Battle for the Rhine
In January 1945 the German bridgehead over the river Roer between Heinsberg and Roermond was cleared during Operation Blackcock, followed by the pincer movement of the First Canadian Army in Operation Veritable advancing from the Nijmegen area of the Netherlands and the US Ninth Army crossing the Rur (Roer) in Operation Grenade was planned to start on 8 February 1945, but it was delayed by two weeks when the Germans flooded the river valley by destroying the dam gates upstream. Field Marshal Gerd von Rundstedt requested permission to withdraw east behind the Rhine, arguing that further resistance would only delay the inevitable, but was ordered by Hitler to fight where his forces stood.
By the time the water had subsided and the US Ninth Army was able to cross the Roer on 23 February, other Allied forces were also close to the Rhine’s west bank. Von Rundstedt’s divisions which had remained on the west bank, were cut to pieces in the ‘battle of the Rhineland’, – 280,000 men were taken prisoner. With a large number of men captured, the stubborn German resistance during the Allied campaign to reach the Rhine in February and March 1945 had been costly. Total losses reached an estimated 400,000 men. By the time they prepared to cross the Rhine in late March, the Western Allies had taken 1,300,000 German soldiers prisoner in western Europe.
Credit to : GosuYuri