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Operation ELEPHANT

27 January

Attacks from both east and west on Kapelsche Veer on 27 Jan were beaten off by German automatic weapons fire and heavy mortar fire from across the Maas. The narrow dyke tops restricted movement to single platoons at a time; moving off the dykes was not possible due to the soft ground and snow. Artillery and tactical air support were seen to be useless in silencing the German positions which were well entrenched. All the Canadian Wasp flamethrower carriers had been bogged down and the devastation wrought on the Lifebuoy operators the day before left no volunteers to carry the weapons into action. The only option left was tanks.
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The L&W attacking from the left got to within 300 yards of RASPBERRY but found German soldiers infiltrating along the north side of the dyke to get behind them and threaten to cut them off. The Argylls managed to get within 1000 yards of GRAPES with supporting fire from the machine guns of the two SAR Stuarts.
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The German mortar fire was met with indirect fire from SAR Shermans and 25-pounder shells from the 15th Field Regiment, and the harbour itseld was attacked by a squadron of Spitfire aircraft during the day in addition to shelling. The Canadian artillery frustrated attempts to reinforce the garrison at Kapelsche Veer, but was not able to stop elements of the pioneer and anti-tank platoons of the 17th Parachute Regiment from crossing the Maas.
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As work on the raft progressed during the day, at the eastern end of the island two Shermans successfully crossed the “Dream” (officially a Class 18 bridge, the two Shermans were a full 17 tons heavier than the bridge should have been able to bear, not counting the extra tracks welded to the tanks which increased the weight by several more tons) at 1500. The Shermans assisted the Argylls' Pioneer Platoon in removing mines from the dyke in preparation for a renewed infantry attack. At about the same time, the raft on the western end of the island was finished, and three Shermans were floated over to support the L&W.

Tags: history, war economy, мелкобританцы
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