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Liberation Route Europe

  • D-Day (Operation Overlord)

    D-Day (Operation Overlord)
    D-Day is one of the most remembered campaigns of the Second World War. The operation involved troops from Britain, the United States, Canada and several other countries. On 6 June 1944 the Allied forces sailed across the English Channel to begin their campaign to gain victory against the German forces. The target 50-mile (80 km) stretch of the Normandy coast was divided into five sectors: Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno, and Sword.
  • Period: to

    Liberation of Europe

  • Oradour-sur-Glane massacre

    Oradour-sur-Glane massacre
    On June 10, 1944, a Nazi SS Division (Das Reich) surrounded the village of Oradour-sur-Glane in France then ordered everyone in the town, 652 persons, to assemble in the town square. The Nazis then set fire to the entire village and began shooting the villagers with machine guns, then set the barns and the church on fire, burning the men, women and children alive, and shooting anyone who survived. A total of 642 townspeople -- 245 women, 207 children, and 190 men were massacred.
  • Hitler Launches V1 and V2 Missiles at Britain

    Hitler Launches V1 and V2 Missiles at Britain
    The V weapons – the V1 and V2 – were used towards the end of World War Two with such an effect that the attacks on London became known as the second Blitz. The success of D-Day had speeded up the production of the V weapons and the first V1 was launched on June 13th, just one week after the Allied landings at Normandy.
  • Operation Epsom

    Operation Epsom
    The seizure of Caen taking a serious delay from the date originally planned. Reinforcement of sufficient units before relaunching the offensive: thus, it plans to use on D-Day + 17 (June 23) the forces commanded by General Richard O’Connor, namely the 1st, 8th and 30th Corps. This new operation is called “Epsom“. Sunday, June 25, 1944 marks the beginning of the ground offensive of Operation Epsom: 60,000 men and 600 tanks belonging to the 2nd British Army attack west of Caen
  • Liberation of Cherbourg

    Liberation of Cherbourg
    The Battle of Cherbourg was part of the Battle of Normandy during World War II. It was fought immediately after the successful Allied landings on June 6, 1944. Allied troops, mainly American, isolated and captured the fortified port, which was considered vital to the campaign in Western Europe, in a hard-fought, month-long campaign.
  • Battle of the 'Hedgerows' in Normandy

    Battle of the 'Hedgerows' in Normandy
    Normandy was the scene of furious fights several weeks after June 6, 1944. After the battle of the beaches, what historians today commonly call the “hedge war” begins with reference to the particular nature of the terrain on which To evolve the belligerent forces. The hedge warfare, also known as the “bocage”, began as early as the day after D-Day and ended at the end of August 1944, when the Allied troops ended up liberating most part of the present-day Basse-Normandie.
  • Operation Charnwood

    Operation Charnwood
    Operation Charnwood was an Anglo-Canadian offensive that took place from 8 to 9 July 1944, during the Battle for Caen, part of the larger Operation Overlord (code-name for the Battle of Normandy), in the Second World War. The operation was intended to at least partially capture the German-occupied city of Caen (French pronunciation: which was an important objective for the Allies during the opening stages of Overlord.
  • Operation Goodwood

    Operation Goodwood
    The British General Staff believes that a new large-scale offensive will allow its troops to control the whole city and to drive the Germans out of Caen and the roads of the South. On the evening of 18 July, 6,000 soldiers were victims of the fighting during Operation Goodwood and nearly 400 tanks were destroyed for an allied advance not exceeding 11 kilometers, Bourguébus still not under British control. The 11th British division loses 126 tanks in this one day.
  • Operation Atlantic

    Operation Atlantic
    Operation Atlantic (18–21 July 1944) was a Canadian offensive during the Battle of Normandy in the Second World War. The offensive, launched in conjunction with Operation Goodwood by the Second Army, was part of operations to seize the French city of Caen and vicinity from German forces. It was initially successful against strongly defended German positions on Verrières Ridge to the south was a costly failure.
  • Allied troops take Cean

    Allied troops take Cean
    The initial plan of the Allies foresees the liberation of the city of Caen on the evening of Tuesday June 6, 1944 by the British troops of the 3rd division of infantry. But the city of Caen was completely liberated on July 20, at the end of operations Goodwood and Atlantic, and the Caen plain controlled up to 7 kilometers from the city. But the city is almost entirely destroyed by the incessant bombardment of Allied land, sea and air forces.
  • Operation Cobra (U.S. troops break out west of St. Lô).

