Holandia / Historia

A war dance for the attack on Delfzijl




When the Canadian troops had penetrated the outer defense ring of the Delfzijl-Pocket at the end of April 1945, the German resistance collapsed. After the capture of the German coastal battery Nansum on April 29, 1945, the Canadian Cape Breton Highlanders regiment advanced to Delfzijl. The last stronghold of the German resistance.

The Canadians north of Delfzijl were relieved by the Cape Breton Highlanders on April 28. This regiment came from Nova Scotia (Canada) and, unlike other infantry battalions, was not for very long active in the battle around the Delfzijl Pocket. Yet they suffered many losses in the last three days of World War II.

On April 29, the regiment suffered its first casualties when a German prisoner of war stepped on a landmine while passing by on the side of the road. While the rain was pouring down, the regiment was able to liberate Uitwierde the next day. After this, plans were made for the final battle around Delfzijl. The objective of the Cape Breton Highlanders was the Delfzijl battery with its feared 10.5 cm guns. Once these were eliminated, they had to clear the east side of Delfzijl of Germans.

The C Company started the attack at 10:00 PM. Private Bill Metcalfe recalls:

I was in the 14th platoon of C Company and my section leader was Corporal Elmer Connell from PEI. He was in his 30s, and was short and bald. He was an excellent frontline soldier and a good leader. He also had a good sense of humor. While we were stationed in Italy, we saw a comedy movie starring Jimmy Durante. He sang the following during one of his comedy acts:

(Putting on his coat) Did you ever get the feeling you wanted to go?

(Took off his coat) And that you got the feeling that you wanted to stay?

(Putting on jacket) I'm going!

(Jacket off) I'm staying! And he repeated this a few times.

Our section adopted this as a war dance in preparation for our upcoming battle. On April 30 during the day we prepared to attack Delfzijl. C-Company had received orders to advance along the dike and eliminate the guns of the German coastal battery. Around 9:00 PM Elmer prepared us for the attack, the war dance began. "I'm going!" "I stay!" etc. It was remarkable how quickly we got our webbing bags filled with ammunition out and back on. It was terribly noisy and was total nonsense. If the enemy had heard us, they would certainly have looked surprised. But it did reduce stress!

After fierce fighting, C Company was able to capture the Delfzijl battery and disable the guns. Shortly afterwards, the Delfzijl station was captured with the support of tanks, hundreds of Germans were taken prisoner. Only the next day would the German Korvettenkapitän Wolter surrender to the Irish Regiment of Canada in Farmsum, ending the battle in Delfzijl.

Wierdeweg 26 9931 TD Delfzijl