Paesi Bassi / Storia
With the liberation of Loppersum on April 21, 1945, the path seemed to be open for the Canadian soldiers of the Royal Winnipeg Rifle Regiment. While bravely advancing along the railway from Groningen to Delfzijl, they were suddenly met with ruthless resistance. The German coastal artillery, like a thundering symphony of defiance, mercilessly opened fire on the liberators. In the midst of this hellish battle, the B Company became hopelessly stuck near the Langerijp brick factory.
By April 22, the Royal Winnipeg Rifles Regiment had gained control of the Fivelkade and Westersingel during the fighting. The bridge at Tjamsweer was destroyed, cutting off the northern connection between the south and north sides of Tjamsweer. The bridge over the Kleine Heekt was also blown up, interrupting the Westersingel.
The Westerdraaibrug was destroyed, and the Bolwerkerbrug heavily damaged. German troops had entrenched themselves around the Bolwerk, and shots were fired at the Canadians from the Dijkhuizerweg. The Kalkbranderij served as a strategic position for the Germans. In addition to the use of tanks and other heavy equipment, man-to-man combat was crucial.
The B-Company from the Royal Winnipeg Rifles had to attack the Langerijp brickworks with more than 80 men, where the Germans had taken strategic positions. Despite enemy fire, the B-Company ultimately succeeded in neutralizing the German positions. However, during the advance to the Fivelweg, they were heavily bombarded by German artillery from Delfzijl and Nansum, as well as German machine guns. B-Company requested support with smoke and mortar grenades but was still heavily fired upon, causing the advance to stall.
Around 07:10, a unit had to withdraw to the brickworks. Despite the danger, Rifleman John Gingras volunteered to deliver an important message to the company headquarters. On the way, he was hit in both legs by a bullet and shrapnel. Despite his injuries, Gingras delivered the message to the headquarters and then returned to the platoon to complete the action. He only wished to be evacuated after the mission was accomplished, earning him the Military Medal. Shortly thereafter, the battle in Appingedam came to an end.
On April 23, 1945, the exhausted men of the Royal Winnipeg Rifle Regiment were relieved by the British Columbia Dragoons, who would stay in Appingedam until May 2, 1945, coming under heavy fire from the German coastal artillery.
Stationsweg 30-54 9901 CJ Appingedam