    Operation Cobra (U.S. troops break out west of St. Lô).
    The Battle of Saint-Lô is one of the three conflicts in the Battle of the Hedgerows (fr), which took place between July 9–24, 1944, just before Operation Cobra. Saint-Lô had fallen to Germany in 1940, and, after the Invasion of Normandy, the Americans targeted the city, as it served as a strategic crossroads. American bombardments caused heavy damage (up to 95% of the city was destroyed) and a high number of casualties.
  • Avranches liberated

    Avranches liberated
    On 29 July the American troops role into Avranches, it was lightly defended. A pleasant surprise because of it's strategic importance. Avranches was a junction of several roads. At the beginning of August 1944, the Germans wanted to resume the initiative and take back the town of Avranches. To this end, they are designing Operation Lüttich. But the offensive, which begins on August 7, fails with very heavy losses. Avranches is not worried by this operation.
  • Operation Dragoon

    Operation Dragoon
    Operation Dragoon was the code name for the Allied invasion of Southern France on 15 August 1944. The operation was initially planned to be executed in conjunction with Operation Overlord, the Allied landing in the Normandy, but the lack of available resources led to a cancellation of the second landing. The goal of the operation was to secure the vital ports on the French Mediterranean coast and increase pressure on the German forces by opening another front.
  • Resistance uprising in Paris

    Resistance uprising in Paris
    On August 15, news of the Allied advance and of a second Allied landing on the coast of southern France reached the French capital. As the Germans began their evacuation, the Paris police, postal workers and metro workers went on strike. Within four days, a spontaneous uprising erupted. Led by the underground French Resistance (FFI), Parisians attacked their German occupiers, barricaded streets and created as much havoc as possible.
  • Allies encircle Germans in the Falaise Pocket

    Allies encircle Germans in the Falaise Pocket
    The Falaise Pocket or Battle of the Falaise Pocket (12 – 21 August 1944) was the decisive engagement of the Battle of Normandy in the Second World War. A pocket was formed around Falaise, Calvados, in which the German Army Group B, with the 7th Army and the Fifth Panzer Army (formerly Panzergruppe West) were encircled by the Western Allies. The battle is also referred to as the Battle of the Falaise Gap
  • Liberation of Paris

    Liberation of Paris
    The liberation of Paris didn’t have Allied priority, but an uprising of the population against the Germans on 19 August made it necessary. Thus the 2nd French Armoured Division was send to Paris and entered the town on 24 August. On 26 August a huge triumphal parade was held on the Champs-Élysées.
  • Liberation of Brussels

    Liberation of Brussels
    The Allies after Falaise and Paris pressed north rapidly toward Belgium. The Whernacht in France was broken. The Germans did not wait for retreat orders. Every Gernman in France just wanted to get back to the Reich however possible and as rapidly as possible. The major cities of Brussels and Antwerp were quickly liberated. The British reached Brussels (September 3) and Antwerp further north only a day earlier (September 4).
  • Antwerp liberated

    Antwerp liberated
    With northern France just won, Allied troops under general command of the Canadians pushed into Belgium in early Sep 1944. Major cities of Brussels and Antwerp were liberated quickly, and the V-1 rocket launching bases nearby fell along with the cities. German troops attempted to hinder the usefulness of the Antwerp port by attacking with V-1 and V-2 rockets, but the rockets were not accurate in their attacks and the port facilities remained standing.
  • Luxembourg liberated

    Luxembourg liberated
    Luxembourg was liberated by Allied forces in September 1944. Allied tanks entered the capital city on 10 September 1944, where the Germans retreated without fighting. The Allied advance triggered the resistance to rise up: at Vianden, members of the Luxembourgish resistance fought a much larger German force at the Battle of Vianden Castle.
  • Allied troops cross the border into Germany

    Allied troops cross the border into Germany
    The momentum of the campaign in northwest Europe began to slow abruptly as the Allies outran their supply lines. Initial planning had not anticipated that the Allied armies would advance so rapidly, and logistics were beginning to place a limit on Allied operations. On September 11, 1944, the first day US troops entered Germany, the Allies were along a phase line that the Operation Overlord plans did not expect to reach until D+330 (May 2, 1945) - some 233 days ahead of schedule.
  • First liberated town in the Netherlands (Mesch)

    First liberated town in the Netherlands (Mesch)
    More than three months after the landing in Normandy men of the ninetieth American Infantry Divise (Old Hickory) cross the Dutch Belgian border on September 12, 1944 at 10 o'clock in the morning. The town Mesch of about 250-inhabitants was thus the first liberated place of the Netherlands.
  • Maastricht Liberated

