The Ruhr Pocket was a battle of encirclement that took place in late March and early April 1945, near the end of World War II, in the Ruhr Area of Germany. It marked the end of organized resistance on Nazi Germanys Western Front. In March 1945, the Allies crossed the River Rhine and his subordinates quickly exploited the crossing made on March 7,1945, and expanded the bridgehead until the bridge collapsed 10 days later. Having crossed the Rhine, both Army groups fanned out into the German hinterland, in the south, while the Third Army headed east, the First Army headed northeast and formed the southern pincer of the Ruhr envelopment. Facing the Allied armies were the remnants of a shattered Wehrmacht, a few SS training units, lead elements of the two Allied pincers met on April 1,1945, near Lippstadt. By April 4, the encirclement was completed and the Ninth Army reverted to the command of General Bradleys 12th Army Group, while the main operations headed further toward central and northern Germany, American forces concentrated on the pocket, taking it section by section.
On April 12,1945, the U. S, First and Ninth Armies divided the area coming from the south, the smaller, eastern part surrendered the next day. The western part continued a weak resistance until April 18 and April 21,1945, rather than surrender and face trial for war crimes, the commander, Field Marshal Walter Model, committed suicide in a forest south of the city of Duisburg, in Ratingen. German anti-Nazi resistance groups in Düsseldorf attempted to surrender the city to the Allied armies in the so-called Aktion Rheinland in order to spare Düsseldorf from further destruction, however, SS units were able to crush the resistance, and executed a number of those involved. Executions of foreign labourers and political prisoners by the Gestapo had already been occurring since February, the act of resistance did accomplish a cancellation of further bombings on the city by another 800 bombers, through contact with the Americans. Düsseldorf was captured by Americans on 17 April without any notable fighting, the surviving 325,000 German soldiers from the Ruhr Pocket, and some civilians, were imprisoned in the Rheinwiesenlager near Remagen, a temporary prison enclosure
Allies of World War II
The Allies of World War II, called the United Nations from the 1 January 1942 declaration, were the countries that together opposed the Axis powers during the Second World War. The Allies promoted the alliance as seeking to stop German, Japanese, at the start of the war on 1 September 1939, the Allies consisted of France and the United Kingdom, and dependent states, such as the British India. Within days they were joined by the independent Dominions of the British Commonwealth, Canada, New Zealand, Poland was a minor factor after its defeat in 1939, France was a minor factor after its defeat in 1940. China had already been into a war with Japan since the Marco Polo Bridge Incident of 1937. The alliance was formalised by the Declaration by United Nations, from 1 January 1942, the name United Nations was rarely used to describe the Allies during the war. The leaders of the Big Three – the UK, the Soviet Union, in 1945, the Allied nations became the basis of the United Nations. The origins of the Allied powers stem from the Allies of World War I, Germany resented signing Treaty of Versailles.
The new Weimar republics legitimacy became shaken, by the early 1930s, the Nazi Party led by Adolf Hitler became the dominant revanchist movement in Germany and Hitler and the Nazis gained power in 1933. The Nazi regime demanded the cancellation of the Treaty of Versailles and made claims to German-populated Austria. The likelihood of war was high, and the question was whether it could be avoided through strategies such as appeasement, in Asia, when Japan seized Manchuria in 1931, the League of Nations condemned it for aggression against China. Japan responded by leaving the League of Nations in March 1933, after four quiet years, the Sino-Japanese War erupted in 1937 with Japanese forces invading China. The League of Nations condemned Japans actions and initiated sanctions on Japan, the United States, in particular, was angered at Japan and sought to support China. In March 1939, Germany took over Czechoslovakia, violating the Munich Agreement signed six months before and France decided that Hitler had no intention to uphold diplomatic agreements and responded by preparing for war.
