The battle for 'Delfzijl Pocket'

After liberating the city of Groningen it took more than two weeks before the entire province was liberated. The battle for ‘Delfzijl Pocket’ was long, fierce and claimed many victims.

Nobody could have imagined that after liberating the city of Groningen on 16 April 1945, it would still take more than two weeks before the entire province was liberated. The battle for 'Delfzijl Pocket' the name given by the Canadians to the
area where the German soldiers were trapped, was long, fierce and claimed many victims.

The German troops, who had their backs against the wall, had set up strong defences around Delfzijl. The Canadians came under heavy fire in this battle for Delfzijl and were hard-pushed for cover in the open polder landscape.

Complete 'battles' took place around towns, such as Wagenborgen and Appingedam in the south and Holwierde in the north of the German 'occupied'. The Canadians advanced slowly but surely to the centre of Delfzijl, where the Germans capitulated eventually on the first of May. Yet the battle was still not over.

Because Germans were still fighting in Weiwerd and Farmsum. In the early hours of 2 May, the German garrison commander, who had holed up in the church of Farmsum with 400 men, surrendered. The battle cost the lives of 88 citizens, 102 Canadian and 185 German servicemen. The Province of Groningen was liberated and that was the end of the battles in the Netherlands. On 5 May, the German troops in the west of the Netherlands surrendered too and the war and the major battle for the Netherlands were over.

To find out more about this last battle of the Netherlands, visit MuzeeAquarium in Delfzijl. Here you can see a unique combination of natural history and cultural history. There is also an aquarium with fish and other marine animals of the Wadden Sea and the North Sea.

1. Canadians in a Bren Carrier and Sherman tank on the Uitwierderweg in Delfzijl, liberation 1945. - Foto: Collectie Gemeente Delfzijl 

2. Delfzijl : liberation 1945. Destroyed cranes in the harbor: devastation. Photographer unknown, Groninger Archieven. 

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