Operation Veritable was an Allied campaign meant to clear the German forces from the Reichswald, a vast and dense forest on the border between the Netherlands and Germany. The battle was fought in February 1945 under extremely cold and wet conditions. Deep in the forest the opposing infantry units wore each other down in hand to hand combat for trench line positions.
The attacks were often preceded by intense artillery bombardments. As general Horrocks, the commander of the 30th Corps, stated, there was “no room for maneuvers, no scope for cleverness”. The infantry would have to slug it out. The terrain forced the British and Canadian forces to advance on a narrow front. Movement was further restricted by bad weather and the inundation of large areas by the German army.
The wooded terrain ideally suited the defenders who could only be dislodged after close quarter fighting of a most vicious nature. It was the type of battle where the skill and bravery of the individual soldier made all the difference. The opposing forces fought fiercely, but also gained a mutual respect for the courage that was shown during these difficult engagements.