On 31 March 1939, Britain formed the Anglo-Polish military alliance in an effort to avert a German attack on the country, the French had a long-standing alliance with Poland since 1921. The Soviet Union sought an alliance with the powers. The agreement secretly divided the independent nations of eastern Europe between the two powers and assured adequate oil supplies for the German war machine, on 1 September 1939, Germany invaded Poland, two days Britain and France declared war on Germany. Then, on 17 September 1939, the Soviet Union invaded Poland from the east, a Polish government-in-exile was set up and it continued to be one of the Allies, a model followed by other occupied countries. After a quiet winter, Germany in April 1940 invaded and quickly defeated Denmark, Belgium and its Empire stood alone against Hitler and Mussolini
Battle of Heilbronn (1945)
Despite the impending end of the war, the battle was characterized by very firm German resistance and the presence of various Nazi Party auxiliaries among the regular German troops. Following days of combat, troops of the U. S. 100th Infantry Division captured Heilbronn. These troops and remnants of four divisions, plus the panzer grenadiers, were all subordinated to General Bork’s XIII Corps. Loose ends of two divisions, including the 2d Mountain Division, were positioned on the north wing of Beyer’s LXXX Corps. As the men turned south toward the city after daybreak, a German battalion, using in some cases underground tunnels to emerge in the rear of the U. S. troops, the ensuing fight forced the American infantrymen back to within a few hundred feet of the river. There they held, but not until another battalion of the 398th crossed under fire in late afternoon were they able to resume their advance, even they could penetrate no deeper than a thousand yards, scarcely enough to rid the crossing site of small arms fire.
Until the bridgehead could be expanded, engineers had no hope of building a bridge, on 4 April, General Burress of the 100th Division had the 397th Infantry cross the Neckar just south of the 398ths position. Bitter from the first, the fighting for Heilbronn had continued heavy, since the crossing site remained under German fire, engineers still had no hope of putting in a bridge. Without close fire support, the infantrymen depended upon artillery on the west bank of the Neckar, but fire was difficult to adjust in the confined factory district. At one point, in response to mortar fire, a platoon of Hitler Youth soldiers ran screaming into American lines to surrender while their officers shot at them to make them stop. During the night of 5 April, a battalion of the 397th Infantry crossed the Neckar south of Heilbronn and found resistance at that point just as determined. There engineers had completed a bridge during the afternoon of the 7th when German artillery, controlled by observers in the hills on the east edge of Heilbronn.
Two days much the same thing happened to a pontoon ferry after it had transported only a few more tanks. On 8 April, the U. S. 399th Infantry crossed the Neckar to the south of Heilbronn, moving into southern industrial suburbs and the village of Sontheim. Most of Heilbronn was under U. S. control by 9 April, but not until 12 April was the rubble of Heilbronn cleared of Germans and a bridge built across the Neckar. On that day, the 397th Infantry took two hill summits to the east of the city, nicknamed Tower Hill and Cloverleaf Hill and these actions, coupled with the general advance of all three U. S. regiments, signaled the end of organized German resistance in Heilbronn. In nine days of fighting, the 100th Division lost 85 men killed, in the process, men of the 100th captured 1,500 Germans. Although a contingent of armor at last established contact with the 100th Division near Heilbronn on 14 April, General Foertsch’s hasty but surprisingly strong position along the Jagst-Neckar crescent had required eleven days of often heavy fighting to reduce
17th Armored Engineer Battalion
17th Armored Engineer Battalion are part of the 2nd Armored Division Hell on Wheels. During World War II, they were active in North African Campaign, 17th Armored Engineer Battalion was founded on 1 October 1933 as part of the USS Army. First called 17th Engineer Battalion, Motorized and it was renamed on 10 July 1940 to 17th Engineer Battalion and assigned to the 2d Armored Division. The unit became active and started training 15 July 1940 at Fort Benning, renamed again on 8 January 1942 as the 17th Armored Engineer Battalion. The Battalion is now based at Fort Hood, Battalion motto is We pave the way. Along with building bridges and other physical work in the battlefield are needed. They lay or clear land mines, the 17th facilitates the movement and support of friendly forces while slowing the enemys forces. Combat engineers of 17th Armored Engineer Battalion helped the French by building docks, depots, as the US enter front line operations the 17th built trench systems, wire fence lines, and bridges.
