48 cdo Walcheren

Attacking formidable German defences

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48 cdo Walcheren; The seizure of the island of Walcheren was carried out by No. 48 cdo Royal Marines under Lieutenant-Colonel J. L. Moulton, No. 41 cdo Royal Marines and No. 47 cdo Royal Marines they formed up with No. 4 cdo to make the 4th Special Services Brigade.

They were backed to the hilt by the three Services: Royal Navy, Army and the Royal Air Force. Here are the stories of their actions.

48 Commando Royal Marines had to go south of the gap. The first flight ashore consisting of three troops; each Troop in a tank landing craft, they touched down with Moulton being one of the first on the beach. Though constantly shelled on the way in their casualties were not heavy.

They fought their first objective; a row of concrete pill boxes, on the southern shoulder of the gap. When this was accomplished they moved on to the next a radar station, only to find it had been hastily abandoned.

47 Commando Walcheren

The second flight coming in

Ten minutes behind them one landing craft was hit on the way in; the shell breaking the landing ramp and destroying the vehicle carrying the heavy machine-guns.

The best exit from the beach was blocked by a vehicle hit as it was passing through it; shell fire became heavier with more vehicles destroyed.

The advance continued until the leading Commando troops came into contact with the defenders of strong point W13 a battery which was causing extensive harm to shipping.

Intense machine-gun fire

Intense machine-gun fire met Major de Stacpoole and 'Y' Troop as they went into attack; they were all killed or wounded before they could reach the enemy.

Before artillery could be bought to bear on the position embedded in concrete, further assaults would suffer the same fate; but to call for the gunfire was the difficulty.

A forward observation officer Captain A. D. Davis of the Royal Artillery who was working on his wireless set; he was able to direct two salvos from H.M.S. Roberts before his wireless operator was killed by a mortar bomb.

With no other option Colonel Moulton went back to Brigade and made contact with the Canadian Divisional Artillery.

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'Z' Troop went into attack

When 'Z' Troop went into attack, half of the commandos were caught by mortar fire and were either killed or wounded.

The whole fire power of the 2nd Canadian Divisional Artillery was turned upon the battery. Then the Royal Air Force attacked with typhoons firing rockets.

With the garrison in turmoil and disorganised 48 Commando Royal Marines attacked once more. They fought until they had captured the command post and they had silenced the guns.

They captured thirty prisoners; then in the darkness they found the Battery Commander and his second-in-command, they also acquired another seventy prisoners.

Subsequent examination showed that a rocket fired by one of the typhoons had entered a slit window of the main battery and killed all of the crew who were at their action stations.

48 Commando's main objective was

48 Commando's main objective was to capture Zouteland, but they had been ordered to wait until the next morning before the assault was to begin.

They spent the night struggling to get the stores they needed for the main attack forward; landing craft brought the stores ashore and put them on the beach.

The Commandos of 48 cdo, had to carry the stores over steep sand dunes then walk over acres of loose soft sand.

There was a shortage of food because three of the four landing craft with the food rations onboard were sunk. One hit a mine and two by shell fire before they reached the shore.

With little or no food or sleep 48 Commando waited for the shelling of Zouteland by H.M.S. Erebus to ease. At dawn the shelling stopped; then the commandos moved forward to engage the enemy.

A ferocious fight lasting over two hours rewarded the gallant Royal Marine Commandos with the surrender of the garrison at Zouteland.

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