The Netherlands / Battlefield
When the final Canadian-British attack on the German positions at the Sloedam was successful, the advance to Middelburg and Fort Rammekens began. Part of the 157th Infantry Brigade of the Scottish 52nd Lowland Division wheeled north from Arnemuiden and toward Veere. This was not without reason. Before the war, a Dutch naval air base was established in Veere from which seaplanes could take off and land. After the German occupation, the area around the lock complex was occupied by the German armed forces and Veere became an important port of entry and exit for the German troops on Walcheren.
A few weeks after the violent battle in Normandy, when the German defence collapsed, the mass retreat began. Soon it became clear that the total evacuation of the German Fifteenth Army could only be carried out via the one route still usable; through West Vlaanderen, via Zeeuws-Vlaanderen, Walcheren and Zuid-Beveland to West-Brabant.
In order to transfer the army of almost 90,000 men and thousands of vehicles, a huge operation was set up in a short time, involving requisitioned vessels and the many German naval vessels which were also trying to get away from various French ports. This resulted in a big and hasty movement of people and equipment in the weeks prior to the Battle of the Scheldt.
Veere played an important role in those days and, subsequently, in the Battle of the Scheldt. The coast and the Walcheren Canal were used to evacuate many naval vessels, soldiers and equipment to the northern islands and the Dutch hinterland. The port was also an important point of supply for the German units on Walcheren and the occupation of the Atlantic Wall. It was therefore not surprising that the lock area at Veere became an important target for the advancing Allied units; closing down the last escape route for the German units at Walcheren.
For this reason, the city was secured by a large German force and air-defence guns. In the end, the German troops did not put up any resistance. After an overnight shelling on November 7, the German forces surrendered. The hopelessness of the situation was probably more than clear; General Daser had already capitulated in Middelburg the day before.
Visit the Zeeuwse Ankers website (Zeeland Anchors) for comprehensive information, personal stories and videos about the Battle of the Scheldt.
Kanaalweg Westzijde 18, 4351 RE Veere