De battlefield tour Delfzijl-pocket started at the station of Delfzijl
The battlefield tour Delfzijl-pocket started at the station in Delfzijl.
On Sunday, August 4 2013 we participated in a battefield tour with the theme: Delfzijl Pocket-April 1945, organized by Battlefield Tours. We followed the advance of the Canadian Army after the city of Groningen was liberated on April 16, 1945. The Germans in 1945 were not going to give up. Despite their hopeless position without a fight at the port of Delfzijl in the in the mid of April. On the contrary it was Festung Delfzijl which meant that this port had to be defended to the last man. In Delfzijl there were units of Wehrmacht, Kriegsmarine and Luftwaffe.
There were four artillery batteries: Batterie Nansum. Batterie Fiemel (near Termunten) and Batterie Delfzijl (along the dike in Delfzijl. On 23 April 1945 the Canadians began their advance to Delfzijl in Wagenborgen, had a fierce battle in Holwierde and could only taken Delfzijl on 2 mei 1945. It was a tough fight on the road to Delfzijl.
Untill then, the German occupation of Delfzijl was pretty quiet. The German soldiers had quite a good life.
Commandant voor gemeentehuis op 13 mei 1940

The commander of Delfzijl in front of the town hall on 13 May 1940

Duitse voorpostenboot op weg naar de haven van Delfzijl.

German outpost boat towards the port of Delfzijl.

Kazemat bij het Loodsenmonument

Casemate at the pilot monument

Militairen van de Ortskommandantur voor hun barak op het haventerrein
Soldiers of the Ortskommandantur to their barracks in the port area
Batterie Termunten vuurt op Engels vliegtuig

Batterie Termunten vuurt op Engels vliegtuig

Schuilkelder in Delfzijl

Shelter in Delfzijl

Duitse marine-soldaten op de Nieuweweg in Delfzijl

German navy soldiers on the Nieuweweg in Delfzijl

Rust Duitse militairen bij boerderij in de Eemsmond, zomer 1943
German soldiers take a rest in de Eemsmond area in the summer of 1943
Yet there was also German terror against the population of Delfzijl. On the Marktstraat was the office of the Sicherheitzdiens (SD). From here the arrested were taken to the Scholtenhuis in Groningenand eventually sent to concentration camps. A plaque at the mill of Delfzijl still reminds.
Opmars Canadezen maart - mei 1945

Canadian advance March - May 1945

The Royal Winnipeg Rifles gesteund door tanks van The Sherbrooke Fusiliers Regiment op weg naar Appingedam
The Royal Winnipeg Rifles supported by tanks of The Sherbrooke Fusiliers Regiment on the way to Appingedam
Stuart VI Recce-tank van 8th New Brunswick Hussars in Delfzijl
Stuart VI Recce-tank of the 8th New Brunswick Hussars in Delfzijl
Duitse krijgsgevangenen in de Marktstraat slaan linksaf de Landstraat in
German prisoners of war in the Marktstraat
Duitse krijgsgevangenen worden afgevoerd via het station in Delfzijl
German prisoner of war be discharged through the station in Delfzijl
Canadese Sherman tank van de 8th New Bruswick-Hussarts bij het station in Delfzijl
Canadian Sherman tank of the 8th New Bruswick-Hussarts at the station of Delfzijl
The Pipe-band of The Cape Breton Highlanders in Delfzijl

The Pipe-band of The Cape Breton Highlanders in Delfzijl

On 23 April 1945 he battle began and ended 10 days later on 2 May 1945.  Responsible for the liberation was the “5th Canadian Armoured Division”. A total of 62 Canadian soldiers were killed and 180 were wounded there.. The losses on the German side are unknown.

The battle was marked by fierce and long during battles. Delfzijl (Delfzijl Pocket) was heavily defended and was regarded by the Germans as strategically important. However, this was also true for allies. The port could serve as a supply port for supplying food to hunger after the winter 1944-1945 after the liberation. In addition Delfzijl was important to conquer Emden The four coastal batteries in and around Delfzijl (in Nansum, Delfzijl (2 pieces on the north west side of the harbor), Fiemel / Termunten and Dollard Süd / Carel Coenraadpolder) protected the port of Emden and the Ems, which makes this German port threatening potential remained for the Allied advance into northern Netherlands and Germany.

Aandachtig luisteren we naar onze gids over de Canadese opmars naar Wagenborgen
With attention we listen to our guide about the Canadian advance to Wagenborgen
Het oorlogsmonument in Wagenborgen

War memorial in Wagenborgen

We staan hier bij het oorlogsmonument in Wagenborgen

Here we stand at the war memorial in Wagenborgen

De 3rd Canadian Infantery Division (3rd CID) got the order to take Emden and at the same time Delfzijl should be attacked by the 5th Canadian Armoured Division (5th CAD). Due to increase the pressure on Delfzijl the flee of German troops to Emden to strengthen the position there should be prevented. All in all, it was clear that Delfzijl was important for both parties.

On 28 March 1945 after the battle for the Rhine Field Marshall Montgomery gave the order to liberate the remain occupied parts of The Netherlands. The  First Canadian Army was given this task. Within this army unit the  2nd Canadian Corps became responsible for the liberation of the north of The Netherlands. This 2nd Canadian Corps consisted of the 2nd Canadian Infantry Division, 3rd Canadian Infantry Division, 2nd Armoured Brigade, 4th Canadian Armoured Division and 5th Canadian Armoured Division.

3rd Canadian Infantry Division under command of Major General Keefler liberated Zutphen (8 april), Deventer (11 april), Zwolle (14 april) and advanced in the northern direction to liberate Leeuwarden on 15 april 1945. Op 18 april 1945 the final positions of the Germans near Makkum were captured.

