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The 2nd Canadian Division moved northward from the Antwerp area on October 2nd, crossing the Dutch boarder on the 5th. On the 7th the Division reverted to the control of the 2nd Canadian Corps. As the 1st British Corps had directed its main thrust north-eastward from Antwerp, the division's right flank was exposed. It now encountered fierce enemy opposition in the area of Woensdrecht, a village blocking the entrance to the isthmus of South Beveland, and the advance was checked. Very bitter fighting followed. On the 10th the 4th Canadian Infantry Brigade temporarily cut the isthmus; on the 16th an attack by the same Brigade secured a tenuous hold on Woensdrecht; but the situation was still very insecure. The Germans had committed here on October 12th one of their "fire brigades", "Battle Group Chill" (also known as the 85th Infantry Division), whose backbone was a regiment of hard-fighting paratroopers.

At the same time, the operation against the bridgehead south of the Scheldt was also meeting heavy opposition and moving slowly. There was now a change of policy on the part of the high command. So far, it would seem, both General Eisenhower and Field Marshal Montgomery had hoped that the 21st Army Group could open the Scheldt without abandoning operations which the  Second British Army was conducting against the enemy bridgehead remaining west of the Maas - east of the salient created by "Market Garden". It was now evident that this could not be done. On October 10 - 13th Eisenhower sent strong directives to Montgomery emphasizing the extreme importance of being able to use Antwerp soon, and offering assistance in troops and supplies for the purpose. On October 16th Montgomery himself issued a new directive to his Army Commanders, closing down all operations except those directed towards the Scheldt. The Second Army was to take over the right portion of the Canadian Army's line and push westward; the Canadian Army, with more troops available, was to clear the country north of the South Beveland isthmus.

These new orders soon transformed the situation. The 1st British Corps was now given the whole of the 4th Canadian Armoured Division (of which some elements had already been operating on the right side of the 2nd Division) and also the 104th U.S. Infantry Division; and it proceeded to push northward. On the 22nd the Armoured Division captured Esschen and attacked toward Bergen-op-Zoom, which fell on the 27th. With the capture of Esschen the right flank was secure. On the 23rd the 2nd Division attacked north of Woensdrecht, making only limited advances, but next day operations went better; the vigorous action of the 4th Armoured Division to the east had caused the enemy to retire. The way into South Beveland was open.

On October 20th Field Marshal Montgomery sent a personal note to General Simonds acknowledging a copy of his latest directive. He wrote: I think everything you are doing is excellent. And your troops are doing wonders under the most appalling conditions of ground and weather. I doubt if any other troops would do it so well, and I am very glad the Canadians are on the business. Please tell all your chaps how pleased I am with their good work.


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Reference: www.canadahistory.com/sections/war/war.html