    Maastricht Liberated
    In the early morning of the 14h of September the commander ,Colonel Johnson, of the 117th regiment of the Old Hickory division, accompanied by Major Giles,Private Killinworth and a radio operator, crossed the Maas (Meusse) in a small boat, watched by hundreds of Maastricht residents. After the city was combed for potential German soldiers left behind it was declared liberated in the evening on Thursday the 14th of September 1944.
  • Operation Market Garden

    Operation Market Garden
    Operation Market Garden was one of the largest Allied operations of the Second World War. It aimed to secure the bridges over the rivers Maas (Meuse), Waal and Rhine in the Netherlands in order to outflank the heavy German defences of the Siegfried Line and to insure a swift advance towards Berlin. Operation Market Garden was one of the largest Allied operations of the Second World War. It took place in September 1944.
  • Eindhoven Liberated

    Eindhoven Liberated
    In September 18, 1944, American paratroopers make contact with British ground troops at this church. At that moment, Eindhoven is liberated. More and more people take to the streets and welcome their liberators with overwhelming enthusiasm. The crowd is so dense even the British and Americans struggle to continue the advance.
  • Waal crossing

    Waal crossing
    One of the main objectives of Operation Market Garden was to capture the two bridges across the Waal river in Nijmegen. This task proved to be difficult. In a desperate effort to maintain the momentum, on 20 September American paratroopers crossed the Waal in 26 tiny boats. Lacking proper oars, some soldiers had to use their rifle butts to row. Half of the 260 U.S. soldiers involved were killed or wounded. Only thirteen of the dinghies could be used for a second crossing.
  • Nijmegen liberated

    Nijmegen liberated
    The city of Nijmegen played an important role in Operation Market Garden. With two bridges across the Waal river it was vital for the Allied advance towards Arnhem and Germany later on. On 20 September units from the 82nd Airborne crossed the river under murderous enemy fire. They managed to establish a beachhead on the northern bank of the Waal and from this small foothold they eventually were able to storm and capture the bridges of Nijmegen and liberate the city.
  • Operation Berlin (Arnhem)

    Operation Berlin (Arnhem)
    Operation Berlin (25–26 September 1944) was a night-time evacuation of the remnants of the beleaguered British 1st Airborne Division, trapped in German occupied territory north of the Lower Rhine in the Netherlands during Operation Market Garden. The operation successfully evacuated approximately 2,400 men of the British 1st Airborne Division and effectively ended Market Garden.
  • German garrison in Calais surrenders

    German garrison in Calais surrenders
    Operation Undergo was an attack by the 3rd Canadian Infantry Division on the German garrison and fortifications of the French port of Calais. A subsidiary operation was executed to capture German long-range, heavy artillery at Cap Gris Nez, which threatened the sea approaches to Boulogne. The operation was part of the Clearing the Channel Coast by the First Canadian Army. Although the city had been declared a fortress when pressed, its second-rate garrison needed little persuasion to surrender.
  • The battle of Opheusden

    The battle of Opheusden
    By the end of September 1944, Operation Market Garden was over and the war had moved to the region east of Nijmegen and the Betuwe. This area between the Rhine and Waal rivers became the new frontline. On 4th October, the German occupying forces started a new offensive to win back lost territory. The fighting in and around the village of Opheusden was fierce and dozens of soldiers were killed on both sides.
  • Operation Switchback

    Operation Switchback
    By August 1944 the German army retreated along the entire western front. In northern Belgium the German 15th Army was trapped in a pocket along the Dutch/Belgium coast and the Scheldt estuary. This pocket was known as the Breskens pocket and it would play an important role in the battle of the Scheldt. On 6 October the Canadians launched their attack, codenamed Operation Switchback.
  • The battle of Overloon

    The battle of Overloon
    One of the fiercest battles in the Netherlands during World War II takes place near Overloon. American and British armoured divisions are locked in battle with German tanks and troops. On October 12, 1944, Overloon is almost completely destroyed by Allied artillery fire and air attacks. But the Germans do not surrender. It takes days before the battle is over.
  • The battle of Woensdrecht

    The battle of Woensdrecht
    Woensdrecht was an important town for the Allies since it was the only land entrance to South-Beveland and Walcheren. If the Canadians could capture the town the German forces to the west would be cut off from the rest of their army. Woensdrecht was the first key objective for safeguarding the Scheldt estuary. On Friday 13 October, one of the bloodiest engagements of the battle was fought. Despite the heavy losses, the Canadians captured Woensdrecht on 16 October.
  • Operation Queen (Rur Dam Schwammenauel)

    Operation Queen (Rur Dam Schwammenauel)
    In November 1944 the Allies launched Operation Queen with the goal of crossing the Rur river and then pushing forward to the Rhine. They realized that if the Rur floodgates were opened, the entire river plain would be inundated, rendering the river impassable. And indeed, as they withdrew, the Germans opened the Rur Dam Schwammenauel, thus hampering the Allied advance for two weeks.
  • Aachen, first major German city to be captured.

