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On 9 February, the U.S. Ninth Army—operating under Sir Bernard Montgomery's British 21st Army Group since the Battle of the Bulge—was to cross the Roer and link up with the Canadian 1st Army coming from the Nijmegen area of the Netherlands in Operation Veritable, which had started at 05:00 on 8 February. However, once the Canadians had advanced, the Germans destroyed the dams upstream. This stopped the Americans from crossing as planned. It had been anticipated that the Germans would try to do this, and that General Bradley′s U.S. 12th Army Group could capture them in time to stop the flooding.
During the two weeks that the river was flooded, Adolf Hitler would not allow Field Marshal Gerd von Rundstedt to withdraw behind the Rhine, arguing that it would only delay the inevitable fight. He ordered him to fight where his forces stood.
The 9th Army was finally able to cross the river on 23 February. By then, other Allied forces were also close to the Rhine. Rundstedt′s divisions—which had remained on the west bank of the Rhine—were cut to pieces in the Battle for the Rhineland, and 290,000 men were taken prisoner.
- Ninth Army captured 29,739 prisoners during the operation, and estimated to have inflicted 16,000 other casualties on the German army. In conjunction with Operation Veritable/Blockbuster, the combined allied effort inflicted approximately 90,000 casualties on the German army.
- Stacey, p. 522
- Stacey, Colonel Charles Perry; Bond, Major C.C.J. (1960). Official History of the Canadian Army in the Second World War: Volume III. The Victory Campaign: The operations in North-West Europe 1944–1945. The Queen's Printer and Controller of Stationery Ottawa.
- From the Rur to the Elbe (pdf, 92 pages)
- http://www-cgsc.army.mil/carl/download/csipubs/fromroer/from_cii.pdf (PDF)