41 CDO Mortared in the Dunes
Updated: Nov 23
Unit/ Formation: 41 Cdo RM
Period/ Conflict: World War II
Date/s: 7 November 1944
Two Nebelwerfer north of Oostkapelle gave trouble from a sinister location christened 'Black Hut' after its most conspicuous feature.
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.
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.
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.
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References/ read more:
Extract from: Walcheren 1944: Storming Hitler's island fortress [Richard Brookes]