mesnil-Patry

11 Jun 44

Carpiquet

4-5 Jul 44

Caen

4-18 Jul 44

The Orne (Buron)

8-9 Jul 44

Bourguébus Ridge

18-23 Jul 44

Faubourg-de-

18-19 Jul 44

       Vaucelles .
St. André-sur-Orne

19-23 Jul 44

Maltôt

22-23 Jul 44

Verrières Ridge-Tilly--

25 Jul 44

         la-Campagne .
Falaise

7-22 Aug 44

►Falaise Road

7-9 Aug 44

►Quesnay Road

10-11 Aug 44

Clair Tizon

11-13 Aug 44

►The Laison

14-17 Aug 44

►Chambois

18-22 Aug 44

►St. Lambert-sur-

19-22 Aug 44

       Dives

.

Dives Crossing

17-20 Aug 44

Forêt de la Londe

27-29 Aug 44

The Seine, 1944

25-28 Aug 44

Southern France
Southern France

15-28 Aug 44

Channel Ports
Dunkirk, 1944

8-15 Sep 44

Le Havre

1-12 Sep 44

Moerbrugge

8-10 Sep 44

Moerkerke

13-14 Sep 44

Boulogne, 1944

17-22 Sep 44

Calais, 1944

25 Sep-1 Oct 44

Wyneghem

21-22 Sep 44

Antwerp-Turnhout

   24-29 Sep 44

Canal

.

The Scheldt

The Scheldt

1 Oct-8 Nov 44

Leopold Canal

6-16 Oct-44

►Woensdrecht

1-27 Oct 44

Savojaards Platt

9-10 Oct 44

Breskens Pocket

11 Oct -3 Nov 44

►The Lower Maas

20 Oct -7 Nov 44

►South Beveland

 24-31 Oct 44

Walcheren

31 Oct -4 Nov 44

Causeway

.

Nijmegen Salient
Ardennes

Dec 44-Jan 45

Kapelsche Veer

31 Dec 44-

.

21Jan 45

The Roer

16-31 Jan 45

Rhineland
The Rhineland

8 Feb-10 Mar 45

►The Reichswald

8-13 Feb 45

►Waal Flats

8-15 Feb 45

►Moyland Wood

14-21 Feb 45

►Goch-Calcar Road

19-21 Feb 45

►The Hochwald

26 Feb-

.

4 Mar 45

►Veen

6-10 Mar 45

►Xanten

8-9 Mar 45

Final Phase
The Rhine

23 Mar-1 Apr 45

►Emmerich-Hoch

28 Mar-1 Apr 45

Elten

.
►Twente Canal

2-4 Apr 45

Zutphen

6-8 Apr 45

Deventer

8-11 Apr 45

Arnhem, 1945

12-14 Apr 45

Apeldoorn

11-17 Apr 45

Groningen

13-16 Apr 45

Friesoythe

14 Apr 45

►Ijselmeer

15-18 Apr 45

Küsten Canal

17-24 Apr 45

Wagenborgen

21-23 Apr 45

Delfzijl Pocket

23 Apr-2 May 45

Leer

28-29 Apr 45

Bad Zwischenahn

23 Apr-4 May 45

Oldenburg

27 Apr-5 May 45

Korean War
Kapyong

21-25 Apr 51

Domestic Missions

FLQ Crisis

International Missions

ICCS            Vietnam 1973

MFO                 Sinai 1986-

Peacekeeping

UNMOGIP

India 1948-1979

UNTSO

 Israel 1948-    ....

UNEF

Egypt 1956-1967

UNOGIL

Lebanon 1958    ....

ONUC

 Congo 1960-1964

UNYOM

Yemen 1963-1964

UNTEA

W. N. Guinea 1963-1964

UNIFCYP

 Cyprus 1964-    ....

DOMREP

D. Republic 1965-1966

UNIPOM

Kashmir 1965-1966

UNEFME

Egypt 1973-1979

UNDOF

Golan 1974-    ....

UNIFIL

 Lebanon 1978    ....

UNGOMAP

Afghanistan 1988-90

UNIIMOG

Iran-Iraq 1988-1991

UNTAG

Namibia 1989-1990

ONUCA

C. America 1989-1992

UNIKOM

Kuwait 1991    ....

MINURSO

W. Sahara 1991    ....

ONUSAL

El Salvador 1991    ....

UNAMIC

Cambodia 1991-1992

UNAVEM II

Angola 1991-1997

UNPROFOR

Yugosla. 1992-1995

UNTAC

Cambodia 1992-1993

UNOSOM

Somalia 1992-1993

ONUMOZ

Mozambiq. 1993-1994

UNOMUR

 Rwanda 1993    ....

UNAMIR

Rwanda 1993-1996

UNMIH

Haiti 1993-1996

UNMIBH

Bosnia/Herz.1993-1996

UNMOP

Prevlaka 1996-2001

UNSMIH

Haiti 1996-1997

MINUGUA

Guatemala 1994-1997

UNTMIH

Haiti 1997    ....

