Old 09-16-2015, 11:18 AM   #11
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Join Date: Sep 2015
Location: Calgary, AB
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Originally Posted by pierre_eh View Post
The 3 regiments (Black Watch, Calgary Rifles & Maisonneuve) had to charge down a muddy Causeway during the Battle of the Scheldt.
A bit more information for this. This was the Walcheren Causeway, a 2000 yard long rail and road causeway built-up to connect the island of Walcheren to South Beveland. Walcheren Island was the final objective in clearing the Scheldt Estuary to allow the Allies to open the port of Antwerp that would alleviate much of the logistical issues they were having since they were still being forced to use the Mulberry harbours set up at Normandy following D-Day. The Germans had set up formidable defenses on the Walcheren end of the Causeway with machine gun and 88mm emplacements. A large crater had also been blown in the center of the Causeway. The Germans also had artillery and mortars zeroed in on much of the Causeway.

The assault on the Causeway was principally fought by The Calgary Highlanders (initially by "B" Company) into the night of 31 October, 1944 (this battalion often led much of the offensive operations for 5th Infantry Brigade due to the Black Watch still trying to recover much of their strength from their losses at Verrieres Ridge in July 1944, and getting replacements for the Regiment de Maisonneuve were much more difficult, especially given the Canadian Army's infantry crisis following Normandy) after the Black Watch attempted to "bounce" the Causeway earlier in the afternoon and evening of 31 October. In the early hours of 1 November "D" Company of the Calgary Highlanders secured the western end of the Causeway by dawn. Le Regiment de Maisonneuve were able to help reinforce the bridgehead. 5th Brigade was not able to extend the bridgehead at all due to fierce German resistance and counter-attacks. Eventually landings elsewhere (near Flushing) were able to seal the fate of the Germans on Walcheren.

Casualties were fairly high in the assault for all units and sub-units participating in the attack on the Causeway. The Calgary Highlanders alone suffered 64 casualties in the 3 days of the battle. "D" Company suffered casualties to all of it's officers and the Brigade Major (a staff officer) George Hees took over command (with permission) and brought an Artillery FOO as his second-in-command. Sergeant Emile Jean Laloge of No. 18 Platoon was award the DCM for his actions on the Causeway.

Walcheren Causeway is commemorated every year by the Calgary Highlanders as their representative Battle Honour for World War II.
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