    Aachen, first major German city to be captured.
    The Battle of Aachen was a major combat action fought by American and German forces in and around Aachen. The city had been incorporated into the Siegfried Line, the main defensive network on Germany's western border; the Allies had hoped to capture it quickly and advance into the industrialized Ruhr Basin. Although most of Aachen's civilian population was evacuated before the battle began, much of the city was destroyed and both sides suffered heavy losses.
  • The battle for 's-Hertogenbosch

    The battle for 's-Hertogenbosch
    In 1944, 's-Hertogenbosch was intersected by three major waterways: the River Dommel, River Dieze and the Zuid Willems Vaart Canal. The Germans considered it to be vital ground as it was the transportation hub through which their supplies passed into the Scheldt and was their only viable withdrawal route from the peninsula. The 53rd (Welsh) Division, commanded by Major General Robert Knox Ross, was assigned the task of capturing 's-Hertogenbosch.
  • Operation Vitality, the capture of South-Beveland

    Operation Vitality, the capture of South-Beveland
    On 24 October 1944 the third phase of the battle of the Scheldt began with Operation Vitality. The goal of the operation was to clear the peninsula of South-Beveland of German forces. Once again the Allied forces would have to overcome not only the German defenders but difficult terrain as well.
  • The battle of Hürtgen Forest is developing

    The battle of Hürtgen Forest is developing
    During the autumn and winter of 1944/45, the longest battle on German soil took place in the Huertgen Forest. With this battle, the war precipitated by the Nazi regime returned to Germany. The battle caused numerous casualties on both sides. For the American soldiers, it’s very name, with its first syllable ‘hurt’ became a byword for injury and death.
  • Breda liberated

    Breda liberated
    On the 29th of October 1944, soldiers of the 1st Polish Armoured Division enter Breda. After several artillery bombardments and battles, they liberate the residents of Breda. As a symbol of solidarity with the people of Breda, they give them this tank as a gift in 1945. The occupying forces did not abandon Breda without a struggle in the last days before the liberation.
  • The battle for the Causeway (Operation Mallard)

    The battle for the Causeway (Operation Mallard)
    As of 31 October 1944 the 2nd Canadian Infantry Division, coming from the direction Goes, was confronted with a narrow strip of land, the only way onto the island of Walcheren. For three days first the Canadians, then the Scots, fought a bitter battle to cross the Causeway (codenamed Operation Mallard). The deadlock was finally broken when Scottish troops crossed the mudflats surrounding the Sloe Channel at night. They eventually entered Middelburg during the early hours of 6 November.
  • Operation Infatuate, the capture of Walcheren

    Operation Infatuate, the capture of Walcheren
    The last phase in the battle of the Scheldt was the capture of the island of Walcheren. Walcheren had been incorporated into the German Atlantic Wall and had been heavily fortified during the war. The Allied commanders therefore viewed the capture of Walcheren as the biggest obstacle in the clearing of the Scheldt estuary.
  • Belgium is entirely liberated

    Belgium is entirely liberated
    Canadian forces captured Zeebrugge, which was the last pocket of German occupation in Belgium.
  • Strasbourg liberated

    Strasbourg liberated
    The Liberation of Strasbourg constituted the symbolic high point for the rehabilitation of the honor of French armed forces as the Allies advanced across France toward Germany. Alsace and General Charles de Gaulle insisted that only French forces should retake it. After the victory of Kufra, General Leclerc and his troops swore an oath to fight until "our flag flies over the Cathedral of Strasbourg". The oath was fulfilled on 23 November, when the French under Leclerc's liberated Strasbourg.
  • First convoy ships arrived at Antwerp

    First convoy ships arrived at Antwerp
    It finally cost the Allied forces three weeks and 12,873 casualties (killed, wounded and missing), 6,367 of which were Canadians, before the Westerschelde could be freed and a start could be made on opening the heavily mined passage to the ports of Antwerp. On 28 November 1944, the first convoy of 19 liberty ships arrived at Antwerp to discharge their urgently needs cargoes. When the allies crossed the Rhine in April 1945, 1,341,610 tons of supplies had been landed at Antwerp.
  • Battle of the Bulge