Training started at Fort Benning, in Columbus, after organizing the new battalion, training in engineering skills started. The battalion average age of the men was 22 years. Then men had two and a months of basic training behind. Training include Live fire exercise and live mine exercises, to make the men battle ready, colonel George S. Patton was in charge of training the new 2nd Armored division. 17th Armored Engineer Battalion moved with the 2nd Armored Division to North Africa, England, France and Germany, as part of the North African Campaign, and Operation Torch the 17th took part in landing French North Africas Algeria and Morocco. The major task in North Africa was landing clear and mine removal, 17th landing were early morning on 8 November 1942. In Morocco the landing was in Safi as part of Operation Blackstone, as part of Operation Husky order of battle in the Sicily Campaign, the 17th Armored Engineer Battalion with the 2nd Armor Division landed in Gela, Sicily in south-central Sicily, on 11 July 1943.
Before the landing the 17th used M4 Sherman tanks with Scorpion Mine flail exploder to clear the way, the operation captured Butera and participated in the Battle of Mazzarino, moving on to Palermo. After Sicily the 17th moved to England to train and prepare for D-Day, on 9 June 1944, D-day plus 3, along with other battalions, the 17th battalion landed on Utah Beach in Normandy as a part of the Normandy landings and Operation Overlord. They cleared lanes for landing craft by destroying the mine-bearing steel structures that the Germans had implanted in the intertidal zone and they bulldozed roads up the narrow draws through the cliffs lining the beaches
Operation Varsity was a successful airborne forces operation launched by Allied troops that took place toward the end of World War II. Involving more than 16,000 paratroopers and several aircraft, it was the largest airborne operation in history to be conducted on a single day. Varsity was part of Operation Plunder, the Anglo-American-Canadian assault under Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery to cross the northern Rhine River, the U. S. 17th Airborne Division was to capture the village of Diersfordt and clear the rest of the Diersfordter Wald of any remaining German forces. The two divisions would hold the territory they had captured until relieved by advancing units of 21st Army Group, and join in the general advance into northern Germany. However, the operation was a success, with both divisions capturing Rhine bridges and securing towns that could have used by Germany to delay the advance of the British ground forces. The two divisions incurred more than 2,000 casualties, but captured about 3,500 German soldiers, the operation was the last large-scale Allied airborne operation of World War II.
By March 1945, the Allied armies had advanced into Germany and had reached the River Rhine, Plunder envisioned the British Second Army, under Lieutenant-General Miles C. Ninth Army, under Lieutenant General William Simpson, crossing the Rhine at Rees, the division did not participate in Operation Market Garden. It did, participate in the Ardennes campaign but had yet to take part in a combat drop, the plan for the operation was therefore altered to accommodate the two remaining airborne divisions, the British 6th and U. S. 17th Airborne Divisions. It was decided by the commander of the First Allied Airborne Army, General Lewis H. Brereton, supply drops for the airborne forces would be made as soon as possible to ensure adequate supplies were available to the airborne troops as they fought. By this period of the conflict, the number of German divisions remaining on the Western Front was rapidly declining, both in numbers and quality, a fact in the Allies favour. By the night of 23 March, Montgomery had the equivalent of more than 30 divisions under his command, while the Germans fielded around 10 divisions, all weakened from constant fighting.
First Parachute Army had three corps stationed along the river, 2nd Parachute Corps to the north, 86th Corps in the centre, and 63rd Corps in the south. After their retreat to the Rhine both divisions were under-strength and did not number more than 4,000 men each, with 84th Infantry Division supported by only 50 or so medium artillery pieces. The mobile reserves that the Germans did possess consisted of some 150 armoured fighting vehicles under the command of 1st Parachute Army, intelligence pointed to the possibility of a heavy anti-tank battalion being stationed in the area. The situation of the German defenders, and their ability to any assault effectively, was worsened when the Allies launched a large-scale air attack one week prior to Operation Varsity. The air attack involved more than 10,000 Allied aircraft and concentrated primarily on Luftwaffe airfields and the German transportation system. Operation Plunder began at 9 pm on the evening of 23 March, the airlift consisted of 541 transport aircraft containing airborne troops, and a further 1,050 troop-carriers towing 1,350 gliders
First Allied Airborne Army
The First Allied Airborne Army was an Allied formation formed on 2 August 1944 by the order of General Dwight D. Eisenhower, the Supreme Allied Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force. The formation was part of the Allied Expeditionary Force and controlled all Allied airborne forces in Western Europe from August 1944 to May 1945 and these included the U. S. IX Troop Carrier Command, the U. S. The First Allied Airborne Army was activated on 2 August 1944, by order of General Dwight D. Eisenhower, the Supreme Allied Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force. However, the 21st Army Group and the Allied Expeditionary Air Force both agreed to the recommendation, only suggesting a few changes to be made. Creating such an organization, was complicated by the position of the Royal Air Force, arnold asking for the assignment of an Air Corps officer as commander of the unified headquarters. Having solved the problems of what the commander of the headquarters would control, and when. In addition, the United States Strategic Air Forces in Europe would allocate ten officers, the new organization was assigned operational control over a number of airborne and troop carrier units.
