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Neutralizing W17 battery - Operation Infatuate

Updated: Nov 3, 2023

Unit/ Formation: 41 Cdo RM

Location: Westkapelle

Period/ Conflict: World War II

Year: 1944

Date/s: 1 November 1944

In the mid-afternoon, Lt. Col. Eric C.E. Palmer’s No. 41 Commando maneuvered northwest through the sand dunes toward Domburg to neutralize the W17 battery with its four 220mm French artillery pieces.

One of the four pieces 220 cm artillery near Domburg (W17

They lacked armored support but had Royal Artillery bombardment cover.

Just after 3 pm, the 15-inch guns from HMS Warspite took W17 under fire; however, it was RAF Spitfire sorties with their 500-pound bombs and strafing cannons that both assisted the Royal Marine advance and silenced the battery’s 220mm guns.

As No. 41 Commando advanced on W17, the Germans emerged from their trenches and dugouts fairly quickly with hands up; prisoners were gathered up 20 to 30 at a time. At 5:45 pm, 41 Commando entered the outskirts of Domburg and the W17 battery surrendered. Thirty minutes later, the commandos controlled the main Domburg crossroads.

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