Military history

Operation Plunder and Varsity: The British and Canadian Rhine Crossing

Operation Plunder and Varsity: The British and Canadian Rhine Crossing

By late March 1945, Second British Army and Ninth US Army were poised to carry out an assault crossing of the Rhine. In the British part of the operations, Montgomery’s best assault divisions were assembled to carry out the British and Canadian part of the attack between Emmerich and Wesel.

A commando brigade and two Scottish divisions carried out the initial assault under cover of darkness and a tremendous bombardment on the evening of 23rd March. Despite the best efforts of the German first Parachute Army they had established a bridgehead by dawn. During the following morning 6th British Airborne Division dropped around Hamminkeln, in the immediate rear of the Germans, in an operation codenamed VARSITY.

By 27 March, after some heavy combat, the Allies were prepared to launch their final drive to the Baltic. The Rhine crossing, though by no means the final battle, sealed the fate of Nazi Germany.


Chapter 1. Background

Chapter 2. The German Defenders

Chapter 3. Planning and Preparation

Chapter 4. Operation TURNSCREW 51st Highland Division

Chapter 5. Operation WIDGEON

Chapter 6. Operation TORCHLIGHT 15th (Scottish) Division

Chapter 7. Operation VARSITY

Chapter 8. The Capture of Rees

Chapter 9. The Capture of Speldrop and Bienen

Chapter 10. Tours of the PLUNDER Battlefields

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