As commander of First Allied Airborne Army, Brereton was directly responsible to the Supreme Commander Allied Force, General Eisenhower, for a number of functions. On 2 August 1944, First Allied Airborne Army was officially activated by the orders of General Eisenhower, several more airborne operations were planned for First Allied Airborne Army in late August and early September, after the cancellation of Transfigure. The genesis for Operation Market-Garden was an operation planned by the staff of the 1st Airborne Division. By March 1945, the Allied armies had advanced into Germany and had reached the River Rhine, field Marshal Bernard Montgomery, commanding the British 21st Army Group devised a plan to allow the forces under his command to breach the Rhine, which he entitled Operation Plunder. Plunder envisioned the British Second Army, under Lieutenant-General Sir Miles Dempsey, ninth Army under Lieutenant General William Simpson crossing the Rhine at Rees, and an area south of the Lippe Canal.
One of these formations, the British 6th Airborne Division, was a veteran division, it had taken part in Operation Overlord. However, the 17th Airborne Division had only been activated in April 1943 and had arrived in Britain in August 1944, the plan for the operation was therefore altered to accommodate the two remaining airborne divisions, the British 6th Airborne and the US 17th Airborne Division. This avoided risking the same type of disaster that had befallen the British 1st Airborne Division when it had isolated and practically annihilated by German infantry. It was decided by General Brereton that the two divisions would be dropped simultaneously in a single lift, instead of being dropped several hours apart. Supply drops for the forces would be made as soon as possible to ensure adequate supplies were available to the airborne troops as they fought. Several airborne operations were planned for the divisions under the control of First Allied Airborne Army after the end of Operation Varsity
Rees is a town in the district of Cleves in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. It is located on the bank of the Rhine, approx. Founded in 1228, Rees is the oldest town in the lower Rhine area, the origin of the town is a Frankish settlement established between 500-800 AD. The name Rees most probably goes back to the Franconian term Rys, the Lower Rhine area was Christianized by the Irish missionary Willibrord between 657-739. Around 1000 the nearby monastery of Aspel was first mentioned, on 14 July 1228 Rees was granted municipal rights by Heinrich I von Müllenark, Archbishop of Cologne. At that time it had about 600 inhabitants, in 1289/90 the works on a fortified city wall began, which was completed in 1350. In 1392 Rees and the monastery of Aspel became parts of the County of Cleves, during the Eighty Years War, the town was captured by Spanish troops in 1598. After the death of the last duke of Cleves in 1609 the town belonged to the Margraviate of Brandenburg, between 1616 and 1625 Rees was occupied by Dutch troops who transformed the town into a huge fortress.
In 1701 Rees became a part of the Kingdom of Prussia, in 1816 Rees became capital of the newly founded Rees District within Regierungsbezirk Kleve. The railway line from Oberhausento Arnhem was inaugurated in 1856 and a station was built near Rees. At the beginning of the 20th century Rees had 4.096 inhabitants of whom 330 were Protestants and 52 were Jews, during the Nazi period, many Jewish inhabitants were deported. Today the only reminders on Jewish culture in Rees are two historic Jewish cemeteries, the city was almost completely destroyed by an Allied air raid on February 16,1945 during World War II. It became part of North Rhine-Westphalia after the war, the Rhine bridge of Rees was completed in 1967. The mayor of Rees is since 2009 Christoph Gerwers and he was reelected in 2015 with 66,6 % of the votes. In the Middle Ages Rees was surrounded by a city wall which was built from 1289 -1307, several parts of the wall are well-preserved and can be visited, e. g. the White Tower built in 1410 which was used as a prison until the 18th century.
