In five weeks of bloody battles to boot the Germans out of the Scheldt Estuary in October and November of 1944, the Allies suffered about 13,000 casualties, including about 6,300 Canadians. And the fighting was expected to be just as stiff to liberate the rest of the Netherlands.
The Germans had occupied the Netherlands for five years, and were well fortified and truly dug in. In April 1945, the 1st Canadian Army began clearing the enemy from northern and western Holland. The small city of Apeldoorn was one of the first objectives.
The Germans flooded the land, tore up roads, blew up bridges. And fought like hell.
“These were not the ‘old men and frightened boys’ thought to be all that was left of the Wehrmacht,” recalled Captain Ted Brock in a memoir reproduced on the Canadian Le...