6 + 3 Francs 1964 - Liberation of the Scheldt Estuary

6 + 3 Francs 1964 - Liberation of the Scheldt Estuary
Added by Bart Perdieus
General Description : The Battle of the Scheldt was a series of military operations by the Canadian 1st Army, led by Lieutenant-General Guy Simonds. The battle took place in northern Belgium and southwestern Netherlands during World War II from 2 October to 8 November 1944.[1]

By September 1944, it had become urgent for the Allies to clear both banks of the Scheldt estuary in order to open the port of Antwerp to Allied shipping, thus easing logistical burdens in their supply lines stretching hundreds of miles from Normandy eastward to the Siegfried Line.[2] Since the Allied forces had landed in Normandy (France) on D-Day, 6 June 1944, the British 2nd Army had pushed forward into the Low Countries and captured Brussels and Antwerp, the latter with its ports still intact. But the advance halted with the British in possession of Antwerp, while the Germans still controlled the Scheldt Estuary.

Nothing was done about the blocked Antwerp ports during September because most of the strained Allied resources were allocated to Operation Market Garden, a bold plan for a single thrust into Germany that began on 17 September. In the meantime, German forces in the Scheldt were able to deploy to meet them.

In early October, after Market Garden had failed with heavy losses, Allied forces led by the Canadian 1st Army set out to bring the Antwerp ports under control. But the well-established German defenders staged an effective delaying action. Complicated by the waterlogged terrain, the Battle of the Scheldt proved to be a challenging campaign in which the losses suffered by the Canadians exacerbated another conscription crisis.

After five weeks of difficult fighting, the Canadian 1st Army—bolstered by attached troops from several other countries—was successful in clearing the Scheldt after numerous amphibious assaults, obstacle crossings, and costly assaults over open ground. Both land and water were mined, and the Germans defended their line of retreat with artillery and snipers.

The Allies finally cleared the port areas on 8 November at a cost of 12,873 Allied casualties (killed, wounded, or missing), half of them Canadians.[3]

Once the German defenders were no longer a threat, it was a further three weeks before the first ship carrying Allied supplies was able to unload in Antwerp (on 29 November 1944) due to the necessity of de-mining the harbours.
Face value 6 + 3 Francs
Catalog code (Michel) BE 1357
Catalog code (Scott) BE B761
Catalog code Yvert et Tellier BE 1297 Stanley Gibbons BE 1900 AFA number BE 1377 Belgium BE 1297 Unificato BE 1297
Stamp colour multicolor
Stamp use Semi Postal stamp
Print run 703.771
Issue date 01/08/1964
Designer Armand Massonet / J. Malvaux
Print technique photogravure
Perforation 11 1/2
Height 39.00 mm
Width 28.00 mm
Catalog prices No catalog prices set yet

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