The watch tower near the Jewish cemetery dates from 1480 and it was destroyed by bombs in 1945 and rebuilt in 1993. Mühlenturm, the tallest tower, was built in 1470 and used as a windmill and it suffered comparatively little bomb damage and was renovated in 1984. Near the river there are further remains of the ancient city fortification
Operation Veritable was the northern part of an Allied pincer movement that took place between 8 February and 11 March 1945 during the final stages of the Second World War. Ninth Army was incorporated into the 21st Army Group, the objective of the operation was to clear German forces from the area between the Rhine and Maas rivers, east of the German/Dutch frontier, in the Rhineland. It was part of General Dwight D. Eisenhowers broad front strategy to occupy the entire west bank of the Rhine before its crossing, Veritable had been planned for execution in early January,1945 when the ground had been frozen and thus more advantageous to the Allies. Second, Veritable was the arm of a pincer movement. The southern pincer arm, Operation Grenade, by Lieutenant General William Hood Simpsons U. S, ninth Army, had had to be postponed for two weeks when the Germans released the waters from the Roer dams and river levels rose. No military actions could proceed across the Roer until the water subsided, Veritable started on schedule, with XXX Corps advancing through the forest and the 3rd Canadian Infantry Division, in amphibious vehicles, clearing enemy positions in the drowned Rhine flood plain.
The Allied advance proceeded more slowly than expected and at greater cost, the fighting was hard, but the Allied advance continued. On 22 February, once clear of the Reichswald, and with the towns of Kleve and Goch in their control, ninth Army near Geldern on 4 March. Fighting continued as the Germans sought to retain a bridgehead on the west bank of the Rhine at Wesel and evacuate as many men, finally, on 10 March, the German withdrawal ended and the last bridges were destroyed. This first required that Allied forces should close up to the Rhine along its whole length, one such proposal, Valediction - an assault south-eastwards from Nijmegen between the Rhine and Maas rivers, initially had been shelved by Montgomery. A conference was convened at Maastricht on 7 December 1944 between Allied generals, to consider ways of maintaining pressure on the Germans throughout the winter, Valediction was brought forward and allocated to the 1st Canadian Army. British XXX Corps were attached to the Canadians for the operation, at this point, the name Veritable was attached to the operation in place of Valediction.
In the event, Veritable was delayed by the diversion of forces to stem the German attack through the Ardennes in December, at this stage, 21st Army Group consisted of the British Second Army, First Canadian Army and the U. S. In ‘’Veritable’’, the reinforced British XXX Corps, under Lieutenant-General Brian Horrocks, would advance through the Reichswald Forest, ninth Army was to execute Operation Grenade, the southern part of the pincer. The First Canadian Army had had a severe time clearing the approaches to Antwerp during the previous autumn and it was, the smallest of the Allied armies in northern Europe and, despite its name, contained significant British units as part of its structure. For Veritable, it was strengthened by XXX Corps. Guards Armoured Division – Part of XXX Corps reserve at the start of the operation, 11th Armoured Division – transferred across the Maas from the British Second Army as the operation progressed. Assessments by the German High Command were that an Allied advance through the Reichswald would be too difficult, reserves were therefore placed to respond to this
The Lippe is a river in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. It is a tributary of the Rhine and 220.1 km in length with an elevation difference of 125 metres. The source is located at the edge of the Teutoburg Forest in Bad Lippspringe close to the city of Paderborn and it runs westward through Paderborn and along the northern edge of the Ruhr area, parallel to the river Emscher and river Ruhr. The river finally enters the Rhine at Wesel, the river Lippe has been used as an infrastructure in Roman times. For the Romans the river was a gateway to Germania, running from the river Rhine to the region around Paderborn, the watercourse was used for transport of supplies, so along the banks of the Lippe many former Roman camps can be found. In the last 200 years many of these camps have been identified, the distance between the camps is about a one-day walk of the troops, which is almost 30 km. Today’s identified Roman camps are, Xanten, today, the river appears as a two-tier water course, eastward of the city of Hamm, the catchment is more rural.
