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Operation Vitality - South Beveland

On the 24th of October the 4th Brigade had led the advance west down the isthmus of South Beveland, thus beginning Operation "Vitality". The entire German force west of the isthmus consisted of the weak 70th Infantry Division, less one grenadier regiment, with some other troops and naval coast artillery units.

To dislodge enemy rearguards from the line of the Beveland Canal, General Simonds mounted another amphibious operation. Carried in some 120 tracked landing craft, the 156th Infantry Brigade of the 52nd Division crossed from Terneuzen on the night of October 25-26th, landing in South Beveland. A good bridgehead was immediately established. On the 26th the 6th Brigade attacked towards the Beveland Canal. One battalion reached the canal late n the 27th after wading in waits deep water, and seized a bridgehead on the far side. Another gained a crossing in the middle of the isthmus. By the 29th the 2nd Division had two brigades over the canal. The 157th Brigade, which had landed in the 156th's bridgehead on the West Scheldt, moved on the southern flank. Goes fell on the 29th, and by the 30th the 5th Brigade had a battalion within two miles of the causeway leading to Walcheren.

The 4th Brigade now put in a night attack, clearing the eastern end of the causeway. The Lowland Division came up on the left and by the morning of October 31st the enemy hold on South Beveland was ended. The causeway, however, was strongly defended. On the afternoon of the 31st the 5th Brigade took over from the 4th and attempted to cross over form the 1100 yard cratered, fire swept roadway to Walcheren. The leading troops finally forced their way across and gained a precarious bridgehead, which was lost and then restored. The decision was now made to relieve the brigade with the 157th Brigade, and the 2nd Canadian Division was withdrawn for rest. Meanwhile, troops of the 2nd Division's reconnaissance regiment captured the island of North Beveland on November 2nd. The attack on Walcheren had already begun.

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