LEERMarch 6 2014 at 3:24 AM
|Peter Watsun |
Response to Re: THE CAOF ERA
Thank you for your latest posting
My main interest are the Events happening after VE Day (8th May)so I refreshed my memory by rereading the relevent extracts from the definitive official History of the Canadian Army in World War Two which is accessible on line (www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/UN/CANADA/CA/Victory/Victory-22hml)
Chapter XXII of the Volume entitled The Victory Campaign from page 595 to 597 contains details of the Capture of Leer in late April 1945 by 9 Infantry Brigade of 3 Canadian Infantry Division. The entire Division then continued to push north in accordance with its strategic task of reaching the Friesian coastline between the important naval ports of Emden and Wilhelmshaven. At the time of the unconditional German Surrender 9 Brigade were in the outskirts of Emden, 7 and 8 Brigades in the Aurich area. As was to be expected there was a Sabre Squadron of the DYRCH with each of the Infantry Brigades with RHQ in the vicinity of the Divisional Headquarters, also in the Aurich area.
A major problem for military historians in the UK, both professional and amateur,is that whilst the unit/formation War Diaries are held in the National Archives in Kew, locations are often given as Grid References not in clear. The relevant maps have either been detached or lost rendering the information virtually useless. Fortunately Higher Formation did produce the occasional LOCSTAT which can be interpreted accordingly.
Returning to 3 Infantry Division and the DYRCH, they were one of the first Canadian Formations to leave Germany for Holland in mid May 1945. This was part of a complicated three way switch whereby British, Canadian and Americans exchanged wartime areas of responsibility for the future Occupation Zones. The Canadians move released two British Divisions, who moved to the industrial area of the Ruhr, an American Division moved north to the Bremen Enclave which included part of the area on the west bank of the River Weser captured by 2 Canadian Infantry Division.
Finally you are correct about the Sherbrooke Fusiliers handing in their tanks. The majority of the Armoured and Artillery, both British and Canadian, quickly reorganised and reequipted from War Esatablishment to Occupation Establihment scales which included handing in their now redundant tanks and heavy artillery (less a small training pool). Their new organisation and equipment would be familiar to those Canadian (and British) units subsequently committed to UN Peace Keeping/Humanitarian tasks.