    Battle of the Bulge
    In December 1944, when the Allies had advanced unto the Belgian Ardennes, they were completely surprised by three German armies. This was the beginning of the Ardennes Offensive or ‘Battle of the Bulge’. It was a last desperate attempt of the German Wehrmacht to cut through the allied lines. The battle lasted more than six weeks and took many lives on both sides.
  • Baugnez (Malmedy) Massacre

    Baugnez (Malmedy) Massacre
    On 17 December 1944 the German fighting unit (Kampfgruppe) Peiper killed 84 American prisoners of war at the crossroads of Baugnez near Malmédy. Though the reasons for these killings remain unclear, this massacre was part of a series of war crimes committed by the same unit during the previous and following days.
  • Siege of Bastogne

    Siege of Bastogne
    The Siege of Bastogne was an engagement between American and German forces at the Belgian town of Bastogne, as part of the larger Battle of the Bulge. The goal of the German offensive was the harbour at Antwerp. Because all seven main roads in the densely wooded Ardennes highlands converged on Bastogne (Bastnach in German), control of its crossroads was vital to attack. The siege was from 20 to 27 December, until the besieged American forces were relieved by elements of the US Third Army.
  • German surprise offensive in northern Alsace

    German surprise offensive in northern Alsace
    Operation North Wind (German: Unternehmen Nordwind) was the last major German offensive on the Western Front. It began on December 31, 1944 in Rhineland-Palatinate, Alsace and Lorraine in southwestern Germany and northeastern France, and ended on 30 January 1945. The goal of the offensive was to break through the lines of the U.S. Seventh Army and French 1st Army in the Upper Vosges mountains and the Alsatian Plain, and destroy them, as well as the seizure of Strasbourg.
  • Break out of the "Colmar Pocket"

    Break out of the "Colmar Pocket"
    On 9 February 1945, the last German forces on the west bank of the River Rhine were defeated by the French and Americans. The defeat of these troops, who had held onto an area referred to as the Colmar Pocket, was a significant strategic moment, securing a defensive line along the Rhine. It was also a symbolically important moment. Alsace, the region in which the Pocket existed, had been a source of conflict between France and Germany for nearly a century.
  • Clearing the Roer Triangle

    Clearing the Roer Triangle
    On the 23rd of January 1945, Operation Blackcock, the Allied operation to expel German troops from the Ruhr Triangle between Roermond, Sittard and Heinsberg, has already been fiercely fought for over a week. After heavy fighting in the village of St. Joost the German forces have retreated behind the Vlootbeek between Maasbracht and Linne. They have set up an observation post in the Linne windmill.
  • The battle for 'Kapelsche Veer'

    The battle for 'Kapelsche Veer'
    In the hard winter 1944/45, a battle between German Wehrmacht and allied troops happened at the 'Kapelsche Veer' at the Maas River in Noord-Brabant near the village of Capelle. Four attacks were made by Polish, British and Canadians forces. Both sides together had casualties of over 1000 men (dead, missing, wounded, war captivity).
  • The massacre of Palmnicken

    The massacre of Palmnicken
    In January 1945, most of the prisoners of the main Stutthof camp were forced to walk to Danzig/Gdansk and beyond. 13.000 inmates of several subcamps were sent on a seemingly similar death march, east to Königsberg. This march however ended in a singularly brutal massacre at the beach of Palmnicke
  • The Yalta Conference of Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin begins

    The Yalta Conference of Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin begins
    The Yalta Conference, also known as the Crimea Conference and code named the Argonaut Conference, held from 4 to 11 February 1945, was the World War II meeting of the heads of government of the United States, the United Kingdom and the Soviet Union for the purpose of discussing Germany and Europe's postwar reorganization. The three states were represented by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Premier Joseph Stalin, respectively.
  • Operation Veritable

    Operation Veritable
    Operation Veritable was part of an Allied pincer-movement aiming to clear the area between the Roer and Rhine rivers of German forces. British and Canadian units attacked from the north, while the Americans closed the trap from the south. By destroying dams in the Roer, the Germans tried to hamper the operation.
  • The bombing of Dresden

    The bombing of Dresden
    The bombing of Dresden was a British/American aerial bombing attack on the city of Dresden, the capital of the German state of Saxony, during World War II in the European Theatre. In four raids between 13 and 15 February 1945 dropped more than 3,900 tons of high-explosive bombs and incendiary devices on the city. An estimated 22,700[3] to 25,000[4] people were killed, although larger casualty figures have been claimed.
  • Operation Blockbuster (Hochwald)

    Operation Blockbuster (Hochwald)
    Once the Reichswald had been taken, the Allied forces paused to regroup before continuing their advance towards the Hochwald forested ridge, plus Xanten to the east of it, and the US 9th Army. This stage was Operation Blockbuster. As planned, it would start on 22 February when the Scottish Division would attack woods north-east of Weeze, to be followed two days later on the 24th when the 53rd (Welsh) Division would advance southwards from Goch, take Weeze and continue south-westward.
  • The Battle of Remagen

