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  • Cover POLAR BEARS in NISPEN en ROOSEDAAL
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POLDER FIGHTING ENGLISH VERSION

The battles for the liberation of Oostburg 20 – 30 October 1944

Robert W. Catsburg • Boek • hardback

  • Samenvatting
    This book, with more than 350 pages and nearly a hundred photographs, describes and illustrates the battles that led to the liberation of the Zeeuws-Vlaanderen town of Oostburg. This episode formed part of the Battle of the Scheldt, which was fought in the Provinces of Zeeland and West Noord-Brabant from September to November 1944. The overall purpose of the battle was the transshipment capacity of the port of Antwerp, which was crucial to the Allied campaign against the Nazis in Western Europe.

    The fighting around and in the built-up area of Oostburg raged from 20 to 30 October and was exceptionally fierce. The human toll for both friend and foe was unimaginable. More than two hundred people, including fifty-six Canadian soldiers and one hundred and forty civilians, lost their lives as a result of the violence. The town was under bombardment from early October 1944. The shelling increased day by day, until Canadian troops entered the town on 25 October. The war caused so much destruction that it was decided to rebuild Oostburg based on a new street plan. Thus, the liberation became a watershed in the town’s history and the lives of its inhabitants.

    The gradual disappearance of the visual evidence and the memories of the liberation, as time goes on, makes it important to keep those memories alive. The life led by today’s generation in Oostburg would not have been possible without the battles that raged in the town’s streets in those days of October.

    The book is based on the logs recording the radio messages exchanged by the various Canadian army units that were involved in the fighting. This archival material, supplemented with diaries and stories told by civilians and by Canadian and German soldiers, provide a unique look at the events that culminated in the total destruction and the liberation of Oostburg.
    The reader can follow the liberators step by step. Find out how the soldiers cautiously moved from farm to farm via the many dykes in the polders surrounding Oostburg. They were soaked to the skin for weeks on end, and put at least as much energy in fighting the sucking mud and the cold as in battling the enemy. The German defenders put up a fanatical resistance, but the superior numbers they faced meant that they continually lost ground. Oostburg’s residents, most of whom had fled to neighbouring farms, became caught up in the violence. The fighting ultimately reached a crescendo in the Henricus Polder on 28 October. British tanks were called for to break the tough German resistance.

    Readers who happen to visit Oostburg and surroundings will be amazed to learn that ferocious battles were waged for almost every street and dyke road in the area, characterized today by tranquility and waving trees. It was a battle that should never be forgotten!
  • Productinformatie
    Binding : Hardback
    Distributievorm : Boek (print, druk)
    Formaat : 210mm x 297mm
    Aantal pagina's : 368
    Uitgeverij : Robert W. Catsburg
    ISBN : Niet bekend
    Datum publicatie : 10-2020
  • Inhoudsopgave
    Dedication
    Table of contents
    Foreword
    Introduction

    BOOK I. The events preceding the liberation of Oostburg

    CHAPTER 1. Background
    The Allied advance from Normandy to Antwerp
    The 79th Armoured Division
    Operation Switchback
    The structure of a Canadian infantry battalion
    Polder Fighting tactic

    CHAPTER 2. The defenders
    The German 64th Infantry Division
    Major-General Eberding’s story
    German soldiers tell their story
    The German battle morale

    CHAPTER 3. The events in Oostburg from 1 September to 20 October 1944
    The first weeks of September
    The evacuation of the Sint Antonius hospital
    The number of victims rises alarmingly due to the intense shelling
    The attempt to evacuate the entire population of West-Zeeuws-Vlaanderen
    Oostburg paid a heavy toll for the liberation

    BOOK II. A detailed reconstruction of the battle for Oostburg

    CHAPTER 4. The attack bogs down in the polders by Oostburg (20 – 24 October)
    The attack plans on 21 October 1944
    The advance of the 7th Reconnaissance Regiment along the
    Uitwateringskanaal
    The advance of the Régiment de la Chaudière to Bakkersstraat
    The Queen’s Own Rifles close in on Oostburg
    From Schoondijke to Scherpbier with the North Shore Regiment

    CHAPTER 5. The German defence of Oostburg
    The German defence line around Oostburg (20 - 25 October 1944)

    CHAPTER 6. The liberation of Oostburg (25 and 26 October 1944)
    The attack plans on 24 October 1944
    The advance of the 7th Reconnaissance Regiment to Nieuwstraat
    The assault of the Queen’s Own Rifles on Grotendam
    The North Shore Regiment’s battles on 1st and 2nd Hogendijk

    CHAPTER 7. The attackers encounter a new defence line (27 – 29 October 1944)
    The attack plans on 26 October 1944
    The 7th Reconnaissance Regiment in the Veerhoek Polder and the
    Brugsche-Vaart Polder
    The battles of the Queen’s Own Rifles at Oude Haven and Mosterdweg
    The fighting along Henricusdijk and the liberation of Marolleput

    CHAPTER 8. The final phase of the battle
    New attack targets for the brigade
    The attack on Sluis
    The end at Knokke and Westkapelle

    CHAPTER 9. Concluding remarks
    Concluding remarks


    BOOK III. The liberators of Oostburg

    CHAPTER 10. The liberators of Oostburg
    Headquarters 8th Canadian Infantry Brigade
    1st Battalion Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada
    1er Bataillon le Régiment de la Chaudière
    1st Battalion North Shore (New Brunswick) Regiment
    7th Canadian Reconnaissance Regiment (17th Duke of York Royal
    Canadian Hussars)
    1st Battalion Cameron Highlanders of Ottawa (M.G.)
    33rd Battery, 6th Canadian Anti-Tank Regiment Royal Canadian Artillery
    13th Field Regiment Royal Canadian Artillery
    6th Field Company Royal Canadian Engineers
    30th Armoured Brigade
    B Squadron 141 Royal Armoured Corps (The Buffs)
    617th Assault Squadron Royal Engineers
    B Squadron XXII Dragoons
    B Squadron 1st Lothians and Border Horse Yeomanry

    Sources
    Appendix 1 The North Shore Regiment and A Troop 33rd Anti-tank Battery
    on 16 October 1944


    Appendix 2 Letter by Heinrich Schmidt (G.R. 1037) written to his wife from
    the front in Zeeuws-Vlaanderen


    Appendix 3 Tables of the names civilian and military casualties during
    the battle for Oostburg

    Appendix 4 German and Dutch terminology
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