Clearing the Coast

The First Canadian Army was now assigned the task of clearing the coastal areas and opening the channel ports for vital supplies.

On the left flank of the Allied forces, the Canadians pushed rapidly eastward through France towards Belgium. September began with the 2nd Canadian Division being welcomed to Dieppe. Boulogne, Calais, and Cap Gris Nez followed, and by the end of September the Channel coast, with the exception of Dunkirk, had been cleared and southern England freed of the harassing fire of Hitler's weapons which had been launched from these sites. Farther north, the Second British Army seized the port of Antwerp with its installations virtually intact.

Meanwhile, the British and American troops had pushed forward on a broad front and were engaged in a major struggle in southern Holland. In September, in a bold effort to cut through Holland, the Second British Army mounted an airborne attack to secure their crossings at Grave, Nijmegen and Arnhem. If successful this operation would have given the Allies control between the Rhine and Ijsselmeer (Zuiderzee), and would have severed the connection between Holland and Germany. As it fell just short of success, it became apparent that the war would continue through the winter and into the spring of 1945.

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