    The Battle of Remagen
    The Battle of Remagen during the Allied invasion of Germany resulted in the unexpected capture of the Ludendorff Bridge over the Rhine and likely shortened World War II in Europe. After capturing the Siegfried Line, the 9th Armored Division of the U.S. First Army had advanced unexpectedly quickly towards the Rhine. They were very surprised to see one of the last bridges across the Rhine still standing. The Germans had wired the bridge with about 2,800 kilograms of demolition charges.
  • The capture of Mainz

    The capture of Mainz
    All road and rail bridges across the Rhine had been destroyed by the German forces, it became apparent the allies have to cross using their own resources.The first river assault by the Third Army was made on March 22 near the town of Oppenheim by the 5th Infantry Division who crossed on assault rafts. The Third Army also successfully assaulted the Rhine at three other locations: Boppard, St. Goar and Mainz.
  • US and British forces cross the Rhine at Oppenheim

    US and British forces cross the Rhine at Oppenheim
    The US Third Army carried out four river assaults in late March. The 5th Infantry Division undertook the first on March 22, 1945, crossing the Rhine at Oppenheim, south of Mainz. They crossed without the usual artillery preparation, a maneuver that caught German troops by surprise. Within 48 hours, four US divisions had crossed the Rhine at Oppenheim and positioned themselves to advance into Germany. This operation was vital in facilitating the encirclement of the Ruhr.
  • Operation Varsity

    Operation Varsity
    In support of the Rhine crossing, Operation Varsity, the largest airborne operation performed in a single day, took place. 14.000 paratroopers were dropped east of the Rhine behind enemy lines to deepen the Allied bridgehead and to knock out German artillery targeting the Rhine.
  • Operation Keystone

    Operation Keystone
    Operation Keystone was a British special forces operation by a Jeep-mounted squadron of the 2nd Special Air Service under the command of Major Henry Druce with the objectives of interfering with German movements to the south of the IJsselmeer (Zuiderzee) in the German-occupied Netherlands and capturing bridges over the Apeldoorn Canal to aid ‘Cannonshot’ and ‘Varsity’ (3 April/late April 1945).
  • Operation Larkswood

    Operation Larkswood
    Operation Larkswood was a British special forces operation by two squadrons of the Belgian Independent Parachute Company (5th Special Air Service) under the command of Capitaine Edouard Blondeel in the north-eastern part of the German-occupied Netherlands (3 April/8 May 1945). The Belgians were used as reconnaissance troops, initially by Lieutenant General G. G. Simonds’s Canadian II Corps and, later, by Generał brygady Stanisław Maczek’s Polish 1st Armoured Division.
  • Operation Amherst

    Operation Amherst
    Operation Amherst was the code name for the airborne landings of some 700 French paratroopers. They were part of the British SAS (Special Air Service). They were deployed to create confusion behind enemy lines. They also had to try and organise the local resistance and pass on as much information as possible to the 2nd Canadian Army Corps. The paratroopers were divided into 47 sticks, dropped in Drenthe n the night of 7/8 April 1945, the French were dropped above Drenthe.
  • The Battle for Zutphen

    The Battle for Zutphen
    April is instead remembered as the month of the liberation of Holland, 'the sweetest of springs.' But April was also the cruellest month, for if the war was all but won, the killing had not stopped. In Zutphen young Germans fought fanatically, they still belief in Hitler and Nazism.
  • The Battle for Deventer

    The Battle for Deventer
    Deventer was a vital link in the transportation corridor sought by Twenty-First Armoured Group and also the start line for 1st Canadian Infantry Division's forthcoming advance westward to Apeldoorn. While 3rd Canadian Infantry Division had been fighting for Zutphen, the "Red Patch devils" had concentrated behind it to prepare their planned amphibious assault across the IJssel, codenamed Operation Cannonshot.
  • Buchenwald concentration camp liberated

    Buchenwald concentration camp liberated
    The Buchenwald concentration camp was liberated on April 11, 1945 by four soldiers in the Sixth Armored Division of the US Third Army, commanded by General George S. Patton. Just before the Americans arrived, the camp had already been taken over by the Communist prisoners who had killed some of the guards and forced the rest to flee into the nearby woods.
  • Operation Cannonshot

