Sloedam

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51°30′N 3°42′E / 51.500°N 3.700°E / 51.500; 3.700 The Sloedam is an old dam, connecting the Dutch islands Zuid-Beveland and Walcheren near the town of Arnemuiden. Before this dam was constructed, these islands were separated by a stretch of water called the Sloe. The Sloedam was constructed in 1871 during the laying of the railway between the towns of Vlissingen and Roosendaal, the Zeeuwse Lijn. After World War II, the areas to the south were poldered. Ever since the Veerse Gatdam and the Oosterscheldedam were created, the dam does not function as a primary defense against the sea.

World War II[edit]

During World War II, many battles were fought on and around the Sloedam.

In 1940, the area was contested during the German invasion of the Low Countries in May 1940 in the Battle of Zeeland. A combined French-Dutch force attempted to stop the German invasion, but was unsuccessful in this attempt.

In the period of 1944 and 1945, heavy fighting once again came to the area when the Allies attempted to clear the entrance to the harbor of Antwerpen. After heave fighting, Zeeuws-Vlaanderen and Zuid-Beveland were freed from German control by Canadian forces. However, the Walcheren island still contained a large German force that controlled access to the Western Scheldt. De Sloedam was the only access road to the former island of Walcheren.

The Canadians reached the dam from Zuid-Beveland. The Germans were well prepared, and had established multiple well-prepared mortar sites that allowed them to fire on every point of the dam. The Canadian attempts to reach Walcheren all failed.

Two Dutch resistance fighters offered their assistance to the Canadians. They knew the sandbars of the Sloe that ran dry during low tide, and these resistance fighters led a patrol to Walcheren that managed to mark the dry area. After a short reconnaissance of the German positions, the patrol returned to Zuid-Beveland. The next day a large Canadian unit managed to cross, once again aided by the resistance men. This unit managed to reach the island of Walcheren, and attacked the German positions from the rear, managing to capture the mortar positions. The main Canadian force then crossed the Sloedam to Walcheren and established a beachhead. Operation Infatuate, the capture of Walcheren, was about to commence.[1]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Canadezen in actie. Henk Bollen en Paul Vroemen; Terra 1992; ISBN 90-6255-599-3