2nd Canadian Infantry Division under command of Major General A.B. Matthews advanced to the north to liberate Groningen. On 1 April 1945 the Germans were expelled from Doetinchem. Then pulled the Canadians on the Twentekanaal to liberate Holten on 8 April. On April 11, Ommen followed. Assen was liberated on April 13, after which the city of Groningen came into the picture. The Battle of Groningen took 3 days and cost the lives of 40 Canadian soldiers.

The advance could begin to Delfzijl. From two sides tore the Canadians to relieve pocket Delfzijl

In Holwierde herinneren een oorlogsmonument en een plaquette in de kerk met de namen van de omgekomen Canadezen aan de zware strijd die hier is geleverd, waarbij het dorp verwoest werd. In Holwierde a war memorial and a plaque in the church with the names of Canadians killed remember to the fierce battle in which the village was destroyed.
A citizen of Holwierde was as a 16 year old boy in a basement during the artillery bombartments and tells his story in the church of Holwierde.
Because of the heavy artillery between the Germans and the Canadians Holwierde was destroyed in april 1945
Een WASP-Carrier in de Wijkstraat in Appingedam

A WASP-Carrier in the Wijkstraat in Appingedam

Wijkstraat in Appingedam gezien vanaf de Oosterdraaibrug

Wijkstraat in Appingedam as seen from the Oosterdraaibrug

Verwoestingen in Holwierde

destructions in Holwierde

Duitse bunker bij de boerderij aan de Krewerderweg was schuilplaats voor gewonden in Holwierde
This German bunker near the farm at Krewerderweg was shelter for the wounded in Holwierde
Schietpunten Batterie Nansum

Schietpunten Batterie Nansum

The Germans had firmly entrenched in Delfzijl. Large areas of the north and south of the drainage Damsterdiep were inundated by opening the sea locks. So the Canadians could only via the south (and east) and advance through the northwest. In these areas were minefields, machine gun nests, artillery and tank ditches eg, trenches, barbed wire and roadblocks constructed to slow the advance and protect. The port The Germans also had an "outer perimeter" or outer defense line defined therein to the serious defense of Delfzijl to undertake. This line, consisting of a barbed wire fence with trenches, ran roughly from the point of Reide via Woldendorp, Wagenborgen, Meedhuizen, Appingedam, Jukwerd, Bierum and High Watum to the coast.
Tuesday, May 1 - The crew of the batterie Termunten is retrieved by three ships and transferred to Emden. Canadians can take the battery so without violence. Using Polish troops also taken the position Fiemel.
bunker aan het spoor bij Appingedam van waaruit Canadezen onder vuur werden genomen
Bunker on the track at Appingedam from which Canadians were under fire.
Talrijke bruggen in Appingedam werden door de Duitsers opgeblazen in een poging de Canadese opmars te stuiten
Numerous bridges in Appingedam were blown up by the Germans in an attempt to halt the Canadian advance
Sporen van de strijd in Appingedam

Traces of the fight in Appingedam

Sporen van de strijd in Appingedam

STraces of the fight in Appingedam

Sporen van de strijd in Appingedam

Traces of the fight in Appingedam

Traces of the fight in Appingedam

plaquette in Appingedam

plaque in Appingedam

plaquette in Appingedam

plaque in Appingedam

plaquette in Appingedam

plaque in Appingedam

Onze gids vertelt hoe bij deze boerderij de Duitsers zwaaiden met witte vlaggen, maar toch Canadees doodschoten.
Our guide tells how at this farm the Germans were waving white flags, but Canadian shot dead.
Batterie Nansum dat veroverd moest worden tijdens de slag om Delfzijl-Pocket.
Batterie Nansum that had to be occupied during the battle of Delfzijl-Pocket.
Boerderij aan de rand van Delfzijl waar de Canadezen vast zaten onder Duits vuur.
Farm on the edge of Delfzijl where Canadians detained under German fire.
Het zeeaquarium in Delfzijl is gebouwd op een bunker van Batterie Delfzijl.
The Aquarium in Delfzijl is built on a bunker Batterie Delfzijl.
Het zeeaquarium in Delfzijl is gebouwd op een bunker van Batterie Delfzijl.
The Aquarium in Delfzijl is built on a bunker Batterie Delfzijl.

The troops of the Cape Breton Highlanders stumbled overnight on the battery Delfzijl where a big shot change occurs. Hit on both sides wounded soldiers. About two o'clock crossed the Canadians their attack because ammunition shortage.

In the morning an additional company was sent, supported by tanks of the 8th New Brunswick Hussars. One hour later a tank would be hit by a grenade on the intersection Provincielaan (Ubbenslaan) – Uitwierdeweg. Nevertheless the other tanks manage to push toward the station of Delfzijl.

Mid-morning the area of the station is purified. There are many German prisoner of war, hundreds of Germans come out their positions and shelters to surrender. The Germans are gathered at the station and further transported to Spijk. Before the end of the morning the Eemskanaal is reached and Delfzijl is free!

With the liberation of Delfzijl, the fighting is not over yet. The bridges over the Eemskanaal are blown up, as well as Farmsum and Weiwerd are still occupied by the Germans. The Kampf Commander of Delfzijl with his staff is hiding in three bunkers near Borgshof.

The advance from the North stops in the drainage ditch. On the other side are the Germans who shoot on the Canadians from the church tower in Farmsum. During the liberation of Delfzijl the Cape Breton Highlanders hold postitions in Heveskes and Oterdum. Here they lay the groundwork for an attack on Farmsum and Weiwerd.

Canadezen bekijken Duitse stafwagen in Delfzijl

Canadezen watching a German staff car in Delfzijl