Red, White and Green Beach

Back nearby the Westkapelle Zeedyke

Bronze sculpture representing a commando soldier of No 4 command. The sculpture is a memorial place for the liberation of Walcheren, placed nearby the location where the 4th commando and the 52 Lowland Division landed in 1944 to liberate the island of Walcheren.

For Infatuate II, the landing at Westkapelle, there were three landing beaches defined, one either side of Westkapelle and one inside the gap: 1. Red Beach, the sea wall on the gap’s northern shoulder, obstructed by wooden stakes, hedgehogs, and scattered masonry, 2. White Beach, the gap itself, flat beaches either side heavily cratered and littered with debris, including an active if lopsided pillbox in the middle and 3. Green Beach, a sandy beach south of the gap, backed by steep-faced dunes sown with mines.

The assault on Westkapelle on 1 November 1944 went in at 09.58hrs. on Red Beach and the dyke of Westkapelle. 48 Commando soon after landed south of the gap in the dyke on White Beach, and rapidly pushed south along Green Beach, while 41 and 10 Commandos, landing on White Beach, assaulted Westkapelle itself. By early afternoon the town and the German battery at W15 (6. Batterie Marine-Artillerie-Abteilung 202, north of Westkapelle) were both safely in Allied hands.

The British deployed a mass of machines to overcome the obstacles they expected to encounter on Walcheren’s beaches. Many of these were lost, more to difficult landing conditions than German resistance. Final success came down to the courage and infantry skills of the individual soldiers.

Active resistance to the landings at Westkapelle consisted mainly of artillery fire from German coastal batteries. Their accurate fire prevented armoured assault teams landing on Red Beach as planned, and inflicted heavy losses amongst vehicles and landing craft. These could have been still heavier had the gunners fired high-explosive rounds instead of armour-piercing. In the absence of German infantry, however, the defences that littered the foreshore were rapidly circumvented. Obstacles are of little value, unless covered by fire.

A Flail tank reaches one of the Westkapelle beaches despite the scattered mud and rubble

A Flail tank reaches one of the Westkapelle beaches despite the scattered mud and rubble

White Beach nowadays

White Beach nowadays

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