The Battle of Geel, also known as the Battle of the Gheel Bridgehead, was a major battle between British and German troops in Belgium during the Second World War. It occurred between 8–23 September 1944, in and around the Flemish city of Geel, and was one of the largest and bloodiest battles to occur during the liberation of Belgium.
Battle[edit | edit source]
The first phase of the fighting took place at the Albert Canal and in the centre of Geel itself from 8-12 from September. On the 12th, the Germans briefly recaptured the center of Geel. The German forces in the area - supported by elite Fallschirmjägers and Jagdpanther tank-destroyers - inflicted heavy losses on the British forces in the town. During the night of 13 September, the Germans pulled back behind the Maas-Scheldt Canal in the village of Ten Aard.
Bridgehead[edit | edit source]
On that same day, the 50th (Northumbrian) Division was replaced by the 15th (Scottish) Division. Their aim was to form a bridgehead in order to give the Royal Engineers the chance to create a pontoon bridge and to ferry heavy equipment. After 8 days of heavy fighting took place until the final withdrawal on 23 September.
Aftermath[edit | edit source]
The exact casualties during the battle are unknown. At least 130 civilians were killed, mostly due to allied and German artillery fire. The total number of deaths was probably between 1000-1100, with the number of wounded significantly higher.
References[edit | edit source]
- "TRAGEDY AT THE GHEEL BRIDGEHEAD". Guns and Bugles: The Story of 6th Bn KSLI-181st Field Regiment RA. http://www.gunsandbugles.co.uk/tragedyatbridgehead.htm. Retrieved 1 May 2013.
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