Operation Plunder and Varsity : the British and Canadian by Tim Saunders

By Tim Saunders

Through overdue March 1945, moment British military and 9th US military have been poised to hold out an attack crossing of the Rhine. within the British a part of the operations, Montgomery’s most sensible attack divisions have been assembled to hold out the British and Canadian a part of the assault among Emmerich and Wesel.

A commando brigade and Scottish divisions conducted the preliminary attack lower than hide of darkness and a huge bombardment at the night of twenty third March. regardless of the simplest efforts of the German first Parachute military they'd proven a bridgehead by means of sunrise. through the following morning sixth British Airborne department dropped round Hamminkeln, within the instant rear of the Germans, in an operation codenamed VARSITY.

By 27 March, after a few heavy wrestle, the Allies have been ready to release their ultimate force to the Baltic. The Rhine crossing, although on no account the ultimate conflict, sealed the destiny of Nazi Germany.

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The British Chiefs of Staff were unalterably opposed to SLEDGEHAMMER as an operation without reasonable chance of success. 98 Marshall reported to the President the failure of his first task. ” 99 Even with ruled out, General Marshall was still reluctant to commit U. S. strategy irrevocably to the Mediterranean. ” That possibility pended on the Russians, and it was further agreed that “if the situation on the Russian front by September 15th indicates such a collapse or weakening of Russian resistance as to make ROUNDUP appear impracticable .

80 To meet that threat, Roosevelt and Marshall agreed to rush reinforcements of planes to the Middle East and tanks to the British armies in Egypt. Marshall hoped that these reinforcements would ease the pressure of the immediate emergency without disrupting basic 77 Memo, CCS for information, Minutes of an In· formal Meeting ... held in General Marshall's Office, June 19, 1942. OPD file ABC 381 (3-16-42) sec. 2. 78 Stimson and Bundy, On Active Seroice, p. 425. 79 Notes on War Council Mtg, 22 Jun 42.

28 The outcome of that test, they believed, was the key to the European and possibly to the world situation. Defeat of the USSR would enable the Germans to dominate the whole of Europe, complete the blockade of England, and probably force England to capitulate. If so, then it followed that every possible effort should be made by the Western Powers to insure that Russia was not defeated. At the end of February 1942, Brig. Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, Assistant Chief of Staff, War Plans Division, wrote: "The task of keeping Russia in the war ininvolves ...

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