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OPERATION BLOCKBUSTER
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This was the Canadian ride to the Rhine at Xanten by Lieutenant General GG Simonds's II Corps.
Operation Blockbuster was the completion of the larger Operation Veritable by the First Canadian Army, reinforced by the XXX Corps of the British Second Army from late February to early March 1945. Veritable was slower and more costly than expected and the Canadian commander, General Harry Crerar, had decided to make a fresh start to the operation. Three British and Canadian divisions drifted northwest and captured unprepared German positions in the wooded ridge of Hochwald before moving on to Xanten. They came into contact with the Ninth American Army in Berendonk, near Geldern, on 3 March.
Operation 'Blockbuster', the massive offensive launched by the First Canadian Army at the end of February 1945 as a follow-up to the massive attack by the dreaded Reichswald Forest. The objective was still to clear the western bank of the Rhine as far as Xanten in the south and to make a connection with the Americans coming from the south, prior to a massive crossing of the Rhine itself.
The 'Blockbuster' is remembered primarily by the gruesome four-day battle for the so-called 'Hochwald Gap', a narrow passage through the Hochwald Forest, where the Canadians suffered heavy losses in what can only be described as a deadly trap.
In two weeks of bitter fighting, confronted with stubbornly opposing units of the 1. Fallschirm-Armee, and in terrible weather and ground conditions, the Allies slowly pushed from one fortified town to another, slowly crushing their opponent until they faced Wesel on the bank of the Rhine.
What should not be missed is the story of Major Fred Tilston of the Canadian Essex Scottish who received the Victoria Cross for his courage to lead his company in an attack on the northern part of the Hochwald on March 1st 1945. In his first action as Company Commander, Tilston led his men over 400 yards of fire-swept open ground to the German positions. Despite being wounded twice, he personally knocked down an enemy machine-gun nest, repeatedly crossed a bulletproof road to fetch ammunition for his men and encouraged them to counter various counter-attacks until he was finally knocked out of action by a mortar round which blew off one leg and severely crushed the other.

 

 

During the tour of the Canadian attack on the Rhineland you will get an explanation:

  • Structure and start Operation Blockbuster

  • Visit to the Canadian military cemetery in Groesbeek.

  • The attack of the 2nd Canadian Division on Wyler & Den Heuvel.

  • Waterborn actions of the 3rd Cdn Inf Div in Operation Veritable.

  • Canadian attack on Moyland-wood

  • German counterattack by Panzer-Lehr-Division and 116th Panzer Division (Windhund) at Louisendorf.

  • Attack Canadians at Totenhugel. Victoria Cross Sgt COSENS environment Mooshof.

  • Hochwald Stopplinie (Phases 2 and 3 of Operation Blockbuster).

  • Monument Stop Uedemerbruch.

  • Major Fred Tilton's Victoria Cross.

  • Attack of the 3rd Canadian Infantry Division near Keppeln.