Visiting the German battlefields

In November 2006, I visited Germany and did a tour of the battlefields in the Rhineland.  I retraced the Brigades steps and tank tracks (in reverse) starting at Wesel and proceeding through Calcar, Moyland wood, Cleve and Kranenberg.  The striking thing was how flat the terrain was apart from a couple of features such as just outside Cleve where I noticed a small monument (photo below) which I recognised from the Imperial War Museum footage.  In the footage, the Infantry and the Brigade are walking through the woods past the monument and it was eerie walking in their footsteps.  The Germans flooded much of this area - see the picture facing page 92 in Forbes's book; the church at Kranenberg survived and is still the major landmark. 

From Kranenberg I visited the Reichwald Forest War Cemetery.  I didn't know this existed before I came across the sign and was very pleased to be able to pay my respects.  There are over 7000 graves in the Cemetery, and I therefore did not expect to find the 3rd Scots' or other elements of the Brigades' graves.  However, after less than a minute I had located them by chance. The forest and surrounding area saw lots of a vicious fighting and many men were killed there.  There were several families visiting at the time.

After the Cemetery, I travelled down to Winnekendonk passing through Goch and Kevelar.  I was particularly interested in visiting Winnekendonk because my grandfather was involved in a fierce tank battle there supporting the 2nd Lincolns in which he knocked out a SP gun.  From the maps in the Forbes and Erskine books I was able to locate the precise spot where the SP gun was sited. 

I only had a day to complete this so it was a bit rushed.  The roads were excellent and it was a nice part of Germany.  The area is within an hour's drive of Dusseldorf which is a major air hub.

On a separate day, I visited Munster which is a pleasant place.  The only evidence of previous conflict was bullet holes in some of the older buildings.

Monument just outside Cleve

Reichswald Forest War Cemetery