MIPONUH

 Haiti 1997    ....

MINURCA

C.Afr.Rep. 1998-1999

INTERFET

E. Timor 1999-2000

UNAMSIL

Sie. Leone 1999-2005

UNTAET

E. Timor 1999-2000

Exercises

 

Battle of the Rhineland

The Battle of the Rhineland was fought in Feb-Mar 1945 between Allied forces from Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States (as well as smaller national contingents), and the German forces occupying territory south and west of the Rhine River during the North-West Europe campaign of the Second World War.

Situation

In early 1945, after a long winter stalemate, military operations by the Allied armies in North-West Europe resumed. The exertions of the First Canadian Army in the Battle of the Scheldt had resulted in the port of Antwerp being opened in late 1944. A build up of Allied forces on the western front, as Southern France was cleared of German soldiers and the other Allies advanced to the German frontier, "laid the foundation for a further offensive on the western front. The enemy's costly effort in the Ardennes and imposed delay, but the broad pattern of Allied strategy remained unchanged."1

The Battle of the Rhineland would be the first of three major strategic phases envisaged by General Eisenhower:

In planning our forthcoming spring and summer offensives, I envisaged the operations which would lead to Germany's collapse as falling into three phases: first, the destruction of the enemy forces west of the Rhine and closing to that river; second, the seizure of bridgeheads over the Rhine from which to develop operations into Germany; and third, the destruction of the remaining enemy east of the Rhine and the advance into the heart of the Reich. This was the same purpose that had guided all our actions since early 1944.2

The initial goal was to reach the Rhine River, the last significant natural barrier between Allied forces and Germany. From their winter positions in the Nijmegen Salient, the First Canadian Army reinforced by elements of the British 2nd Army, began operations to advance south east, clearing all land west of the river. Operation VERITABLE was a costly advance through flooded terrain and German defensive lines, followed by Operation BLOCKBUSTER which succeeded in driving through almost to the banks of the Rhine River. Operation BLOCKBUSTER II cleared the town of Xanten to end the fighting in the Rhineland. A supporting operation by the US 9th Army, Operation GRENADE, was planned to coincide from the River Roer to the south but was delayed for two weeks by German flooding of the Roer valley.

Battle of the Rhineland

The Rhineland – The Reichswald – Waal Flats – Moyland Wood – Goch-Calcar Road – The Hochwald – Veen – Xanten

 

The Rhineland battle was intended to be a prelude to a set-piece crossing of the Rhine by the 21st Army Group. While this operation did proceed in late Mar 1945, American forces managed to cross the river in other locations with less preparation, including the capture of an intact bridge at Remagen on 7 Mar 1945 by the US 1st Army, and a crossing by the US 3rd Army the day before the British crossing, Operation PLUNDER. PLUNDER was supported by Operation VARSITY, a large airborne drop on the far side of the Rhine in which the 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion played an active part. The Rhine crossings and battles afterward comprised the Final Phase of the war in Europe.

The Battle Honour "The Rhineland" refers only to actions fought west of the river, while the Battle Honour "The Rhine" was awarded to units fighting in the crossing itself as well as on the east bank during the Final Phase.

 

Awaiting the final clearing of the Rhineland on 4 Mar 1945 at Kranenburg, Germany. From left to right General H.D.G. Crerar GOC-i-C First Canadian Army, Lieutenant General G.G. Simonds GOC II Canadian Corps, Field Marshal Sir Alan Brooke (CiGS), Prime Minister Winston Churchill, and at far right Field Marshal B.L. Montgomery GOC-i-C 21st Army Group

The Battle

The terrain in the Rhineland was marked by clear boundaries, bordered on one side by the Rhine and the other by the Maas, measuring about 50 kilometres long by from 20 to 30 kilometres wide, widening as one moved further from the Allied start line. The first third, from the Allied viewpoint, was flooded and the other two were covered in thick mud due to winter rains. Much of the ground was marked by thick forests, and there were no noticably high or low features. Engagement ranges were short. Defences were well prepared, as the enemy had four months to improve positions, including some of the pre-war Siegfried Line obstacles. The Germans built strong points and hedgehogs - positions for all-around defence against attack from any direction. All these factors "made for a very complex battle, extremely difficult for higher headquarters to 'read' on an hour-by-hour basis, and the brunt of the decision-making seems to have fallen on the two corps commanders, Sir Brian Horrocks (British XXX Corps) and (Lieutenant General Guy) Simonds (II Canadian Corps)."3

The initial attack on 8 Feb 1945 (Operation VERITABLE) was launched by three British divisions and the 3rd Canadian Infantry Division on the flooded left flank over the Waal Flats. The ancient city of Cleve was bombed flat, and the heaviest artillery bombardment of the entire war was laid on. The Materborn Gap was considered the key to the advance; 3,000 metres of open ground stretching between Cleve and the trees of The Reichswald to the south. The British made it through on 11 Feb after three costly days of fighting through the woods. The 3rd Division, making use of amphibious vehicles, had a slightly easier time and many opted to withdraw as the British advances threatened to cut them off.

