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Operation 3: Cannonshot

Updated: Jul 9, 2019

The beginning of Operation Cannonshot went off with barely a hitch as cover from artillery, bombers, and smoke screens shielded the Canadians crossing the IJssel and establishing a bridgehead at 3:30 PM on April 11th.

Since Allied commanders had long since learned the German tactics of reacting as soon as possible, the Canadians opted out taking advantage of the strategic surprise after crossing the river and pushing on towards the city of Apeldoorn and prepared for the expected German counterattack, which came at midnight and was repelled. The Germans suffered many casualties and by daybreak of the 12th, Canadian engineers had assembled a bridge for their tanks.

When Canadian troops entered Apeldoorn, they were astounded at the massive amount of riches plundered from the Dutch, the Germans had left behind or were attempting to carry when they were captured.

The rest of the operation, however, took longer than expected. The Germans held positions along the Apeldoorn Canal, which ran through the city, north-south. The German defenses were very strong both to the south and north, and the initial Canadian plan was to attack to the north. Dutch resistance relayed information that a bridge over the canal in Apeldoorn was intact, so a direct assault on the city was chosen.

Apeldoorn was still full of Dutch civilians, however, so aerial and artillery bombardment was not an option: this assault had to be done with tanks and infantry, street by street and house by house. Attacks into the city were repelled and the operation was dragging on for several days.

Luckily, by April 16th, the British and Canadian troops had captured Arnhem and were moving north. As the Germans pulled away from positions south of Apeldoorn, the Canadian II Corps were able to cross the canal unopposed. With the canal now lost, German troops abandoned the city as quickly as they could.

Altogether, Canadian deaths totaled over 100 with just over 500 casualties in total.

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