Memorial Register, Germany 7-8, War Graves of The British Commonwealth 1939-1945

two more divisions the 11th Armoured and 52nd (Lowland) Divisions and on the 22nd a third the 3rd British Infantry Division which relieved the 15th. This last went into Army reserve and the 4th Canadian Armoured Division was brought from the 1st Corps into the Rhineland battle. The 2nd Canadian Corps overtook the left sector of the front on 15th February. By the 20th the strongly held town of Goch was taken and good progress had been made on other sectors now there remained the attack on the final defence inline the Hochwald. This devolved upon the 2nd Canadian Corps now composed of the 2nd and 3rd Canadian Infantry Divisions the 4th Canadian Armoured Division the 2nd Canadian Armoured Brigade and the 11th Armoured and 43rd (Wessex) Divisions. On 26th February their attack began. The Germans were prepared to offer more than ordinary resistance and a violent struggle took place on the Udem-Calcar ridge in front of the main Hochwald positions. The contest for the gap between the Hochwald and the neighbouring Balberger Wald was naturally no gentler and it was not until the evening of 4th March that this forest region was in Allied possession. By that time the 53rd Division on the right had reached Geldem and had there made contact with the U.S. 35th Division of the Ninth Army. The U.S. Ninth Army after the delay imposed upon it by the floods of the Roer, had started its advance on 23rd February. The delay had enabled the Germans to throw in more weight against the Canadian First Army but it was now compensated for by the speed of the American advance which trapped the severely mauled German forces west of the Rhine between the two Allied armies. By 27th February the Ninth Army had broken through the main German defences on 1st March Munchen- Gladbach was taken and on the 2nd the bank of the Rhine was reached in two places and the town of Krefeld was occupied. The German armies west of the Rhine were threatened with encirclement and had no alternative to withdrawal beyond that mighty river. The infighting the Battle of the Rhineland had been as grim and studied as any hitherto known in Europe the German leaders had been determined to make a stand west of the river and to defend the industries of the Ruhr to the last moment the price was paid for it by their troops in killed and wounded estimated at nearly 40,000, and in prisoners numbering about 53000 on the First Canadian and Ninth U.S. Army fronts. The losses of the Commonwealth divisions which won the day were heavy enough the First Canadian Army from 8th February to 10th March suffered over 15,600 casualties. The men who died are buried for the most part in the Reichswald Forest and Rheinberg war cemeteries in Germany beside an even greater number of airmen who were killed on raids and in the Canadian cemetery at Groesbeek in Holland, near Nijmegen those who made the same sacrifice and who have no known grave are commemorated on the Groesbeek Memorial.
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