Downstream of Hamm settlements and industrial impacts characterize the situation, though the Lippe was partly navigable from 1820 on it was not sufficient for the transport of industrial goods. Moreover, this supported the coal and steel industry development in the northern Ruhr region. The historical city of Hamm and the towns Lünen and Dorsten were small settlements located at the Lippe, since 1914 the Datteln-Hamm Canal and 1930 the Wesel-Datteln Canal are located in parallel to the Lippe which is not navigable for mass transportation. The canals receive Lippe water or feed the Lippe from a facility in Hamm. Until the 1970s water pollution played no important role in the public debate, Wesel, Marl, Lünen and Haltern Cities, Paderborn and Hamm Lippe – Roman settlements along the Lippe. Life Project Lippeaue – One of the Lippeaue renaturation projects
William Hood Simpson
General William Hood Simpson was a senior and highly distinguished United States Army officer who served with distinction in both World War I and World War II. He is most notable, for being the Commanding General of the U. S, Ninth Army in Western Europe on the Western Front during the final stages of World War II. Simpson was born on May 18,1888, at Weatherford and his fellow graduates from the USMA included Jacob L. Devers, John C. H. Lee, Edwin F. Harding, George S. Patton, Delos Carleton Emmons, Thomas D. Milling and James Garesche Ord, all having distinguished careers, Simpsons first assignment was with the 6th Infantry Regiment at Fort Lincoln, North Dakota. In February 1917 he became aide-de-camp to Major General George Bell, Simpson was promoted to captain in May 1917, a month after the American entry into World War I, and moved with Major General Bell to activate the 33rd Infantry Division. The 33rd Division was sent to the Western Front in April 1918, as a temporary lieutenant colonel he was division chief of staff, and was awarded the Army Distinguished Service Medal and the Silver Citation Star during the Meuse-Argonne Offensive in late 1918.
In the inter-war years, 1919–1941, Simpson filled staff appointments and attended military schools, on Christmas Eve,1921, he married Ruth Krakauer, an English-born widow whom he had first met while at West Point. From 1932 to 1936, he served as the Professor of Military Science at Pomona College in Claremont, from April to September 1941 he was the first commander of the countrys largest Infantry Replacement Training Center, Camp Wolters, located in Mineral Wells, Texas. In mid-1940, he was appointed to command the 9th Infantry Regiment at Fort Sam Houston, before the U. S. entry into World War II, he had commanded divisions and served as the Assistant Division Commander of the 2nd Infantry Division. He received a promotion to major general, taking the 35th Infantry Division. He relinquished command in May 1942 and briefly assumed command of the 30th Infantry Division, another Army National Guard formation, further promotions followed, including command of XII Corps, and the U. S. Second Army.
In May 1944, now with the rank of lieutenant general. This formation was activated as part of Lieutenant General Omar Bradleys U. S. 12th Army Group, on September 5 at Brest, Brest was liberated on September 20,1944. The Ninth Army joined the Allied armies on the Western Front in the advance and. In November 1944 it broke through the Siegfried Line and advanced, in some of the heaviest fighting of the war, at this point the advance stalled, due to the threat posed by dams upstream. During the crisis of the Battle of the Bulge in December Simpsons Ninth Army came under command of Field Marshal Bernard Montgomerys Anglo-Canadian 21st Army Group, after the battle was over in early 1945 the Ninth Army remained with Montgomerys 21st Army Group for the final attack into Germany. On April 4, it had reverted to Bradleys 12th Army Group, the Ninth was the first American field army across the Elbe, on April 12,1945. The Ninth Army continued its advance into Germany until the end of World War II in Europe on May 8,1945, Simpson returned to the United States for a rest a month later, in June 1945
Wesel is a city in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. It is the capital of the Wesel district, Wesel is situated at the confluence of the Lippe River and the Rhine. Suburbs of Wesel include Lackhausen, Ginderich, Fusternberg, Büderich, Flüren, the city originated from a Franconian manor that was first recorded in the 8th century. In the 12th century, the Duke of Clèves took possession of Wesel, the city became a member of the Hanseatic League during the 15th century. Within the Duchy of Cleves, Wesel was second only to Cologne in the lower Rhine region as an entrepôt and it was an important commercial centre, a clearing station for the transshipment and trading of goods. In 1590 the Spanish captured Wesel after a four-year siege, the city changed hands between the Dutch and Spanish several times during the Eighty Years War. In 1672 a French force under Louis II de Bourbon, Prince de Condé captured the city, Wesel was inherited by the Hohenzollerns of the Margraviate of Brandenburg in 1609 but they were unable to take control of Wesel until the Treaty of Nijmegen in 1678.
