Private Loren Nelson

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Veen, Germany
6-9 March 1945


Sonsbeck, Germany The Lincoln and Welland Regiment passes through Sonsbeck Germany on March 7th 1945.

The heavy artillery barrage that the Lincoln and Welland Regiment received in the Hochwald Gap forced them to retreat and reinforce near Udem, Germany for three days. On the 6th of March the Regiment had it's orders to return to the front line, which had advanced several miles west, deeper into the heart of Germany. On that cool and cloudy day, the Regiment moved to an orchard north of Sonsbeck. The next attack was to be "soon" and in the direction of Veen, Germany.

Veen was believed to be lightly defended, but when the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders made an approach on the town, they received very heavy fire. A new plan for the attack on Veen was put together, codenamed BASHER, a brigade strength attack. The Lincoln and Welland Regiment was tasked to the right flank, approaching the town of Veen from the south.

The Regiment crossed it's start line at 1600 hours on 7 March 1945. Major Brady's D Company lead the attack followed by Captain Hickey's B company. Reports stated that D company was 2 kilometers from the town center by 1745, and under heavy machine gun and mortar fire. Soon, A and C Companies joined the rest of the regiment at this position. Captain Muir's A Company worked the advance to the east to a crossroads two kilometers east of town. The movement was described as slow, but they had tanks in support. Twenty-seven German prisoners were captured in this action.

The situation was fairly good so far for the Lincoln and Welland Regiment. This was because the enemy was concentrating their efforts to the Northeast where the Algonquins and the South Alberta Regiment were fighting a hard battle. On the rainy night of 7-8 March, the L&W Regiment consolidated their position by capturing road junctions south and east of Veen.

On the 8th of March the Regiment moved into the southern outskirts of Veen. They met fierce opposition as they attacked into the town, fighting house to house. By nightfall some of the regiments held positions in houses adjacent to enemy held houses. There was also reports of two Sherman tanks being overrun and manned by the enemy. Overnight, tank lanes were cleared in preparation for a fresh assault on the morning of the 9th.

The next morning, with the Canadians attacking from all sides, the enemy opposition had virtually ended in Veen. The enemy was now in full retreat towards the Rhine. The L&W Regiment spent the next two days in the area of Veen clearing pockets of enemy resistance.

The battle for Veen was very costly for the Regiment. Loren's Regiment suffered losses which were only second to it's first day at Kapelsche Veer. On Thursday 8 March 1945, the Regiment lost 80 all ranks: 20 killed, 55 wounded and 5 listed as battle casualties.

Image Gallery

German Prisoner Digging Graves
Sherman tanks of the Governor General's Footguards near Sonsbeck Germany on 9 March 1945. (National Archives Photo A113682)
German Prisoner Digging Graves
German refugees near Xanten. (National Archives Photo A137462)