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Battleship Warspite bombards Walcheren in 1944
HMS WARSPITE'S BOMBARDMENT OF WALCHEREN 1944

After the D-Day invasion of Normandy, by October 1944 most of the Allied supplies were still coming over the invasion beaches, since the German army still occupied strategically important Channel ports. HMS Warspite's firepower was used to weaken the German defences of Le Havre on September 10, prior to a British attack which took the port. Antwerp had been captured a week earlier, but powerful German gun emplacements still remained on the Dutch island of Walcheren, dominating the river Schelde and the port's approaches. A major amphibious assault on Walcheren, spearheaded by a British commando brigade and supported by naval gunfire from Warspite and the 15-inch gun monitors Erebus and Roberts, commenced on October 31 1944. Despite the poor weather conditions, which prevented the use of spotter aircraft, Warspite, operating 10 miles off West Kapelle lighthouse, hit her targets on time. The old battleship fired 353 shells in 21 salvoes of 15-inch ammunition, concluding her part in World War 2 and her amazing fighting life shortly before 5.25 p.m.

 


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