Paesi Bassi / Campo di battaglia

Lincoln Bridge



Indicazioni stradali

Liberating the inner city of Bergen op Zoom proved to be an easy task for the 4th Canadian Armoured Division. The complete purge of the rest of the city was much more difficult. In the northern part of the city, fierce street fighting broke out between Canadian infantry and German paratroopers along a former medieval peat canal.

On Friday afternoon 27 October, the first tanks of the South Alberta Regiment reached the Grote Markt in Bergen op Zoom. Although the German troops were still on the northern side of the city, the people of Bergen welcomed their liberators exuberantly. In the evening hours, the first exchanges of shots ensued between the Canadians and the German paratroopers of the 6th Fallschirm Jäger Regiment who had settled in the houses and buildings on the north side of the Zoom, an originally medieval peat canal. Expelling the enemy from these positions proved to be a tough job and led to very intense street fighting that would eventually last three days.

On the afternoon of 28 October, the Argylls and Sutherland Highlanders of Canada made a first attempt to cross the Zoom. The crossing ran aground in German machine-gun fire. Two subsequent attempts in darkness also failed. A second led unit of the Lincoln and Welland Regiment appeared to be more successful. They tried to form a small bridgehead in the industrial area along the Zoom in the late evening of Saturday. A place where the canal was less deep. Tanks were also ready to support the crossing. The night fighting that followed was confused and sometimes verging on the chaotic. 

With the utmost difficulty, a small group of Lincolns at a laundry managed to reach the other side. Man-to-man fighting ensued around the premises, which continued even on Sunday morning. Meanwhile, more and more Canadians managed to cross the Zoom. Therefore, during Sunday the German paratroopers broke off the fighting and the blew the retreat towards Steenbergen. The Canadian Engineers went to work right away and by Sunday evening, the 8th Field Squadron had laid an emergency bridge across the Zoom, aptly named 'Lincoln Bridge'.

The fighting along the Zoom had been unprecedentedly fierce. The Canadians had again underestimated the German resistance. Moreover, crossing the former peat canal proved much more difficult than previously thought. Losses on both sides were high. The street fighting had cost the lives of dozens of soldiers. The damage in this part of the city was enormous.

To their great surprise, the retreating German paratroopers were not pursued by the Canadians. This was because the division's supreme medical commander issued an order for 48 hours of absolute rest for all soldiers. However, this did have the effect of allowing the German troops to build a new line of defence elsewhere ......


Buitenvest 52, Bergen op Zoom