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41 CDO Mortared in the Dunes

Updated: Nov 23, 2023

Unit/ Formation: 41 Cdo RM

Location: Walcheren

Period/ Conflict: World War II

Year: 1944

Date/s: 7 November 1944

Two Nebelwerfer north of Oostkapelle gave trouble from a sinister location christened 'Black Hut' after its most conspicuous feature.

15 cm Nebelwerfer 41 (NbW 41) fired 6 x 155mm rockets up to 2km

Black Hut was dealt with on 7 November. Typhoons strafed the area with rockets and 20mm cannon, while Shermans and the brigade's combined mortars gave close support.

A Hawker Typhoon Mark IB of No. 439 Squadron RCAF taxies through a water splash at B78/Eindhoven, Holland, while leaving its dispersal loaded with two 1,000-lb bombs for an attack on a rail target behind the German lines. © IWM CL 1961

Black Hut was captured by 1400hrs, but the last AVRE ran over a large explosive device, killing three of the crew.

The Sherman crews found two demolished Nebelwerfer (German multiple rocket launcher) and a 5cm anti-tank gun in the big emplacement, the marks of two high-explosive rounds on the inside rear wall, and 'plenty of blood on the floor'. Further rocket strikes on W19 [to the east] took place that afternoon.

3in. mortar, probably from 41 (RM) Commando , in action near Domberg. Mortars made an important contribution to the commandos ' final advance, as they moved beyond the range of Allied artillery south of the Schelde. (Photo © Trustees of the Royal Marines Museum via Wikipedia)

41 (RM) Commando pushed ahead without fire support; communications with the mortars had broken down, and heavy artillery was not allowed within 1,000 yards (900m) of the precious Oranjebosch pumping station which supplied Middelburg's drinking water.

Some 400 yards (350m) further along the dunes, A Troop tried to pass through B Troop, but ran into a minefield. While they were seeking a way round, heavy and accurate mortar fire came down, causing 12 casualties, one of whom died at once.

The commanding officer decided to withdraw to Black Hut, and continue the advance when support was available.

Location Pin Approx []

More related Royal Marines History 'Dits'

References/ read more:

Extract from: Walcheren 1944: Storming Hitler's island fortress [Richard Brookes]

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