Operation Ascot
14th November 1944

Enemy counter attack against the US, which had required the 53rd Division to be retasked, had been restricted but they had established a bridgehead across the River Mass, between Venlo and Roermond, threatening Eindhoven. To push the Germans back over the Mass was the next task and this was named Operation Ascot.

Outline

The overall plan was to push the Germans back over the River Mass and 51st Highland Division's role was to attack the Germans on the line Weert - Roermond and swing north east driving the enemy up to Venlo.

51st Highland Division Plan

The plan in outline was:

  • 152 Brigade to cross the Noorder Canal
  • 153 Brigade to cross the Wessen Canal
  • 154 Brigade to capture the lock gates at the junction of the Noorder and Wessem Canals. If 153 Brigade had crossed the Wessen 154 brigade would then advance to take Heythuysen.

Some preliminary training for the crossing of the canals took place using assault boats and buffaloes.

The Action

D Day was 14 November. All three brigades successfully crossed the canals and in the case of 154 Brigade the junction. The advanced continued and the 5th Camerons in particular distinguished themselves creating a bridge head over the Zig (also called Uitwaterings) canal. The GOC wrote to congratulate the Battalion. The Division then exploited across the Zig Canal and by the 18th November they were just south of Venlo in the area of Baarlo, Bong and Zoterbeek close to the River Maas. Operation Ascot was successfully concluded.