392. The assault on the Walcheren Causeway
During the Second World War the Causeway or „Sloedam” (at that time a dyke of 1,000 meters long and only 45 meters wide) is the only connection between the former island of Walcheren and the South-Beveland peninsula. On May 17th 1940 at 09.20 am the 9th Kompagnie / SS-Regiment „Deutschland” from the SS-Verfügungs-Division advance from the east on the defending French troops, among them the 224éme Régiment d’Infanterie of the 68éme Division d’Infanterie. The French troops fight vigorously and repulse several attacks. However, at about 5 pm the French Army is forced to withdraw from the Causeway. That same evening, Walcheren and South-Beveland are in German hands. Nineteen soldiers of the French Army fall. The German Army loose fifteen of their soldiers.
Towards the end of the war, the Causeway is again the scene of heavy fighting. The liberation of Walcheren by allied forces start over land with an attack of the 2nd Canadian Infantry Division, assaulting, the German defenders of the Causeway on October 31st 1944. The Black Watch of Canada (RHR), The Calgary Highlanders and Le Régiment de Maisonneuve of the 5th Canadian Infantry Brigade successively carry out four frontal attacks. The first bridgehead taken on the Walcheren end of the Causeway can only be held for a few hours. The allied forces have to pull back. On November 2nd the battle for the Causeway is taken over by the 1st Batallion The Glasgow Highlanders of the British 52nd (Lowland) Infantry Division (Operation Magnitise). On November 3rd in het afternoon the causeway finally falls into allied hands. Between October 31st and November 5th 1944, in the battle for the Causeway, forty-five Canadian soldiers and nineteen British soldiers lose their lives during this operation.
To support the stalled offensive of the Second Canadian Infantry Division on the Sloedam Causeway, it is decided to surprise the German units on the Walcheren side by means of a night attack from the small harbour of Zuid-Kraaijert near Nieuwdorp and across the water and mud slabs of the Sloe. During the night of Thursday 2nd and Friday 3rd, 1944 Scottish soldiers of the 6th Battalion The Cameronians (SR) cross the waters and the mud slabs of the Sloe; 2 kilometres south of the Causeway. This secret attack, codenamed operation Mallard, is successful. The Germans do not expect this outflanking movement and have to withdraw. On the Causeway the Second Canadian Infantry Division is able to gain ground and on the 5th of November 5 Germans give in. Nineteen British soldiers lose their lives during this operation.
The present day monuments remind us of the courageous Allied soldiers who lost their lives on the Causeway and in the battle for the Sloe (Operation Mallard). With appreciation and respect we remember those who gave their lives for our freedom.
Postweg, Arnemuiden - GPS code N51.502703, E3.7051764