Operation Blackcock - succesfull or unsuccesfull?

Discussion in 'NW Europe' started by Richard1976, Mar 14, 2012.

  1. Richard1976

    Richard1976 Junior Member

    One thing about Operation Blackcock is bothering me for some years now and it would be great to hear your opinion on this.

    Operation Blackcock was to clear the enemy out of the Roer Triangle. It consisted of 10 objectives, A(ngel) to K(ettle). Although they obtained all these objectives, the Roer triangle hadn't been completely cleared from enemy opposition as the Germans still held 2 brigdeheads (one at Vlodrop and the other one directly south of Roermond). The locations of these 2 bridgeheads aren't included in objective A to K. With these 2 bridgeheads still intact, is Operation Blackcock therefore unsuccesfull?

    I know the 7th Armoured Division was planning Objective L(ion), but I dont have any details about that objective, only that the planning was cancelled on the 29th of January.

    Thank you for your input.
     
  2. Richard1976

    Richard1976 Junior Member

    No one?

    Maybe it’s more easier to understand what I mean with this picture (see below) I’ve borrowed from another topic about Operation Blackcock on this forum. Hope this is okay that I borrowed it.

    The intention of the operation was to clear the enemy out of the area bounded by the Rivers Roer, Wurm, the XII Corps' forward localities and the River Maas.

    Quote XII Corps report on Operation Blackcock: The basis of the plan was to take advantage of the advanced position of the LEFT flank, to break through the enemy positions in that sector and subsequently, by a succession of turning operations from the NORTH and WEST, to capture all the positions WEST of the ROER.

    After the operation finished, 2 small area’s inside the Roer triangle were still occupied by the Germans. (number 1 is bridgehead Roermond and 2 is bridgehead Vlodrop).
    I’m wondering why these bridgeheads hadn’t been cleared also? They were still useful to the Germans. The bridgehead at Roermond was also known as Siegfried Switch Line.

    According to all (to my knowledge) available documents, these area’s aren’t marked as an objective during Blackcock. There is only one remark in the XII Corps report about the Vlodrop bridgehead

    Quote XII Corps report on Operation Blackcock:
    The enemy still held a small bridgehead at VLODROP which it was decided not to attack on account of the open nature of the ground on our side of the river and because it was completely dominated from the German positions to the NORTH of the river.

    Which means that this was decided during the operation, and I understand the reason for this decision, but this should mean that Vlodrop was part of an objective in the original planning. But this isn’t according to the XII Corps’ report. Or do I miss something and is there information that I don’t know of?

    The intention of this operation is very clear, as stated above, and the outcome is known as successful and it also marked the start of the battle for the Rhineland. But as some area’s within the pocket still stayed in German hands, was it than unsuccessful?

    And what was the purpose of the cancelled 7th Armoured Division objective L(ion)? And why was this cancelled? Maybe this objective is the key to the answer.

    Hope this clears a bit what I mean and hopefully someone has more information about this and can help me with my quest.
     

    Attached Files:

  3. stolpi

    stolpi Well-Known Member

  4. Richard1976

    Richard1976 Junior Member

    Thank you for your input.

    The bridge over de Roer river at Roermond was still intact and could be used by heavy traffic and just a month before the Germans made their surprise attack in the Ardennes. Therefore I don't understand exactly why XII Corps didn't clear the enemy out the whole triangle to clear their flank. In the area just behind Roermond is a large forest, which is perfect to conceal armor. Okay, now we know the past and that there was no German intention/possibility to attack the Allies in that region, but still.
    In the report which was written after the operation ended, the area's aren't mentioned as a target. I'm wondering why. Did XII Corps allready knew in advance that these 2 bridgeheads would remain? But the original plan was to clear the complete Roer triangle. Or did they decide this during the course of the operation and "modified" the "original" plan? Or? Probably I will never find the answer on this.

    Just to give you some more information about the remaining bridgehead after Operation Blackcock: The above mentioned forest was one of the major reasons why this part of the Roer river (between Roermond and Heinsberg) wasn't part in the Roer river crossing during Operation Grenade. Just prior to Operation Grenade, the US 8th Armored Division cleared a part of the bridgehead at Roermond with some hard fighting, but still a part of the it remained. The complet clearing of the bridgehead was done by the US 15th Cavalry Group more than a month after Operation Blackcock ended. But at that time the Germans had allready withdrawn from the Maas/Roer sector.
     
  5. stolpi

    stolpi Well-Known Member

    ....
     
  6. Richard1976

    Richard1976 Junior Member

    Thanks again for your input. I appreciate your effort.

    Now looking for the Operational Reports of the XII Corps leading up to Operation Blackcock. Hopefully this will solve my quest.
    Additions are of course still welcome.
     
  7. Alanst500

    Alanst500 Senior Member

    hi, i have just purchased a book Titled Churchill's Desert Rats (From Normandy To Berlin With The 7th Armoured Division) by Patrick Delaforce.
    I have just reached the chapter on Operation Blackcock will post later on.
     
  8. Alanst500

    Alanst500 Senior Member

    Just finished reading Operation Blackcock
    "On the 31st January the remaining bridge over the Roer at Vlodrop, south of Roermond, was blown up and Operation Blackcock came to an end".
    This is taken from Patrick Delaforce's book who served with the 11th Armoured Division in the Royal Horse Artillery.
     
  9. Joe Brown

    Joe Brown WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    We captured Heinsberg and secured a foot within the Reich. We cleared the main enemy elements from the soil of Holland. The old principle: you reinforce success and push on!
     
  10. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

  11. Joe Brown

    Joe Brown WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Was much involved until wounded on the 25 January during the Battalion's consolidation after the capture of Heinsberg. A sad day . . . but every day since a bonus.

    Joe Brown.
     
  12. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY

    Hi,

    I'm trying to add something to my knowledge of the actions of the SRY in January 1945 and think that they were involved in Operation Blackcock as part of the 8th Armoured Brigade: http://ww2talk.com/forums/topic/57430-the-sherwood-rangers-in-january-1945/

    Thanks to whoever originally posted this map: http://ww2talk.com/forums/index.php?app=core&module=attach&section=attach&attach_rel_module=post&attach_id=74178

    A copy of which is in Richard 1976's post # 2 above.

    As it shows a route path for some of the actions of the 8th Armoured brigade there. Just wondering why the 8th Armoured weren't represented much in most of the accounts of this operation I have thus far seen? As an attached unit was it just a case of their being shunted here and there?

    I have to admit though if you want to be remembered for an action it's a rather "unfortunate" operation name. I can imagine newspaper editors insisting that that wasn't going on their front page.

    Who chose such a daft choice? Or were these just much simpler days? Even so I can imagine the troopers at the time's reactions when they heard that one. Probably ribald amusement no doubt. And I suppose it was just after the Battle of the Bulge ;)

    All the best,

    Rm.
     

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