    Operation Cannonshot
    Operation Cannonshot, "the crossing of the Ijssel from the East, and the capture of Apeldoorn and high ground between that place and Arnhem” had successfully been launched on the afternoon of 11 April 1945, setting the stage for Operation ANGER, the operation to secure Arnhem.
  • Camp Westerbork Liberated

    Camp Westerbork Liberated
    On 12 April 1945 the Canadian liberators arrived at camp Westerbork. The camp was liberated without any resistance. At the time, there were still 876 prisoners, including around 500 Jews. The other prisoners were persons in hiding that were caught. It goes without saying that the prisoners were all delighted about being freed. The Dutch flag was put up. After the war had ended.
  • President Franklin D. Roosevelt dies at age 63

    President Franklin D. Roosevelt dies at age 63
    On this day in 1945, President Franklin D. Roosevelt died of a massive cerebral hemorrhage at his Warm Springs, Georgia, retreat at the age of 63. Roosevelt’s death in the final months of World War II was met with shock and grief throughout the Western world. Many Americans had no inkling of his decline in health.
  • Liberation of Assen

    Liberation of Assen
    The defense of Groningen began in fact at Assen, at least, that was the ideal picture. A line along the IJssel extending northwards and named Friesland Riegel with the Asser Stellungen as strategic porch of the northerly defense. However, as is the case so often, the enemy did not follow the route the designer of the line had had in mind.
  • Liberation of Zwolle

    Liberation of Zwolle
    On the night of April 13, 1945, Major Léo Major from Régiment de la Chaudière single-handedly liberated the city of Zwolle in the Netherlands from German army occupation. This action earned him his first Distinguished Conduct Medal. He received his second DCM during the Korean War for leading the capture of a key hill. A documentary movie, « Léo Major, le fantôme borgne » has been produced in Montreal (Qc).
  • Second battle for Arnhem

    Second battle for Arnhem
    The allied attempts to conquer Arnhem seemed to be cursed. First there was the failure of Operation Market Garden in September 1944. On 8th April, the allied troops moved to the east and crossed the Rhine, and into the Achterhoek region, using the pontoon bridges at Emmerich. This time, rather than coming in from the south, they came in from the east. It marked the start of Operation Anger, and the liberation of Arnhem.
  • Bergen-Belsen concentration camp liberated

    Bergen-Belsen concentration camp liberated
    The Bergen-Belsen concentration camp was liberated on April 15, 1945, by the British 11th Armoured Division. The soldiers discovered approximately 60,000 prisoners inside, most of them half-starved and seriously ill, and another 13,000 corpses, including those of Anne and Margot Frank, lying around the camp unburied.
  • The British 11th Armoured Division liberated Bergen-Belsen concentration camp

    The British 11th Armoured Division liberated Bergen-Belsen concentration camp
    British forces liberated Bergen-Belsen on 15 April 1945. Thousands of bodies lay unburied around the camp and some 60,000 starving and mortally ill people were packed together without food, water or basic sanitation. Many were suffering from typhus, dysentery and starvation.
  • Liberation of Groningen

    Liberation of Groningen
    The Battle of Groningen took place during the penultimate month of Second World War in Europe, from April 13 to 16, 1945, in the city of Groningen between a mixture of German soldiers, Dutch and Belgian SS troops numbering 7,000 against the entire 2nd Canadian Infantry Division. German soldiers in the city were determined to keep enemy forces from German soil while their Dutch SS colleagues had reason to fear for their lives if forced to surrender.
  • The battle for Otterlo

    The battle for Otterlo
    On 16 April 1945 the 5th Canadian Armoured Division liberated the village of Otterlo. But other German soldiers, on the run to the west, occupied the village again. In the ensuing confusion the skirmishes escalated into a vicious battle, with more than 300 soldiers killed: the last battle on Dutch soil.
  • Liberation of Apeldoorn

    Liberation of Apeldoorn
    On Friday 13th April 1945, the Canadian advance to Apeldoorn came to a standstill. The Broeksbrug bridge over the Apeldoorn canal had been blown up by the Germans and the Canadian's attempt to secure the Deventerbrug bridge had failed. The Canadians were expecting Apeldoorn to be strongly defended and planned to attack, starting with heavy artillery fire. Gijs Numan, commander of the Dutch Interior Forces in Apeldoorn convinced the Germans that were protecting it to hand themselves over.
  • Operation Canada (Battle for Delfzijl)

    Operation Canada (Battle for Delfzijl)
    Following the liberation of Groningen on April 16 1945, the Canadians were sure of a swift victory while chasing the retreating Germans towards the coast. They certainly not expect that heavy fighting continued until May 2 1945. For the Germans, the coast, and most notably Delfzijl with its harbor, was the only place from which they could be extracted towards Germany. During the battle for Delfzijl, 102 Canadians and 185 Germans were killed and 1400 Germans were captured.
  • First contact between Soviet and American troops

    First contact between Soviet and American troops
    Elbe Day, April 25, 1945, is the day Soviet and American troops met at the Elbe River, near Torgau in Germany, marking an important step toward the end of World War II in Europe. This contact between the Soviets, advancing from the East, and the Americans, advancing from the West, meant that the two powers had effectively cut Germany in two.
  • Dachau concentration camp liberated by the U.S. 7th Army.