As the British advance slackened, the 2nd Canadian Infantry Division moved up, and both divisions now had as their objective the Goch-Calcar Road, which would be the Start Line for the second phase of the Rhineland fighting, Operation BLOCKBUSTER. The line was cleared at great cost; one of the fallen, Sergeant Aubrey Cosens of The Queen's Own Rifles of Canada, was awarded a posthumous Victoria Cross.

The Germans practised their traditional tactics of giving ground under pressure but then immediately launching counter-attacks to recover the lost ground before the Canadians could consolidate their successes. When that happened, infantry companies which had been badly weakened in the initial assault were often cut off and assailed from all sides. The ultimate response was to call down artillery fire on their own positions...Veritable...(cost) the British nearly seven thousand casualties and the Canadians nearly two thousand - a ratio roughly proportionate to their respective commitments - while the Germans lost about twelve thousand killed, the same number taken prisoner, and perhaps another twenty thousand wounded.4

For the second phase, BLOCKBUSTER, the 4th Canadian (Armoured) Division replaced the 3rd in the line. To the south, the American 9th Army was also advancing to the Rhine in Operation GRENADE, delayed until 23 Feb due to the German destruction of two key dams on the Roer River and consequent heavy flooding making the area impassable. They found, once they were moving north towards the British and Canadians, that most of the Germans had been moved away to oppose VERITABLE. The Germans were desperate to hold out at long as possible west of the Rhine as at least 17 divisions were streaming to the bridges at Wesel, now only 15 kilometres from the Canadians and 20 from the Americans.

The 2nd and 4th Canadian Divisions now advanced roughly abreast into more heavy forest; The Hochwald, Tüschenwald and Bambergerwald, running along a low ridge and with positions improved by the Germans for the previous two weeks. The 2nd Division went straight into the Hochwald while the 4th Division aimed for a narrow gap in the woods. Two attacks went in, and it was made apparent an armoured division was not able to simply blast through; the Germans had a wide variety of close-range anti-tank weaponry, the tanks had trouble negotiating the mud, and the Canadians didn't have enough infantry to clear a path for the tanks. The battle for the Hochwald Gap lasted from 27 Feb to 3 Mar and advances were measured in hundreds of yards. The 3rd Division returned to the line and the 2nd Division sent a brigade to assist in opening the gap. The other two brigades of the 2nd Division kept pressure on the Germans elsewhere on the line. Captain Frederick Tilston of The Essex Scottish was awarded a Victoria Cross for his actions in one of the many small unit actions.

By the second week of Mar, the Germans had fallen back to the Wesel Pocket, and final actions at Veen and Xanten had cleared the final defenders away by the 10th. A hastily organized operation to "bounce" the Rhine was scrubbed when the sound of German demolitions announced that the last bridges over the River had been blown up.

Casualties

The fight to advance 20 miles into the Rhineland and clear the remaining German units west of the great river took as long - one month - as the 200 mile advance that would follow it. The cost in terms of casualties was also higher; 9,284 American soldiers and 17,685 British and Canadian soldiers became casualties.5 First Canadian Army took 22,000 German prisoners and killed or seriously wounded 22,000 more. Including the losses inflicted by the US 9th Army (which lost 7,300 men, took 29,000 prisoners, and killed or seriously wounded 16,000 Germans during the Rhineland fighting) the Germans all told lost 90,000 men while inflicting 23,000 Allied casualties.6

Battle Honours

The following Battle Honours were awarded to Canadian units participating in the Battle of the Rhineland:

  • The Rhineland
  • The Reichswald
  • Waal Flats
  • Cleve
  • Moyland Wood
  • Goch-Calcar Road
  • The Hochwald
  • Veen
  • Xanten

Notes

  1. Stacey, C.P., The Canadian Army 1939-1945: An Official Historical Summary (Queen's Printer, Ottawa, ON, 1948), p.236
  2. Quoted in Stacey, Ibid, p.236
  3. Marteinson, John. We Stand on Guard: An Illustrated History of the Canadian Army (Ovale Publications, Montreal, PQ, 1992) ISBN 2894290438 p.317
  4. Ibid, pp.318-319
  5. Whitaker, Denis & Shelagh Rhineland: The Battle to End the War (Stoddart Publishing Company, Ltd., Toronto, ON, 1989) ISBN 0773753907 p.347. Williams (see below for reference) gives a fiture of 15,634, broken down as 10,300 British and 5,655 Canadian.
  6. Williams, Jeffery The Long Left Flank: The Hard Fought Way to the Reich, 1944-45 (Stoddart Publishing Company, Ltd., Toronto, ON, 1988) ISBN 0773721940 p.251

 


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