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, consequently, 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, numerically, 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
RP-3 rockets being loaded into Land Mattress launchers in preparation for the offensive in the Reichswald, Germany
British infantrymen, possibly of the 53rd (Welsh) Division, advance through the Reichswald during Operation Veritable, 8 February 1945.
A Valentine Mk XI Royal Artillery OP tank (left) and a Churchill tank (right) in Goch, 21 February 1945