The Netherlands / Battlefield
Walcheren was of great strategic importance due to its location at the mouth of the Scheldt Estuary and the strong Atlantic Wall. In order to be able to use the Port of Antwerp, the Allies had to conquer Walcheren. They started their invasion with landings in Flushing and Westkapelle on November 1, 1944.
On October 1, 1944, the commander-in-chief of the Allies, General Eisenhower, authorized the bombing of the ‘Zeedijk’ near Westkapelle. Less than two days later, on October 3, 247 Lancaster bombers dropped 1270 tonnes of bombs. Although the bombs made a breach in the dyke that was well over a hundred meters in width, the elevated area around the village meant that only a small part of Walcheren flooded. 159 civilians died. On October 17, the dyke was bombed again by 49 Lancasters to deepen the existing breach.
Shortly after midnight, on November 1, 1944, an invasion fleet of 182 ships from the Belgian port of Oostende sailed for Walcheren. At 8.20 in the morning the British battleship HMS Warspite and the monitors HMS Erebus and HMS Roberts opened fire on the German batteries around Westkapelle and Domburg.
The landings in Westkapelle took place on both sides of the breached dyke; Tare Red on the north side of the breach and Tare Green on the south side.
Around 10 o’clock in the morning the British Marine battalions landed in the Tare Red landing zone. Immediately following the landing, the units, under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Palmer, entered Westkapelle. Around 11.45 am, Westkapelle was in Allied hands. Large material and personnel losses slowed the progress.
Shortly thereafter, Belgian and Norwegian Commandos landed at Tare Red. They were ordered to conquer the ‘Zeedijk’ north of Westkapelle and head to Domburg. Half an hour after the landings at Tare Red British Marines landed at Tare Green. Through the dunes they pushed forward towards the batteries at Zoutelande. More units were then brought in to continue the advance.
Zeedijk / N287, Westkapelle