Although the city had been heavily fortified the Prussians evacuated the city during the Seven Years War and it was returned to Prussia at the end of the war. Friedrich Wilhelm von Dossow was the Prussian Governor of Wesel during the 18th century, Wesel was ceded to the French in 1805 under the treaty of Schönbrunn. The French heavily fortified the city constructing a fort called the Citadelle Napoleon at Büderich. Though blockaded by the Allies in 1813 the city remained in French hands until after the Battle of Waterloo, after the Napoleonic Wars of the early 19th century, the city became part of the Prussian Rhine Province and the Citadelle Napoleon was renamed Fort Blücher. During World War II, as a depot, Wesel became a target of Allied bombing. On the 16,17 and 19 February 1945, the town was attacked with impact and air-burst bombs, the Wehrmacht blew up bridges along the Rhine and Lippe to prevent Allied forces from advancing. The Wehrmacht destroyed the 1, 950m-long railway bridge, the last Rhine bridge remaining in German hands, on 23 March, Wesel came under the fire of over 3,000 guns when it was bombarded anew, in preparation for Operation Plunder.
The shelling was assisted by a raid of RAF bombers and a raid that night. At 2100 hours on the 23rd, ten individual bombers each dropped a 10,000 kg bomb on Wesel, before the town was finally taken by Allied troops, 97% of its structures were destroyed. In the ensuing attacks by Allied forces, the town was taken for minimal casualties, Operation Varsity – the largest airborne landings of the war – dropped 18,000 troops into the area to take the hills behind Wesel. The British 1st Commando Brigade was already attacking Wesel carried into action by LVT Buffalos, the remainder of the Allied force crossed the Rhine in more amphibious vehicles
Landing craft are boats and seagoing vessels used to convey a landing force from the sea to the shore during an amphibious assault. Most renowned are those used to storm the beaches of Normandy, the Mediterranean and this was the high point of the landing craft, with a significant number of different designs produced in large quantities by the United Kingdom and United States. Because of the need to run up onto a beach, World War II landing craft were flat-bottomed. This made them difficult to control and very uncomfortable in rough seas, the control point was normally at the extreme rear of the vessel, as were the engines. In all cases, they were known by a derived from the official name rather than by the full title. In the days of sail, the boats were used as landing craft. They transported 1,200 men in the first landing and took on board 600 men in less than 2 hours for the second landing, during World War I, the mass mobilization of troops equipped with rapid-fire weapons quickly rendered such boats obsolete.
Initial landings during the Gallipoli campaign took place in unmodified rowing boats that were vulnerable to attack from the Turkish shore defenses. In February 1915, orders were placed for the design of purpose built landing craft, a design was created in four days resulting in an order for 200 X Lighters with a spoon-shaped bow to take shelving beaches and a drop down frontal ramp. The first use took place after they had been towed to the Aegean and performed successfully in the 6 August landing at Suvla Bay of IX Corps, commanded by Commander Edward Unwin. X Lighters, known to the soldiers as Beetles, carried about 500 men, displaced 135 tons and were based on London barges being 105 feet 6 inches long,21 feet wide, the engines mainly ran on heavy oil and ran at a speed of approximately 5 knots. The sides of the ships were bulletproof, and was designed with a ramp on the bow for disembarkation, a plan was devised to land British heavy tanks from pontoons in support of the Third Battle of Ypres, but this was abandoned.
Despite this outlook, the British produced the Motor Landing Craft in 1920, the craft could put a medium tank directly onto a beach. From 1924, it was used with landing boats in annual exercises in amphibious landings, a prototype motor landing craft, designed by J. Samuel White of Cowes, was built and first sailed in 1926. It weighed 16 tons and had an appearance, having a square bow. To prevent fouling of the propellers in a craft destined to spend time in surf and possibly be beached, a crude waterjet propulsion system was devised by Whites designers. A Hotchkiss petrol engine drove a pump which produced a jet of water, pushing the craft ahead or astern. Speed was 5-6 knots and its capacity was good