The Rough Road to Antwerp: The First Canadian Army's Operations Along the Channel Coast
SAMS Monograph rept. Jun 2013-May 2014
ARMY COMMAND AND GENERAL STAFF COLLEGE FORT LEAVENWORTH KS SCHOOL OF ADVANCED MILITARY STUDIES
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The First Canadian Armys campaign to secure the Channel Ports in the Pas de Calais, and its subsequent task to secure the Scheldt River Estuary played an important role in the Allied victory over Germany. From the Normandy landings on D-Day, through October 1944, nearly all military equipment and stores transported across the Channel by ship arrived in Normandy, and from there moved forward by ground transport. While this arrangement proved workable at the beginning of the breakout, as the Allies pushed north and east out of Normandy, additional seaports were required. The Canadians, on the left flank of Montgomerys 21st Army Group, were assigned the responsibility of seizing these ports, and in the case of Antwerp, clearing its approaches of German resistance that would prevent its navigability by Allied ships. Completion of these pivotal tasks, most notably the clearing of the Scheldt, did not receive the attention they deserved. Montgomery did not employ the First Canadian Army to its full potential in the summer and fall of 1944. This monograph looks at three key factors that slowed the Canadians in their efforts to establish seaports for the Allies the structure of the Canadian Army, the fact that Fifteenth German Army was afforded the time to establish a defense along the Scheldt, and a lack of clear direction on the priority and significance of these objectives. Each of these factors provides insight into why it took the First Canadian Army so long to open the seaport at Antwerp.
- Military Forces and Organizations
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics