S.J. DeGroot


The writing of this article was made possible by Mr. K. Schacht (Steinkirchen), former officer of the Bundesmarine, who gave me the unpublished script of Mr. F. Roher. Mr. Roher belonged to the Kriegsmarine and took part in operations in the Dutch waters in 1944. He put together a captivating document. Some additional research had to be done to put it in a clear and complete perspective. The fact that a specially formed unit of the Kriegsmarine was able, in 15 days, to ferry across the Westerscheldt 100,000 men, 6,000 vehicles, 6,000 horse-drawn wagons and 750 pieces of artillery, undoubtedly lengthened the war and the occupation of a large part of the Netherlands. The evacuation across the Wester-Scheldt surely can be found in literature. The role of the Kriegsmarine, however, forms a forgotten chapter, even more so because the event was overshadowed by the long battle for the mouth of the Scheldt. Now, 50 years after the event, through examination of the facts gathered by Mr. Roher, we will have to admit this was a remarkable logistical operation that was perfectly executed under the most difficult conditions.