    Dachau concentration camp liberated by the U.S. 7th Army.
    The infamous Nazi concentration camp at Dachau was liberated on Sunday, April 29, 1945 just one week before the end of World War II in Europe. Two divisions of the US Seventh Army, the 42nd Rainbow Division and the 45th Thunderbird Division, participated in the liberation, while the 20th Armored Division provided support.
  • Operations Manna and Chowhound

     Operations Manna and Chowhound
    Operation Manna and Operation Chowhound were humanitarian food drops, carried out to relieve a famine in Holland, undertaken by Allied bomber crews. Manna was carried out by British RAF units and other squadrons between 29 April and 7 May 1945. Chowhound (1–8 May) was an operation by the U.S. Army Air Forces, which dropped, together with Operation Manna, a total of over 11,000 tons of food into the still-unliberated western part of the Netherlands.
  • All forces in Italy officially surrender

    All forces in Italy officially surrender
    At Allied Mediterranean headquarters in Italy, the Germans unconditionally give up all of Italy and southern Austria. Representatives of the German army sign the surrender document. General W. D. Morgan, representing Supreme Mediterranean Commander [Harold] Alexander, signs for the Allies. German forces fighting in Italy were the first to surrender unconditionally to the Allies. The German command in Italy signed the surrender on April 29, and it became effective on May 2, 1945.
  • Hitler and his wife commit suicide

    Hitler and his wife commit suicide
    On 30 April 1945, Adolf Hitler committed suicide along with his wife, Eva in his bunker in Berlin. According to testimonies, both swallowed cyanide pills and he shot himself in the head for good measure. Their remains were burnt in the Reich Chancellery garden outside the bunker. Many other high Nazi officials gave themselves up to authorities.
  • Soviet forces capture the Reichstag building

    Soviet forces capture the Reichstag building
    Raising a Flag over the Reichstag is a historic World War II photograph, taken during the Battle of Berlin on 2 May 1945. It shows Meliton Kantaria and Mikhail Yegorov raising the flag of the Soviet Union atop the Reichstag building. The photograph was reprinted in thousands of publications and came to be regarded around the world as one of the most significant and recognizable images of World War II.
  • German troops the Netherlands surrender to Montgomery

    German troops the Netherlands surrender to Montgomery
    On 4 May 1945 Field Marshal Montgomery accepted the official surrender of the German army in North-West Europe at his headquarters on Lüneburger Heath in Germany. Then, on 5 May 1945, while Germany had already officially surrendered, General Foulkes, commander of the 1st Canadian Army, decided to draw up a separate surrender document. He summoned the German general Blaskowitz to Hotel de Wereld in Wageningen to sign the capitulation.
  • Germany surrenders unconditionally

    Germany surrenders unconditionally
    On May 7, 1945, Germany signed an unconditional surrender at Allied headquarters in Reims, France, to take effect the following day, ending the European conflict of World War II. Due to the failure of Nazi troops in Berlin and elsewhere, Dönitz and his fellow negotiators lost any leverage in asking for certain conditions in regard to the surrender. Dönitz therefore decided on May 7 to give in to Allied demands of unconditional surrender.
  • Drama at the Dam Square in Amsterdam

    Drama at the Dam Square in Amsterdam
    During the liberation of Amsterdam shots are fired from behind the Palace and soon the whole tinderbox ignites. The Binnenlandse Strijdkrachten are firing from the Dam Square, while the German soldiers are firing back from within the Grote (‘Big) Club. Panic erupts and the revellers are desparately jostling to get away. In the mean time, a second salvo of shots occurs. Scouts, Red Cross workers and nurses who had all been present on Dam Square, are now attending to the victims.
  • Victory in Europe Day

    Victory in Europe Day
    Victory in Europe Day, generally known as V-E Day, VE Day or simply V Day, celebrated on May 8, 1945 to mark the formal acceptance by the Allies of World War II of Nazi Germany's unconditional surrender of its armed forces. The formal surrender of the German forces occupying the Channel Islands did not occur until the following day, May 9, 1945. It thus marked the end of World War II in Europe.