October 20, 2014

Archers in Germany, 1945

The Archer was a British self-propelled antitank gun. It was based on the Valentine’s chassis and it mounted the powerful 17-prd gun. The 17-pdr APDS shot could penetrate 145mm of homogenous steel at 2,000 yards. Archer’s production began in early 1944 and it saw action in Northwest Europe and Italy. Archer’s unique feature was that the gun was mounted facing back, over the engine. That had the advantage that the vehicle could drive away fast, if it was forced to abandon its firing position. On the other hand the driver’s seat was behind the gun breech and he had to exit the vehicle before the gun was used.


An Archer near Nütterden
1. An Archer near Nütterden on February 9, 1945.


Nütterden
2. Nütterden is close to the Dutch-German borders, just east of Nijmegen. Nütterden was also located at the northern end of the Siegfried Line. Under operation “Veritable” the Canadian First Army was to assault through the corridor between the Rhine and Maas Rivers, break the German defenses and get to the Ruhr industrial area. Both rivers were flooded. The attacking troops were gathered around Nijmegen.

Operation “Veritable”
3. The Siegfried Line.

An Archer in the flooded streets of Kranenburg
4. An Archer in the flooded streets of Kranenburg on February 11, 1945.

Kranenburg and Nütterden
5. Kranenburg and Nütterden. The 15th (Scottish) Infantry Division attacked along 
the Kranenburg – Nütterden – Kleve route.

An Archer during the attack on Goch
6. An Archer during the attack on Goch on February 19, 1945.

Goch is to the southeast of Nütterden
7. Goch is to the southeast of Nütterden. Operation “Veritable” was launched on 8 February. Gosh was heavily bombed from the air. Gosh fell on the 22nd of February after heavy fighting. On February 20 there was an engagement between Archers and Jagdpanthers.

An Archer near Kranenburg
8. An Archer drives off a raft after being ferried across flooded countryside
near Kranenburg on February 23, 1945.

Operations “Veritable” and “Grenade”
9. Operations “Veritable” and “Grenade”.

An Archer being loaded aboard a raft
10. An Archer being loaded aboard a raft while Churchill tanks wait for their turn
to cross the Rhine on March 24, 1945.

An Archer drives through the ruins of Bocholt
11. An Archer drives through the ruins of Bocholt on March 30, 1945.

An Archer crossing a railway line in Celle
12. An Archer crossing a railway line in Celle on April 12, 1945. Celle is north of Hanover.


Photos attribution
1. Hewitt (Sgt), No 5 Army Film & Photographic Unit, via Wikimedia Commons
2. Map data ©2014 GeoBasis DE/BKG (©2009), Google Lite mode
3. Sansculotte at German Wikipedia, via Wikimedia Commons
4. Hewitt (Sgt), No 5 Army Film & Photographic Unit, via Wikimedia Commons
5. Imagery ©2014 Aerodata International Surveys, DigitalGlobe, GeoBasis-DE/BKG, Map data ©2014 GeoBasis-DE/BKG (©2009), Google
6. Christie (Sgt), No 5 Army Film & Photographic Unit, via Wikimedia Commons
7. Imagery ©2014 Aerodata International Surveys, DigitalGlobe, AeroWest, GeoBasis-DE/BKG, Map data ©2014 GeoBasis-DE/BKG (©2009), Google
8. Midgley (Sgt), No 5 Army Film & Photographic Unit, via Wikimedia Commons
9. WWIIEurope76combined.svg: Hans Erren derivative work: Hans Erren, via Wikimedia Commons
10. No 5 Army Film & Photographic Unit, Palmer (Sgt), via Wikimedia Commons
11. Mapham J (Sgt), No 5 Army Film & Photographic Unit, via Wikimedia Commons
12. No 5 Army Film & Photographic Unit, Oakes, H (Sgt), via Wikimedia Commons